California mother and serious writer Joanna Schroeder recently got her fifteen minutes of fame courtesy of breathless CNN reporter Sara Sidner. Why, exactly? You see, Ms. Schroeder is very, very concerned about the well-being of her teenage sons, as a good mother should be, and wanted to raise the alarm for other mothers of teenage boys to be aware of the insidious reach of right-wing propaganda. She valiantly warned her fellow naive do-gooders about the sinister extremist messaging being used to target youth, lest they be “drawn in by snarky memes.”
Words to watch for
Snowflake: used to mock people deemed too sensitive, especially about issues impacting minorities
SJW: stands for “social justice warrior,” a term used to mock civil rights activists
Sidner does offer the rote, perfunctory disclaimer that Schroeder “does not shun mainstream conservative thought,” yet curiously fails to provide any evidence of that, or any example of what constitutes mainstream conservative thought. This claim is completely and laughably undermined by the inclusion of the terms “snowflake,” and “SJW” in the sidebar list of forbidden speech.
Those terms have been part of conservative dialogue for years. National Review is the leading organ of that mainstream conservative thought which Schroeder claims to not shun, yet of which she is blissfully unaware. A quick web search of the National Review website yielded articles from early 2015 by James Lileks and Jennifer Kabbany with the contemporary usage of “snowflake” as a term for overly-sensitive, nominally adult humans. Rather prophetically, Kabbany’s piece is titled “The Death of College Humor.” The term “SJW” was first used by National Review in late 2015 in articles by George Leef and Katherine Timpf.
Those who use the phrase sarcastically, as most do, imply that the snowflakes’ sensibilities are impossibly delicate, and shatter when confronted with the horrible realities of the world, such as capitalism or people who are insufficiently troubled by the link between climate change and industrial lettuce production. –James Lileks
Four and a half years is forever ago in the age of internet and twenty-four hour news. Yet, somehow, concerned mother Schroeder and professional journalist Sidner both missed those and all the subsequent references in National Review and other conservative media. And all the serious, informed, and rational discussion about the chilling effect of speech codes, and the erosion of first amendment rights.
Words to watch for
Blood and Soil…
14 or 88…
That’s quite an impressive list that they have assembled, and some of them are actual white supremacist dogwhistles: “Blood and Soil;” 14; 88; and the “echo,” those three nested parentheses denoting the thing contained within is (((Jewish))). But it should be noted that the echo has also been coopted by Jews and is often used ironically. Schroeder is right to be concerned about teenagers using those phrases. But including the phrases “SJW,” “snowflake,” and “triggered” in that laundry list only fans the flames of hysteria and undermines Schroeder’s already dubious credibility.
The first word I heard was “triggered,” and that’s a tough one. You may hear this from your conservative uncle, and you may also hear this from a kid who’s getting a lot of alt-right messaging online, and that’s everyone’s too sensitive today. -Schroeder, CNN interview
About the term “triggering” – Schroeder seems unaware that the term was originally a legit feminist term, explained to us back in June, 2015, by Gillian Brown on that unimpeachably feminist website Everyday Feminism. That the term has been so thoroughly co-opted by relentless parody that she is only familiar with its ironic usage must be as disappointing to Schroeder as having her lack of familiarity with feminist rhetoric exposed.
Schroeder does grudgingly acknowledge during her CNN interview that not all those “words to watch for” are racist, but some are “gateways.” The slippery slope argument, hinted at. Just like Marijuana is a “gateway drug” and every person who takes a puff from a “reefer” will eventually end up a heroin addict. And then there is the slippery conflation of mere mockery with inevitable racism and homophobia, since according to the article the term Snowflake is used to mock people “especially [emphasis added] about issues impacting minorities.” SJW, we are informed, “is a term used to mock civil rights activists.”
These terms are being used to mock and push back against the speech police, wannabe censors and their enablers such as Schroeder. The whole point of “triggering,” in the original usage anyway, is the conflation of speech with actual physical violence. This is unacceptable to those of use in the Liberty community, and moral scolds such as Schroeder must always be seen as enemies of free speech.