I don’t want to brag here, but just recently none other than Keanu Reeves offered to connect with me on LinkedIn.
I’m not surprised, really. No doubt he has heard of my work in the late ’70s on Wombat when I was stopped in the street by Fiona MacDonald1 and asked about the environment. Turns out I had plenty to say on it, to the extent that in the actual broadcast piece you could hear the cameraman saying, “Shut him up! Shut him up!”. There are no doubt a few judges, magistrates and tribunal members out there who could relate.
Or perhaps he heard of my stellar work on the stage2 playing the lead role in a play called (really) Sylvester Hambone, and later the World War 2 epic, The Frogmen, both of which were extremely well received by the savvy and hard-to-impress students of Kruger State School.
Actually, I have to confess these plays, in years six and seven, did not require much of an audition. Getting into them was largely based on academic merit, in that, if you finished your work early you got to work in the play. My friend Laurie and I read the school’s entire supply of SRA cards by about the third week of year six, so we were in a lot of plays due to our advanced literacy skills. He is now a professor and world-renowned expert in Shakespeare, and I write this column; I will leave it to others to judge which of us has fulfilled our potential in this regard.
Indeed, we were once allowed to write a play, which was called Snow White and the Four Dwarves, and involved surfing; it was every bit as good as it sounds. I am sure it would have been made into a movie by now if it were not for the fact that much of it was lost in translation.
By this, I mean that all the performers were selected for their academic merit, and not – as became painfully obvious to the audience – acting talent. So, much of what was (I assure you) astonishingly witty dialogue, was somewhat diminished by being alternately mumbled or shouted at by straight-A students who didn’t want to be there in the first place; I suspect the audience could relate. It was still better than anything Adam Sandler has ever done though.
My first thought when I received Keanu’s invitation (we are on a first-name basis, it seems) was that he wanted to resurrect Snow White and the Four Dwarves for a modern audience, and give Laurie and I a huge amount of money for the privilege. I haven’t spoken to Laurie about it, but I am pretty confident he would be OK with that.
On closer inspection, though, I became a little suspicious. For a start, Keanu only had 12 connections, and while I concede that the third Matrix movie wasn’t as good as it might have been – due to making about as much sense as Donald Trump tweeting after a hard night on the detergent IV – I would still have thought Mr. Reeves could muster more connections. Also, the profile identified Keanu is a musician and having heard him play, I am doubting the real Keanu would claim that. I began to suspect that strange things were afoot at the Circle K.
Clearly, it wasn’t the real Keanu Reeves – heck, it wasn’t even Ted’s evil robot doppelganger.3 I have to be careful with this sort of thing because I am not well-versed in social media (which is a polite way of saying I suck at it). This is partly because I am new to most forms of it, and partly because I have nowhere near enough hate in my soul to participate in social media debates.
Most social media reminds me of this one pub we occasionally went to back when I played cricket, for reasons which escape me now (I mean the reasons we went to the pub escape me; I know why I played cricket).4 It was a fairly casual place with a relaxed dress code in which shoes, shirts, and even teeth were largely considered optional.
It did observe a certain social etiquette, in that everyone was friendly and of the ‘live and let live’ philosophy unless someone committed a social ‘faux pas’,5 such as looking sideways at someone else or clearing their throat – in which case a ferocious brawl would break out.
If you wanted to stay out of it – trust me, you did – you pretended it wasn’t happening, talking and drinking as normal and trying not to step on broken glass. It was considered good form to lift your feet up if combatants rolled underneath your chair.
Social media is like that pub, but without being as polite. Posting something like ‘aren’t flowers pretty?’ usually results in a pile-on involving diatribes about how flowers are bad for the environment, symbols of western cultural elitism, Chinese expansionism, Marxism, Leninism, McCartneyism, Ringoism and above all offensive to those with no sense of smell.
This may be why Keanu is so selective that he only has 12 connections…
1 Actually, I cannot remember who it was, so I am going to claim it was her and if she doesn’t like it she can sue (Proctor, that is, not me).
2 Technically, the concrete slab outside the Tuckshop.
3 It is too a word.
4 Because it was good, healthy fun that improved your social skills, taught teamwork and resilience and involved drinking beer afterward. And beforehand for some guys.
5 French for, ‘What the hell are you looking at!?”
© Shane Budden 2020. Shane Budden is a Queensland Law Society ethics solicitor.