Friday, March 07, 2014

Is it the long winter? Is it me? Why can't people exchange more than chit-chat and pictures?

There's a dearth of real, urgent, passionate and intelligent discussion on the Internet. Yes, you have TED and there is "social media" (I hate the term); but there is, increasingly, nowhere to discuss things that matter with people who have a modicum of education.

I don't do chit-chat, in person or online. I'm terribly bad. I run out of things to say in three minutes. Your illness? I'm a bit phobic about talking about disease, minor or major. As to your family ... I care, because? Gardening is a yawn. Your plans for retirement, your dream house, your car ... yawn, yawn, yawn.

Consider ideas, not the partisan or doctrinally correct or fashionable or  lockstep or group-think mishmash you think is your ideo-(a)theo-philosophical "position." More how it applies and how you came to this conclusion and how come there are so many other "positions."

Give me religion. Is there a God? What church does she attend? Is homosexuality moral? Why can't a society with so much religion be fairer, more equitable and so forth? Why, why, why ... and let's source our answers, at least in passing, please.

Or politics, but not so much which party is right nor the latest chatter from your favorite radio ranter or columnist, but something that you really want to explore.

Legal or economic issues. What's happening or what do you think will happen?

Or literature or the arts. What are you reading or seeing (no TV, please)? Do you like or dislike it? Why?

Or historical interpretations.

There used to be some (few) email lists that had some level of intelligence in them. (Although, frankly, I'm appalled at the level of historical, religious, political, cultural and linguistic illiteracy that is found online.)

Anyone wish to revive cyberspace for any of this? Or just exchange email? Or point me to where this exists, if it does?


Anne Malcolm said...

Life is a bit boring right now, true. Lately I've been ruminating on the fact that I don't thrill easily (or ev-ver!) so life is humdrum anyway.

I do like meaty conversations but every single solitary member of my family shuns that in me on FB, beyond 1 or 2 that share the same bandwagon of yayrahrah. I'm not on the same wavelength politically or religiously or socially, with any friend.

What else is left?


Chit-chat keeps an open line to friendships/relationships which beyond anything keeps interest in the well-being of others. I do love my friends (& relatives even though we can be extremely different), so for me, this is the only way to show it.

Meehansbarque said...

C -- I like what you have said here and I agree with you. I also agree with what Anne has opined. You are both right on! I do think that occasionally my T&R list comes quite close to what you are looking for. No, it is not there all the time but I do think sometimes it is.

I too like meaty conversations but I feel that this desert I live in (Phoenix) is an intellectual wasteland. At least going out beyond the city one can find life and stimulation around the nearest cactus or in the nests and lairs of the nearest predators.

Behind this apartment complex is a rather large field wherein lives a pack of coyotes. They wander through the complex sometimes. No one wants to discuss this -- except on the most superficial level. I would love to discuss these magnificent animals with someone. I would also like to explain to someone how to differentiate between coyote poop and the poop from some resident's dog. Oh, coyote poop is about the size and shape of a cigar and is tapered at one end. The color depends on what the animal has been eating but it is commonly quite dark.

Someone in the complex, a retired medical attorney, stopped by the other day and said she had noticed my license plate. (Yeah, I've got snob plates.) She said she is grasping for some decent intellectual conversation and she suggested we go to lunch next week.

Maybe there is hope!!! Let's keep the ball rolling!!!

Helen DeWitt said...

I read Marginal Revolution (, 3 Quarks Daily (, languagehat (, Language Log (, occasionally Crooked Timber (, Andrew Gelman's blog on Statistical Modeling etc. (, the LRB, NYRB and New Yorker blogs, sometimes the Paris Review blog, and Woods Lot ( - I would say all offer something like what you have in mind, and some accept comments so readers can participate in the discussion.

Silvia B said...

Well... life is usually not boring for me, because I make it so. Of course, I have been traveling and for each travel, I study the towns their history, ancestry, architecture, etc.
It is true that the idle chatter gets to me, more times than not, so I'm doing that, less and less.
What I object to "serious" talk is being affronted to where I'm feeling with no way out, I'm not good at this, so I avoid it. So much to write on here, but I must go now.....

Sharon said...

I was just commenting to a friend of mine the other day how facebook is just not me. I used to write long letters and longer emails expressing my ideas and thoughts and exchanging them with others. Facebook seems to be for pictures, short comments, and links to other pictures and short comments and jokes. That's its nature. So I have still have to use e-mail, or create a blog or an alternative to facebook. I'm on facebook mostly to see what my nieces and nephews and my son are up to. But I get stung by this scorpion every time. Sharon

Cecilieaux Bois de Murier said...

Thank you all. prsonal responses in order of posting ...

@Anne: I "divorce" people who are intransigent idiots.

@Roberta: T&R (Theology & Religion, yahoogroups) was an interesting group when the original founder had it but sadly has extremely little to offer to anyone who doesn't fit the two equally rigid camps.

@Helen: Thank you, got your links on my reader (The Old Reader, recommended).

@Silvia: if, if, if ,if, say the green bells of Cardiff.

@Sharon: FB is my point of departure for this post; thanks for understanding ... hope you come visit soon.