On a daily basis I worry if my diet is sufficiently healthy, if I’m getting enough exercise, if my friends and family are doing OK. I concern myself with getting on with my own life and try (intermittently unsuccessfully) not to interfere in the lives of others if at all possible. I see people as I find them and relish the diversity we have – mostly – embraced in Irish society over the last 30 years or so. If I can help a body out of a crisis or see an opportunity to give someone a leg up, I jump right in.
However, there is one particular segment of society I simply cannot abide. They have colloquially come to be known online (and in many a private conversation) as ‘snowflakes’ and it appears most are in their 20’s and early 30’s. Whether a function of their age or the vastly-changed society in which they have grown up, it is a worrisome development that such people exist and all the more worrisome that their ability to overcome the voluminous online noise is increasingly effective.
If you aren’t familiar with the term ‘snowflake’, I have long assumed it derives from the fact that a snowflake is the most delicate of things, facing a future destined only to melt out of existence from whence it came at the slightest rise in temperature. The term most definitely carries with it a hint of derogation. Justifiably so, in my opinion.
I was recently left wondering how on earth we have come to a point in the evolution of man where an apparently significant percentage of humanity has become so delicate as to be offended by a turn of phrase or a non-inclusive word which hitherto passed by the collective consciousness without comment. Has the relative anonymity of the internet rendered people ‘braver’ than before – unafraid to express an opinion which might be off the beaten track or upset?
Fear of upsetting even the least of our brothers (or sisters – jayziz – now I’m even at it!) is tantamount to standing atop a ski slope, at the bottom of which lies an icy world where we confidently stride around with our mouths firmly shut, secure in the knowledge that if we say nothing, we cannot offend.
If the trend continues, we will most certainly end up with a situation where only the bravest of the brave will speak up when they perceive injustice or wrong-doing. The rest of us will be rendered verbally and vocally impotent – afraid we might insult.
I am left hoping that those numbered among the brave will outweigh the steadily increasing numbers of ‘snowflakes’ trawling the internet looking for ‘injustices’, as they see them.
Perhaps their lives will become whole in some other way. Maybe they will become consumed with healthy living and the welfare of their friends and family. They may well just ‘grow out of it’ in time and reassess their priorities.
Summer is coming. We live in hope that the snowflakes will melt in the heat of the rising sun…