Sometimes the Internet gives you a gift that you just do not know how to repay.
That happened last week when during my routine perusing I came across a fantastic story where people got offended by a Spaceballs joke. In 2017!
Here’s a quick recap. Adam Goldberg, creator of the show The Goldbergs, attempted to make a joke using a picture of a broken Dark Helmet figure and criticized the “broken” president and lamented how disappointed he was, and claimed this wasn’t “fixable”, which may have been a good joke if A) we weren’t decades removed from the film’s relevancy and B) Adam hadn’t confused Dark Helmet with the film’s actual bumbling President Skroob.
— Adam F. Goldberg (@adamfgoldberg) June 10, 2017
That’s all irrelevant, though, because the main story is that Trump supporters began calling for boycotts of the show because they saw the tweet as straight-faced criticism of the somehow-real President Trump. That’s right: One simple, not well-executed joke was enough to send these patriots into a temper tantrum. Like they got offended or were sensitive to the joke or something.
I’ve talked before about how the people who complain about political correctness are often times the very first ones to complain when they hear something they don’t like, and here we have example 562,390. And while I did pull that number out of my ass for comedic effect, it only works because it’s kinda true. Let’s just look at recent attempts by the largely pro-Trump right. They boycotted Starbucks for supporting refugees. They boycotted Netflix over streaming Dear White People. They boycotted Star Wars for being anti-hate, which is a really weird sentence to have to type out when it isn’t a joke.
Now, the point of all this isn’t to just point out how hypocritical these folks are when it comes to complaining about how easily offended liberals get (though that part is still fun). Because yes, liberals boycott things too, and get upset over jokes, and #activism. EVERYONE complains about shit they don’t like. You do it. I do it all the fucking time. Sometimes they are political in nature, sometimes I just think the Oscars are boring and useless. But every single one of us gets upset about things and complains about them and/or takes action to try and change them. If you don’t, then you are living a sad life where you don’t care about anything and just exist as things happen around you.
No, the only real difference is branding. Conservatives have a done a really good job not only branding the left as whiny “snowflakes” who are offended by everything, but also themselves as the Defenders of All That Is Good. When liberals complain about things they are being over sensitive. When conservatives complain, though, they are standing up for Traditional American Values. It’s why the same kind of person can look at people complaining about Trump and call them snowflakes who need to “man up” while in the next breath rant about Starbucks for not having enough Jesus on their disposable coffee cups.
That’s the biggest issue with trying to use an insult like snowflake: You open yourself up to incredibly easy counters. If you spend all day insulting other people for the things they get offended by, when you inevitably find something YOU find offensive and want to complain about, you are going to have that insult gleefully thrown back in your face. And that’s what we have been seeing recently as Trump supporters are having their “fuck your feelings” mentality dished right back at them as they complain about how Trump is being treated by the media.
So now we’ve reached a point where the insult is getting volleyed back and forth with such regularity that it is essentially meaningless. Or, if anything, it has simply become a shorthand for hypocrisy, highlighting the shortsightedness of calling people out for the things they feel passionately about. In either case, let’s put snowflake aside. We have an entire language at our disposal, after all. I’m sure we can come up with some more creative and original insults with which to degrade each other.