As I write this, I am waiting for the AI monitor to flag the word drivel. It flags so many words I use that I wonder if I’m losing my touch when it doesn’t. It will call me out one day for using terms its algorithm feels some readers might not understand. Then, it will praise me in its regular feedback emails for having a large vocabulary. Now, I feel like I’m slipping if I cannot thumb my nose at a suggested change, at least in every other post.
Okay! Sarcasm aside, the drivel about which I write today, again, is social media content. As noted in previous blogs, I am amazed to see so many people, intelligent folks I know personally, falling into the “if it sounds good, share it trap.” Or the “it must be good if so-and-so shared it” trap
Of course, these posts, blogs, shares, comments, whatever, will concern the hot-button issue of the moment. Whether one is speaking of violence, abortion, rampant crime, or anything else that might trigger a reader, someone will post something that is total drivel.1 Then, others will share their nonsense hundreds, if not thousands of times.
The incident triggering my chain of thought here was the death of the actress Anne Heche. In case you missed it, she died twice, at least according to the media.
Some sources posted she died on Friday, and others posted she died the following Sunday. And, wouldn’t you know it, they were both right, technically at least. Still, that is not the strangest bit of news that helps make my point in this piece.
Consider the case of the dead woman who returned to life at the mortuary. Yes, a hospitalized woman was declared dead and transferred to a mortuary. As the mortician prepared to drain the blood from her body, he realized she was alive!
Okay, there were extenuating circumstances in both cases, as in other cases. My point, however, is this. Media sources, from social influencers to major newspapers, are in a hurry. They want to be first! They want to attract an audience. They want to get noticed. So, they will risk looking foolish to be the one getting views.
However, that is not the only point I want to make here. Another is this. We want to be the first to know as a country and a world. In attempting to achieve that goal, we’ve forgotten the dangers of jumping to conclusions.
So, we’ll share the drivel that masquerades as information these days without considering the truth. This becomes especially problematic when discussing laws, practices, behaviors, and desires that could lead to tragic consequences. I know that to be the case from personal experience.2
As the cases mentioned above show, the question of when someone died, or if they are truly dead, can be a problem. As the young woman’s case in Michigan showed, even the medically trained do not always know that someone has really died.
Okay, my final thought on this matter. Our arrogance and biases lead down dangerous trails in other situations as well. We cannot be certain 100% of the time when a human’s life ends. Yet both sides of the hottest button issue today seem to feel comfortable claiming they know when a human’s life begins.
1 I should note that the program did flag the use of the term drivel by suggesting I use nonsense. It hates repetition, even when the repetition is to make a point.
2 If you’d be interested in the story of that particular incident, I wrote about it some time ago, Survival of the Fittest? Warning! It is a bit long-winded as I was trying to make a social and theological point in the same piece.
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I didn’t expect the pivot to abortion. I do like the reminder that we jump to conclusions too often. Though the tragic case of Anne Heche’s two deaths was odd.
As for abortion arguments and when life begins, I consider it irrelevant. It’s a distraction. The argument is who owns one’s body, and who gets to weigh in on medical procedures.
Thanks for taking the time to respond. I understand your point about someone owning their body and the idea of who should weigh in on medical procedures. However, I see issues in both end-of-life matters and beginning-of-life matters that make the question of when life begins or ends germane. By ending the piece on this note, I hoped to start people to think about the situation, not simply go with the latest thoughtful-sounding or inspiring meme they run across. Many of those are posted simply to stir the pot or increase traffic to their site or page. Eric
Agreed. It’s like people using hashtags to get a response but there own topic is completely unrelated. “Wait a minute, this isn’t gardening.”