Outrage and counter-outrage

Imlisanen Jamir

There are, at this point, only two options:

1.Either all the conservatives and “classical liberals” literally have beans in their ears, or;

2. Every member of the left truly is so totally incoherent in stating their beliefs that it is literally impossible for conservatives to understand the ideology they claim to oppose.

Tension surrounding the power dynamics of gender, race, language etc — especially on the internet — is generally par for the course, but it’s hard to avoid just how much this dynamic structures our lives online these days.

Amid these seemingly constant crises, a new pejorative term has cropped up in online communities like Reddit and 4chan: the ‘social justice warrior,’ or SJW.

This pro- and anti-politically correct “debate” is, in my opinion, the ultimate debate for people who have too much free time. It’s a contest of seeing who can get the most offended over the most stupid nonsense.

It’s an extremely dumb debate where neither side are totally wrong or totally right, but it’s one we get hammered at us every damn day on social media.

Hard-fought politics on the ground is slow-moving, often boring and not likely to be shared, liked or commented upon. Membership of political parties is at an all-time low. The thankless slog of going door-to-door, communicating a message, persuading an audience and actually acting on your beliefs – rather than spouting them online during ad breaks on reality TV shows – is perceived as terminally old-fashioned.

It is shameful to think that the actions of seminal social and political figures have now been replaced with these lazy, crude, stupid and infantile justice warriors, be they on the left or right.

The two groupings have ushered in a “oh yes you did – oh no I didn’t” pantomime style of politics: a cheap, cliche-ridden dumb-show with predictable and tiresome audience participation.

For every overly-PC nut sucking his thumb over what a comic book character wore, there’s a screaming counterpart on the other side making a fool of herself/himself (itself?) reacting to them and being stupid.

Now, we must here refer to that old fundamental adage that even if someone is saying something that is reprehensible and wrong, their freedom to say it must be protected on the grounds that he/she (it?) is getting people to think about the validity or strength of their own personal convictions.

Neither the social justice warriors nor the anti-social justice warriors make any perfect sense, but these are interesting times to be alive.

Comments can be sent to imlisanenjamir@gmail.com