Five of the Week #12

“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” (Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray) Although I watch as good as no TV, I came across this quote in an advertisement a long time ago. I have to admit I haven’t read The Picture of Dorian Gray. Nevertheless, this is a great quote and there are more of the same quality by Wilde. However, I’m not going to talk about Oscar Wild but still this quote is quite important for this week’s “Five of the Week”.

I often felt and still feel like many people don’t know how to or don’t (want to) appreciate the smallest things in life. Why? Well, I guess because nowadays too many people take too many things for granted, thus, way too many things lose their value. This holds especially true for today’s youth. Or, at least, this is where I could observe missing moral concepts a lot. A real good friend of mine once said that today’s teens grew up with other ideals. They’re born into modernism. That wasn’t the case when we (this friend of mine and I) were born. I mean we grew up with some technical innovations like the GameBoy or a CD-Player. Nevertheless, we had no cell phones and no internet (well, not at least until the end of the nineties). And we learned from the beginning that you have to earn money and save it in order to be able to buy some more expensive things. Today’s like “Well, the bank’s patient. Let’s raise another credit and buy a third car (that we actually don’t need).” I’m not saying that our generation (born at the end of the eighties) is the perfect one. No, we’re far from that, I am far from that. But I often get the feeling that we were one of the last to be well raised. Don’t get me wrong, please, we, as well, have a lot of black sheep walking among us – by saying “we” I mean the-end-of-the-eighties-generation – but somehow it became quite obvious to me that whatever came after us is raised totally different. (Excuse the long sentence). Of course there are still younger people who have the same or similar moral concepts but there is a certain downward trend concerning these concepts and as a consequence there’s a decline of certain values. Of course they didn’t vanish completely (yet). However, their significance is in great danger. And it’s not just me who recognized this.

So, this week it’s all about five “things” that I feel have lost their value.

1. Modesty
People are no longer content with small amounts of anything. Everything has to be bigger, better, newer, etc. I often see people having two cell phones with them – of course the most modern ones –  one for listening to music and one for “the rest”. There is someone I know who has three computers running at the same time. And whenever there’s something new on the market a bunch of people has to go and buy the stuff just for the sake of possessing it. Where did modesty go? Why not wait until something brand new became “just” new but much cheaper? Why can’t people be content with what they have? Why do they always want more? It doesn’t make any sense to accumulate things just to pretend there is wealth when there actually is none. How can these people sleep at night? I mean, their wearing the mask of prosperity while being up to their ears in debt has to be eating them from inside, hasn’t it? It’s sad that only few people can really appreciate the “inner” value of a thing.

2. Trust
Can you name a handful of people, apart from your family, you’d trust with everything? I can’t. Why? Because, at least in my opinion, life is no longer private. How come we can trust so few people? Is “teaching” trust no longer part of education? Or is it because people love to cheat on  and betray each other? Has stabbing a knife into one another’s back become a competition? That’s what we’re taught on TV right? Everyone is abusing everyone’s trust but the consequences are never revealed. Is that it? Is it the soap operas where we learn that whenever you stab a knife in someone’s back he just removes it and lives on? Yeah, they live on. And in reality you can live on as well. But in reality there are consequences, painful consequences. And there’s revenge, fight fire with fire. If he broke my trust, I’ll break his and so starts the vicious cycle of distrust and betrayal.

3. Friendship
I got the impression that friendship is not defined by quality but by quantity these days. The more friends, the better. But can you really call everyone you know a friend? I don’t think so. There’s much more to a friendship than just knowing and occasionally talking to each other. You can’t have, say, twelve friends on the same level of the “friendship ladder”. It’s the same with distinguishing between a “best friend” and a “most best friend”. I know it’s grammatically wrong because it’s a double comparison but that’s just the way it is. Teenagers do it. Honestly, what is the difference between these two? What do I tell my “most best friend” that I don’t tell my “best friend”? And how can one friend be better than the best? I don’t get it. Is it because of social networks, where anyone you add is automatically declared your friend, where everything’s about collecting as much friends as possible, that friendship lost its meaning?

