It is quite literally, as Mediaite says, the Change.org petition to end all Change.org petitions, and it’s one of those things I’m kicking myself in the ass for not thinking of first.
A guy from Miami named Adrian Alonso, who I’m pretty sure I went to high school with — although that could be one of the 1,300 other Adrian Alonsos in the greater Miami area — posted a petition on Change.org that demands that the website remove itself from the internet. It reads in full:
Completely. I don’t even want to hear it. Gone. Bye-bye.
Some of us are offended by your reckless enabling of control freaks to start social justice lynch mobs whenever they see something that even remotely bothers them. It’s wrong. It’s disgusting. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Extremely valid statistics show that 479 trillion Americans are afflicted by the disease of believing that just because a large number of people with Internet access tell an entity to do something, it is that entity’s democratic obligation to comply. Well, guess what:
They’re right. So by the power vested in me by my awful parents, I hereby demand, in the name of the self-righteous masses of America, that you delete your website “change.org” from the World Wide Web. Forever.
You know how I feel about social media and the “age of outrage” that it’s spawned and honed to a knife’s edge. There’s nothing wrong with being offended or even with voicing that offense; the problem is that there exists now a mechanism that can turn the grievances of a few people into the rage of many and give the entire mob the means to retaliate with a wholly disproportional amount of firepower. Because that’s where we are now as a culture. We don’t just turn away from the things that piss us off and go on with our lives anymore; we spread our indignation like a virulent plague across the internet in the hope that our outraged crusade can become the outraged crusade of others, so that as many random people as possible can hear our roar and ultimately join in our personal pissy-party pile-on and together strike down entirely that “democratically agreed-upon” thing that should not exist. It’s not social justice — it’s a kind of social engineering, achieved through being asshole bullies.
Make no mistake: sometimes good can come of this model of activism and certainly Change.org has done plenty of it. But just as much horrible can as well, and once the wheels are set in motion it’s almost impossible to stop the machine. The whole thing takes on a life of its own. It’s really easy these days to find enough people who demand that reality be altered to suit their desires that this reality can indeed be forced on everyone else.
It practically goes without saying that Change.org isn’t going anywhere because of this — that nothing much will come of Adrian Alonso’s “petition” — and I’m sure that was intentional. But as a clever bit of social commentary, it’s pretty entertaining.