You may be aware that I also run a blog called Glurgewatch, aiming to collect together all those sickening images and urban legends that saturate the web.
All right – by the web, I actually mean Facebook. That seems to have become the place where the glurge gathers. An awful lot of conscience-easing takes place on Facebook: it’s a quick and lazy way of sharing trivial information about your life, and a quick and lazy way of showing that you ‘care’ about Stuff That Matters. For example, a group was set up last week (and sorry, I can’t find a link, but trust me on this) to register support for the family of a missing five-year-old, where the only rule was to give your name and current location as a gesture that you were thinking about them. At the other end of the spectrum of love, a twenty-year-old man has been jailed for being offensive, but predominantly stupid.
Upon superficial examination, the Matthew Wood thing is sickening, and the April Jones support group heartfelt and well-meant. But it’s never that simple. Matthew Wood was an eejit and I’m not about to debate the merits of free speech versus the responsibility to keep your mouth shut if what you have to say is so vehemently nasty (irrespective of whether or not he was joking, there’s a time and a place – at the same time, the support group is really just a way of generating Facebook traffic and reaching an obscene amount of comments and likes simply because you can. I don’t care what the organisers say; there is basically no merit in it whatsoever. It doesn’t find the girl. There are official groups for that, and I don’t know how far they’ve got. This is just something you can conveniently share as a status update that allows you to pay lip service for causes that you actually care about far less than who may have fixed this week’s X-Factor. The petition-signing / armchair justice-advocating / virtual candle-lighting charade has no real purpose; it merely allows us all to further harbour the delusion that there’s any kind of mass community on Facebook, when really it’s only ever been about pockets and hubs. It’s stuff for people who want to say they care without actually doing anything, which is perhaps worse than simply not caring at all.
Anyway, this clicktivism irritates the hell out of me, because I have never understood the point of plastering photos of disabled children all over my timeline in order to remind people that disabled children exist and that we shouldn’t stare at them. Nor do I comprehend why I should be emotionally blackmailed into copy-and-pasting a status about cancer / welfare / mental illness, with the implication that any refusal on my part would be taken as a sign that I didn’t care about the issue in question. You know the sort: “If you don’t post this photo of a girl with only one arm and a cleft palate, it means you kill puppies, eat babies and HAVE NO SOUL”. I have good friends who insist on wallowing in the cesspit of such inanity, and I can never figure out why, but my real gripe is with the idiots who actually start them going in the first place. I’m a fairly tolerant sort, by the standards of your average centre-left Englishman – but seriously, the people who come up with this garbage should have to shampoo my crotch.
But I’m ranting.
Anyway, I am doing my own. First of all, there was the chicken.
Then, just the other day, I did this.
And within twenty minutes of that going on my wall, Gareth had created this.
It’s the little things that count.