good people, bein’ good

Drew Magary:

Now 90 percent of all internet thinkpieces are dedicated to explaining why you should have a problem with something you originally had no problem with. OPEN YOUR EYES, SHEEPLE. Don’t you see that keyboard cat is a way of enforcing traditional heteronormative privilege in America today? The cat is wearing a house robe, which means that it he/she is clearly being forced into a domesticated, subservient role against his/her free will. NOT FUNNY. NOT ON MY WATCH. There’s a whole black hole of the internet that spends all day up its own ass, endlessly worried about approving of pop culture rather than actually fucking enjoying it.

1. Again: people argue based on what the incentives are for arguing. People argue what they get points for arguing. Do you get points for saying “this thing is cool”? Very few! Do you get points for bringing someone into the conversation with compassion and understanding? Of course not! What do you get points for? Being the first to identify something as problematic. You get points for telling other people that what they like is racist, sexist, homophobic, or similar. You don’t get these points for solving these political problems. These points don’t require you to make the world less racist or sexist. These points come to those who merely identify the hidden racism and sexism in what other people like. And the fact that calling other people’s preferences secretly racist or sexist moves you up in your social competition while pushing your targets down, well, I’m sure that’s just a happy coincidence.

2. When you ring the bell every single time, you make it impossible for people to take you seriously when you need them to. When you say that aggregating all women’s votes together into the category “Women Voters” is racist, you make it harder for the rest of us to say that our zoning laws and housing system are racist. Maybe that shouldn’t be the case, but it is the case. The world is absolutely filled with racist and sexist stuff. You don’t have to read the tea leaves for some “provocative” take on how Cookie Monster is secretly a caricature of Samoans to have plenty of racism to fight, guys.

3. Constantly telling everyone that the stuff they already love is racist and sexist: not the most effective political technique. I dunno, people are crazy that way! I’d put it up there with, say, constantly telling people that the problems in their lives aren’t really problems, by giving them names like “first world problems,” as far as terrible, useless politics goes. And it would be nice to convince more people, rather than fewer, on account of we need their help to get this whole “dismantle the enormous and powerful structures of institutional racism” project done. You know?

4. Neither the internet nor the world needs any more sensitive white guys, sensitively and whitely identifying the evil in the hearts of those other white guys who aren’t them. I assure you: that role in our online play has been filled, OK? We have an absolute army of straight white guys who are really, really invested in you knowing that they are better than the other straight white guys. We’re stocked up. We’re good.

Nobody cares that you care. You being good doesn’t help anybody. Your job is not to be good, and it certainly isn’t to be better than the other people. Your job is to do good, and usually, you do good quietly.