Last summer’s second season of True Detective was a disappointment to many. However, the ideology at the heart of this season’s story spoke to me as I happened to be witnessing a burgeoning ideological movement unfold on Twitter. What began as the elitist “neoreaction” was rapidly overshadowed by a populist “alt-right.” While absorbing bits and pieces of the purposes and beliefs of these people, I couldn’t help but see similarities between these Twitterers and the show. A year later, the alt-right having achieved a legitimacy of sorts through its feverish support of Donald Trump’s campaign for the US Presidency, I have to take a sober reassessment of the state of the American far-right.
For the protagonists of True Detective Season 2, society appears to be in steady decline, with death the only certainty in life. The nihilistic overtones and reluctant hope make it the frontrunner for reactionary show of the year. Far-right Twitter crosses paths with the show as most of the characters are obsessed about masculinity, women, and race, often hilariously so.
Vince Vaughn’s gangster Frank Semyon believes “A good woman mitigates our baser tendencies.”
Colin Farrell’s corrupt, down’n’out detective Ray Velcoro quips “I support feminism; mostly by having body image issues.”
While Ray’s father grouses about his past in the LAPD he tells his son today’s world is “No country for white men, boy.”
Frank one-ups this with a retort to a corrupt city official: “You don’t direct me. Khe Sahn motherf__ker.” “I’m Chinese.” “Well then go stand in front of a tank.”
Detective Paul Woodrugh’s mother is no different, advising her son to leave his pregnant Spanish girlfriend: “You’re a good looking white man. You get in shootouts. You could do anything you like.”
All of the main characters in the show are damaged in some way. Some try to correct their faults or overcome their demons, others simply embrace the darkness, and some never quite figure out what’s going on. One could pick a far-right Twitter account out of a hat and one of these characters would match up to the levels of fear, hatred, and insecurity the anonymous Pepe’s exhibit. Ray Velcoro is obsessed with the idea that he’s been “cucked” by a rapist and that his son may not be his own flesh and blood. That regrettable word doesn’t appear in the show but Ray is a perfect avatar for every deluded soul who thinks racial purity will somehow bring glory to a nation that was never “great.” After his marriage fell apart Ray’s method of dealing with his problems involves rock n roll, whiskey, cocaine, pull ups, beer, and tears – in that order. Though Ray projects a rugged demeanor his unrepentant self is not much different from the pasty would-be assassin (a dead ringer for those “nerd with a katana” image macros) who mumbles “I am the blade and the bullet” before attempting to kill the city’s corrupt police chief. This is all the more funny (or sad) considering the basement dwelling keyboard warriors rubbing digital shoulders with adherents to the “#HarambeMindset.”
An obsession about authenticity and masculinity plagues both Velcoro and Woodrugh. Ray’s father was the image of a tough guy cop who probably very liberal giving out wood shampoos or worse in the days when police could get away with anything. Woodrugh has Clint Eastwood as a father figure, and his assumed taciturn sulking does him no favors either. Sometimes it’s just absurd the things that bother them. Both men comment on different occasions about disliking their fellow detective Ani Bezzerides’ e-cigarette. Adopting an affectation of “manliness” or caring overmuch about your method of nicotine delivery does not make you a more virtuous person and just seems like wasted effort. Yet “authentic masculinity” is one of the fixations of the far-right that is constantly rearing its wimpy balding head.
The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised. The revolution will be no re-run brothers; The revolution will be live.
The events of this summer are a taste of what’s to come in the fall, and even more so, November 9, 2016.
Someone is going to win the Presidential election, and regardless of whether it’s Trump or Clinton, the loser’s supporters are going to feel existential angst about America, and their place in it, far beyond the usual.
Pat Buchanan advises us to take a Chill Pill; “For when a real powder keg blew in the ’60s, I was there. And this is not it.” And yet…in “The ’60s” (and the early ’70s, which is when some of the worst SHTF) we had the evening TV news and the papers. The crazy spread slower then. This time, any and every incident is going to be magnified and extremely accelerated. (more…)
The anti-politics side of neoreaction is hard for people to grasp in our current context. People tend to think of good things as resulting from some kind of activist energy bringing it together. The opposite of this do-somethingism is neoreaction’s passivism, its belief in entropy: things will inevitably flow a certain way if the foot is taken off the gas.
For example, subsidies for single mothers and no-fault divorce hold together the ~70 percent single motherhood rate in parts of Northeast DC, where I live. This is the closest thing to a smashed patriarchy we have – it’s dented at the very least.
