Sunday, May 07, 2017

On the efficacy of online flamewars

Excavated from the drafts folder for no particular reason.

Isn't it great how, since the Brendan Eich affair, all his online defenders have become active labor rights organizers, fighting for workplace political freedom for all? Galvanized by the realization that not only CEOs but all workers deserve robust protections for their political beliefs, Eich's erstwhile defenders channeled all their passion into effective political action. Which is why Congress will vote this week on a bill with three key provisions: first, it outlaws any form of workplace discrimination based on political speech or activity conducted outside the office; second, it handsomely funds an investigative division of the FBI tasked specifically with working with the NLRB to track down and prosecute violators; third, by analogy with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the 2003 Protect Act (which grants American prosecutors broad latitude to charge Americans who molest children while abroad), it makes it illegal for companies operating on American soil to subcontract work to overseas employers which restrict their workers' political rights.

There was never any danger that Eich's defenders would just basically forget about the whole affair and get on with their lives. Ha ha! Yeah that definitely couldn't have happened, given how deeply committed these people were to the principle of workplace political freedom. It's not like they only care about workers' rights when it's an incredibly wealthy white male celebrity who is being criticized.

Likewise, when the dead bloated corpse of patriarchy is laid to rest this fall, everyone will have to recognize that the great Twitter Flamewar of March 2014 was really the spike through its heart. No, not that one, I mean the other one, the one where we all wrote angry all-caps tweets at that one dude, he was totally mansplaining and stuff, you remember the one I'm thinking of.