It’s hard to calculate all your feelings and emotions and opinions and thoughts and beliefs, then decipher the burgoo correctly given that many aren’t even genuine – that they’re just there to make you feel better about who you think you are and what you want to be. To decode all that shit, then plot exactly and accurately plot where you land on the political spectrum between left/right, liberal/conservative…whatever, isn’t an easy thing.
It’s difficult if not outright impossible to be that objective but I’ll say it’s with some (if not considerable) dismay that I see the political left being decimated in the realm of “new media”, specifically YouTube. Dismay because I’m probably left but , if not, certainly intuit that a democracy might work best when there’s equal strength on both sides so that the flag in the middle of the rope remains relatively centered over the mudpit. But in the realm of “new” mass media, especially YouTube, the left seems to be getting its ass kicked. Hard.
Click on the Vice image for an article (from the left) explaining how and why:
So there’s the criticism and the typical “head in the sand” reply, replete with cooked figures that allow the defeated to save face by saying:
- we’re not the really the defeated and/or
- we’re the victims of bad reporting
To help explicate the forthcoming argument, let’s use the pH scale as a measure of political ideological belief, persuasion, sentiment, conviction, etc.
(as the liberals cry about being labeled “acidic” and the conservatives decry the “rainbow” of the scale, when it could have as easily been represented in black and white)
The scale would would align perfectly if left and blue corresponded but science confounds sometimes so let’s just go with the left/right rather than red/blue distinction to discriminate between political belief.
I propose the political left has been corrupted by their most extreme (let’s say the 0 and 1 ideologists) and there’s no clear strategy for the “temperate/moderate left’s” correcting it.
For sake of argument, let’s lump Antifa and Black Lives Matter and angry, extreme feminism and SJW’s and the alt-gender crowd into the “far left”.
I propose that this vocal and influential minority (0-1) of the left are having an undue influence over the majority (2-6), corrupting it and ultimately causing it to lose so utterly and miserably in the burgeoning “new” mass media of YouTube, with the following example of how.
Public intellectuals and academics Bret Weinstein, Steven Pinker and Jordan Peterson have been completely co-opted by the right. In the case of Weinstein and Pinker, they are and/or were liberals, explicitly. YouTube superstar Jordan Peterson is (arguably) a bit more cryptic about his political leanings. Nonetheless, by exploiting the “controversy” of these public figures not aligning perfectly with the left and their consequential fallouts, the right has carte blanche co-opted them, generating millions upon millions of views on mostly right leaning YouTube channels, essentially using some of the left’s most potentially valuable players against them. Like if Joey Votto and Billy Hamilton are on your team, you sub them out to the Cubs. Sub them out with no re-compensation. Ouch. All those YouTube views are cultural capital (like runs in baseballs) and if prevailing ideas and attitudes are won through the culture wars, each view is at least a bullet that you manufacture for the opposing military. How fucking stupid.
As a result, the millions of views and all that interest is given from the left to the right -interest and views that could be generated from having discussions about diversity within their clan – but are instead shunned or ignored or mocked or vilified.
Imagine you got a radio station committed to rock and roll – Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee, Elvis – at a time when doo-wop and country reigns. The Beatles come along but somebody at the station don’t like mop tops so it’s decided they can’t let the Beatles play unless they cut their hair. So the doo-wop stations say, “come on over here and play between Danny and the Juniors and The Mello-Kings”. And when The Beatles do, millions of people tune in, hearing At the Hop as a lead in to She Loves You and maybe thinking, that ain’t so bad. And for every 45 of a Danny and the Juniors that’s sold to a Beatles fan who might have otherwise bought Buddy Holly, that’s a cultural loss for rock and roll. In other words, the other team co-opted them for their own aims and means and purposes cause some knucklehead on the other side couldn’t get over their anti-long hair ideology. And it worked out just fine for The Beatles too since they got to plug and consequently sell more of their records. And why would The Beatles or their fans have any sense of fealty toward the rock and roll station after that? And as The Beatles grow into a worldwide sensation, ignoring or outright mocking that station for their previous disregard, all that station has is to go on the offense. To smear the Fab Four. As a The Beatles fandom grows from a million to 5 to 10 million, that station loses support along with them. Goddamn.
