We’ve all heard the term “virtue signalling”, but I’m not interested in how it’s used by politicians as a smug way of expressing disgust or favour for certain political ideas, I’m more interested in how people use it in everyday life by making a statement or performing an action that implies they’re such a really nice virtuous person, and if I didn’t know any better I would be offering to rub that halo of theirs in appreciation.
If I didn’t know any better.
In order to look good a virtue signaller has to have an audience, (no point otherwise) so when I was moving into a new place over a weekend and everyone in that particular group of friends had offered to help in one way or another, instead of saying they couldn’t help, someone came out with. “Don’t forget, call me any time, I can help with anything you need, I’m free that weekend.” safe in the knowledge that I won’t ever call them on that as they live miles away. But how good did that look to everyone else who heard it?
Years ago I worked with a woman who’s ambition was to be the landlady of her own pub and eventually she got her wish. It was round about the time I had left where I was living and moved to Manchester but news and gossip still trickled through to me as it wasn’t exactly a million miles away and one day a friend of mine had stopped to speak to “S” in the street and asked her how she was coping with running a pub and restaurant. “If only I knew where Jacqui was I’d have her working for me in a flash.” Aww isn’t that nice. My friend believed this but I wasn’t convinced as she would only have had to ask a couple of people to find out where I was, so let’s call her out on that one shall we? I did the one thing that she never expected, I phoned her and said I’d heard (from quite a few people by now) that she was wondering where I’d moved to as she would love to have me working for her, and luckily for S I would be able to work every other Sunday as getting there and back would be no problem, (absolutely no intention of doing this) and guess what? She now had all the staff she needed and what a shame as it would have been great, blah blah blah. In other words, it was all a big, fat lie in order for her to look good and have people say to me “How nice of her”. Like I said, I know better.
Obviously not all virtue signalling is meaningless as when a disaster strikes there’s always hundreds of people trying to help and meaning it, but for most of us we will encounter some form of it which will in fact turn out to be a BIG. FAT. LIE.
On that note it’s time for me go and save the world if only I didn’t have to be in work today.