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The Lyin’ King

From the day we arrive on Facebook
And blinking, step into the gloom
There’s more to see than can ever be seen
But most of it is crap

It’s the Circus of Life
And it moves us all
Into despair, not hope
Till we find the ignorance

These thoughts rushed to me as a parody of the Lion King lyrics when I saw today’s daily writing prompt. I think of how much time many people waste on Facebook and other social networking sites. Don’t get me wrong, they are great for keeping up with friends and family – even reconnecting with lost acquaintances. But, for some at least, Facebook has become a place to “discuss” politics, religion, and other weighty matters.

That’s silly.

I once saw a meme (Facebook is big on memes) that showed a pie chart of the percentage of people who “change their minds” on a belief after intensive discussion on Facebook. As you might have guessed, it looked like this (attribution in the meme):

Outcome of FB arguments

In short, discussions of such issues do nothing to inform anyone, they merely aggravate relationships (much like in real life). The circus doesn’t stop there, however, as it is joined by a constant flow of advertising, “sponsored” posts, the same idiotic pet video that seems to be stuck on repeat mode no matter what your views on pets or idiots may be, and a variety of other ridiculous memes flash-stolen in the pandemic of plagiarism that is Facebook.

One marvel of this circus is the lack of consideration for fact. The most egregious falsehoods are shared around as if sheer volume transforms blatant lies to profound truths. I suppose this is why serial liar, cheater, misogynist, racist, bigot Donald Trump is so popular – he epitomizes the Facebook-generation’s lack of belief that postings must actually be accurate. Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes true, right? Not that truth matters.

In a way, the circus of Facebook reflects the circus of life. There are actually people in the world who are as silly, ignorant, embarrassing, angry, obnoxious, and obsessed as they appear on Facebook. In the past we could simply not hang out with them as they drifted off into social oblivion. Now, it takes an active effort to block their presence. Not enough of us make that effort.

Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circus
The Circus of Life

David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.

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