4.  Courtesy
I am a member of a gym that I visit three times a week. While working out I have time to observe people (one of my favorite pastimes). I have seen a lot of people entering the work out area, passing by me and others without saying anything. I mean, no one expects them to erupt with joy when they see you. But saying nothing is what no one expects either. A short “Hello” or a polite nod – is that too much to ask for? No. Nevertheless, these people (especially the young ones) pass you by with an air of arrogance surrounding them. They don’t even look at you for fear you could say “hello” or nod. They don’t know how to deal with that amount of politeness from strangers. It’s only among people like them that they re-gain the ability to speak. Strange, ain’t it?

5. Love
Love has definitely lost its meaning among male teenagers as it is often put on one level with sex. However, both can exist independently, although there surely exist different opinions about that. Anyway, the open access to porn of all forms (to all classes of age) distorts the image of love. Porn has nothing to do with love. But quite the contrary image is displayed. They have sex so they must love each other, thus sex = love = sex. If that’s one of the first impressions you get of “love” this image will stay in your mind for a long time shaping your perception of women as objects and setting false standards for your self-perception. Women are always “used” (for want of a better word) in porn. They’re captured by a man (or more) saying something ambigious and off to bed they go, thus giving an impression that’s not real. However, this image is anchored in a lot of minds and so begins a real competition about who has had the most sexual partners, with that experienced the most love. Actually no one experienced anything as sex is not what love is all about.
Another reason why love lost its value is its being moved onto the internet. If you like to read about that simply click here.

Five of the Week #11

It’s time for another “Five of the Week”. So, let’s go right in medias res (yeah, some Latin still lingers in the darkest parts of my mind :-D).
As a tourist, or maybe even as someone who adores the English language, you have surely visited some German cities. It’s a nice country to visit after all and most of the people are nice, too. Anyways, enough of the covert advertising.

However, when you walk the streets of German cities you can see all signs of cultural influences. Or rather the attempts of trying to integrate a foreign language into our own culture (I say “our” because I am German, too). In order not to lose myself in the wide field of integrating different aspects of different cultures I will limit myself to the use of Angliscisms. Damn, now I sound as if I am writing a term paper. Whatever. Back to the topic.

The use of Anglicisms in Germany is quite common and widely accepted. Of course there are still people claiming that we’re kind of losing our language and they are not totally wrong. I have to go by bus a lot and so I can often overhear (voluntarily or not) conversations of not only teenagers but also adults that make me think: “Are they really talking German?”. Well, back to Anglicisms or the use of the English language in Germany in general.

Here’s “Five of the Week #11” dealing with “The misuse of the English language in Germany”.

1. The s-Genitive
In Germany you’ll come across many bars named after their owners. You have ‘Kathy’s Bar’ (which is the same in English) or ‘Manni’s Wirtshaus’ (Manni’s Inn). Well, those are just examples but they have one mistake in common, namely the ‘s. This does not exist in Germany. When using the genitive we say ‘Sandras Schwester’ (Sandra’s sister) or ‘Omas Wagen’ (Grandma’s car). However, you’ll find the English s-genetive more often than the German one which is quite strange.

2. The Difference in Meaning
We Germans tend to use English words for things which is nothing bad. However, in English these words have quite a different meaning. For example we say ‘public viewing’ and mean watching soccer in a public place in front of a big screen. In American English the same word means the laying out of a late person on the day of the funeral. So, while the German ‘public viewing’ is a quite funny event (except maybe if your team loses) the English ‘public viewing’ is quite the contrary.
Another example is the use of the word ‘handy’. In German this means ‘mobile phone’ while in English it means that something is practical. Ok, a mobile phone can be quite handy when it’s small and light but how can an English adjective become a German noun? Maybe because we Germans tend to nominalize things…I don’t know.

3. Plural? Wait – that’s Mickey Mouse’s Dog
What did we learn in school? The English don’t tend to complicate their language unnecessarily. At least we should’ve learned that. In Germany we have ‘Bad-Bäder’ (bath-baths), ‘Kuh-Kühe’ (cow-cows) or ‘Haus-Häuser’ (house-houses) where vowels turn into umlauts (does that word exist? :-)). We even have a plural form for sheep and information. The English, in most cases, just add an ‘s’ to the end of the word and, what magic, they have their plural forms.
So, people in Germany thought: “We can do that, too.” After all, we’ve words like ‘Auto’ (car) which is ‘Autos’ (cars) in its plural form. But we didn’t think about being careful. So, parties in Germany are announced as ‘Partys’ (the event, not the political parties) and mobile phones become ‘Handys’. Oh, and let’s not forget the birth of fewer or more ‘Babys’. If we use the respective English words, why not use the correct plural forms, too?

