From the blog

Why People Become Cynics: I Want to Be Special

At first, this looks like the opposite reason from peer pressure (the subject of my previous post). The peer-pressured become cynics to be like all the other cynics. Today’s post is about the people who become cynics because everyone else is sincere, and they want to be special.

When I think of the people who become cynics to be their own special snowflake, I think of Facebook. My newsfeed is a place where Snowflakes try to out-snowflake each other by proving they are the most cynical about evangelicalism.1

If you’re a Snowflake, here are some things you probably want to be:

  • The sophisticated one. Posting something from The Daily Show, or the New York Times, or MSNBC carries intellectual heft for Snowflakes.  It’s even better if you can post something from a snooty place like the New Yorker, or an ultra-liberal place like Mother Jones or Jezebel. It shows that, unlike the sheep who only post Right Wing news, you have seen through the divide to understand the Other Side’s point of view.

You’re the one who has thought deeply and read widely.

The sage.

  • The non-sucker. To Snowflakes, most evangelicals are sincere because they are either too lazy, too ignorant, or too scared to question the people around them. Or they’re just not clever enough.

Snowflakes are different. You’re the one who can pierce the propaganda. You’re the heckler in the back of some pompous lecturer’s hall, the rebel brave enough to yell that the emperor has no clothes, the Sherlock who deducts the errors the rabble misses.

The non-sucker.

  • The edgy one. Are any of you nerdy evangelicals hoping to impress girls on Facebook? First off, this is a bad idea. But if that’s really your plan, here’s my suggestion: post articles that are cynical about evangelicals.

That’s how you become the bad boy.

It shows you don’t pander to The Man (your youth pastor).  You think about things your own way, you play by your rules. Your thoughts aren’t conventional, and they may not even be safe.

That’s what makes them cool.

  • The provocateur. Provocateurs get your jollies by posting a shocking/offensive/edgy article against evangelicals, simply because you know evangelicals won’t like it.

Then you wait to argue.

Do most of your Facebook friends–even the ones who agree with your politics–think you’re a jerk? Do they talk about how much you irritate them behind your back, and hate themselves every time they engage in one of your Facebook debates?


Does the provocateur care? Nope. You just like the attention. It makes you feel…special.

Even though Snowflakes and the peer-pressured look like opposites, they have the same motivations.

They both base their views on what other people think.

Are there any other Snowflake characteristics I’m missing? Or is there anyone who wants to argue that I’m being too harsh on Facebook arguments? If so, we could…argue about that?


1  This is one of the many reasons I love the “unfollow” feature.

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