My only real rule, and it's about me and for me, so I don't have to justify it before any tribunal, is that I won't talk about myself on this blog. I'm fully aware that there is no other subject, if we trace the matter analytically through hoop after hoop, but you can take your hoop and put it in your nose. The simple fact is that I don't like me. I don't find me interesting. More, I loathe "bloggers" who write about the miracle of their daily lives. While these verminous scourges are less common these days, when I began here, they had not yet found their Facebook selfy Reddit Instagram Pintrest nirvana.
I recognize that I have an audience of perhaps two, thinking optimistically. I have made this so.
I want to change the rules a little. I want to talk about the vitreous that blocks me, even if it isn't universal. For example, anyone who reads all of this blog gets the impression that it is written by someone with clinical depression. That makes it nothing special. My last (look down) commented on the fact that this is just how things are, and talking about it might be profoundly useless. However, today I decided to make a play list for my funeral. I didn't do that because I'm planning on hastening the pale visitor's conquest, but because I've gotten a couple of cancers. That's no big deal, except that I'm paid so little that some months mean hunger (really), and our insurance just pushed the deductible from $3,000 to $5,000. I just, in essence, got a $5,000 pay cut.
The IRS has chased me around and taken this month's paycheck. The reason is that my mother borrowed against a life insurance policy of mine some fourteen years ago. The insurance company made sure that the premiums would never go to repay the loan, and therefore the policy would die. When it did, the company reported that I had gotten $5,000 in "income." I, of course, had gotten not a cent. My mother had. She's dead. I don't blame the taxmen. I blame the insurance industry that wants old life insurance policies to die, because they're too cheap. Nevertheless, I owed $1,000 on the "profit" I had made when the policy died. I barely get $1,000 a month, so I wasn't exactly able to pay them from my excess funds.
There's good news, though. If I owed $10,000 or more, there is a "Fresh Start Initiative" to take care of me to renegotiate! But owing $1000? Well, hell, boy, everyone can afford to pay that!
I've been working at a job for 10 years where I am making $5,000 less per year than the starting pay for my position.
Still, money is not something I think about until I have to. I hate money. I hate the people who allow money to carry value. It is, after all, the most abstracted and irrational unit in the world. It is unconnected to morality in the extreme. It is unconnected to work nearly as far. The construction worker works much more than the stock trader, but the stock trader makes an obscenity of ejaculating money, while the construction worker makes a wage and destroys his body while listening to Rush Limbaugh and Neil Boors.
My college president thought it would be a good idea if all of us provided our Facebook profiles to him for a new intranet (that would be linked to the school's Facebook page. . . I'll let you figure that one out). We were also supposed to explain our conversion experiences. When did we realize that Jesus was Lord? What book or preacher was most important to us?
"Consider the lilies of the field. They spin not, nor do they weave...."
I do not do Facebook. I never will. I have Reasons. I put "A Poor Man's House" by Patty Griffin on my funeral play list. My first song is "On the Nickel," because it says, "If you chew tobacco, and never comb your hair," which sets out two of my conditionals.
I took a long time, but I finally came up with a response to the president's request. He wanted to know, so I decided I should tell him. I wrote two documents. I'll share them here, I guess. Maybe I won't. One is the actual story of how I lost my faith thanks to the evangelical movement and its emphasis on altar calls. I came back to it later and discovered a quiet, certain, faith. I never, in the document, point out the problems with the theology and polity that this college president and his new trustees embrace. I only tell the truth. Then I turned in a second document and explained why Facebook and all of the commercialized web is the destruction of academic inquiry.
This second one is boring as a sand pudding. I will post it here.
The point is that we once had a volunteer Internet, where discussion was organized by joint projects or activities. We exchanged that for interest groups and consumer subsets under Facebook or one of the others -- all designed as being conversation under the power of sale.
I remember the t-shirt from 1991: "The Internet's Full: Go Away!" That was a response to the "AOLamers." I thought the snobs were wrong then, and I was right, but I thought the Internet had been destroyed then, and I was right about that, too. In 1993-4, I thought the invasion of graphics into websites was the problem. I was feeling a symptom. The truth is that the decision to sell bandwidth to .com meant that, at best, the "real" Internet of Usenet days would exist only in an underpopulated, unadvertised, esoteric bubble, but "the web" would become a midway of freakshows, where the marks are the exhibits.