4. Mixing German and English Words
I don’t mean the use of Denglish. What I mean is that people like to take a German word and mix it with an English one. Well, ok, it’s kind of Denglish but not in my understanding. Let’s take for example the German ‘backen’ (to bake) and the English ‘shop’, put them together and you have a German ‘Backshop’. A ‘Backshop’ is one of those modern bakeries that offer self-service. However, to English ears this must sound like a shop hidden in a backstreet…or worse considering what the English word ‘back’ also means.

5. The Wrong Use of Denglish
Well, using English words in German sentences is totally trendy. Nothing wrong with that, but a) people should use them correctly and b) please do not pronounce them in a German way – otherwise the sentences will just sound terrible.
Yesterday, when riding the train, I heard two girls talking and using English words in their sentences. They were talking about a song and one of them said something about its chorus. However, they used the word ‘refrain’ saying something like: “Und im Refrain…” (“And in the refrain…”) pronouncing ‘refrain’ like ‘refreng’ (pronouncing the ‘r’ in a German way, too) which made the whole sentence sound so wrong.
When people are really annoyed by someone they say: “Boah, der Typ fuckt mich ab” (“Damn, this guy really pisses me off). However, the German ‘ab’ is pronounced similiar to the English ‘up’ and the “German” ‘fuckt’ (3rd Person Singular) sounds like the English ‘fucked’ so that an English speaking person could understand the phrase like this: “Damn, this guy fucked me up” which would create a whole new meaning.

I think there’s nothing wrong about using Anglicisms. However, we should pay attention in order to not make a gaffe.

The Digitization of Strong Feelings

“I love you” – what more can you sayto/hear from the one you hold so dear? OK, you could expand it by saying “I love you so much”, “I’ll love you forever” and so on…However, in the end it all comes down to “I love you”. Those three little words combined form one of the most wonderful and powerful sentences to say/hear, don’t they? But…yes, there’s always a “but”, I think that, these days, a big part of love has lost its meaning among certain parts of society.
I’m referring to the digital world, specifically social networks and mobile phones.

Of course the networks and phones offer a great deal of means of social interaction which isn’t bad. No, on the contrary, they’re good to stay in contact with people or to get to know new people, the latter entailing certain risks but that’s another story. What bothers me more is the fact that the important parts of life tend to be shifted into the digital world.  It might make some parts of life easier I can’t and won’t deny that but there are certain things (for want of a better word…maybe issues, anyways) that just don’t belong into the digital world.

This is where love is brought into play. Feelings like love (or even hate) have no place in such a world. OK, there is nothing wrong about writing a message or an e-mail containing some words of devotion and love. It’s just that love shouldn’t be “limited” to the confines of digital life lest it becomes impersonal. Actually, that’s the worst that can happen. Would it still be love then?

Maybe I’m a bit old-school about things but I just cannot imagine my love in a world that is not really tangible.
Well, how does this kind of relationship begin? Of course, changing your relationship status from “single” to “in a relationship”. This provokes a storm of surprises and curiosity as it results in a hundred messages being sent to you, each of them containing the same questions: “who”, “when”, “why”…you name it. Then there are the exaggerated status messages: “Honey, I love you. Love of my life, you’re the best that ever happened to me”. Ok, actually there’s nothing wrong about it. However, posting this after a week is somewhat overstated. Especially the second part is as you simply can’t say that after a week. At the beginning everything’s like peace, love and harmony (or maybe hormony, if that even makes sense). No one knows how his/her counterpart behaves in hard times. Maybe he/she leaves the sinking ship immediately. And, honestly, is that what you expect the love of your life to do? No, so beware of jumping to conclusions.

