Writing Under the Red Gaze of the Single Unblinking Eye of Facebook

declineBack when I still put a print version of my zine The Inner Swine out, I once wrote an essay about someone I knew that wasn’t particularly complimentary. I didn’t know this person very well, but in my essay I portrayed them (accurately!) as an insane person more than likely to kill me, dry my meat, and make me into sausage or something like that.

And then, much to my chagrin, this insane person requested a copy of the zine. That particular issue, in fact. I realized that if I gave them the issue as it was, I would soon wake up in a pit with the Crazy One telling me it puts the lotion on its skin as it lowered a basket down to me. So, I did what any coward does: I created a single special issue of the zine with the offending article replaced by something else and handed it to Crazy One with a straight face. As the Somers Family Motto goes, Congratulations on a Job: Done.

Of course, I was only able to save my skin in this way because of the primitive time this took place in, a glorious time before social media, before Facebook, before Twitter. Because if I write something viciously meanspirited, completely unfair and yet totally fucking hilarious today, the Crazy Ones out there will see it no matter what I do, become enraged, and arrive on cue to kidnap me in their Rape Vans and imprison me in their Karmic Penalty Boxes. Or just punch me in the nose.

Here’s the thing: I’m not a nice person. I have a tendency to think I am perfect and amazing and have all sorts of terrible opinions about people. Time was, I could put all those asshole observations into The Inner Swine (with changed names, usually, for I am a coward as well) and get away with having my giggles at the expense of other people’s dignity and actually be congratulated for it by my loyal readers. Like I said, I changed names and everything because I didn’t want to actually publicly insult folks, and also too as I may have mentioned I’m a semi-alcoholic coward with bird bones that snap like twigs under assault from pissed-off former acquaintances, but it was fun.

Of course, I can’t do it any more. Every time I have a ridiculous interaction with my fellow humans (read: every time I interact with my fellow humans) I have the urge to write very funny screeds about them, but then I picture posting that screed to Facebook and having everyone referenced in it recognizing the circumstances and grabbing torches and pitchforks to come burn my house down.

Yes: The Internet ruins everything.

What this really means, of course, is that I have to start actually putting more effort into my misanthropic stories about others and turn them into actual works of fiction with characters and events based on the real people. This sounds suspiciously like work, which, as anyone who has read my work in the past knows, is not how I do. Instead, I’m going to start a Burn Book about all of you, to be published upon my death. Or, more realistically, I’ll just continue to get drunk and mutter about everyone in the privacy of my home.


  1. JanetReid

    I still treasure that one-off.

  2. Jason

    I have to agree with the limitations one finds themselves in when wanting to be themselves and say what you want to say versus realizing that someone is going to get offended and either blast me in the comments or (the horror) de-friend me. Everyone seems to get offended so easily these days. Most of my specific comments that would get me in trouble are political in nature, and being a libertarian, I get blasted and flamed by both sides.

    Having said that, I thank the G+ gods for creating circles. That way, most of my political meanderings can be shared with like minded people while the others never know. On Facebook however… I gave up using lists because they just don’t function anywhere near as well as circles. So I just post away (limited by comparison to G+) and let the chips fall where they may.

    Although, I’m sure you probably have a couple of readers out there that read the Cates series… or rather, the first couple of paragraphs of the The Electric Church, and have blocked you on Facebook because that Avery Cates just uses the “F” word way too much and it “offends” them.

    To that, I say you did a job well done!!!

    Besides, it is much more fun to the read the words of a crotchety old man than someone else who spends their days kissing butt and not making any waves. Not that you’re a crotchety old man… yet…

    Anyway, please remain censor free and true to your evil self!!! Hmmm… We really aren’t good people, are we?

    To the Bar with you!!!

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