Monday, October 24, 2016

A Dictionary for Victims

Woke, intervention, safe-space, micro-aggression. Everyday on social media we see these words and phrases, and many others besides. They have become the mainstay of the regressive left’s vocabulary. Most were borrowed or adopted from the US, where so many of our populist repertoires originate, but they are generally not well defined. Let’s see what we can do about that.

Here follows a guide for the perplexed:

Safe-space: A virtual prison, guarded in similar fashion.  You can't leave and you need permission to visit. Ostensibly designed to protect, it is in reality a Panopticon. Inside, each inmate acts as both enforcer and victim, policing their colleagues and mobilising sentiment against the outside world, presumably for a breakout at some point. However, while prisons have rehabilitation and reintegration at their heart, safe-spaces serve to regress and alienate. It is a safe enough place, for everything other than free speech. It is a total institution (see: hegemony).

Intervention: Threatened by more traditional words like "argument" or "criticism", using "intervention" serves to avoid any objective description as to the nature of a comment or insight. Thus, it is the phrase of choice for those wishing to avoid the hurt and pain that inevitably accompanies critical opinion. If every sentiment is merely an "intervention", all sentiments are equal, nonthreatening and neutral. Thomas Paine’s Common Sense was an intervention; so was your protestation on receiving the wrong change at the corner cafe.

Woke: A person who is woke is aware of injustice and prejudice, and embracing of the burden that accompanies being a social justice warrior (see: social justice warrior). It is an admission of failure; for before the revelation there was presumably just ignorance. And, like a religious conversion, it is worn as a badge of honour. Once pinned to your Facebook page, it is an all-encompassing truth. You cannot be woke and wrong. Only woke and misunderstood. From that point, all moralising flows. In order not to lapse back into ignorance, one must stay woke. It is a constant battle.

Intersectional: Something is labelled intersectional (in the real world we use the word complex) in order to negate specificity. If everything is multidimensional, nothing is as it appears and no one point can stand on its own. Every point has a context and no point is true in and of itself. Many of these contexts are unseen (unless you are woke) and to make a point without reference to this complexity is to lose any argument from first principles. On our roads, intersections are regulated and traffic flows in one direction or another. In the language of victimhood all lanes are always open.

Bodies: Bodies are metaphors. They are not physical but metaphysical. Thus, always they are accompanied by an adjective, usually racial in nature, giving them their true and final form. It is the language of otherness, to take something universal and redefine it as particular. It is one of the many rhetorical tools used to enforce difference. They are used negatively, as flash points for suffering. We all have bodies but to have, say, a "white body", is to possess something entirely different.

History: History, as practised in academia, is the study of days gone by and the attempt to understand and draw from it both truth and wisdom. History in the language of victimhood is what happened five minutes ago. And so 1976 and October 2016 can be effortlessly merged into a single stream of conscience. Everything turns on yesterday and there is no tomorrow. No perspective or wisdom either. Of course, the problem with labelling anything historic is that the exercise is redundant. Everything is historic in some sense or another. A better word would be "important". However, then you run the risk of exposing your own judgment; far more convenient to feign clairvoyance and, of course, place your humble self at the centre of history's grand narrative.

Violence: Violence, in the true sense of the word, is ubiquitous in SA; horrific in the depth and breadth of its depravity too. Rape, murder, assault; thousands, if not millions, suffer at its hands everyday. But, in an arrogant act of egomaniacal proportions, the language of victimhood has adopted the word to mean one’s feelings are hurt when offence is caused. Ideas and arguments, the word suggests, are the real cause of violence, belittling the very real experience of those who actually bleed and die. Soon, no doubt, other words will follow suit, as the language of victimhood seeks to elevate its own concerns above all others. Argue too strongly and, in the near future, it could be deemed a genocidal act.

Social Justice Warrior: Hashtags and posters are their weapons; sometimes human excrement too. They hunt down inequality and destroy it; often with the emphasis on the destroying. Enlightened in a way others are not, they can see through the fog of injustice. They can see the path and the light. But they cannot see too far down the path. So, often, it is their own future they damage in an act of self-harm. But their fires burn brightly, enough to light the path just a little bit more. And so they march on. Fire by fire.