What follows now are the pinboard entries. The endless oaths of love posted day by day which anyone can read. There’s nothing bad about writing some nice words but why not wait until you see each other. Saying what you feel might be a bit more difficult than writing but it’s so much more personal and it has a wonderful effect. Well, if you have to write them down, write a love letter. Handwritten, on beautiful writing paper. No printed Word document.

Yes, again, I might be somewhat old-school and maybe you can even call me a lost or hopeless romantic. You know what? You may even be right. I like spending an evening candlelit evenings with music or watching a movie or even just talking. I like snuggling up under a blanket in front of an open fire (a real open fire, not one of these open fires on DVD). In short I like it romantic. Why? Because it always is an undescribably wonderful experience of which I wouldn’t want to miss one second.

No digital world can create such an intimacy. No digital world can create such a feeling of closeness. In fact, no digital world can create such an experience, i.e. no digital world can be (this) romantic. So the question that comes to mind is “Why do so many people move their relationships into such a world (especially adolescents)?” I guess it’s because of lost values. When I was a child and later an adolescent my parents taught me values that really are lost on today’s youth (acutally I’m not that old, although my fellow blogger would say something else :-P, but it’s been a few since since my adolescence). Today it feels like love’s become more of a competition than a feeling. What counts, it seems, is having as much “relationships” as possible in a short time. That’s not what you call love, is it? So, it all has to do with the loss of values. I mean if you have no idea of what love actually is then how can you really love someone? If you don’t know how to drive a car then you don’t drive, do you? Otherwise you’d crash it. It may be a strange comparison but I think it fits because if you have the wrong idea of love you will certainly crash it.

So, let’s better move love to a world we can handle. Maybe that’s the point. Maybe being in love is asking too much of a lot of people because they never learned how to deal with it, i.e. in the real world. In contrast everyone knows how to use the internet, especially social networks, to deal with things. I mean, these days the most banal things are arranged via the internet. “Google just told me that Coitus Interruptus wasn’t a Roman Emperor.” Well, if you’d paid attention you would’ve know that since the sixth grade. Anyway, if the internet can handle that, why shouldn’t it be able to handle a relationship.

Don’t tell me that’s impossible ’cause that’d be wrong. I do know people who did that. I don’t know if that still do but that doesn’t matter. They did it. Whenever they encountered a problem they met online and discussed it. “What did you say? Go online, we must talk.” Why? Why not discuss it in person? I guess some people just lack the courage. You can plan a trip over the internet but you can’t solve a problem this way, at least not a problem concerning your relationship. Whenever we are online, we’re not the same. Some more than others but each of us has an Alter Ego. The internet-me that is so much braver than real-life-me. How often did you say things online you wouldn’t dare to say into someone’s face? Right, quite often I guess. Why? Because you can. How often do people lie on dating sites? Again, quite often. Why? Yes, ’cause they can. “Misdeeds” become easier and so values shift to the negative or get lost completely on some people. There is nothing more cleansing than a good and honest face-to-face conversation/discussion. Lovers are supposed to be friends as well and with good friends you can have these conversations. I shouldn’t get started on arguments. How can you have a real argument via a messenger program? That simply does not work. “Don’t you write that again or I’ll give you the evil-look smiley!!!” “If you give me that smiley I’m gonna give you the bomb emoticon!!!” Honestly, that can’t be it, can it? Consequently, talking face-to-face is still the best way to solve a problem, as hard as it may be sometimes. When you really talk about something you’ll feel the burden fall off your shoulders. And that’s one good feeling. You will not nearly get the same effect with instant messaging.

Before coming to an end on this rather long post I’d like to bring the relationship to an end. After four weeks (just to name a period of time) one of the lovebirds realizes that “the love of my live” just isn’t the right person. “The best that has ever happened to me” has simply become a pain in the a**? But how tell her? Oh well, that’s easy: the way it started. Go to your social network profile and change the relationship status from “in a relationship” to “single”. Certainly, all hell will break loose again and you’ll be bombarded with questions. Howsoever, the deserted partner will either discover the break-up himself or someone’ll tell him “Hey, I didn’t know that X broke up with you.” And now’s the time the world, the real one, collapses around you. No matter how much the relationship was shifted into the online world, the feelings were real. That’s what you’ll realize right then and then the sky crashes down, too. There’s is nothing more humiliating than discovering someone left you by reading “X changed her relationship status from ‘in a relationship’ to ‘single’. It’s hard enough to be left by someone but being humiliated this way, no one deserves that. Each break-up raises questions on the abandoned partner’s side. These questions have to be answered because there a few things more tormenting than a broken heart and uncertainty. This is why, here again, a clarifying conversation is inevitable. The same holds true for breaking up via short or instant messages. It’s just unfair.