The left could have a taste of the millions of Jordan Peterson views if they’d just shied away from gender pronouns and talked about Pinocchio and lobsters instead. That’s what the right does with Pinker, talk about what they agree on, mostly ignore the rest. But the left can’t cause their 0-1’s would behead the one facilitating the discussion. They handed the right the atomic bomb of Jordan Peterson’s YouTube stardom, while their petty and snarky rebuttal numbers aren’t anything but mortar rounds in response; while the Shapiro’s and Dave Rubin’s can have on Pinker or Weinstein without any concern about an “extremist” right backlash whatsoever.
It’s the shit sandwich of conflated anti-Peterson snark and rhetoric that’s all the lib media have to serve. So they gotta try covering up it by putting a few marshmallow between the bread too – the marshmallows being the excused or professed “principles” for not giving voice to such “extremist” degenerates. A shit and marshmallow sandwich is better than just the former, I suppose, but not much better.
In essence, what the left gets are the table scraps from a million Peterson views on Joe Rogan from their own counter-argument (whining) videos of how much Jordan Peterson sucks.
And the only people in the “new” mass media of YouTube who can pull their party and their failure within the media out of that tailspin is THEM. But they can’t speak out against it. They have the players but just keep trading them off. They get MVP prospects that they trade off. Shit!!!! The left’s become a shit brand, like COBY (not SONY) electronics. A shit team, not unlike the Cleveland Browns.
They’ve become the Yugo of politics.
Jordan Peterson goes on Dave Rubin or Steven Crowder or Ben Shapiro’s shows and gives reasonable criticism of Social Justice culture. Reasonable people see or hear this and might be intrigued. People respect Jordan Peterson and his host for giving him the forum. And it’s like a feast of Saturday night’s prime rib special – a fest of tens of thousands of YouTube views from people seeing both people behave civilly and entertaining a respectable discussion. But the left cannot. That is the left’s brand – unable to tolerate dissent from it’s most extreme minority. Imagine if the right was in such a shape that anybody who didn’t agree hard-lined with the alt-right had to desert to the left just to be heard. That’s the state of the left. That’s its brand.
What does the left get from Jordan Peterson (or Weinstein or Pinker)? A fraction of the views from conflating the idiocy of Peterson or Weinstein or Pinker. And the few who do tune in see far more of that old-school partisanship there than on the other side where, for example, Pinker (a leftie) is treated with for more respect on the right than JBP would be on the left. But it doesn’t matter cause he’s not even allowed there. He can’t be heard. His ideas can’t be entertained. Same with Sam Harris and the Weinstein Brothers. All people with interesting things to say, so long as they say it somewhere other than the liberal media outlets.
And that’s where the left loses. It’s a bad brand. It’s Yugo. It’s the brand of middle-of the road lefties cucked by their extremes. Or, if they have the courage, they flee. And there’s no way to right the ship cause if they call ’em on their shit, they get tarred and feather too.
They tried selling the Yugo as “the fastest selling European import in its introductory year” but it was still a piece of shit. You can expound on its front wheel drive and “comfortable and fun to drive” but it was still a piece of shit.
When there’s no room in your tribe for anyone who disagrees, you’re tribe’s a piece of shit. When the other tribe adopts your better members for their own gain, your tribe’s a piece of shit. It’s the fucking Cleveland Browns.
And once the Yugo got branded a piece of shit…..that’s what it remained. And you don’t fix it buy burying your head in the sand and slinging the “piece of shit” moniker at Ford and Volkswagen and Toyota. Or bad mouthing their CEO’s when your CEO is running a corporation that can’t build a decent car. What you do is fix your product or it dies.
