I am here on a noble, but unpopular, mission to defend the latest, coolest things to bash: Facebook and Jersey Shore.
I reluctantly became a member of the Facebook phenomenon about a year or two ago, dragged by my friend Gina, who is much more up on these things than I am. At first I was horrified to see all the people that I went to high school with, struggled with my posts and pictures, and generally disliked the idea of trying to make my life seem like something it's not.
But then over time, a strange thing happened: I grew to love Facebook.
I caught up with people I went to college with and loved. I saw pictures of their kids and read little bits of their everyday lives and got a sense of their routines. I became friends again with people I went to high school with. I friended people I knew from church and was able to read what they are up to during the week. I pushed the like button on various stores that I shop at. I friended my real-world friends and was able to see more pictures, hear more cute kid stories, and know what were up to today without having to pick up a phone. I have heard about struggles that I never would have known about; I have prayed for people; I have thanked people for their prayers for me. I friended two ex-boyfriends and got to see how their lives turned out.
On the days that are long, or boring, or bad, here with a one year old as my main source of company, I can go check and feel connected to a bunch of people I care about. It's an escape.
People love to bash Facebook for it's superficiality and it's ability to destroy lives or ruin reputations. And I guess those things are true: I know it's a big deal to have lots of friends, so people friend people they barely know. I know that people publish photos that in a few years they will regret. They rant or curse or are in some way inappropriate.
But for me, in my demographic (36 year old stay at home mom of three kids under 9), Facebook is a lifeline to others and a reminder that everyone else has triumphs and struggles just the same. It is an easy, fast and convenient way to keep tabs on the people I see and don't see in real life.
So please don't bash on Facebook. I'd be very sad without it.
Now, on to Jersey Shore.
I am proud to say that I am a fan of Jersey Shore, the pop culture phenomenon on MTV about a group of people living and partying on the Jersey Shore for a summer (or Miami Beach in the winter). They don't have jobs, they fall in love with each other, they try to hook up with members of the opposite sex, and they drink all the time. And they love their hot tub. People LOVE to bash Jersey Shore as the Certain Sign of the Apocalypse, the last stop before Sodom, a tribute to all that is wrong with America. And I say hogwash.
Jersey Shore is a soap opera, just as lewd and depraved and shallow as the soaps that have been on television for 50 years or more. The characters look different, but the plot line is the same.
And yes, there is a plot line. Don't think that these people aren't playing a part: the first and only REAL reality tv show was the first season of MTV's Real World, back in the 1990's, and some of the people on that show were a little, well, boring. (No romance? No addiction problems? No physical altercations? That guy Kevin was barely even FILMED.) So the producers started punching things up a bit. The characters on Jersey Shore know exactly what they are doing.
Basically, the way I see it, the cast of Jersey Shore is getting paid $30,000 PER EPISODE to hang out, go out partying, not work, and be on television, and we call THEM stupid. Yeah. They're laughing all the way to the bank.
So no, my positions are not popular. They may be very different from people of other generations. And I accept that. But to paint it all with such a broad brush and say it's all destructive... I disagree. It's escapism, pure and simple. And that's been around for a long, long time.
The defense rests.