Review: Against the Web by Michael Brooks

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Against The Web, the first book by YouTube host Michael Brooks, is a nimble polemic in critique of the “Intellectual Dark Web” — an assortment of intellectuals of various persuasions who rose to fame in 2018 as against the excesses of the “social justice” left — and a rejoinder to online reactionary sentiment more broadly.

In a brisk 82 pages, Brooks provides a thoughtfully scathing analysis of IDW members from a historical-materialist perspective. He follows with his own vision of cultural cosmopolitanism and international socialism as a comprehensive response to the rise of the New Right.

Against the Web is…


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photo courtesies of Pixabay

The term “identity politics” has different meanings depending on which side of the political aisle we happen to reside. For progressives it refers to the efforts of historically marginalized people to achieve greater equality through group solidarity. To many on the Right, identity politics is more about denigrating whiteness and discrediting the achievements of the West by excavating its sins. For many social democrats the emphasis on identity is a way of masking class-based inequalities, while the far-Right employs its own version of white identity politics to reclaim a sense of heritage.

But the swell of identity politics in recent…


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Andrew Yang’s unlikely run for president has come to an end. For now.

Yang officially suspended his campaign this week after missing the mark in both the Iowa and New Hampshire primary polls, pledging to support whomever the Demoratic nominee turns out to be. “I have been persuaded that the message of this campaign will not be strengthened by my staying in this race any longer.” Yang told a crowd of supporters in New Hampshire.

“My goal when I first started running was to solve the problems that got Donald Trump elected. I hope this campaign can be a message…


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First published in Merion West

In a recent Merion West article entitled “Coleman Hughes And Critiques Of The Left: An Open Letter To Matt McManus,” I followed-up on a request to outline some criticisms of modern left-wing thought: an airing of grievances, if you will. My arguments could be condensed as follows:

  1. The expressed excesses of the Left implicitly signal the expressed excesses of the Right
  2. Those excesses include an obsession with group identity over class inequalities, a tendency to presume injustice based on group-based disparities alone, and a seeming denial of progress
  3. It’s incumbent on the Left to open…

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During a recent gun-control panel formed in the wake of this past summer’s consecutive mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, a grieving mother from the audience told a story of her slain daughter — killed by a stray bullet in the home while her other child watched in horror — that compelled presidential candidate Andrew Yang to break down in tears. But beneath the knee-jerk headlines excavating the meaning behind a presidential contender crying in front of cameras, a deeper point proffered by the mother was missed: Firearms are the second leading cause of death for children and teenagers…


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“Normal” is, counterintuitively, a very strange and contentious idea. This can be attributed to the inescapable human paradox that we all want to be special while we also want to fit in. Our yearning for uniqueness is not a problem in itself, but it often comes with a countervailing shadow — when juxtaposed with the reality of our daily lives, our need to feel special can create unnecessary suffering.

This juxtaposition was demonstrated in a recent op-ed for the New York Times entitled “At Risk in the Culture of Normal,” in which disabled writer Jonathan Moody attacks the concept of…


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A recent NY Times hit piece on the eccentric rapper Kanye West provides the most recent example of the establishment media failing to distinguish art from politics to the detriment of culture.

In an article called “Kanye West And The Cult Of Personality”, social critic Shamira Ibrahim eviscerated the cultural icon’s latest documentary series, which chronicles his recent pop-up shows in which music is melded with religion into a “Sunday Service” - named in ode to the black christrian tradition.

The author attacks West for appropriating black culture to enable his cult of personality without respect for the very tradition…


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Self-made Thumbnail on Canva

Originally published in Merion West

An unfailing point of confusion on the question of what makes for a great writer comes from the fact that there are two distinct moulds of writer: the polemicist who makes arguments to persuade — and the artist who gives voice to human feeling.

Of course, there is much overlap between the two, as one naturally bleeds into the other; but it is fairly straightforward to distinguish between the op-ed columnist who renders logic to express a social or political perspective and the novelist or poet who tells a story through the articulation of a particular experience.

But then there…


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YouTube screenshot

Originally published in Merion West

Recently, when a colleague of mine and fellow writer, Matt McManus, asked me to pen a piece in critique of the modern Left that he could respond to — in an effort to expand the often disjointed and hostile discourse that marks modern politics — it wasn’t obvious to me that I had much to offer to the conversation.

After all, I would consider myself a progressive on both paper and policy, and much of my criticism of the Left stems from a concern that the excesses of the Left are galvanizing the excesses of…


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Image free from Pixabay

In our ever-polarizing partisan political landscape, it is rare to find the political Left and Right agreeing on anything whatever. But their views do seem to align on at least one conviction: There is nothing worse than a mushy gushy centrist. Indeed, it is a hard knock life for our dear centrist, who is all too often caught between a rock in a hard place as the social and cultural chasm continues to widen between the dominant political parties. Though, despite the mutual antipathy towards centrism held by both major partisan factions, it is not so obvious that either one…

Samuel Kronen

Professional Human. Twitter me timbers @SalmonKromeDome

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