In this era of an alt-right president and mouthpieces like Breitbart, Chapo Trap House is the leftist media outlet that best understands the power of dominance politics and answers it in kind. If Trump insulted his way to the presidency, Chapo is insulting the Democrats to move the party leftward, using mockery and derision to push for a socialist America. There’s clearly a market for such content: The show is extremely popular, generating more than $70,000 a month in Patreon subscriptions, outdistancing the other top podcasts on Patreon by nearly three to one.
Chapo is the flagship show of the Dirtbag Left, a phrase coined by co-host Amber A’Lee Frost to describe a take-no-prisoners style of American socialism that’s ascendent in the age of Trump. While examples of the Dirtbag Left can also be found in publications like The Baffler, Current Affairs, and podcasts like The War Nerd and Street Fight Radio, Chapo remains the purest example of the species. “It’s a movement that uses many of the tactics of the online alt-right—humour, memes, Twitter trolling and open animosity—while remaining committed to progressive leftist ideology,” John Semley wrote earlier this month in Maclean’s. “A given Chapoepisode sees the hosts yukking it up at the expense of hacky mainstream media op-eds (New York Times columnist Ross Douthat is a favourite target of the gang’s derision), or critiquing the limp, liberal identity politics of the recent, and much-lauded, Wonder Woman movie.”
The comparison Semley draws with the alt-right is apt. On substance, Chapo upholds the democratic-socialist politics of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, but in style it is much closer to the vituperative, insulting, shock-jock tactics used not just by Twitter users with Pepe the Frog avatars, but Trump himself. The response of mainstream liberals to these tactics on the right has been to double down on the importance of civility. “When they go low, we go high,” as Michelle Obama famously said. But the Dirtbag Left has no use for civility, and instead wants to counter the alt-right’s mudslinging in kind. Their slogan could be, “When they go low, we go into the gutter.”
I still maintain that the Dirtbag Left attacks liberals and the Democratic party with such regularity that I would not be at all surprised if one day it turns out that it is being supported by right-wing billionaires.
Dipshit trophy wife Liza Featherstone of course is represented on the Dirtbag network banging on about "lean-in feminism" because the Dirtbag Left actually hates feminism more than just about anything but they are too chickenshit to come right out and admit it so prefer to use code like "lean-in" and "bourgeois" and "neoliberal" - but any familiarity with their mindset will eventually bring you to the understanding that Featherstone & company hate feminism because it's about issues pertaining to women as a group, and the Dirtbags don't consider pay parity and men dominating discussions and other non-farmworker employment issues of any value.
Because the Dirtbag Left wants women to know that all those icky women's issues will be taken care of after the revolution comes, so STFU and stop caring about Wonder Woman.
I'm glad that actual journalists are writing about this tight little clique of douchbags, and I'm glad they have a worthy name now too.
ALSO - best tweet on the subject ever.