Every time we’re online these days it seems we’re confronted with social medias very own version of the scourge of society, charity muggers. Except rather than being stopped on the street by a cheerful Irish lad wanting to have a bit of #banter, a flirty European gal sexually harassing you, it’s one of your online pals demanding you sign some pointless petition demanding action on <insert trendy issue of the week here>
On top of that it seems every month there is a new charity organisation popping up and recruiting slacktivists to try to guilt us into reaching for our wallets. When we get a brief reprieve from that we’re constantly being ordered to “like” or “share” poorly made propaganda to “show support”. And you better bloody do it otherwise you’re a heartless prick and potentially a bigot! You’re either with them or against them and if you’re not actively making everyone around you aware of your efforts then you obviously aren’t doing your bit. And even if you are, what’s the point if you’re not getting any likes? It’s getting pretty old. I mean, even the charity organisations themselves are fed up with people pretending to make a difference.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of causes I am more than happy to throw my dollars behind. Just last month a friend of mine launched a gofundme campaign to raise money for a volunteer project he would be travelling half way around the world to contribute to as part of engineers without borders. When I first heard about this I thought fuck yeah, I’ll support the shit out this! Pretty much the definition of a worthwhile cause and totally justifiable fundraising.
But for every campaign like this, there are countless more that are just contrived rip offs of other popular campaigns and don’t seem to be doing anything new. Or foundations that portray themselves to be contributing to society, but are in actual fact just serving their own agendas and those of their backers. More on that later this week…
Call me a cynic, but if you really give a shit about a cause, why start up your own, essentially competing, charity? Would it not be better to get involved with an existing one seeing as though you’re fighting for the same thing? Sure, you wouldn’t get all of the spotlight, kudos and backslaps (not to mention “salary”) but that’s not what it’s about, right?
I was delighted to see in the news today a guy in the UK has stated a hilarious campaign calling for the end of online petitions. What a fantastic idea! Feel free to “show your support”. Unfortunately this is only in he UK, so I’ve started a local one here. Hopefully we can get a bit of support!
I’ll preface this next bit by saying there are definite exceptions to all rules. I’m not denying there are some causes that require grassroots support. We’ve seen petitions exonerate innocent people, we’ve seen them influence policy that is completely unjust and damaging to society. But in general these petitions are created to serve vapid, self interest with a common theme of making demands at the expense of others. But obviously those not on the same side do no count. People don’t realise that there is a larger world outside their personal sphere of existence and there are other people with different opinions outside of their echo chamber.
Just because you get 100 % of a 25,000 person goal, in most cases that does not mean that there is overwhelming support for your cause. That just means 25,000 people support it. The rest of us don’t actually give a fuck. Using Australia as an example, that would mean that 23,105,000 of us don’t give a fuck. The thing is self righteous people seem to think that these petitions are all about making the world a better place. But really they’re all about making their world a better place. Big difference.
However sometimes they have success. In cases where a petition is based on fixing an issue that has unanimous community support this is great! However those cases are quite rare. Usually petitions about furthering the agendas of small interest groups. And sometimes they are a success. Which would be laughable if it wasn’t so concerning. The fact that groups who have an opinion that is not representative of the wider community are able to throw a tantrum and cause that much of a stink people listen is a huge worry.
A serial offender of this that comes to mind is militant feminist group, Collective Shout. On more than one occasion this spiteful mob has been able to stir up such a PC shitstorm they’ve had they’ve managed to tally up a number of “wins” such as
- Banning the sale of Zoo Magazine in Coles supermarkets, instead of just not buying it
- Banning the sale of popular game Grand Theft Auto 5 at all Target stores, instead of just not buying it
- Banning music artist Tyler the Creator from entering Australia and performing for his many fans, instead of just not listening to his music and not going to his concerts.
You can read more about their lunacy and that of others here
It’s disgusting that massive organisations are held to random by vocally aggressive extremists. They are so afraid of being the victims of malicious hate campaigns they pander to the outrageous demands of a borderline terrorist organisation. And before you say that’s an absurd thing to refer to them as check the definition of terrorism and tell me those types don’t use ” intimidation in the pursuit of political aims”. Intimidation doesn’t have to imply violence. These bullies threaten the reputation and livelihood of whoever they attack. Their supporters are typically those who before indoctrination led what they believed to empty, unfulfilled lives but are now filled with false confidence, purpose and vigour thanks to a false sense of meaning. It’s actually quite tragic, because these people are preyed on and manipulated. Sound familiar? Naturally, this crowd attracts your typical over eager social justice ambulance chasers, who share the same lack of purpose and influence and see yet another group of victims to align themselves with in the name of self promotion. Together this motley flock deploys over the social media channels of <insert target company/group/individual here> and mercilessly slanders them, stamping their feet and holding their breath until they get what they want.
What is even more concerning about this lot is that while they claim to be speaking on behalf of women everywhere, their leader is vehemently opposed to womens rights. Melinda Tankard Reist is a religious zealot and staunch supporter of the
pro-life anti-choice cause that refuses to respect a womans right to do make her own choices regarding her life and her body. This is the person leading a moral crusade that aims to deny everyone who doe not agree with her one of the most fundamental human rights – personal choice. Whether it’s major issues such as abortion, personal things like seeing your favourite artist in concert or trivial matters like where you can buy a magazine, it’s her way or the highway. And if not then my god there she will create some noise using one of her preferred weapons of choice, change.org.
This is one extreme example, but the fact remains. Online petitions are at best extremely fucking annoying and downright rude. And at somewhere on the way to their worst they are dangerous and destructive.
So with that, it’s time to meet the absurd head on with absurdity! Time to use slacktivism to combat slacktivism! Time to fight long bows and hysteria with long bows and hysteria!
It’s time to ban all online petitions NOW!