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The Rise of Victimhood Culture


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This is one of those cases where I think both sides are blind to what the other is saying. I'd love to put them in a room together, with some calm low light, a nice fire, some tea, and let them talk it out and apologize to each other.

 

And while they are doing that I'd burn the building to the ground.

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I think it's quite indicative of modern culture. Everyone is so easily offended these days. You cant even crack a joke without being called insensitive, mysogynistic, homophobic, or racist. They have nothing to offer, so instead they wait to hear someone say something they don't agree with and then complain about it as loudly as possible, much like a crying child.

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This is one of those cases where I think both sides are blind to what the other is saying. I'd love to put them in a room together, with some calm low light, a nice fire, some tea, and let them talk it out and apologize to each other.

In all seriousness, while I'm not sure it would help in this case (one party was apparently on a mission to be angry and offended, the other seemed like a cluelessly defensive hole-digging douche), I bet a lot of offenses would be resolved much more quickly if social media were not in play. Even here, while the conversation started via email, it didn't become a thing until the offended party posted it.

 

What are the chances two people talking face to face treat each other like the exchange from that article? What are the chances one person publicly embarrasses/shames another for clueless or offensive talk? Where are the screenshots to post online as chum for their cheering audience?

 

I think in most cases, things would not escalate to nearly the same degree as we're seeing, simply because people don't enjoy getting punched in the face.

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I bet a lot of offenses would be resolved much more quickly if social media were not in play. Even here, while the conversation started via email, it didn't become a thing until the offended party posted it.

 

BINGO!

 

Here's my comment on the article.

 

"A better description of this culture might be "manufactured controversy for attention and profit" culture. My sister in law once called it "Jerry Springer Culture." It's as good a descriptor as any. Though antecedents such as academic political correctness predate the world wide web, this culture relies on the internet to achieve its full effect.

 

In this culture, the sense that the controversy surrounding the issue outweighs the true gravity of the issue is, in fact, central to what makes it work. The story would not generate the controversy needed to get it to go viral, and thereby seen and viewed by that many more people and thereby attract more advertising revenue for the blog and free publicity for the "activists" in question if the grievance being aired was serious and legitimate. Genuine racial discrimination, segregation and genocide would not achieve the same level of proliferation precisely because widespread consensus exists that these are, in fact, bad things.

 

Not so with issues like cultural appropriation and micro-aggressions. Where widespread disagreement exists as to whether such-and-such is racist, sexist or whatever-ist, the article will spread much more quickly and widely, as much because of the people bemoaning the hypersensitivity of "victim culture" as because of the people taking offense to the microaggression in the first place."

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The point of college (aside from education) was to experience a world different from your own. These people who go to college and get offended by other cultures, activities, books, lesson plans are jackholes who an educated is wasted on and they should just plan for a career befitting their IQ. Like a parking attendant or physical education teacher.

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from the linked article:

 

She did so in a post to the web site Oberlin Microaggressions, a blog “primarily for students who have been marginalized at Oberlin.” The aggrieved student quoted the aforementioned email: “Hey, that talk looks pretty great, but on the off chance you aren’t going or would rather play futbol instead the club team wants to go!!”

I love that there is a blog for the marginalized of a college. WTF? I mean how are you marginalized in college? College was almost milquetoast in my opinion in that you were forced into a program of education in which you were to experience things outside of the home environment. In this case go to a soccer game or hear a lecture. Feh.

 

fuck that. Try getting a job as a server and not loosing it on the first person who wants you to tell them what the best thing on the menu is at Chili's.

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The rise of instantaneous written communication (the internet, social media, etc) has really led to some serious social breakdown. Being able to hide behind words on a screen has removed some filters. I agree that this exchange would not have happened face to face.

 

Don't get me wrong, I much prefer written communication to verbal. I like it because I think it gives me more time to think about what I want to say. I feel pressure to have an answer immediately when asked something in person, and it makes me insecure and second guess myself and worry I said the wrong thing. So for me, written communication is my filter. And part of it is because there are so many crazies like these two. The other part is because I'm anal retentive and hate to be wrong. But I think I take a very opposite path to most people. It's like people have stopped growing out of the teenage no-filter phase.

 

I think what bothered me the most about that exchange was the way the offended acted as if she and her culture owned certain terms and experiences and how it was impossible for anyone else not of her culture to have a similar experience. I get really tired of the pretentious hipsters out here who can't stop telling the world how "authentic" they are. Who cares? The arrogance is astounding. Is futbol or whatever you want to call it a huge part of Latino culture? In some places, yes. Europe sure likes it, too. Next she'll say white people can't play the entire sport because they didn't invent it. Why do we care so much what other people do with their lives?

