What lies beneath

We live in interesting times. Social media has given us a voice, a platform and an audience like never before. We are all armchair analysts, foaming at our mouths over social inequities and perceived injustices. Each of us has an opinion on politics and current affairs, and boy, do we air those opinions with glee. Our moral duty done, us fickle activists of the lowest order, move on with the more mundane business of living our fairly boring suburban lives. Till the next cause that tickles our fancy comes along. It is a moveable feast after all, with no dearth of succulent meats to sink our proverbial teeth into.

What lies beneath all this moral outrage? A desire for change? The seeds of a revolution? Or, a mere positioning of oneself at the epicentre of social recognition. This is a person with his/her finger on the pulse of what is important. Never mind that the frenzy over what is important changes from one minute to the next. The irony being that, that which is truly important is not sensational enough to warrant attention from the social media parasites.

Perception is King. If the appearance of giving a damn is enough, then why really bother to give a damn? If the headlines are eyeballs grabbing enough, why bother with the facts? We are shallow people with shallow agendas. Our motives are to lynch and demonise. To bring down, not build up. We hide behind our screens, trolling those whose opinions are different from ours. Mocking, laughing and sniggering at the people who are doing the real job of effecting change. Ignorance, impotence and ire are the rungs of this particular ladder.

Eschewing truth in favour of the flavour of the day, we jump on our moral high horses, and are surprised to encounter opposition. After all, isn’t the popular opinion the right one too? No? How dare anyone interfere with our version of the narrative!

The pitfalls lie in believing that whatever we are espousing this moment has no other variables attached to it. Cause, effect and circumstance have multiple facets and complexities, and in downplaying certain aspects to lend credence to others, we put on the blinkers of our biases.

So perhaps, in the midst of spouting all this wisdom, we need to take a moment’s pause and check ourselves. Check our facts, check our sources, check our thoughts, check our prejudices and check our knee jerk emotional responses. Check whether our outrage is rooted in principles or the shifting sands of social media’s topic du jour.

For, in refusing to do any of the above, we are in danger of becoming the very thing that we despise.

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Frape and the debate thereof

This blog post arose from a funny experience I had last week.  Having been justifiably busy with the run up to Christmas, I was jotting a few random thoughts on my laptop, in the hope of fleshing it out into a blog post later. The thoughts were a jumble on fidelity, constancy, marriage, partners etc. This had been triggered by an interesting discussion I had had the previous day with some old school friends about soul mates.

Needless to say, the ideas were still amorphous, and the post in its absolute infancy. At this point, I did, what no thinking individual should do, with a teenager around.

I left my laptop unattended.

A few hours later, I found the following addendum:

Usually, you may find that that only happens in stories or ‘happily ever afters’ however that is not always true. I have pledged my life to another, a great being who understands me: he just gets me, if you know what I mean. He is my soul-mate, my other half, the one. I have pledged my life to him trusting him with everything, even me and my soulllllll. Thank you, thank you for being such a passionate and loving man. 

I have dedicated this wonderful love paragraph to MIKE ! Thanks babe for being there to feed me all the time (would be nice if u cut down a bit tho ;)). I love you no-matter what and you will always remain my hubby, you are one of the coolest soul-mates a woman could ever ask for. Thank you xxxxxxxxxx

 tehehehehehehehhe mummy like my creative writing?????

I had the biggest belly laugh upon reading this! Immediately I thought about the times I had seen my friends being “fraped” on Facebook. Their statuses being hijacked by mischief mongering sisters, husbands,children or friends.

I wondered if there was a blogging equivalent of the term, and went in search of it.

Wow! Did I open a can of worms?! While never entirely comfortable with the word Frape, I had just assumed it was another one of the teenage slang terminology that circulated for a while, became a part of the lexicon, promptly lost it’s edginess and was dropped just as quick by the aforementioned teens.

However, I had much to learn.

Frape is, of course, a combination of the words Facebook and rape. A violation of privacy, and of status.

Rape however, is no joking matter. By including it quite as widely in our daily usage, are we trivialising what is essentially a beastly attack upon another human being? Feminists seem to think so. And to be fair, I am not too far from agreeing with them.

Words like “Ho”, “Bitch”, “Nigger” lose their shock value over time. They become mainstream. And therein lies the danger.

Reams have been written about gangsta rap and it’s objectification of women and perpetration of violence against them.  Can Frape, a word that carries connotations of violation and abuse be the first step towards legitimising another cowardly misogynistic attitude?

One could argue it both ways, and people have.

However, as a woman, and as a mother to two young, impressionable girls, I choose hereon to NOT use this term. Vilifying it gives it the importance it does not deserve. Ignore it, relegate it to a store of bad taste verbs, and hope that the teens out there are way too smart to let it dictate their code of conduct.

In the meantime, however, sign off and shut that laptop!

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