Sunday, July 26, 2015
What does it Matter if I Matter? A Perfect Storm of #Hashtags
By Mel Carriere
The dictionary says that matter is something that occupies space. If I occupy space, and I do occupy a lot of space, that means I am composed of matter, but it doesn't necessarily mean that I matter. Nowadays trying to convince people that you matter requires putting mind over matter, and this can get you shouted down in a crowded room, especially if you put a smug hashtag in front of your matter. Lately, people think that slapping a hashtag in front of a word or group of words gives them exclusive ownership to it, so you have to tread lightly, as matter of form. Hashtags are no trivial matter.
I don't think it's a matter of life or death that we settle this controversy about whose lives really matter, whether all lives matter or just the lives of a select few, but it's important just the same. No matter how much we argue about it, no matter how much logic, philosophy, or dogma we apply to the situation there are still some of you who are going to say, sure you matter, but you just don't matter enough to get a hashtag attached to your matter. I was a little glum about this, so my wife asked me "what's the matter?" I thought it was a trick question, and because I was tired and frustrated from getting shouted down in packed town hall meetings, no matter what I say, I declined to respond.
Hashtags are no laughing matter, and they are not just a matter of taste either, according to some. If you say #alllivesmatter, for instance, that is considered an inflammatory statement that you better apologize for, and real quickly. I think it's a matter of public record that, despite all of these belligerent hashtags flying around, all of us matter very little to our elected overlords, but they whip up these hashtag wars into a frenzy to very cleverly get us to unfocus on the real matter at hand, which is that we have crappy jobs, no real democracy, and for that matter, no much hope on the horizon for getting any of those things. It boggles my gray matter.
As a matter of fact, last night I had a dream that I was trapped in one of these perfect storms of hashtags. The hashtags from #mylifematters drifted languidly but heavily across the plains from the humid south, and violently clashed with the hashtags from #yourlifematters that were pushing down fiercely from the polar north. Of course, #yourmatter and #mymatter cannot coexist peacefully, so there were particles of matter swirling dangerously about everywhere. Hashtags have hazardous pointed edges, in case you have not noticed, and when they get sucked up in a powerful vortex like this it becomes a matter of survival to get yourself to a storm shelter as quickly as possible.
Off to one side of my dream, safely away from the deadly effects of the storm, of course, I saw Scott Walker and Mike Huckabee high-fiving each other, as if it didn't matter to them at all who lived or died after the #hashtag storm came raging through. A few minutes later the entire GOP caucus then came out and held a giant group hug, on the same spot where all of us little people had been swept away by the horrible hashtag vortex in a matter of seconds.
Maybe part of the problem why we can't agree if you matter or I matter is that scientists cannot even agree on the definition of matter. There is observable matter, then there is dark matter, and we even have anti-matter, for that matter. All these forms of matter go straight to the root of the matter and do not claim any proprietary rights to hashtags, from what I have read. On the other side of the matter, some lady on the radio the other day was complaining that they hijacked her hashtag. In matters of public policy hashtag hijacking has become a far worse crime than taking your high paying job in the hashtag factory away and giving it to some wage slave guy in Vietnam, or bombing a village of mud huts into microscopic bits of matter because a fellow wearing a turban rode through on a camel a week ago, or exposing the insidious exploits of corporate lobbyists who, as a matter of course, pay off Congressmen and women to keep your wages low.
But still we sit here, incessantly debating the matter of whether I matter more or you matter more, which does not get to the crux of the matter. Perhaps the only possible solution is to consult the nihilist philosophers, who insist that nothing matters. Or maybe let's take matters into our own hands and talk about the real matter at hand, which is why the 1% up there matter while we 99% toiling away down here do not matter. In the meantime, I think we just better put this whole my #hashtag is better than your #hashtag matter to rest, as a matter of principle.
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