Greenbean and Twitter: Is It Ridiculous Or Is It News?

I haven’t done this kind of thing in a while, and it is Friday, and I am *gasp* caught up for the first time since November of 2019, so why not.

I’m taking the ‘trending’ line on my Twitter feed this morning (28 August 2020) and making comments — one or two sentences at most.

  1. Rand Paul — Apparently he got lost leaving the Republican convention last night. They are saying he was attacked, but as I look at the video, it seems like it is just people gathering around taking cellphone video of a famous person who apparently turned right when he should have gone left.
  2. Friday thoughts — My Friday thought is I am glad there were bananas this morning to go with my Corn Flakes.
  3. No Ceilings — I think this is a musical reference, but seems like something pilots say.
  4. #IStandWith JKRowling — I know this one. It is about her opposition to trans-people. I’m against no one and want everyone to be free, but I understand her point of view. To be honest, I am surprised more feminists haven’t come out along the same lines as her because transgendered men, though they have rights and should be protected under the law, have not had the same experiences as those who were born female.
  5. Jim Gaffigan — 2020. Broke. Gaffigan. He was cursing on his timeline about politics, and then his wife scolded him on his Twitter timeline for cursing on his Twitter timeline. #familytime.
  6. #FridayFeeling — Friday’s always feel a little mushy to me.
  7. #FridayMotivation — Isn’t Friday its own motivation?
  8. Fridaymorning — See 2, 6, and 7.
  9. I Have A Dream — I often wonder if things wouldn’t be so much better if we had Martin Luther King here with us to speak with moral clarity but also with wisdom.
  10. Emmett Till — A name every black person knows and far too few white people do. His death was sixty-five years ago today. Some things have changed since then, but not enough. Rest In Peace, Emmett.
  11. Bella Thorne — Is this a new adult beverage from Europe? Flavor of Jolly Rancher?
  12. Attacked — I feel attacked whenever Starbucks doesn’t have cream cheese for my bagel.
  13. Captain America — Not what I thought. By the way, I am on Team Tony Stark. But apparently someone threw a ‘shield’ during a protest and hit a police officer in the back of the neck causing injury. The bad people of Twitter seem happy about this, but the good people of Twitter recognize that is awful and uncalled for and whoever did that should be prosecuted.
  14. Apple Music — I remember when iTunes was awesome. That seems like a long time ago.
  15. Good Friday — If you click on this expecting the Stations of the Cross, you’ll be disappointed.
  16. Game Day — I am not certain playing football this fall is a good idea. You can’t ignore a pandemic away.
  17. Anderson Cooper — Macaulay Culkin.
  18. Chelsea Clinton — Trending highly today because people were commenting how tall Barron Trump is. That seems fine to me, because I am jealous of his height and he seems like a good young man and I wish the best for him. But picking on him, like they did Chelsea (Rush Limbaugh famously called her a dog when she was but twelve years old) and Bush’s, and Obama’s daughters is wrong. Kids re apolitical. Leave them out of it. Eric, Don Jr., and Ivanka are fair game because they chose politics, but Barron (and Tiffany) are not.
  19. Tyrone — I scrolled through this to find out what it was about and . . . I still don’t know.
  20. Senator Paul — See 1.
  21. Happy Friyay — How many different ways do people need in order to be excited about Friday? I mean, it seems like Twitter really hates Friday and is trying to talk itself into liking it with all these references, almost as a coping mechanism.
  22. Shinzo Abe — the Prime Minster of Japan is resigning because of bad health. I wonder if the shake-up in power in Japan will stir a move to retake the ‘cool Asian country’ back from South Korean, who has clearly taken the spot once occupied and invented by Japan.
  23. Fatalis — How do you pronounce this? Is it Fatal – Is like “Fatal is dangerous and means it could be deadly” or is it Fata Lis, the name of the eighth Von Trapp child, ‘Friederich and Brigitta, could the two of you watch Fata Lis while we go pick up some schnapps?” or could it be Fat Al Is as in “Fat Al is over there?”
  24. DatPiff — I am beginning to wonder if Twitter has a speech pathology issue.
  25. Jazmine Sullivan — I don’t know who this is, but this is a beautiful name. Like the heroine for a book series. “Jazmine Sullivan stood tall as she fired seven rounds into the chest of her would-be attacker.”
  26. St. Augustine — I find I have quoted St. Augustine more and more of late. Of Course, his most famous quote is, “Lord, make me chaste (sexually pure) but not yet.”
  27. Finally Friday — Again, people. Really? We all know it is Friday. And tomorrow is Saturday.
  28. Hot Pockets — See 5. FWIW, Gaffigan’s bit on Hot Pockets is one of the funniest things in the whole wide word.
  29. Confronted — That look I give the dog when he makes a mess on the floor.

