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If social media is so smart why does it unmask many as idiots?
letter to editor
Social media is not making us smart nor is it making us dumb. It is making many of us look like idiots.
First we have Starbucks groveling in the wake of a social media firestorm by offering its 8,000 plus stores in the United States as basically day centers for the homeless — including five in Manteca.
Then we have Roseanne Barr proving the theory that having money and fame doesn’t buy class, common sense, or self-control.
Not wanting to pile on to Barr, but I stopped being a fan since the day she kept scratching herself while singing the National Anthem at the San Diego Padres game.
What the last week has proved are two things: Tweeters make dodo birds seem smart and entertainment corporations will do anything for money.
First, consider the world ABC and other entertainment firms operate within. They knew Barr’s Tweets weren’t simply loose cannons but the equivalent of Mr. Magoo behind the wheel of the subsidized killing machines Elon Musk hawks under the brand of Tesla.
They knew that before they resurrected her show. They knew that during the just completed season. They knew sooner or later she’d cross the line. So why did they indulge her? One word: Money.
Try to figure out the standard for what goes today as acceptable in the entertainment world. Look at what left leaning sports commentators are Tweeting. Consider what a lot of people in power obviously knew given how they rushed on board the #MeToo ship when the secrets they kept about Harvey Weinstein were no longer secrets.
It’s nice that Laff cable TV is pulling Barr’s old shows — for now. But carry the logic out to the ultimate conclusion. If one of the dogs that had the starring role in “Lassie” was found to have nipped the heels of a kid do we yank all traces of “Lassie” from cable TV?
I get there is a time and place for everything — something that obviously escapes  Twitters such as Barr and others that have trigger fingers running about 10 miles or so in front of their brain. My favorite comedian for years was Rodney Dangerfield. Then I had a chance to see him perform in a Reno casino. I was stunned. You could have emptied Dove Soap’s warehouses trying to clean out Dangerfield’s mouth during the show and he still would have made the entire 9th Fleet blush. Dangerfield had presence of mind to know his audience of which as a non-drinker and apparently somewhat uptight guy I wasn’t a fit that night. After that I still watched his “other” cleaner shows although my view of him as a comic was reduced thanks to his vulgarity in Reno. Most people my age probably still think of Dangerfield as a fairly clean comic. But then again there weren’t smartphones around to record his lounge performances.
That said Barr and others left and right that can’t resist giving the world their “raw” insights instantaneously via social media, Twitter, and YouTube — stuff that’s supposed of help us work and communicate smarter but has the uncanny ability to unmask how big of an idiot we are. What else can we be but idiots it after the 100,000th person loses their job or is arrested for a crime they committed because they couldn’t resist letting the world know how smart they are in 144 characters or less or else live stream their lives including while committing criminal acts we keep doing it over and over again.
There was a time when comedians — regardless of what side of the political spectrum they fell on — would test their jokes out in private or at least indulge in a bit of self-discipline via contemplation and rewrite.
Now whatever pops into their heads — tasteless comments on a person’s appearance mixed with what is billed as a racial “joke” to creating “art” by depicting Trump’s head having been captivated — is sent out instantly via social media.
If that is being connected the world was much brighter when we were less enlightened.
The sad state of civil discourse by celebrities, mind you, has brought us to the point that they’re actually defending calling Trump an orangutan because it is not as offensive as connecting another primate to others given racial overtones.
It is clear what Barr tweeted is absolutely unacceptable. But there’s a lot being bounced around social media from celebrities of all political persuasions that comes awful close to matching the vulgarity of Barr’s “joke”
The other bad thing about social media is the rush to pile on based on a first Tweet or video posting without any pause to try to determine exactly what is going on. Equally as bad is the mad rush to quell the uproar by coming up with an appropriate grovel that appeases those blowing up social media.
Starbucks’ grovel of declaring their stores are now the retail equivalent of public squares complete with public restrooms where everyone is a citizen and not a customer effectively opened the door for the coffee chain to become de facto day centers, cooling centers, and warming centers for the homeless. That, of course, produced another uproar but from a different corner.

 It kind of makes you yearn for the days when one finger could invoke outrage instead of people’s digits acting as the equivalent of machine gun fire being pumped into the virtual public square.