MNR: The Death of Civilization
Civilization · / siv-uh-luh-zey-shuhn / · noun
an advanced state of human society, in which a high level of culture, science, industry, and government has been reached.
Picture it: HCHS, 1995. My third period Honors History class was ushered into the library and brought before a lone computer station that sat by the card catalogue. We were told that this magnificent piece of tech contained the internet, which was the future of the world. We weren’t shown any cool tricks or what to actually do with the internet. I remember thinking about how much of a damn waste of time it was to show us this computer with its magical internet. I was more concerned about lunch: a double portion of pizza, my daily midday blunt cipher, and a few minutes of alone time with my lil cheese Melissa (I had a press pass, so I went to parts of all 3 lunches errday). When we returned to class, our future salutatorian Matt Martin told me that he had internet on his home computer, but only 12 hours a week of some shit called America Online. My first thought was “what the fuck is America Online?” My second thought was “who the fuck would want to spend 12 hours a week ON A COMPUTER?”
That was my formal introduction to the internet. Pardon the apathy and my impervious nature, but my entire academic life consisted of traditional library research. I was taught to use the Dewey Decimal system to my advantage, from the books in the stacks to periodicals to encyclopedias to microfiche. I took a certain pride in my meticulous nature, combing through material to produce an essay or a project that was thorough and worthy of an A. University (at least my university) was a letdown tech wise, as I quickly realized that the computer to student ratio was horrible. There was always someone on the little bit of computers we did have on the yard. Thankfully, Dr. Andre Hudson (Dre Doggs), my brother and next-door neighbor from #BXNYC, had AOL on his PC in the dorm. He let me rock when I needed to get some info. But for the most part, I still went the traditional route of doing the leg work for my research.
After leaving Richmond a half year after I received my degree, I found myself back in the country at my mama’s crib. She’d just purchased a new Gateway PC and a printer (Dude, she got a Dell…IYKYK). She’d enrolled in a master’s program at Longwood College, and needed the computer for her term papers. It just so happened that Shareon’s new computer was internet equipped. To keep things in perspective, I’m pretty certain that I used to spend Matt’s allotted hours in a single day (internet was charged by the month by then – the dial-up era lol) from time to time. Needless to say, it didn’t take long for me to become an internet junkie.
As with anything tech related, I was extremely late to the social media wave. My first encounter with social media came third party. It must have been around ’07. I was dealing with a certain young lady who was a total Myspace junkie. She marveled over all the “cool things” one could do on Myspace, but all I heard was photographs and intel. Evidently, she didn’t notice all the work I had chilling on the bed – plenty of obese bags of sweet cheeba. The yay wasn’t for display. I didn’t even give a verbal reply, but my eyes said, “bitch, look at all this work I got on deck!” I never gave Myspace or social media another thought until a couple years later when I officially retired from the streets, but not before my spot was raided, the U.S. Marshalls put the eviction sticker on the door, and I was homeless. Fast forward to stability. When I was in the streets, I didn’t really communicate with the outside world. I went to school with future doctors, lawyers, journalists, accountants, educators, IT professionals, and philanthropists. I didn’t go to school to major in drug dealing. I wasn’t raised to be a hustler. I was ashamed to speak to old classmates. I knew that I should have been doing better for myself. Sure, the money was lovely, but the rise didn’t match the fall. But when I did reemerge, I was eager to check in on old mates. I spoke with a friend who seemed to know how ERRBODY was doing. I thought wow, he’s the best friend ever! He checks up on everyone! He quickly laughed my amazement away and informed me that he knew how everyone was doing because of this app called Facebook. I’d never even heard of Facebook. I had a lot of catching up to do. Twitter was literally forced upon me by my beloved cousin, the enigmatic @iamdjgreen. I was mobbing with him on his home court in Virginia Beach July 4th in 2010. He informed me about Twitter and how I’d be perfect for it. He didn’t ask me if I wanted to join. Instead, he quickly created a profile and became my first follower. That’s back during the iamdjgreen.com era, back when I blogged for the site. Twitter soon became my favorite platform.
