Monthly Archives: August 2013

Facebook footnotes

My newly acquired sequestered lifestyle has resulted in more Facebook usage than when I signed up in my first year of uni and had a competition with my housemate to reach 100 friends (I’d be more embarrassed about this, but I won). Back then, it was a major procrastination device, but these days it allows me a three minute break from whatever I’m doing before I decide absolutely nothing interesting is happening on it, and return to my work. Obviously it would be better for me to get up and have a walk around, but hey ho.

Anyway, my increased use has left me with a few gripes that really grate, things that people just shouldn’t do on Facebook, things that I wish Facebook would put as footnotes in their terms and conditions.

  • Baby pictures. Your baby looks like every single other baby to me. I’m sure it is very cute, and when it’s your own baby, it must be amazing. For everyone else, they look like an uncooked chicken. And you’ve just uploaded 274 pictures of this unappealing chicken to ‘My Little Girl VIII’. Also, your picture of your pregnant stomach is repulsive. If you aren’t willing to show us pictures of the conception, you shouldn’t be willing to show us the rest of it.

Oh, and putting your child as your profile picture? You deserve to forget how to hold conversations that aren’t about nappies or vomit, and you deserve to forget how to speak to normal people without using that rhetorical baby warble, and you deserve to have your brains turn into the mush you feed your ugly little chicken child as you forget how to drive and forget that you used to refer to yourself in the first person before ‘mummy’ lost her mind.

  • The Sunday morning hangover status. Everyone has a hangover on a Sunday. Deal with it, or find something original to say about it. Don’t bring everyone else down about it. Don’t clog up my news feed with ‘so and so feels awful’, ‘so and so is too hungover to eat’, ‘so and so might die from this hangover’. Obviously not that close to death if you can type that out, are you? Yet.
  • Grammar and spelling. If you have been speaking this language for over twenty years, you ought to have some vague grasp of it by now. I wonder how many people would delete me if I was to get all spelling squad and grammar police on them. Of course people make mistakes, and not everyone is good at spelling, but you did go to school for AT LEAST ten years, which means you look like a moron when you get it so wrong. If you have something to say that matters enough for you to put it out there for public consumption, then it matters for you to try and get it right.
  • Does anyone else have friends on Facebook who they think are twats and yet are occasionally compelled to stalk them to check just how twattish their lives really are? Now they turn up on my news feed ALL THE TIME. I don’t want to hear your news, I just looked you up because on a desperately dark day it was a malicious confidence boost, a cheap laugh, and I really don’t want to have anything to do with you again, because that is not a healthy way to cheer yourself up. But I can’t delete you because that would be harsh too, after all, you’re not a bad person; you’re just an idiot.

You seem to become one of two people on Facebook: the whiner or the boaster. The whiner is the one whose status updates are best read in the voice of Eeyore, who consistently complains about how bad their day is and how shite life is to them and a status that translates to ‘COULD ANYTHING ELSE GO WRONG FOR ME?’ The boaster is the one with the suntan in every picture and a wall packed with discussions about their jetsetting lifestyle, charity work, how amazing their job is, a status that may as well say, ‘LOOK HOW GOOD MY LIFE IS’. The general bragging is probably not designed to invoke jealousy, but it is probably not for your friends either, who know just how hard you’ve worked for that holiday, or how much that skydive meant to you; the general ins and outs of your life. Your friends are the people who want to share your happiness. No, this social image is for your Facebook contacts, this plastic portrayal of yourself that you give online.

It isn’t a bad thing, and if your life is worth bragging about, fantastic. Go for it if you still need validity. But my favourites are the funny people, the uplifters, the banterists, the ones that want to share something interesting with the world. They are rare treasures, but make the whole Facebook experience completely wonderful.

Ps. I don’t want to be in the whiner category, so here are some reasons I love facebook.

  • Messages in my inbox. Oh, hello emails that aren’t littered with junk, things I accidentally signed up to, things I might want to read one day but not right now, things I have to answer and shit I have to do. These are messages from people I like and love and nothing but and Facebook, for that, you are totally worth it.
  • Facebook banter. In jokes. Nothing better than a group of people getting involved in some buffoonery.
  • Sharing music, articles, news, photos, and other random bits and bobs. Because these are my friends, and they have stuff to say that interests me. Sometimes the other people do too.
  • I FUCKING LOVE SCIENCE. Best. Group. Ever.

It is bizarre how firmly Facebook has lodged itself in our lives, but I like it. I like that it is the socially acceptable equivalent of staring in through people’s windows, which it can only be because you choose the scene you want people to peer at. I like that I don’t have to partake in any of it, but it’s nice to see what’s going on. And I can have some human interaction, which in a time of limited social opportunities is just awesome. I just wonder if people are aware that others are staring in through their windows, and are disgusted by some of the stuff they see.


