What Your 9 Favorite Tumblr Catchphrases Say About You

Suzanne Tucker / (Shutterstock.com)
Suzanne Tucker / (Shutterstock.com)

1. “I Can’t Even”

Can’t even, or won’t even? For an expression that so often surfaces during discussions about how evil Caucasians are, this is just about the whitest thing a human being can say without describing their vacation to Maine last summer.

Why are you choosing to express your mock disbelief in the manner of a 12-year old Valley Girl, when chances are that you’re approaching 30 and hold some kind of supervisory position in retail? Do you think it’s cute to speak like a high-school student while expounding all the social-justice rhetoric they brainwashed you with in college? If you can’t even, don’t even. See if anyone cares. They won’t even.

2. “Because [Noun]”

Because racism, because patriarchy, because the wonderful things he does—when did social-justice activism become such a laborious endeavor that its participants no longer had the time to type “of” when describing causal relationships? Aside from smacking of the same contrived and cutesy incredulity that “I Can’t Even” has, “Because [Noun]” carries a loathsome implication that the user—while imparting some essential insights into the nature of inequality in modern society—doesn’t even consider their own opinions important enough to flesh them out with proper grammar, which seems bizarrely self-loathing to a casual observer.

I mean, don’t these people understand how language works? The fewer words you use to explain an idea, the less important it will often seem; if you don’t believe me then imagine if “I have a dream” had been condensed down to “I dreamed.” MLK would have been laughed off of the podium, and rightly so.

3. “Wow…Just Wow”

“I am expressing yet more mock disbelief. While my words suggest that I am horrified, I am actually typing them into my smartphone with all the visible emotion of an extra in a breath mint commercial.”

4. “I Hope This Is Satire”

Maybe the first time somebody used the whole “your argument is so ridiculous that I’m going to pretend it is actually a parody of itself” criticism in response to something they disagreed with it seemed kind of funny and clever, but since satire itself has been around since ancient Egyptian times, chances are that the Tumblr generation didn’t create it. Find a new way to sneer, for crying out loud. Record a Vine in which you’re rolling your eyes to the camera and share that with the world. At least you’d get points for originality.

5. “Check Your Privilege”

Thankfully, this ugly little gem seems to be sinking slowly within the collective consciousness and will soon take its place on the ocean bed of douche-chill history, among various other outdated authoritarian slogans such as “Just Say No” and “Keep Calm.” Still, certain individuals insist on attempting to censor their ideological opponents’ speech by using “Check Your Privilege” to accuse them of myopia and to fill them with projectile guilt.

It’s a difficult phrase to deconstruct, as it is used to say anything from, “Your social status may have limited the scope of your understanding on this issue, and I must ask you to remember that” to “Shut the fuck up while I’m talking,” but rest assured that anybody who uses it is evil or stupid or both.

6. “LGBTQ++”

Life is too short to find out what those two new pluses at the end mean; whatever happened to the good old days when you could simply describe anybody under this rainbow-colored umbrella as “perverts” and be done with it?

If you have time to arbitrarily create new definitions for your identity every couple of days, then your existence can’t be that much of a struggle. I believe that before long, the label for this ever-expanding sociopolitical entity will be extended to the point where it begins to resemble a comic-book grawlix—one of those “!?%£*?@” speech bubbles the writers use to denote swearing—and the whole movement will collapse under the weight of its own grandiose title. Until then, have fun adding a new letter every week.

7. “Person of Color”

This is often used to describe blacks, which is odd, because black is actually the absence of color. That’s why space is all dark and shit, na’mean? Aside from the fact that it is designed to distract from race—when we’re constantly being told that not “seeing color” is an evil privilege afforded exclusively to white people—what I find most tiresome about this expression is that it makes the assumption that all nonwhites are perfectly OK with being thrown into the same politically correct barrel. How do you know that there aren’t plenty of Asian and Arabic and Hispanic and Indian people out there who would be offended by the “POC” title, who would see it as a denial of their identities, who don’t particularly give a shit about your sad little social-justice crusade, and who are perfectly happy with the labels they currently use? Do their votes count for nothing? These are rhetorical questions, by the way. Stop emailing me.

8. “Die, Cis Scum”

The only thing more irritating than the kind of black-lipsticked, shaved-headed oddball who opts to employ this catchphrase is the common justification offered for it. Supposedly, because transgendered people are incapable of rising up and dealing any kind of significant blow to the cis majority (the individual cases of assault and murder for which the perpetrators are often sent to gender-correspondent facilities don’t count), the rest of us aren’t supposed to feel threatened when they threaten us; if anything, we should take it as an incentive to help them be less threatening.

Here’s the thing; I don’t care who you are or what you’ve been through once you make a threat against my safety. Lacking compassion for people who openly call for your demise is not only natural, but sensible, as we didn’t make it this far as a species by attempting to cuddle the creatures that barked and howled at us while baring their glistening fangs. By the logic behind “Die Cis Scum” I shouldn’t feel endangered by a surly hobo if he calls me a good-lookin’ fella and promises to “tear that ass up,” but I do, to the point where I no longer volunteer at soup kitchens. Sure, he can’t change the quality of life of everyone like me, but he can still leave me doing the duck walk for the next three months, so stop with the fightin’ words and make nice.

9. “It’s my body”

I got a lot of this in my inbox after a recent article about tattoos. People love to remind me that I don’t own their bodies, which is true, but they don’t own mine either, and what I type and broadcast with my fingers after creating it with my brain is—by their own logic—none of their business. Nobody has the right to judge you? Try telling that to an actual judge. TC mark

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