Since my foray into the planet of Twitter, I’ve been tapped into the galaxy of social media. I joined IG day one. I rock with Snap. I don’t TikTok. I have no problems with any platform. My angst is with all of us, self-included. We have all played a role in this bullshit, even if we have never typed or sent a pic of anything heinous. This is the time to light the blunt.
I don’t know of any data off-hand, nor did I seek to find any. I’m going to say that even though Facebook is the king from an aggregate user standpoint, the social media world revolves around Twitter. I said that to say that although it’s not the entire discussion, Twitter is at the center of the discussion, and it’s where I’m going to base my initial point of reference. Back in the early days of Twitter (up until around 2015), Twitter and social media alike was far from being the collective monster it is today. Sure, there have been trolls damn near since this thing took off, but they were few and far between and usually cast off as harmless dickheads with nothing else to do. But one day, the king of the trolls, who was already a heavy presence on social media (namely Twitter), announced that he was going to run for president. In retrospect, that’s around the time all the fuckery truly began.
Donald John tRump was a troll years before he became the president of this country, and long before the creation of social media (think Central Park 5). Nothing changed when social media emerged. He regularly used Twitter during the Obama administration to propagate his personal brand of fuckery, questioning every political move the former president made (which was well within his rights). And, as a shock to many (I don’t know how), his views (tweets) were retweeted and given favorite hearts in the tens and hundreds of thousands. In retrospect, Twitter love was probably the first birdie that chirped in Cheesy’s ear about running for president. That’s the allure of social media. You don’t have to be an insurrection Pied Piper. You can be a depressed 32-year-old with 34 Twitter followers. You put out a high and depressed tweet around 2 am on a Sunday morning from an apartment in a project building in Spanish Harlem. You don’t expect anyone to notice; it’s merely therapy for a troubled soul. But, to your surprise, you get a like on that tweet. It’s not only a like from a stranger, but also confirmation that you’re not the only person in their feelings. Someone else can relate. That can mean a lot to a person in peril.
That’s the double-edged sword of social media. Social media can eliminate oceans, borders, physical barriers, and socioeconomic status. It can be the most efficient form of news possible, even better than the Associated Press or Reuters (especially for neighborhood news). But it can also be a monster for those exact same reasons. Information is paramount, but misinformation is often more effective and impactful, for so many reasons. My theory is that people are, in an almost perverse way, obsessed with bad news. We’ve all heard the saying that bad news travels around the world before good news gets out the bed. It’s the reason why human-interest stories (warm fuzzies) are given the last block and shortest amount of time in a news broadcast. It is well documented that Americans have little interest in “good” news. They want the dirt, the trash heap, and the shit pile.
We know (in retrospect) that misinformation played a big role in the 2016 presidential election. We know that Russia colluded with Rudy the Asshole and #45. We know about all the bullshit that popped up on FB and Twitter TL. Four years of tRump was crazy enough. What’s way crazier is the lasting impact of all the lies and fuckery. It impeded proper response to a burgeoning pandemic. It fueled a whole insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. It’s dismantling voting rights across the country. Lies, lies, and more lies, all fueled by a few lies and diverse platforms to spew it out to every reach of humanity. Poison.
Trolls are one thing. Sure, we hate Tekashi, but we just wave our hand at news of his fuckery like a horse fly buzzing near our plate at a cookout. Actually, he’s less harmless. But it’s the internet gangsters with the super troll enhancement that burns a lotta folk biscuits. And 9.8764 times out of 10, their avi is nothing close to a personal photograph; their given location is nowhere close to their actual GPS. These MF have mastered the art of agitating a normally sane person to the point of taking a penitentiary chance. Twitter Fingers and other keyboard killers have thrown plenty of salt into the game. My simple advice? Laugh the shit off. Appreciate the free comedy. And I hate to tell ya, but you’re a clown for taking the bait. It is what it is.
