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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Jordan Arseneault's Facebook boycott: day 1

Hi and thanks for taking the time to read something other than your friends' status updates. I know Facebook (or the Book of the Face as I was once fond of calling it) is an effective, yet addictive medium that many have bemoaned in recent years. Against our better judgement, most of us born after 1970 in the high-speed internet zones of the industrialized world have become entranced by its efficacy for transmitting undeveloped thoughts, emotional blurbs, and, most effectively of all, digital photographs and event promotion details. Notwithstanding my utter enthralment with this "social" network website, a recent incident of reporting/censorship has alerted me to the need to step back from it, and remember that, like ALL successful profit-based tools, its primary function/purpose is threefold:
1) To make its users/buyers feel is it is a necessity__________; 2) To promote related or unrelated products and services we do not need ______________________________________________; 3) To perpetuate ITSELF.
As a profit-based tool, the Facebook is also, always, at all times a reflection of the socio-political mores of its makers, and of their historical context. It is entirely a tool of its time in that it may be used to transmit valid or valuable ideas or information - but that is not and will never be its main purpose. Try as we might to use FB to, for instance, raise political awareness about issues, promote benefit parties, or share news stories about natural disasters, wars, and bad/good/OMG things happening to our fellow human beings, the content of Facebook will always be muted by its function: and its function is to give us the illusion of connection, and to ensure constant, ever-increasing profit for its makers/owners. Much has been said (by Wipeout Homopbobia on Facebook, for example) and many status updates made on the issue of Facebook's user-based "reporting", which is but one example of Facebook's amoral, entirely contemporary nature. Facebook's abject refusal to allow for nudity or the depiction of illicit drug use, or other "offensive" material (which, to its credit, supposedly includes racist saying/images) says more about what my generation's superego wants to show about itself than about who we are and what we think about the people and world around us. When one of my one thousand, three hundred and ninety-eight "friends" reported (in a two-step mouse-click process) Vincent Malléa's Pain Capital late Friday night, (early Dec 10th, 2011, mere minutes after I posted to my "wall") it was the second time such a "report" had been made on my profile, and the second time that it involved that oh-so-unequivocally sexualizable photographic representation of a nude male buttocks. I will refrain, for the time being, from discussing why I think one of my Facebook contacts might have chosen to report this particular image, and concentrate instead on the all-too-obvious notions that underlie it:
1) Porn is everywhere, and available everywhere online, but a significant consumer population disapproves of nudity and equates it with porn_____; 2) Facebook must at all costs maintain its "all ages", "child-friendly" PG13 status in order to ensure constant and immediate access to teenage and child users who will become as addicted to it as I was ___________________________________________; 3) One of my own contacts believes that it is within his or her right (or obligation!) to control what I show to my other 1397 contacts, when and how.
All of which leads me to one conclusion: I have to get off the Book of the Face before I lose touch with reality and with the inherently profit-based and malignant nature of such a website's underlying structures. There was a time before the Facebook, before Myspace, and before Friendster, and there will be a time when even Facebook will become obsolete. This is why I am NOT boycotting Facebook by deleting my profile. Sadly, many, many of my contacts have been made solely through its interface, and it remains one of the three main ways groups of people to which I belong communicate valid, usable information. I am not "going off-Book" because I am scared of its impact on my "privacy", whatever that is. Nor do I decry its flattening of social interaction: frankly, there are a lot of people whom I was all too glad to have only limited, superficial contact with, such as the people obsessed with cat videos and "I/ my-boyfriend" statements, whose stories I have been "hiding" since that blessed function was introduced. I am boycotting Facebook for two succinct reasons:
1) One of my contacts believes in censorship and in profit-based control of society. I decry their motives and challenge them to criticize my posting of partial non-frontal male nudity to my FACE, to my actual fucking FACE, you bastard! THEN we'll having a meaningful conversation, you coward (whoever you are)!
2) I need to prove to myself that I can function effectively off its all-engrossing, White Eurocentric capitalist American-made system of manipulation. If the medium is the message, Facebook's message is "profit is more important than nude male ass," and my message is: "blog and write and share images using less intrusive web interfaces now, while the Internet is still affordable - at least in most parts of Canada and the industrialized West."
And fuck you forever you homophobic art-hating censorship-loving piece of shit who reported Vincent Malléa's Pain Capital image post. I will be making weekly updates on the progress of my albeit half-assed boycott via this blogspot, which, thank you very much, you can fucking report if you fucking want to: I know Wordpress now!

1 comment:

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