origin: (April 18, 2015) British; James Bartholomew, from an article in The Spectator.
med_cat's recent entry, led to discussing another modern term re: social trends.
When I worked high end retail, it was easy to get wrapped up in the glamour of big name labels; if you wore expensive things, people often treated you better, sometimes a lot better, but one day I had to remind myself that buying something by Gucci or Prada did not actually make one a "better" person.
But...what if it could?
What if you could spend lots of money on yourself and be a #BetterPerson™?? What if you could mask your conspicuous consumerism, and classism, under an umbrella of justifiable sanctimony! What if merely expressing an opinion or holding a trendy POV could do the same? What if you never even had to leave your computer or put down your phone in order to get nominated for sainthood?!
Never fear #VirtueSignaling is here!
Because it's very important to let people know that you're better than those people over there, whom everyone knows (even if we don't personally know them) thinks they are better than everybody else!! Let's show them how different we are!
Magnanimity? That's for losers. Anonymous donation? How yesterday. Going out into the world and being the change you wish to see? Social media is far easier and leaves lots more money for cheap beer & food trucks! Plus it's a perfect virtual soapbox for venting disgust & contempt -- the best way to let others know how truly compassionate, intelligent, and open-minded one is.
So, embrace Covert Narcism: be smug, vain, and virtuous at the same time!
Sound impossible? Only if you believe in hypocrisy, and we know that those other guys over there are the true hypocrites. Not us.
I mean, the only way to avoid turning into what you claim to hate is by hating it more; two wrongs now officially make a right! Because you didn't just buy a pricey piece of technology, tickets to a "controversial" musical, grocery bags filled with designer food, or a snarky T-shirt mocking those who have a different way of living life. Oh, no. You bought a philosophy! Passage into the herd of the truly different©. A universal beacon to shame others with your superior moral stance (but only with the very best of intentions)!!
And that's really the big selling point of #VirtueSignaling: TO LET OTHERS KNOW!
Pics or it didn't happen. Amirite or amirite?
disclaimer: We've likely all done this at some point in our lives, so don't take it too personal and don't be afraid to laugh at yourself. The point is to limit how much one does it or to objectively question your actions -- just as one might over spending a lot of money on one's fashion tastes!