It feels a little frustrating that a site like Salon that I used to always go to for great news, great commentary, did turn into a caricature of what a lot of really dumb conservatives used to say it was. That’s really disturbing to me because I don’t want it to be. And I’ve been saying this over and over again.
I asked, “Is there any way to be critical of this “callout culture” without sounding like a whiny white male who is sad that he can’t tell racist jokes anymore?” And she told me, “No. So just go ahead and do it.” I’m sure some people will take it that way. And that is unfortunate, because I honestly think there is a balance that could be struck between making sure that closet racists, woman-haters, etc are made known and this kind of obsession with finding something Wrong with everyone. And yes, I think someone sifting through five years of tweets upon first hearing of a comedian is, if not legitimately obsessive, at least on the Obsession Spectrum.
We are addicted to the rush of being offended and we love tearing down our idols. Always have, always will. I’m not going to join the Patton Oswalt brigade of “Oh dear, You People are so sensitive that it’s silencing my white male voice!”
George Carlin famously joked about how everyone who drives slower than you is an idiot, and everyone who drives faster than you is a maniac. As in so many instances, George was making us laugh while imparting a deep truth about human nature to us: We all picture ourselves occupying the sensible, moderate, middle ground; we all imagine ourselves to be the embodied avatar of clear-eyed common sense. Personally, I think this tendency is hardwired into our psychology. It comes standard with the narrative-maker we all use to make sense of the world. Everybody, no matter how nuts they are, thinks there are clowns to the left of them and jokers to the right.
Like the Bible says, then, as ye triangulate, so shall ye be triangulated against. Oswalt wants to take pains to differentiate himself from the “dumb conservatives” who were criticizing the excesses of progressive piety a long time ago, which kind of prompts the question of how dumb they really are if they were wise to this well in advance of him, but we’ll let that slide. Ed tries to heed the wise words of his friend, but a mere few sentences later, his weak nerve breaks and he realizes that he doesn’t have to outrun the social justice mob, he only has to outrun Patton Oswalt, so he slaps a PRIVILEGE RULES, SOCIAL JUSTICE DROOLS sign on Oswalt’s back and takes off at a sprint.
Salon is indeed a worthless leftish tabloid, so good on Oswalt for giving ’em the what-for. And the rest of Ed’s post is perfectly agreeable, so huzzah to him for saying it. Overall, there’s far more positives than negatives in those two links. But like Ben Franklin said, you fellows might want to learn how to hang together, or you will assuredly hang separately. Look, I speak as one who has spent a few years waging solo guerilla warfare deep behind enemy lines here. I returned with a very simple message: If there is ever to be a viable alternative to technocratic, corporate-friendly, neoliberal Democrats or rabid, corporate-friendly, reactionary Republicans, it sure as shit is not going to spring from the barren, toxic soil of intersectional identity politics. Therefore, there is no need to placate these people or make excuses for them. If you are critical of them at all and significant enough to attract their attention, they will eventually treat you the same way they’ve treated all those other racist, misogynist, right-wing shitlords, many of whom, funny enough, considered themselves liberals in good standing right up until the moment they found themselves being publicly denounced and ostracized. If you think this only happens to people who “deserve” it, that your obvious reasonableness and unimpeachable credibility will prevent such a travesty from ever happening to you, then you’re a fool, and I hope for your sake you’re not active on social media.