On Paris and Facebook's Blue, White, and Red
I have a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head right now (when do I not?), so I'll start with Paris. More specifically, I'll start with the reaction to the Paris attacks from a couple of days ago.
The day the attacks happened and every day since, I have seen more and more friends on Facebook change their profile pictures to reflect their empathy for and solidarity with Paris by adding the French flag overlay. I thought it was wonderful.
And then, as usual, people had to get snooty about it. "What about all the other problems going on in the world?" they said. "Isn't it dumb that people show their support for Paris now, just because everyone else is?" they said.
Well, here's what I say: Why not now? Why not show support for Paris now, just because everyone else is? Is that so bad? Besides, showing empathy for and solidarity with one group of people, does not mean that someone can't––or isn't already––showing empathy for and solidarity with another group at the same time. Sure, maybe some people are simply jumping on a bandwagon they don't know much about, but maybe––just maybe––they know more about it now. Maybe this is the piece of news that changed the way they approach news forevermore. Maybe seeing all the blue, white, and red has made them realize how important it is to pay attention to the news and to feel things for people and to do something to help.
As a child, I read People Magazine because my mom subscribed to it for fun. I didn't pay attention to non-celebrity news at all, and even if I had, I probably wouldn't have understood it. All of that changed in an instant, though, when I heard a 90-something year-old man talk about his daily routine. He said he woke up every morning around 5 or 6 o'clock to read the newspaper. I was impressed to do the same, and since then, I've tried to keep up with current events. I think it's a civic duty and human responsibility.
But remember, I didn't always think that. It took someone else to make me see, and perhaps that's what's going on with the French flag overlays. Maybe someone is more aware of world news now because someone they respect changed their profile picture on Facebook. Is there an objectively better way to come to such a realization? I seriously doubt it.
Thing I'm thankful for: new winter coats