Skip to main content

Virtue signalling for fun and profit

Oh I got into an argument on Twitter.

You may have noticed, there's a lot of that sort of thing about at the moment. I'm not about to go over already well-trodden ground. We all know the bigots are slithering out of the woodwork. You don't need me to point it out to you. But one aspect of their current standard practice is causing me considerable disquiet.

It's the phrase "virtue signalling". Generally used to dismiss somone who's said something vaguely liberal, or left leaning. Y'know, like maybe we shouldn't make thousands of child refugees sit in a dismal camp, prey to traffickers. Possibly, being the world's sixth largest economy, we could maybe afford to take a few more.

You're just virtue signalling, cry the trolls from their bedroom in their mum's house. You wouldn't have them come to live with you.

Of course; because not being able to fit a refugee into my terraced house is exactly the same as a GOVERNMENT not being able to fit a refugee INTO AN ENTIRE FUCKING COUNTRY. Likewise

Now, I understand why the ranks of keyboard warriors wold object to the sanctimony of celebrities. I really do. It's very easy for a Gary Lineker or a Lily Allen or a JK Rowling to say things like hey, maybe not all Muslims are terrorists, the smug bastards. What do they know about not getting blown up by Muslims? Pfft, I was suicide bombed three times on my way to Subway. Bloody celebrities. AND they were out of that weird rubbery "chorizo". Bloody liberal elite.

So someone says something you disagree with and you cry "virtue signalling" which, as far as I can work out, translates to "you're clearly a nicer person than me, so I'm going to dismiss your argument by implying that you're a hypocrite even though I don't know you and I have no way of knowing whether or not you'd have a problem with a refugee family moving in next door. Because this means that I don't have to face up, in my scarred heart of hearts, to the self knowledge that actually I'm a nasty fucking bigot." This is the eternal problem of the dogmatic (both right and left, this could just as easily have been a post about the unwise bandying around of the word "Nazi"), a degree of hysteria which closes down the possibility of rational debate. An immediate dismissal of differing views.

Which is, I think, my big problem with it. It indicates no desire for engagement. In much the same way as one side uses "snowflake" and the other one "fascist". Now, I'm probably being too even handed here, but y'know, that's just me, I'm reasonable. The fact that I've taken pains to point out that there are inflexible arseholes on both sides of the debate shouldn't really imply equivalence, this does seem to be largely a problem of the right. But we should try to understand them, rather than condemn. How's that for virtue signalling?


Popular posts from this blog

This is not campaigning

A few days ago, I was speaking to a local Labour Party worker. He was shrugging at the Tory effort around our neck of the woods, wasn't too worried about retaining the seat at the election; the theory being that they weren't trying hard, because nobody major had turned up.

Then two days ago the Prime Minister turned up.

My first thoughts, when I found out, were of that functionary, his confidence in retaining the seat must have taken a dent from the news that the biggest gun of them all had come calling. The funny thing was, though, nobody knew. I found out on the Today programme the next morning.

The constituency in which I live, West Lancashire, is a place of contrasts. I live in Ormskirk, a reasonably (though increasingly less) prosperous mix of market and student town. We're surrounded by blandly pretty countryside, some reasonably picturesque agricultural land and some chocolate box villages. Down the road, however, is Skelmersdale, the main reason that West Lancash…


Fancy that. Age, eh? It's almost as if it happens. I note that down the years I've only posted once or twice about birthdays. Truth to tell I've never been one to pay them much mind. So it seemed entirely fitting that I spent my fortieth birthday grafting away in my kitchen. Some vague apprehension that this one os supposed to be in some way marked led me over here to write this, but I feel faintly ludicrous doing sso. It did, however, lead to me looking up one of said few occasions when I posted about a birthday on here, my 29th, where I note about being proud of my students work that day. not sure what that proves, if anything. G'night.

Me, too

As the Weinstein affair and all it's ramifications have played out, I've been thinking a lot about my own conduct and behaviour down the years. It's human nature to think of oneself as the good guy, we all mythologise our own lives with our selves in a sympathetic light. But I'm sure, thinking back, that my actions and attitudes haven't always been the best. I am a chef, I work in a kitchen, places that run on banter, some of it sexual, some of it aggressive. Whilst I know I've never assaulted anyone, or pushed unwelcome advances, I've certainly been present when senior colleagues have said things which have made female members of staff uncomfortable (and done nothing beyond giving them grief about it), and I've certainly worked in one particular restaurant where a serial sexual predator worked.

Many years ago I had a waitress at the restaurant I worked at turn up on my doorstep in tears in the middle of the night. One of the floor managers had tried it…