Yesterday ABC News reported on the new meme sweeping Facebook. People are replacing their profile pictures with a childhood favorite cartoon character.
According to knowyourmeme.com, the cartoon character game started three weeks ago in Greece and Cyprus. The original plan was to remove all pictures of humans from Facebook, but that meme morphed into yet another “awareness” game, similar to the bra color (breast cancer) and purse (female empowerment) games months ago. This time the good cause was a “campaign against violence on children.”
Readers of “My Bra? Color Me Furious” and “Facebook Wants to Know Where I Like My Purse. Here’s Where They Can Put It.” know that I look upon Facebook games with disdain.
But occasionally I participate, minus the conviction that changing my profile picture or status line makes the world a better place. Sometimes the games are fun. I enjoyed doppelgänger week (me = Morton Salt Girl) and viewing the high school pictures of my friends.
To be honest, when I was a kid, a lot of cartoons scared me. Especially the b&w ones from the 1930s, with talking cars and walking bikes. Anyone remember – or rather, has anyone been able to forget – Clutch Cargo?
But I gave the matter some thought, and came up with Bambi. I found out the animated Disney movie, released in 1942, drew on a 1923 Austrian book titled “Bambi: A Life In the Woods,” considered one of the first environmental novels ever published. I found a nice watercolor of Bambi with her mother, a quail and nine baby quails all lined up.
Now, some might say Bambi is not the most likely choice for me. I admit I’ve got a mean streak a mile wide. Such people tend to end up badly, but I got lucky. Along came the Internet, and now I make a living by trashing this or that, usually political figures or celebrities.
But I wouldn’t dream of unleashing my inner bitch on Facebook. Sure, the 1,000th picture of someone’s adorable baby can be annoying. So what? The beauty of the Internet is that you can surf right past it. No one knows but you. You don’t need to set anyone straight. Let some other bitch do that . . .and let her suffer the consequences.
In the 1981 film “My Dinner With Andre,” Wallace Shawn brought up the phenomenon of passive-aggressive behavior from friends. He described an acting role in which he played the part of the cat. His costume arrived late, and he’d had no chance for a dress rehearsal. He was just about to go on stage, wearing a cat head, when fellow actors began to “share.”
One of them said: “Oh! Well, now! That head will totally change your hearing in the performance! You may hear everything completely differently! And it may be very upsetting. Now, I was once in a performance where I was wearing earmuffs, and I couldn’t hear anything anybody said!” And then another one said: “Oh, you know, whenever I wear even a hat on stage, I tend to faint.”
Due to the nature of my work, I’m used to getting hate mail. Or rather, I’m resigned to hate mail. Strangers love to tell me off because I gathered facts or put my opinion out there. What right do I have to blah blah blah?
But these fine folks can spread information and opinion all they want, thanks to free blogging platforms. So why don’t they do that instead of wasting time hammering me? Chalk it up to Cat Head Syndrome.
Speaking of cats and catfights, yesterday a Facebook pal decided to comment on my new profile picture.
I’ve never met this woman in person. She’s someone who turned to me for help, and I did try. Then a few months ago, she sent me a message saying that henceforth she would be scarce on Facebook, partly because she “couldn’t take” my “obits” anymore. (She meant my Politics Daily tributes to friends who had died.)
“OK,” I replied. “Thanks for the heads up.” Left unsaid: Their deaths aren’t about you, babe. Really, they’re not. And anyway, on the Internet you should always feel free to move along to something that interests you. You don’t have to deposit a little “present” as you leave.
After disappearing for a few months, the woman popped up out of nowhere to post a comment on my Facebook wall: “Why am I not surprised that you picked the visually stunning, but traumatic, Bambi?”
I could have ignored her. Our mamas were right, you know. If you can’t say something nice, say nothing. Or, in Buddhist terms, break the silence only if you can improve upon it.
I waited an hour. Then I replied, “Why am I not surprised by your comment?”
And thereby I failed to follow my own advice. That inner bitch of mine is unpredictable. Trust me: You don’t want to mess with her.
[originally published by Politics Daily in 2010]