Leave Facebook If It’s Good for You, But It Won’t Stop Facebook’s Evil

The media brims with stories about Facebook’s evil. I won’t rehash them.

Bloggers I follow drop post after post about how they want to quit Facebook, but they can’t/won’t, and they know you won’t quit either.

That’s false, at least when addressed to me. I stopped using Facebook in 2010. To flip the ‘early adopter’ paradigm, I’m an early quitter.

For the first few years, when I told people I didn’t use Facebook, they looked at me as if I’d admitted to hating kittens. Why would anyone refuse Facebook? As time has gone by, the reactions shifted. For the past four years, whenever I tell someone I don’t use Facebook, by far the most common response has been, ‘Good for you, I wish I could stop using Facebook too, but [some social connection they maintain on Facebook].’

Why did I quit? Because Facebook bored me. It was that simple. No lofty ideals, no high moral grounds, nothing like that prompted me to quit. I just always had something more interesting to do than use Facebook. Such as checking emails. My personal experience (and yours may vary) is that if someone cares about keeping in touch with me and they have consistent internet access, then email works. Email is much better at nurturing the relationships which are worth my time.

Continue reading

Guy Fawkes vs. The Prince of Lanling: How a Silly Search for Music Videos Explained Why People Reject Masks (Part 4/Conclusion)

Continued from part 3.

It’s too late to change people’s attitudes about masking for the Covid-19 pandemic.

Yes, some individuals will change their mind. But most people’s minds have been made up, and won’t change over the next few months.

So why bother persuading people to take a more positive outlook towards masks? Because this won’t be the last airborne pandemic. Now is the time to do the slow, slow work of changing public sentiments about masking so that the next pandemic will disable and kill fewer people.

The way masking has spread during this pandemic, alas, has seared negative connotations into people’s minds. Yes, the political polarization is bad, and it presses people who otherwise would wear masks to go maskless because they don’t want to ‘make a political statement.’ But it goes deeper than that. We’ve impressed upon ourselves that masks = deadly pandemic which causes mass upheaval.

Even if people understand that the purpose of masking is to protect people from pathogens, that emotional link will make them recoil from masks. Emotion overwhelms thought when we make decisions.

I have a confession to make: these negative feelings are why I refuse to wear surgical masks.

Continue reading

Guy Fawkes vs. The Prince of Lanling: How a Silly Search for Music Videos Explained Why People Reject Masks (Part 3)

Continued from Part 2.

One thing which makes “Toulouse” such an awesome music video is that it’s open to multiple interpretations.

Interpretation 1: People resist the music at first, but the rhythm is too infectious, and the number of cool people who get it exponentially increase

Interpretation 2: Creepy people in masks harass and assault strangers. They force them to put on masks. Then they turn into creeps themselves and harass and assault even more strangers.

Interpretation 3: This is all a dream.

Interpretation 4: It’s not a dream, the protagonist just thinks so because the truth is too much for him to handle.

The Guy Fawkes mask has a centuries-long history in England. It represents a menace to society, which must be burned. Guy Fawkes masks gained new meaning when Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s V Is for Vendetta dystopian comic books featured them. If society is evil, and Guy Fawkes is a menace to society, then maybe Guy Fawkes masks are good?

Continue reading

Guy Fawkes vs. The Prince of Lanling: How a Silly Search for Music Videos Explained Why People Reject Masks (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1.

According to The Book of Northern Qi, Martial Prince of Lan Ling Changgong (蘭陵武王長恭) had a beautiful appearance and voice, so he wore a mask in battle to scare his enemies. This mask was not shameful; The Book of Northern Qi praises him for being a fierce military commander. Nor does the book shame him for looking ‘soft’ and beautiful (as far as I can tell, I suck at Classical Chinese so I might be missing nuances; the words used to describe him supposedly suggest he has an androgynous look.) So we have someone who is physically beautiful, and this is good, and he covers his beauty with a mask, which is also good. He’s been part of Chinese culture for over a thousand years, and his story also spread to Japan. And possibly other East Asian cultures.

All the connotations of the Prince of Lan Ling wearing a mask are good. He wasn’t hiding anything bad; beautiful faces are good. He also did nothing bad by putting on the mask; scaring the shit out of enemies was also good. Nothing about this cost him respect.

Continue reading

Guy Fawkes vs. The Prince of Lanling: How a Silly Search for Music Videos Explained Why People Reject Masks (Part 1)

Writing this was supposed to be fun, not give me an Awful Realization.

I didn’t expect putting together a music video post to make me at long last understand why so many people reject masks.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still pro-mask. Unless masks give you medical problems, keep wearing them around people outside your household.

Still, having this switch finally flipped in my head is odd. For over a year, I’ve been scratching my head: why are people so powerfully opposed to having cloth over their face? It’s not really about politics, since every political group in the United States has its share of passionate anti-maskers, and international news articles suggest that this is also true in other countries. It’s about something deeper than politics, something so deep it appears in pop music.

I also saw how we can counter mask resistance, but the solution is difficult.

Continue reading