The good news, I guess, is that we’ve already reached Peak Troll a week after the bombings, so it’s all uphill from here. I won’t quote it; you can follow the link if you care. I won’t try my own either, although you’re welcome to do so below. Treacher’s entry will be hard to top:
Islam is my faith, Caucasian's my race. I left some skidmarks on my big brother's face. #apoemfordzhokhar
— I got your #Unity right here (@jtLOL) April 22, 2013
I went off on this phenomenon yesterday on Twitter, noting that we are now in the Conspicuous Compassion Floor Exercise program of the Moral Peacocking Olympics.
Many statements during this phase must be discounted as to their false mention of external facts, such as terrorism. That is just a [red] herring. The real subject of these sorts of Look At Me And Be Amazed By My Empathy and Cleverness statements is, as usual, The Almighty I…
Palmer doesn’t have any empathy for Dzhohkar, and I say this because I rather doubt she has empathy for any human being. What she primarily has empathy for his herself, and her ego, and her need for validation, and her desire to separate herself from the Masses by scoring the natural but “obvious” and therefore “common” reaction to a slaughter — the natural and common reaction that a mass murderer is a bad guy — by peacocking around an uncommon attitude towards it.
The aristocrat demonstrates that he is not common by cultivating a different sense of taste, style, and manner than the common folk; these demonstrations are not chosen simply because they suit him, but specifically because they are different than those of the common masses he wishes to elevate himself above.
Exactly. Waxing lyrical about a degenerate who planted a bomb three feet behind an eight-year-old is an extreme example, but I think this sort of self-congratulatory “against the herd” posturing drives a lot of commentary to lesser degrees. The populist version of it in this case is the Tsarnaev truthers who insist, against all available evidence, that poor Dzhokhar’s the victim of a frame-up. America’s full of noise right now about the bombings and almost every bit of it is condemnatory; the facts of the case and the moral implications couldn’t be more straightforward. Under those circumstances, how’s a “free thinker,” eager to prove his deep insight and defiance of moral convention, supposed to react to the din? If the sheep all say A, where’s the validation in agreeing that A is the correct answer? I got a little of this same vibe from some of the shriller “Mirandize Tsarnaev now!” crowd on Friday night, who were screeching on Twitter within minutes of his capture for him to be reminded that he didn’t have to say jack to the cops. I agree that it’s dumb from a legal standpoint not to give him the warnings, but the instant reaction on Friday obviously wasn’t all about legal strategy. Some of it was simple moral peacocking, a chance to show that while the rest of cloddish America is high-fiving over the terrorist being captured, your own mind was preoccupied with Higher Concerns. I saw one op-ed somewhere on Saturday morning (can’t remember where) insisting that refusing to read Tsarnaev his rights was itself a violation of his rights, which is flatly wrong but a predictable error if your real goal is ostentatious contra-conventional indignation on behalf of the most hated man in America. There’ll be more of this in the next few weeks, but mercifully little of it is likely to rise to the level of trollishness of writing an honest-to-god poem about a guy who allegedly partied two days after blowing up a crowd of people.