Sunday, July 30, 2017

More on the dirtbag left

Some more good critiques of the Dirtbag Left.

James Livingston:
What these ignorant yet arrogant little shits can’t fathom is the simple fact that the detachment of income from work, no matter what its social or intellectual provenance, means the decompositon of capitalism, because you can’t have capitalism without a labor market that correlates effort and reward in a legible and legitimate manner. Socialism resides in that decomposition—why not embrace and enlarge upon it, even in the fragmentary form of a UBI? 
But the moral of this story is larger. The Chapo crew are satirists who produce, as a matter of course, pure cynicism. Not mere irony, the “critical distance” we all need and use when we experience conflicting desires or points of view. Irony leads us into the world because it divides us between these possibilities, makes us want to test them. Cynicism via satire protects us from the world by teaching us how to abstain from its conflicts. 
But that is a way of saying that cynicism via satire protects us from politics as such. Is that we want, just now?

And Noah Berlatsky:
The dismissal of feminism is consistent throughout the podcast. Chapo doesn't treat feminism as a valuable movement or analytic framework. They treat it as a boondoggle, a distraction, and a joke. They argue that Wonder Woman's feminism is simply a way to sell imperialism through identity politics. Or they argue that William Marston, Wonder Woman's creator, was just a horny guy; the supposedly irreverent Chapo dismisses Marston's feminist commitments via prudish kink-shaming. At no point do the hosts ever admit, or entertain the idea, that women might legitimately lack heroic role models. They don't discuss the possibility that women are often excluded from lead roles in Hollywood, and that Wonder Woman in that way might address an actual inequality. They don't talk about other problems with representation either. The vigorous criticism many black women have made of the film isn't broached. 
Instead, Chapo devotes its energy to presenting feminism as useless and worthy of mockery. They discuss the Ghostbusters reboot and suggest that the sexist backlash to the film was just part of the girl-power marketing—as if the female stars of the series wanted massive amounts of sexist bile directed at them. They make a crack about "give your money to Wonder Woman"—referencing the "give your money to women" hashtag, which was an effort to highlight disparities in women's pay. The low point is when a guest blogger named Matthew Brady pops up briefly to sneer at his ex-wife, and then cracks "oh this film taught me jokes like that are wrong." His entire segment could have been lifted, virtually without alteration, from an MRA Youtube video.

I noticed the Mens' Rights Activist vibe too. 

What is most striking about Chapo Trap House and the dirtbag left is its problem with rape. Thanks to the Jeet Heer piece in The New Republic, Melissa McEwan talked about CTH host Felix Biederman's attack on her. And I've already blogged about Amber A'Lee Frost and Liza Featherstone's attitude towards rape, which is that rape isn't nearly so bad if you go to an Ivy League school. (Featherstone and her husband Doug Henwood both went to Ivy League schools.)

And one of the major components of Jacobinghazi was Amber A'Lee Frost mocking Sarah Kendzior for talking about rape threats.

Well nobody ever lost money sucking up to the Patriarchy - Camille Paglia, Katie Roiphe and Christina Hoff Sommers among others have built solid careers on it. And the existence of the Dirtbag Left and its hostility to feminism demonstrates that Patriarchy-servicing is not monopolized by the Right.

Meanwhile Henwood & Featherstone have been up to their usual hard-hitting journalism. 

My guess is that The Atlantic "stole" the title because they hadn't heard of Featherstone's advice column. Although the idea of The Nation having a personal advice column as if it was Glamour magazine, and that it hired someone as self-absorbed as Featherstone to give anybody personal advice is utterly absurd. My assumption is that Featherstone has a good friend in the hierarchy at The Nation and they wanted to give her an income stream as a personal favor. And the same goes for Amber A'Lee Frost, who has a personal advice column at The Baffler. Although reading the questions they print, I fully expect they just make them up themselves.