vindictive teen destroyed a classmate … he is a psychopath … this is socopathy … her life was ruined … she was canceled … she made a mistake … she was too young to realise what she was saying … this story shouldn’t have become a national story
That’s a small sample of the narratives floating around about Jimmy Galligan and Mimi Groves and the NYT article that shot their story into the Twittersphere. Once again, we have storytellers with a vested ideological interest spinning the tale of their choice, rather than reporting the facts. Everything in media has become a plot-based narrative with a protagonist martyr, an antagonist monster, and a moral dilemma.
We no longer engage in facts and fact finding and truth seeking and attempting to understand—we somehow have regressed back to puritanical thinking, viewing everything and everyone around us through a weak manichean lens. News media used to provide factual and investigative and intellectual discourse on topics relevant to the functioning of society and the systems within. Today news meda mirrors the creative fiction narratives that characterise writing found in literary journals and magazines—it’s difficult to distinguish literary work from journalism, and in fact that latter barely exists anymore.
When I examine the peurile manner in which many writers and “journalists” engage on Twitter, it doesn’t surprise me that they cannot produce anything more intellectually engaging and stimulating and ideologically challenging and bold that they do. This era does not have its Woodward and Bernstein nor its Hunter S Thompson, who, in 1972, wrote: “The main problem in any democracy is that crowdpleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on a stage and whup their supporters into an orgiastic frenzy – then go back to the office and sell every one of the poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece.”
The edginess of investigative journalism and bold brutal analysis has vanished into the woke maw. It all feels very intellectually stagnant and I often am wont to cynicism, a hardening of the heart and subtle form of egoism I try in earnest to avoid. The internet and social media both consolidate and galvanise woke intellectual stagnation and regression and provide important outlets for dissenting voices to make themselves heard, seen, and known.
I remember learning about blogging when I discovered Salam Pax in a local (Vancouver) independent bookstore in the early 2000s. Back then Blogger existed as an independent company and blogging had begun to explode in the sense that it transformed the way ordinary people engaged with themselves and each other and their world. I wonder if we can appreciate just how this changed the texture and flavour of public discourse forever. I feel like Substack has the potential to transform public discourse in an analagous way as we watch woke editing drive writers to establish their own platforms.
All this brings to me ask—what did woke crusaders do for fun before they devoted themselves to their digital crusade to rid the world of “monsters”? Is Twitter just a modern secular temple or sectarian battleground when you peel away all the layers? How much has the digital infrastructure cultivated the current vision of everything as victim vs monster and moral dilemma requiring retribution or a final solution? This really seems so Orwellian, the ways writers and those who purport to report the news choose their words to evoke emotion, subtly twisting the facts—this laziness with language contributes to public political chaos and obscures the path to addressing underlying issues. Orwell wrote about this in 1946.
Jimmy Galligan is a young man who suffered racial trauma which went repeatedly ignored. Mimi Groves is a young woman who contributed to that racial trauma by using offensive language. The school principle circlejerked free speech as his reason for deliberately allowing racial abuse. The university decided to deny entrance to its educational institution to Mimi and other students who uttered the offensive slurs online, rather than create a learning opportunity which could potentially transform behaviour.
Everyone has staked a position as disempowered, hands tied, a victim. Put another way—no player in this situation has any intentions of assuming responsibility for their behaviour and examining their role in things—no one wants to grow from the situation and actively address the underlying machinations. Certainly, the MSM has no interest in objectively unpacking the situation from a purely human perspective.
Why does everything seem to devolve into a victimhood narrative with a life destroyed, and the faceless demonic force called cancel culture invoked like a religious mythological tale? Can we agree that Jimmy sought to take back power through his spiteful (and yes, misguided) actions? Can we agree that Mimi was not too young to know the gravity of the word she used, complete with hard R? She was old enough to drive, so she was old enough to face the consequences of using an offensive word for social media fun. No, uttering the N word isn’t an innocent mistake and shielding young people from facing the consequences of their abusive words and actions doesn’t serve them in the long run.
