Tuesday, May 08, 2018


I have been writing for years about the Conservative Mood Swing -- a syndrome whereby conservatives lurch between triumphalism and victimhood: On the one hand, declaring themselves the avatars and theirs the true faith of America -- the current shorthand for this being the paternoster "This is why Trump won," and references to far-right beliefs as "center-right" and moderate-left beliefs as "far left"; on the other, declaring themselves pathetic victims of an all-powerful Left. It's how they manage to simultaneously stroke their yobbo fans, who get pissy and fall off the bandwagon if they're not constantly assured that They Are The Champions, and work the refs in the press with spectacular flops on the pitch.

Speaking of which, here's Bari Weiss at the New York Times about that "Intellectual Dark Web" that all the kids (i.e., none of them) are talking about:
Here are some things that you will hear when you sit down to dinner with the vanguard of the Intellectual Dark Web: There are fundamental biological differences between men and women. Free speech is under siege. Identity politics is a toxic ideology that is tearing American society apart. And we’re in a dangerous place if these ideas are considered “dark.”
Weiss then tells us about "I.D.W." machers like Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson who, despite the alleged siege upon their free speech, have enjoyed tons of mainstream attention -- see Shapiro lauded as "the cool kids' philosopher" by yet another Timeswoman, and plenty of Peterson puffery at the Washington Post. The less-well-known, like Christina Hoff Sommers, are equally awful but have yet to find that sure-fire gimmick that will launch them into the stratosphere. (Sommers did work her act in the Milo road show, but that one closed out of town).

Speaking of too-late regrets, near the end of the thing Weiss notes many of these guys actively court the yowling mobs of Alex Jones, Mike Cernovich et alia, and she even seems to dimly perceive that their contrarian shtick is essentially right-wing -- but plays it off as something they probably don't realize they're doing 'cuz it's psychomological:
One risk is what Eric Weinstein has called “audience capture.” Since stories about left-wing-outrage culture — the fact that the University of California, Berkeley, had to spend $600,000 on security for Mr. Shapiro’s speech there, say — take off with their fans, members of the Intellectual Dark Web may have a hard time resisting the urge to deliver that type of story. This probably helps explain why some people in this group talk constantly about the regressive left but far less about the threat from the right.
Sure, that's it -- the crowd liked when I beat up that hippie, so I had to find some more and beat them up too, I'm just givin' 'em what they want. Plus the Dorkwebsters mostly have anti-Trump alibis -- "There are a few people in this network who have gone without saying anything critical about Trump, a person who has assaulted truth more than anyone in human history,” says Sam Harris, in much the same way less refined but similarly duplicitous wingnuts constantly go I'm no Trump voter but [Trump position here].

The whole thing is obviously contrarian cover for bigots who have heretofore been shy about asserting their obnoxious beliefs. But I have to tell them: A dork in a Harry Potter costume is still a dork.

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