Sunday, December 11, 2011

Special Responsibility Not So Special

The first time I wrote about disability in steampunk, I got a comment which basically ran, "but these are problems everywhere. Why should steampunks be charged with greater responsibility for them?"

Anecdote time! 

When I was in Form 1 (which is like, first year of junior high school), I was a probationary prefect, a prefect-in-training, I guess. Among the things we were put in charge of was getting students of the class we were in charge of for the week to line up in the few minutes before school began. Don't ask me why we had to do this, and don't ask me why the students couldn't go straight to class, I don't know, something to do with how chaotic it looks and thus how bad it looks. 

And for those of us handling Form 2 students, we especially had a hard time: we had to herd students who were one year our senior and no respect for us as probation prefects. All we wanted was for them to line up, so we could all go to class sooner. I don't really understand why, to this day, this was so difficult; everyone basically wanted to hang about in their cliques, for as long as possible, even if no one was saying anything. This drove me up the angsana tree. Like, I get not wanting to get into barisan if you had a super important conversation! But if ya'll are just standing around, why the fuck not??

And I would ask, these seniors, why won't you get into line? What would it take for you to get into line?

And they replied, "you get them to line up first, then we'll follow."

I've since seen this pattern happen over and over again, and didn't have a language for it until well into my 20's: this is a deferral of responsibility. It's a refusal to accede the slightest bit of consideration that would make everybody's life a little easier and a hella lot less annoying, out of a point of pride and arrogance, that I should not have to do this, it is beneath me to have to do it first, why should I have to take on the special responsibility of setting the example. Nonsense bullshit like that. 

You get to say shit like that when the problems of the world don't really affect you that much, and you don't care about everybody else to consider how your own initiative could benefit them. 

You even get to say shit like that in my face, but don't expect me to not laugh loudly, because it's either that, or punching you for being dismissive. 

And then you don't get to expect me to take you seriously at all, because clearly you haven't even thought through how nonsensical, unproductive and arrogant your answer is.

You don't get to do all that and then say nothing when people get all "but steampunk is so welcoming! It's for everybody!" because you obviously patently disagree. You would stay silent then, but when someone else says, "hey! let's make steampunk more welcoming! Let's make sure everybody can participate!" you would disagree because it's too much goddamn work?

Bitch, please. 

(Yes, this answer is two years late, but it had to be said anyway.)