Virtue Signaling and Other Heresies
Selected Writings from Whatever 2013-2018
by John Scalzi
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Pub Date 31 Dec 2018 | Archive Date 01 Jan 2019
“‘Virtue signaling’ is a phrase the dim and bigoted use when they want to discount other people expressing the idea that it would be nice if we could all be essentially and fundamentally decent to each other.” —John Scalzi
For twenty years now—yes, twenty—John Scalzi has been writing on his blog Whatever, writing about, well, whatever: Politics, writing, cats, the internet and the great social and cultural events of our times. In that time he’s gone from being just another crank online to being a bestselling, award-winning crank, i.e., the very best kind of crank there is.
With Virtue Signaling and Other Heresies, Scalzi looks back on the years 2013 through 2018. In this volume, Scalzi delves through the final term of Obama and the ushering in of the Trump years, surveys the increasingly-hostile online landscape, goes to the movies, and talks on subjects ranging from #MeToo to the teachers who shaped him growing up. Through it all, Scalzi’s distinct voice—funny, sarcastic, passionate, sometimes angry, and honed by two decades of daily writing served up to hundreds of thousands of readers monthly—is on full display.
Virtue Signaling: A chronicle of a turbulent, momentous moment in time, from one of the most acclaimed science fiction authors of his time.
“Scalzi does not shy away from using the blog to share his opinions on politics and culture, particularly President Trump, the NRA, activism, privilege, and why avoiding controversy is a bad idea for a creative individual… The quick, conversational essays are delivered with humor, honestly, and humility and are just like Scalzi himself, ‘all over the place and a bit pixilated.’”
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 13 members
From science fiction and other worlds, John Scalzi takes us next door and down the street. In this book, we see Scalzi’s talents on display through brief and vivid entries.
These are timely topics, handled with wit and the right amount of acerbic insight. Above all, the entries are well-written.
I have to admit, before I begin, that I am definitely biased in writing this review; no, I do not know Mr. Scalzi personally, but I have followed him on Twitter ever since I first read Old Man's War, and I know that his and my political views are very much in line (stances on cats, however, are a sticking point).
Virtue Signaling and Other Heresies collects Mr. Scalzi's blog posts from one of the most turbulent periods of ideological clashes in American history since the Civil Rights era (and definitely the most unstable in this reviewer's lifetime); as such, it's difficult to digest reading as a start-to-finish book.
Where this shines is as a collection of well-penned reactions, both immediate and meditated-upon, to changes in the American social and political climate (everything from the minor to the cataclysmic) which dig into the psyche of the type of American who might resist the current Presidential administration as well as those who defend it vehemently; Scalzi is not shy about voicing his disapproval of those who use power and visibility to embolden bigotry and hatred, and writes candidly about the responsibility to use his status as a well-respected White male in a well-regarded profession to champion victims of that bigotry.