Robservations | The Clapback Culture
Hey man, Rob Lee here and I have something on my mind – the clapback. I’m convinced that we’re living in a ‘clapback culture’ – we’re obsessed. Allow me to take a step back, explain and then compare. I habitually question the status quo. I’m your contrarian Aquarian – while I may like something or do a particular thing but it doesn’t mean it’s not beyond my criticism or review.
So here goes, as of 2017, noted tastemaker, Merriam-Webster defines clapback as ‘responding to criticism with a withering comeback.” The clapback is very popular – often I look forward to the #ThanksgivingClapback and #Clapbackseason on Twitter. I get it the clapback is protective in nature but I think it goes too far.
Personally, a clapback is fine and can be hilarious. I think people go for it too much. We aim to be loved despite what many cynics contend. So a good clapback is how one gets attention and gets love. That pursuit runs counter to this faux-sanitized, contrived golden-rule culture we say we’re living in. It’s like being of two minds. We’re hyper-sensitive to criticism so we respond with a scathing clapback while saying don’t bully people. That shit is weird to me. Also, wrapped in that is the prevalent odyssey to be offended. There are offensive things – macroaggressions, microaggressions and so on that, if left unchecked, are dangerous. That said, there’s a case for clap-back being needed. My observation is that we’re quick to use a sledgehammer on an anthill criticism. It’s weaponized.
Back in the late 90’s Major League Baseball MLB, had a campaign for “Chicks Dig The Long Ball” and that connects to this clapback craze. The long ball means home run – I love baseball and who doesn’t like dingers. The pursuit for home runs lead to the steroids era – think Mark McGwire & Sammy Sosa and increased strikeouts. This pursuit for love and money impacted the lives of players and the game as a whole. Now instead of getting of how to play the game – bunting, situational hitting, etc – kids are going for the home run – there’s always been home run hitters and there’s always been great hitters. I would take a Tony Gwynn over a Barry Bonds. This idea carries over into the fundamentals on how to navigate through criticism and life we aim for the clapback. Use the #ThanksgivingClapback for instance, the criticism is coming from a relative – there’s intimacy there so instead of telling the relative that what they’re saying is inappropriate because it hurts one’s feelings, they clapback and a specific, premeditated way. The relative may not even consider what they’ve said to be offensive – it may not be coming from an offensive place but the clapback is. Chasing the home run failed baseball – it made hitters one dimensional – that one dimension is wanted until it’s unwanted. It’s not sustainable, like the clap back.
In summation, be weary of the clapback. It’s not sustainable, it’s lightweight trolling and can impact relationships, friendships and your own growth. Acknowledge being sensitive and take a step back before you clapback. If you feel the need, let it rip but think about how you appear. It’s all funny, catty or what have you until it’s not.