“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” -Kurt Vonnegut
I’ve liked that quote ever since I heard it. It’s one of the reasons that I don’t often say things I don’t actually believe. I limit that to situations and audiences where the intended satire of my statement is plainly evident.
And I think that this quote becomes especially apt today with the online outrage culture. I had a friend who participated in forums at 4chan. And yes, he participated in the forums with the racism and hate. He said he didn’t actually believe it, that he did it for fun, for the lulz. And I told him that it didn’t matter, because whether he is just doing it to be funny or not the outward appearance is that it is racism and hate, so it is racism and hate. He got angry. That’s why this anecdote begins “I had a friend…”
Anyway, the problem with places like that on the Internet is that it becomes impossible for an outsider to determine which people are just joking and which people are serious. And some of them are very serious. And the people who are joking, whether they intend to or not, are encouraging the very serious people.
There is a channel on YouTube, Innuendo Studios, that puts together some great videos that I think most people should watch. And I’m posting today because, spoiler alert, their latest video uses this quote and is about this subject which I think about often.
If you can spare some time, click around their channel and watch some videos. The Alt-Right Playbook series is especially good.