The Rise of Victimhood Culture
If there is any consistent feature among contemporary liberals, it is their relentless virtue-signaling and symbolic displays of compassion.
But do their actions match their words?
For that, we look at two recent cases.
We begin with the Jussie Smollet case.
In 2019, Smollett claimed he was attacked by two Trump supporters in Chicago who also hurled racist and homophobic slurs, poured a chemical substance over him, and threw a rope around his neck symbolic of lynching. Smollett said he had also received racist mail.
The narrative of the ‘far-right’ persecuting a gay black man in Trump’s America was a godsend for the media, so it was gleefully amplified.
Later a Chicago police investigation established that Smollett had paid two Nigerian nationals $3,500 to stage the attack and even sent the racist letter to himself at a Fox studio. The aim was to promote the "advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.”
It was all an outrageous hoax.
Despite overwhelming evidence of guilt, Smollett pleaded ‘not guilty’ at his trial and when he was sentenced to 150 days in prison, he was defiant. He will probably claim once again that he is a victim of racism. Worse, he will gain support from people who will use him to fundraise.
Next is Alec Baldwin’s shooting incident.
Last October, Baldwin, fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza with a loaded gun on the set of his film “Rust.”
The incident was an accident. But irrespective of his intentions, Baldwin was responsible for the death of Hutchins.
In mere weeks after the incident, Baldwin’s wife posted fun family photos on Instagram. It didn't occur to either him or her that it was insensitive to make a display of merriment immediately after Alec’s actions had killed another wife and mother.
Months later during an interview on ABC, Baldwin claimed that some unknown forces were responsible for Hutchins’s death and that he didn’t pull the trigger.
Hutchins’ widower was understandably livid and launched a wrongful death lawsuit against Baldwin.
Baldwin reacted that he was accustomed to being sued by the likes of the Hutchins family, who are always out to make easy money.
It was an astounding demonstration of cold-heartedness.
But the abyss was yet to be traversed.
In a recent legal filing, Baldwin is claiming that it was Hutchins who told him to cock the gun that ultimately fired a live round of ammunition, resulting in her death.
Baldwin’s lawyers are also arguing that Baldwin's contract for the film protects him from responsibility for any costs or claims against him. He also seeks coverage of his legal fees.
In a short period, Baldwin attempted to depict himself as a victim, blamed the victim, shamed the victim's family, and then attempted to block any reparative payments.
How should both men have reacted?
Smollett's career was on the outs and in his act, he sought to revive it. But instead of staging the bizarre attack, he could have opted for constructive measures to bolster his profile. Perhaps he could have founded a production company to develop scripts and make movies. Perhaps he could have changed his agent to actively look for new television and movie roles. But instead, he chose a cheap stunt.
When caught for his hoax he should have apologized, pled guilty, and pledge his life to charitable endeavors. Perhaps he would have received a lighter sentence. He didn't.
Baldwin, too, made a horrific mistake and should have compensated the Hutchins family survivors financially. Perhaps he could have included the Hutchins's victims in his circle and afforded them all the privileges that he has. It still wouldn’t have been real compensation for the absence of a mother and a wife but it would have been the noble thing to do.
Instead, both men rushed to claim victimhood and continued to attempt to wallow in self-pity.
In Smollett’s case, it was a case of double victimhood, the goal of the hoax was victimhood and now following his sentence, the victimhood charade continues.
Baldwin's or Smollett's actions are a sign of the devolution of contemporary society.
Smollett was virtually unknown but his hoax gave him global recognition. Before his hoax was caught, he was more famous than achievers. People remember him more than the winner of an Oscar or an Emmy in the previous year.
He would probably be elevated to the level of MLK, the fact that he is gay was an added bonus to the suite of victimhood.
Don’t be surprised if Baldwin becomes a fervent and vocal anti-gun activist. He may claim to have an epiphany that guns are the root of all problems. He can blame the gun rather than himself for the death of his victim. This activism will expunge his guilt and soon he will be celebrated in his echo chambers and probably win awards.
During President Trump’s tenure, both Smollett and Baldwin relentlessly attacked Trump. Baldwin would frequently say "Trump must go" as if the votes of the people meant nothing.
Some termed this as Trump Derangement Syndrome.
But Baldwin and Smollett's behavior following their crimes proves that these are immoral, hateful, angry, entitled, and self-righteous individuals. Trump had nothing to do with their bad behavior. Trump was merely the excuse that enabled them to claim that their compassion for regular people that they claimed had been victimized was what caused their rage. They knew they would receive instant approval from their Democrat echo chambers. It was also a cynical move to remain in the limelight, a ploy also employed by other Hollywood figures such as Robert DeNiro and Bette Midler.
The fact remains that Trump’s economy only improved lives and empowered many minorities.
The rise in the victimhood culture is a result of the grievance industry pioneered by liberals where victims are celebrated and the successful (unless they are Democrat donors) are vilified.
Smollett and Baldwin are merely famous cases.
This victimhood culture obviously must have percolated to every stratum of society.
Perhaps a subordinate who receives critical feedback from a superior just has to claim to have felt attacked. The superior steps back for the fear of being called a bigot and the subordinate receives a 'diversity' award. The rest striving to deliver quality results just receive a few kind words if they are lucky.
An individual caught committing a crime can claim to be a victim of income inequality or white supremacy or racism or misogyny. He receives support from and a liberal judge may let him go. In states such as California, shoplifting is almost legal, thus crime is incentivized
If the individual belongs to a historically persecuted demographic, the possibility of victimhood being celebrated is higher. Social media plays a major role in glorifying victims.
The culture that victimhood is more profitable and is celebrated more than accomplishment and taking responsibility for mistakes spread all over.
BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors now owns various real estate properties worth many millions in a short time via her activism and victimhood. A regular hardworking talented professional would probably take a lifetime to earn that kind of wealth.
These are troubling signs.
Soon people looking for easy money and fame will concoct scams and hoaxes rather than toil to accomplish things.
When more hoaxes are caught, real victims of bigotry will be looked at with suspicion
A civilization that ceases to accomplish fails to grow. A society that is perpetually suspicious and cynical begins to devolve. Before you know, a collapse begins.