Tone Police

Everyone who pays attention to the Culture Wars knows that the cry “That’s offensive!” is an attack most often used by SJWs – those who don’t care one whit for civic virtues like modesty, humility, or forbearance, but want everyone else to show such virtues towards themselves, while they indulge their egos with exhibitionism of every kind of perversion, overweening superiority, and vicious hate.

However, some things actually are offensive. The civic virtues above cannot be maintained without some form of policing, but the mechanism of public shaming has been co-opted by The Evil.

I tend to have a visceral, “kill it now” reaction to people engaging in tone policing online. At best, they are the Useful Idiots of totalitarian thought police – if you cannot have a strident discussion by text on the internet, where no one can say they feel physically threatened by a partisan shouting in their faces, then there is literally no place for impassioned discourse, anywhere. Unless it’s a bunch of SJWs shouting down invited speakers at colleges, that is. /sarc

So if you’re concerned about tone, what should you do? Well, if you’re a Respected Elder-type person, I think you can get away with enjoining a higher form of discourse, as long as you’re well known for mastery of language yourself. (I’m thinking somebody like John Wright here.) Blog moderators, of course, can set whatever speech codes they like for their platforms, but that’s not “tone policing” as I’m thinking of it – the tone police come into someone else’s space in order to impose their own modes of courtesy. Kind of like how that attractive white woman went walking around in minority neighborhoods and then called all the (oppressed minority!1!!11!) men sexist misogynists for not using feminist-approved UMC white manners in their interactions with her.

But say you’re just an average person, and you see something online that makes you uncomfortable. What should you do? Well, if you were in a group of people, would you just jump up and start lecturing somebody in front of the entire group on manners? If you’re not a SJW, the answer is “no” – you’d probably look for a chance to speak privately with the person whose speech made you uncomfortable, and discuss it with them. (At least, that’s what you’d do if you were a properly-trained adult instead of an insufferable busybody. Those might be thin on the ground, though.) Do the same online. Don’t jump into a middle of a conversation that other people are having in order to lecture them on internet manners. Observe how the community interacts while lurking – different internet communities have different communication standards, and what would make a typical tumblr denizen start hysterically cutting itself is standard in some corners of the ‘net. If you don’t like it, go someplace else. Why should anyone else change their community just to make you feel better? What makes you that important? NOTHING.

Postscript – blah blah voting blah. Whatever. I already wrote my piece on that, although I have to say, Facebook grrrlz, that if the only reason you’re voting is because you’re a woman and the suffragettes worked really hard to get you the right to vote, you should probably stay home. We don’t need even more ignoramuses voting on the basis of things that happened a century ago, kthxbai.

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About pancakeloach

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