So I don’t know if you know this, but word on the street through the grapevine and on the block is that Nick Fuentes, the far-right paleoconservative identiterian America First definitely-not-a-Nazi (he’s a Nazi) figure person…
really likes cat boys.
To be clear, there are more disturbing things to talk about the high school-educated provocateur than his proclivity for cat-eared men. Like the fact that even though he and I are the same age, he calls himself a Zoomer and I usually think of myself as a younger Millennial. And I guess the white nationalism too, probably.
But I also want to start my New Year off right. And what’s a better sign that this year is gonna be great one than an entire continent being on fire, The War in Iraq pt. V: the Iran Arc, and Nazis with cat boy harems?
Nick Fuentes came into prominence not necessarily for his work as a “comedian” or political “commentator”, but for the fact that he’s leading the latest rift in the perceived unity of the far-right. He’s harassed Charlie Kirk, Turning Point USA, and Donald Trump Jr. himself. Fuentes represents the frightening realization that a growing number of voices on the Right see the hypernationalism of Donald Trump, the theocracy of Mike Pence, and the extreme libertarianism of the Koch Brothers as not conservative enough for their tastes.
The evidence that Fuentes tugs his chain to our fuzzy-eared brothers has been mounting for years. His Discord server has a channel dedicated to them and he regularly tweets about them for no real reason whatsoever. But my favorite bit of evidence is his hilariously wishy-washy answer to a fan who asked him if liking so-called tr*ps (feminine people and characters with penises) makes one “gay”.
The rabid base of edgelord bigots and fascists Fuentes worked to curate was mostly okay with his secret kitty bro fantasies… as long as it was no more than an ironic joke. It all came to a head when a 10 hour video surfaced of Fuentes going on a date with a male influencer in a cat get-up. They go to the arcade together and talk and laugh and flirt and apparently, they end up sharing a room for the night.
It’s as cute as a Nazi who deserves to be punched in the face can get.
Anyway, the Right did not take kindly to it. Fuentes is, at least at the time of writing, currently receiving a flood of online criticism and harassment from inside right-wing circles.
The point of course is not to put Nick Fuentes’ sexuality on blast. The problem with Nick Fuentes is not that he enjoys the quivering, unbridled joy of throbbing cat cock, but that he’s a Nazi who openly embraces Grand Remplacement/Great Replacement theory, dog whistles the Jewish Question, and regularly calls for the oppression of every political minority under the sun. I don’t care about his fucking fetishes, beyond the absurdity of the entire situation.
I also don’t particularly want to focus on the rampant hypocrisy on display here. Even now, Nick maintains that he definitely isn’t gay and that gay people should continue to be exiled from society and he would never associate with homosexuals and blah blah blah. He’s a piece of shit.
It’s natural to believe that someone responsible for spreading so much hatred and misery should just reap what he sowed and leave the rest of us the Hell alone.
Instead, I wanted to draw attention to something else.
Isn’t this set-up all a little familiar?
We have a popular online personality with a massive following in a politically active online space. The space as a clear social agenda and set of morals that the person in question claims to champion. Then, out of the blue, the personality does something that puts their morals into question, and receive a deluge of online harassment in response.
If you ignore the shock value and memes I used to draw you into this little piece like the sneaking clout-chasing bastard I am, you’ll quickly realize that what’s happening to Nick Fuentes has happened before.
Stepping out of the Turd Reich and into the calm, peaceful Leftist utopia that definitely isn’t on fire always, we’ll find that what’s happening to Nick Fuentes would probably best be described as…
At least, that’s what the current popular term for the phenomenon would be.
I’m sort of sick of hearing about “cancel culture”. And by “sort of”, I mean very. So I’m gonna do what I always do and whine about it on here.
More specifically, I’m sick of hearing Leftists frame cancel culture as being a problem that affects the Left and the Left alone. I’m sick of being called a woke-scold by pissy white people for caring about myself and my allies. And I’m sick of being told to get in line for the sake of some vague, abstract notion of Left Unity that always just conveniently puts my priorities, and the priorities of those I care about, in the back seat.
I’m just going to say it out-right: cancel culture, as it continues to be described, does not exist.
The process of online harassment in politically active spaces of course exists. Where things are clipped out of context, exaggerated, and essentialized in order to justify harassment against a member of an in-group deemed sufficiently “impure”. This harassment is cruel, unforgiving, and many times unproductive.
But it’s not Leftist cancel culture. Saying there’s a “Leftist cancel culture” is like saying Dasani water is “real” in the sense that it’s a specific kind of water some how different than the tap water you can find in most places on Earth.
There’s an intuitive reason why we’ve come to associate cancel culture with the Left. The term itself comes from progressive/Leftist spaces (it actually comes from black spaces like most cool things about the English language and America but whatever).
