If you’d like yet-more proof that elite, educated, white, bourgie “leftist” culture online has ceased to have any political convictions any more and has instead become a set of vapid social and cultural postures adopted to borrow the righteousness we associate with politics for social gain, look no further than the reaction to this pumpkin festival situation. This very Gawkery Gawker post about it pretty much encapsulates the Twitter-obsessed tryhard consensus which dominates our media: police going wild is hilarious when the target is “bros.” There were many of those white-critiques-of-whiteness-that-preemptively-exclude-the-white-person-making-the-critique tweets, as well as rampant unfunny Twitter jokes. (Note: all Twitter jokes are unfunny Twitter jokes.) If you actually care about social equality between races and economic classes, this is all very, very dumb.
First: police violence and aggression is wrong no matter who it targets. Crazy!
Second: police violence and aggression against people we assume have social capital is a signal that those who we know don’t have social capital will get it far worse. If these cops feel that they have this much license to go wild against that white, largely-affluent crew, what do you think they’ll do when they pull over some working class black guy in a run-down car? Treating this as a barrel of laughs throws away a profound opportunity to include these types of people in a very necessary social movement against police violence, which poor people of color desperately need. Instead of using these moments as an opportunity for political coalition building, affluent, educated white people on Twitter use it as an opportunity for levity — precisely because they don’t fear the police and so feel no pressing need to take advantage of that opportunity.
The recent yen for concern trolling due process and free speech rights among our ostensibly-liberal social climber class is destructive in large part because in the main, it will not be the white affluent types that are both their brethren and the subject of their derision that suffer in a world without these rights. It will instead be racial minorities and the poor. Degrading civil liberties for affluent white bros might feel like a blow against them, but the negative effects will fall on the people you claim to speak for, in a flagrantly unequal society.
Of course, the purpose of adopting a left-wing posture on elite Twitter is not actually to advance a left-wing cause, but is rather to draft political resistance and moral righteousness into the pointless post-collegiate social competition between the overeducated whites who run our media. In that regard… mission accomplished, guys!
Update: Of course I understand — of course, I understand — that this is precisely the sort of situation where, if it were black people acting this way, Fox News would be flipping out about “black culture,” which is an indefensible position. And I understand the need to point out that hypocrisy. I’m just saying: let’s keep our eyes on the prize, that’s all. Let’s be careful.