Saturday, January 24, 2009

More Facebook Freakiness

A few weeks ago, after much deliberation, I added my high school and the year I graduated to my Facebook profile. I did it because there are a few people from high school that I've completely lost track of and would actually like to reconnect with, and while I didn't find them by searching the list of people already identified as graduates of my high school, I hope someday these people I want to find will find me.

There weren't many people from my graduating class who'd declared that affiliation--about half a dozen--which isn't all that surprising, given that there were only about 80 kids in my graduating class. I didn't "friend" any of the six people already in the network, not even one person who had been my roommate in college.

There were different reasons for this, some general, some specific. In the case of the former roommate, I didn't "friend" her because: 1) by the end of our stint as roommates I'd grown to dislike her fairly intensely, 2) she married a complete weirdo (they met while I was rooming with her, and I was forced to witness some of the more unpleasant parts of their courtship--I used to come home and find them on the couch, not making out, but him with his shirt hiked up his back while she picked at his backne, and they kept this up even after I walked in the door), and 3) she's gotten more matronly and Mormon and annoying and I don't want to know what she's doing.

I also didn't friend one of the unpleasant bullies I graduated with, a nasty, self-important, entitled little bastard, who tormented me gleefully from the day I met him in first grade until the day we graduated. Admittedly, he wasn't the meanest guy in my grade, and there were some girls who actually liked him, and some girls he was nice to. I, however, was someone he purposely made unhappy with some frequency, someone I was glad to see the back of after graduation, and hoped never to encounter again.

So imagine my surprise when, at our ten-year class reunion, he came up and shook my hand, acted like he was glad to see me, and told me some things about his life, in what was the first real conversation we ever had in our lives.

And then yesterday he goes "friends" me.

I just stared at the friend request for a while. And then I "confirmed that I was 'friends' with this person," because, well, he's not mentally unstable like the strange student I won't be friends with, he's just someone who used to be a jerk. The fact that he at least tried to talk to me when he finally grew up suggests that he might have turned into a nice guy. Why hold a grudge?

And then someone else he'd become "friends" with--someone even further down the social scale, someone he never would have deigned to notice while we were in high school--also added me as a friend. And I went ahead and confirmed my "friend-ness" with this person too, despite the fact that we'd never hung out, never played at each other's homes, even though--or maybe because--we were third cousins, which we knew because this was a small Mormon town and everyone knew who was related to whom.

But the thing is--and this is the larger issue--there's the Mormon business. I'm not Facebook friends with anyone I'm related to, because we already tried that. My Facebook profile is pretty neutral, but my family, being typical Mormons, are not willing to refrain from being politically aggressive assholes who parade their stupid ideas ("So&So is pumped about Palin!"). When I responded in kind with some of my political views and pointed out that Palin is NOT someone intelligent, ethical people should be pumped about, well, there was hell to pay, and I was the one who paid it.

By and large, Mormons are not willing to edit or censor themselves--that's what everyone else has to do. You can't swear around Mormons, because that's "offensive" to them, but they can go on and on about how being gay or supporting legislation for gay rights is going to bring about Armageddon--in fact, they typically display quite prominently a statement informing the world of precisely that belief.

If you're Mormon, answer me this: how would you feel if you walked into the home of a family member and were confronted by a high-minded, pompous announcement informing everyone that supporting the Mormon church wasn't just sorta dumb, something that would retard your spiritual development and make it hard for you to have real friendships with people who aren't like you, but something that would bring about the end of the world?

So we'll see how this works out. I did look at the pages of my new "friends" and they seem to be fairly banal--not much about their church callings or their enthusiasm for the stupid, evil political beliefs and practices that got the US and the world into the nasty mess we're dealing with now. So maybe things will be OK.

I just hope that some of the guys (and they are all guys, 'cause I can track down quite easily all the girls I hung with in school) I actually want to find track me down. Todd, Kieran, Curtis: are you out there?


Blogger Dale said...

Is there anybody (worthwhile) out there? Freaky deaky Facebook frightens me.

5:46 AM  
Blogger bluestocking said...

there are a FEW worthwhile people on Facebook, some I'm really glad to have reconnected with. And of course if YOU were to sign up for it, there would be a supremely worthwhile reason to put up with all the weirdos....

7:09 AM  

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