Weekly Reckoning: God Pities Phelps Edition

weekly-reckoning1. FRED PHELPS ABOUT TO DISCOVER WHAT GOD HATES Fred Phelps, notorious (former) leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, is dying in a hospice in Topeka. According to his son Nathan, who now works with LGBTQ organizations, Phelps was excommunicated from the church in 2013. Now he’s dying alone, without family or the organization he once led.

2. LET’S GET DRUNK IN A HOUSE HAUNTED BY GUILT The Winchester Mystery House, a crazy California mansion built expressly to confound ghosts, is now open for overnight . Sarah Winchester built the 6-acre, 160-room maze of false doors and staircases in order to confuse the spirits of people killed by Winchester guns. And now you can hang there! And get loaded! Truly we live in an age of wonders.

3. AND TAKE SOME DEAD SOLDIERS’ DIARIES FOR READING MATERIAL You may recall from last week’s Reckoning that 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the Great War. To commemorate the occasion, the UK National Archive and Imperial War Museum released the diaries of nearly 4,000 soldiers.

4. ANOTHER CREEP BRAVELY SORT OF DENIES HIS CREEPHOOD The predatory and altogether horrible photographer Terry Richardson, noted for his porny photos of celebrities and hilarious hijinks like ejaculating on his models, has taken a stand against the young women who’ve called him out on his behaviour. Good for you, Terry. Don’t let the haters who know the difference between provocative portraiture and masturbating on your subjects get you down.

5. THE FAILURE OF FACEBOOK “Facebook gets worse the more you use it.” And in one sentence, the author nails the intractable problem with Facebook: that it becomes spammier and less useful as you continue to use it, and that it’s not a bug but an inherent property of the service. I feel that you can get a decent Facebook experience if you manage it carefully, but the piece describes something about the network that I’ve been trying to formulate for a while.

Author: Aidan Morgan

Aidan is a very serious man who's saving up for a nice dignified pipe. Then we'll see who's laughing.

19 thoughts on “Weekly Reckoning: God Pities Phelps Edition”

  1. (4) If you put minimal personal info on Facebook, limit your friends, and measure out your “likes” with a coffee spoon, you can still have a good experience. Methinks the writer of the article didn’t follow those rules, and is now blaming FB for his own carelessness.

  2. For the over-30 demograph, Facebook didn’t just make mom jeans & the minivan ‘okay’ it made them mandatory, metamorphosically-speaking. As for Barb’s sage advice, “Don’t use Facebook for anything other than to keep in touch with your grandchildren,” not sure if that’s on for most 20-sumths.

  3. Barb – Yes, if you manage Facebook in that manner, then it’s going to be a manageable experience. But I think you’re overlooking the point of the article, which is that Facebook is designed for maximum sharing and many connections, which ends up being the very thing that degrades your experience.

    To put it another way: if you use Facebook as intended, it doesn’t work very well, and there’s no getting around that unless you severely limit your use. It’s like buying a car that breaks down all the time, but you can’t fix it, you can’t replace it, and the only way to keep it running in a satisfactory manner is almost never to use it. Mind you, in this scenario the car is free, so I guess you get what you pay for.

  4. Talbot: my advice was for all ages, but if you want to be obtuse, that’s your choice.

    Aidan: I didn’t miss the point; I refused to accept the premise that you have to use the medium as it was intended.

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  6. A good week for creeps and creepy things.

    I feel the same about Facebook. The only thing keeping me there now is Buck 65—his stories and weekend music playlists are wonderful.

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  8. In case anyone was wondering, those two spammy-looking comments appear to be genuine spam, which is hilarious given that Aidan was talking about bad, spammy experiences. Don’t know how they got through the filter, but I’ll let ’em live — though I neutralized the links in the nicknames.

  9. 2. “here’s what the article says about that :”…. Thanks Aidan, that was some interesting reading…

  10. I have a decent facebook experience, because I use adblockers, create “whitelists” of people who can see things I put up, and uncheck all of the trillion checkboxes they have in the preferences that say “notify me about….” Yes, you can have a good facebook experience, but you really have to go out of your way to tweak things away from what the defaults are…. and none of this is intuitive. Most people don’t care to, or want to, do such things, or even know that these things are available to them.

  11. Well put, Alvin P.

    Taking part in social media is a bit like having a credit card: you need to determine why you should do it, what your ground rules will be for use, and how you will be accountable.

  12. Re: Facebook — I think there’s a Japanese word for this: An object that, in performing its function, renders itself useless.

    Or maybe the word was made up.

    Anyway, I vaguely remember a photo essay from 10 years ago in Make Magazine (I think it was Make) that explored this concept. Artists made all these devices that couldn’t work.

    The only one I can remember was a toilet seat with a plunger through it. You could clear the toilet with the plunger but because of how the plunger was installed you couldn’t lift the seat and use the toilet and thus it would never get clogged.

    That’s what Facebook is.

  13. Paul: not altogether useless. We’ve gotten a number of catch basins opened because of Facebook users. And, if I may point it out, PD maintains a FB site, as do a number of organizations dear to its and your heart. (Do I really have to name names?

    At base, I think that the cool kids are irritated at having to share social media with the hoi polloi.

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