Karens all the way down

The possibility that it’s not our place to make that call, literally or figuratively, is increasingly lost in these conversations. Shamings are the toddler soccer matches of the social web: if you’re on the field, you get to play (at least until it all devolves into the chaos of a hundred people with small legs and limited spatial capacity all trying to kick the same ball at once, but mostly just kicking each other.) The fact that we are aware of a given offense seems cause enough to weigh in, whether or not we are materially affected, whether or not we know any of the parties involved, even if the incident happened a thousand miles away in a city we’ve never visited. We’ve already agreed that this was a bad act, and that consequences are in order. Who’s to say that you, personally, aren’t the person to dole them out?

And if you seem to be enjoying it a little too much, well, aren’t you owed a little pleasure in exchange for your fulfillment of the new social contract? If we acknowledge a moral obligation to show up and condemn Amy’s actions, maybe we can’t blame people for sticking around, grabbing a beverage, and cheering on her comeuppance like it’s a spectator sport. They’ve cancelled everything else, after all. It’s either this or Korean baseball, and nobody wants to get up that early in the morning.

And yet, and yet. Maybe there’s a new normal that refuses to tolerate racism, that does its best to correct historic injustice, but that stops short of throwing a party to celebrate the ruination of the corrected.