Our Social Justice Warrior wakes, temperament neutral. His dreams were pleasant. ‘My dreaming was suspiciously pleasant,’ he thinks. ‘Was it the herbal tea my roommate recommended? Did my roommate know that it would quell my seemingly-unquenchable thirst for justice? IS MY ROOMMATE TRYING TO SILENCE ME?’
He is angry.
He pours himself a cup of his roommate’s coffee and scrolls through the morning headlines on his phone. There’s a lot on some random knifing that he doesn’t care about.
“God damn it,” he whispers. “Why couldn’t it be a shooting?”
SJW (our social justice warrior) hasn’t scratched that NRA itch in a few weeks and would have liked a little flame with the gun nuts. Their anger is some of the purest there is. The things they say in the name of their hilariously-Orwellian “freedom.” Ohhh — SJW suppresses a smile. The fight is exhilarating, but he hates these people, he remembers. They are not even people. They are base. They are less than. A lot of them go to church. What is that, even?
‘Where is Sarah Palin these days?’ he wonders.
Things were easier when Sarah Palin was around. SJW sighs. Gone, the Golden Age of Rage.
He turns his attention back to the articles on the knifing. The suspect is white, which means that nobody is erroneously blaming black people for all of the crime in the world, which means there’s no clear, immediate racial angle to be angry over.
‘Could I invent one?’
The white man allegedly knifed ten people. One of them had to have been black. SJW begins his search for a list of the victims.
“I knew it,” he whispers.
The ninth victim is half-Cuban.
“Racist mother f— ”
“Is that my coffee?” asks his roommate.
SJW raises a pointer finger, still reading.
“I’m busy, Jessica. Can we talk about this later?”
“No. What? Go get your broke ass a job and buy your own food.”
“Excuse me,” says SJW.
He swivels around in his chair, pushes up his glasses, and stares directly into Jessica’s eyes like do NOT.
“I have a job,” he says. “I am a hacktavist.”
Jessica literally laughs.
“Did you just literally laugh?” asks SJW.
“I just literally laughed in your face,” says Jessica.
Jessica turns and storms out of the kitchen. SJW can’t help but notice that his roommate is still in her pink sweatpants stamped “STATE” across the back. ‘Heteronormative color patterning, self-objectifying target on her ass, and is she even brushing her hair anymore?’ wonders SJW.
In fact, Jessica’s been having a rough week at work, but she’ll get through it (she’s a boss bitch who speaks three languages, maintains a strict paleo diet, reads up on neuroscience for the #yolo, and is not going to let that little piss ass SEAN from work talk to her like she’s an assistant just because she has a pretty banging body on top of all that, by the way).
SJW returns to the headlines, notices a Taco Bell ad for a new Cuban dish, is furIOUS.
SJW posts his first tweet of the morning.
“Taco Bell promotes ‘eating Cuban’ on an article covering the most brutal anti-Cuban hate crime in history. Coincidence? Nah. #banthebell”
5 likes, 2 retweets
15 likes, 7 retweets, 3 @replies from SJW’s social justice warring friends
96 likes, 23 retweets, 12 @replies from SJW’s social justice warring friends, a link from Drudge
The conservative punditry has discovered SJW’s tweet and is viciously attacking it for “the self-evident stupidity” of liberalism, the liberal punditry has discovered the conservative punditry’s vicious attack on liberalism and has, backed into a corner, set to defending SJW’s tweet as too nuanced for the “conservative culture of purposeful stupidity” to properly make sense of. Off to the wild periphery, Ann Coulter is making fun of golf or something.
SJW has gained 2,000 Twitter followers. He sighs, contentedly. He is doing good in the world.
Huff Post Live, starved for content, sends SJW a direct message and asks him to join their show at 10AM as an expert on Cuban culture.
“Wait, you’re Cuban, right?” asks Ned, their producer.
“Yes, I’ve of course been to Cuba,” says SJW. “I’m not a fascist.”
“No, but you’re actually Cuban?” asks Ned, their producer.
