McCarthyism, Twitter style

 

They were at again last night, ‘The Happy Clappers’, showing their support for the tireless work of front-line NHS staff, by er, well cheering and clapping for about five minutes. I know I’m cynical and everything but I can’t be the only one who thinks it smacks of McCarthyism.

By that I mean the ‘if your not with us your against us’ mentality, the suspicion that anyone not displaying the correct values was in some way not one of us or isn’t adhering to social norms. Norms that everyone just understands to be case without the tiresome necessity of having them either discussed as to what they be or what the sanctions might be for not being totally committed to following them. That sort of thing, an osmosis of conformity,  where doing the right thing, and more importantly, been seen to do it, is of greater import than the thing itself.

As I wrote last week

…my partner informed me that they were at it on her street as well and from her first floor window she could see the neighbours checking out who was – and wasn’t – taking part… It’s not enough that you do something, oh no, people have to see you doing it. Then it accrues it’s proper social purpose, that of being well regarded by your neighbours.

I don’t think we’re anywhere near having to sign loyalty pledges in support of the NHS yet.  Although by the sound of things, there seemed to be more people taking part, and they were noticeably more enthusiastic. with it. And it did make me feel slightly uncomfortable earlier when Marge told me that people had taken to Twitter questioning the actual benefit to anyone other than those doing it. Really? Taking to the very social media platform that helped create this orgy of onanism to doubt it? Aren’t we all meant to be grown-ups here?

Or maybe ‘Clap for Carers’ is a good thing, unless of course one gives carers to clap, in which it isn’t. It’d be as useful as a minute’s silence is to the dead NHS workers it was meant to commerrate.