the end is near: world peace has been suspended for a week

The headline says it all. It is this week’s sign that the apocalypse is upon us.
(Click on image to enlarge.)

World Peace Suspended for 7

World Peace Suspended for 7

World Peace is suspended the same day that Mad Cow Disease is confirmed in California. Coincidence?? Or the 1st sign of the Apocalypse??

(Either way, I’m guessing Giorgio says ALIENS!!!)

how to substitute press releases for evidence

The supposed "Jonah inscription"

The supposed "Jonah inscription"

If you can appreciate “circular reasoning,” then you’ll love this latest example of “circular citations,” a process referred to by my colleague Steve Caruso as the “Citation Two-step” or the “Feedback Fox Trot,” but what I call the “Evidentiary reach-around.”

By now, many readers have been following the sensational claims made by Simcha Jacobovici and Dr. James Tabor. The pair claim to have discovered (among other things):

  1. The “Sign of Jonah”
  2. The “earliest christian symbols ever discovered”
  3. The “first christian symbol ever found from first century CE Jerusalem”
  4. The “earliest testimony of faith in the resurrection of Jesus”
  5. The “earliest record of a teaching or saying of Jesus”
  6. An inscription calling on “YHWH to raise up”
  7. And most recently, an “Inscription bearing the name of Jonah”

(see the back cover of The Jesus Discovery for a full list of sensational claims)

Note that none of these claims have been confirmed, and just about all scholars (except those working with or for Simcha on this or another of his film projects) reject these sensational claims outright. I said as much in my live interview with CNN’s Carol Costello on “CNN Newsroom:”

However, the night before the premier of “The Resurrection Tomb Mystery,” (Simcha Jacobovici’s latest documentary on Discovery Channel), apparently not happy with their “stick man Jonah” argument, the team jettisoned that claim and Dr. James Tabor announced via his blog that a “new discovery” had been made by none other than “The Resurrection Tomb Mystery” consultant and collaborator, Dr. James Charlesworth of Princeton Theological Seminary.

And where was this great new discovery published? In a peer-reviewed journal? At a professional conference? How about on a blog? No, the revelation came via an article in the Toronto-based Globe and Mail by Michael Posner entitled, “Ancient ossuary hints at earliest reference to resurrection of Jesus.” In the article, Dr. Charlesworth is quoted as follows:

Most likely,” says Princeton Theological Seminary scholar James Charlesworth, director of a project on the Dead Sea Scrolls, “we may comprehend the inscription as reading ‘Jonah.’ And I have no doubt it is a fish.”

If Prof. Charlesworth is right, then a consensus may form that the ossuary depicts Jonah being vomited out of the mouth of the fish” (italics mine)

Again, Dr. Charlesworth has yet to publish anything on the supposed “inscription.” There has certainly been no announcement on the two places we would expect to find announcements of this magnitude: the Princeton Theological Seminary website and Dr. Charlesworth’s Foundation on Judaism and Christian Origins. Yet in both places there is nothing. Nothing has been published by Dr. Charlesworth as of yet (although he is said to be presently working on something for publication regarding this inscription.)

And yet, that does not stop the press machine from grinding away.

Dr. Tabor next sends an article to Bible and Interpretation, where it is published citing only a single source: the Globe and Mail article by Toronto’s Michael Posner. Again, not a single shred of evidence or scholarly consensus has been cited other than the claims of Dr. Charlesworth as reported by Dr. Tabor on his blog, by Dr. Tabor on Bible and Interpretation, and by the single article in the Globe and Mail.

In the mean time, the press office at then University of North Carolina, Charlotte issues a press release which parrots the claim of the “discovery” of the “inscription.” Nowhere in the press release is any source cited; the press release quotes only Dr. Tabor, and parrots the announcement that Dr. Charlesworth has made a momentous “discovery.”

And for good reason: Dr. Charlesworth has not yet published anything on the subject. But because the press release is coming from UNC Charlotte to promote its professor and his claimed discovery, the press release is issued without citing anything other than conversations with Drs. Tabor and Charlesworth. And this is all well and good. The UNC Charlotte public relations office is doing its job: announcing the claims of its faculty.

