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« The Starmakers [by Nin Andrews] | Main | The Real Reason Linda Reagan [Amy Carlson] Left "Blue Bloods" After 7 Seasons [by Walter Carey] »

March 19, 2021


Indeed, you are not alone--that is, other people (mostly mature, creative, with international connections and knowledge of 20th-century history and literature) have experienced the surveillance, distortion, constraints and consequences of being "cut off" from Facebook. The Harvard booklet that became a social network that became a global giant of digital "connection" has become a faceless dictator, driven by algorithms and perpetuated by clueless programmers (who seem to have the mentality of 14-year-old boys). It chooses our "friends" and cuts us off from reality. It punishes us for misdeeds we don't know we have committed. It cripples our real lives, keeping us addicted to the next "click" and then the next. That process has adverse consequences on our real friendships and families, and on our physical health and professional activity. It creates for us, without our full awareness, an alternative self, a "curated" life. And sometimes it murders that self, as it did to your personal page. I've been discussing these issues recently with several friends of many years, in seven countries on three continents. I'm going to send this post to some of them, including several people who are not on Facebook and have never even wanted to use it. If my page disappears, the latter will know I didn't just fall off the edge of the earth. Like you, I am a "public figure" to some extent--a minor one, a mere poet-editor-translator-teacher but, nonetheless, known outside my immediate circle for my work and influence on others. Like you, I'm the daughter and granddaughter of Jewish immigrant parents (my father's family came from what is now in Ukraine but left when it was still part of the Russian empire). I have degrees in European history (including Russian history) and feminist theology. I know dictatorship when I see it! The big difference right now is that it is a corporation, not a government, that is trying to reduce us all to the state of anonymous workers, useful only for the "data" that we feed to the Great Nerd in his mansion. (And I'm probably older than you are--my parents, both of whom lived past 90, have been dead for decades. Also, I'm not an introvert, so isolation during the pandemic has been a huge effort and adjustment for me.) Thank you for posting this. Keep speaking up!

Thank you for this most moving, beautifully-written and elegiac essay, which I can personally relate to in so many ways, especially as to my heritage.

I do not participate in any social media. I first avoided all social media because of my technological incompetence and fear that I would somehow, inadvertently, expose my private information to the public. But now, since I am overwhelmed just by email messages languishing in my InBox, including kind emails to which I should have replied a year ago, I have resolved to remain a non-participant in social media. I know I am missing a lot: photos of the beautiful grandchildren of my dearest friend, photos of the adventures of far-flung nieces and nephews, photos of my friends pets (I love dog and cat videos!) But in whatever time I may have left in life, there is no room for social media.

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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