Exemplar: irony

A lovely, creative person RTed several supposedly progressive/politically correct social messages. They serve as prime examples of accidental public irony.

When people use the term snowflake unironically, just remember they’re quoting Fight Club, a satire written by a gay man about how male fragility causes men to destroy themselves, resent society and become radicalized. and that Tyler Durden isnt the hero but a personification of the main character’s deep insecurities, and that his snowflake speech is a dig at how fascists use dehumanizing language to breed loyalty from insecure people. — Jacie “The” Chicken :heihei:

When one condescendingly explains the context of a word or phrase which has been absorbed into a language with a simpler, even inaccurate,  meaning, one is implying two things: that one is more-knowledgable, and that the user is committing a social solecism[en.WT]. This toot is egregious for the use ‘unironically’ instead of non-ironiquement descendant of ironia which itself descended from εἰρωνεία. This last, in particular, had the freighted meaning of pretended ignorance; hypocrisy. Is not it odd that someone pillorying others about not understanding the history of an idiomatic usage should fail to address that the use targeted is specifically without deceit or falsity?

I am, of course, exaggerating for effect. Jacie probably did not intend to belittle and denigrate people who are not as aware as xe is about the context of that meaning for ‘snowflake’.

But that is exactly what xe did.

A screen capture of a social media exchange

Re. the article I shared above. I fucking hate responses like this when you try to make people aware that a particular thing they do or say is in some way damaging, hurtful, and/or offensive to a subset of people. Such a gross distortion of reality.

JUST BE FUCKING NICE. Fuck’sake. And if you have trouble being nice, if you have trouble with being told that being offensive is bad, consider that you’re part of the fucking problem. — WelshPixie

Let us transcribe the original exchange:

    • _blank_: I think in the future we’re all going to have to learn to mime because anything you say can and will be held against you. 😀
    • WelshPixie: Del Anghard I think in the future people will just need to accept that they should be more considerate of others and the damage their own words can do, no matter how much it inconveniences them and takes away their ‘right’ to be offensive, intentionally or otherwise. That’s all it is, practising  consideration and being more aware. The only things being held against anyone are the things which cause hurt and harm, and if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t wish to cause people hurt or harm, then you read articles like this and gratefully learn from them instead of complaining about ‘not being able to say anything’.

 

I do not even know where to begin. But probably with the doxing.

Then let us, ever-so-briefly, mention that being sweet, firm, and condescending to someone on one social venue, and raging about that person on another social venue,  is not very honest. It is not even self-honest. Shouting “you’re part of the fucking problem” even into an empty room means you have divided humanity into us vs them – the problem people.

The anger at someone who responded to an implied previous ‘correction’ by disagreeing, by pointing out a logical (if facetious) extension, is honest but inappropriate. I do not have the full conversation, but it seems to me Del Anghard was trying to say “do not pick at every tiny shade of meaning or interpretation; it will inhibit honest discourse.” Which may be true.

Trying to school someone, and telling xyr xe should be grateful for the lesson, is stupid. Not pulling any punch here. It is just rude, and ineffective,  so WelshPixie was not getting xyr cause any bonuses here.

But xe may have been going for the social brownie points.

This kind of an attack, and that is what it is, on someone making a jocular if probably insensitive (and possibly downright mean-spirited) comment has an intended audience, which is usually not the person addressed. That is what private messages are for. Public messages are mark territory, pissing and scratching like any other critter – this is the intellectual area you claim, this is the alignment with tribe. This is the dog pile you start, participate in. This is the online bullying you engage in.


Social media is full of people trying their best to get along with each other. Sometimes this comes across wrongly. Especially for people who are trying to improve their world.

It would be nice if we stopped trying to change each other. That does not mean we let a misogynist hurt a woman; it means we do not try to change who/what they are. Because if that is okay, we start making up all kinds of rules and guidance to identify everyone who might, possibly, in some small way internalize misogyny. Or any other form of -ism. And attack them. Hurt them.

Act just as we assume/believe they act.

I would prefer if we just tried to get along. One of the best anti-hate campaigns I saw was when a group of marginalized people invited a group of the people campaigning to oppose them to have coffee/tea on the ground rules that neither side talk about the issue dividing them. Imagine a group of people stuck together whose only initial point of commonality is something they cannot talk about – they have to find other things to talk about. And soon they recognize other things they have in common – places they eat out, the weather last week, job problems, sports, parents/kids.

Awkward? sure. But it worked. No, it did not become all rainbows and butterflies. Yes, they still, ultimately, disagree. But like neighbors coming together to argue about the property line they came to an understanding that both groups are people, much more alike than different, and maybe a hedge/wall/fence is needed, or maybe it is not. And last I heard, rather a few years ago, some of the families were still getting together semi-regularly.

Did it stop the conflict, alleviate the issues of the marginalized group? No. But it did stop the local battle. And, maybe, it helped a few more families be less sure they are always right, that everything is binary good or bad.

The lesson, I think, is you probably cannot change people by forcing your world view on them. But you can take steps to reduce the conflict, probably by getting to know them and letting them get to know you. Or mutually agreeing not to interact.

And people are a lot more than a single issue, more than a flippant comment online. If you define others so narrowly, expect they will use the same guidance to define you. If you cannot be troubled to think about their larger personal context, why would you expect them to consider yours or anyone else’s?

Okay, rant done. I need to go stop following a few people, and then get to work.