Has The Whole World Gone Mad? – 30th November, 2014

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Has The Whole World Gone Mad? 

I admit that I spend too much time playing with my smart phone.

However, my ‘smart phone’ activities are almost certainly dissimilar to those carried about by a majority of the phone-owning, younger generation.

For most of my life I used to read the read the news in ‘real’ newspapers – you know those large paper sheets covered with newsprint that used to make your hands dirty. The Daily Telegraph was my newspaper of choice but in Thailand it was always the Bangkok Post.

But times change, and these days I find the internet is a great way to read the news, much of it from my smart phone.

I read the BBC sports news, and then the BBC general news. After that, I sometimes read the Guardian and the Independent news and also occasionally click on any Yahoo breaking stories that catch my attention. I save the Telegraph for reading online from my laptop.

All this news is free of charge, and if I was even more passionate about the news, I could continue to read news 24/7 – from dozens upon dozens of different internet sources.

I also use my smart phone for reading my incoming emails – of which there are quite a number these days.

In fact, the name ‘smartphone is a bit of a misnomer, as I very rarely use it for making or receiving telephone calls. Nobody ever calls me and I never call anyone – I’d much rather email them or send an ‘IM’. (Instant Message)

I never use Facebook on my smartphone.  I only use FB on my laptop to promote my weekly blog postings under the name of Mobi D’Ark – never for personal reasons.

The only social networking sites I occasionally use are Skype and Twitter, but again, not in the ways that most use them.

I occasionally respond to Skype  instant messages from a few friends, and very occasionally I have Skype webcam conversations with my family back in the UK. 

I only use Twitter  to promote my blog and my books. I Never use it to write garbage such as ‘what I just ate for breakfast….’ or send out ‘selfies’ to the wide world.

In fact I never use the camera on my phone as I much prefer to use a conventional camera and certainly NEVER ,EVER take selfies.

I sometimes think the world has gone completely mad. What is it with Face book and other social networking sites? The whole world seems preoccupied in sending each other rubbish pictures of each other and promoting their pathetic lives to their so-called ‘Facebook friends’, most of whom they have never even met.

Then, when some of the more unpleasant Face Book users become bored, they liven up their pathetic existences by  bullying vulnerable people on-line and write malicious and upsetting stories about them.

They are so brave – these vermin who hide behind the anonymity of their phones and keyboard screens, and cause such distress to vulnerable people, and sometimes drive some to acts of suicide.

As for twitter… Well…..

I have written in my first ‘Mobi-Bytes’ article today about this incredible 21st Century phenomenon of mass hysteria whenever someone who the public doesn’t  personally know dies in tragic circumstances.

The flowers and teddy bear syndrome kicks in and these are placed on shrines  that are set up all over the country – sometimes all over the world – in memoriam to the person who has died.

A few days ago, along with the rest of the cricketing world, I was shocked and stunned by the untimely and tragic death of Australian cricketer Philip Hughes. It was caused by a terrible and truly freak accident which occurred when a cricket ball somehow hit an unprotected part of his head, just under his ear.

My deepest sympathies go out to his family, friends, and cricketing colleagues. It must indeed be a difficult thing to have to live with.

#putoutyourbats

Now…by all means jump on me from a great height, but what on earth is this crazy, illogical and utterly tasteless twitter campaign all about?

In case you aren’t aware of it, twitter readers all over the world have been exhorted to ‘put out’ a cricket bat in front of their home, or sports ground, or wherever they can find a suitable spot, as a mark of respect for the deceased cricketer.

Excuse me, but isn’t this another example of mass hysteria – a world gone completely crazy? Tragic though Philip Hughes death  may be, is this really the right way to pay respect to someone who 99.9% of the world’s population had never heard of until he died – and even if they had heard of him… so what…they certainly didn’t meet him or know him.

He wasn’t a great hero, or a visionary, or an icon who had done something really remarkable in his life to set himself apart from the rest of us ordinary mortals. He didn’t split the atom or invent penicillin. He wasn’t a Mandela or a JFK or a Churchill.

He was an OK cricketer in his mid-twenties with an aggressive but slightly flawed technique, who was struggling to get back into his national cricket team. But he wasn’t a Don Bradman or a Shane Warne, or – God forgive – even an Ian Botham.

He was just an ordinary bloke who had a little bit of fame as a young, upcoming professional sportsman and who tragically suffered from a freak accident and was cut down in his prime.

All over the world, every day of the week there are up and coming young people who are tragically killed in freak accidents.

If ‘Fred Bloggs’, an up and coming computer whizz kid, suddenly loses his life by being electrocuted by a ‘short circuit” while tinkering with his computer, his mates don’t start a twitter campaign asking the entire world to #put out a computer as a sign of respect.

Why didn’t we all put out our iphones when Steve Jobs died? … Maybe they didn’t think of it or they might have asked us to.

Frankly, although I’m not a particular fan of Jobs – he is more deserving of a ‘put out’ twitter campaign than some others.

OK, it’s fair enough that the cricket grounds where Philip Hughes used to play and maybe some other places with which he had a personal connection, and the HQ of Australian cricket and the professional cricketing fraternity can, by all means, make appropriate gestures; such as the lowering of flags to half-mast, having a minute’s silence and if they insist, even ‘putting out a bat’.

But for thousands upon thousands across the world to do likewise?….

I’m sorry folks, I just don’t get it. Maybe I belong to a different age.

The internet, and in particular the smart phone generation seem to have lost all sense of proportion about life and what really matters in this world of ours.

They all see nothing wrong in tasteless exhibitions self-promotion to the point of outright narcissism.

They seem to regard minor celebrities as Deities; Gods who must be worshipped and admired and copied. I am talking about people who enjoy a brief moment of fame because they have succeeded in making themselves ‘well-known’ or notorious on social networks or on reality TV shows. Then there are the so-called ‘celebrities’ who were largely unknown until they tragically died, or were about to die.

As an internet crazy society we seem to have collectively lost the plot.

South Arbor Charter Academy’ in Michigan in the good old US of A, (where else), have been inspiring their students with a ‘Hall of Heroes’, a corridor featuring murals that honoured global heroes such as:

 Mahatma Ghandi

The Space Shuttle Columbia astronauts (who were killed),

Mother Teresa,

Betsy Ross,

Albert Einstein

After 12 years, some of the murals were understandably starting to fade, but instead of  arranging for an artist touch them up and bring them back to their former glory, the school, in its infinite wisdom, decided to replace these historical heroes with ‘present day heroes’.

The school appointed four of their most esteemed teaching staff to form a committee and decide on the ‘hero’ replacements.

In your wildest dreams you would never believe what they came up with.

President Obama,

Oprah Winfrey

Maya Angelou,

Steve Jobs

J.K. Rowling

Walt Disney.

The school authorities tell us that Obama demonstrates ‘encouragement’, Rowling, ‘wisdom’, Disney ‘courage,’ and Angelou ‘perseverance’.

These new icons may be well known and influential and certainly famous – but heroes?

According the American dictionary, Miriam Webster, a hero is:

“a person who is admired for great or brave acts”; “one who shows great courage”; “an illustrious warrior”; “one admired for his achievements and noble qualities”…and so on…

Obama!! Oprah!! Rowling!! Disney!! All heroes?

I ask you – is it me, or has the world really gone mad?

*

Incidentally, if and when J K Rowling kicks the bucket, I personally will start a global Twitter campaign entitled: #putoutyourharrypotterbook

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