All is well and good.

However, once the press release is issued, it is immediately picked up by science news aggregate website Phys.org. That Phys.org got the story directly from the UNC Charlotte press machine is made fully evident in the last line of this article, which reads:

“Provided by University of North Carolina at Charlotte.”

This means that this “story” was the same written and released by the press office of Dr. Tabor’s home university, The University of North Carolina, Charlotte. What’s more, far from mentioning the overwhelming scholarly rejection of these sensational claims, the press release reads:

“So far, Israeli epigrapher Robert Deutsch has confirmed Charlesworth’s reading of YONAH and Haggai Misgav of Hebrew University says there are definitely letters there although he reads them as ZOLAH rather than YONAH.”

The article does NOT mention the list of epigraphers (see Antonio Lombatti’s list) who reject outright that an inscription even exists, much less says what Drs. Tabor and Charlesworth say it says. Then again, as this press release was composed by UNC Charlotte to promote UNC Charlotte Professor, Dr. James Tabor, we should not expect a hint of objectivity in the press release. Rather, we should expect only Dr. Tabor’s claims and spin to support the claims.

But that does not stop the press machine.

Another Science news aggregator Eurekalert, picks up and parrots the Phys.org story, and even uses the same headline: “Hebrew inscription appears to confirm ‘sign of Jonah’ and Christian reference on ancient artifact.”

Appears to confirm??” Again, no evidence has been cited, and Dr. Charlesworth still has not published a single word on the matter. But now, despite the overwhelming opposition to the sensational claims, they are apparently “confirmed”??

Meanwhile, science news website LiveScience staff writer, Jennifer Welsh picks up the UNC Charlotte press release that has been parroted by Phys.org and Eurekalert, and publishes her own story entitled, “Ancient ‘Bone Box’ Called Oldest Christian Artifact.”

What?? Despite the fact that the article is largely rehash of the UNC Charlotte press release and now includes graphics taken from Dr. Tabor’s blog, somehow the claims is now “called the oldest Christian Artifact“??

Remember, to this point, the UNC Charlotte press release has been picked up and parroted by three news aggregators, with each one altering the title to make the claim a bit more substantiated, despite the fact that Dr. Charlesworth has still not published a word on the matter and the only source for all of these claims is the same author, Dr. James Tabor, who is selling a book making the claims, and who has utilized the UNC Charlotte press office to promote his claims.

And the press machine grinds on.

Finally, this afternoon, MSNBC re-published the LiveScience article by Jennifer Welsh as its own, this time altering the title to read, “Ossuary confirmed as oldest Christian artifact.”

WHAT???

Did you see that? CONFIRMED!?? While Dr. Charlesworth has still not published a single word on the supposed “inscription” – an inscription mind you that multiple epigraphers and scholars have rejected altogether as an inscription, much less one that reads “Jonah” – the UNC Charlotte press release, which was issued to promote the findings of Dr. Tabor as published in his new book, The Jesus Discovery, has gone from the Globe and Mail‘s headline of “Ancient ossuary hints at earliest reference to resurrection of Jesus,” to MSBNC’s headline of “Ossuary confirmed as oldest Christian artifact.”

!!!!!!!
(I shake my head.)

And nothing has changed. Not a single thing. Nothing has been published in support of the claim that has not originated from Dr.  Tabor and UNC Charlotte. Meanwhile, a host of scholars including myself have published rejections of all of these claims. And yet, there it is: Ossuary confirmed as oldest Christian artifact, all within 24 hours and without a shred of evidence or scholarly support.

Un-believable!

