Solutionism 03/09/21

I refuse to write about long-dead authors of children’s books on this blog. Or the Space Jam rabbit. Or the skunk. Or the Mexican mouse. I think Jordan really hit the nail on the head with this tweet:

I mean…that’s pretty much it, isn’t it? From any end of the political spectrum. Yesterday, the cheeseburger factory posted a tweet about women in the kitchen, and man was it ever successful! But I won’t write about whether it was right or wrong to say that.

What I’m more curious about is the way that capitalism so incredibly successfully ingratiates itself in every aspect of our lives. It is truly inescapable.

We begin with two ways of thought: the first is whether or not something is right or wrong. The second is whether or not something should be done about it.

The second mode of thought is a tricky process of decision-making that largely hinges on whether or not the wrong thing is itself causing harm.

In a corporate/consumer hell, anything that upsets the customer is causing harm, and must be destroyed.

When I worked in retail, we had a very strict “the customer is always right” attitude. This led to years of annoyance and, at times, outright abuse from customers. There were some people who, I swear, would go into the retail establishment where I worked looking for a fight. A fight that they knew they could win. Someone to pick on, essentially.

Luckily, it seems as if the tide is changing, with that:

Watching videos like this warms my heart. These two trolls walked into a B&BW with no masks on. Whether or not you think masks are a good thing (insert picture of the red-faced kid with the vein showing in his forehead trying not to say shit), these women very specifically went into this store to show their ass. They were continuing a long, proud tradition of daring employees to say something to them, specifically so that they could enact their power as a customer.

It didn’t work out for them. Warms my heart.

Capitalism is based around the illusion of choice, and the illusion of power. You have a choice as to which product you consume, and you have the illusion of power over whichever (still $7.25/hr) employee looks at you the wrong way.

It is only natural that this would extend into a neverending news cycle. The synthesis of the illusion of choice and the illusion of power is the illusion of “progress,” an illusion of “something being done” about a perceived wrong.

The irony of this, of course, is that in most cases, right or wrong, nothing should be done. It is the 2021 disease of solutionism.

I’m sure I’ll write more about this tomorrow. And maybe the next day. It’s an important topic. I’m busier than I’ve been in quite some time, with a full editing schedule from now all the way til the end of April.

But something to sit with now is the question: when should things be done about a perceived wrong?

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