"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans,"
or so it has been said, and sung. I have served in the US Army, for three months, where I received an honorable, medical discharge for a messed up back. I was a part of a CD-ROM startup, before the Wild West days of the early Internet startups, where the president of the company convince a couple guys to shoot him, in order to make his suicide look like a murder, leaving the rest of us with nothing but debts and unanswerable questions. I received an MFA in mass media studies, with a focus on nonfiction filmmaking, and I worked on a Sundance Award Winning documentary before making a feature of my own on a minimalist budget. I taught at various colleges for the better part of twelve years and rose to the level of Program Chair at the Minneapolis Media Institute, before the school's investors decided they could make easier profits elsewhere and shut us down. And I'm currently working on a history book.
To be on social media or to not be on social media?
That for me has been a difficult question. Yes, interacting online can draw a larger audience to my work, but how much time does it waste and what does it take from me? I am not one to suffer fools lightly, and I readily admit that sometimes the quickening pace of online discussions into debates that dredge the depths of human stupidity has pulled me along with the crowd. But that is not were I want to be. The last time I tried talking to someone through a social platform, I was pointing out how they did not know what they were talking about when they came unhinged. We were talking about the assassination of President Kennedy and they were saying how they did not trust Earl Warren, because he worked for LBJ. But Warren did not work for President Johnson. I tried to explain, Warren was his own man, very much his own man, who orchestrated the unanimous Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education and oversaw many controversial actions to advance the cause of human rights. No one controlled Warren. It didn't matter, they said, I just don't trust him and you can't prove that I should. That's right. If you refuse to learn any facts and simply choose to imagine that someone is untrustworthy, because your story needs them to be untrustworthy, how can I prove anything to you? Then it got really funny. They quoted a great passage from President Theodore Roosevelt, one of my all time favorite quotes from a very interesting speech:
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena..."
Then they blocked me from responding to them again. Clearly, in their mind, I am just, "the critic," who does not count. Which would make them, "the man who is actually in the arena." How bassackwards is that? Earl Warren, LBJ, TR, these are men who were in the arena. These are people who deserve to be judged by something more than your arbitrary guess, based on a casual understanding of the facts at best. This anonymous person, who could pronounce Warren guilty of overseeing a vast coverup in the murder of President Kennedy, without the vaguest understanding of the past, is the definition of the critic, who does not count. And yet they were able to ignore all this in order to point fingers at me, the person who dared to tell them the truth. Such conversations leave me too discouraged and exhausted to make it worth my time. Better to get my thoughts out in a more thoughtful way; websites, documentaries, books, articles, speeches. Anything where I am not rolling around in the mud of social media.