Just to sum up:

  1. Dr. Charlesworth’s has yet to publish anything on a supposed “Jonah inscription.”
  2. Toronto’s Globe and Mail reports that Dr. Charlesworth has found something.
  3. Dr. Tabor cites the Globe and Mail article as “breaking news” on his blog.
  4. Dr. Tabor’s  university public relations office at UNC Charlotte issues a press release announcing the “discovery” of the inscription by Charlesworth in support the claims made in Dr. Tabor’s book.
  5. Phys.org and Eurekalert pick up the UNC Charlotte press release that “confirms” the discovery.
  6. A LiveScience staff writer re-writes the Phys.org and Eurekalert stories (which were based upon the press release), altering the title.
  7. MSNBC republishes the LiveScience story with the headline: “Ossuary confirmed as oldest Christian artifact.”

And nothing has changed. Not a shred of evidence has been presented outside of Dr. Tabor’s initial claims about Dr. Charlesworth’s apparent “discovery.’ No publications. No other citations. And yet, despite the chorus of scholarly rejections, the claim is “confirmed” in the press. The same story gets republished and republished, with the headline becoming more and more certain with each regurgitation.

And that, my friends, is what scholars call the “evidentiary end run.”

And that’s how you replace evidence and scholarly consensus with a press release.

david platt on why his church rebelled against the american dream

David Platt, Ph.D., is the author of the New York Times bestseller "Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream" and is senior pastor of the 4,000-member Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama.

David Platt, Ph.D., is the author of the New York Times bestseller "Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream" and is senior pastor of the 4,000-member Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama.

Dr. David Platt has written an excellent piece on Time‘s Belief Blog entitled, “Why My Church Rebelled against the American Dream.” In it, Dr. Platt describes how and why his church (the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama) gave away its entire surplus fund ($500,000!) through partnerships with churches in India, trimmed another $1.5 million from its budget and used the savings to build wells, improve education, provide medical care and share the gospel in impoverished places around the world, and why hundreds of church members have gone overseas temporarily and/or permanently to serve in such places.

Christianity is not first about doctrine or dogma, it is about service (specifically, social justice). Until we get the service part down, our doctrine is worthless.

HT: Rich Little

35 years ago and the legend lives on (from the chippewa on down…)

One of the greatest memorial ballads ever written preserves the legend of the Edmund Fitzgerald. 35 years ago Wednesday, the boat about which Gordon Lightfoot sang  sank in Lake Superior, November 10, 1975. Lightfoot’s song, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (lyrics), was a staple around my house. So to those sailors who lost their lives 35 years ago, including David E. Weiss of my current home, Agoura, California, rest in peace.

Read Jim Kavanaugh’s excellent article at CNN.com.

Listen to radio chatter from the night of the wreck (from the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum).

olbermann suspended indefinitely from msnbc – how long until he runs for office?

Keith Olbermannmsnbc’s keith olbermann has been indefinitely suspended without pay for making contributions to democrats.

cnn is reporting:

Keith Olbermann, MSNBC’s primetime firebrand host, has been suspended indefinitely for violating the ethics policies of his employer earlier this year when he donated to three Democrats seeking federal office, MSNBC announced Friday.

“I became aware of Keith’s political contributions late last night. Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay,” MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a statement.

i like olbermann (and not just because he was a sportscenter anchor). he’s wicked smart, clever, and sharp witted. he’s on air persona is over the top, but that’s because he’s attempting to balance to fox’s o’reilly and hannity. it was foolish, however, to let him do the election coverage. while cnn and fox did their best to make attempts at impartiality, msnbc attempted a bizarro world version of fox news’ pundit shows. it works for the ratings, but not on election night.

maybe fox news will offer him a contract like they did juan williams. it would make great publicity for fox news and would be a brilliant move on murdoch’s part.

the problem for olbermann and msnbc is not just the donations, which will cause some to cry conflict on interest although olbermann makes no attempt to disguise his liberal leanings on air just like fox news’ sean hannity makes no attempt to disguise leanings in the other direction. the problem is that olbermann railed against fox news’ donations to the republican governor’s association, which now appears hypocritical.

my only question is: how long until olberman runs for office? where does he live? i will say this for olbermann: it’s the quickest way out of his msnbc contract. in that regard, it’s a brilliant move if he wants to make the jump to politics (running, not commentating).