 

This is why the milennial generation and the one that comes after it has so many issues with anxiety. Constantly crusading for Truth is exhausting and makes you nuts, I'm convinced.

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Non verbal communication encourages weakness, which limits social skills. I really think the millenials are fucked in this regard. Every new 20 something hire we bring in only confirms this for me, because these poor souls are married to their phone and can't look anyone in the eye, let alone have a conversation.

 

The ones that kill me are the those that can't even walk down the hall without looking at their phones the whole time. Even people in the gym. They can't put down the phone for an hour to pretend to workout.

 

A bit off topic, I guess, but I feel it's these same people who are looking for instant gratification online, and who are so consistently dissapointed in their failure to do so, that lash out at petty shit like the latin gal in Pong's link.

 

Having said all of that, I totally get it. If my pre teen and high school life had been spent around kids that were caught up in Instagram and Facebook I would've been caught up in it, too. The question is, as a parent, what do you do?

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Non verbal communication encourages weakness, which limits social skills. I really think the millenials are ****ed in this regard. Every new 20 something hire we bring in only confirms this for me, because these poor souls are married to their phone and can't look anyone in the eye, let alone have a conversation.

 

The ones that kill me are the those that can't even walk down the hall without looking at their phones the whole time. Even people in the gym. They can't put down the phone for an hour to pretend to workout.

 

A bit off topic, I guess, but I feel it's these same people who are looking for instant gratification online, and who are so consistently dissapointed in their failure to do so, that lash out at petty **** like the latin gal in Pong's link.

 

Having said all of that, I totally get it. If my pre teen and high school life had been spent around kids that were caught up in Instagram and Facebook I would've been caught up in it, too. The question is, as a parent, what do you do?

Let me take a break from my usual hating everything you say to agree with you here.

 

Just this morning I had a millennial encounter that went exactly as you are talking about. My son takes bass lessons at this great rock school, but the new girl behind the counter is 100% what you describe. Last weekend she calls me and asks where my kid is, cause he hasn't shown up for his lesson. Kid is with his mom, and I call her and see if she forgot and nope. She's there. Two feet from the girl that just called me. Kid already checked into his class.

 

Today I ask her how many sessions I have left for the kid, and she can BARELY look up to speak to me, and mumbles through the entire conversation.

 

As far as helping the problem goes, when my kid has been looking at screen (be it phone, computer, TV, video games w/e) for more than 2 hours he turns to a dick. It's a direct correlation-- more staring and zoning out, less patience with the world. So he gets cut off. 1 hour max weeknights. On the weekends I let him manage his own time, but if his chores and homework aren't done by Sunday night, or if he gets snippy-- he gets cut off.

 

I also do things like make him speak up in public and talk to people directly.

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I think that's a good plan. You can't cut them off entirely, and I would think that the simple act of limiting their screen time at all sends a clear message that it's bad for you and that he shouldn't overindulge.

 

Encouraging him to interact with others is great, too. He's gonna feel uncomfortable doing so, but then again we all did. You have to totally fuck up socially before you finally get good at it, just like anything else.

 

I don't have any kids, but I'm an uncle of three and I worry about them all the time. From what I've observed my brother has your basic approach and so far it's worked out well for them.

 

On that note, a funny thing happened on a recent family vacation. The kids got caught in a rain storm and the oldest's phone was damaged. She wound up next to me on the beach, pouting about it at first. After a half hour or so she goes "you know it's kinda cool to just sit here on the beach without my phone and just look at the ocean. That thing can be such a distraction."

 

Progress!

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To the original post: I think Pong hit the nail on the head; but it also applies to the internet at large. Anonymity breeds maliciousness - there are simply things you'd never say to a person's face... and even if you did it would likely diffuse the situation more quickly because of the inherent subtlety of human interaction.

 

To the phone thing: yeah, that kind of scares me. I was hoping it'd just be like the early days of cell phone-lack-of-etiquette. But I don't think it is, I think it's just a safety blanket for people's common dysfunctions. Everyone's always looking for a way to tune out, and now we have a socially acceptable one that you can carry with you everywhere. Maybe at some point the trend will swing the other direction where it will be generally perceived as "lame" to be a smart phone zombie.

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