Facebook: The Beginning of the End?

I was late to the Facebook world, and I use it reluctantly and haphazardly. (If you’ve found me there, tried to friend me and gotten no response, it’s probably because I keep my network to about 100 friends, relatives, and colleagues. If I don’t know you, I don’t add you.) I can see its uses in keeping people connected, as well as for the new evangelization, but I’ve always been extremely dubious about “free” products because, of course, nothing is free. No company gives away its product, which means that we aren’t Facebook’s customers: we’re what they’re selling.

Zuck is selling widgets, and we’re the widgets. We dutifully turn up each day to exchange cute kitten pictures and post articles and links so he can give his real customers–the advertisers–access to that most precious commodity: our preferences, our time, and our eyeballs. In a world where people gladly walk around wearing giant corporate logos on their clothes (and paying top dollar to do so), I assume most people are fine with that.

I’m not. I don’t like being part of a corporate machine. Right now, I’m okay with the tradeoff I get from Facebook: I get a few features I like, and they get to put advertisements on my screen which I can ignore. (You get a similar deal here at Patheos, but with more Mormons.) If that balance shifts too much, I won’t stick around for long. Continue reading

Trading Virginity for 15 Minutes of Fame UPDATED

One of the more nauseating aspects of the modern commodification and debasing of sex is the way virginity is treated like cheap coin to be spent as quickly as possible. Purity is no longer Laertes “chaste treasure,” but is now more like a midway token to be plugged into the first game that comes along. Our society’s contempt for virginity and chastity drips from the pages of every magazine and is broadcast from every TV channel. Even schools are in on the game, encouraging kids to get biddy earlier and earlier under the pretense of “sex education.”

So it really should come as no surprise at all that MTV is about to ramp up a “reality TV show” about losing it. Because, you know, nothing speaks to the majesty, mystery, wonder, and power that is human sexuality so effectively as broadcasting your immorality into millions of households in between commercial breaks.

John Nolte at Breitbart is reporting that this casting call is running (although it seems to have expired):

DO YOU WANT TO TAKE THINGS TO THE NEXT LEVEL? LIKE, ARE YOU READY TO HAND OVER YOUR V CARD? OR DO YOU HAVE A FRIEND WHO IS READY TO LOSE IT?

Young adulthood is a time for exploration. New relationships, fresh experiences and sexual firsts…

Now MTV is looking to frankly capture that journey in a new series called My First…We’re looking for adults who are ready to go all the way. Let MTV come along on your journey… as you try to lose your virginity! (Note: We will be filming whether or not you accomplish this goal… but NOT the act itself. Duh.)

If you are 18 years or older and are willing to candidly allow MTV to accompany you on the journey toward “losing it,” please send us an email.

Your “V” card? Who talks like this? Who are these people? What goes on in the sacks of mush that fill the space between in their ears, and in the twitching muscles that pass for their hearts? As a society, we used to understand the mystery and wonder of sex, which is why it remained veiled and discreet. It wasn’t because we were prudes who were afraid of sex (as proven by the higher birth rates of our ancestors), but because we knew its proper place was behind closed doors.

Everything now is about “breaking taboos,” when in fact taboos form a very valuable service: they keep things in their proper order. If every meal is a dessert, you eventually get sick of dessert and then you die. If sex is everywhere, it’s mystique vanishes, and we forget its real purpose: to bond a married man and woman, and to produce the next generation. It’s not a spectator sport. It’s not even a particularly interesting subject of conversation. If you find yourself reading and talking about and watching sex, then you’re doing it wrong.

UPDATE: MTV has backed down on this one, for now, telling Fox News “This was a preliminary casting notice, and we’re not moving forward with a pilot.”