Wikipedia wants the seal even without the FBI’s seal of approval

FBI Seal

FBI Seal

Wikipedia wants the seal, but could care less about the FBI’s seal of approval.

A fight has broken out over whether Wikipedia can display the FBI’s official seal on its online encyclopedia. The FBI has said “no way,” and has written Wikipedia asking it to remove the seal. Wikipedia responded with a “no” of their own, and appears ready to fight the matter in court.

The FBI’s deputy general counsel, David Larson, cities a particular law that says duplicating an official “insignia” is illegal without permission.

But Wikipedia strikes back on that point, saying the FBI redacted the most important part of that U.S. code, which defines an insignia as “any badge, identification card, or other insignia.”

“Badges and identification cards are physical manifestations that may be used by a possessor to invoke the authority of the federal government. An encyclopedia article is not,” Wikipedia’s letter says. “The use of the image on Wikipedia is not for the purpose of deception or falsely to represent anyone as an agent of the federal government.”

I’m with Wikipedia on this one. This is a no-win situation for the FBI. The FBI (or at least its legal department or its publicist) has violated rule number one: don’t protest a disagreement that no one knows about. In fact, they violated another rule: never argue with someone who buys ink by the barrel (especially when that “someone” uses digital ink and is comprised of an army of people looking for a reason to stand up for free speech).

Wikipedia’s legal arguments will win out, and the FBI will have to go all, well… go all “FBI” on Wikipedia if they want to pressure Wikipedia on this matter, which will only make them look worse.

I predict that the FBI will either back down, or will look for some agreement so they can save face. The FBI logo will stay on Wikipedia’s FBI page.

Until then, here’s my gesture of solidarity.

news sites beginning to prohibit anonymous comments

Anonymous Speechit was only a matter of time.

the claims by some that certain forms of speech including slander/libel, defamation, and forgery are protected under the first amendment simply because they are spoken or written anonymously is coming to an end. according to an article by stephanie goldberg on cnn.com:

Like those bathroom-stall messages, online comments on news stories can be difficult to police. For years, many publications have tried to strike a balance between encouraging open communication among readers and maintaining civil discourse. But a few sites, fed up with rude or inflammatory comments, are taking bold new steps to raise the level of dialogue.

i applaud these news sites that are attempting to engage their readers in a responsible manner. while it is certainly possible to fake a name, an email, and even a credit card, these websites are taking positive steps toward ensuring that the comments offered in response to online articles are, in fact, not hateful, libelous, or a part of a greater campaign of defamation. (besides, even fake email addresses can be tracked back to a single ip address ;-)

news websites are beginning to realize that the continued tolerance of anonymous comments, especially those that make unsubstantiated claims, contain hate speech, or are designed to defame others actually undermine the website’s credibility over the long term. the credibility of news websites that allow unbridled anonymous talk slowly comes to resemble the bathroom stall and not the reliable news source they seek to be. and just like journalism that reports on whispers and rumors, for every significant scoop that unveils a conspiracy or exposes a crime, there are hundreds of sites that do little more than spread gossip and make claims that smear others.

while it is true that anonymous speech allows some to say things that would otherwise go unsaid, credibility over the long term resides in the consistent verifiability of a story’s source. and when an anonymous source is shown to be involved in a systematic campaign of media manipulation for the purposes of discrediting a perceived rival, then we have moved from a realm of protected speech to the basic elements of slander/libel and defamation on the civil side, and in some cases, forgery, identity theft, and criminal impersonation on the criminal side.

a site is only as good as its sources. put your name on what you write. use your own name, write responsibly, and don’t cite rumors and whispers. don’t make sensational claims, and never attempt to use any form of protected speech to commit crime – it always backfires.

and oh yeah, i almost forgot: there is no such thing as anonymity on the internet!!!

on the prophetic nature of board games: bp offshore oil strike

you simply won’t believe this.

