Could Accountability on Social Media Begin with Fart Humor?

“Each of us is becoming more confident about our own world
just as it drifts farther from the worlds of others.”
The Technology of Kindness, by Jamil Zaki

If we don’t have shared truths we can’t co-exist, we can’t protect ourselves, and we can’t set healthy examples for – anyone. That’s my take-away from a truly empowering article for Scientific American by Jamil Zaki, author of The War for Kindness.

The Stanford professor of psychology observes that merely leaving a phone turned off between two people will result in their trusting each other less. Sounds right to me, given how many times I’ve wondered if the conversation I’m having with someone is worth maintaining, since they’ve apparently abandoned our exchange for the “tiny, addictive affirmations” of a text/Twitter/Facebook alert. And I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve resented a passenger in my car for burying their face in their phone rather than joining me in making fun of other drivers. P.S. it’s not attention I crave, but the value of someone’s presence. Communal silence or even lazy, mutual daydreaming is just as much of a life-affirming treasure as mockery.

And while we’re on the subject, here’s another such “treasure”: farts. Now before you judge, stay with me a minute.

Shared truth. Common ground.
(Do NOT You Tube “Fart Humor” )

I’ve found that one of the easiest strategies for overcoming how separate we are from each other these days is to quickly find even a sliver of common ground. I contend that fart humor fits that bill. I mean, come on! If ever there was a platform we could agree on across every ethnicity, nation-state, class, and rank, it’s that farts are funny.

My work here is done (you’re welcome), but I do encourage you to read Zaki’s full article for yourself. It’s a terrific piece, and not nearly as disruptive as ripping one in the car.


There’s no excuse for getting all angst ridden over the day’s headlines before first accomplishing something meaningful. 

And there’s no excuse for partaking in America’s new national pastime –scratching the outrage itch– without first empowering yourself through personal performance. Fulfillment before fury!

Why? Because we live in a world that encourages us to agree with ourselves every chance we get. Because the strength we get from knowing that we put ourselves first has the power to declutter our thinking and make us feel as though we’ve earned something.

Examine the back end of any hard, successful day and track how much your sense of completion downgraded your anxiety. By comparison, how does a morning of social media feel, or reading articles from your preferred news outlets? Read more

Christmas Cards My Ass

There are many excuses for not sending holiday cards. Here’re mine:

Holiday Cheer_Where Excuses Go to DieChristmas cards, holiday cards, greeting cards – whatever people wanna call ’em, I don’t care.

It’s been many years since I purchased a greeting card, because the greeting card industry has become insulting. It pushes homogenized sentiments and condescending condolences that are marketed as if buyers were monkeys. While card aisles and displays are perfectly convenient and, yes, could come in handy someday, I must say I did better in a prison cell with magazine collages, glue sticks, and agitated screamers to my left ‘n right.

Yes sir or ma’am: I heavily promoted my “John has turned over a new leaf” brand by mailing handmade greeting cards to friends and family who were on the fence about me. For one, I was determined to prove that my imagination would never be replaced by swastika tattoos and institutionalized hatred. Watching the arrival and transformation of so many gullible young men into seething and explosive monsters positively inspired me to trade even my meals for whatever I needed to stay creative, expressive, and weird.

And there were just certain things I couldn’t re-embrace upon returning to the civilian world. First among them, coincidentally, was store-bought greeting cards. Why? Because I was fresh out of the joint one day and nudged toward a cousin’s birthday party the next. I looked at the clock, gathered the things I’d need (accessing real scissors was a plus), and never looked back.

All these years and hundreds of greeting cards later, the only downside has been visiting my parents during the holidays to find my own card among their others, displayed writing-side out (as if the interior sentiment were the thing!). Apparently my mom is uncomfortable with the idea of guests commenting on the one that’s “different.” My cards are as professionally made as the Thomas Kinkades, yet the images I choose are antidotal to forced-marching-to-the-glowing-Christmas-cottage.

But never mind all that self-congratulatory poo, here are my excuses for not lifting a finger this year: Read more