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provocative phrases

(135 Posts)
PECS Mon 26-Oct-20 11:30:53

I noticed someone us the phrase virtual signaling on a thread.. It is on a par with politically correct.

It seems to me that people use these phrases, constructed deliberately as political put downs, to undermine someone /something that is trying to improve things for others.

Are the people who do this feeling uncomfortable or embarrassed by the action that they are deriding? If someone tries to to good by raising the profile of a charity or of a situation that is causing distress they are 'accused' of 'virtue signalling' as if it is a bad thing to try to improve things for other people.

If someone tries to improve the experience of others through challenging the status quo /currently accepted language/attitude etc they are 'accused' of being politically if it was a bad thing to be thoughtful of others!

Do these phrases grate with you or do you think they are valid?

FannyCornforth Mon 26-Oct-20 11:43:28

Politically correct has always annoyed me, what would you prefer me to be? Politically incorrect?

Similar to 'do-gooder'. Thankfully you don't hear that much nowadays.
Usually used by someone who has never done a thing to improve the life of another. Makes them feel inferior I think, so they think that 'do-gooder'' is an acceptable insult (clue - it isn't).

However, I don't really have a problem with 'virtue signalling' if it is used correctly.
I do think that there is a lot of VS about, especially on social media; celebs etc.
That said - it annoys me when it's used incorrectly (in relation to Rashford for example).

They all seem to be terms that a certain type of right wing person uses against a certain type of left wing person.

varian Mon 26-Oct-20 11:49:38

More than 800 retired judges, barristers and senior legal figures have accused Boris Johnson and Priti Patel of endangering the personal safety of lawyers.

The group have signed an online letter calling on the prime minister and home secretary to apologise for their "display of hostility" towards those working in the justice system.

It follows Ms Patel's repeated criticism of lawyers who defend migrants and asylum seekers as "lefties" and "do-gooders".

Mr Johnson also claimed during the Tory conference that the criminal justice system was being "hamstrung by what the home secretary would doubtless – and rightly – call the lefty human rights lawyers, and other do-gooders”.

PECS Mon 26-Oct-20 11:51:10

FannyCornforth I had forgotten 'do-gooder'! But yes I agree it is a similar phrase!

I suppose if celebrities are profiting from promoting a charitable cause then it might be considered bad form
but often charities approach celebs to promote /sponsor their cause.

FannyCornforth Mon 26-Oct-20 11:52:21

Good grief Varian.
The calibre of this lot.
Our Home Secretary using childish, ill-educated sounding phrases.

FannyCornforth Mon 26-Oct-20 11:55:35

I think of 'virtue signalling' as relating to empty words and no real action.
Similar to people latching onto other's grief (I can't remember the phrase for this).
Sort of 'look at what a lovely, empathetic person I am, unlike you'.

Pantglas2 Mon 26-Oct-20 11:55:59

I’ve always thought that calling someone a fascist/commie when they don’t agree with your politics quite telling, in that you’re blinkered to another view on something.

varian Mon 26-Oct-20 12:04:58

These phrases are worse than just provocative. They are dangerous. They can incite violence.

Remember the notorious Daily Mail headline "enemies of the people" accompanied by photos of the Judges whose judgement they didn't like?

Jane10 Mon 26-Oct-20 12:07:47

I hate the phrase 'right thinking' which actually only means people who agree with the person saying that.

PECS Mon 26-Oct-20 12:13:28

varian yes that is a dreadful scenario with lawyers offices being targeted by right wing extremists.

British law must be protected from political interference ..that is a downward spiral to dictatorship!

vegansrock Mon 26-Oct-20 12:55:29

When Patel criticised those who want to support refugees as “do gooders” I wondered whether she counts herself as a “do badder”?

suziewoozie Mon 26-Oct-20 13:03:27

I just look at the people who employ the phrases do-gooders, politically correct, virtue signalling and it tells me all I need to know about them and their views on well, just about anything really. It also tells me about their lack of capacity for any critical thought.

PECS Mon 26-Oct-20 13:05:59

vegansrock I expect she may not mind that accolade!

The law applies equally to all citizens and each citizen has a right to use the law to protect themselves or to get redress. There is no 'do-gooding' about is part of our Great British institution ... but this government appears to want to demolish things we need to be proud of and continue to behave in dishonourable ways!

lemongrove Mon 26-Oct-20 13:51:26


I think of 'virtue signalling' as relating to empty words and no real action.
Similar to people latching onto other's grief (I can't remember the phrase for this).
Sort of 'look at what a lovely, empathetic person I am, unlike you'.

Yes, I agree, so sometimes the phrase is quite apt’s natural home seems to be social media.

lemongrove Mon 26-Oct-20 13:53:34


I hate the phrase 'right thinking' which actually only means people who agree with the person saying that.

As in ‘all right thinking people will blah blah’’s meaningless.

eazybee Mon 26-Oct-20 14:00:04

Virtue signalling is exactly what it says: someone signalling their virtue to others.
Not simply doing a good act, but making sure everyone is aware of what is being done,' to emphasise the moral correctness of one's position'.

suziewoozie Mon 26-Oct-20 14:07:08

There’s plenty of vs on Gan - lovely example this morning - the amusing thing is that it’s often carried out by those who jump to criticise it in others.

PECS Mon 26-Oct-20 14:20:04

eazybee I can see that there may be some people who do that ..boasting that they have done something good.

However I have seen the phrase, used in a derogatory manner, to undermine people who are genuinely doing good things. A bit like Priti Patel calling lawyers 'do-gooders' for doing their job!

suziewoozie do you mean GN? It would be more helpful to the debate if we knew what you actually meant?

rosecarmel Mon 26-Oct-20 14:21:55

"That's a good question-" It's used during interviews- I find myself wanting to turn off the radio, podcast, streaming video when I hear it because the question being asked is usually rooted in bias- It supports the views of both the individual being interviewed as well as the individual carrying out the interview, leaving no room difference of opinion or perception- It's a provocative format-

suziewoozie Mon 26-Oct-20 14:24:39

Sorry PECS autocorrect. Yes of course GN - I find the offenders do it without a blush ( or probably a thought)

Galaxy Mon 26-Oct-20 14:24:55

I drove past a pub today it had a massive sign up saying children eat free during half term. I suppose I would consider that virtue signalling. Cashing in on an excellent campaign without doing anything to support it.

suziewoozie Mon 26-Oct-20 14:26:09

Meant to say imo those 3 phrases are always used in a derogatory manner - absolutely value loaded phrases.

Parsley3 Mon 26-Oct-20 14:27:07

Too little, too late as a put down for a newly introduced government measure of any sort. Why not just say that it’s a start?

suziewoozie Mon 26-Oct-20 14:29:51

I think that depends on the context Parsley sometimes it really is too little too late and people have been making the case for it to start for ages.

PECS Mon 26-Oct-20 14:37:10

Thanks suziewoozie sorry but I often miss out on 'jargon' and am easily confused! grin

Galaxy why would that sign be VS? If they are offering free meals for kids over half term they are doing something!
When shops have '50%' reductions on children's clothes' posters up are they VS? confused