BP Offshore Oil Strikefor those of you who roll your eyes at ‘prophecy’ and divine manifestations in ordinary occurrences like images of the virgin mary in water stains and jesus cheetos, here’s one that is sure to make you laugh (or cry… or hate the 70’s… or hate the fact that we’re still repeating the mistakes of the 70’s despite our technological advances):

in the 1970’s, bp teamed up with a game company named printabox to create this foreboding game: bp offshore oil strike.

npr and cnn have reported on the prescient playtime masterpiece, where players learn the risks and rewards of searching for oil in the ocean. geek system has a complete description of the game.

simply ironic prophetic i told you so we knew better unbelievable.

(ht: peter lanfer)

maybe sharia law isn’t so bad: iran bans the mullet

Iran's authorized hairstylesAccording to CNN,

The Islamic regime, which strictly enforces head coverings for women, issued grooming guidelines for the guys this week.

And mullets didn’t make the cut.

Apparently, the favorite haircut of Billy Ray Cyrus circa 1992 is not allowed under Iran’s Sharia law. In fact, an entire host of famous mullets would be subject to disciplinary action. Iran even issued examples of suggested haircuts for today’s youth just to make thing easier.

When you think about it, Sharia law has at least one positive benefit. Too bad my high school didn’t enact similar grooming regulations in 1991. ;-)
The Mullet(ht: king lowry)

what kind of facebooker are you? or, how (and how not) to facebook

The Facebook page of Dr. Robert R. Cargill

The Facebook page of Dr. Robert R. Cargill

what kind of facebooker are you? how do you use facebook? what kind of facebooker annoys you the most? these are the questions addressed by a new cnn article by brandon griggs entitled, ‘the 12 most annoying types of facebookers.’

i’ve been on facebook since early in 2005, when a couple of my pepperdine students, amy rogg and austin maness, turned me on to the social networking service. from the very beginning, i used facebook to reach out to students and to learn their names and faces. as an instructional tool, i felt it allowed me to reach students where they are and on their terms. i would create a facebook group for each course i taught, and would ask them to join it. i left hints about when a pop quiz ‘might’ take place or what ‘might’ be on the exam as an incentive to join the group. they found that they could ask me questions about the course materials and message one another. some used the facebook group to organize study groups. at the end of the first week, i knew all of their names, and they all knew each other. of course, at times, i learned a bit too much about them (like how hung over they were or who made out with whom), but it was a way to get the class to engage a required course they might otherwise not enjoy.

according to griggs, the types of facebookers are as follows:

  1. the let-me-tell-you-every-detail-of-my-day bore
  2. the self-promoter
  3. the friend-padder
  4. the town crier
  5. the tmi-er
  6. the bad grammarian
  7. the sympathy-baiter
  8. the lurker
  9. the crank
  10. the paparazzo
  11. the maddening obscurist
  12. the chronic inviter
Dr. Robert Cargill's office workstation at UCLA's Center for Digital Humanities

Dr. Robert Cargill's office workstation at UCLA's Center for Digital Humanities

i’d like to offer a bit of commentary on each of the 12 types of facebookers:

what i am:

#2 – ‘the self-promoter’ – as one who uses my blog to write more developed thoughts on the issues of the day, and who then cross-links my blog with twitterfeed to update my twitter, which in turn is linked to update my facebook automatically, all of which is meta tagged to maximize google alerts and placement in search rankings, i must concede that i am a ‘self-promoter.’ (the fact that my facebook feeds this very article is evidence of this designation.)

#3 – ‘the friend-padder’ – as an early adopter who encouraged students from pepperdine, azusa pacific, portland state, and ucla to join the facebook groups i created for each of my classes, and as one who uses facebook as an alumni tool for friends from madera and bullard high school, fresno city collegefresno state, pepperdine, and ucla, i somehow have amassed well over 1000 facebook friends. with the addition of my asor, sbl, and professional colleagues that use facebook, coupled with the folks that add me because they saw me on history or discovery channel, i fit the definition of a ‘friend-padder.’

#4 – ‘the town crier’ – as one who posts just about every story i find interesting or funny on fb, i am definitely a version of a ‘town crier.’ i like to give my friends something fun or interesting to read or watch on my page, and i love the random banter and feedback each of the stories generate. but i don’t report everything, especially celebrity gossip. (i leave that to tmzperez, and philip defranco.) i report on politics, religion, and absurdities. pick something you know about and become the go-to place for info on those topics.

