If there's one thing you can count on with Facebook (other than your privacy being invaded somehow), it's that the social-media hub creates a false sense of importance about nearly everything.
Yes, there are certainly times, like Jan. 8, when the status updates appropriately reflect a community trying to understand what's happening. But other times, a flood of sentiment can trick you into thinking that a seemingly minor event is shaking the world to its core.
I'm just as susceptible to jumping on a bandwagon as anyone; after all, the world probably didn't need to hear from me when REM broke up, but I made sure to join the fray, if only to appease the kid in me who bought every album of theirs on cassette in the late '80s. But still ...
On Saturday, Nov. 19, after Arizona registered an unlikely win at Arizona State, the Facebook reaction could have made one think that people here cared about college football. And when downtown stalwart Grill announced via Facebook on Sunday, Nov. 20, that the restaurant was slated to close permanently in two days, Facebook was flooded by people expressing anguish. While it's unfortunate that Tucson is losing one of the restaurants that opened downtown before that idea became cool, it's important to remember that if half the people who were expressing their sadness/outrage/shock/etc. over the news actually had eaten there on a semi-regular basis, the place probably wouldn't be closing.
This may be a strange thing to say in a feature dedicated to the Internet, but here goes: Maybe we should all stop talking about places and things we "like," and start actually doing something to keep them around.
We followed the Arizona Supreme Court's order that Colleen Mathis be restored to the state's Independent Redistricting Commission after Gov. Jan Brewer tried to remove her earlier this month; watched the Super Committee designed to fix the nation's finances crash and burn over the GOP's refusal to raise taxes to lower the deficit; checked on the difficult process of picking a new Tucson Unified School District board member to replace the late Judy Burns; watched the ongoing lunacy that is the Republican presidential-primary process; and shared the latest episode of the Arizona Illustrated Political Roundtable, moderated by Jim Nintzel.
We noted that Arizona now has nearly 15,000 registered medical-marijuana patients; told you where to find a Thanksgiving dinner; were thrilled about the launch party for Destroyer, a new "international online magazine of text, art and public opinion"; were sad to hear downtown's Grill and Red Room were closing; celebrated the reopening of Colors Food and Spirits; and got a taste of Tucson's very first Food Truck Festival.
We brought you the latest news in Tucson cycling; recommended more great music; told you to learn about Warren Ellis at a Screening Room documentary; watched more movies at the Loft Film Fest; and spent a night at the Arizona Opera.
We worried that NBC might cancel Community; wondered why Lululemon was such an Ayn Rand fan; had trouble buying home insurance because we are high-risk journalists; wondered about divorce in the Facebook age; liked the look of the new Canadian $100 bill; talked about a new Spider-Man comic book; and found the idea of bacon-flavored lube a bit distasteful.
"Michelle (Obama) was booed because she is an America-hating socialist. The only reason you people can bitch and moan about it freely is because of people with guns and beer and red meat and crucifixes. You don't get it."
—Facebook commenter Mark Finelli defends booing the president's wife ("Stay Classy, NASCAR Fans [and Jon Justice]," The Range, Nov. 21).
After a couple of months of occupation, two locations and a giant stack of citations, Occupy Tucson continues at Veinte de Agosto Park, where you'll still see a dedicated crew of protesters, largely undisturbed, even as other cities have seen explosions of violence. Mari Herreras' Currents piece this week provides an update on those participating, but there are people downtown with stories that can't fit into a quote or two, so online, we have full audio clips of interviews, along with more photos from Occupy Tucson. Whether or not you agree with the participants' politics, you'll find more to talk about after listening to the rest of the story.