Finally, I can say that big feelings are digitized because we often lack the ability to deal with them in proper ways. We move them into a world where we feel secure and in control. A world that we can just disconnect from when things seem to get out of hand ’cause we’re braver. We don’t have to fear immediate consequences. We can just disconnect and do something else. Without looking back. In real life it’s some much harder to turn around, walk away and not look back. Try it. The minute your out of your partner’s sight you realize you made a big mistake. This is why I think big feelings don’t belong into social networks. Big feelings belong into the real world so that we can learn how to deal with them, how to have a discussion/an argument, how to solve a problem. Let’s not hide behind a mask because when push comes to shove we’re definitely going to lose them.

Five of the Week #10

This year I finished my English Studies. I’ve always been fond of this language and since I was in school I have even done some private tutoring. Doing so, I came across many errors, some more frequent than others. Consequently, I had to tell my “students” time and again what was wrong and why. Well, some learned it faster than others.
However, I have always been wondering what would happen to people who really missed the basics in school, who didn’t learn what was wrong or why it was wrong. I also wondered what happens to people who just discovered the English language and Anglicisms as some kind of “temporary fashion”. I came to the conclusion that nothing special happens to those people, however, they can produce something special.

As I like walking through the streets of the cities, I came across some (I hope) rather funny examples of misusing the English language in Germany. Here it goes.

1. The hellish Bakery
I’ve never been into that bakery but it’s one of these new self-service bakeries that spring up like mushrooms these days. The slogan of that bakery first made me wonder and then gave me the creeps (well, actually not the creeps but a bit of tension is always good, isn’t it? 😉 ).

Yeah, well, what does this tell you? Are they:
– your baking buddies that share sugar and flour with you to make some donuts? That’d certainly be a good thing.

– a bakery for the lonely or singles? “You’re lonely, your single? Come on in, we will help you. We will bake you one hell of a tasty friend.” That would give the playful expression “You’re so cute, I could eat you” a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?

– just plain crazy? I mean, who advertises to bake your friends? Maybe it’s some kind of Bakers’ Mafia. If you don’t stick to the rules, we stick you into the oven. Maybe Hänsel and Gretel…no, that would definitely go too far. Nevertheless, it’s creepy, isn’t it?

2. The Girl and the Burger
My favorite diner advertises a Chicken Burger. An that’s what the picture shows. Nothing special so far. However, in the header it says “Chick ‘n Burger”. As I learned from Rock ‘n’ Roll or Guns ‘N’ Roses, the ‘N’ is some kind of abbreviation for ‘and’. So, what I should actually be ordering are a Chick and a Burger, shouldn’t I? How come I always get only the burger? 🙂

3. The Maze that is a Perfumery
A German perfumery chain had (or still has, I don’t know) that wondeful slogan “Come in and find out”. Well, what they actually meant was , I think, something like “come in and discover our products. Walk around the shop and enjoy yourself.” At least something similar to this. However, one could interpret the slogan this way: “Come in and try to find your way out again.” Maybe this is why a lot of men don’t like to go shopping. They’re afraid to get lost.

4. An unpleasant Affair
Public viewing. For any German who reads this the following picture will come to mind: soccer, summer, party. However, it is an Anglicism that sounded cool so somebody must’ve thought “let’s use it”. Since then, be it the European or the world championship, everyone went public viewing. It’s only when a soccer match is lost that public viewing gets its original sad meaning. Actually public viewing is connected to funerals (at least in American English) and it describes the laying out of the late person. Maybe next time you should say something like “We’re going to watch the match with fellow viewers” or something like that. Forgive me if that’s a stupid question but does “Let’s go to a public viewing” sound like “Let’s crash a funeral” to Americans? I don’t mean to offend anyone. The question just came to my mind.

