Below, from Twitter, the excellent @gbelljnr on why what is charitably known as “irony” on what is charitably known as “the left” is not meaningfully different from its fascist antecedent. Only social climbing bullies and would be bullies countenance this shit. So it’s fitting that previously disparate factions of disciplinary, social climbing liberals, like the Snowwald dullards, Jacobin/DSA High School, and run-of-the-mill reactionaries like Freddie deBoer are all rallying around it.
The best thing about this crap is that it offers nothing to anyone you might want alongside you in a movement or who would primarily benefit from one. It’s a self-induced quarantine against juvenile sociopaths and vapid, upper middle class, mostly male, mostly white social climbers. That their “thought” leaders are counseling participation in the moldy old Democratic Socialists of America — MoveOn for Boomers, basically — is only slightly less wonderful than, say, watching them march off a cliff. Keep it up, guys!
Over to George:
The people you’re talking about are dissociative shitposting personalities heavily influenced by channer culture. Their entire means of communicating is characterized by habituated abuse, online mobbing and recursive irony. They purport to be on the left, and even occasionally mouth opinions which approximate mild social democracy. None of this, however, distinguishes them from the alt-right, with whom they share the channer cultural indicia.
Appropriations from the conceptual apparatus of the left, and ironic leftish roleplay are common within the alt-right. Many of the alt-right’s moving spirits, especially within the neoreactionary subcurrent, are “former left”s. Most ethnographies of the alt-right describe a particular use of irony to obfuscate political intentionality. It enables shitposters to waste time, intimidate, confuse and dissemble about their true intentions.
[They insist] earnestly on good faith in one exchange and then [deny] indications to the contrary under a veil of irony. In particular, this technique is used to constantly inject racism, homophobia, sexism & other bigotry into discussion, constantly probing as to the limits of acceptable discourse before switching it out as “irony” and “just a joke.” All of these characteristics are to be found within chapo fandom and the “irony bro” tendency generally.
It is not convincing when people who behave in most ways like alt-right accounts confess leftish sympathies. Anyone who has been paying attention for the last few years has numerous examples of shitposting trolls who were debuted to the world by prominent “left” accounts, and were sold as “left” and whose putative misogyny, homophobia, racism, anti-semitism, and professed nazi sympathies were excused as “just a joke man” “you just don’t get it” “omg grow a sense of humor” “read a book about irony” only for them to blossom, at peak platform, into full blown nazis, even so as to make their patrons blush.
So, when people behave like this, as tens of people in my mentions have been behaving all weekend, why should anyone assume that it is their leftish opinions that they are not being ironic about? I mean, figure it out. None of this is rocket science.
The reward for engagement is always ridicule. I am sick of differentiating these people on their declared politics. Nothing they say is trustworthy, so why must their politics be treated as determinate based on their declarations? As far as I am concerned their objective politics is represented by their mode of interaction and communication, and by the reactionary character of their sense of humor. Their protestations can be ignored as what they are: distractions. These people are all fash or proto fash.
George said all this in reply to a troll pretending an interest in discussion, after George had been swarmed by irony vermin for lamenting veteran fascist enabler Glenn Greenwald’s Chapo patronage. Of course he was completely vindicated by the thoroughly predictable, juvenile, hackneyed response. Probably the worst thing is this shit isn’t even funny.
I love them in their earnest moments most of all…