Your kids’ favorite method of “virtue signaling” might be an eye roll or an exaggerated sigh when you say something.
It’s a visible message from the listener: “You should be embarrassed or ashamed that those words ever came out of your mouth. Now everyone will know how dumb you really are.” or “Get over yourself. You’ve told me that 1,000 times.”
It’s a favorite political tool, and is often both visual and audible. Kareem Abdul Jabaar’s opening line at the Democratic Convention is a good example: I’m Michael Jordan and I’m here with Hillary. I said that because I know that Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.” http://www.vox.com/2016/7/28/12319620/kareem-abdul-jabbar-dnc-democratic-convention
Mark Judge explains the term this way: “Virtue signaling is the popular modern habit of indicating that one has virtue merely by expressing disgust or favor for certain political ideas, cultural happenings, or even the weather. When a liberal goes on a tirade about how dumb and dangerous Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is—a tirade devoid of specific examples of Cruz’s mendacity—that person is actually signaling to others that he or she is virtuous. It has very little to do with Cruz’s actually personality or record.” http://acculturated.com/virtue-signaling/
Trevor Noah depends on virtue signaling to make comedy. Here are a few examples:
I’m writing this just after the Democratic Convention, and I’m so sick of all the hyped-up unbiased reporting which is in reality “virtue signaling” or “peer pressure.” The tone is clear: “mock the other candidate” in such a way that makes any conservative embarrassed or ashamed that the part nominated him and should look to the Democrats whose goals and values are much more virtuous.
Josh Barro tweets about this: https://twitter.com/jbarro/status/758889759552831492
Jeff Angelo talked about it WHO radio on July 29, 2016 at 9 a.m.
Politicans and news reporters, I have a message for you:
I have a brain. I recognize an innuendo when I hear it. I’ve sat through sales pitches so powerful that I leave convinced that I am really stupid for not buying the product. I live in the real world, and I recognize both your promises and your fear mongering for what they really are.
Treat me with respect! Give me the short version of the why and how of what your agenda is. If you can’t explain it to the public, it tells me you really don’t understand the issue yourself.