Thanks for playing along. Have a great weekend.

#Philippians #Iwashavingfun

For various reasons, I’ve always thought that it would be fun to Tweet the book of Philippians. I shared some of this madness with our church yesterday as I preached Philippians 4:10-20 in preparation for our week of vacation Bible school.


Here is what the text could look like, Tweeted.

v. 10 – I thought you had 4gotten me. Whew #justintime

V. 11– #igotthis#contentment #stateofmind

V. 12—I’ve had everything and I’ve had nothing and I know the #secret of both.

V. 13–#icandoallthings #Jesus #winners!

V. 14—You are awesome #generous

V. 15—I can’t believe no one else sent help to me at all – just you, you’ve always been there for me. #thankyou #MacedoniaMissionsTrip

V.16—@baptistchurchofThessaloniki are slackers! Sad.

V. 17–#gifted

V. 18–SHOUT OUT to @epaphroditusset

V. 19-Jesus has mad bank. #blessed

V. 20-#PTL Puts your hands up high!

Vote Early And Often–Who Gets Fired Next!

Vote in my highly unscientific poll. Which person will President Trump fire next?

Whether you love him or hate him, you have to admit, he is on quite a roll. Last week he fired his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and then fired Andrew McCabe over at the FBI on Friday night, a mere twenty-six hours before his pension would have kicked in. Technically it was Jeff Sessions who did it, but everyone knows the order came from POTUS.

Now I’m wondering, who will he fire next? I predicted he would fire Jeff Sessions before July 4 LAST YEAR (click here to read that blog I wrote after Comey was fired). It might still be a safe bet he’ll be fired because, as I pointed out then, the first rule of an assassination is to kill the assassin. Sessions did the dirty work, now he’s got to go, too. As you vote, and for future clarity, remember a resignation counts here, because we all know those are ‘fall on your sword’ type things. For example, I suspect H. R. McMaster will not be fired, but will resign and that is the same, for our purposes here, as a termination.

So, vote below on who you think will get the axe next. Remember, you have to click on the “vote” button for it to go through, after that, you should be able to see how the voting is going.

 

 

PIZZERIA FAKE NEWS STORY FREE ASSOCIATION EXERCISE

yeah, i’m looking at you NPRThe story sounds like a drug-inspired paranoia trip. But here it goes.

Some conspiracy whack jobs on the interwebs told everyone that a pizza shop in Washington D.C. was a front for child-sex trafficking and satanic illuminati shenanigans. The conspiracy loons said Hillary Clinton was involved. Their mindless bilge was all propagated as news, when in fact it was fake-news. Fake-news seems to be more profitable than real news.

People believed these lies unconditionally and didn’t bother to check the facts or consider the source.

Death threats were made. Innocent people were harassed. Someone went into the pizzeria and shot off a couple of rounds from an assault rifle. He said he was investigating the claims about Clinton.

I told you it sounded crazy, didn’t I?

In my novel The Little Girl Waits (which you should buy right now) I have a scene where the traffickers are using an auto repair shop as a front for their evil, and the good guys go in to investigate. It is one of the better scenes in the book, IMHO. But that is fiction. This loon took a real rifle into a real pizza restaurant. A PIZZA RESTAURANT! That is not fiction.

So, the next time someone tells me that the elements in my novel aren’t “believable” I’m just gonna point to this.

