The Culture War Treadmill Is Exhausting

A lot of energy is being spent on what is of very little consequence.

A. Khaled

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[From left to right] Steven Crowder, Dave Chappelle, and Ben Shapiro. Courtesy of Flickr by Gage Skidmore and Raph_PH. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 and CC BY 2.0.

It feels like since Donald Trump was gone from the White House, cultural discourse collapsed into a singular narrow continuum from which only a few items at a time can gain traction, but their gravitational pull is as strong as political scandals of the highest order in yester eras. It all started with manufactured grievances courtesy of the American right-wing think-tank machine, and now it has been exported to power a well-oiled engine for political polarization worldwide that puts the pretense of having serious discussions about the current state of modern society through its toughest paces–surely we can find time to tackle wealth and income inequality as a consequence of decades-long neoliberal policies reinforced by American hegemony, but why not talk about the latest Dave Chappelle special instead, a footnote in comedy special history considering the abundance of other problematic entries in the canon?

The fickleness of addressing this issue is that it can quickly be derailed to become a conversation about what questions and values we think are worth amplifying to the fore of public discourse–but that’s easily the least noteworthy aspect of the culture war dilemma. What’s rather at stake is a misevaluation of what resources should our collective consciousness allocate to the most benign of issues, and if the post-Trump era is anything to go by, it’s clear that America — and by proxy the globe through natural cultural inertia — rarely has its eyes set on any significant discursive payoff. An intense exchange would ensue between proxy stand-ins for either position, and come a week’s time, the attention will swiftly shift to something else as if prior entries had never occurred–as dominant as culture wars seem, they’re also paradoxically the least-consequential outside of their respective conceptual categories.

One can never assert with true confidence what made us as a collective embrace the insane recurrence with which our social feeds get populated with standard flags we’re supposed to pick up lest we feel political complicity, but I think few would dispute that this behavior isn’t entirely unhealthy. Since the pandemic hit — and this is highly speculative on my part — it appears as…

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A. Khaled

Internet culture scribe with an interest in the digital economy, content creators, media and politics.