SUZANNE HARRINGTON: Is moronic social media making us crackers?

Ever wonder if all that scrolling through your social media feeds is turning you into a ’moron’? Suzanne Harrington is questioning herself on that same aspect of smartphone life this week.

Today in a shop I pick up a box of buckwheat crackers and read the blurb on the side of the box. Alongside the ingredients, there’s some advice about how to “style” them with avocado “for extra Instagram likes”. I stand holding the box of crackers, wondering if social media hasn’t turned us all into morons.

Not just narcissistic morons, with our avocado-“styled” crackers – that’s a given – but actual morons. The kind of morons who check the weather on their phone rather than look out the window. Do you do that? I do that.

Who can no longer walk down the street without following Google arrows. Who don’t read anymore. Because beyond the sides of a cracker box, do you read anymore? Or are you in moron denial?

Do you, like me, have a gigantic tower of books next to your bed that instead of being routinely processed through the sawmill of your brain – as they always have been, ever since the discovery of The Famous Five aged five – they now lie untouched?

Fat hardbacks purchased in great book shops for hard ass cash, books whose reviews you have fallen upon salivating, books you could not wait to get home – piled, unread and lightly filmed in dust, on the bedside table.

And yet do you still buy books with the same fervour you always had, because you are a ‘reader’? I do that.

Not that you may even read that many book reviews anymore. Not unless they’re online. Obviously I subscribe to newspapers and magazines - I’m a bloody journalist, a profession not unlike being the last polar bear clinging to a shrinking ice cube - but when these printed publications flop through the letter box, they receive from me only the briefest of scans, before being placed on the shelf below the books.

Do you do that? I’m always too busy playing online Scrabble, or uploading photos of zero artistic or cultural merit (other than to myself, because who doesn’t love photos of their own face through a lying filter?), lost in a swivel-eyed world of likes, shares, gifs, memes, petitions, outrage and cat videos.

If only it were not such an alluring world, this social media vortex into which we have fallen, this time-wasting, attention-span destroying, stupidity-inducing black hole of semi-literate fascists and cute baby animals.

I dare not go on Instagram, as I have heard it’s digital heroin – makes everything seem perfect, and before you know it, you’re styling your crackers. No, I don’t need the warm opiate embrace of Instagram when I have already idioted myself on the crack pipe of Twitter, dulled myself in the Temazepam torpor of Facebook, hooked into a world of like and share like a cocaine-addled lab rat, the pleasant monotony broken only by occasional righteous fury spewed into an echo chamber of more likes and shares.

I can’t help myself. I love it. We all do. We are all morons now.


The Menu was delighted to make recent mention of a new UCC postgraduate diploma in Irish food culture and is equally pleased to announce availability of two new bursaries for same.The Menu: Food news with Joe McNamee

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