I was writing here about Camille Paglia’s not exactly original thought that feminist academics promote a “maudlin, victim-centric curriculum.” The term implies that the academics turn every subject and situation into a chance to view their favored group as victims. I find this is not true, not for feminists, not for blacks, not for conservatives, not for any group that feels pushed from the mainstream. For every situation that they spin into a chance to play victim, there’s another that’s turned into a chance to play hero. Often enough it’s the same situation. The essential aim isn’t to feel like a victim or a hero. It’s to feel important, to feel like you’re the center of the show.
Victimhood is passive, which is why critics pay attention to that half of the business. Everyone knows you’re not supposed to be passive, and people on the right have especially strong feelings about the point: they want everyone to be up and doing and starting small businesses. Wanting to feel important doesn’t get nearly as bad a press.
UPDATE: During all these years of complaining about the left’s “victim mentality,” the right has also been sneering at the left’s use of “empowered” and “empowerment.” Can’t say I blame them, but anyone who talks about being empowered is not addicted to being a victim, just to being self-important.