It has been pointed out by people smarter than me that the country – or perhaps the world – is in the middle of a “revolt of the normals.”
Not just Trump’s election, no, but multiple and convulsive episodes where the cold cultural wars are heating up like Cuba in the early sixties: never fully going hot but having both sides pull off shows of force to warn the other to back off. There are a lot of them, and most are too small for me to even know about because I’m not part of the hobby.
I had friends involved in GamerGate and I was involved in the very minor (because the field is tiny) cultural skirmish called Sad Puppies. (Everything you see about that on Wikipedia is wrong, by the way.)
Neither of these was in any way political and both represented the revolt of the rank and file against entrenched elites (those with enough money to corrupt gaming journalism, and those controlling the Hugo through mass-buys of voting memberships by a publishing house). In both cases, the rank and file objected not even to the political favoritism of these elites, but to the quality of the things lauded and the superior quality (i.e., things the fans actually liked) of things ignored.
In both cases, when threatened, the elite went from zero to 100 in accusing the revolt of being “racist, sexist, and homophobic,” which, in the case of Sad Puppies, was utterly laughable based on the identities of the principals and the secondary circle of supporters.
But proving the elite is elite and controls the media, the slanders were spread by the media and even picked up by a major TV show. “Law and Order SVU’s” slanderous episode against GamerGate made a bunch of geeks out to be ISIS or something and used their super mind-reading powers to divine that what these people really objected to was women writing games. Just as I am supposed to object to women and minorities being involved in SF/F.
Added to these skirmishes are a thousand episodes of heroic but individual revolts that most of us never hear about.
Yesterday I came across the report about the founder of SQLite who, when forced to adopt a code of conduct, adopted the rule of Saint Benedict. That’s troll level master, and yes, the left is throwing everything they have at him. I wanted to send him a thank you note.
What unites all of these is indeed best described as “the revolt of normals,” which is where the left gets the idea that we’re “racist, sexist, homophobic” because, well, you know, that’s what “normal” or, in other words, “society” is in their heads.
But the truly bizarre thing is that the left has got so far off track, so disconnected from reality that people like me and geek gamers now count as “normal.” And to make this absolutely clear, I used to be able to pick out people who were uber fans or writers of science fiction from a crowd going solely by their affect. At one time my husband and I identified a science fiction fan by that alone at a restaurant, and I confirmed it (couth, me?) by going over and introducing myself.
[That there used to be more men than women in science fiction (no longer true for reasons too complex to go into, including how much books pay) is simply because women DO tend to be more normal and better adapted to the real world. In my experience as a geek girl, it was women who acted like I had three heads for being interested in that stuff. Geek guys on the other hand love girls who are passionate about the same stuff they are. You could, in fact, have three heads and a body like a schnauzer and you’d still have a ring of interested guys around you and a ring around that that could be seen from orbit.]
But in this crazy world, I now count as “normal” because I dislike preachy books and didactic storylines. (I’m an equal opportunity disliker. While I hate communism with all my being and reject all its empty promises, even in the watered down form of U.S. “progressivism,” I also hated the morally preachy Victorian tales of grandma’s childhood. I read them only because there was nothing else to read, and spent half the book hoping the good little boy/girl would die in a fire.)
I think you should be left alone to live your life the best you can without interference from government or people demanding you adopt “codes of conduct” or enjoy your hobby according to their hobby horse.
Needless to say, when the normals decide to reclaim something in earnest, they will reclaim it. Needless to say, as well, the left becomes more and more like enraged hornets at the loss of a power they really never had (there are always more normals than weirdos. It’s kind of the definition of the term) but thought they had, while a complacent majority allowed themselves to be bullied. At best, the left is keeping the appearance of normal while losing power. At worst, people are just ignoring them, which is the unkindest cut of all for people who need to virtue-signal ceaselessly.
Still one wonders: why is the left choosing the side they are? Some of them – most of them who are really vocal – are well-heeled and well-off, and often read normal on sight. So why choose to impose increasingly weirder stuff on the culture? And more importantly – and you know this if you watch anything or read anything produced by the mainstream entertainment – why do they hate “normal”? Why do they hate people who are conventionally Christian, for instance? Or who live conventional (is it really, still?) lives, being married and having kids? Why?
Well, part of it is intellectual superiority. Not real, of course, but assumed. If you read back in history, aristocrats always tried to distinguish themselves by dressing/moving/etc. in a different way from the common folk.
In the Western world, where “progressivism” became chic circa 1960, signaling that you were a good leftist was just part of showing you were upper class.
(I recall in the early oughts one of the editors of the main sf magazines declaring his mission as “encouraging the proletarian revolution.” Which, for the upper-class editor of a tiny and geeky magazine in a tiny and fringe field, was astounding. One didn’t know whether to be breathless at the hubris or the self-delusion.)
The other part is more complicated. For reasons of a large group of their followers coming to the left due to a need to deny evil in the world — and excuse it — the left has fallen into this complex theology of oppressed and oppressor. Yes, part of that was Marx, but it was all materialistic and economic in his case.
Today’s left cannot in any way claim economic oppression, and honestly, they don’t really sympathize much with the ones who can. They might say they’re the party of the poor, or they care so much, but unless you’re a member of one of their protected classes (in the U.S. right now, mostly racial, though sexual and orientation count too) they consider you an uncouth barbarian unless you have at least a master’s degree and preferably a doctorate. They revile the poorest areas in the U.S. as cesspits. And for their purpose, everything between L.A. and New York City is poor. (An idiot on Facebook was claiming if you made less than a million a year, you’re a proletarian who by natural rights belongs to the Democratic Party. I guess that’s his idea of the minimum amount of money to live relatively well?)
So instead, they’ve taken to viewing everyone who acts badly or is outright evil as righteous, because, you know, they must be oppressed to act that way. Which means, if you’re well adjusted enough to actually survive in society as it’s constituted, if you’re not driven to murder by being laughed at or teased in childhood (and which of us wasn’t?), if you can make a living or make your way in the world without a progressive “seeing-eye dog” you are, as far as the left is concerned, an oppressor.
Because, you know, if you’re not oppressed, you’re an oppressor.
Hence all their blathering about white supremacy and male privilege. If you can tan you must be oppressed, and therefore can’t make it in the world. As a person of mild swarthitude with at least one son of intense swarth, I say: bah! And convincing half the population they’re permanent victims is indeed a coup for the left. It does screw up those people’s chances to get on in the world and achieve anything, but the left doesn’t really care about that. If you become normal, i.e. competent, in their heads you’re against them. So, women, remember, making you a miserable bag of neuroses and paranoia is in the left’s best interests. I’m sure you’ll be glad to oblige.
So they hate “normal,” which is to say they hate “competent.” And the bar for competence keeps going ever lower.
If you can clip your nails every other month, wipe your nose when you have allergies, make coffee without setting the house on fire, and conduct a conversation with a stranger, don’t worry. If the left has not yet declared you an enemy, they soon will.
It seems to never have occurred to them — yet — that normals are very tired of this craziness. And that when people like me count as “normal” there aren’t many standing in their corner anymore. They can’t win this fight because by definition being able to win it would make them oppressors.
They’ve painted the floor for so long and so hard they don’t realize they’ve painted themselves into a corner or that they’ve annoyed most people beyond endurance.
What can’t go on won’t. The Gods of the Copybook Headings are about to make a visit.
I have popcorn. Sitting back and enjoying bullies get their comeuppance is, after all, very normal.