Micro-aggression: A micro-aggression is a minor slight, one that causes violence (see: violence) to a particular body (see: bodies). It is met in turn by a macro-aggression, a phrase that, curiously, does not enjoy the same standing. A micro-aggression, its identification and countenance, is typically conveyed with passive-aggressive intent. Only that response is described as an intervention (see: intervention). In defence, to deny any intent other than human frailty or, indeed, the truth of the matter, is to reveal you are not woke (see: woke).

Myths: Myths are legends. Tall tales of magic and superstition. Like equality, that is a myth. And justice; that too is a fable. In dispelling these myths, the world of principles and ideals is conveniently conflated with the real world, with all its ambiguity and unfairness. Most people understand the difference but if you are woke (see: woke), this understanding has arrived as something of an epiphany. Lo and behold, the world is not fair or just. Once that point is agreed to, it is then appropriate to again differentiate the two worlds and to ask, what now? But first the dispelling of the myths.

The Economy: There is no definition for this word in the language of victimhood — no understanding of how it works either, nor its effects or its central importance to improving the quality of life, an appreciation for human rights or the creation of a better society. Certainly no policy or programme to address  it. Thus, it is never mentioned.

Hegemony: Used as an ironic reference to some powerful idea or practice, usually problematic in nature (patriarchy for example), with no appreciation for the fact that the language of victimhood, with all its demagogic undertones, is somewhat hegemonic itself in turn, which has many completely captured in its web. "Totalising" is another word often used in conjunction with this idea. Western ideas are totalising, we are told. The very fact that so much national discussion would seem to revolve around denigrating and maligning them, is evidence not of that the fact they are not totalising, but of the very kind of hegemonic thinking against which we are told to fight.

Disrupt: One must disrupt conventional thought, we are told, but in a particular way. Declaring, for example, Africa to be the biggest continent is not the kind of disruption we are after. That is worthy of ridicule. But saying science should be scrapped, that is acceptable; worthy of consideration and reflection. Importantly, one should never disrupt a disrupter, although one can intervene (see: intervention). To suggest some or other moronic disruption as just that, is to commit violence (see: violence), possibly on a particular body (see: bodies).

Western and African: No idea is an idea in and of itself. Democracy, for example, cannot exist as an ideal. It has to be differentiated. Western democracy or African democracy. Everything can be divided into these two camps. And each of these two camps is totalising (see: hegemony).

So, there is no North Africa, just as there is no Asia. At a push, Western can be subdivided into European and American but the word "imperialist" suitably represents both. The distinction breaks down the more specific you get. So, for example, no one takes an African selfie on their Western iphone.



Anonymous said...

Yes, political correctness has been carried to the extreme of ridiculousness.

Bird of Paradise said...

The stupidity of Political Correctness shows again the whining little snowflakes so afraid the fragile little feeling might be hurt displaying a list of words and phrases banned becuase they make whining little snowflakes cry

Dean said...

Kurt Vonnegut is reported to have said, "True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country."

Even more terrifying is to wake up one morning and find today's up and coming politically correct snowflakes have inherited the country and are running it.

We can only hope that as they mature and meet the real world learning will occur and they will realize the stupidity of their present desire for total womb-like safety.

I'm not optimistic,look at the college professors encouraging them. Those people have apparently refused to put on their own grown-up panties.

Anonymous said...

African Democracy? Now there's a concept. I believe its been tried in Detroit, Cleveland and Memphis to name a few. Doesn't appear to work very well.

Spurwing Plover the fighting shorebird said...

The front cover should show a crying little brat surrounded by little snowfkales falling

Anonymous said...

This is hilarious in lampooning these ridiculous concepts. Unfortunately the left truly believes in these concepts and because it is a faith and not reality cannot see that the empress has no clothes.


Styymphalian Bird the Bird with a brass beak who shoots his feathers said...

Liberals never learned to grow up they want their teddy bear for comfort butt heir teddy bear got tired of all the whining and left them

Darzee the Tailorbird said...