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A new acronym for social media trolls: Social Justice Warriors = SJWs

Editorial Staff

According to urbandictionary.com "SJW" is a pejorative term " for an individual promoting socially progressive views, including feminism, civil rights, multiculturalism, and identity politics." Apparently, the term has mutated from a positive term for social and political activist to become regarded in a negative light. Who's right? And is this power grab in Society's interest? Or do we need to take an Oddball lesson?

Social media has enabled to politics of mass demonstration from the streets to the world via electronic publishing. Activism isn't new: it's been a common feature of life since earliest history: someone doesn't like someone else for some reason and therefore becomes a polarising influence.

The problem with the definition is that it is not authoritative: it is, itself, produced by someone with a specific interest.

In full, it can be seen that the writer of the definition has his own agenda:

Social Justice Warrior. A pejorative term for an individual who repeatedly and vehemently engages in arguments on social justice on the Internet, often in a shallow or not well-thought-out way, for the purpose of raising their own personal reputation. A social justice warrior, or SJW, does not necessarily strongly believe all that they say, or even care about the groups they are fighting on behalf of. They typically repeat points from whoever is the most popular blogger or commenter of the moment, hoping that they will "get SJ points" and become popular in return. They are very sure to adopt stances that are "correct" in their social circle.

The SJW's favourite activity of all is to dogpile. Their favourite websites to frequent are Livejournal and Tumblr. They do not have relevant favourite real-world places, because SJWs are primarily civil rights activists only online.


Click the link for other submitted definitions

Itis clear that the so-called Social Justice Warrior is primarily a subset of the internet troll, someone who looks for ways to ply a contrary position to something they disagree with, often in offensive, frequently in semi-literate, terms. Like the master group, SJWs can, often, be justifiably accused of jumping on a bandwagon begun by someone else in a manner intended to secure support for a view. The use of, e.g. share and like buttons on social media sites encourages the rapid spread of messages without pause for thought.

The power of those who set themselves up as arbiters of taste, morality, even legality is demonstrated by disproportionate effect a miniscule number can have against vast numbers: for example a complaint to the regulator by nine viewers about a comment on BBC's Top Gear, a programme watched by more than five million on its first UK showing, resulted in the BBC being criticised for supposed racism and editing the programme and the DVD produced from it and a public apology. There was some social media support for the complaint but most of that were tirades against the presenters in general and not the specific complaint. There were far more comments in support of the programme and the presenter, including the entirely reasonable suggestion that if people watched a programme written for "lads" then they should not complain they witness "lads" language.

“When we used the word ‘slope’ in the recent Top Gear Burma special it was a light-hearted wordplay joke referencing both the build quality of the bridge and the local Asian man who was crossing it.

“We were not aware at the time, and it has subsequently been brought to our attention, that the word "slope" is considered by some to be offensive.”

Andy Wilman, producer, Top Gear.

The latest example of the Social Justice Warrior effect is the Pepsi advert in which someone (herself a product of social media) Kendall (or in some reports Kylie) Jenner, who is apparently well known amongst some sections of the world's population although we can't say why, is one of a large cast of characters in what is, basically, a superbly produced music video promoting unity.

There is just one fly in the ointment: it's a really, really crass advert for Pepsi, a cola of the type Americans call "soda."

Let's be clear: the insertion of Pepsi into the film is a terrible idea. It's obviously just marketing, not a unifying message. Then again Pepsi (in the days when it used to style itself Pepsi Cola) has long had its tongue firmly in its cheek and its brain in neutral for its advertising. Yet, the advert most people "remember" never happened: 50 years before "fake news" became a story in itself, a joke about a group of people sprinkling Pepsi on a grave and singing the Pepsi slogan from this 1962 commercial made the actual advert almost obsolete.

The objections to the Jenner ad, which Pepsi have withdrawn from broadcast media therefore ensuring its popularity, is because a white woman gives Pepsi to a policeman at a (pretend) multi-racial peace demonstration after a "twitter storm."

The ad features, as its primary characters, a multitude of races, mostly doing something rather more than walking the streets with banners. Heavily featured, to Pepsi's credit, is a young woman wearing a hijab who is a professional photographer.

It is a very positive message, except for the stupid idea that Pepsi can unite everyone. Of course, the production values make a street protest look like the closing scene from Love Actually that then turns into a dance party but, hey, perhaps they just came alive with Pepsi.

There was no outcry for an earlier advert including people dancing in the street while holding and drinking from glass bottles and Michael Jackson playing with children.

Make up your own mind: are those complaining that the Jenner ad is disrespectful (rather than simply awful) right to make such a fuss and is Pepsi right to withdraw it? Or should companies start to stand up for themselves and tell internet trolls to find a grotto to crawl into? Should the rest of society freeze out the trolls by ignoring them, unfollowing them, or whatever it is one does to avoid being bombarded with negative and inflammatory comments?

Perhaps we all need to learn a lesson from Oddball in Kelly's Heroes.

"Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves. Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?"

Are we seeing a power grab by individuals or tiny groups of people at the expense of the vast majority? Are we being pushed into revolution instead of evolution?
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