Monday, September 3, 2018

Blood sport

When Lionel Shriver writes "Millennials aren’t taking offence. They’re hunting for victims" she is writing about that which she—having experienced it—feels rather strongly:
.... What is the real emotional experience of pouncing on minor infractions of rules right-on activists seem to be making up as they go along, and which only proliferate and grow more exacting the more cravenly the rest of us obey the last ones? .... Nothing short of exhilaration. Crusaders relish locating another paper dragon to slay. In the guise of suffering and woundedness, the overriding emotion in call-out culture is a sensation of triumph.

Radiating rapidly from campuses into the larger polity, the noble defence of an infinitely multiplying list of ‘marginalised groups’ is a predatory movement. Prowling the cultural veldt for givers of ‘offence’ is a blood sport, and its pleasures are those of hunting: spotting your prey, stalking, going in for the kill. Any source of umbrage thus presents an exulting opportunity to score a trophy, stuff it, and hang it on your (Facebook) wall. Mainstream institutions straining to be with-it give credence to this pretence of injury and vulnerability, when no one’s feelings actually have been hurt. ....

Despite youth’s reputed belief in the importance of being earnest, the whole ID politics movement is emotionally disingenuous. When during that Evergreen foofaraw a rabid convocation of students cowed the college president into lowering his arms at the podium because they found his hand gestures ‘threatening’, those students didn’t feel jeopardised; they were dominating and emasculating a man supposedly in authority. The students cowering in ‘safe spaces’ don’t feel endangered; they’re claiming territory. In protecting the faux-helpless from noxious opinions via no-platforming, they’re exercising power. The experience of exercising power isn’t scary, except on the receiving end; it’s supremely gratifying. These people aren’t frightened. They want you to be frightened of them. And we’re not talking ‘microaggression’. PC police often prefer macroaggression, the kind that can get people sacked. ....