La Mouche du Monde is creating Essays & Wry Observations
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Please don't swat this mouche!

I have had a Facebook presence for ten years and counting. The account was set up by my partner against my will but with the best of intentions. As many of us discover with new technology, resistance ultimately proves futile. I have learned to love Facebook - sometimes in a healthy way, and sometimes in the way that Winston Smith, the protagonist in George Orwell's 1984, learned to love Big Brother. At first, I treated the site as a glorified Rolodex, but soon I started to share photos and the minor and major goings-on of my life. Then I discovered how Facebook could be used to express my thoughts to a large group of people, even and especially about controversial matters. As an introvert, I have lots of ideas swirling around in my head that often escape only very reluctantly from my mouth. Yet they flow from my fingers with ease.

As I've matured with the rest of my generation into social media, however, the limitations of Facebook have become more apparent. First, I am disproportionately "inflicting" my opinions on friends and family, in a way that I wouldn't at a family get-together or class reunion. There is an abruptness to Facebook communication. At any moment something inflammatory may pop up and derail your train of thought, for a moment, or perhaps an entire afternoon. Many people just want to socialize and affiliate in an affable manner, and sometimes I shatter that peace, with status updates so long and nuanced they open in a separate window.

It's taken the hinting, then urging of friends to get me to realize that I am trying to turn Facebook into a blog, which is silly when I could just go out and blog and give that beleaguered server in Palo Alto a rest. I hope many who like to read my posts on Facebook will follow me to La Mouche du Monde, which brings me to the title of my blog. It's a French name for an English-language blog. Pourquoi, you might well ask. The name is a play on the venerable expression la mouche du coche. Literally translated, it is a "coach fly". As used here, the fly is an insect and the coach is drawn by horses. I prefer the French expression to its close English equivalent gadfly. This is not just because I am a francophile. The gadfly is just an annoyance that a beast of the field might flick away with its tail. In the French expression we are treated with a more lively and relatable image. The fly is buzzing about a stagecoach, spurring the passengers, driver, and horses to action. The passengers are rolling up their newspapers or opening the window. The driver may be directing a puff of breath just so to the tip of his nose while keeping his hands on the reins. The horses snort and buck and seem to want to get free. It's not too much of a stretch to see an analogy to our society. The upper class passengers are a bit too comfortable, the lower class horses are doing most of the work but unaware of the power they possess, the driver in the middle struggles to balance his sympathy for the beasts of burden with his need to earn a living. The fly agitates all classes alike as an antidote to complacency. Nothing is sacred to a mouche du coche. Of course, the world of stagecoaches and horse whips is more passé than the iPhone 5 in my pocket. With the Internet, we can zip around the world in milliseconds. Hence, this blog is a mouche du monde.
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Please don't swat this mouche!

I have had a Facebook presence for ten years and counting. The account was set up by my partner against my will but with the best of intentions. As many of us discover with new technology, resistance ultimately proves futile. I have learned to love Facebook - sometimes in a healthy way, and sometimes in the way that Winston Smith, the protagonist in George Orwell's 1984, learned to love Big Brother. At first, I treated the site as a glorified Rolodex, but soon I started to share photos and the minor and major goings-on of my life. Then I discovered how Facebook could be used to express my thoughts to a large group of people, even and especially about controversial matters. As an introvert, I have lots of ideas swirling around in my head that often escape only very reluctantly from my mouth. Yet they flow from my fingers with ease.

As I've matured with the rest of my generation into social media, however, the limitations of Facebook have become more apparent. First, I am disproportionately "inflicting" my opinions on friends and family, in a way that I wouldn't at a family get-together or class reunion. There is an abruptness to Facebook communication. At any moment something inflammatory may pop up and derail your train of thought, for a moment, or perhaps an entire afternoon. Many people just want to socialize and affiliate in an affable manner, and sometimes I shatter that peace, with status updates so long and nuanced they open in a separate window.

It's taken the hinting, then urging of friends to get me to realize that I am trying to turn Facebook into a blog, which is silly when I could just go out and blog and give that beleaguered server in Palo Alto a rest. I hope many who like to read my posts on Facebook will follow me to La Mouche du Monde, which brings me to the title of my blog. It's a French name for an English-language blog. Pourquoi, you might well ask. The name is a play on the venerable expression la mouche du coche. Literally translated, it is a "coach fly". As used here, the fly is an insect and the coach is drawn by horses. I prefer the French expression to its close English equivalent gadfly. This is not just because I am a francophile. The gadfly is just an annoyance that a beast of the field might flick away with its tail. In the French expression we are treated with a more lively and relatable image. The fly is buzzing about a stagecoach, spurring the passengers, driver, and horses to action. The passengers are rolling up their newspapers or opening the window. The driver may be directing a puff of breath just so to the tip of his nose while keeping his hands on the reins. The horses snort and buck and seem to want to get free. It's not too much of a stretch to see an analogy to our society. The upper class passengers are a bit too comfortable, the lower class horses are doing most of the work but unaware of the power they possess, the driver in the middle struggles to balance his sympathy for the beasts of burden with his need to earn a living. The fly agitates all classes alike as an antidote to complacency. Nothing is sacred to a mouche du coche. Of course, the world of stagecoaches and horse whips is more passé than the iPhone 5 in my pocket. With the Internet, we can zip around the world in milliseconds. Hence, this blog is a mouche du monde.

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Tiers
Amateur
$1 or more per month

Bon Vivant
$5 or more per month
Le Cercle Sérieux
$10 or more per month
Les Fanatiques Riches
$25 or more per month
Le Panthéon
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