November 2009 Issue

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi


Well, here we are, back at what we like to call the Holiday Schlepping Season, and we have a very special super-duper Gift Subscription deal that will solve all your problems.  For a limited time (until January 1st, 2010, which sounds like it’s really far away but is actually only mere days from now), one year subscriptions to The Word Detective by Email, normally $15, will be two for $20.  Yeah, that’s it.  Best I can do, I’m afraid.  But heck, in giving a gift subscription or two, you’re telling the recipient(s) that you think they’re sophisticated enough to enjoy a lively year-long expedition exploring the outer fringes of our mother tongue, interspersed, of course, with strange little stories and jokes about things that have absolutely nothing to do with the ostensible subject of the column.  You don’t see that every day, you know.  Most editors won’t allow it, probably because it’s like getting two columns for the price of one, or, in the case of this offer, four columns for the price of one and a half, or something.  Anyway, if you decide to spring for this FABULOUS DEAL, just click on the second PayPal link on the Subscription page, fill in $20, and then send me an email via the Question/Comment form letting me know the email addresses of the lucky people, and whether the subs should start immediately or after the holidays.

Onward.  I’ve been deluged lately (maybe that’s overstating it — it’s more of a drip, drip, drip) by emails from folks asking me why I’m not “on Facebook.”  Actually, they ask why right after they say You’re not on Facebook? the way I might say You’re not eating your garlic bread?, i.e., implying (a) that the person must be either ill or insane, but (b) that still doesn’t constitute an adequate excuse.

I feel the same way about pizza, by the way, and was once apprehended gnawing on cold pizza in a darkened conference room because I couldn’t bear to see it go to waste.

But no, I am not and will not for the foreseeable future be “on Facebook,” and, since you all asked, I very much enjoy not being “on Facebook.”  So you’ll all just have to soldier on without me, I’m afraid, but give my regards to the herd.  And about that “friending” thing, not to worry.  You’re all my friends, each and every one of you, and I love you all to bits.  Honest.

So, OK, since you asked, here’s why I don’t want to be “on Facebook”:

  1. It reminds me too much of AOL, and I think it’s bad for the internet and the people on it.  We don’t need any more walled gardens stifling serendipity.
  2. It’s ugly.  Seriously ugly.  I’ve seen defense contractors’ websites that were warmer and more welcoming.  The whole thing looks like one of those pre-fab corporate sites that script kiddies selling “computer security services” out of their mom’s basement use in an effort to look respectable.  I know we don’t want another GeoCities, but c’mon.
  3. The “friending” thing is creepy and reminds me of junior high school.  I do not need more things reminding me of junior high.
  4. I don’t have time, because I’m already trying to run six or seven web sites.
  5. Someday soon the world will decide that Facebook is and always has been unspeakably lame.  Extrapolating from my experience with such things, this is almost certain to happen within hours of my joining it.  People will desperately try to delete their accounts, friends will de-friend lifelong friends, and there will be weeping and wailing through the night.  None for me, thanks, and if you enjoy Facebook, you ought to be grateful to me for not joining.  OK?


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