There is an endless stream of ‘good news’ on Facebook. The parties, the marriages, the births, the home renovations and the ubiquitous instagramed plates of delicious (and not so delicious) breakfast, lunch and dinner. The grandiose exclamations of joy and delight. The boasting, the dressing up… the glitter and sangria.
In between the nihilistic leather soirees and endless travelogues come occasional glimpses of the pain and suffering most of us endure but seldom want to admit. At least… not on social media. Not to those who seem to be having the time of their lives every single day.
Two deaths this week. One old lady I never knew and one young man I did. Sandwiched between bottles of french wine and exotic vacations on the French Riviera is the truth. The young American who can’t stop drinking and the miserable single woman who can’t get the man to stay.
They say, when I post my bits and pieces, that I am angry… lonely… sad. When I don’t agree with a theme they say I am a sullen contrarian. When I post expressions of joy I am inundated with ‘likes’ as if my happiness needs affirming.
My friend’s mother dies peacefully in the hospital bed. He updates us by the hour. Her final words remind us of our own mortality. I am so grateful he tells us so. I learn so much more from her last words than a another blurry picture of enchiladas posted at some obscure Mexican restaurant where my ‘friends’ boast of the wonderful time they are having.
I have stopped posting pictures of parties, of other people in their gorgeous homes. I have stopped reporting which celebrities I have seen and what they were doing. Of late I have been concentrating on injustice. My own and others.
The realtor who engages his powerful friends to incarcerate. We are getting to the bottom of that mucky situation. The way the rich use government institutions to their own ends. Corrupt district attorneys, prosecutors and law enforcement. We are getting to the bottom of that one. Slowly, like archeologists gently removing layer after layer of dirt… getting to what was so carefully buried. For every corrupt official there is another eager to help.
For the time being I have to be obtuse. That will end… sooner or later. I am patient . I can wait.
Bradley Manning, queer hero, his trial starts today. Although I doubt we will get the outcome we desire and that boy will probably spend the rest of his life in jail for doing the right thing… he will not be forgotten. Bradley Manning will not be forgotten.
Paul, my white gay friend, the talent manager. I saw him yesterday. He had been to a Liberace viewing party in the hills. A bunch of straight acting gay boys watching Liberace in the opulent surroundings of an older gay man. Their reaction was as expected… they hated it. They didn’t see what Liberace had to do with their lives. You see, they complained… they wanted to see themselves. Paul couldn’t understand why Scott Thorson (who he knows) had his story told. He described Scott as a ‘user’. He said he thought it was ‘unfair’ that Scott’s story was told rather than a ‘gay hero’.
“Who?” I asked. “Which gay hero?”
His brow furrowed. He’ll get back to me with the answer.
Then it occurred to me why a bunch of boys under the age of 25 drinking free booze in the house of an older Hollywood oligarch might not like the film Liberace. Rather than not seeing themselves… on the contrary, they all saw themselves exactly and hated what they saw.
Like on Facebook the ugly truth is sometimes sandwiched between the glitter and sangria.
No matter how deeply it is buried.