Has the twitter hashtag cynicism reached a new ethical low?
Jaded postmodernism or dispassionate selfishness?
The twitter hashtag has often been used in imaginative & brilliant styles to ridicule media-obsessive politicians. Thus, from my outset I want to make clear my point following isn't aimed per-say at all hashtags. You just need to check out Sir Patrick Stewart wet-wipes intervention at Call-me-Dave expense to appreciate the brevity, humour & socio-political worth. Yet as with everything, is there an extreme to be dug up with this hashtag craze? Has everything become fair-game for armchair cynics?
Its always a fine line between valid criticism of public figure silliness, and callousness. Equally trends starting as sexist can easily become hijacked by liberal twitterati crusaders. Anyone remember: #mistakesGIRLSmake. Immediately obvious as the result of puerile sexism (note capitals on 'girls'). Yet this hashtag has become a high-flying trend for feminist counter-culture, and their male allies. So its worth noting decent human beings can easily seize control of those more prejudicial hashtags.
But, there is always a but. When we are confronted with something like #crimeariver - things need to be placed in context. It seems a growing number of western twitterers seem to find the geopolitical interference in Ukraine territorial integrity something of a laughing matter. Lets point out exactly why it isn't, and why some aspects of the twitter phenomenon has little to do with counter culture, youthful vigour or socially-valid ridicule.
A critical definition of 'postmodernism' is an emphasis on deconstructivism, and skeptical interpretations of culture, arts, literature, philosophy et cetera. I put it to you that certain aspects of the twitter hashtag is routinely flaunted as being brilliantly 'postmodern' or even avante garde when it is nothing of the sort.
A global trending joke seeking to willfully ignore the critical juncture west & east is arriving at over Crimea is no laughing matter. Nor is pretending its 'just another problem elsewhere' in any fashion postmodern. Its frankly ignorance, emotional detachment.
It is always a hard one to judge, but when it comes to those twitter hashtags I always find myself judging their worth before engaging. When does #mistakesGIRLSmake end up with #crimeariver? When does superb counter-cultural deconstruction end up with an almost MTV generational absence of emotional commitment?
Perhaps the Simpsons nailed the bolt with the Lisa Simpson line: 'We're the MTV generation, we experience neither highs nor lows'. If that was the MTV generation, what the hell can we expect with the subsequent ones? Just empty pleasure-seeking? Debasing ridicule of unsuitable subject matter?
I put it to you #crimeariver represents the very modern definition of happiness: the immediate gratification of fleeting wants and desires.
After all, if you don't give a thought for the morrow, why the hell should you care about empathising or sympathising with the plight of those elsewhere?