Friday Ephemera
Attitude Correction

Do Not Feed The Narcissists

Some people are just really hard to please

When they showed up carrying racial protest signs to the university’s annual DePauw Dialogue on Wednesday, the audience started applauding. “Stop fucking clapping!” some protesters yelled, a student who was near the commotion told The College Fix. They later complained about the applause on social media. The protesters’ irritation with the spotlight didn’t end there. At the end of their campus march, they “asked a photographer to stop taking pictures and confronted him when he refused,” The DePauw student newspaper reported.

So, to recap. Forty or so “social justice” protestors disrupt a keynote address at DePauw University, holding signs that scold the audience for being insufficiently deferential to the protestors’ racial fixations and delusions of being oppressed. Being schooled in “privilege and identity,” and therefore suitably cowed and pretentious, the audience starts applauding the disruption, and applauding the scolding being aimed at them. And then those applauding are promptly scolded for doing so.

After the event, protestor Justin Collado announced via Facebook:

It was very shocking and upsetting when the student body and faculty… decided to clap at our struggle, our voices. It felt as if we were not taken seriously. We are here, as a community, to make a change and see difference on this campus. We will not be looked as a joke [sic].

Approval is oppressive. Also grammar. But for God’s sake, don’t laugh.

Another protestor, resident assistant Amata Giramata, denounced the applause as a display of “white sympathy,” which is apparently the wrong kind of sympathy, and is therefore offensive:

Dear DePauw, why is your first reaction to my protests, clapping? My activism is not a show.

Oh madam, I beg to differ.

Update, via the comments:

As to what type of show is being staged, let’s look at the dynamics. Forty or so middle-class students, including beneficiaries of DePauw’s policy of racial favouritism in hiring and admissions, decry the “burden” of being brown-skinned at said university, while holding up signs that read, “DePauw = unsafe,” “Don’t kill me,” and “Our situation is intolerable.” If you dare to disagree with the protestors, denunciation seems inevitable, most likely involving accusations of “white privilege,” and possibly racism. If you sit quietly and try to ignore the protest, then, it turns out, you’re on “the side of the oppressor.” And if you signal your approval of the protest – say, by applauding it – then this too is offensive, an insult to the protestors’ heroic struggle.

Taken at face value, the “social justice” howler monkeys seem difficult to console. Even if you agree with them, they will complain about it. Apparently, those whose event was selfishly interrupted are expected to welcome the protestors’ disdain for everyone present. Specifically, by pretending to feel bad for an absurd made-up reason - i.e., by agreeing that the university is a dangerous and oppressive environment for brown-skinned devotees of “social justice.” Expressions of compliance are demanded, but may only take the form approved by the protestors. (No clapping is allowed, only standing “in solidarity,” for however long is necessary, while remaining mute.) Any other response – from applause to indifference – will be deemed a hostile act and mark you as an enemy. It therefore seems unlikely that such people could be kept happy for any length of time, even assuming one were sufficiently credulous to attempt it.

However, if you think of the above as a kind of bad-faith theatre, an exercise in in-group positioning, it becomes a little more comprehensible. The object, it seems, is to whine and scold, and to indulge in emotional browbeating, thereby asserting dominance over others. The more improbable the grievance, and the more numerous the hoops through which one has to jump, the sweeter the game is, for a certain kind of person. And as this theatre of victimhood is the basis of the protestors’ status and self-importance, and the thing that excuses all that lovely scolding, it must continue indefinitely. It is, therefore, pointless to engage with such people on their own terms, as if you could ever find some mutual accommodation short of perpetual deference and self-abasement, or as if you could change their minds, or make them less obnoxious.

The only question is which party is the more wretched and degenerate. The vain little scolds who claim to be oppressed at a university where tuition fees are a mere $50,000 a year, or the cowed and pretentious dupes who applaud their own scolding.