Early in my retirement, my wife and I were sound asleep in our bed at 11:30 p.m., because that’s what we do. Our dear daughter came into the room needing to talk, preferably to the male parent. Oh yeah… zzz.. that’s me.
The issue is that some young woman, who I’ll call Happy, had taken a graphic from someone else’s Instagram page. The artist, who I’ll call Art, is a friend of my daughter.
Art politely asked Happy to take the piece off her page. Happy refused. As some of Art’s friends got involved in the conversation, Happy became more adamant. She suggested that Art and all of his friends should get together and cut themselves.
My daughter wanted my advice, which I suppose I should appreciate. I recommended, regarding both the artwork and the response by Happy, was to contact Instagram.
This is not the first time I’ve learned about the Sturm und Drang involving teenagers on social media. Back in the old days, if there were bullies, you and your geographically close friends knew who they were and how to avoid or confront them.
Now, there’s a network of friends and “friends” who get intricately involved in these dramas. I am utterly fascinated, baffled and more than a bit concerned how these issues can escalate.
I know this is probably unAmerican, but I have never warmed to Instagram. It seems difficult to ascertain what pictures actually belong to whom, with photos and graphics swapped about.
Huh. I went to my Instagram account, which I hadn’t used in so long that I had forgotten the password, which is not that rare. I was puzzled to note that while I had 14 followers, I have apparently never posted anything.
It’s weird because I swore that I had submitted photos of some of my ancestors. I probably will use Instagram at some point in my purported free time. But I will have expectations that the pictures will be shared.
Oh, here’s the kicker. Because I went to visit Happy’s Instagram page, she sent me an invitation to friend her on Facebook! I declined.
After January 1, any record label can issue a dubstep version of the 1923 hit ‘Yes! We Have No Bananas.’
One of my blog followers suggested this: The Room of Requirement from This American Life. The title reference is to Harry Potter.
Act 1 is In Praise of Limbo by Zoe Chace. “There is a library that’s on the border of Canada and the United States — literally on the border, with part of the library in each country.”
Act 2 is Book Fishing In America by Sean Cole. Imagine “a library where regular people can come and drop off their own unpublished books. Nothing is turned away. The books live there forever. It’s the kind of place that would never work in real life. But someone decided to try it.”
“Libraries aren’t just for books. They’re often spaces that transform into what you need them to be: a classroom, a cyber café, a place to find answers, a quiet spot to be alone. It’s actually kind of magical. This week, we have stories of people who roam the stacks and find unexpected things that just happen to be exactly what they required.”
Are you a librarian, or do you work in a library? Do you now or have you ever owned a “Secret Librarians of Fandom” button?
You NEED to listen to this week’s This American Life, “Room of Requirement,” or AT LEAST Act Three, “Growing Shelf Awareness” by Stephanie Foo. “Lydia Sigwarth spent a lot of time in her public library growing up – all day, almost every day, for six months straight.”
Seriously, if you work in a library and have 15 minutes spare right now, just click through and listen to Act Three.
“That deluge of works includes not just ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,’ by Robert Frost, which appeared first in the New Republic in 1923, but hundreds of thousands of books, musical compositions, paintings, poems, photographs, and films.
After January 1, any record label can issue a dubstep version of the 1923 hit ‘Yes! We Have No Bananas,’ any middle school can produce Theodore Pratt’s stage adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray, and any historian can publish Winston Churchill’s The World Crisis with her own extensive annotations. Any artist can create and sell a feminist response to Marcel Duchamp’s seminal Dadaist piece, The Large Glass (The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even) and any filmmaker can remake Cecil B. DeMille’s original The Ten Commandments and post it on YouTube.
Duke Law has a full list of works released in the public domain this year.
Like most people I know, I’ve been suffering occasional attacks of rage or depression. But it’s also oddly energizing sometimes. If you ever had fantasies of being a hero, well, gear up; the villains are taking the field. It feels like we’re in a trilogy, somewhere around the end of Book Two. Ancient evils have jumped out of history books and grainy newsreels, and are appearing on live TV. Their words and ideas are coming out of the mouths of our neighbors.
Who thought we’d have to deal with this in our lifetimes?
For some while now, everything that you can think to do about the situation is going to seem hopelessly inadequate. But it’s important that you do it anyway. That’s how it is at the end of Book Two.
You’re a hobbit with all of Mordor in front of you, or an Ewok facing a galactic empire. The idea that you’re going to turn things around is laughable. And a lot of the stuff that people think to do will come to nothing, just like it seems. But some of it won’t, and if anybody can say for sure which is which, I haven’t met them yet.
So anyway, today I plan to type a bunch of words onto a screen. It’s what I can think to do. You think that seems hopelessly inadequate? Tell me about it.