Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Right Wing World: Alt-Rightspeak: New Version of Political Correctness

I've had a hard time blogging of late, mostly due to the changing ways I experience the internet itself. I find myself engaging more in social media, message boards and the like, in shorter bites, than I do sitting down to write long blog posts. But the habit has its drawbacks, not the least of which is letting my blog run fallow.

One of those drawbacks is enduring the sheer repetitive asshattedness of many people on what I'd consider "the other side." Short on imagination, but long on conformity, it has always been true that folks on the right latch onto key words, phrases and turns of phrases that light their fire. Maybe that's just human nature, but on the right, it takes a) a hard, mean edge and b) a slavish repetition of an annoyingly unclever nature.

Image from Counter-Currents.com
The best pre-Trumpian example I can think of, is the conservative response to any story featuring or related to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. Maddow is a darling on the left, a personal favorite, and as only your 90-year-old aunt might not know, a famous lesbian. The last part goes without saying in mainstream and left-leaning sites and stories. But on the right, it must be acknowledged, and it must be in the form of (what they consider) snarky put-downs, and mock-incredulous questions. But it always takes the same form: she looks like a man and her name is easily distorted to "Mad Cow" or "Man Cow." Though it's true that they do this in a variety of ways, it's a very small topic list, and the variations can be counted on your fingers and toes. They're repeated every time as though they're the most clever thing in the world, often (even usually) in place of actual arguments against her points.

And that's what I run across daily in Right Wing World, a maddening repetition of words, phrases, euphemisms and terminology that thinks it's clever (but isn't very clever), and worst, finds itself hilarious, though it wasn't funny the first time. Beyond that, much of the time, this language, this Alt-rightspeak is itself every bit the thing they rail against with Political Correctness.

Political Correctness (PC), is a badly-named, rather archaic concept, because the PC label applies whether liberals (allegedly the PC Police) are in power, or if conservatives are.  It began as an attempt to be more inclusive, accurate and considerate with language. Basically, it's not talking like a dick, about other people. Treating them as they'd like to be treated. Using terminology that people would like to have used about them, rather than terms they find inaccurate, insulting, degrading or just irritating. Unfortunately, as with absolutely everything in human history, it can be taken to extremes. Equally unfortunately--again, as with everything--it is the extremes that are used as examples of what is so "wrong" with political correctness. Which set us up for the Trump Era, where being anti-PC is "in," as is being a dick with supposed impunity.

But Trumpers have their own set of pet words, their own euphemisms, their own codes, which could accurately be called Political Correctness itself, because these are the people in power at the moment. It's just our lot in life that this new PC, this alt-rightspeak, is repetitive and irritating.

Special snowflake. Safe space. Cuck (and endless, clunky, awkward variations of cuck). SJW (social justice warrior). Libtard (and many variations of "tard," regardless of its backlash).  These terms are thrown at people like me on social media as though they are withering insults, and the height of cleverness. They don't know that most liberals don't know what they're even talking about. Without looking the terms up, most of us have never heard of a "safe space," have never considered ourselves special snowflakes. Don't attach the same meaning to "cuck" if we have any idea what they're even saying. And we don't find fighting for social justice to be a bad thing (and still have to look up SJW because we've never heard of it). Still, they fancy themselves to be wordsmiths on the leading edge with their debating skills.

What they're missing is that they themselves are every bit as over-sensitive to criticism as they accuse others. They're just as apt to react with high emotion if the wrong language is leveled at them. Insults of Trump, for example, are just as likely to turn them into "special snowflakes" themselves, as anyone. And their own code words can be just as goofy as anything they rail against. Worse, we don't need to find extreme examples, they're all extreme!

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