Emotionally Present / Personal Is Political

Tone-Policing

The Tone Police are always on patrol, scolding anyone for the use of strong, foul, and/or colourful language. And while tone-policing is frequently enforced by the privileged as some sort of a trump card in any argument about social inequality, it’s really not an argument at all. It’s a form of silencing.

Just yesterday, I witnessed multiple undercover Tone Police operations suddenly blow the lid off their privilege in an attempt to enforce silence upon dissident individuals. One of those dissident persons was me. I told someone they are being an unapologetic jerk for defending a “joke” about drunk driving — even after I told them that my maternal grandfather spent my mother’s entire childhood drunk behind the wheel, and that the entire maternal side of my family was wiped out largely due to alcoholism. I told him he was using the same rationale to defend his privileged standpoint as someone who jokes about rape, racism, and genocide. Simply because he’s never hurt anyone by driving drunk and never been hurt himself by someone else doing the same, he acts as though this extremely insensitive topic is a free punchline. He told me I’m being verbally abusive.

Well, sir, in case you missed it when I posted a half an hour later, I suggest you take my hostility as a lesson: next time you’ll be sure to print your honorary membership with the Tone Police on a Kleenex, so you have something to dry your tears with.

There was also an extremely upsetting time a couple of years ago, that stands out as exceptionally important, despite this sort of thing taking place on a near-daily basis. I called attention to the fact that a group moderator in an online forum is a straight white male, and he took me off the group. He said I can re-join if I “promise to act nicer”, but refused to specify how I would accomplish this, apart from insisting that my tone was hostile (which is neither a violation of the group rules, nor of the website’s terms of use or community guidelines — probably because we’re talking about a string of characters on a screen). If I don’t promise to “act nicer” before re-joining the group, I’ll be banned. Well, seeing as how this particular individual was known to me on a face-to-face basis over the course of years at the time, and that he had often badgered me to tears whenever the opportunity presented itself, it was clear to me that he’s playing Tone Police. I don’t play nice with the Tone Police since this particular event, and I certainly didn’t play nice once this shit started, either.

I vented my anger at the time by writing a comprehensive account of every way this individual has discriminated against me in the past (to say it didn’t go over well is an understatement). But since this particular occasion, I have begun venting by writing up sarcastic image macros instead.

The bottom line is, nothing is quite as pathetic and ridiculous as arguing that because you hear a narrator with a condescending or hostile tone of voice in your own head, reading my words out loud to you as you look at this string of text on the screen, that it’s somehow my fault. That you think this gives you any excuse to dismiss everything I have to say about your social privileges and/or privileged assumptions is just childish (grow a fucking spinal column!)

Prepare for butthurt. The next time I see the Tone Police are on patrol, I’m going trolling for pigs.

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