A 90-Second Guide to Determine if Your Internet Cause Is BS
Hey there, Internet person about to click "post" -- did you know that just because you're extremely passionate about a cause, it doesn't mean it can't be, well, super dumb? After all, even your uncle who thinks Barack Obama is a crab-monster from Alpha Centauri is convinced he's on the side of righteousness. Luckily, we've put together a short questionnaire to help you figure out where your post stands. It shouldn't take much time!
Question 1: Does Your Cause Require an Elaborate Conspiracy Theory to Be True?
If you answered yes, it's probably bullshit.
For instance, let's say there's a movement called #GamerGate, about irate gamers protesting the lack of ethics in gaming journalism. OK, sounds like a good, simple cause. Now, let's say the specific ethical breach that enraged them is about a feminist indie game designer who a bunch of gamers already hated supposedly gaining control of the gaming media through her vagina -- all of this based on the conjectures of a guy on YouTube who also seems to think government scientists are involved. As in, apparently there's a secret DARPA project to brainwash gamers into, uh, being more tolerant of women. The bastards.
All that's missing is a nonsensical insert of Ron P- wait, no, there he is.
Guys, if you Google long enough you can find a conspiracy theory proving anything -- from vaccines causing autism (CDC cover up!) to the government trying to take your guns (it's Obama and ACORN!). Whenever you find yourself following an intricate narrative that happens to push all the outrage-related buttons in your brain, maybe it's time to re-examine what you're upset about.
Question 2: Does Your Cause Apply Only When It's Convenient?
If you answered yes, it's probably bullshit.
Look no further than Reddit and 4Chan hollering battle cries against the NSA's access to personal information in what was practically the same expelled jacking-off breath for the leaked Jennifer Lawrence pics -- going so far as to protect the people behind the leak:
"UNLESS THEY'VE GOT GOOD BOOBS. THEN FUCK 'EM. POST AWAY."
This is from a website that has policies in place against posting other people's private photos -- the apparent exception being if the tits in question are famous. It's the same way none of the gun-obsessed Chipotle militias' declared rights apply to the Ferguson protests, or that the values of people buying organic at Trader Joe's don't apply to hurting the environment through marijuana production.
Question 3: Have You Ever Experienced a Real-World Example of Your Cause?
If you answered no, it's most likely bullshit.
Ask a fanatical gun nut if, for all their paranoia, they've ever had their weapons physically taken away from them by the government. Those guys sure are silly and deluded, huh? OK, now replace "guns" with "games about guns" and "government" with "the feminist anti-sexism cabal." We know you're very upset about this topic, but have you ever suffered a real-world consequence from it? You know, stuff like:
We picked non-gaming sites just for you, dear conspiracy theorist.
You could probably find an example where a guy did get bullied by a pack of feminists and they burned his copy of GTA V, just like the gun nuts eagerly point to the time the government did take a drunken blind guy's weapons (and then returned them). The scale model for this is "racism" vs. "prejudice" -- the latter is where you find individual cases of white men being harassed or beaten up for being white, the former is a societal problem like 52 percent of crack smokers being white while 79 percent of all sentenced offenders are black. Anyone can prove vaccination is unsafe when they use the one or two times a child was injured when a vaccine aggravates an unknown cell disorder, but that requires ignoring broad trends and statistics saying how rare that is. Anyone can prove there's no sexism if they ignore all the sexism.
Question 4: Is Your "Oppressed" Group Literally in Charge of the Media and Government?
If you answered yes, it's definitely bullshit. Sorry.
Here's a quick "white dude with persecution complex" cheat sheet:
Yes -- white people won't be the majority by the time your kid is having kids.
No -- that doesn't mean they're being oppressed this very second. Or at all. Or doing anything other than making up 60 percent of guests on Sunday political TV shows, 77 percent of Academy Awards voting members, 64 percent of the news media, and 90 percent of lawmakers. That is the opposite of an oppressed group.
People in tan suits are the real minority.
Question 5: Is It Possible That Maybe, Just Maybe, Your Cause Reflects Problems in Your Own Life and Not an Actual Problem in the World?
Before you scroll down to the comments section to write "SJWHOMO!" in big letters, we have to ask:
Are you doing OK?
How are things? Are you lonely or always angry? Is it possible ... just a little bit ... that the oppressed cause you're taking up is perhaps just a manifestation of your own troubles? We ask because stuff like these reactions to the leaked pictures ...
"Nice" and "Courteous"
... or these #GamerGaters talking about why they hate the women involved so much ...
... are way more telling about the accuser than the accused. Really, think about it. Is the real conspiracy theory perhaps not that the majority is trying to snuff you under the blanket guise that you're acting "hateful" or "misinformed," but rather that things might not be going so great?
Do you have friends, family members, teachers, youth ministers, or coaches you can talk to when everything's kind of shitty? Because, statistically speaking, they're the ones who are actually going to listen to you (rather than the howling toilet vortex we know as the Internet) and care about your overall existence (rather than the Masonic power-sharing arrangement between Barack Obama's Kenyan Muslim lizard clone and Jennifer Lawrence's left areola).
Here is the Twitter account for the complaint department: @MovieHooligan