Reading List – On Media

These reporters’ use of phrases such as “online violence” and their invocation of “trauma” when discussing mean tweets capitalizes on the natural sympathy people feel for victims of real trauma and violence and turns it to the journalists’ own professional advantage. It’s a good trick, because it’s difficult to criticize these journalists without being oneself accused of compounding the claimed injury.
The writer Michael Tracey described the deployment of what he calls “therapeutic trauma jargon” in a recent issue of his Substack newsletter: “Obviously, this harm cannot be externally adjudicated because one’s harm must never be subject to contestation or (god forbid) falsification. So the logic goes, every person has the right to say they are harmed without ever having the legitimacy of that harm questioned, because to question the harm compounds the harm.”

These reporters’ use of phrases such as “online violence” and their invocation of “trauma” when discussing mean tweets capitalizes on the natural sympathy people feel for victims of real trauma and violence and turns it to the journalists’ own professional advantage. It’s a good trick, because it’s difficult to criticize these journalists without being oneself accused of compounding the claimed injury.
The writer Michael Tracey described the deployment of what he calls “therapeutic trauma jargon” in a recent issue of his Substack newsletter: “Obviously, this harm cannot be externally adjudicated because one’s harm must never be subject to contestation or (god forbid) falsification. So the logic goes, every person has the right to say they are harmed without ever having the legitimacy of that harm questioned, because to question the harm compounds the harm.”

WaPo Editor Admonishes Staff to ‘Treat Each Other With Respect and Kindness’ as Numerous Messy Feuds Play Out on Twitter. It Doesn’t Work.

Engaging in repeated and targeted public harassment of a colleague is neither a good look nor is it particularly effective. It turns the language of inclusivity into clout chasing and bullying. I don’t think this is appropriate…There is such a thing as challenging with compassion.”

Cancel Culture in 1832 Sounded Pretty Fierce

What I’d like to point out, in brief, is that while the technology is new, the phenomenon is not. The “tyranny of the majority” in public opinion — the way it enforces conformity and reprimands dissent — has been part of American life reaching back to the beginning. And there’s even a case to make that it is intrinsic to democracy and democratic life, an inescapable consequence of the leveling spirit.

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