I love me a good Facebook fight.
I’m not proud, but will admit to engaging in a few here and there, usually in a quest to educate people who are quick to spout off regarding subjects about which they know nothing other than their gut instinct but, as it happens, I do happen to know a thing or two. I had one rather epic Facebook fight about a year ago which began on the page of someone who I had gone to high school with and have not laid eyes on since. I vividly recall her being obnoxious and annoying in her teens, but, given the passage of 35 years, gave her the benefit of the doubt and assumed she’d outgrown her pubescent ways. I couldn’t have been more mistaken. In fact, she had not only amped up her same game, but managed to surround herself with like-minded people who made the very serious mistake of getting into a debate with me over any- and everything transgender related. By the end of a thread, which, FYI, would go on (and on) for an entire afternoon and into the evening, I knew that the only thing I had truly accomplished was getting myself all worked up. So I did what any self-respecting middle-aged woman would do: I got in the car, bought a new pair of shoes and thoroughly enjoyed an ice cream cone the size of my head.
More recently, in the interest of keeping my blood pressure within normal range (and with the notable exception of this blog) I have steered clear of discussing politics, 45, or anything else controversial, choosing, instead, to be an actively passive observer of folks who are so worked up and upset about everything that they are not only willing to engage, but are vigorously gunning for a good fight. And, not for nothing, they are having no trouble finding one.
Just this morning I scrolled through my Facebook news feed and was greeted by the smiling faces of kids off to school, heartbreaking stories and horrifying photos of what is left of Texas, several birthday reminders and, perhaps most interesting: a steady stream of commentary regarding Melania T’s choice of shoes – Manolo Blahnik BB pumps, with 4” heels, which you, too, can have for $595 –and the arguments in either direction were fierce.
There were posts describing her and her choice as “disgusting”. There were posts describing her and her choice as “ridiculous”. There were posts describing her and her choice as “insensitive”, “impractical” and “inappropriate”. And, on the flip side, there were there an equal number of posts admonishing all those aforementioned original posts in which the original posters were told that their opinion about and disdain for FLOTUS was” bullying”, “body shaming” and “ridiculous”.
And so was born a Facebook fight.
Being an actively passive observer, I can tell you that every one of those posts was followed by long threads of steadily more aggressive responses and replies to responses and emoticons and GIFs and tangents and generalized antagonism which, in my opinion, may or may not have had anything to do with the shoes in question. In fact, just for sport I could make strong arguments in support or defense of MT’s MB’s.…but it’s not about the shoes. It is, however, about what life has become for many of us.
While I can only speak for myself, I am fairly confident that many would agree that they, too, are feeling anxious, overwhelmed, exhausted, overwrought, uncomfortable, out of control, pessimistic and uncertain…none of which are any fun. I’d further contend that it is far easier to relieve some of these feelings by engaging in a Facebook fight about something as banal and truly unimportant as someone’s (I don’t care who it is, frankly) shoes. Now, before you get all up in my face about her role, public perception, her sugar daddy husband, the circumstances blah blah blah, please hear this: I am not judging anyone for getting into it. In fact, on a different day or hour I, too, might shoot off a few barbs myself, but today I just wasn’t feeling it.
Our country and our lives are all in turmoil. Mother Nature is as pissed off as she’s ever been. Our leadership appears to be jerry-built and, with each day, it crumbles a little bit. The cost of living is ridiculous. Colleges are charging upwards of $50,000 per year in tuition, room and board. If you are a woman who made the choice to take time off of work to be with her kids, you are screwed when you try to find a job at the tender age of 52. And that health insurance that we all need? …yeah, the promise of its availability is tenuous at best. The changes to so much of what we thought we knew have been fast and furious, leaving so many feeling vulnerable and defenseless. With such a loss of emotional power – real or perceived – It’s no wonder we glom onto opining, condemning and assailing something as insipid and inconsequential as a pair of shoes.
And maybe, just maybe, Mrs. T. chose her footwear for the same reason I have a different pair of Birkies for every day of the week: because it made her feel just a little bit better…
So, yeah, I love me a good Facebook fight, just not this one.