Being moron Socialists themselves, academics shy away from studying the psychological effects of life under Communism. They’re… interesting, to say the least. Imagine what living in Victory Mansions must do to your sex life, for instance. Since there’s no privacy — communal kitchens, communal bathrooms, three families to a room — people do what comes naturally, well, naturally. Animals aren’t embarrassed, after all, so neither should you be. Lose your counterrevolutionary bourgeois hangups, comrade, and just screw standing up in a stairwell like a good Bolshevik.
As with sex, so with everything else — eating, bathing, sleeping, everything. And conversation, of course. If every phone in Romania wasn’t bugged, it wasn’t for lack of trying by the Securitate. And while the low-rent Securitate was reduced to ostentatiously following random people around as a terror tactic, the Stasi, with Teutonic efficiency, simply signed up one in every six East Germans as snitches. And since the vast majority of Communist “free time” was spent standing in line, private life became all but impossible.
Hence the baffling, brass-balled brazenness which is the first thing you noticed upon meeting someone from behind the Iron Curtain. Since we Westerners once valued our privacy — kids, ask your grandparents — we thought that escaped Commies would be furtive, mousy little creatures. They weren’t. They were the opposite, in fact, and it makes sense if you think about it for a minute:
In Soviet Russia, everyone’s on the take. Everyone’s a potential snitch, and every nook and cranny is bugged anyway. You have to take a dump in full public view, and only after haggling with Der Kommissar over how many squares of toilet paper are in this month’s ration, and that only after standing in line for six hours with 1,500 of your new best friends. Under those conditions, shameless is the only way to live. You don’t just lie — to everyone, all the time — you construct an elaborate, deliberately random web of lies, so that the NKVD has five or six different stories about you, and they all contradict each other, and since all the various lies and sub-lies and sub-sub-lies that make up the five or six different stories are all just about offering to bribe the store clerk for an extra swatch of asswipe anyway, it’s not worth hauling you into a dungeon for some rubber hose time.
And those were Europeans! Asian Commies, who come from face/shame cultures, are much worse. Everyone who has been around even first gen Chinese-Americans knows that they cheat. Egregiously. On everything. Even when there’s no possible benefit to cheating; even when it’d be easier, safer, and smarter to play it straight. They just can’t help themselves. East Asians may have a higher average IQ than Caucasians, but approximately 99.3% of their available brainpower goes into figuring out ways to game the system. How do you think the barely-even-Engrish speakers who staff every computer lab in America all aced their SAT verbals?
The point of all this isn’t just to bash Commies, fun though that is, and as much as this post will be exhibit A at my thoughtcrime show trial. The point is: This is our future. Not, I hasten to add, because we’ll be overrun by the Yellow Peril — see Cheating, consequences of endemic, above — but because we’re doing it to ourselves. Facebook and Twitter are turning an entire generation into New Soviet Friends.
I worked in academia for years (thank you, Jesus, for early retirement). I’ve met thousands of college kids — social media addicts all. If you want to know what they’re like, read this and this. It’s RS McCain’s beatdown, in his inimitably epic style, of one Julia Baugher, aka Julia Allison, aka one of the trailblazers of the “girl-talking-dirty-on-the-Internet” route to e-celebrity. Mx. (or whatever) Allison (or whatever) was cute, DTF, and utterly shameless. Combine those with the then-new platforms of Facebook (2004) and Twitter (2006), and you have, if not the first Internet famewhore, then certainly one of the most meteoric rises to Internet famewhoredom yet recorded.
McCain (and others) take this gal’s post-Wall lament as the well-earned wages of cock-carouseling — an object lesson for younger-hotter-tighter girls to hurry up and get a ring put on it, lest they end up like Julia Allison.
But that’s the thing. While Julia Allison might be, as McCain declares, a Cluster B headcase, the younger-hotter-tighter generation aren’t. This:
most likely narcissistic, with many symptoms of borderline, as well… she also shows some mood disorder symptoms, with the grandiosity of manic-phase bipolar followed by the crash of depression and failure
just IS your Basic College Girl, 2018 edition. It’s not pathological if it’s completely normal, and this is what “social media” — aka “living your entire life in full public view at all times” — does to you.
Note the dates. Yes, Julia Allison is a headcase, but only because she juuuust missed social media’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. She was born in 1981, which made her 23 at the dawn of Facebook and 25 at Twitter’s debut. She’s a very late Gen Xer, and while the whole “generations” thing is overblown, she’s still part of an age cohort that saw a certain reticence about one’s personal life as both good and necessary. So, yes, a Gen Xer doing the whole kiss-and-tell-everything routine is an exhibitionist.
BUT: People who were born in 1981 were just getting around to having their first kids, maybe, in 2006. That generation, the one that is just now entering high school, is the first one to have grown completely up in a social media-saturated world. The interstitial generation — kids born in the late 1990s; the kids that are in college now — were the kids of Gen Xers, full stop. Even if they were early and vigorous adopters of social media, they were still born to parents who, like Julia Allison, had (or in her case, should have had) some fairly strong residual prejudice in favor of privacy. Some of that should’ve rubbed off on their kids.
It didn’t. McCain’s description of Julia Allison — the frenetic “dating,” the simultaneously fervent yet shallow affect (“we were in love! It just didn’t work out”), the mood swings, the grandiosity, the utter inability to self-reflect — could be pretty much every college girl I’ve met in the last decade. And I have met a lot of college girls. They live this way because they can’t live any other way. If you admit to having made a bad decision, then all of your 3,598 Facebook friends and Twitter followers have also made that same bad decision. If the outcome is your responsibility, then their outcomes are also their responsibility…. and we can’t be having that.
The glowing screen’s distancing effect makes it worse. At least in the bad old days in the USSR, everyone knew someone who knew someone — a real person, Margya Homernovna of 742 Evergreen Prospekt — who really had been hauled away by the KGB. You could cruise by her former apartment at Victory Mansions and see someone else living there; you could talk to her ex-neighbors and get blank stares: “Never heard of her.” On social media, though, even your best “friends” are little more than video game characters. “Julia Allison” isn’t a person, she’s a brand — a point she herself makes all the time, in an effort to sell her “personal branding advice” to prospective clients.
And that’s the last thing. In a social media-dominated world, what exactly is wrong with being Julia Allison? She herself might not like it much… or she might: Is “professional victim” not also part of her personal brand? Who can say? More to the point, Julia Allison is rich and famous. She had her own tv show. She still gets paid to jet around the country and talk about making zillions of dollars by using Twitter. She has “dated” fitness gurus, tech startup wizards, DJs, doctors, congressmen, and John McCain’s son. To a college girl, that’s winning, full stop. And here’s proof: Julia Allison currently lays all her problems at the feet of social media and Sex and the City. SATC is off the air, but Twitter’s still around. If it’s so bad for you, why doesn’t she just… you know… stop?
To ask is to answer. It has never occurred to her to stop — other than as a marketing move — because she can’t. This is life in the Glorious Social(ist) Media Future. And if you think Those Darn Kids Today are bad, just remember: Twitter was founded in 2006. The real Young Pioneers are just starting high school.