I'll warn you: This will be a long, rambling, boring story about an online tiff I had with someone I don't know IRL. But it also is an example of what annoys me most about the "progressive" community.
Quite awhile ago, I joined an online Democratic message board that had separate forums for the 50 states. After a few weeks, someone decided to organize a get-together for the Minnesota members. Some people threw some restaurant ideas around, and I suggested that we make sure we go to a union establishment, being proud supporters of the DFL and all.
The reponse was, at best, lukewarm. Some posters implied that since this wasn't a DFL event, we didn't need to find a union house. Pardon me for thinking that Greens, self-described progressives and other people who claim to be on the side of goodness and light -- while not necessarily supporters of the DFL itself -- might be interested in eating at an establishment that guaranteed a good wage to its workers. The group chose a restaurant, a non-union one, and I decided I didn't need to be a part of that group.
In the course of the discussion, one poster, whom I will call Wiggy, called me out and asked if EVERYTHING I DID was union. Everything I bought, services I paid for, and so on. Well, what a baiting question. Obviously it's not. (See also No alternative.) But when there ARE choices, like a restaurant, you can be sure that I will do everything I can to eat at the union house.
Anyway. Wiggy. Wiggy is actually an easy-to-find figure on the Internet and in local circles. I've never met him, but he is known in the party somewhat. Wiggy's a self-described progressive who is trying to change the party from within. He also doesn't seem to have much of a sense of humor, and while I know making judgments about people online is asking for trouble, I get the idea of this tiresome person who takes himself way too seriously.
Fast foward to a couple weeks ago. I read in the paper that John's smooth jazz station is shutting down, switching to right-wing talk radio! The horror! Who would have ever thought we'd be nostalgic for smooth jazz? But it's true. Since it will be switching to talk radio, this of course was a topic of discussion on the board.
"My son will be devastated!" I posted. "He loves it."
WIggy muscled in and posted, "I don't listen to Clear Channel anything. Clear Channel is the devil. There's plenty of great jazz on WWWW, and eclectic music on WWWW."
I posted, "Hey, I didn't say he likes great jazz. It's the Kenny G he digs."
Because, you know, that's funny to share. I have an almost-seven-year-old who loves Sade. Well, Sade is awesome. But he also likes Kenny G.
And then, even though it was way too early in the conversation for Godwin's Law) to take effect, Wiggy came out with this one:
"I went to Auschwitz two years ago. While there in the original camp, I stood by one of the buildings on the spot that every day, a group of Jewish musicians was forced to play while the workers went off to slave for the Nazis. In my opinion, music is nice when it doesn't come from the oppressors. When it does, it's best to turn it off. Clear Channel is one of the oppressors, as far as I'm concerned. I also don't shop at Wal-Mart or Sam's Club."
Okay then! Let's review: Letting your child listen to a smooth jazz station and yourself listening to the commercials so you know where NOT to shop = one of the greatest human horrors in history. Well, glad we cleared that up.
I replied, "Seriously, that's one of the stupidest comparisons I've ever heard."
And Wiggy's ace in the hole? You guessed it: "Coming from a black-and-white on union issues I'd think conscientious consumerism would make sense. I'm sorry to learn that it doesn't."
Gawd, sometimes I really, really hate this movement. I really do.