Today I found myself swirling around in the right-wing toilet of the Internet yet again. Last time, the whole controversy centered around tweets that I quickly realized were based on a profound misunderstanding of the situation and just as quickly deleted — but the fact that they were “hidden” seemed to make them all the more tantalizing and revealing in the eyes of the people who screencapped and published them, resulting in a week of constant online harrassment and some unfavorable Google search results. This time, the crack investigative reporters of the right have uncovered an even more damning quote from me, calling for all whites to commit mass suicide out of guilt for slavery! Can you believe anyone would hold such a view?!
If you’re a reasonable person, the answer is no. In reality, I do not hold that view, nor does anyone else in the entire damn world. Why did I say it, then? I was in dialogue with an obviously bad-faith interlocutor on the subject of race, who clearly wanted to bait me into saying something “offensive,” and out of frustration, I decided I’d give them something to cry about and say something really “offensive” — scare quotes intended. My assumption was that the claim was so obviously hyperbolic that the sarcasm would be immediately evident.
Apparently not, though. Apparently there is a critical mass of delusional and paranoid people on the internet who are willing and eager to (a) believe the absolute worst of a total stranger, (b) track that person down, and (c) direct insulting messages toward them. This time, I seem to have hit on the deeper dregs of the #Gamergate crowd, which has now decided that ethics in gaming journalism consists in openly embracing white supremacy and castigating “beta” men for their lack of manliness. Indeed, I learned today that in such circles, there is a well-known insult (“cuck”) that refers to white “beta” men who are so self-loathing — presumably their wimpiness made them especially susceptible to the siren call of the White Privilege Movement, another thing of whose existence I just learned today — that they solicit members of ethnic minorities to cuckold them as they watch. I’ll simply remark that it’s weird that that scenario comes so readily to mind for our “alpha” males.
This has also been an opportunity to learn a lot of racist talking points. Apparently Africans are also complicit with slavery, because the African slaves were sold by other Africans. The Irish, meanwhile, are immune to any complicity with slavery due to white privilege, because the Irish themselves were once enslaved. The same goes for anyone with Slavic ancestry, as an etymological dictionary will reveal. And of course, there’s always everyone’s favorite: Other Cultures Had Slavery Too. And We Abolished It. Boy, do I feel pwned, bro.
Last time I found the whole thing upsetting, but this time it’s more hilarious to me. Aside from the fact that so many people can’t detect the most obvious sarcasm in the history of sarcasm, I find it amazingly hilarious that their damning evidence of me going so far as to “defend” my views was to quote someone responding “no” and me responding “yes.” It’s also becoming more evident to me, this second time through the wringer, that there are people who desperately need someone to actually state the exaggerated liberal views they fear — indeed, that they get off on performing their indignation and outrage. They’ve invested so much libidinal energy in their opposition to views that no one actually has held or would ever hold, and the occasion to release it no doubt comes as a great relief.
As before, people have been e-mailing Shimer trying to get me fired (and also responding to Shimer’s Twitter, surely the greatest power center in any school). I informed the president and communication head of the situation, and they of course support me completely. Shortly after that exchange, I got an e-mail from development soliciting some last donations before the close of our fiscal year — and I got an idea. I tweeted the link, claiming that it was to a Kickstarter to get me fired from Shimer. And at least one person retweeted with a note about how we have to get this idiot fired. I’m well aware that I may be falling victim to my own critique here and not recognizing obvious sarcasm — but I think I’ve earned it.