5. The Trouble with Bakeries
The above mentioned self-service bakeries aren’t called bakeries anymore. Today, they’re all called ‘Backshop’ which is a mixture between the German word ‘backen’ (to bake) and the English word ‘shop’. However, to English ears ‘Backshop’ must sound like a shop hidden in a backstreet; i.e. something dubious. But I can assure you German ‘Backshops’ are harmless unless they advertise to be ‘Baking Friends’ 😉

I don’t do social networking – am I asocial?

“Hey, sad thing what happened to X, isn’t it? No one deserves this.”
“Well, what happened to him?”
“You don’t know? His girlfriend cheated on him and he caught her right in the act! How come you don’t know? He posted it in facebook this morning.”
“I don’t have facebook.”
“You don’t…what?”

Well, it’s a fictitious dialogue but, yeah, I don’t belong to the hundreds of millions of people possessing a facebook account. It happened that people stared at me in disbelief, eyes wide, jaws dropping open. “But everyone has facebook these days.” Yeah, well, I’m not everyone. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think myself to be one hell of special. I’m just me…and “me” doesn’t have a facebook account. Period.
I never deemed it necessary to create an account and I still don’t. Why? Ok, let’s start from the beginning.

It all started with these networks for pupils. Reconsidering these times I found out what bothered me subconsciously about them. You had to be invited by someone already registered to be able to create your own account. So, back in school, you could hear students asking around “Hey, could you send me an invitation for X and Y this evening? I’d like to join it.” Strange, isn’t it? I mean, you wouldn’t ask someone “Hey, I heard tomorrow’s your birthday. Could you invite me to your party?” It’s kind of humiliting for the one who asks; begging to be invited. It sounds a bit like “Hey, I don’t have any friends. Would you like to be my friend?” You may laugh but kids or adolescents think like this.
Yes, asking for an invitation to join a social network is kind of like admitting to have no friends. Or how come anyone hasn’t invited you yet?

Honestly, I don’t have many friends as well (3 to be exact. But I’d trust each of them with my life. It’s quality, not quantity that counts). However, one of these friends send me an invitation and I found myself having access to the inner circle of the abyss of the human mind. Ok, being able to send messages for free was quite a nice thing. Finding former class mates was cool, too but that was all.

Ok, social networks weren’t as modern as today when I was a student, however, all the shit (excuse my language) that’s hitting the news today began there already. Students started to bully others in messages or wrote down nasty things on their digital pinboards. Oh, and don’t forget the wonderful groups that were founded.
“X’s mom is a b….”,
“X reeks of fish as is proud of it”
Or simply “We hate X” and X could click on the group and see that so-and-so many people hated him/her. Most of the people didn’t even know X.
It was the same with racist groups. E.g. “ZZZ – we know what it means” with I don’t know how many “followers” who mistook their cursor for a hood.  But hate seems to always have been spreading like a forest fire.
I left this type of network. Although I knew a lot of people there, I couldn’t identify myself with what they thought or did. I didn’t feel well getting invitations for hate groups against people I had never even heard of. Of course the same holds true concerning people I knew. The thing is that the people in these group did not necessarily hate the group’s chosen victim. It was more like group pressure and the fear of repercussions. Yes, no one wanted to be the victim, so better join the “predator” (for want of a better word).

Actually, I’d like to know how many people were broken by these networks. I mean, it was just like in school. Everyone ignored you there and everyone ignored you in the digital world. When in real life people tried their best to make friends, it was damn hard to cope with the rejection. But the torture went on in the digital world with posts like “Stupid c*** S. Why does she always bother me? Can’t she see that no one likes her.” And similar things. The victims were often invited into the networks to be able to see how their classmates thought about them.
In the end I distanced myself from that world. Did I distance myself from society? Did I distance myself from social standards? Did that make me asocial?
Let’s keep these questions in mind.

It’s the same with facebook these days (no, this is nothing against facebook itself. It just that it’s the most famous of all the social networks around) Yes, I wasn’t quite honest in the beginning. I hope you can forgive me. Actually, I had a facebook account for approx. 1 month. I found people I knew and people who knew me found me. It didn’t do me any good.
Why did I join in the first place? Out of curiosity. I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I’m still waiting for the answer. Ok, it’s still a nice thing to find people you once knew but that’s about it.
It was not the same as with the student networks. No, it was worse. People literally digitized their lives.
“Just woke up.”
“Too much party yesterday. Hungover.”
“Drunk yesterday. Vomited on our cat. Vacuum it off when it’s dry.”
Honestly, I couldn’t care less. Call me narrow-minded but it were things like these that really put me off.

