If you haven’t joined Instagram yet, well, you just lost to the Pope

People join social media platforms with very different attitudes.

Most just embrace it. It’s a new avenue to express yourself, to show your fun side, and to even boost your digital presence. Social media has literally given millions of people a voice and an identity. We’ve entered an era where generations are growing up on their iPhones.

Others, like me, participate in social media halfheartedly. I wait until a particular service becomes so popular and so widely discussed that I no longer have a choice.

And then when I do join, my first post is usually a sarcastic, self-deprecating one mocking the fact that I am further conforming to social media.

One week later, I’m hooked. Although, to be fair, I only participate in the “Big 3” — Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Screw you Vine. You will never win me over. Not while I’m still breathing, dammit.

Pope Francis Instagram.jpgBut what I’ve learned is that there’s really no escaping social media anymore. Why even fight it? People’s pets have their own pages now. Babies too.

The only group you’re in if you lack an Instagram is one that includes your grandparents, starving Ethiopian children, and your coworker Nathan who loves to share at every opportunity how he’s heroically refrained from joining social media and how much better his life is for it.

And guess who else won’t be in that group? The Pope.

Ladies and gentlemen, Pope Francis is on Instagram. And it’s not just noteworthy that he joined, but the way he joined.

On Twitter on Saturday, he wrote, “I am beginning a new journey, on Instagram, to walk with you along the path of mercy and the tenderness of God.”

Wow. And on top of that, his first post said the phrase “Pray for me” in nine languages. 

That’s one hell of an entrance — oxymoron intended. If I declared my presence on Instagram the same way, I’m pretty sure my closest friends wouldn’t even follow me. And I would get reported for being evangelist spam.

I bet when the dudes who invented Instagram first conceived the idea in their parents’ basement, even at their highest point, they didn’t say, “Bro, people can use this app to post pictures, and like, talk to God.”

And the other one was like “Yeahhhhh bro. Wait, what?”

Obviously this speaks to the progressiveness of Pope Francis, and furthers his reputation as “the cool pope.”

Will I follow the Pope? I don’t know. I haven’t decided yet. I feel like by doing so, I am by extension becoming a follower of the Roman Catholic Church. And as a proud Jew, that would be an act of betrayal.

Although, the idea that I might be able to repent my sins in the comments section of Instagram is pretty appealing.

Like that time last week when I was on the street corner at night and called over to a —

You know what. I’ll stick to doing this in private.

America, please: stop listening to Donald Trump and Kanye West

Alright everybody, if you’re reading this on a Friday, then congratulations! You made it through the week! High five!

Nobody? No? Ok.

*slowly lowers hand and scratches the side of his head to save face.*

And if you’re reading this on late Thursday night, then you disgust me.

So right now I would like to issue a little bit of a loving plea to the entire world. Think of it as a friendly love letter from your favorite neighborhood blogger.

Can we place stop listening and dissecting the words of crazy people? There are a lot of really smart, thought-provoking individuals in the world who deserve our attention. And yet, we choose to focus and highlight those that are borderline deranged.

Kanye TrumpAnd I’m talking about two people who have gained massive followers throughout their careers. Donald Trump and Kanye West. Also known as, your 2016 Republican ticket.

On Thursday, Donald Trump took on the Pope. As in, the actual head of the Catholic Church, which has more than 1.25 billion followers worldwide. Our closest human representation to God himself! Or herself — (just kidding, LOL)

OK, so maybe it was Pope Francis who made the first move. At the end of his six-day visit to Mexico to preach social justice and tolerance for immigrants, the Pope replied to a question from a reporter about the Republican presidential forerunner’s plan to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexican border by saying Trump is “not Christian.”

Trump fired back by calling Pope Francis’s remarks “disgraceful.”

The bottom line is that Trump can’t even see eye-to-eye with the Pope, and yet, we expect him to be an honorable diplomat for our country. The sad thing is his followers won’t care. Trump’s campaign is a runaway train at this point, and he’s taking America along for a ride that is well beyond anyone’s control.

And Kanye. Oh, Kanye. What do we do with you?

You embark on an absolutely delirious Twitter tirade calling yourself this generation’s Pope FrancisDisney World, declare yourself $53 million in debt, beg Mark Zuckerberg and Google co-founder Larry Page for a billion dollars, and create a chart of your future ideas, one of which being “emoticon auto-correct.” (Let’s all be real — that last idea is pretty solid.)

And yet, in the same week, you release “The Life of Pablo,” which, undoubtedly, will probably set a new standard among all rap and hip-hop releases moving forward.

I just don’t know anymore. You’ve got Trump going at it with the Pope, and Kanye going on an Amanda Bynes-like breakdown on social media.

People are addicted to crazy talk. That’s all there is to it. You throw around some nonsensical banter and suddenly you’re at the top of politics and music, respectively.

And who knows, one day it may be both. Kanye did promise us a 2020 presidential run, after all.

Oh well. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. I’m going to hit up Donald and Yeezus this weekend and we’ll all go see Deadpool.

Kanye, you’re paying.

We’re all one kiss from the pope away from lifelong immortality

I can safely say that I’ve never before wished to be kissed by a dude.

And I had to actually think about that for a second. I’m not homophobic or insecure in the sense that I’d immediately become insulted and answer defensively if somebody asked if I’ve ever before longed to be kissed by a male. And not even on the lips. Just a soft peck on the cheek or forehead.

But nonetheless, the answer is no. I’ve admired men for their looks, don’t get me wrong, but never craved any type of physical contact besides a firm fist bump.

I’m going somewhere with this. I promise.

All of that changed today. When I was watching the coverage of Pope Francis arrive at the White House this morning, followed by a mini-parade in which he waved to onlookers surrounding Capitol Hill, I couldn’t help but notice the Secret Pope Francis visitService bring him two babies and a young girl to kiss. I’m guessing — or rather, hoping — it was at the urging of their parents. And the pope obliged.

Those children had no idea what was going on. But how cool of a story will it be when they are older to tell people that they were kissed by the pope? The freaking pope. Basically the human version of God.

And not just any pope, but arguably the most popular and modest one ever. At least in our lifetime.

Forget needing to go to confession, or even praying ever again. If I was blessed by the pope, I would live the remainder of my life as if I could do no wrong. I’d feel immortal.

And I don’t mean that I wish I could go back in time for it. I want Pope Francis to give me a smooch on my forehead, right now, as a 28-year-old man.

In that instant, all my past misgivings would be forgiven. It’s almost like being given a free pass.

Pope Francis is here for six days, and scheduled to visit New York and Philadelphia after Washington. He’s already spoken about immigration, climate change and poverty today, and I’m sure he’ll have a lot more to share before he departs. It’s his first visit to the U.S. — not even as pope, but in all his 78 years of living — and he’s the fourth pontiff to make the trip stateside.

And I demand a kiss on the forehead.

Taylor Swift clearly isn’t going to give me one, despite my constant requests on Twitter, so maybe the “People’s Pope,” as they call him, will acquiesce.

Otherwise, him and I will have Bad Blood.