"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on" Billy Bragg: "The Internationale"

Elizannie has a reading room at 'Clarice's Book Page' http://www.villiersroad.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Social Networking and other low places! [with apologies to Paul O'Grady]

This blog is a bit of a personal rant so apologies in advance. I really dislike when someone feels it is permissible to criticise [without invitation] one's taste and activities!

I like Facebook! I am not ashamed to say so although many people seem to think that -like watching soaps or reading thrillers - Facebook and other social network sites are too 'low culture' to admit to any participation!

So Facebook... I really love it. I can - within the space of a couple of hours -'meet' various friends and discuss all sorts of different subjects. Just the other day I spent quite a time discussing H.G. Wells with a friend who lives about 250 miles away. Later I had a very long political discussion regarding disability rights with another friend living in the opposite end of England to me. Over then to a friend in America who has just bought an antique chair and sent me a picture of the restoration process. Then I saw the picture of a friend's new baby and finished with a 'family chat' with my cousin. All without having to dress up or leave the house! Lazy? Perhaps but my brain was stimulated, I could coo at the baby and I would never have got to America and back in time for tea and also have been able to do some writing in the meantime! I also belong to various organisations on FB, including political, charitable and social. All good so far.

There is another side to all this, and I don't really like to play the personal card but here goes. I am unable to leave the house without a companion due to my neuro problems so our trips out - which luckily are often - usually have a purpose and I don't 'dilly dally' as I used to and don't get the time to gossip with strangers in shops or in the street - which I used to love! So my gossiping time is fulfilled as well!

Of course there are down sides - as in any walk of life. I know of instances when families/friends have fallen out due to personal details etc being revealed to all and sundry - but then that can happen in the real world as well as the virtual. Although officially children are not supposed to use - for instance - Facebook, too many parents do let their children participate which may not always be suitable. And of course nothing beats the lovely feeling as when last night an old friend I had not seen for years rang the door bell and over many cups of tea we talked for hours.....

I love Twitter too. I 'follow' and am 'followed by' many journos and politicos and in fact generally use them for my news sources. When something big is 'going down' [like today's student demos] often someone will be tweeting away from the spot - and sometimes supplying pictures too.

I used to teach and lecture, amongst other subjects English Literature was one of my specialities. But here again, there is too often a terrible intellectual snobbery that surrounds this subject [like so many 'Art' subjects], I often think in an attempt to turn it into a mystique which excludes others. In fact I was listening to a radio programme a couple of weeks ago in which an eminent playwright, novelist, critic and lecturer lambasted any adults who read the Harry Potter books and/or Tolkien's works. No doubt there will be some who will agree with him - fair enough and those like me who disagree - again fair enough. But surely it is better to keep ones views to oneself [not that I am!] rather than upset lots of those who are happily enjoying something different and not harming anyone in the process. For the record I love Tolkien and Harry Potter - in different ways! And at the moment I am reading a 19thC novel and a 20thC 'whodunit'.

Soap operas - well actually I don't really follow them apart from Radio 4's The Archers, which I always maintain is not really a drama but real life! [I remember the night Grace Archer died but I really was very, very young...] But if someone is a soap opera fan - so what. There are a lot of things on TV and the cinema I don't like but I do like lots of things which others probably dislike. They are not going to change my viewing habits anymore than I wish to change theirs.

What I have attempted to say here is that no-one should feel they have to justify their tastes although the old 'high brow versus low brow' argument will always continue across all the artistic forms. It took the championship of John Ruskin to make the Pre-Raphaelites become popular after all and someone turned down the Beatles before they got a recording contract. Wordsworth and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads were thought revolutionary when published. Enjoy what you enjoy, try something new occasionally but do not waste time with something you think you ought to like but don't just because someone has told you 'it is better for you'!

Don't waste time trying to find Elizannie on Facebook or Twitter. She is there but under a pseudonym. Occasionally kind friends advertise her blogs - for which she is most grateful....

The picture of the The Archers cast [2006] above courtesy of guardian.co.uk

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