Maraca Media-John O'Mara

Freelance copywriter and blogger, shakin' and rockin' it

Tag: johnny Carson

Facebook had it right in the beginning

Facebook scolded me several years ago.

I can’t recall the exact wording but it was something like, “We’ve noticed you have several friend requests that have gone unanswered or been ignored…please only send requests to people you know personally.”

Followed by an insulting command…you had no other choice…to hit a button that said, “I Understand.”

Facebook was not MySpace. Connecting with random people was discouraged and Zuckerberg and his army of tech watchdogs were watching us. Not to the degree they’ve been tracking us of late but still disturbing. “You bought a Stephen King book on Amazon, here’s an ad for Amazon or something to keep you clicking, sharing, purchasing, posting, clicking again, sharing again.”

The warnings ceased and I was able to connect with people in the radio and music business, and folks I just plain liked.

For example, comedian David Brenner.

I sent David a friend request in 2005 or so. Denied. Brenner had 5,000 friends already. Followed up with a personal message explaining that I’d tried to friend him and while I UNDERSTOOD Facebook’s policy of contacting real life friends or acquaintances, I just wanted to reach out as a fan.

To my great delight, Brenner replied. He joked that contrary to Zuck’s guidelines, he preferred to connect with those he hadn’t met. I saw David in concert at the O’Keefe Centre in Toronto in the late ’70s, when Brenner was a regular guest on the Mike Douglas show and a frequent fill-in for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show.

He remembered the O’Keefe. It’s probably a supermarket today, he said. I reassured David that the venue was still a popular theatre. Can’t recall if it was the Sony Centre or The Hummingbird Centre at the time but it had not become a flea market or a parking lot.

JOHNNY’S GUEST HOST TONIGHT IS…

Brenner died in 2014 at the age of 78 so he was in his early 70s when we connected. In our online chats, I got the feeling David felt forgotten by the modern comedy establishment. Why wasn’t he a panelist on Real Time with Bill Maher? After all, it was David’s “Did you ever notice…” that gave birth to Jerry Seinfeld’s “What’s the deal with…”

But….

David Brenner was the exception to Facebook’s real friend only or person you’ve at least said hello to in person policy. I was friends for a short while with Amy Poehler, maybe it was the Canadian connection because of her marriage to Toronto-born Will Arnett. I may have been friends with another Toronto native, Samantha Bee (her aunt Jan lives in Wasaga and is in my volleyball group) until Sam changed her page from a personal one to a fan site.

I am still Facebook friends wth actress Kim Dickens. She was a standout in the HBO’s “Deadwood” and “Treme.” I loved Treme. If you haven’t seen it, the series dealt with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans district of the same name. Treme featured many musicial icons from that city, including Fats Domino.

The recent Facebook privacy scandal resulted in me facing the choice of deleting my account or scaling things back.

I chose the latter.

I cut my friend list in half. Down from 600 plus to whatever it is now and really, do I want to view baby or cat photos from someone I haven’t seen in years? My radio show was cancelled in January (still have an iTunes podcast, check the link on the right side of this site) so having a ton of sort-of friends isn’t much of a benefit now.

It’s not about numbers. It’s about genuine connections. You comment on my posts, and I “react” to yours. Love that Facebook term. Reacted? Did they LOL, shake their fist or faint? Tell me, Zuck, I want to know the details.

REACTING TO YOUR POST, LOL

Then again, “reacted” beats Twitter or Instagram. I challenge any celebrity to reply to a fan on one of those sites. Jennifer Lawrence, Selena Gomez, Fergie, Channing Tatum (my Mom is 91 but she knows who he is!) when a fan replies to your Instagram post with words like beautiful, stunning or love you, you should blow their minds by saying, “Hey, thanks! We should hang out some time.”

Facebook is no different than those sites, in terms of promotion. Be my friend so I can get more customers. Really, why would I befriend or “like” a store I don’t shop at? I will choose, thank you very much. You want a real connection and unless I have bought your products or eaten your food, I’m not much good to you.

And if you post all damn day, I will unfollow.

