Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Monday, October 20, 2014

this brunch will not stand, man

This attack on brunch is worth noting because it exemplifies a couple of recent trends in opinion pieces.

First, we have strategic exaggeration. You don’t just say that you disapprove of brunch, you say that eating brunch manifests a “desire to reject adulthood.” You say it’s a rejection of “the social conventions of our parents’ generation.” You call it “the mealtime equivalent of a Jeff Koons sculpture.” You quote someone else who says brunch is “a symptom of the soulless suburban conformity that is relentlessly colonizing our urban environments.”

In short, you make the most absurdly over-the-top claims imaginable so that when someone calls out the extremity of your language you can reply, “Dude, you need to get a sense of humor.” But of course you don’t actually take anything back, because you meant it. You really, really despise brunch, in a way that really, really is weirdly extreme. But you need not own that because you can invoke “humor” and “irony.”

Which leads to my second point of interest, which is: the panoptic reach of the pink police state. As I’ve noted before, I think James Poulos’s in-development thoughts on this topic are incisive and important, but let me just add some theses for disputation:

  • There is a Law of the Conservation of Moral Energy. That is, the amount of moral energy in a given society is constant. It just gets deployed in different ways.
  • As I have previously noted, in the pink police state there are no adiaphora: everything that is not forbidden is compulsory, and vice versa.
  • As more and more people in our society become convinced that consent is the only relevant ethical category in the domain of sex, the moral energy that once would have gone into policing sexual activity is transferred to questions about when you should eat your meals and what books you should (or should not) read in your spare time — with no diminishment of moral intensity.

1 comments:

  • More than anything, it's indicative of the fact that people are simply incapable of dealing with the fact that other human beings exist and live differently than they do.

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