Pity the child coming of age in a Facebook’d family setting. S/he will be taught to “like” all sorts of things. Recently, my daughters each suffered an insult to her health, and a host of friends and well-wishers “liked” that. My Friend’s Aunt died in an auto accident—a sweet old lady. Lots of friends and well-wishers “liked” that.
Language, and interpretation of it, is a subtle and changing process. But to take a word like “like” and bend it to its polar opposite to simply say: “Wow, I got that!” borders on dumber than hell. Robert Heinlein invented a word that would perform better than “like” and has the appropriate meaning. Though they may be too young to have read him, I would hate to think that the folks at Facebook are so illiterate that they did not know that there was already a handy four-letter word, invented by Mr. Heinlein, to cover every contingency that they want “like” to cover.
The word is “grok”. Wikipedia and its sources say it best:
“Grok /ˈɡrɒk/ is a word coined by Robert A. Heinlein for his 1961 science-fiction novel, Stranger in a Strange Land, where it is defined as follows:
‘Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science—and it means as little to us (because of our Earthling assumptions) as color means to a blind man.’
The Oxford English Dictionary defines to grok as ‘to understand intuitively or by empathy; to establish rapport with’ and ‘to empathize or communicate sympathetically (with); also, to experience enjoyment’.
Here, the ‘enjoyment’ experienced is the feeling of connection at a deep level with another human being—in the context of the book.”–Wikipedia
I want to say to Facebook, “C’mon. As heady as it is to twist the King’s English to your own ends, do you really want us to ‘like’ someone else being in pain, or losing a relative, having a communicable disease, being devastated by grief, losing their home to fire, or their job to outsourcing?” I really cannot grok how you twisted the logic of the internet to get us all on board. I suspect that we have become so jaded by drugs and whatever is trending that most of us simply accepted it with the same Lemming-Logic that allows us to consider hacks like Mitch McConnell a ‘venerable politician’, or violence and drugs a natural form of death for our youth.
Please know my thoughts are tracking in any direction but a direction you might “like.” Following your lead, sooner or later we are going to like making war, like rape, like genocide, like unintended overdose death, like mayhem. No thanks. I will try to grok your content so that I might empathize and rejoice, whatever is appropriate. I just can’t bring myself to “like” the unacceptable. I hope that those who agree will begin to Facebook Comment the word “grok” on items they cannot bring themselves to “like”. Peace!