NPF: DETERRENCE

Posted in No Politics Friday on September 2nd, 2011 by Ed

People tend to keep socially unacceptable thoughts to themselves. You might still be a racist, but you're less likely to say racist shit to other people. There's a degree of public shaming involved in saying racist things – ask Michael Richards, Katt Williams, or James Watson – that makes people think twice. That's not a bad thing. It's how social norms are enforced and the boundaries of acceptable conduct are enforced.

Like many people out there in internet land I am head over heels in love with White Whine, which bills itself as a collection of First World Problems. I suspect most people like it because it's funny. And it is. Consider these two examples:

Subject: Snack Time.

Hi Becky!. This is Kaylyn’s mum :-) . I have a concern about the snacks that you’re serving to kids. Today we were in the store and Kaylyn pointed out the type of cookies that you served at the teddy bear picnic. Much to my dismay they weren’t a name brand. My husband and I pay very good money for childcare and we expect that corners won’t be cut in the care of our child. That and we don’t want to instill the sorts of values in her that make her think that it’s okay to settle for less than the best. That might be hard for you to understand but it means a lot to me.

Her email signature has a Deepak Chopra quote in it. Then there's this:

The popularity of White Whine has exploded rapidly – its creator is no doubt the next person in line to get a seven-figure advance for a book deal on his free Tumblr – in part because everyone has one or two of these yahoos in his or her social networks. You know, the girl who whines about going on too many vacations or the guy who goes on venom-laced rants about immigration when his domestic servants displease him. My hope is that over time, a good dose of public mockery will condition a generation of people who grow up on Facebook to think twice before they start putting their impulsive thoughts on the internet. You know, that format that preserves everything you say. Forever. More importantly, maybe people will start to realize that they don't really need to spend as much time whining about trivial First World Problems. As Daniel Tosh says, "It's time you learned that your ranch dressing is not that fucking important." Indeed it is time, internet. Indeed.