In Which I Bitch-slap David Brooks

David Brooks, in his latest assault on everything that is good in the world (ok, maybe that's an exaggeration, but turnabout is fairplay), took a deeper look at online communties like MySpace, Friendster and facebook. I of course use the term deeper loosely.

According to Brooks, these sites provide an environment for twentysomethings—"highly mobile, half-teen/half-adult[s], looking for a life plan and in between the formal networks of school, career and family"—to flaunt their cleavage (in the case of girls) and, well, check out all of the cleavage (in the case of boys). The opinion piece, if one can call it that, catalogues all of the "smutty" content of these sites and only in the last two paragraphs attempts to provide any sort of analysis whatsoever. It then implies that such sites are the sole form of communication we even use. Doesn't he realize we have AIM, txt-mssging, and LIveJournal? I mean, duuuh.

But seriously. I find this entire article insulting. Brooks clearly suffers from that nearly inevitable affliction that causes a complete lack of understanding of people in generations younger than his. The article is yet another show of vicariously experiencing a less repressed culture than the author's own masquerading as a critique of said culture. Classic examples of similar behavior include white critiques of African-American culture and first-world anthropological writings about societies in the Global South.

Like everything else, this e-culture has its problems. It's a distraction, a waste of time, and a shit excuse for social contact. Facebook is elitist in that it's college-only or invite-only. It pisses me off when people use e-commenting as their sole form of communication. But few people actually do that, and those who do would probably be avoiding actual social situations even without the Interweb. But Brooks suggests that these sites have replaced all other forms of socializing. The only evidence he shows is the prevelance and popularity of these sites, as if their existence necessarily means the nonexistence of anything else.

Perhaps most insulting is Brooks's feeble attempt to appear the valiant defender of women's rights by calling out MySpace on the clear objectification of female [heterosexual or lesbian-as-male-turn-on—nothing in the article aknowledges that anything else exists] sexuality prevelant throughout the site. Ok, yes, such objectification is a problem—though not as widespread a one on MySpace as Brooks claims. But its existence in MySpace is a symptom of its existence in society overall, not a symptom of what makes young adults some socially stunted, emotionally uneducated, reason to fear for the future.

At least some good came of the article. I now have a text message on my phone from bsom that says, "Where did you go!!! I haven't seen you in a long time and I NEED to see you!!! Cause I love you!!!" Aw =D

1 comment:

  1. Great write -- dig it. Keep up the good work.