Free speech and free attention

This post is going to cover two different themes: social media and the attention it brings people, and Christian privilege in the public square. They’re related, I promise I’ll get to that point.

I grew up in a time that was right on the front end of the Internet age. As a freshman computer science undergraduate student in 1992, the Internet was still a weird buzzword that social rejects and highly specialized academics used.

The host of the local morning show that I used to listen to once told a funny story where he didn’t want to be pestered by the guy sitting next to him on an airplane. “So what do you do?” asked the guy in the story. “Computers,” lied the professional radio host. “That shut him right up!” he bragged. You can imagine how much that story cheered up a guy like me as I wrangled with projects in UNIX and struggled through classes on data structures and algorithms, and got scorned by the frat guys in my dorm suite.

People didn’t really get what was going on with the internet yet.  This cartoon was considered very amusing at the time.

On Facebook, a select group of 57 people know you're a dog.

The New Yorker mentions the Internet in 1993. How erudite of them.

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Apparently every tragedy is a marketing opportunity

Last Sunday on the show I had an opportunity to address Mike Huckabee’s wildly inappropriate and downright loathsome comment on the First Grade shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.  Hours after the attack, Huckabee had this to say:

It’s an interesting thing. We ask why there’s violence in our schools but we’ve systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage? Because we’ve made it a place where we do not want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability. That we’re not just going to have to be accountable to the police, if they catch us, but we stand one day before a holy God in judgment…  Maybe we ought to let [God] in on the front end and we would not have to call him to show up when it’s all said and done at the back end.

I had started to write a post about this, but then I got a chance to rant about him on the show instead, so I figured I wouldn’t bother.  However, we got an email expressing a similar sentiment, from a gleeful Christian practically licking her chops over the opportunity to blame atheists for an incident that had nothing to do with us.  I figure this is a good reason to kill two birds with one stone.

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