Friday, October 1, 2010

Saying no to friend requests from strangers on Facebook

In the last few months, I have received half a dozen e-mails inviting me to become a "friend" on Facebook. Some of these are from my beloved children, some from colleagues and former students, and others from people I barely know.

In every case, I have politely declined, explaining that I detest the idea of Facebook and refuse to be emotionally blackmailed into joining it solely to avoid offending them.

My first reason for opposing Facebook is the sheer phoniness of it. "Friends" are collected and displayed, like a stud's panty collection in a frat house. The very indiscriminateness of it cheapens it. It reminds me of the scene in Kurt Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater where Senator Rosewater chides his hyperidealistic son in words something like this:

"Eliot, it's as if you stood on a street corner, with a pile of squares of toilet paper with 'I love you' written on each one, and handed one out to everybody that passed by. I just don't want my square of toilet paper."

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