"Good lord - the lack of self awareness is incredible."


By way of a forceful Twitter rant last Friday, ​Vox blogger David Roberts aired his feelings regarding the complacency of stereotypically Trump-supporting American suburbanites to the plight of the roughly 4,000 person ​migrant caravan approaching the US border. And then he apologized.


But his apology wasn't motivated by remorse for characterizing an entire demographic as heartless, vapid proponents of indifference and cruelty. Rather, Roberts was disheartened to learn he'd been accused of committing the politically incorrect cardinal sin of "shaming" a marginalized group.

Unleashing a salvo on "sedentary, heart-diseased, fast-food gobbling, car-addicted suburbanites, sitting watching TV in their suburban castles, casually passing judgment on refugees who have walked 1000s of miles to escape oppression," Roberts soon found himself placed on the back foot by fellow liberals who took him to task, not for criticizing conservative denizens of the suburbs, but for "fat shaming."


"I trust you are athletic, fit, and never eat fast food you smug asshole," ​tweeted "Bad Feminist" author Roxane Gay, a self-described fat person who also accused Roberts of projecting "fat phobia."


Then there were those commenters who argued that his sentiments were smug. "It is facile and snide attitudes like this that will help the Republicans win on Tuesday," one Twitter user ​wrote.


In response to the criticism, the Vox staff writer issued a 27-tweet-long mea culpa/rationalization that seemed to do little to defuse the controversy stirred up by his initial remarks.

"So let's talk about it," Roberts declared in a tweet before meticulously deconstructing his own argument using words like "noosphere," referencing his "journey of getting woke," and lamenting that his "male instinct" causes him to be defensive.


While acknowledging that "Fat-shaming is real, it's everywhere, its unjust & unkind, and I want no part of it," he rejected the notion that he'd shamed fat people or unfairly characterized suburbanites.

Roberts also ruminated on the different degrees of "wokeness," distinguishing between the "Professionally Woke," the problematic "Defiantly Unwoke," and the "Half Woke," the group he most closely identifies with.

Despite his efforts to illuminate, Roberts' apology was met with a resounding din of mockery.

 Even professional pundits got in on the action.

But perhaps the most penetrating gibes were those delivered by regular Twitter users.


"Good lord - the lack of self awareness is incredible," opined one commenter. "Dude, I don't know anything about you but from this one 27 part thread I assume it is exhausting to be you," tweeted another.


Juan Leon is Pluralist's managing editor. He can be reached @juanemel


Cover image: Vox writer Dave Roberts poses in an image posted to Facebook February 22, 2011. (Screenshot from ​Facebook.)