The Facebook Apologia

I think I\’ve had enough. 

This is my apologia for unfriending you.

That classic dissertation on political affairs, \’Yes, Minister\’, has this razor sharp observation: \”World history is the triumph of the heartless over the mindless.\” (It has hundreds of such gems. Please watch it if you haven\’t yet. Well, I\’m surprised that you haven\’t! Positively appalled! I\’m adding you to the \’list\’.)

It pains me to see some of my Facebook \’friends\’ give a demo of this observation. The thing is, they\’re educated people who have bought into a \’heartless\’ ideology, which is opposite to mine. I don\’t want to call them mindless; that\’s what history will call them.

But let me focus on myself for a moment. When these friends share with impunity political trash endorsing the heartless ideology, it riles me up. For years I\’ve tried to act stoic about it — unaffected, unmoved, looking at the \’big picture\’, being accepting of diversity of views. That\’s how I would like to be offline as well.

Something has come over me of late. It could be the recent transition of Mars through my sign, or it could be the state of the nation. I get angry. I get worked up. And I feel that if I do not express where I stand, the other side will become stronger. Numbers matter, and I want to publicly add to the numbers on my side.

As a counter, I ask myself: What about freedom of speech? I\’m not yet deep on the philosophy of freedom of speech (which I love, by the way), but let me hit the brakes here and pronounce my decision: not on my fucking timeline!

People act on Facebook (and Twitter and the like) as if it is their personal toilet; they require zero-to-nil self-regulation. They tend to say whatever shit comes to their minds! I won\’t blame the medium for that — just as I won\’t blame the earth for people defecating on it. But you know, it\’s Facebook — I have a clear, ringside view of your bloody toilet! So, behave yourself, or close the door, or, well, I\’ll pull the curtains. 

See — let\’s remain friends. Let\’s not allow our sociopolitical leanings reveal more about ourselves than would appear charming to the other. We don\’t do that offline, so why should we do that online? If I get to know that you\’re actually a rabid xenophobe, a misogynist, a homophobe, or a sectarianism-loving majoritarian (big words, right?), then I\’ll be honest — I don\’t want to be friends with you — online or offline.

But let\’s not get that far. I\’m going to unfriend you and retain an \’as good as new\’ and almost-unblemished impression of you. And whenever we meet offline, we can carry on being civil to each other and have polite conversations without getting worked up about your hate-mongering shares or my libtard/sickular views.

I know I may be creating an echo-chamber for myself, a sort of an ideological bubble where I\’m coming across people who are just like me. But hey, we literally live in an echo-bubble called Earth, of which we have become these tax-levying, territory-expanding, oppressive overlords. It\’s safe and cozy, isn\’t it?

Right. So, I\’d rather get my daily dose of diversity from books, movies, newspaper, articles, courses, etc. That\’s what education is for! Read, people, read!

This may be the last time you\’re reading a post from me, so I\’m going to leave you with this:


Published by Anupam Choudhury

I'm a writer, editor, and blogger from New Delhi, India.

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