Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Rich Lowry's Brilliant Excoriation of "Hashtag Heroism"

In his recent article at the New York Post, Rich Lowry gave Westerners a much-needed reminder that, while hashtag campaigns and the tri-colored filter on your Facebook profile pic may make you feel better, it's really not very useful beyond that.

From the article, referencing the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag fad from earlier this year:

After the slaughter at the offices of the satirical French magazine Charlie Hedbo earlier this year, it was “Je suis Charlie,” or “I am Charlie.”

It was a well-intentioned expression of solidarity, so long as you overlooked the absurd presumption of it.

You are Charlie? Oh, OK. Then draw a sketch of Muhammad and post it online. Better yet, do it over and over again, until you get constant threats and your office is firebombed, just as a warm-up.

No, you aren’t Charlie. (For that matter, Charlie isn’t even Charlie anymore — it’s given up on mocking Islam for understandable safety reasons.)

Last year, when the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped 200 schoolgirls, Twitter exploded with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. First lady Michelle Obama held up a sign with the phrase on it. If Boko Haram was shamed by its Twitter feed, it showed no signs of it. The only girls who were brought back escaped on their own. The Nigerian military has rescued other girls, armed with weapons considerably more powerful than a hashtag.


Spare me the #PrayforParis hashtag. Forgive me if I’m unmoved by lighting world landmarks up in red, white and blue, or your putting a tricolor filter on your Facebook profile picture. And please don’t tell me, in the words of the designer Jean Jullien, that “in all this horror there’s something positive that people are coming together in a sense of unity and peace.”

Nothing positive comes from innocents getting shot down in cold blood for the offense of going to a concert on a Friday night. It [sic] there aren’t going to be more — and worse — attacks in our cities, the path ahead won’t be one of unity and peace. It will be the hard, thankless work of protecting civilization from its enemies.

Lowry's piece couldn't be more necessary or timely, and I definitely suggest you give the whole thing a read here.

-- W. Sullivan