Tweeting Checking: Richard Spencer, Trump and the Toxic Ideals of Knuckle-Dragging Masculinity
Reading the Italian philosopher Umberto Eco’s 1986 book Travels in Hyperreality, I was struck by how much the essay “The Return of the Middle Ages”, despite being written in the late ‘70s, essentially describes the situation we have today: postmodernity has come to resemble a hyperaccelerated medieval era. Former superstates have become fractured and reduced to the same level as the trading guilds—or corporations as we call them today. People walk around preaching apocalypse or the need for a new crusade or pogrom (and as you’ll see in this week’s selection, the targets are still the same). Fanatics terrify us but we can do little to stop it before they do severe damage—try for example comparing the Munster rebellion with the short-term conquests of the Islamic State (even if the former is technically a Renaissance-era event). Intellectuals gather themselves into isolated communities, unreachable by the common people. There is a great shift going on after the end of long-held certainties, and there is no telling where society will eventually end up.
There may be only two ways of dealing with it: become like the monks and isolate ourselves from a decaying society into small communes, like Alistair MacIntyre suggests, or fight with all your might, even if it be in vain. In continuing to write this column, ladies and gentlemen, I choose the latter option…
5. Ben Norton
It was not in fact a media outlet that referred to the North Korean defector as a “nice guy”; they were only quoting the surgeon who had operated on him. That a North Korean fellow enjoys Western films is also not unusual, given the black market for DVDs there.
Now, it does seem that the defector in question apparently escaped from the Kafkaesque megaprison of the DPRK not on some grand mission of individual freedom, but because he killed someone in a drunk driving incident. Now that does suck, and I have no problem with people pointing that out—as Jerry Seinfeld often put it: “That’s a shame.”
My problem with what Norton is saying here is that in the way he presents it, he is taking one defector and presenting him almost as a kind of representative of all defectors. All those poor people who took the plunge—many of whom didn’t make it across the border. If we follow Norton’s implied logic, we shouldn’t trust any NK defectors. Shit, why not just send the potential drunk driving bastards back? BUILD A WALL!
It also doesn’t make sense in itself—most of these news agencies have themselves reported on the revelation, Newsweek for example; I’ve already cited Business Insider. There’s no cover up or anything, and to criticise news outlets for going on what they can gather at the time on a man who was shot five times escaping the vilest regime in the world, is to either assume a conspiracy or condemn these outlets for not being omniscient.
4. Identarian Youth
I could say something like “I didn’t know Rob Reiner was an Israeli government official”, but then I’d be ignoring the Judenhass dipshit’s number one rule: all Jews are part of the same amorphous Semitic blob covering the Earth and suffocating the future of white children. As such, any time a Jewish person makes a statement about anything, it must be Israeli policy; if the Israeli government does something, all Jews elsewhere must agree.
As a wise man once said: you can’t fix stupid, you can only swot at it like a grease fire. But I can tell you dear reader: Reiner’s opinion on Trump’s see-through anti-drug barrier, and Israel’s abhorrent treatment of African refugees and the shameful wall built through the Occupied Territories, have no logical connection with each other.
Reiner doesn’t even really see himself as Jewish.
3. Katie Hopkins
Variants of this point are made often enough it’s best to take the opportunity to point out that it is made with no intention in mind of giving any sympathy to Muslim migrants and refugees. The structure of the position is like this: Muslims leave their countries because of Islam itself apparently too horrible to bear, but these Muslims escapees as soon as they arrive in the West seem to forget why they did flee, and become agents of Islamic terror. The logic therefore recommends that Muslims should simply be left to starve or be brutally murdered because they simply can’t be trusted; they deserve their fate.
Besides being an abhorrent and irrational stance, it is important to point out that the single greatest cause of Muslim refugees in this decade has not been Islamic repression, but the genocidal ambitions of Bashar al-Assad of Syria, a man not only defended and promoted by his worthless supporters as “secular”, but endorsed by Hopkins herself.
2. Chris Williamson
You can’t fully see it here, but Williamson is signing the Holocaust Educational Trust Book of Commitment.
If you struggle to be incensed at the nerve of the man, remember what he said about claims of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party: “I’m not saying it never ever happens but it is a really dirty, lowdown trick, particularly the anti-semitism smears".
It’s hard to tell if he has no shame, no self-awareness, or is actually trying in some cynical ploy to portray himself as a Jewish advocate.
I’ve wanted to get Richard Spencer, de facto leader (and some would say core progenitor) of the Alt-Right, on something for a while. However, his position as a figurehead for the movement is maintained by not being completely insane all the time, and so abject Twitpidity is surprisingly rare on his feed. Sure, there’s lots of half-truths and dog-whistling being bounded about, but this tweet struck me as representing the core problem with the Alt-Right, and the broader “anti-establishment” mood on the right-wing of the political spectrum—and in this I will include Henry Bolton’s recent philanderous activities as well.
The problem is this: Trump, Spencer, Bolton, Farage, all of them, paint themselves as great defenders of “Western civilisation”, and in particular, its “traditional values”, when in the things they say and the things they do they make it clear that they in fact completely *despise* our civilisation and its values, whether of the “traditional” or “progressive” kind.
Spencer here is not just saying he doesn’t care, he is defending Trump from the bowels of the most toxic possible ideals of knuckle-dragging masculinity. That Trump not only cheated on his wife with a pornographic actress, but did it mere months after the birth of their first child, is excused because he’s “a healthy, red-blooded man”. The sanctity of marriage be damned, family values be damned, honour and respect be damned.
Angela Nagle points out in her book Kill All Normies that the Alt-Right ultimately originates in trolling culture, and this is no more an obvious sign that this is the case. There may be a deeper intellectual history to be studied, but for the most part there is no depth within the attitudes of these men; they don’t do it for “Europa” or for “whiteness”; they do it for the “lulz”.
Can’t you see that they’re all fucking with us? And we’re letting them win?
About the author
Harris Coverley writes the Tweet Checking column for Disclaimer and is constantly looking for readers to help him correct the worst of internet. No stupidity or falsehood is too great a challenge.
He lives in Manchester and holds an MA in Intellectual History from UCL. He also writes short fiction and poetry, the former of which only Disclaimer has had the good sense to publish.
Enjoyed this article?
Help us to fund independent journalism instead of buying:
Also in Disclaimer
Dona;d Trump's extraordinary sumjmit in Singapore with Kim Jung Un has dominated the news. Only a few months ago mant feared a nuclear war and the two squared up with Twitter insults. Now Trump has lavished praise on the brutal dictator.
Theresa May on the CHristopher Chope affair; Alex Nunns and the Lexiters on Corbyn's EEA absention; the role of an MP. Just some of the things we check for you.
The British commuter is non-ideological: she just wants to get to and from work without wrecking her life. She’s the epitome of a self-interested, common-sense, even aspirational voter that politicians have been courting for decades. The privatisation experiment has failed. Perhaps it is time to put them into public hands.
Poetry from A. M. Juster
Short fiction by Harris Coverley