The Idiots Guide to Political Name-Calling
By Iaine MacDonald (@IaineMacComedy)
I just turned 40 this year. That’s right boys, line forms to the left. Not only does being 40 mean I automatically turn into a bionic sex kitten, it also means I’m in that “in-between” generation that had to WORK at learning how technology works. I grew up in an age of Encyclopedia Britannica in the home library, landline phones on the kitchen wall, and phone books so large they were used as booster seats. Our video games were Pong and Frogger. The worst thing that could happen to you on a computer game was that you COULDN’T find Carmen San Diego.
Okay, you could also die of dysentery on the Oregon Trail, but really, didn’t everyone?
So I’ve had to work to learn how to function in the age of hipster technology. To use a smart phone, to learn how to navigate social media, to grow through the evolution of email and web pages. There are some areas I’m very knowledgeable about, and some areas I am, and will remain, ignorant of.
There are areas of technology that I have grown to love. Email, because I’m too lazy or cheap to buy stamps. Texting, so I can indulge my love of not talking to people in real life. Social media, like Facebook and Twitter, so I can flex my snark muscles and amuse complete strangers, and feed my other indulgence: POLITICS.
Up until this past election cycle, I was never that involved in politics. I pretty much revile all politicians, regardless of their flavor. I think they’re all varying levels of scum and corruption just by nature of the job. I got slightly more interested when the Electoral College allowed Dubya to steal the election from Gore, then got more interested when we elected Obama, and got WAAAAAY more interested when I saw the level that some people in this country had sunk to over the course of the next eight years. The rise of Fox “News”, the vitriol, and the just flat-out hatred shown by the Republicans.
Bear in mind, I am not a Democrat. I’m not a Republican, I’m not an Independent, I am completely unaffiliated. On some issues I lean with the Dems, some I lean with Libertarians, and some issues I USED to lean with Repubs before they completely lost their minds in a fog of religion, racism, and xenophobia.
Fast forward to the election of 2016. I was hooked the moment I watched Trump take a ride down a frigging ESCALATOR and make his announcement by calling Mexicans rapists. I watched as more than a baker’s dozen of hard-core career Republicans, and Dr. Carson who, I swear to god, looks like he hit the Nitrous during every surgery he ever performed, threw everything at this walking Cheeto and saw it bounce off. Trump really was the “Teflon Don”. For 18 months straight it was a constant train wreck and as a regular rational person I was concerned, but as a comedian, it was like manna from Heaven. I’m a serious atheist, but even I thought Trump was a gift from baby Jesus.
And through it all, social media took up any slack left from the television. Any comments too mean, vulgar, or which would require too much explanation, were posted online. It used to be people could agree to disagree, keep political arguments non-personal and remain friends. But that all went away in the 2016 election. Of course, me being…ME, I gave as good as I got. I deleted contacts on my social media accounts that posted what I considered disgusting rhetoric from the other side. I followed people on Twitter that I hate with the fire of a thousand suns, just so I could see what they said and comment/share it. I was happily posting away when IT happened. I had my eyes opened.
It was a lovely night in late September. I was wide awake at 3 am and scrolling through Twitter, posting sarcastic responses to something moronic from Hannity, nothing major. It came like a lightning bolt from the sky. I got called… A snowflake?
Okay, what’s a “snowflake”? When I posed that question to the troll, he responded that I knew what it was. I could have guessed at that one. When I REALLY got lost was when “SJW” clogged my feed. At this point, I had to ask again. What the absolute fuck is “SJW”? I admit I’m not hip with the cool teen lingo or whatever, but I had literally NEVER seen this online before. Like the floodgates had finally opened, suddenly I was bombarded with acronyms and insults in l33tsP3@k that I had never seen and for the first time, I felt OLD. Dammit, I needed to look up all these insults and see what they actually meant, if I was going to continue being hilarious on Twitter!
So for all you out there that aren’t quite “with it” when it comes to modern hipster political smack-talk, here is a short guide to help you wade though.
Previously used to describe millennials who need ‘safe spaces’, it expanded to include all liberals, or anyone Rebublicans can paint as ‘too easily offended’ and ‘thinks they’re special’.
Social Justice Warrior. Basically used to describe liberals who are only seen as civil rights activists on the Internet.
Look, they merged the words ‘liberal’ and ‘retard’ together like Brangelina, isn’t that ADORABLE.
Used by hard-core alt-right Republicans to describe any Republican who doesn’t agree with them as being weak and emasculated.
“Pepe the Frog”
Okay, this one I’m still confused by. It’s a meme of a cartoon frog face and at some point in 2016, became the symbol of the white nationalists, but no one seems to know exactly why. To be safe, just assume if you see it, it represents Nazis.
You may have noticed that all these terms are ones used by Republicans. I tried to be fair and find ones used by Democrats but I honestly couldn’t find any. Not that they don’t insult Republicans, but they use words that already exist, like “nutjob” and “zealot” and “jackass”.
I don’t know what this means for the future of politics in this country. While I enjoyed watching the fireworks before the election just for entertainment value, its very much like a Jerry Springer episode and you’re happy when it ends and you turn it off. Except this hasn’t turned off. Trump won the election (depending on who you ask) and the name-calling hasn’t stopped.
More importantly, neither has the HYPOCRISY related to that. The same group that spent 8 years calling Obama a Kenyan and illegitimate are now complaining that the liberals are name-calling and they should just accept the person they didn’t like won and get over it.
No problem Republicans, you go first and tell me how the weather is.