In contrast to the everyday trolls and internet Tough Tony(s), I do consider cyberbullying to be a very serious offense. As an educator, I’m always chopping it up with the kids. I’m older and a bit more reserved than I was as a young fella, but I still check the temperature. I know the vibes. Cyberbullying is a real thing. And please miss me with the “MF been getting bullied forever so stop acting pussy” bullshit. You being the toughest of the toughest doesn’t mean the next person is. And one other thing: if you’re my age, you didn’t grow up with iPhones, the internet, and social media. You have no idea what these chillen go through. Instead of being a dickhead, try compassion. Please talk to your children and younger loved ones, even those in college. Don’t assume that they’re as strong as you were as a 13 to 20-year-old. Parents, stay on top of your kids’ social media usage. I realize that what I just said is imperative, but some of y’all are slow AF. Or you just don’t care.
My last burnt biscuit pertains to IG Live. I always thought it was kinda corny to tap into some celebrity’s live, unless KKVSH is making her cheeks clap at one in the afternoon on a Tuesday. But that’s my opinion. Who gives AF? I get it. And I respect the hustle. But I really can’t get with everyday MF constantly on live with their 15 MF followers up in there with ‘em. Bitch, you coulda group text that bullshit you’re all in the camera explaining. With your lying ass. And your lace front is pure trash. Like literally trash. Leave that shit at the curb for sanitation. But all jokes aside, I was forced to watch some heinous shit on a live recently. I can’t get specific, but it involved a younger family member whom I love dearly. It was nothing perverse, but it was something criminal. I’m still lost when it comes to this shit, this crime filming/self-incrimination. I was raised up in the streets to move in silence. Open eyes, open ears, closed mouth. But what really kills me is the comments. MF will comment the most apathetic shit as something heinous is taking place – on a MF live. This isn’t a soap opera, TNT drama, or the Lifetime Movie Network. This is real life in real time. The comments were crazy. Like some Lord of the Flies type shit. I had to throw in the towel. This is the same day that I watched Lil Reese leaking from the mouth and face, beatdown and holding a slug from a semiautomatic pistol. There’s a woman (presumably the lady whose SUV was stolen) filming Reese on live, talking to that man like he was a rabid-ridden dog meandering through a busy marketplace in Peshwa. Her man was talking crazy too. All the while Reese was convulsing and leaking, eyes literally rolling into the back of his head. Look. I ain’t mad at the lady or her nigga. They were mad AF about their vehicle. But what got me was the comments on Twitter. I’m not talking about the tweets of compassion. It doesn’t matter what Reese’s involvement was. We don’t know and it’s none of our business. I’m referring to the vile comments. It’s unnecessary. And we all know that most of the MF who had the most fucked up shit to say would piss on themselves if the Chicago Grim Reaper were in their proximity. I’m not acting like Reese is my lil cousin. I don’t know that man. But I do know he was on that pavement fighting for his young life. All the dumb commentary was out of pocket, plain and simple. We truly live in an apathetic, macabre world. My God…
I truly feel that social media will be the downfall of civilization. It’s normalized so many fucked up things, things that should never, ever be normalized. Murder isn’t funny. Pedophilia isn’t funny. Snitching is not the damn wave. Neither is lying incessantly or using every drug known to man – at the same damn time. We, as a society, really need to get a grip on how we treat social media and how it treats us. The babies are growing up with devices in hand as soon as they leave the crib. This bullshit is being etched into the foundation of their psyches. Please marinate on all that’s been mentioned in this blog. The stakes are high.
Big ups to my former mentee Rodrigo Cardenas, who stepped across that Rutgers stage today and received his Master’s degree in Social Work. He’s one heaven of a kid. He worked for me years ago and has always checked in. Much love Rod. Keep winning.
Fuck the internet.
tymonday.com; @tymonday on Twitter & IG
crewunb.com; @crewunB on Twitter, @theunbearablescrew on IG