Thursday, June 09, 2022


I have a free Roy Edroso Breaks It Down item up now about how the recent California elections show (along with the political power of billions of dollars, but everyone knows that, right) how the ancient ooga-booga equities of conservatism are experiencing a revival thanks to the social media videos and memes calculated to Other the fuck out of the opposition. 

One of my points is, discussion of social media seems stuck on modish tropes like algorithms and brigading when the most relevant points of comparison are much more old-fashioned. I guess it makes some difference how the images are disseminated, but the real power of, e.g., multiple videos of shoplifters in drug stores is simply that they’re visual. All social does is make it possible for propagandists to send them to you and make sure you see them. The model is less Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook and more George Orwell’s telescreens, and the relevant concept of post-literacy goes back to McLuhan.

One reason I don’t write much these days about what the conservative “intellectuals” say is that, on the right, anything even resembling intellectual content is laughably beside the point anymore. It used to be (and sometimes still can be) easy and fun to dissect their idiocies, because their unenviable pig-lipsticking tasks left them naked to creative ridicule. But seriously, what am I going to do with National Review articles like “Putin the Marxist-Leninist”? They spend their time on shit like that because there’s no point in even trying to make conservative policy look like anything but what it is: a naked appeal to America’s worst prejudices, craziest conspiracy theories, and purest animal hatreds. Viral videos are not just a good tactic: they’re perfectly suited to conservative philosophy, indeed they more or less define it.

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