Look At Me!

It’s tempting to think that this Muslim –

This Muslim guy...

…and this unnamed woman, who is dressed like a four-year-old –

Humans of New York

…are not among the more extreme sources of irritation on Facebook. Given, that is, just how extremely irritating Facebook (or, more specifically, Facebook users) can be.

And to be fair, they may not be. Our Muslim friend, in particular, seems a nice enough fellow – with, you’ll see, his arms, heart, and mind all open.

But let’s resist, for a moment, the temptation to think nicer thoughts. Let’s, for a moment, think cynical, world-weary ones, instead. Oh go on, everybody else does…

Now then. I’m not against Muslims wearing t-shirts that endorse Jewish guys. And, hey, if a grown women really wants to dress like a four-year-old… well, who am I to restrict such a thing? (I used to dress like a four-year-old, too, albeit back when I was four.)

Can’t we, though, just stop giving so much attention to the people who seek it the most? As far as I can see, at least, all this LOOK AT ME stimulus is starting to make us sick.

The symptoms are everywhere. We’re beginning to equate exhibitionism with insight; showing off with strength of character; thinking out loud with thoughtfulness. And the arms race for attention – any kind of attention – is severely undervaluing many small, quiet, and useful things, while grossly inflating the human arsenal of big, loud, and largely useless things. On the endangered list: contemplation, patience, nuance, compassion, empathy, and curiosity. In their place: OUTRAGE, impatience, certainty, disdain, narcissism, and xenophobia.

Maybe, after all, our Muslim and unnamed woman who is dressed like a four-year-old are striking a blow, respectively, for religious tolerance and against patriarchal forces opposed to women dressing how they want to. Good things.

But at what cost do we shrink our modes of expression? Does everyone really have to be the loudest person in the room – and where does that leave those of us for whom that’s assuredly not an attractive proposition?

What good is a world full of selfies if they stop us from looking up and out? What’s so great about broadcasting our every opinion, when so many are half-baked, knee-jerk, and divisive? And never mind the Muslim, the Jewish guy, or the unnamed woman who is dressed like a four-year-old, what if the king of LOOK AT ME really does become America’s next president? Then it will be too fucking late to look away.

*****

Today’s post soundtracked by:

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About newjonnytransit

Same as ever, only better.
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