Without such political energy, as well as the not-strictly-political but still irrational cultural trends like alternative family structures being fashionable, this all falls apart. Reality comes crashing, and people are forced to rediscover healthy family structures. The fact remains, however: social entropy can’t be beaten. A return to patriarchy only requires a relief from politics and the (probably painful) correction that follows.
White males have high-paid Silicon Valley jobs in the absence of this kind of energy. All they had to do was be smart, be productive and mind their own business. This naturally makes the blood of New York Magazine types boil, so now we have the #WomenInTech meme to try to remedy this supposedly horrible state of affairs.
“Diversity consultant” is a thing, by the way. But the tech industry was booming before we had people who supplicate the equality spirits for a living, and it will probably continue to boom when they’re gone. Rule of thumb: if your need a hashtag to continue your existence, you aren’t going to exist for long. Capitalists like bragging to their friends about their investments supporting the things we’re supposed to be down with, but even more than that they like their investments making money. The folly of this line of attack can be generalized to all activism: it’s just an appeal to the sentiments of the powerful.
Few of them will admit it, but the social order that left-wingers prefer is held together by smashy energy that is fighting a Sisyphean uphill battle.
We can see a pretty successful attempt to smash capitalism in Venezuela – we know it’s successful because the government has smashed capitalism so thoroughly that it can’t even supply toilet paper to their citizens. They even tried extending their smashing to the subsequent breadlines by pulling people out of them based on numbers on their ID cards.
Sounds about right I guess. I’m personally A-OK with Jackson getting the boot, because he gave us now-deified mob democracy and represents the worst of the Imperial Presidency.
But my gut tells me that this can’t be the end of the story, because Republicans contorting themselves to act as though Democrats Are The Real Racists never actually scores them any points; they are here to serve as the court jester for progressives to compare themselves to, playing the loser from the backwater province known as the past. Someone way less smart and cool than progressives must be outraged at history moving forward, right?
I haven’t seen any specific examples yet, but before even writing this sentence I assume that there’s a practical cottage industry of “look at these 12 Twitter accounts who said racist things about Harriet Tubman!” articles. Let’s check:
Mariani does it again! Or maybe it’s not that I’m clairvoyant, but that the media is always willing to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find a few people with double-digit follower counts on Twitter to confirm something that we’re all already supposed to believe: that there’s a powerful racist conspiracy controlling America. Is the tweet from @whitepower12345, a 7-hour-old account with 6 followers and an egg avatar, seriously not enough to convince you?
harriet Tubman fucking black nigger fuck this nigger bitch
Is there a white supremacist ideology dominating society’s powerful institutions? I don’t know. But there’s some evidence that that this isn’t the case. Exhibit A: the government just opted to replace a white man with a black woman on the twenty-dollar bill.
Listening to NPR the other day, I caught a story on the haranguing of Muslim refugees by natives in Clausnitz, Germany. A bus transporting migrants to a shelter in the small town was stopped by nearly 100 Germans, who opposed forced settlement in their town by yelling such things as “Get Lost” and “Go Home if You Don’t Like it Here.” Not kind words, but not off the mark either.
While reporting the bus episode, the radio host blithely referred to the protestors as “neo-Nazis.” Her guest, a Canadian immigrant who organizes aid services for refugees, let the Nazi charge go unchallenged. Without a lick of evidence, they both agreed that the protesters were Führer worshippers. The idea that those who resents the forced relocation of foreigners in their town are Hitler acolytes was treated as accepted wisdom. And this was an ostensibly nonpartisan program!
Occasions like this – that is, the assumed maliciousness on the part of ideological opponents – are becoming increasingly prevalent in western democracies. Whatever one’s political leanings, there is a sense that common consensus is gone. One side is right; the others are morally and ethically wrong, and don’t deserve a fair hearing.
Answer: The rash judgment immediately following their national exposure.
Nearly two years ago, the country was engulfed in the sad, sorry saga of Michael Brown. Shot dead in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, Brown became the poster boy for police brutality against blacks. Brown’s body was still warm on the pavement when the media went into berserk mode, charging Officer Darren Wilson with murder and maligning the entire police force as inveterate racists.
The story fit the progressive narrative: Brown was an unarmed black teeanger gunned down by a white cop. A few conservative voicescalled for calm as the details were sorted out. Rep. Paul Ryan (now Speaker of the House) warned the public not to “jump to prejudging conclusions before evidence is in.”
Their warnings were prescient: President Obama’s Department of Justice declined to charge Officer Wilson. The law-enforcement agency, which was headed byrace-baiterEric Holder, could not disprove Wilson’s claim that he was acting in self-defense at the time he killed Brown.