Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Fall of a Liberal Heart

So the big announcement has gone out that John Stewart will be leaving The Daily Show. His replacement is a comedian from South Africa, Trevor Noah: a half black, half Swiss Jew who grew up in Apartheid. A mixed-race child with interracial parents in a time and a place where such a thing was literally illegal. Amazingly, outrage culture has found a way to attack him, he who would otherwise be the perfect demographic to replace Stewart, because he's made some dodgy tweets.

But that's not what we're here to discuss. It's been talked to death. I've had a crazy week, and I'm behind on everything right now, so I'm going to make my contribution short. I discussed David Pakman previously, and how his Gamergate interviews seemed to age him every-so-slightly and make him question his stances based on who he supposed his allies to be. It's happening again.

I've never been a fan of Patton Oswalt. By the time he was on my radar, he'd become known for goofy, awkward comedy, and he reminds me of me several years ago. Extremely Left, extremely Progressive. But he's said some things I agree with:
It just really, really bothers me, if the liberal progressives have now become the scolds. We were the Grouchos! We’re not the Margaret Dumonts — and we’re turning into the Margaret Dumonts on a lot of levels. That lets the misogynists and homophobes and racists seem like the rebels: “Well, we’re saying what people can’t say anymore.” We should be having way more fun with language and jokes and going too far. If our side starts doing that, then I think we’re fucked in terms of moving forward as a society.
As is becoming more and more predictable, the reaction to Trevor Noah's dodgy tweets has, perhaps, pushed one more person further from the Progressive Left, and this one's got an audience. Read below. While these may have been tweeted dangerously close to the vicinity of April Fools', I believe them genuine at this time, based on Oswalt's past behavior and statements.

A joke in 53 tweets, helpfully collected in chronological order.

He's now being attacked in some corners. Being called a "brocialist" and being mercilessly ripped to shreds for defending the idea of comedy. And yet... even the most fervent peddlers of outrage culture at Jezebel seems to be aware that there was a line somewhere, and we've clearly crossed it.

Even some of the foot soldiers of the outrage machine are starting to show a glimmer of self-awareness. Taken from neo-reactionary progressive hive /r/GamerGhazi:
"Lacked moral character"? Really? You see this is what I was talking about. It's not enough to just say "He fucked up" it has to become a judgement about his worthiness as a human.This is why people don't like us liberals. We don't judge actions, we judge people. I personally thought the fat chicks joke was awful. I thought the tweet about Jenner and the Kardashians showed PROFOUND ignorance. But you know what else I thought? That the world would be a much better place if we could get HIM to see that. I'm more interested in getting people to STOP being shitlords rather than feeling self satisfied at publicly calling them out when they are.We throw around high minded ideals about tolerance and standing up for the downtrodden, but when it comes down to it we're about judging, pointing, and laughing not to try and make the world better but because it makes us feel good. It's Brianna Wu's bloody cup of coffee all over again.
In short, I can no longer, in good faith, apply a certain label to myself. I give up Progressive. I no longer want that label, given the behaviour of others using it. This is the same kind of horse-shit that made me stop calling myself a feminist. I'm tired, I'm going to bed, and I have no idea what I will be when I wake up.

And isn't that exciting?

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