“This is incredibly offensive,” says SJW. “How racist can one person be? I mean I knew that Huff Post Live was run by mostly white people but — ”
“Whoa, whoa,” says Ned, their producer, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. Vid up, we’re live in 10.”
SJW video conferences in to Huff Post Live. In addition to the host, an apologetic white man, he is joined by a PhD candidate from Rutgers University studying the Cuban diaspora in America, a Cuban-American stylist with a moderately-popular Tumblr, and a literal random Cuban who Ned, the producer, found in front of Taco Bell that morning.
The conversation is heated, and robust. The graduate student wonders if Cubans are facing, in light of the recent Taco Bell ad promoting Cuban cuisine with such poor sensitivity to Cuban-American political complexities, a new apartheid. “A quiet apartheid,” she says. Halfway through, the apologetic white man notices SJW is white, but not apologetic.
“You of course aren’t speaking on behalf of Cubans, though,” says the apologetic white male host, apologetically, “right?”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” asks SJW.
“Well just that you aren’t, you know, Cuban.”
Finally, “I can’t believe you just said that on live, internet television,” says SJW. “I mean I knew you thought like this, but I never dreamt you’d say it out loud.”
“I’m sorry, it’s just, your last name is Johnson and — ”
“What is that supposed to mean?” snaps SJW. “Cubans can’t be named Johnson?”
“I just pulled up your wiki page and it seems you are not Cuban,” says the host. “Like you are definitely, verifiably not Cuban.”
“But you just assumed it!” shouts SJW. “This is outrageous!”
The Cuban-American stylist with the moderately-popular Tumblr shakes his head, like, ‘cold, bro.’
“This is what I was trying to communicate earlier,” says the PhD candidate. “We’re existing in a culture of violence, now. Huff Post Live is using violent language.”
“Twitter is blowing up right now,” says the apologetic host. “Lots of people agree, lots of people disagree.”
“Because lots of people are literal Nazis,” says SJW.
The literal random Cuban expresses some confusion concerning the reason for his being involved in the show. He is reassured by Ned that the segment is almost over, and asked by the apologetic host if he has been offended.
“Offended by what?” asks the literal random Cuban.
“We can’t even see offense anymore,” says the stylist with the moderately-popular Tumblr. “This is the result of patriarchy.”
“Wait,” says the apologetic host with a nod at the literal random Cuban, “but he’s a man. Doesn’t that make him a part of the patriarchy?”
The PhD candidate rolls her eyes.
“No,” she says, “the patriarchy is white. Listen, I’m grateful to be here with you today, but you need to educate yourself if you’re going to host a show.”
“Wait,” says the host, “wait, wait, wait, I just — ”
“I don’t feel safe here,” says the PhD candidate. “Does anyone else feel unsafe here?”
19 blogs have covered the now internet-famous fight on Huff Post Live. Jezebel asks: “Is Huff Post Live the Most Racist Internet Show on Internet Television?”
SJW has gained 3,000 additional Twitter followers and has added #banthebell and #huffpostlies to his Twitter bio. He swivels back from his desk, sets his phone down, and takes a quick break for coffee in the kitchen. Jessica is already cleaning out the pot.
“Why would you do that?” he asks. “You know how busy I’ve been today!”
Jessica gives the pot one final swirl in the sink, dries it with the dish towel, and sets it on the rack. She smoothes her hands together, pats them dry, and then breathes in, and breathes out, and promises herself, silently, that this is all just temporary. She turns to SJW.
“You are not Cuban,” she says. “I am Cuban.”
“Wow,” says SJW, “my own roommate. I never thought — ”
Jessica sticks up her pointer and SJW, largely terrified of confrontation in the real world, is silenced. Jessica walks back to her room.
SJW considers this for a long moment, then composes a tweet, and publishes.
“The worst hate is self-hate. Sad to be attacked by the people you’re fighting for. But I know what’s right. #keepgoing #onedaysoon”
A Twitter alert. SJW has just been retweeted. He smiles.
It is a good day.