And no, my attempts to understand what drove Jimmy to act does not equate to excusing his behaviour. In the end, everyone who commits an act which we find offensive is a flawed human. Yes, even Mimi and the other whypipo who glorified the racial slur. Daryl Davis asks white supremacists he meets why do you hate me when you don’t even know me and I think of this when I observe racial hatred. Why do these young whypipo think it’s okay to use a racial slur with such a horrific past? What does this say about the education system and the job parents are doing to educate their young people if indeed they didn’t realise the graveness of the word? What does it say about the efficacy of the school system and parenting if they did realise the graveness of the word and went ahead and used it anyway? Why aren’t we asking these questions and having these discussions?
Is Mimi’s life really ruined because her university acceptance was withdrawn? Is a young man who sought to take back his power by social media vigilante justice really a psychopath or even a sociopath? Are we really going to drop stigmatising and loaded DSM/psychiatric labels on a young man we don’t know based on this incident? Why are we so fixated on the damage done to the whypipo and not fixated on the fact that these whypipo are still using that word? Mimi’s name is everywhere and so is her story—how exactly has she been cancelled? Do we not find it disingenous to put her in the same cancel culture league as Sasha White, who lost her job for supporting sex based rights and opposing genderism?
I look around and see a widespread phenomenon in which victimhood invoked diverts the narrative from accountability and reconciliation to persecution and vengeance. We like to think of victimhood as invoked heavily only by the political left, however the political right does its fair share of victimhood circlejerking and DARVO armchair analysis. It’s very nearly DARVO, actually, to expect me to believe a whypipo who proudly and gleefully used the N word with a hard R is any kind of victim at all and to see as the villain the young black man who misguidedly sought vengeance because he tired of listening to the racial abuse whilst the adults in charge did nothing because they parroted the free speech defense.
I’ve written before and will likely write again—abuse (FYI racial biogtry/hatred is indeed abuse) isn’t free expression, therefore it’s not subject to protection. Is that how you know I’m Canadian? Perhaps. Anyway—at the very least, the narrative that a whypipo who used the N word is a victim and a black person who called her on it the villain insults my intelligence.
I note the damsel in disress narrative surrounding Mimi Groves has evolved, framing her as victim of a deranged young man’s vengeful campaign. I find that frustratingly disingenuous and yet I wonder, would he have targeted a male student in this manner? The question does need asking because wokebros remain as sexist as ever society was, and female people who commit morally repugnant offenses still do get woke scolded and punished. Wokebros have reserved a special kind of retributive vengeance for female people, no one can deny this.
Whatever the case, it bears remembering—anything you say or do can and will be held/used against you. These words are cliche for a very good reason and we would all do well to remember that. Social media makes it easy to forget that humans like you and I exist on the other end of that digital connection. We feel emboldened to use language in ways we would not in person. The most effective way to combat systemic oppression of all kinds is still through the teaching and cultivating of emotional intelligence and resilience, and through the teaching and enforcement of accountability.
Mimi Groves is part of a group of young whypipo who faced a painful reckoning in the awakening which followed the George Floyd murder by a Minneapolis police officer captured on video camera. We all watched that video, many of us with horror. We all know very well the history of state sponsored racial violence and persecution that characterised America for many many years, historically. We also all know that racial hatred doesn’t only exist in the minds of whypipo—it’s a human phenomenon and anti racism has unfortunately become a circlejerk for racial bigotry and chauvinism and woke racial segregation. George Floyd changed some things for us, all of us, everywhere in the world.
That frustrates me because to a large degree this is more forced exportation if American culture and frankly, as a Canadian, I tire of it. We don’t all need to see our own culture and country and peoples through a distinctly American cultural lens. It’s myopic. It’s neo colonial. It’s oligarchic. To a degree it prevents us from seeing our own country and issues because the culture of antagonism and mercilessness with which America has decided to deepthroat the world sucks up all the oxygen in the room and leaves no air for anything else to breathe and grow.
Civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Vincent Harding always reminded their followers to leave room for mercy and always end on a note of hope. So I will end this missive on the following quote from Daryl Davis, taken from this interview:
That began to chip away at their ideology because when two enemies are talking, they're not fighting. It's when the talking ceases that the ground becomes fertile for violence. If you spend five minutes with your worst enemy — it doesn't have to be about race, it could be about anything...you will find that you both have something in common. As you build upon those commonalities, you're forming a relationship and as you build about that relationship, you're forming a friendship. That's what would happen. I didn't convert anybody. They saw the light and converted themselves.