So yes, Facebook had it right from day one. At best, it’s a way of staying in touch with distant relatives, high school and college friends and former or current co-workers you actually like. Or like-minded folks you’ve never met. Or those in your field of work that inspire and hey, LinkedIn is just fucking boring.

After more than a decade on Facebook I’ve ended up with the list I want. If you found this through Zuck’s data-mining enterprise, cheers. You made Johnny’s cut list.

But…if for some reason you want to cut me, I won’t be offended. It’s only Facebook. Not something we’ve paid for (at least with Amazon I get free 2-day shipping, Mozart in the Jungle and The Looming Tower).

And thanks in this lifetime and the next to David Brenner. I’ll recap one of his best bits. He’s riding the subway in his hometown of Philadelphia (go Flyers!) and sitting on a newspaper. The guy next to him asks David if he’s reading that newspaper. Brenner doesn’t know what to say. The next time it happens, David stands up, turns the page, sits down on the newspaper and says….

“Yes.”

Agreeing to disagree

I can’t recall the radio station but I’m thinking it was Q107 in Toronto and they were doing a version of Johnny Carson’s Carnac the Magnificent, divining answers to unknown questions. The setup was to give the punchline and then provide the question.

Johnny Carson

Ted Nugent had suffered facial injuries. Not sure if it was a hunting accident or chainsaw mishap but the answer was, “Jack and Diane, and the gashes on Ted Nugent’s face.”

The question: Name two cuts on an American Fool. The latter being the title of the John Cougar (later Cougar Mellencamp and even later just Mellencamp) album of the same name.

Politically speaking, Nugent and I are on opposite sides. Don’t agree with Uncle Ted’s views, but damn I like his songs. I’ll always play air guitar to Cat Scratch Fever and his Amboy Dukes rocker, Journey to the Centre of the Mind. I’ll wango tango till my dying days.

But…

Whatever happened to respecting the opinions of the left? Or the right? Or the slightly leaning to one side or the other?

I’ve been unfriended on Facebook because I’m more of a liberal. Small L. Not a diehard supporter of the Liberal party or a guy with a man crush on Justin Trudeau. Though Sophie, ahh…Sophie I find very appealing. I’ve always had a thing for French Canadian women, going back to Genevieve Bujold.

And yes, prior to the election of Ivanka’s Dad, I created a Facebook post suggesting that Trump supporters were out of their minds. Or didn’t have minds. Or were fucked in the head.

But…

I accept that many people will vote for their side, no matter who’s running. Our local MP was parachuted in, with zero political experience and having the charisma of of a tree stump and the voice of a 12-year-old with a sinus condition, and she won easily because voters in this riding will elect a German Shepherd if it’s the conservative candidate.

I get that many voters are fed up with traditional politics and hey, why not give this person a chance? Cant’ be any worse and the last administration did not improve their lives, financially or otherwise.

And, I like S.E. Cupp.

Conservative commentator with the guts to sit across from a guy the right hates, Bill Maher (and lefty Michael Moore, above). They spar, disagree throughout Real Time with Bill Maher and, I’m guessing, have dinner later. Maher continues to invite Ann Coulter on his show because it makes for good ratings, and he’s willing to let Coulter express her opinions and explain her positions.

Is Coulter a nut job?

Hey, how about those Maple Leafs?

And I’ve likely lost another Facebook “friend.” Okay, Ann’s brilliant. Come on back. No. She’s neither brilliant nor an idiot. Coulter is sharp. She’s made tons of money from books and appearances. I don’t get a cent for my blogs (so far). To steal a line from Trump supporters, deal with it.

I’m dealing.

Social media thrives by putting us in tribes and, at the same time, dividing us. Check out this link! Are you outraged? Aren’t those people morons? Reply. React. Repost. Who cares if its true? There’ll be another post in a few hours telling you that the previous one was bogus and in the mean time, here’s a video of a poor deer stranded on a frozen lake.

They rescued the deer.

You’re a good person. So am I. We can agree to disagree and, in the words of Kim Mitchell and his longtime songwriting partner Pye Dubois, go for a soda. Nobody hurts, nobody cries. Nobody drowns, nobody dies.

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