“They could’ve spent that money hanging people”

Hey –

I’ve been away on holiday in Croatia(!) I’m working on a post about that but, in the meantime, to show you I’m still alive, here’s an unprovoked and totally unfair attack on Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, which makes me ashamed, but I have to go and catch a train now and haven’t time to write anything more reasonable;

Sheryl Sandberg was on Desert Island Discs. She said “Well, now we talk about our mission as building community”. She seemed like a lovely person, and has had to deal with a terrible tragedy, and I promised myself that I wouldn’t use this blog to attack people and add my own tuppence-worth to the howling cacophony of hate-filled outrage that is the internet, BUT…Isn’t this a bit like your Crack dealer, who got you hooked as a kid, telling people “Well now we talk about our mission as giving palliative care to addicts”? If communities need to be built or rebuilt it’s because the internet has destroyed traditional communities and replaced them with lynch mobs of alienated sociopaths conducting online pogroms against anyone who dares disagree with them. We were promised jetpacks, folks, and instead Facebook and friends drowned us all in a tsunami of inanity, endlessly reproduce memes and internet porn and then told us we were empowered because we could persecute anyone that the mob singled out, while still cowering anonymously in our bunkers.


If you want to build communities go and have a cup of tea with somebody, face to face. Listen to an opinion that’s contrary to your own and don’t reply to it, let it hang in the air. You’ll have plenty of time in the future to put your own point of view.


Ms. Sandberg also mentioned “imposter syndrome”. This is another unpleasant idea. Greeting your success with a momentary sense of disbelief isn’t a medical “syndrome”, it’s a sign of humility, a sign that you’re normal and appreciate your luck. I think the first users of this term were signalling that they were still like us, despite their achievements. But to take it seriously as a syndrome is to medicalise modesty, to claim it is a bad thing, an illness that needs treating, and that the reverse, to meet your achievements with a horrifyingly arrogant sense of entitlement and self-value, is a form of mental health! Well, if humility is an illness, it is, by definition, not one that stands in the way of anyone achieving their goals. In fact, if you don’t have it, you must be a monster!


And another thing, what’s this use of the word “mission”?! AAAARGH somebody save me from my nasty self!

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