Everyone was documenting each step they took. Privacy was kicked in the butt, no, wait, it was actually given up on purpose. It felt like people were naked, got naked by every bit of information they offered to the world wide web, to people they didn’t even know. No one could keep anything to themselves. Excuse my language, again, but it felt like digital prostitution as everyone was offering a big chunk of their lives. Not to mention all the pictures that went with their profiles.
The alleged anonymity of the Internet made a cross the last frontiers of shame.
Consequently, I left this digital world as well. I had gathered my impressions and experiences and was left with the same questions as before: Did I distance myself from society? Did I distance myself from social standards? Did that make me asocial?

Well, let’s try to answer them or rather let me try to answer them. In order to do so, I’ll first have a look at the definition of “asocial”. Wiktionary defines “asocial” as ‘not social’ or ‘not sociable’ []. Wikipedia says the following: “Asociality refers to the lack of a strong motivation to engage in social interaction and/or the preference for solitary activities.” []. Further on in the article it says that “a degree of asociality is routinely observed in introverts”. I am an introvert, so yes, I might be asocial to a certain degree. Does the question rather have to be “am I even more asocial?”?
Considering that social networks today are part of society I distanced myself from that part, in a way, by leaving the networks. Before elaborating on this, though, let’s take a look at social standards. According to social standards are “norms to evaluate behavior as good, desirable etc.” [] Reading this made me come to the following conclusion:

As being or not being part of a social network can definitely never judge one (I mean, you can’t say “he’s in facebook so he must be a good guy” and vice versa) social networking can, in my opinion, not be seen as a social standard. What I have to admit, though, is that I, on purpose, distanced myself from a certain circle by leaving a network. However, a good friend of mine once said that “true friends will call you, no matter what”. And I think he is perfectly right. No friendship should be defined by being or not being part of a network. This works wonderful with the few but super friends I have got. Consequently, leaving any of these networks did, at least, not make me more asocial. And I think that keeping things to yourself does not necessarily make you asocial.

What’s your opinion on social networking? Do you think not joining them means distancing yourself from society or a certain group of people?

P.S.: Excuse me, if there shouldn’t be too much order in my writng. I just wrote down what came into my mind. But I’ll try to improve my writing. Promised 🙂

Five of the Week #9

Well, it’s Wednesday again. The more Wednesday, the less waiting. Yeah, time can be a real bitch when your waiting for something. I guess you all know that. However, I don’t want to lose myself in the topic “time”. It’ll be hard to avoid though.
Yes, these days I’m waiting. Actually, I’m glad that I have lots of things to do, so I can forget about the waiting aspect quite often. What I can’t and won’t forget about are the memories. So every so often I take a walk down memory lane or lose myself in thoughts of the end of my waiting which produces quite a mix of feelings.

I don’t want to go too deep into each of these feelings as that might become too personal. What I can say is they’re positive feelings even if they may have a bitter aftertaste when you’d just read the words (e.g. longing). Inspite of all the positivity going through memories and waiting can become hard at times. In that case I like music. Music has kept me company forever and music never leaves you alone (unless the batteries of you mp3-player are dead).

Back to the topic. Music can make walking down memory lane a lot easier and keep up hope that, otherwise, you might run out of. So, today I decided to name five songs that help me to pass the time, make waiting endurable and walking down memory lane a joy.

1. Alter Bridge – Wonderful Life
What is there much to say? Alter Bridge is a great band and Myles Kennedy is one hell of a singer. Although the song is about saying goodbye and somebody no longer being on this earth, it has a lot of positivity in it. Well, at least for me. This is what I wanna keep up these days. It has been a wonderful life (time) so far and I’m sure it will when the waiting is done.

2. Mike Oldfield – Holy
Well, this one is quite different from Alter Bridge. However, Oldfield is a musical genius and he knows how to affect people with his songs. The song is just wonderful and the lyrics, apart from being great, hold true (for me) on so many aspects.

