09 July 2008

Mortifications courtesy of Facebook

The fervor over Facebook has finally subsided, at least for me. Admittedly, I never really got the whole idea as it seemed just another black hole for my time. I am happy I connected with a few folks and I did send my new BFF, Monsignor Ganswein, a birthday greeting, but kind of like my blog, I like to keep things on the "down low."

One of the really bad things about Facebook is that it is as close as it comes to a Borg collective. When one of your "friends" does something, the system automatically, as part of its structure, is set up to ask, "Wouldn't you like to invite your friends to join too?" If someone sends you a virtual "gift" then you have to load another application just to accept the gift, and the system then asks you the same question, "You don't want to be alone, do you? Ask your friends to join you, it will be great. Don't be the only loser not to belong."

When you first log into Facebook, it also tells you everything your friends have been doing while on Facebook. Similarly, every profile page spells out each move that friend has made, every comment, every thought.

A while back, dear, sweet Ray sent me (and probably all of his friends) a "friend suggestion." Ray suggested I become friends with Anthony Basil Taylor. I don't know about you, but that name sounds very British to me, quite European at least. But, since I trust Ray, I don't check out who Anthony Basil Taylor is by running his name through Google. However, the Facebook "friend request" automatically brings up his picture, so I at least have a name and a face.

Since I already assumed the man was British, seeing the clerical collar made me think "Church of England." He does look a bit stuffy, so all the pieces lead me to conclude he is a pastor in the Church of England. Since he is a friend of Ray's, and since I trust Ray, no "proceed with caution" lights were going off in my head. I've gotten burned way too many times assuming that a man in a collar is a Catholic priest. Having been Catholic all my life, a man in a collar is just that -- a priest. It's been quite an education, many times learned by awkward and embarrassing situations, that not every man in a collar is a Catholic priest.

I send a friend request, per Ray's instruction, to Anthony Basil Taylor. In my friend request, since I don't know this man from Adam, I debate whether or not I should ask him if he is a Catholic priest. Maybe I should ask him if he's an Anglican? Having stepped in it too many times in the past, I fall back to the safe position of, "Ray suggested I send you a friend request." Not very chummy, but at least I don't ask him if he's Anglican or Catholic or include other petty small talk.

A very short time later, Anthony Basil Taylor confirms me as a friend. I then look at his profile (which you cannot view unless you are already confirmed as a person's friend -- an odd Catch-22 in Facebook). Who is this man?

BISHOP Anthony Basil Taylor of the Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Even though I hadn't asked the Bishop if he was, in fact, Catholic, I was utterly and completely mortified at how incredibly close I had come to total embarrassment...with a Catholic priest, and a BISHOP to boot! D'oh!!

Two things here. It's just plain wrong that a bishop doesn't use his title (people like me can get into lots of trouble with our assumptions!) and secondly, I trusted Ray.

As they say in the work world, it was yet another "lessons learned" experience.


Lisa said...

Great post! I agree with you about facebook-it's strange. Cool about the Bishop though. I have a whopping 4 friends and have no time to work on my "pages". At least I can keep tabs on Cathy-that's the only reason I joined!!:)
Hope you're having a great summer...

Vincenzo said...


swissmiss said...

As your first Facebook friend, I thought you were keeping tabs on moi!!! Although, I will agree Cathy does need folks looking out for her.

Wow! I never dreamed I'd look so good as Borg. Maybe they aren't all so bad :)

Did you send this to Cathy?

Vincenzo said...

Not yet. I'm going to make Italian cookies now (Grandma's recipe).

Ray from MN said...

Dear "Mortified"


Would I lead you astray? Not only is he the Bishop of Little Rock, he is a very excellent Bishop of Little Rock.

And I know little more about him than that. But, like with "Cardinal Sean", the Archbishop of Boston, who blogs, I figure any Bishop who has the guts to have a Facebook account must be my kinda Bishop.

I gotta get Abp. Nienstedt to open a Facebook account once he returns from his European junket (and recovers his stolen property).

Ray from MN said...

I forgot to mention that Facebook, for some reason known only to geeks, has a rule that prohibits titles in front of names like Sister, Brother, Father, Bishop, Archbishop, Cardinal or Pope.

Being that Catholics are only 1/6 of the world, I guess they don't care much about us.

Ray from MN said...


I didn't realize that you and Cathy were Borgs.

I'm just a crewman in a red shirt, doomed to die in the first scene. I don't know if I can hang around with you any more.

swissmiss said...

You could send me a friend suggestion for Beal Z. Bub and I'd trust you enough to add him as a friend :)

Didn't know Facebook didn't allow titles. That is completely stupid. Archbishop Nienstedt needs a blog and Facebook account. He's got lots of spare time to sit up at night checking out Facebook friends :)

And, I'd rather be a noble red-shirted crewman than an evil, mindless Borg!! Resistance is futile, however.

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

You are friends with some good people it seems :)
You're friends with me too!!

I still haven't got to grips with Facebook. I don't get all the gadget stuff!

Ray from MN said...


I can't remember the sport, something like LaCrosse, played mostly by eastern colleges, but I read just today or yesterday that some college (Penn State?) calls themselves the Beelzebubs

My pal Google came through, as it/she/he always does. It was a sport, it was an a cappella choir which apparently a popular thing to do these days. I probably saw it in Time or US News or something this morning.

The group was the "Tufts Beelzebubs." "The 'bubs are known for musical excellence, diversity in style and for turning over their repertoire entirely each year."


sexy said...
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