Social Media

Vermont Pols Think the New Yorker Is an Authority on Abortion

Operating out of the national spotlight that is focused on late-term abortion legislation around the U.S., Vermont legislators are quietly seeking to enshrine their already exceptionally broad abortion policies into state law. Unrestricted abortion is already permitted for any reason and at any stage of pregnancy in the Green Mountain State, but that hasn’t stopped [...]

Internet Censorship By Controlling Elites Will Not End Well

Like any complex functional system, human society involves distinctions, hierarchies, and lasting connections. The Internet, and electronic media generally, disrupt all that. They make everything equally present to everything else, and put all things on the same footing. Relationships become fluid, and sounds and images can be chopped up and reassembled, so that anything can [...]

Time for Some Trust Busting?

Which organizations are most likely to advance the cause of Islamic dominance? ISIS? Al Qaeda? Hezbollah? The Muslim Brotherhood? If you’ve been keeping track of world events, these are the names that will most likely come to mind. There are, however, other names to consider—organizations which at first glance seem entirely non-threatening, yet are capable [...]

Breaking the Fourth Wall on Social Media

Just a few years ago, I was arguing in the comment boxes of a gay blog called Slowly Boiled Frog, a site that had gone after me hammer and tongs for years. I joined the combox conversation under my own name. I did it for fun, to sharpen my arguments, and, strange as it may [...]

Google Is Watching You

A new documentary, The Creepy Line, suggests that Google is not living up to its primary motto: “Don’t be Evil.” Instead, it is involved in activities that should be viewed with some concern by anyone who values privacy and freedom of speech. Some facts from the film: Google tracks your location history and keeps a [...]

Taking a Cue from Big Tobacco: Big Tech Introduces the iFilter!

“I’m addicted to the Internet because it’s more interesting than people.”  ~ Dilbert The headline in the Wall Street Journal jumped out at me: “Step Away From the Phone”—as in “step away from the weapon” or “step away from the edge of the cliff.” And here’s the article’s sub-title: “To help screen addicts break the habit, [...]

Don’t Be Evil (Unless There’s Serious Money Involved)

South Africa has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons again. Under African National Congress leader Cyril Ramaphosa’s diktats, unruly mobs have been stirred up to confiscate white-owned land and even kill white property owners. Of course, the problem of racial tension in South Africa is hardly new. Dutch colonizers, known as [...]

The Internet: Blessing or Curse?

Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles Robert Barron recently gave a pair of quite interesting talks at Google and Facebook. Now approaching 30 million views, Bishop Barron’s Word on Fire is the most influential Catholic evangelization ministry online. Bishop Barron is the ideal teacher, and this for two reasons: mastery of his subject and a genuine [...]

Ireland Elects to Annihilate Its Future

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned… Almost one hundred years ago the Irish poet W.B. Yeats wrote The Second Coming. It is a strange nightmarish poem. It tells of events that are both seen [...]

Of Facebook, Transparency, and Pentecost

“Man tends by nature toward the truth” (CCC 2467). Brian Regan does a funny bit about Pop-Tarts in which he reads aloud the package directions. Yes, there are Pop-Tart directions—which is pretty much Regan’s joke in a nutshell. However, his rendition of those instructions is genius, particularly step #1: “Remove pastry from pouch.” Regan, nodding [...]

Analog Technology Takes on the Digital Juggernaut

A quickly forgotten film last year painted the portrait of a tech company that ran amok with its ambition to know and share everything. Just as we often learn a lesson through extreme examples of what can happen, The Circle, based on a 2013 novel by Dave Eggers, provided a chilling look at what a [...]

Big Brother Facebook Is Watching You

On June 27, 2017 there came an announcement that was remarked upon for all the wrong reasons. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, proclaimed to the world that the social network had 2 billion users online. Simply a sign of a successful business venture? Merely also a sign of the times in which we live? To [...]

Overcoming Our Smartphone Addiction

No artifact shapes our daily lives so much as the smartphone. Most of us are ashamed by our dependence on them, but we don’t consider tossing them out—for that seems impossible to do. Nor apparently, do many parents consider withholding them from teenagers, so necessary they seem to the new shape of social life. So [...]

The Three Books I’m Going to Read Next

"The medium is the message."  ~ Marshall McLuhan I toss that McLuhan quotation up there as if I understood what it means, but I’m no better off than the poor schlemiel in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall that receives a severe public drubbing from McLuhan himself. “You know nothing of my work,” McLuhan tells the pedantic [...]

Throwing Stones: Everyone’s Favorite Fallacy

Classical education required students, before anything else, to learn the basic building blocks of thought. In the ancient trivium, students learned grammar, logic, and rhetoric, or how language, argument, and persuasion work. As emphasis on these arts has decreased, so has our society’s capacity to think. And where thought decreases, emotion increases, so that we [...]

The Age of Noise

More than 70 years ago, the English satirist Aldous Huxley wrote that modernity is the “age of noise.” He was writing about the radio, whose noise, he said “penetrates the mind, filling it with a babel of distractions—news items, mutually irrelevant bits of information, blasts of corybantic or sentimental music, continually repeated doses of drama [...]

The Evaporation of Truth

Everyone agrees that public discussion has become divorced from reality. On the hard left people talk about capitalist propaganda, while the soft left, including most respectable journalists, complains about conspiracy theories, truthiness, fake news, and the post-truth era. At the same time, conservatives protest media omissions, distortions, falsehoods, and narratives, while the far right grabs [...]

The Problem with Facebook Mommy Groups

The days are long and lonely for millennial moms who are often living outside of Catholic community simply because there are so few of us going to Mass and even fewer having babies. In a society that claims children as the heaviest burden we 20-somethings can undertake, we ache for the companionship of other mothers with [...]

Three Doctors’ Common Antidote to Social Media

The noted psychologist and author Dr. Leonard Sax recently visited our youngest daughter’s school for a talk with parents, focused on his recent book, The Collapse of Parenting. Sax is a leading proponent of treating boys and girls differently, and educating them separately; previous titles of his are Girls on the Edge (2005), Boys Adrift [...]

Texting is for Twits

The other day I learned something startlingly new about young people. So startling, in fact, that I was quite blindsided by it. When I say young, by the way, I mean the first generation to come of age in a world surrounded by—indeed, defined by—computers. The generation, that is, of my own children. And most [...]

The #CharlieCharlieChallenge: Conjuring the Devil

“Come Holy Spirit and Fill the Hearts of Your Faithful….” Days after celebrating Pentecost, as Christians we have rekindled our devotion to the third person of the Trinity, perhaps praying once again for his presence and help. But at the same time as we call on the Holy Spirit, teens in the wider culture are [...]

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