Another week in the non existent culture war and the causality count rises but not so much that you need to drag yourself away from your ethically sourced, vegan, decaffeinated latte and your instagram post about saving the whales. And I’m not saying whales don’t need to be saved. Please don’t turn me into a whale hater because the truth is a bit more complex.
Truth invariably is, lacking the moral certainty of the sound bite or the mantra or the outright lie.
“Women aren’t being silenced,” they say, “especially not cishet, white, middle class, suburban mothers, whose language and sense of entitlement is rooted in their anglo saxon colonist heritage.”
“You haven’t read “White Fragility?”” they ask, their face the same shade of shocked as when your ma figured out you weren’t going to mass of a Sunday. “Too fragile,” I quip, irony lost to a crowd of humourless hecklers who have been told to laugh is like to lynch.
“Ok boomer!” they say, in a refrain that would be ageist, if ageism was a new age sin. “It’s not really mocking the elderly,” they explain, “only the greedy, gammon types, with their racism and their ignorance and their pathological refusal to boycott Wetherspoons.”
“We don’t ban books,” they say, “we ban bad books. Bad books are literal violence.” Any attempt to speak of the relativity of the term “bad” is mute, like when you try to tell your aunt that her local priest is a flasher.
“If you don’t take the knee,” they say , “then you might as well put holes for eyes in your bed sheets and tattoo a swastika on your arse.” Whilst racism itself can be characterised by limitless macro and micro aggressions, anti racism has but one calling card. Bend down, then back up and cool off with a vitamin enriched, natural, spring water, infused with potassium and zinc.
The non-existent culture war is killing critical thought and replacing it with mindless mantras and pointless gestures. A generation raised to believe that disagreement is violence and difference is hate, damning itself to implosion from within as the real world rejects its 2D version of humanity, where people are caricatures and political thought is a concept that must be contained.
The non existent culture wars, where the privileged came and conquered the concept of civil rights, refurbished them, repackaged them in recycled paper, added some rainbow ribbons and stamped on a fist, before selling them back to kids, raised on the internet, that weren’t buying any revolution that was not televised.
And so it came to be that big corporations and big governments stood in solidarity with “civil rights” and they all mouthed the same slogans and advocated for the same stuff, in some countries. Ain’t gonna sell no jeans in Saudi with a rainbow flag, Levi’s. No computers in China with a free speech logo, Apple.
And the absolute genius of corporate civil rights is how little they cost, once you remove class as a signifier of need. Want to increase sales? Ramp up the social media output using the words “love” and “change” and “difference”. Change staff morale? Hire a team of diversity experts that expose the outright ordinariness of most of your workforce and make workers feel bad for decisions they neither participated in or benefit from. Damn sight cheaper than them an 8% pay rise, or putting in a room for breastfeeding, or putting the structures in place that address actual inequality in the workplace.
And with unions not fit for purpose and women’s organisations decrying women and anarchists censoring books, the corporate take-over of political ideas is almost complete.
And here, in the dying embers of a democratic process, I stand on the ravaged remains of a traditionally left leaning Scotland that is arching further right, beneath the strain of a non existent culture war, and I can’t help but be grateful.
How much worse would things be if this culture war was real and not only in the heads of racists, white supremacists, neo Nazi net mummers, religious right, zealots, football watching, God fearing, Wetherspoon’s drinking, brexit voting, Churchill worshipping, colonist mindset thinking, pie eating types?