A friend of mine is leaving social media. Why? Because a stranger found a picture of her on a photographer's website, a picture taken to commemorate a very special time in her life, and turned it into a crude meme to post on Facebook. After being asked to take the meme down, this person pinned it so that it stays on top of their page. And now my friend feels violated, a wonderful memory tarnished because some asshat thinks he's funny.
I've known this person for 15 years. Tammy and I went to her wedding. Our daughter babysat her daughter. She's creative and intelligent and funny. Being a techno-junky like myself, she chose to open her life to the internet; to allow all of us to share in her ups and downs, just as we've all come to do the same so that she and others may share in ours. I've always advocated this, because I think it helps to bring us and keep us closer together.
This is not the first time this has happened, nor will it be the last. Hell, my own wife was the victim of online harassment a few years ago, simply because a stranger felt she didn't live up to his expectations of what a woman should look like. Needless to say, this caused her much emotional pain and stress, which ultimately resulted in my own feelings of inadequacy because of my inability to 'fix it'. Eventually we were able to get past it and move on, but the experience left us both scarred.
My own creativity seems to come with limitations. When it comes to music, I often come up with little snippets of songs that just float around in my head until I either incorporate them into someone else's song or forget them altogether. To this day I've only ever written and recorded two complete songs: one a tribute to my mother and the other a throw away comedy bit.
In addition to music, I've occasionally dabbled in writing, with little success. In my teens, I spit out pages and pages of rudimentary poetry that relied much too heavily on cadence and rhyme to feel natural. With the advent of blogging, I feel I've managed to sporadically find my voice, but even then I don't have the patience to give it work it needs to be more than just stream-of-consciousness writing.
A long time ago, I came up with a title that I just couldn't get out of my head: Macadam Advance. I don't know where it came from or how it got there, but there it remains. I have managed to flesh it out just a bit, but no further. It seems to be about a playground war between bullies and their victims, and a piece of territory under dispute known as Macadam Advance. The thing is, I don't know if it's a poem or a song or a story or even a painting. I do know that it's a Simpson's episode though, so there's that.
The relative anonymity and detachment of the internet has turned many people into playground bullies who delight in snapping girls' bra straps and pulling the wings off of flies. It seems we're in a never-ending battle to retain our privacy and dignity while still sharing our lives with our friends and family in ways that were never available before, while constantly putting ourselves at risk.
Women have it the worst. The misogyny that permeates the internet puts to shame anything we've witnessed to date. I'm still astounded that gamers would turn on their own just because of their gender. And now friends are afraid to share their photos because of what some bully may do.
It seems I don't need to write Macadam Advance. We see it every day on the internet.