Shut Up, Moby: How the "But I'm a Vegan" Problem Is Ruining Progressives Shut Up, Moby: How the "But I'm a Vegan" Problem Is Ruining Progressives
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Shut Up, Moby: How the "But I'm a Vegan" Problem Is Ruining Progressives

by Cord Jefferson

August 14, 2011

Moby is a racist.

"One racist tweet doesn't make a person racist," you might be saying, and you'd be right. What does make a person racist, however, is when, after their racism has been clearly pointed out to them, they double down on it, and then admonish as too sensitive the people they offended. Moby is, apparently, the cutest guy in the world who thinks it's funny when formerly poor black people have opinions about fine art.

But this isn't about a few racist tweets, or really even about Moby himself. It's about Moby's brand of liberalism. He has what I'll call the "but I’m a vegan" problem—BIAV, for short—but it can also be the "but I’m a feminist problem" or the "but I voted for Obama" problem. You probably know someone who has this illness; perhaps you even suffer from it yourself. It's very easy to diagnose: Thanks to a history of supporting liberal causes like Greenpeace or the NAACP, the person afflicted with BIAV—Moby, in this case—thinks it impossible for him to be racist or sexist or, indeed, to hold any bigoted view whatsoever. "What do you mean I'm not a feminist?" asks the misogynist with BIAV, "My first wife was in the women's movement."

Anyone can have BIAV—white people, black people, women, men, Jews, Muslims, Christians, anyone. And though it sounds a lot like privilege, it's different. Privilege is a toxic yet unintentional default setting, whereas BIAV is willful ignorance. Privilege is what causes Moby, as a wealthy white guy, to think it's funny for black rappers to name-check museums; BIAV is what prompts him to snark at anyone who would dare suggest he is in the wrong. Privilege is forgivable; BIAV is inexcusable.

If you follow thelittleidiot (remember, his words) on Twitter, you know that the greatest irony is how much Moby chastises others for their inability to face reality. Just this past Sunday, in fact, he tweeted, "I'm always amazed at the american [sic] right wings [sic] ability to ignore facts and statistics that they find inconvenient." Three days later, Moby would be making fun of people for pointing out facts he considered inconvenient.

As of this writing, Moby's last tweet was: "I just went for a walk and found: a trampoline. And 2 donkeys. Trampoline was fun. Donkeys were bored. Maybe I'll go back with apples." Cute, plus the donkeys can't call him a racist. He'll like that.

photo via (cc) Flickr user Uncensored Interview

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Shut Up, Moby: How the "But I'm a Vegan" Problem Is Ruining Progressives