Friday, November 26, 2010

Facebook heads south...

Little more than a year ago, I was being forced to operate two social networks, one for my friends, family and former colleagues outside Guatemala (Facebook), and one for all the Chapines (Hi5). Now the local migration to the more prim and proper pages of Mark Zuckerberg's platform is almost complete.

Following the link trail from friends to friends of friends, I recently found myself in the bizarre Facebook ghetto that is Yepocapa. I've never actually been up there, but the impression one gets from "The Face" is a community packed with vain, materialistic, cousin-shagging servidores de Cristo, who like to moped around the place in Oscar de la Renta sunglasses, not entirely unlike southern Italians. (Mondragone was particularly memorable as far as this peculiar raza of poseurs goes.)

Those not listing 'La Biblia' — or even particular psalms — under their Favourite Books [Bibliaphiles?], leave no doubt about their cultural aspirations with remarks such as "Yo no leo" or even "Déjenme, ninguno."

Just how far south we've come from the virtual hang-out of the Harvard elite, becomes clear the moment one lets one's curiosity assume control of the mouse. One pre-teen friend of a family member lists as her only interest Money. Her brother meanwhile has but one activity: Xbox 360, while another mate of his keeps himself busy with McDonalds and nothing else. One girl in this neck of the virtual woods seems almost offended by the question of 'Interests', having typed in her answer as Yo no soy interesada!

It's not all grim reading for anyone who cares about the future of civilisation in this part of the world, however. One of V's nephews is a biochemist and his circle of university friends quaff from a quite enviable pool of shared cultural interests: "Learn to thinking...Ernesto Sabato, Nietzsche, Rayuela, Roberto Bolaño, Milan Kundera etc etc."

For some reason the movie version of Perfume seems to have gained a lot of traction with the junior chattering classes here in Guatemala. Perhaps the book isn't so freely available in translation.

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