This used to be a joke. Now social justice warriors all over are finding jobs PCing the world to the point of stupidity. (They must have had a role in the new Star Wars movie I am sad to say.) What is wrong with these people? How can this busybodiness have seeped so deep into the core of some parts of our society? Why do some people so fear thought? Why do they live in such fear generally?
The entire case against cultural appropriation, for example, is based on mistaken beliefs that only certain people can legitimately represent certain points of view even when it comes to cuisine, a traditional example of mongrelization gone beautifully mad (all cooking is fusion, as any pasta-and-tomato-eating Italian will tell you). If we cannot get outside of ourselves through the act of producing and consuming culture that transcends our genetics and sociological milieu, what a degraded experience we will be doomed to lead. In the current moment, sensitivity readers reflect not a good-faith effort to avoid stupid mistakes and offense but a thought-police goon squad enforcing strict parameters on what we can think and say. They are part of the apparatus that is producing more members of the fragile generation, the term that Lenore Skenazy and Jonathan Haidt have coined to describe a world in which children especially are seen as incapable of processing even the smallest problem without suffering long-term, major damage.
There’s something else to think about, too, which is that sensitivity readers won’t save authors and publishers from hostility. Protesters hell-bent on being offended will always find a grievance, a megaphone, and a Quisling.
Boy, the point on “cultural appropriation” is right on point. Tell me I can’t make sweet and sour chicken tacos. I dare you. What a ridiculous hang up. But people write PhD dissertations on why people shouldn’t make sweet and sour chicken tacos.
Some folks have way too much time. (And too much of Daddy’s money.)