3. Staind – Something To Remind You
The lyrics say that “the road is long”. The good thing is when you don’t have to walk that road alone. At the moment I’m walking down that road alone. However, there’s always a little something to remind me, remind me of what was and to pave the road for what will be. The song might be quite melancholic but it keeps me going. That’s what it’s all about, to keep going to the end of “waiting”, to win the waiting game.

4. The Prodigy – Invaders Must Die
Ok, this one is quite different from all the other songs. And there aren’t any lyrics, unless you consider “We are The Prodigy” and “Invaders must die” lyrics. However, this song is special to me in so many ways and I never wanna forget the day linked to that song.

5. The Verve Pipe – Colorful
This song is great and the lyrics are, too. I know the described feelings and honestly, I don’t want to miss any of them.

Of course there are a lot of other songs but I would have lost myself listing all of them.
Do you have any special memory songs?

Five of the Week #8

Well, it’s time again. Today it’s all about the neighbors. I guess that all of you have some very ‘special’ neighbors whereas ‘special’ is not necessarily linked to positive connotations. Honestly, who doesn’t watch their neighbors when they are outside? Ok, you don’t always do it but from time to time it is quite interesting. Now take the times you observe these people and try to figure out how often you think something ‘evil’ (not the bad ‘evil’ but the not so good ‘evil’, if you know what I mean). More often than you might want to admit.Well, now you could say there are  neighbors who deserve what you think and you’re right. There are certain types of neighbors who should go jump in the lake.

1. The Over-Curious
He often is single or widowed, depending on his age, and lives right next door. If there is just the slightest sound on the street, he tears open the door to see what’s going on. This can be pretty annoying if you cannot open your letter box without him watching you. Actually, it’s pretty annoying concerning everything you do because you feel like he’s watching your every move. And let’s not forget all the times he walks around outside, pretending to do something just to observe the street. Yes, this is how rumors start.

2. The Over-Friendly
When you pass your neighbors on the street you say hello. So far, so good, so normal. However, if you have this type living in your street saying hello can become a torture. Why? Imagine yourself walking to your garage, seeing the over-friendly neighbor and saying hello. Now, while you open the garage you feel his gaze still on you. Even in the car you can feel it and when you drive away he’s still watching you intently just to wave goodbye while you pass him. Coming back, the same neighbor is still, or again, outside, waving as you turn into your street. When you get out of the car you can feel that intense gaze again until you turn around and say hello to him. As you have to pass him more than once per day, this gets pretty annoying. Even worse if there are two of this type. I know what I’m talking about.

3. The Ghost(s)
He’s the one who lives on your street but acutally you never see him.In the evening there is no light on. If you’re lucky you may see the light from the TV in the glass of his door. Should you see him, he often gives you just a nod and then disappears again for days. Well, the good thing is that mostly he keeps to himself and you’ll never hear a sound from inside his house (no parties, no music etc.). This also holds true for the ghosts. They are either old people (with no friends and family) or one of these modern-hippie-wannabe-environmentalist couples. Level five vegans who eat nothing that throws a shadow.

4. The Over-Clean/The Messy Person
Either you see him mowing his lawn every week or the grass is nearly covering his kitchen window. Some neighbors are one of these extremes. I think we all prefer type number one, don’t we? Or is there anyone who likes his front lawn covered it garbage? The funny thing (funny if you’re not concerned) to have exactly these to types living next door to each other. Ok, their fighting might get annoying or boring pretty fast, but sometimes it’s still fun to watch and just be entertained, isn’t it?

5. The Asshole
The first thing you think when he moves in is “Damn, he looks so unfriendly.” Well, most of the times you’re wrong and as soon as he warms to you he’s the most friendly guy you’ve ever met. Most of the times…sometimes you’re right and he’s just an asshole, ranting and raving against the neighborhood and soon life just isn’t the way it was before. Now, you either move away or the whole neighborhood stands up to him. Then the asshole brings the big guns in (literally speaking, depending on how much of an asshole he is) but mostly this means going to court with him…and not just once. However, if there’s always been a good neighborhood, chances are good that the asshole will pack his bags and move far, far away.