#11 – ‘the maddening obscurist’ – i admit it: i do this. that is because i find communication to an individual through communication to the general public a fascinating literary phenomenon. it’s like a double entendre (of which i am also a fan), but without the sex (of which i… never mind). if done properly, maddening obscurity is literally saying two things at once. i prefer to call it ‘intentional ambiguity.’ disney does it all the time; they write jokes that kids get on one level, but that mean something entirely different to the parents watching at the same time. just about every status update i leave has two intended audiences and two intended interpretations, because why waste words? (especially in a twitter environment where one only gets 140 characters!) say two things at once! tell the public one thing while you tell that certain someone exactly how you feel (because you know she’s watching ;-). but avoid the obvious; don’t post something like, ‘a certain someone needs to back off,’ because that’s transparent and petty. instead, post a status that reads more like, ‘time to make like a shepherd and get the flock out of here.’ is it about me, or about him? answer: it’s intentionally ambiguous, preserving plausible deniability (but trust me, he knows).

what i am not:

#1 – ‘the let-me-tell-you-every-detail-of-my-day bore’ – this is essentially twitter, and twitter is facebook without the functionality. to be quite honest, i don’t really care what you’re doing at this very moment unless it is clever, hilarious, or monumental. i don’t care that you’re sitting in your office. i don’t care what you had for lunch. i don’t care that you’re ‘working on my latest book.’ (finishing it would impress me more.) i want something that makes me think, makes me laugh, or compels me to comment. make me respond, ‘well played,’ or, ‘touché.’ in turn, i’ll spare you the lesser details of my life.

#5 – ‘the tmi-er’ – on the heels of #1, i don’t want graphic details of your emotional state or what came out in your turds (unless it is monumental, in which case, see my comments on #1). just as i don’t want you to bore me with mindless blather, neither do i want to hear the excruciating details of your day. i can’t even make it through those sappy inspirational emails that get sent around as spam. (sorry mom!) tmi-ers are essentially spammers on facebook, and they should go the way of all flesh immediately.

#6 – ‘the bad grammarian’ – i am not a poor grammarian, as i prefer to portray a sense of intentionally exaggerated erudition when i write. however, i usually forgive spelling mistakes in rapid-fire exchanges, comments on facebook, or obvious spelling errors. what i do reserve the right to tease about are the misuses of idioms, grammar, and errors with homonyms, all of which betray a sense of ignorance and a lack of education that does not convey a sense of credibility when arguing a position on facebook. nothing is more embarrassing than arguing to me how government-run health care is a ‘nazzi’ initiative. check your spelling before you hit ‘share.’ it is better to spell properly and have people think you’re an idiot than to misspell and remove all doubt.

what i hate:

#7 – ‘the sympathy baiter’ – no, no, no! just stop it! i do not come to facebook to be a counselor and i am not a mercy magnet. i certainly do not want my facebook experience to become a chore. this should be a fun place, so please do not play the ‘woe-is-me’ card. if you do, be prepared for silence. if you want to reach out for real sympathy, do so with a private message.

#8 – ‘the lurker’ – voyeurs, peeping toms, and unwanted stalkers are the reason god created friends lists and privacy restrictions (well, mark zuckerberg at least). granted, there will always be folks looking at your page that you don’t necessarily want looking (especially when you don’t want to hurt their feelings by un-friending or blocking them). but, facebook will never offer stats on who’s watching whom, because that would creep everyone out and everyone would stop using facebook. (if sally knew that tommy was checking out all 700 of her photos, either sally would be creeped or tommy would be embarrassed, and either one or both would leave. facebook doesn’t want that, so don’t expect stats like you have on your blog ever!) don’t be creepy and don’t obsess. there are plenty of other boys and girls just as narcissistic self-obsessed as the one you’re stalking for you to visit hourly.