I’ve come to think that believability in a story is slightly overrated. (By the way, have you bought my novel The Little Girl Waits yet? Go Ahead and get the follow-up to it, How Great is The Darkness while you’re at it.) When I pick up a novel to read, I don’t want it to look exactly like my everyday world. I want it to be different. I want the unexpected. I want to see believable characters in unbelievable situations. In fact, I like that sentence so much, I’m gonna set it off in its own quote bracket to highlight the point like they do in fancy publications.

I want to see believable characters in unbelievable situations

This gets back to another thing I believe in so deeply. Character trumps plot. We love characters. We tolerate plots. The plot only exists to reveal the integrity and grit (or lack thereof) of the character(s). I’ll use Harry Potter because it is so easy. The plot of what is going on and the whose it, spell it, when it, is very inconsequential. We care about Harry, his friends, Dumbledore, and the showdown with Voldemort. The characters are the plot.

Of course, the plot matters. I don’t mean to say it doesn’t have a role to play in the development of a good story. What I am saying is that character development matters far more, and it is the characters that keep the reader engaged. The moment the reader stops caring about the character he or she is likely to put the book down and go turn the television on  and watch the Gilmore Girls–because that is all character.

But back to the pizza shop. It is actually a place called Comet Ping Pong Pizza. Disclosure–I’ve never been there, so the pizza might be lousy.

I think they should lawyer-up and start the lawsuits. If I owned that business, I would sue everyone I could find that pushed that fake news story. I’m not generally litigation happy, but for crying-out-loud there needs to be some accountability here. Free speech is important, but I can’t shout, “Fire” in a movie theater and fake news propagators must be held accountable.

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This is not a real news story

 

There are two problems at play here, as I see it. The first problem is, as this (click here) article on slate points out, conspiracies to hurt children exist. One only has to think of Jerry Sandusky at Penn State or the Catholic Diocese of Boston highlighted in the film Spotlight. It is sickening to think about, but true. The second problem, though, is different. It is the problem that we attribute the worst possible societal crime to our political opponents. It is not enough to suspect a child-sex ring, but somehow it must be Hillary Clinton’s fault. Before the progresses get all high and mighty about this, they need to realize they are equally to blame when they all but accuse Donald Trump of having white hoods in his closet.

This is all problematic. But you know what else is problematic–who we blame. If  I hear one more person blame “the internet” or “social media” for this (yeah, I’m looking at you NPR), I’m gonna do something serious like eat an apple without washing it first. Dont’ try me!

This is not the internet’s fault. The internet is neutral, like a car. You can drive it wherever you want. The internet takes you places and grants you conversation. The problem is not the medium. The problem is that people have lost the ability to think critically. I don’t when it happened, somewhere since my childhood the important skill of analysis has vaporized.

Fake news stories have been here, since, like, forever! The National Enquirer was based on it in my childhood. People read it, but they knew it was garbage.

Somehow we’ve lot the ability to chuckle at the stupidity and move on.

The reason is we want to believe the garbage.

It reminds me a bit of my theology of zombies. You read that right. Zombies have a theology. The short of it is that the zombie genre and our fascination with it hints at a deep down feeling of unease that we have with our life. We have a sense that something is out of balance, something is not quite right in the world, and we are just one bad moment from ending the whole thing. This thinking has crept into our political world. We expect there to be a political apocalypse any day now, when our darkest nightmares are confirmed. It is fatalism that flows from a lack of spirituality. To read more about the theology of zombies, click here.

Therefore, the political enemy must, necessarily, be completely evil. He or she can’t just be wrong on the issue or the policy, he must be completely evil. So George Bush was compared with Hitler, Obama was a secret Muslim, Trump is a Nazi, Clinton is the Illuminati, and on and on and on. This kind of though pollutes our national discourse.

One more thought. Chew on this for a bit. A pastor friend of mine shared this week that someone he knew refused to pray for peace because he believed that the world needed to get worse and worse so that Jesus would come back.

That is how you end up with assault rifles at pizza joints where people are looking for presidential candidates sacrificing children.