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Point of View: Glad I’m Rid of It

Wed, 11/10/2021 - 16:29

Feeling a little at loose ends one day recently, I rose, turned, and looked at the clippings Scotch-taped to my office's window frame, and saw -- not for the first time, obviously, though it seemed so -- one having to do with Pier Massimo Forni, who wrote "The Thinking Life: How to Thrive in the Age of Distraction."

Ah, I said, and quickly ordered a copy from, lest I become distracted by other things and forget. 

Dr. Forni wrote this book, I was interested to learn, a decade ago, at just about the same time that I quit Facebook forever, convinced that, despite the happy patina, it was by and large a medium for meanness, for back-stabbing, name-calling, ganging-up, and worse.

I've heard nothing in the interim to cause me to rethink that decision, only things attesting to the wisdom of it. And when on the "NewsHour" every night they talk of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative's drive for "a more inclusive, just, equitable, and healthy future for everyone," you do wonder.

The last straw for Mary, she says, was the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which Facebook users' and friends' psychological profiles, 87 million by one count, were made available to the 2016 Trump campaign. But I think her disaffection long preceded that. 

How then would she be able to see photos of the grandkids? she was asked. "I've got a cellphone -- send them there," she said. And so they have.

Me, I don't have a cellphone, one of the few holdouts left in that regard, I'll warrant. There are times, perhaps two or three in the course of a year, when I sort of wish I had one, but the feeling passes. It's just another thing to lose, after all, and, believe me, at my age you tend to lose a lot, which is one reason why I said last week that often I oscillate between insouciance and hysteria.

Freedom's just another word for one more thing to lose. . . . 

No, if it's the golden mean you're looking for -- and by that I mean the solace that attends sweet reason, reflective thought -- Facebook is not meant for you.    

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