When Stacey Dash showed her true colors.
When Raven Symone fucked up.
When Rachel Dolezal was outed for doing that thing she did.
When Frank Ocean said queer things.
When Lemonade dropped.
When Moonlight showed.
When Adele won instead of Queen Bey.
When all of these things happened, everybody rushed to the Internet with something to say. Now, to be clear, I deeply believe in the power of words. I believe we create and find meaning through reading and writing. And, as evidenced by my longstanding proclivity for blogging, I believe there is value in sharing our thoughts. So, I’m not anti-thinkpiece. But I can’t help but feel like it has ratcheted up in recent years, probably for a number of reasons. Alternatively, it could be the case that I am just paying more attention now to that kind of writing than I used to. Whatever the situation, I feel inundated with thinkpieces, and I’m sooooo tired of it.
I have a hypothesis that thinkpieces constitute a particular genre of writing (particularly on the Internet) that typically have the following characteristics:
- A “call out” tone: issuing a corrective but often in an aggressive or ridiculing way
- Sardonic humor
- Quotable/”Retweetable” turns of phrase
- An attempt to push forward a counter, subversive, or non-dominant perspective
Are any of these things bad? No, not necessarily. However, in my opinion, we are seeing more and more people adopt the form of the thinkpiece without the substance of it. Like bad slam poetry. I feel the frenetic energy of people clamoring to be the first, smartest, or funniest person to have something to say on the latest trending topic. Is this helpful? How much of it is actually thoughtful? Are there other avenues for expressing our thoughts that aren’t simply adding to the noise?