You can’t keep bumping out who the most radical don’t agree with. It means you’re controlled by the radicals. And you paint the other side as being equally influenced by the radicals but it just don’t stick. You can try and try and try but it doesn’t stick. You can claim that “Everybody needs a Yugo sometimes” but the reality that everybody came to know pretty quick was that “Nobody needs a Yugo ever.” What people see are righties bending over backward, giving a voice to the left where their own tribe won’t allow them to speak. Sure, it’s self-serving. But it’s a smart and that’s why the left’s losing in the new mass media.
And if the libs have been squashed on YouTube, then maybe there’s a chance in podcasting. They got Chapo Trap House, after all. But that’s mostly a bunch of intellectual cuteness and snark without much substance. The irony that Kierkegaard objected to. Irony without purpose. Meaningless irony, as David Foster Wallace noted.
“This is because irony, entertaining as it is, serves an exclusively negative function.” – DFW
So there we go…the smart guys on the left, chasing their tails to prove they’re on the culturally/academically smart side of spectrum while the other side chases its tail to prove they’re the common sense smart ones.
And I wonder how ya get it back? Do ya need somebody on the left to stand up and take all the slings and arrows without backing down and without retreating to the comfort of Dave Rubin’s studio? Are they just gonna wait to see how bad Trump might fuck things up? But that don’t seem like a sound strategy. Somebody recently speculated that the YouTube will eventually tire of the right’s dominance. That anti-SWJ and feminism and gernderism will get as tired as eating a bologna sandwich every day. Maybe. But that never happened with talk radio till YouTube came along an essentially usurped it as a new vehicle for the right.
I’ve been a Bengals fan for a while now. Others I know who were and want to be can no longer be due to bad management and bad coaching and bad results. And a careless disregard for the majority of their fans. I don’t hate those who’ve bowed out. Maybe I’m the stupid one for hanging on. But this year, instead of going to any games, I might sit home and try to watch dispassionately. I’m not turning Yellow and Black (Steelers) by any means, even though we share the commonality of neither of us rooting for the Browns…so please……none of that nonsense from the handful of remaining die-hards (the virtuous few still sitting in the stadium, paying top dollar for a ticket) or I may never come back. And don’t try to guilt me into being as stupid as you are. I’m not vested in thousands of dollars worth of your stupid seating licences. I can figure out something else to do other than get piss drunk of light beer every Sunday from Septermber through January. Bad results and ownership’s unconcern have beaten the passion of out me and your shaming the deserters only refills the tanks of the fundamentalist and ideologues’ passion. And it ain’t only me who’s weary and disinfranchised. There were times when Paul Brown Stadium was full. Now there’s just a smattering of fans.
And none of that “you don’t like the Browns and the Steelers don’t like the Browns so see…….you’re one and the same!!!! Now you’re the enemy too!!!!” For fuck’s sake, stop. Stop. It’s bad enough that our team is so bad. It’s even worse that the fans are that stupid. You see, by associating with that clan, I wallow in the same cesspool of rhetorical shit. As crotch sniffer of ownership, I’m cucked. It’s a double-edged sword of idiocy, see?
I often wonder why I write, with a real fear sometimes that it might be pure narcissism or ego bordering on pathology. But I try to suppress or dismiss that fear with the rationale that, if nothing else, the writing helps clarify. This started off as a piece trying to understand my discontent with my team. Now I’m a bit more clear on why I’m discontent with both of my teams. And a bit more clear on the similarities of the pressures, both internal and external – economic and psychological and emotional, that keep us attached, even when we should have let go long ago. And have a better sense that what may be an appropriate response to the abject failure of one team may be appropriate for the other. Things have a funny way of coming together like that sometimes when ya grind through the gristle of disassociated thoughts and feelings, forcing cartilage and fat and meat through the grinder that turns it all to sausage. Not great or even good sausage, necessarily. But something more than just scraps of flesh.