It’s Not About Time

Genuinely, it is the twenty-first bastard bloody century: We all live lives where we have mothers, sisters, aunties, female cousins, female co-workers; we all live in a world where it is possible to walk down streets and see people of every skin colour imaginable, speaking every language imaginable; we have brought about a world where people of the same biological sex can get married if they like.

I had been under the glorious view that all of this was absolutely great, and that we were heading in the right direction, as far as a group of lemmings jumping off a cliff can ever be thought to do such a thing. I was under the impression that everybody thought like me, and felt that equality was an unimpeachably good thing. Yes, the older generation had some odd notions, but they were dying.

(n.b. Their odd notions, of gender and skin colour were the things which were dying, not the old people.)

I was happy that the monopoly on success was being broken, and that every face I saw on the TV was no longer a reflection of my own. I was happy that my children were being born in to such an enlightened period where gender roles were no longer the rigid roadmap for one’s entire future.

It turns out that a lot of people disagree with me. And by a lot of people I mean people making their fucking YouTube videos about how enraged they are by “virtue signalling” progressives who want to force their “Liberal agenda” on the world. It’s always the ones who shout loudest who get heard the most, and these overly excitable gasbags are shouting loudest of all right now. I am getting rather annoyed.

So, it is apparently self-evidently true that the new Captain Marvel film is going to flop. It has been stated as fact by a number of online commentators that the public are sick of having such messages pushed in their face, and so Marvel are about to receive a kicking at the box office. Bollocks are they.

At this point Marvel could release a twenty minute short of a dog carrying a monkey on its back and it would be top of the box office for several months. That is for starters. The main course is that we are not bored of seeing strong female characters in our films. There is no evidence that that has ever been the case. Largely because we haven’t had the opportunity to get bored of anything like it yet.

My tickets to Captain Marvel are booked. It’s a new character I know nothing about, and I’m excited.

Right-wing freedom of speech warriors are continually acting* butt-hurt over the way that society is becoming more multicultural, more tolerant and more equal. And I simply cannot wrap my mind around it. I want the world to be a more accepting and more tolerant place: there are enough resources for each and every one of us; another person’s success will not diminish mine.

* – The reason I say they are acting is that they understand that their fake anger draws in the views of disenfranchised consumers, and so generates ad revenue. I have seen them coming together to work themselves up in to a frenzy of wrath over the most trivial news stories. It’s a living, I suppose.

Gay people having more rights will not make me – a straight man – any less able to live my life. Women in the workplace does not give me – a man – fewer rights: if anything I have been able to benefit from more flexible working arrangements and time with my children because women have led the way. People of colour exerting their power at every level of society will never diminish my ability to exercise my own power; they are my colleagues, not my adversaries, and I welcome them.

Right-wing commentators live on the handouts of their viewers, in just the same way as the YouTube creators I like live on the Patreon donations I happily make. This is natural, and this is simply another unintended consequence of our increasingly connected age. We support one another better now.

The problem is that while all that Paul at LangFocus needs to do is make interesting videos about the history of French or the influence of Arabic on modern Spanish and Portuguese, the right wing folks – or the “Alternative Media” as they seem content to refer to themselves – have to whip up storms of bile and fury on a daily basis so that their cash crops can roll on in. That’s an awful lot of hate.

That means that whenever something perfectly normal happens – the Doctor becoming a woman, a Marvel Film about a female character, some perfectly adequate Star Trek being made with diverse casting, and strong female characters – they have to take to the airways to decry the lot. They have to justify their apparent disdain by saying that everyone else hates it too, and it’s a terrible idea.

They want their echo chamber burblings to make these pronouncements a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom.

They may or may not believe it. They may or may not be homophobic, transphobic, racist and/or sexist. I genuinely do not know, and I am loathe to speculate. What I do know is that right-wing commentators exhibit precisely the same negative behaviours they spend so much of their energy, their life’s work, decrying:

They tell us that we are amongst a generation of snowflakes who cannot take criticism, yet they fly off the handle whenever something threatens to puncture their delicate world view. Thin skins.

They tell us that “Hollywood” is pushing a liberal agenda of inclusivity, all the while pushing their own agenda of intolerance: they mock and cacophemise anything which they see as different.

They tell us that progressive people only state progressive ideals in order to ensure that they are seen as good people, while pushing an agenda of hate, just so that they can be seen as bad people.

They tell us that progressive people are trotting out the same old tired arguments and catchphrases while sticking to their tired old memes and buzzwords. I need a glossary while I watch their videos.

I believe in unity, and I believe in honesty. I would love to see a lot more of it on the internet. Please.

A note from the publisher:

I have kept out any specific references to right-wing YouTube commentators from this blog; this is because I do not wish to spread their hate.

If you really want to find them, search for videos commenting on “Captain Marvel” being a “disaster” on YouTube. You won’t have to look far.