Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Facebook: Friend or Foe?

A French gendarme was suspended last week because of his profile page on Facebook, which apparently was filled with his extreme right opinions and his taste for les passages à tabac (basically, beating people).

His interests include crusades, racial attacks and nationalism, and his favorite saying is 'work, family, Fatherland', which also happened to be the motto of the French Vichy government that collaborated with the Nazis during WWII. This from a man who's job it is to keep the peace and control rioting. Nice.

Some of the Facebook groups he was a member of include Pour que les CRS chargent au sabre lors des manifs de gauche (the riot police should charge with swords at leftist demonstrations), Vive la race blanche! (long live the white race), and Tu niques la France...Dégage (you are ruining France, get out).

I'd like to say I'm shocked by this, but unfortunately, living in a region that has voted Le Pen in the past, I'd be naive to think that this type of racist mentality didn't exist. It exists in the French government and amongst a good-sized portion of the locals in my area, so why not in the police force, too? And at the end of the day, I'm American, I was fed on racism growing up, where Rodney King was just one of the high profile cases that taught me that some authority figures do not deserve my respect.

But hello! Shouting about your love of racial attacks on Facebook as a law enforcement officer is about as clever as posting videos on youtube of yourself pretending to shoot innocent people with a kalishnakov as someone who works with kids. The words 'shoot' and 'foot' come to mind...

I have a love/hate affair with Facebook as it is. It's been great reconnecting with old friends and finding out what everyone has been up to since we last saw each other. People I thought had vanished from the face of the Earth, I know now, are raising happy families somewhere in Ohio and posting photos to prove it.

The problem for me with Facebook is that there is a fine line between public and private, no matter how many controls you place on your profile, and the idea that information that you may not necessarily want the world to see, is there for the world to see.

I suppose in the gendarme's defence, he could spout that old chestnut of freedom of speech, but how many times in his line of work has he come down hard on others who were only exercising their rights? Sure he wasn't blocking the streets, demonstrating or throwing stones at people, but in a way, his style of rioting could be considered a far bigger threat to society...

6 comments:

poppy fields said...

I like the reconnecting I've done with Facebook, but I still wouldn't put but the most limited amount of info or photos there, even though I have what I think are a lot of "friends only" limits on what I post there. And besides, my mom, my old ministers wife, etc... are my friends on there as well as readers of my blog. And boy do I think of them before I hit publish :)

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com said...

Hmmm. I have no idea what to think about the police officer. I guess these things happen, these sentiments exist, whether we like them or not.

As for Facebook, I'm not particularly concerned with the blur between private and public. What I don't like is how human relationships get blurred on Facebook. I'm not "friends" with all of my "friends," regardless of whether we were "friends" or not at different points in our lives. So what are we then? Happy acquaintances who would have otherwise forgotten one another and who never talk online anyway? Does that make us virtual strangers?

Also, I'm tired of people telling me they didn't call me because they sent me a Facebook e-mail. Seriously?!

... said...

Okay, aside from the Facebook (aka FB to those of us who indulge) discussion itself, I just had to laugh at that children's bookcover you featured. Someone found this important enough to make into a book? There are hand-painted pictures in those pages! On the other hand, it made me a bit sad, as I have also enjoyed the quaintness of the Martine series, which always managed to seem old-fashioned--before its time.

Which makes me wonder: what does a Martine story about the site say about "dear old" FB?

... said...

Oy. NEVERMIND. I just figured out the bookcover is not so much the real thing. Perhaps I could have been tipped off by the fact that there isn't actually a computer in sight on the cover.

Betty C. said...

Well, I just want to chime in and say I love your Martine cover! Where in the world did you find that?

Yes, next time I'm in Béziers I will look you up. You're doing some great blogging here, I see. I'll put you on my Google Reader so I can keep up better.

Cheers!

The Duchess said...

Tammy, glad you realized it was a parody!lol

Betty, www.cafe-philo.net, you can generate any kind of Martine cover you want. And thanks for adding me to your reader view!