#8a – ‘the inappropriate poster’ – here is a bonus category not found on the cnn article. beyond the lurkers are the ‘inappropriate posters,’ who write posts on your wall that you find yourself deleting immediately afterward. some people are just vulgar or rude. but other ‘inappropriate posters’ do far worse in a seemingly innocent way. ‘inappropriate posters’ are the reason you use facebook mobile: so you can delete the post from that girl you hooked up with that one night before that other girl you’re interested in reads it. in fact, ‘inappropriate posters’ are the reason you can now turn off your facebook wall.

#9 – ‘the crank’ – i don’t like being around cranky people in real life. why would i want to be anywhere near them online? unless you are being hyperbolic, or using crankiness to make a ranting point (which had better be clever or hilarious like lewis black), don’t be cranky. like desperation, people can smell crankiness a mile away, and folks tend to avoid it.

#10 – ‘the paprazzo’ – this is a fundamental no-no. one must *think* before one posts a photo (especially if one tags it, making it visible on the tagged person’s wall). never post illegal activity. never post pix of you kissing anybody(!) unless you are married and never getting divorced. for one, next week when she dumps you, all of the girls who may have been potentially interested in you will have that kiss image in their minds and will despise you. likewise, don’t rub it in. so your boyfriend is hott. ladies, nothing makes other girls hate you more than when you paper your walls with pictures of you kissing biff hunko. save the dda (digital displays of affection) for another day. besides, if you two could *really* make a hott and sexy photo, it should be too hott for facebook, right? there is nothing more provocative than an album full of photos where two cute folks that are just smiling and looking at the camera as if to say, ‘these are the only pictures we can put online ;-). you go ahead and post your little online kissy-face pictures. our relationship is so hott, it’s ‘offline hott.’ so all you get to see are these teasers of us smirking in front of the beach where we later… [brown chicken brown cow].’

#10a – ‘the picture commenter’ – this is another bonus category. please, for the love of all that is holy and digital, don’t comment on the lovey-dovey photos of folks that aren’t you unless you are saying something to the effect of ‘omg u2 r sooo cute!!’ commenting anything other than something positive on another’s photo of affection is nothing more than pissing on a wall to mark your territory. don’t do it – you look pathetic and desperate, and reveal to others how pathetic and desperate you really are. if you really want to make a point, post a picture of you kissing his boyfriend. don’t comment on their picture unless you have something nice to say.

#12 – ‘the chronic inviter’ – this particular facebooker is so annoying, i have a disclaimer on my facebook page that says i never add group invitations, new apps, or events, just so i can point to it when they write me to complain and ask why i didn’t join. i will add just about anyone (even if they do go straight into my limited  ‘acquaintances’ list that can only read my notes, my wall, and see a few pix of me doing benign things), but just because i don’t join your ‘dog rescue’ advocacy group doesn’t mean that i eat puppies for dinner. i don’t add things that take up space on my already overly-full profile. invite people as friends. if they don’t add you, wait a few months. if they reject you again, stop pestering them. if you use facebook to sell things, raise money from strangers, or ask people to join some group because you believe if 100,000 people join, some nun in india will give free computers to children with no electricity, you are delusional and warrant an immediate, naturally-selective extinction.

be smart:

remember, be a smart facebooker. be clever. be entertaining. i appreciate good humor, sincere praise, a well-argued point (even if i disagree), along with both hyperbole and satire (like stephen colbert‘s ‘the word’ or jim west). i’m not a fan of cynicism. (most cynical people don’t realize it’s a literary genre, they’re just nagging.) i do not like partisanship, intolerant hate speech, or anonymous critics; they are a bunch of cowards who sometimes end up under arrest. show me something i haven’t seen before like artsy pong you can play with your cell phone, or the most recent offering from fail blog, or anything by marina orlova (that’s right, the ‘hot for words‘ girl), or something really rare, like something culturally profound out of fresno. (it’s my hometown, so i can tease.) learn to be a good facebooker and you’ll enjoy the experience more than ever before. and who knows, if you’re clever and funny enough, maybe she’ll finally agree to go out with you.

robert cargill

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