Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Go Tell It On the Facebook

Go Tell It on the Mountain
See Goodreads page here.
See Shelfari page here. 
I admit that I am a furious Facebook user. There are times when my one and only goal is to reach home so I can turn on that magical computer and type in  "www.fa" (the site is visited so much, my browser has the URL saved.) Of course, there can definitely be a bunch of professional-sounding excuses for this obsession, such as "A writer is always curious about the lives of others!", "It gives me inspiration for my writing!", "It helps my school club organize meetings!", or even "It's better than committing a crime!" Well, actually doing schoolwork or writing is also a lot better than committing a crime as well. How I frustrate myself sometimes.
     The truth is that I could achieve much more if these frequent visits ceased. What is it about the website, however, that makes its signature shade of blue inspire comfort and excitement within me (yes, I know how creepy that sounds, but it really is true.) The answer, in my opinion, is that Facebook lets individuals lead a double life.
     Now, I'm not talking about one of those "I'm a lawyer by day and stripper by night" kind of double lives. I'm talking about living a double life as Gabriel Grimes does in James Baldwin's classic novel, Go Tell It On the Mountain. This tale uses their relationship with God to depict African Americans experiencing the Great Migration from Jim Crow (oodles and oodles of discrimination) in the South to big business in the North. Grimes's relationship is a deep one, as he is a preacher who was turned away from the whore houses and whiskey bottles of Satan by a holy epiphany when he was but twenty one. Through many troublesome years his mother prayed for this event, but the heartbreaking truth is that said prayers are in vain even after Grimes has been "saved". This is because Preacher Grimes develops the habit of not practicing what he preaches. Gabriel's sister, Florence, realizes this as she learns of her brother abusing his children, abusing his wife, having an affair, and not supporting his illegitimate child. Despite Florence's knowledge, though, most people still are under the impression that this preacher is always guided by the very hand of God, destined to lead those who follow him into eternal glory.
     Gabriel keeps the holy image by painstakingly applying cover-ups to any evidence of Satan in his life. If only he lived in the Information Age--on Facebook, you see, the process of doing this would be as easy as picking what he posts on his profile.
     An inner, psychological reason for my love of facebook is therefore that I can construct a personality I desperately wish was my own. Through the pictures I post, statuses I write, comments I make, and pages I like, a persona of myself is created that is not perfect, but flawed in perfect ways. And I am extremely sure than many more individuals than just myself are guilty of this action.
    An obvious way to improve my own life, then, would be making my persona on Facebook the real me, to think of everything I do as something my three hundred friends could know about with a single click.


  1. I agree! You could be yourself on Facebook (and Twitter) but what fun would that be ;)?

    1. Sometimes I wonder if Mark Zuckerberg invented Facebook because he wanted to create a new identity too...


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Leave your twitter name and I'll follow that thing too.
But the real reason I want your comments, I'll now confide,
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