The following is for both liberal and conservative interweb-dwellers alike.
Memes are there to either make you laugh, or to draw attention to an issue in a snarky way. But for the love of christ, PLEASE stop using them in lieu of a real dialogue when you want a reaction out of someone. Spamming newsfeeds with ecards/memegenerator does not count as debate. Write something. Post a discussion-worthy article and have a civil internet sit-down. If you really want a reaction out of people, post something to ENGAGE people from the other side of the aisle, as opposed to just trolling. Maybe one of you will change your mind, or maybe you’ll agree to disagree. Regardless, part of being a grown up on the internet is learning how to do just that instead of making faces at each other from across the room.
That being said, here are a few annoyances regarding recent trends in the above:
1. The “If you’re gonna protest Chick-Fil-A, go ahead and protest Saudi Arabia” meme.
If you absolutely must come up with a meme that you want me to take seriously, at least come up with one that’s analogous to the situation at hand. Chick-Fil-A is a local company that you can protest if you so choose because they don’t have anything that you absolutely need. Gas is a necessity. Second-rate fried chicken is not. Protesting gas acquisition as it exists in this country is next to impossible in an environment where, outside of the major cities, you cannot maintain a job, food security, access to health care, etc. without a car and the gas that goes into it. And as individuals cannot get gas from the vendor of their choosing, as opposed to the fast food joint of their choosing, this attempt at passive-aggressive Facebook pwnage fails. People know this, but still proffer this shitty argument and expect me to go “OH SNAP. I JUST GOT TOLD.”
2. The Mitt Romney “War on Religion” memes being used to besmirch Obama and liberals alike.
If you are really someone who thinks that someone, somewhere, who does something counter to your interpretation of your religion is doing it just to spite you and yours personally, you should probably be a little less self-involved.
Furthermore, the last time I checked, you would piss and moan to no end if someone enforced their religious views on you, as so many who hold the above viewpoint are wont to do. This also tends to stem from the same crowd who defames every Middle Eastern, South Asian and North African country ever for doing the same thing (or for what they mistake as such) to other people.
3. Memes implying that those who complain about the Mars rover all do so from a place of ignorance.
Look, most of us are well-aware of how much goes into NASA and how much we profit from it - that’s not the point. The point is that while Congress is happy to approve billions for NASA, you couldn’t get them to pass legislation to help people in need if you personally threatened them with a syringe containing the STI cocktail from hell. They are more willing to put money into potential microbial life on Mars than they are to help the people they claim they represent and care about.
At the end of the day, the fact remains that we collectively bitch and moan about that few million spent to improve the lives of those living below the poverty line like it will bring about the apocalypse itself. Those affected include a pretty disproportionate number of people of color, and a sizable population of children of all races. In the end, it’s the symbolism present here that makes us angry - not the numbers or a lack of knowledge thereof.
(As a side note: Please don’t hand me the ‘no one was talking about race here’ argument, when every other ad attacking efforts at reforming welfare/assistance for the poor on TV involves the oft-blatant stoking of racial economic resentment. See also, the following Tea Party 'ice-breaker'. We both know a strong stereotype subtext is regularly employed here, so let’s just be honest about it.)
4. Memes, videos and tweets from every other bored/uninformed liberal with access to social media, trying to disgrace Chick-Fil-A employees…and then posting that shit like it’s something to be proud of.
Working behind a counter at a Chick-Fil-A makes you roughly as involved in corporate decision-making for Chick-Fil-A as owning that MacBook Pro makes you part of Apple’s Board of Trustees. The people behind that counter are working hard to put food on the table, pay bills and otherwise take care of their own in a REMARKABLYshitty economy. They’re not to doing it to piss you off, or to make a statement to self-important assholes worldwide. For all you know, they are a part of the LGBTQIA community themselves. You do not know these people. Back off. You look roughly as smart as this guy.
In case you’ve been away from your favorite media consumption outlets of late, Chick-Fil-A has come under fire for its president’s successful campaign to sound like a homophobic jackass.
Since the President/CEO of Chick-Fil-A openly admitted to focusing Chick-Fil-A ‘ethics’ efforts on anti-gay causes and organizations, it seems a small PR firestorm of varying stripes has erupted. While a great deal of the dialogue has been directed at rightly condemning Chick-Fil-A for promoting a culture of homophobia, a growing trend is emerging of ‘conservatives’ telling ‘liberals’ to be respectful of Chick-Fil-A and their principles. And often enough, to my amusement, the word ‘tolerance’ is used to in this discourse.
And then, I came upon this gem: “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles." This failed attempt in playing the persecuted, again, brought to you by none other than Dan Cathy.
Why do I find these grammatical hijinks amusing? Namely, because most of these people wouldn’t know honest-to-god intolerance or discrimination if it bitch-slapped them with a giant black strap-on. You see, in a country where LGBT-focused crimes make up an estimated 19.3% of reported hate crimes, including everything from curb-stomping to sexual assault, I’d say tolerance is VERY much needed - but not by those angry with Chick-Fil-A. Want to know who could actually use tolerance and compassion? To start with the obvious, how about the LGBT community, that is so rarely discussed with dignity or respect? While we’re at it, how about migrants, who are treated as sub-human by everyone from press outlets to Border Patrol agents? How about individuals from the groups most often bearing the brunt of abuse resulting from the War on Terror or the War on Drugs, often in the form of unchecked police brutality and imprisonment? How about women demonized for simply desiring improved birth control access? You see ladies and gentlemen, THESE good folks could use some of your outrage and compassion. Not some fast food chicken chain that happily sponsors groups as inglorious as NOM.
However, apart from “Fun Times with Manipulating Oppression Discourse,” newer forms of defending the indefensible have come about in the form of righteous indignation at the masses for boycotting economically over a ‘political’ issue. I put this word in quotes, because it’s not political to people on the receiving end of that discrimination. It’s pretty goddamn personal. And it isn’t for that reason alone that this argument falls short of garnering support in any significant numbers. Allow me to demystify this: average citizens don’t usually boycott an entire franchise because they’re butt hurt over someone disagreeing with them. They boycott because they understand that their individual purchases support something they find morally reprehensible. Sometimes, that something is a company’s history of donating millions to WinShape and ex-gay ministries; sometimes it’s a company’s exploitation of the impossible situations of Palestinians within Occupied Palestine; and sometimes, it’s the antics of a colossally idiotic Fox News host making a living by exploiting racist myths to elicit fear. And before you forget, please note that we do tote this approach as a prized diplomatic tool on a regular basis at the international level. We call them “sanctions”. However, unlike when applied indiscriminately at the international level, they are far more likely to work as intended on a localized, national one. So allow me to sum this up: those making this argument don’t usually do so based on the desire for tolerance of a differing opinion – at best, it’s an attempt to cover up bigotry. At worst, it’s an attempt to justify apathy.
At the end of the day, tolerance is being a big enough person to recognize the basic humanity in others, even if they are very different from you. Tolerance is refusing to discriminate against a class of people in the name of preserving the status quo. Tolerance is NOT the right to go without criticism or accountability for your actions. But please, do invoke your right to piss and moan about how no one’s kissing your privileged little ass anymore.
Teen pregnancy is more acceptable than being homosexual.