Remember those videos a few years ago that would open on a room of people either standing motionless or quietly moving about, totally independent of one another, while music builds and builds up to a breakdown, and then just before the breakdown some outside voice would command, “Do the Harlem Shake,” at which point all those in the video would begin dancing? Remember how the first few videos were pretty cool? The first few were obviously choreographed, the dancing was professional and competent, but remember how the videos slowly devolved into nothing more than a trend bent on outdoing each video, the participants determined to command the entire attention of those watching in whatever way they could. I remember the last few videos I watched and they were totally incoherent. You might have one person doing jumping jacks, one person might be doing the Macarena or Running Man or some other irrelevant outdated dance, and one guy off in the back slamming his head against the wall or tackling some other participant. They were nothing more than cries for attention, attempts to get the world to acknowledge them through views, likes, and shares.
This is social activism in 2016. Sure, the first participants probably had coherent, clear intents they wanted to accomplish, and being students of the Internet they took to social media and online mediums to try to achieve these goals. But, as usually happens with human movements, their message quickly got lost and devolved into nothing more than a trend, something that people today do not because they believe they will legitimately do anything, but because someone else is doing it so it feels like the right, nay, the cool thing to do. Professional Victimhood, Social Justice Warrioring, has become nothing more than a pathetic pageant in which the various competitors vye for the prize of unnamed reparations for unmeasured injustices committed against them at an unspecific date. Why? Because in 2016 being a victim is cool. Somehow in the progression of Western culture it became trendy, edgy, popular, to declare yourself a victim of something. Suddenly shortcomings aren’t shortcomings, they’re atrocities committed upon you at the hands of a larger aggressor, usually an unidentifiable “bias” or “prejudice,” believed to have been instituted hundreds of years ago by heterosexual cis gender white sexist European Imperialist males that somehow still affects the way a person is treated at their university that’s less than fifty years old. Right.
This is why I give no legitimacy to any of the social justice movements in 2016. Black Lives Matter? Nope. Third wave feminism? No thanks. LGBTQAIIP rights? I’ll pass. At their inception these movements may have had coherent goals, but they’ve been hijacked so severely by people seeking nothing more than legitimacy and social media attention that they can no longer even claim to want to achieve anything. You see, all of what they hope to achieve is already totally possible in America in 2016. If Black Lives Matter supporters really wanted to see police in their communities treat minorities better, they’d go to their city governments and demand law enforcement reform. If Third Wave Feminists were so concerned with the way women were treated, they’d get on a plane and go to the Middle East, where women can be killed in public at the drop of a hat because a man perceived her behavior to be outside the established social laws. If LGBTQAIIP activists thought themselves shunned of the lifestyle afforded heterosexual couples, they would take their cause to their state legislatures, instead of idle until the Supreme Court delegated “freedom,” from on high. But, it seems the majority of the supporters aren’t doing things to enact the change they love to yell to others at from behind their keyboards.
Of all the new found activists you run across on your social media pages, shoveling their often unfounded and inaccurate opinions into the faces of those they perceive to be the perpetrators of the various injustices they struggle to survive living through, how many of them are actually accomplishing anything? Do they post pictures of themselves starting petitions in their respective cities addressing the change they hope to create, or do they just post meme after “woke” meme? I’ll answer for you. It’s the second option, and it’s because actually trying to accomplish change is boring and tiresome and won’t get you nearly as many likes and shares as an edgy meme will.
That’s ultimately the goal of your 2016 social activist, internet glory. Whether or not their cause receives real attention is irrelevant, because it’s personal social media glory they’re after. If they can get triple digit retweets, that’s basically the same thing as finding an elected representative to push through whatever legislation will amend the problem they’ve been protesting. Even what little in the world action is taken is reflective of their “your work not mine” mentality. Look at the Black Lives Matter doctrine on protesting. Torch a city so that other people will become motivated to do your work for you and the most you’ll have had to do is throw a few Molotov cocktails through a storefront. That isn’t being “woke” as they would have you believe. That’s at best being misinformed of how government operates and at worst being not only lazy but fundamentally uncaring of the issue you so vehemently demand others give attention to.
I’ve no doubt that soon something trendier than professional victimhood will capture the attention of pop culture. Though it may be trendy and edgy now to try to emulate our previous generations of protesters and activists, (though to their credit they actually knew what to do and knew that change demanded action) soon enough it’ll be trendier to do and be something else besides offended and victimized. It looks bad now, but micro aggressions and safe spaces will go the way of every other social trend so just sit back, have a laugh at those fully immersed in its nonsense, and remind them that 1,000 likes and shares equals zero votes.