Sea-lioning

is apparently a known trolling tactic in comment threads — so much so, that it’s been banned by Eidolon, the classics magazine devoted to “dissembling [sic] of this dangerously misguided dream of white Europe”. PTT hadn’t heard of “sealioning”, so we did some searching:

A Sealion is a person who, when confronted with a fact that they don’t care to acknowledge, say, the persistence of systemic racism in America, will ask endlessly for “proof” and insist that it is the other person’s job to stop everything they are doing and address the issue to their satisfaction.

The meme comes from this comic, which was helpfully transcribed here:

[Comic transcript:

Panel 1: Man and woman in an old-timey car.
Woman: I don’t mind most marine mammals. But sea lions? I could do without sea lions.
Man: Don’t say that out loud!

Panel 2: Human-size sea lion appears behind them.
Sea lion: Pardon me, I couldn’t help but overhear…
Man: Now you’ve done it.

Panel 3: Close up of sea lion behind annoyed-looking woman.
Sea lion: I would like to have a civil conversation about your statement. Would you mind showing me evidence of any negative thing any sea lion has ever done to you?

Panel 4: Man and woman at their dinner table, with the sea lion still behind them.
Woman: Go away.
Sea lion: There’s no need to raise your voice. I’m right here. I’m just curious if you have any sources to back up your opinion?

Panel 5: Woman in bed, with sea lion standing beside her.
Woman: You’re in my house.
Sea lion: You made a statement in public for all to hear. Are you unable to defend the statements you make? Or simply unwilling to have a reasoned discussion?

Panel 6: Man and woman at the table the next morning, sea lion in between them.
Man: Told you, dude. Sea lions
Sea lion: I have been unfailingly polite, and you two have been nothing but rude.
Woman: I am trying to eat breakfast.
Sea lion: Very well. We shall resume in an hour.]

I find this terribly confusing. In the above scenario, who is the good guy and who’s bad? In the definition above, Sealionism was illustrated by racism-denial, whence I conclude that the sealion is the bad guy. And yet… Isn’t singling out the sea-lions out of all the mammals as somehow undesirable, well… racist? And then, in Panel 5, doesn’t “You’re in my house” smack of anti-immigrant sentiment? Reading the comic naively, I see a white, cishet couple being rude and abusive to a courteous brown migrant.

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