In China many people will walk by someone in distress for fear they will be stuck with the hospital bill if they effect a rescue (yep, it happens) when they can barely afford their own care. In America USA Today says it is just apathy. On the popular community website Facebook a student posted a plea for members in a group he created. His goal was to get 99,999 members ostensibly so his professor would live up to a promise to exempt him from a final paper and buy him a beer. He met his goal and then fessed up to the fact that his professor never really promised a keg. USA today pointed out (repeated in the student’s posting from Facebook, below) that his membership exceeded that of Pro-Life, Equal Rights, AIDS/HIV research, Support for Stem Cell Research groups–combined! In China I get the constant wheeling and dealing, shoving to get in an elevator, ignoring of difficulties on a couple for different levels: 1. China, unlike most Western Countries, has few sub-groups with any notion of eschatology (belief in an afterlife), so what you get here is ALL you get. Getting your fair, or unfair, share in this life is your only option. 2. China has not been exposed for very long to Western customs. People do not know to wait for the bowler next to them to finish his frame before they fire a 16 pound canon ball into the air; they don’t know to “stand right” and walk left at airports; they don’t know that screaming into a phone during a quiet bus ride causes hives to break out on rural Westerners; and their sense of personal space has been altered by crowding: they don’t seem to mind elevator behavior that would get us arrested for sexual harassment or assault in America. I tend to believe that both cultures are becoming increasingly numb to the needs of others because of TV, the Internet and such. We see tens of thousands of murders in our living rooms and have war, plague and pestilence brought to us by 25,000,000 blogs and every news service. and it is easy to believe that someone else is, or should soon be, taking care of the problem. It ain’t so: My efforts at fundraising for rural teens and poor women affected with cancer and in need of treatment has failed miserably on this blog. Four people are still in danger of dying soon if we cannot raise a modest amount ($60,000) for their care. I have never asked for donations. I have always offered a reasonable service or product and hoped to divert the profits, but… No, this is not sour grapes a and I never had any special expectations–This is, after all, just a blog and meant only to entertain and inform when possible–I am just puzzled by the lack of response. Facebook Alcohol*** As most of you noticed, there was a social experiment going on here. While it is true that I didn’t have to do a final project for this class if we got 15,000 people here, the getting 15,000 people was a project in itself. I didn’t even know if we would get to 100,000 people in time. On the day that we hit 130,000 members, USA Today published an article about how students aren’t apathetic, they are just using Facebook to do their advocacy. The listed the 10 most popular social advocacy groups, and we had more than Pro-Life, Equal Rights for gays, AIDS/HIV research, and Support Stem Cell Research… combined. At first I thought maybe this proved the apathy thing (beer having more members than AIDS research), but after reading several thousand comments (I have read them all) I’m not so convinced. How is this for an interpretation: most of you are cynical enough that you either A) don’t think you know enough about a given issue to have a strong opinion about it, or B) don’t think you can have a whole lot of effect on public sphere politics. That would make this group make a lot of sense given that 1) One thing we can all agree on is helping a college student get free beer from a prof. is pretty damn sweet, and 2) this group provides a way to actually get something done. I have read 10,000 posts, and would happily read 10,000 more if you all have anything to say about the issue. I didn’t get a keg- to be honest, it wasn’t really a possibility because my professor enjoys having a job, but he did take the class to the bar and bought a bunch of pitchers of quality beers. I have started a group that hopes to recruit 144,000 Angels for humanitarian projects. It is calledIn your Facebook! and can be found at the Facebook community. Let’s see how I do… Here is an example fo who will benefit: COFFEE and TLOECW ****The picture is from another Facebook group with several thousand members called: Alcohol Improves My Foreign Language! It ranks right up there with the If Another Taxi Driver Tries to Talk to Me About Da Shan, I’ll Go Postal community. Both are real groups on Facebook!

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