Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Freedom At Facebook
In this very breath that we take now lies the secret that all great teachers try to tell us.
Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.
When sitting, just sit. Above all, don't wobble.
I have an online friend whom I met about 10 years ago. We've never met in person. She has a position at a major university. Yesterday morning on Facebook she posted a comment about a funeral home in her town, and the way obituaries customarily are handled. She was critical and a few people posted in agreement. In the afternoon she was summoned into the office of her supervisor for a little talk.
It seems the owner had caught wind of the comment and thread, who my friend is, and phoned the university. I suppose the exact content of that conversation is confidential, but the upshot was my friend had to take down the post and publish an apology. What she apologized for was not the content of her opinion exactly, but rather that she had made the content "in such a public forum."
I have a lot of empathy for what my friend just went through, and I mentioned it this morning to my wife. She asked, "How are you supposed to complain about something if not in a public forum?" I said, "In Free Market America, you're supposed to take your hat in hand and privately write the enterprise a polite letter stating your views. They will reply either that they are taking your comment into consideration or else shove it in your hat."
Apparently public forums are for criticizing elected representatives only. Banks, insurance companies, big box stores, local attorneys? You better watch out. It's never been easier to replace you at your job. And if you have seniority, they save money too. My friend's experience is one more example of the kind of fear that grips America today. Why didn't anybody blow the whistle on BP and Wall Street? I rest my case.
As for Facebook, I must say it's refreshing when somebody states a serious thought in there. It is to me anyway. A survey about whether a friend should open a window or turn on the air conditioner doesn't really entertain me all that much...to say nothing of fulfilling my life. Well, actually I guess turning on the air conditioner is pretty serious business in this---er---Climate. Which reminds me, it's starting to get too warm outside to get hot under the collar.