Saturday, April 18, 2015

Wish I Knew How to Quit You

I must admit, Will Shetterly's periodic proclamations of being done with blogging about SJWs had a comforting familiarity about them. Like winter becoming spring and summer fading into fall, all seemed right with the world upon seeing yet another post from Will insisting that, no, really, he means it this time, he's done. His latest resolution, though, makes me suspect it might stick.

Way, way back in the day, when Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre announced that he was entering rehab for painkiller addiction, it prompted some uneasy media coverage over what high health costs these athletes were incurring for the sake of our entertainment. I remember reading one article in which a former player was quoted as saying that he had been in the locker room and seen guys, when told that they couldn't have any more painkillers, start desperately licking out the pill residue from their empty bottles. For him, that was the breaking point. If you're sticking your tongue down a bottle just to get a little pill dust, you've got a serious problem, he said.

In the course of my travels around the web over the last few years, as I attempted to gain perspective on the SJW phenomenon, I have definitely encountered a fair number of bottle-lickers. Of course, "hate-reading" is a longstanding tradition online, especially in the political blogosphere where I was, uh, raised. Lots of blogs are built entirely around the desire to obsessively catalog and relentlessly mock the output of their ideological opponents. Some of them can do it lightheartedly while maintaining a sense of humor, but some of them are uncomfortably close to being stalkers who could really stand to develop other, more rewarding, hobbies. I've seen who knows how many thousands of words of gleefully angry commentary devoted to parsing the most irrelevant utterances of Jonah Goldberg, Peezus Myers and other buffoons, and I was always conscious of wanting to avoid becoming one of those humorless obsessives. If you find yourself eagerly anticipating the stupidity and depravity of others as a source of frivolous entertainment, you might want to step back and introspect.

I never made any official New Year's resolution or anything like that, but sometime over the winter, I came to feel that I had gotten a satisfactory perspective on the whole thing for my purposes. I had a mission and an exit strategy, and with that accomplished, my interest began to fade like the end of a song. The problem, though, is that much of online media, especially the current events/pop-culture part of it, has a blatant social justice-y slant, with the terminology and thematic focus of intersectionality popping up damned near everywhere. Even explicitly conservative sites are compelled to directly react to it, thus leaving the lone web voyager with an unsavory choice between Scylla and Charybdis. Perhaps hobbyist and niche interest sites might still provide a haven, but in general, I fear that the SJW worldview has become "a whole climate of opinion under which we conduct our differing lives", to borrow Auden's description of Freud's influence. Individuals may decide to be done with it, but it might be a long while before it's done with us.