In which we marvel at the mental contortions of our self-imagined betters.
The year began with a display of the Guardian’s famed sense of proportion, with the paper’s Barbara Ellen informing us, emphatically, that, “We’re nearly all vegan now” - we being the general population - before asking with equal confidence, “Who isn’t vegan in some way these days?” The Vegan Society, meanwhile, acknowledged that the demographic in question amounts to barely 1% of the British population. Hungry for more fearless and irrefutable leftwing journalism, we turned to the pages of Salon, where the chronically breathless Mr Chauncey DeVega declared that “The American people” – and not just Salon columnists – “are in a manic state because of Trump’s regime.” 300 million citizens are, we learned, living in fear of Mr Trump’s “fascism,” his allegedly annihilationist tendencies, and of course his “secret police.”
Meanwhile, Slate readers mulled the moral quandaries of progressive life, before being rewarded with somewhat peculiar and potentially disastrous advice, on subjects including sex tapes and prodigious weight gain. And via which, we learned that the best way for an insecure straight woman to find romantic and sexual satisfaction is for her to start dating polyamorists and gay people, on grounds that this will ease both her trust issues and her frequent panic attacks.
In February, we learned, via the Guardian, of the latest must-have status accessory – namely, dinner parties at which one pays $2,500 to be scolded as a racist, an upholder of “white supremacy,” based on nothing, by someone suitably brown and opportunist. Participants – “mostly Democrats” – are told to “own their racism,” however invisible, and are warned against having “unmonitored thoughts.” Elsewhere in the Guardian, we were assured by leader writer Susanna Rustin that a “reordering of society” is in order, to correct the apparently unendurable problem of some people having a standard of living not yet available to every single human being on the planet. “Lives of luxury” – defined by “weekly shopping sprees” – could be “replaced” – “painlessly” – with “artistic expression and creativity,” specifically, dance lessons.
While in Salon, Bay Area progressive Nicole Karlis wrote of the “heartache, tears and stress” brought on by the loss of one’s plastic water bottle. A sentiment echoed by fellow progressives and non-specific activists, who shared their wrenching tales of “water-bottle separation anxiety,” a phenomenon that can apparently induce fits of weeping and feelings of “falling into chaos.”
In March, readers of the Observer were invited to ponder the profound moral question, “Is it ever acceptable for a feminist to hire a cleaner?” Much fretting ensued regarding the acceptable sex and skin colour of the person doing the cleaning, with the paper’s Sally Howard deciding that the most feminist way to empower cleaning ladies - and to avoid the “structural devaluation of women’s work” - is to make said ladies unemployed. The views of Ms Howard’s former cleaners, fired in the name of feminism, were not deemed worthy of inclusion.