In Vanity Fair, James Pogue wrote an irresponsibly gauzy and sympathetic portrait of what he calls “the New Right,” a clown car full of Nazis that includes Curtis Yarvin, a blogger and failed technologist coming up on his second decade pushing for fascist dictatorship, Peter Thiel, a billionaire supervillain who hates himself so much that he destroyed Gawker for telling everyone he was gay, Thiel protegés like Yale educated venture capitalist and Snuffy Smith cosplayer J.D. Vance, the same gang of MAGA white supremacists that 2017’s gauzy and sympathetic portraitists called “the Alt-Right,” and a scattering of relative newcomers like Red Scare podcast hosts Dasha Nekrasova and Anna Khachiyan, who have recently discovered their socialism is more of a National Socialism.
Pretty much everyone had the same trimmed beard and haircut—sides buzzed short, the top longer and combed with a bit of gel to one side.
I didn’t see a single Black person under the age of 50, though there were attendees of South Asian and Middle Eastern descent. In March, the journalist Jeff Sharlet (a Vanity Fair contributing editor who covers the American right) tweeted that the “intellectual New Right is a white supremacist project designed to cultivate non-white support,” and he linked it to resurgent nationalist and authoritarian politics around the world: “It’s part of a global fascist movement not limited to the anti-blackness of the U.S. & Europe.” Yet many on the New Right seem increasingly unfazed by accusations that they’re white nationalists or racists.
What kind of haircut is that anyway? One of the ascendant fascists Pogue spends a lot of time with is Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters:
I asked if [Masters] could give me a vision of what he thought victory for his side would look like.
“It’s just families and meaningful work,” he said, “so that you can raise your kids and worship and pursue your hobbies and figure out what the meaning of it all is.” Pretty much anyone could agree with this. And pretty much anyone could wonder how it is that this sort of thing has come to seem radical, or distant from the lives of many people growing into adulthood today. “It just feels so networked,” he said. “It’s so in-the-matrix.”
“Pretty much anyone could agree with this” are Pogue’s words here, and either he does agree with it, or he’s too dim to ask the obvious follow-up question: Which families exactly? Gay families? Transgender families? Black families? Families with disabled people or autistic people in them? Or is it “families and meaningful work” for Aryans, just like it always was? What kind of haircut is that anyway?
Pogue puts a lot of text between two particular anecdotes, but I’d like to push them closer together so it’s easier to see what they mean.
…the way conservatives can actually win in America, [Yarvin] has argued, is for a Caesar-like figure to take power back from this devolved oligarchy and replace it with a monarchical regime run like a start-up. As early as 2012, he proposed the acronym RAGE—Retire All Government Employees—as a shorthand for a first step in the overthrow of the American “regime.” What we needed, Yarvin thought, was a “national CEO, [or] what’s called a dictator.”
Later, at a Masters campaign event:
One man raised his hand to ask how Masters planned to drain the swamp. He gave me a sly look. “Well, one of my friends has this acronym he calls RAGE,” he said. “Retire All Government Employees.” The crowd liked the sound of this and erupted in a cheer.
This is a serious Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Arizona endorsing a plan for “the overthrow of the American ‘regime.’”
I don’t object to reporting on these people. They usually keep their real ideas tucked away behind a ”sly look” because they know there’s no broad-based support for Naziism in America, despite the Herrenvolk Republicans currently going hog-wild with book burnings and eliminationist laws aimed (for the moment) at queer and transgender people, drunk with reactionary fervor on the eve of the collapse of Roe and suddenly but incorrectly feeling that a new Reich is nearly within their grasp. I do object to uncritically presenting fascism as “a position that has become quietly edgy and cool in new tech outposts like Miami and Austin.” It’s not edgy and cool, it’s the same hateful shit it was in Italy in 1919, Germany in 1933, Spain in 1939, the John Birch Society, the KKK, Orban’s Hungary. I object to writing about fascists without ever once pointing out where their movement inevitably leads.
Anyway, Vanity Fair published the piece on Adolf Hitler’s birthday.
Also Celebrating Hitler’s Birthday:
Crypto trading platform Binance launched a new promotional emoji yesterday which was: a swastika. And Elon Musk’s pretend-infrastructure and flamethrower hobby project The Boring Company announced a series C funding round of $675 million at a $5.675 billion valuation. Seems like a lot of money just to make Tesla traffic jams underground but I’m obviously no business genius.
Volume 5 of The Taco Bell Quarterly is out. I enjoyed “On Guacamole That Comes Out of a Squirt Gun” and “Monkey Brains.” I guess they’re rebooting CREEM? But they’re also de-booting CNN+, after just 1/6th of a Quibi. “This is the fastest time-to-90 on the Go90 Scale of Doomed Streaming Services ever recorded,” declared Nilay. Incredible work, everyone. And the Obamas are leaving Spotify, after collecting a reported $25 million and producing nothing of value.
Brian Feldman finally tracked down Neil, who banged out the tunes, for perhaps the most Brian Feldmaney article ever. According to Neil’s trainer Marna Kazmaier:
Neil was a Hairless Pet Rat that actually played that piano. I have trained animals for over 55 years. He also ‘Ran Shoulders’, that is he would be sitting on my shoulders (or my husbands) and we would say ‘switch’, as we joined hands, and he would run to the other person’s shoulders.
Today’s Tunes: Bomb the Music Industry!, who banged out “Stand There Until You’re Sober”
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