This Week in Discourse: Political Pets
Discussion is dying, everyone is plagiarizing, and the dogs have gone woke
Welcome to the weekend, internet gremlins. Remember that we’re running a 25% off special until the end of the year on paid subscriptions, the best gift to show how Committed To The Discourse you are.
There was an extra load of online nonsense this week, so let’s jump into it.
You know what topic nobody hates each other about yet?
Video Games Dog training!
And yet here we are, with a New York Times essay on whether dog training is too woke or not woke enough.
None of this matters in any real sense, but it’s such a delicious little bit of drama I can’t help but include it. The wokes have come for dogs! Colonial constructs in dog training! It’s all incredible dramatic nonsense. But it does showcase something that’s accelerating in our culture.
My thesis here is that the culture war swallows everything. No exceptions. There is nothing that won’t turn into the culture war - there are only things where it hasn’t happened yet. Video games? Long time culture war. Bird watching? Racist! Quilting? You better believe it.1 There is no past-time innocent enough, no part of everyday life banal enough to escape this. You may have thought nobody could possibly make “how do you train a dog to fetch” about the wokes vs the anti-wokes. But they can make anything about wokes vs anti-wokes.
“I’d paused on several posts that applied the term “consent” to dogs — as in, we should get their consent before we pet them…
One post read, in between tips on leash reactivity and separation anxiety; “don’t gaslight your dog,” another urged.”
My typical cultural advice applies here: I don’t know what to do about this or how to stop it, but you can at least be aware. You can recognize it as it’s happening and refuse to get sucked into the cycle. More and more parts of your normal existence are going to get dragged into the sphere of the culture war, and that’s a bad thing. Not everything needs to be political online, so resist it while you can.
If this week had a theme, it’s that everyone, everywhere is plagiarizing.