Posted by on August 22, 2013 in Uncategorized


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You Should Date An Illiterate Girl

Every now and then there comes a piece that smashes with the force and consequence of a ten ton truck. Charles Warnke. Just don’t misspell his name.


You Should Date An Illiterate Girl

Charles Warnke

Date a girl who doesn’t read. Find her in the weary squalor of a Midwestern bar. Find her in the smoke, drunken sweat, and varicolored light of an upscale nightclub. Wherever you find her, find her smiling. Make sure that it lingers when the people that are talking to her look away. Engage her with unsentimental trivialities. Use pick-up lines and laugh inwardly. Take her outside when the night overstays its welcome. Ignore the palpable weight of fatigue. Kiss her in the rain under the weak glow of a streetlamp because you’ve seen it in film. Remark at its lack of significance. Take her to your apartment. Dispatch with making love. Fuck her.

Let the anxious contract you’ve unwittingly written evolve slowly and uncomfortably into a relationship. Find shared interests and common ground like sushi, and folk music. Build an impenetrable bastion upon that ground. Make it sacred. Retreat into it every time the air gets stale, or the evenings get long. Talk about nothing of significance. Do little thinking. Let the months pass unnoticed. Ask her to move in. Let her decorate. Get into fights about inconsequential things like how the fucking shower curtain needs to be closed so that it doesn’t fucking collect mold. Let a year pass unnoticed. Begin to notice.

Figure that you should probably get married because you will have wasted a lot of time otherwise. Take her to dinner on the forty-fifth floor at a restaurant far beyond your means. Make sure there is a beautiful view of the city. Sheepishly ask a waiter to bring her a glass of champagne with a modest ring in it. When she notices, propose to her with all of the enthusiasm and sincerity you can muster. Do not be overly concerned if you feel your heart leap through a pane of sheet glass. For that matter, do not be overly concerned if you cannot feel it at all. If there is applause, let it stagnate. If she cries, smile as if you’ve never been happier. If she doesn’t, smile all the same.

Let the years pass unnoticed. Get a career, not a job. Buy a house. Have two striking children. Try to raise them well. Fail, frequently. Lapse into a bored indifference. Lapse into an indifferent sadness. Have a mid-life crisis. Grow old. Wonder at your lack of achievement. Feel sometimes contented, but mostly vacant and ethereal. Feel, during walks, as if you might never return, or as if you might blow away on the wind. Contract a terminal illness. Die, but only after you observe that the girl who didn’t read never made your heart oscillate with any significant passion, that no one will write the story of your lives, and that she will die, too, with only a mild and tempered regret that nothing ever came of her capacity to love.

Do those things, god damnit, because nothing sucks worse than a girl who reads. Do it, I say, because a life in purgatory is better than a life in hell. Do it, because a girl who reads possesses a vocabulary that can describe that amorphous discontent as a life unfulfilled—a vocabulary that parses the innate beauty of the world and makes it an accessible necessity instead of an alien wonder. A girl who reads lays claim to a vocabulary that distinguishes between the specious and soulless rhetoric of someone who cannot love her, and the inarticulate desperation of someone who loves her too much. A vocabulary, god damnit, that makes my vacuous sophistry a cheap trick.

Do it, because a girl who reads understands syntax. Literature has taught her that moments of tenderness come in sporadic but knowable intervals. A girl who reads knows that life is not planar; she knows, and rightly demands, that the ebb comes along with the flow of disappointment. A girl who has read up on her syntax senses the irregular pauses—the hesitation of breath—endemic to a lie. A girl who reads perceives the difference between a parenthetical moment of anger and the entrenched habits of someone whose bitter cynicism will run on, run on well past any point of reason, or purpose, run on far after she has packed a suitcase and said a reluctant goodbye and she has decided that I am an ellipsis and not a period and run on and run on. Syntax that knows the rhythm and cadence of a life well lived.

Date a girl who doesn’t read because the girl who reads knows the importance of plot. She can trace out the demarcations of a prologue and the sharp ridges of a climax. She feels them in her skin. The girl who reads will be patient with an intermission and expedite a denouement. But of all things, the girl who reads knows most the ineluctable significance of an end. She is comfortable with them. She has bid farewell to a thousand heroes with only a twinge of sadness.

Don’t date a girl who reads because girls who read are the storytellers. You with the Joyce, you with the Nabokov, you with the Woolf. You there in the library, on the platform of the metro, you in the corner of the café, you in the window of your room. You, who make my life so god damned difficult. The girl who reads has spun out the account of her life and it is bursting with meaning. She insists that her narratives are rich, her supporting cast colorful, and her typeface bold. You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am. You will not accept the life that I told of at the beginning of this piece. You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being storied. So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you. I hate you. I really, really, really hate you.

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Posted by on August 10, 2013 in Uncategorized


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