If cancel culture kept its original definition, as “a strategy to deplatform powerful people who abuse their positions and can’t be brought to justice anywhere but the court of public opinion”, I’d be all for advocating for the existence of a cancel culture in that sense. Because, obviously, the Right doesn’t car about unjust hierarchy or justice. The Right deplatforms people who aren’t racist enough.
And Keurig, I guess.
But as with all definitions of words, the definition of cancel culture has changed. Cancel culture now refers to any moralistic, online backlash against an individual or organization— the collective decision to both not engage with that individual/organization or their work, and to harass them and their allies until they disappear.
This is the definition of cancel culture that most people are using when they say they’re sick of “Leftist cancel culture”. In this respect, cancel culture does not exist as something that can be separated from anything that happens on the Right, or in the center, or in fandom spaces or anything else.
I’ll explain with an analogy.
“Black-on-black crime” doesn’t exist.
Of course, black people committing crimes against other black people, and black communities suffering from crime exist. But the specific construction of black-on-black crime isn’t real.
The phrase black-on-black crime comes baked within it a narrative that’s false. It comes baked within it the assumption that black people are more prone to crime than other groups, that this fact cannot be helped, and that black people in the United States are mainly at fault for their own oppression.
We know this because the only time anyone ever says “black-on-black crime” is when they’re deflecting from criticisms of police brutality and other systems that negatively impact black people as a whole, e.g. Leftists will say something like:
The police are an artificial institution created during the implementation of capitalism that protect the private property of the rich at the expense of the poor. In America, the police in particular have had and continue to have a hand in brutalizing black people and black liberation movements.
Communities of color see rates of police violence disproportionate to the supposed increase in crime in these communities. This over-policing leads to an increase of nonsense offenses and fines that make it harder for black people, who struggle enough financially, to succeed economically. Black people are several times more likely to be arrested for drug possession despite not using drugs at significantly higher rates than other races. Police officers regularly kill black men with little to no punishment, while police officers who kill dogs even are almost always harshly disciplined.
Black people are far more likely to receive harsher sentences for crimes, more likely to be executed, and more likely to head to prison to work in a system legal slavery. Not to mention the unconstitutional spying the FBI and local police on black activists and movements such as Black Lives Matter.
In short, the police are a racist institution and black people are right to oppose them in full.
To which a conservative would respond,
Yeah, but black-on-black crime kills way more black people than cops so… yeah
If your response to this is “but black people do care about black-on-black crime!”, you’ve lost.
Black-on-black crime, in this case, is not just a simple case of bringing up statistics. It’s a way to shift the narrative from “black people are oppressed” to “black people make bad decisions and deserve what we do to them”. Black people commit crimes against each other, which is true, but “black-on-black crime” suggests there’s something about black crime that’s super special compared to other races. The truth is there isn’t.
There’s a reason why we never hear about white-on-white crime, Asian-on-Asian crime, or even Hispanic-on-Hispanic crime. It’s because the phrase black-on-black crime is silently saying a lot more about black people than it wants you to believe.
Because of all of this, Leftists generally do not deal with the term black-on-black crime. Not because we’re not concerned about safety in black communities, but because of the narratives at play. We understand that it would be a disaster to concede to the Right that black-on-black crime “exists”, because to do that would be to concede that the narrative the Right has created around black-on-black crime exists.
We control the conversation by controlling what language we use and refuse to use to argue.
So back to cancel culture
Cancel culture, to me, offers the same conundrum.
Cancel culture may have started in progressive spaces, but the Right loves the term. Why? For two reasons:
First, any time a centrist or right-winger does says something racist, or does a transphobia, or rapes and/or gropes a woman, they immediately scream that it’s all cancel culture. It’s a way to get the base up and roaring about some other existential threat. Cancel culture is out to get us. Any one of us could be next! They’re coming for your big-tiddy anime babes!!
Which brings me to the second reason. Like black-on-black crime, “cancel culture” to the Right brings with it a specific narrative about the Left. When they say there is a Leftist cancel culture, what they mean is that the Left is filled with college-aged pink-haired puritanical tumblrites who are triggered over everything and harass anyone who disagrees with them until they leave Twitter.
When the Right says cancel culture, they mean that the Left is so sensitive that we’re too busy fighting our own over pointless bullshit to get anything done. They use cancel culture as a sign of what’s to come under the supposed Leftist dystopia: a world where truth no longer matters, only feelings. A world where thoughts are policed, trigger warnings are everywhere, microaggressions are responded to with force, and where freedom of thought is snuffed out under the heel of the state.
This narrative effects me especially because it makes it hard to do my thing.
Mo’s Home For Treatises and Hot Takes
Long form essays in anime/media criticism from an anti-fascist, egalitarian point of view. Credits to Akane-K and…
Not to steal a catchphrase here but, say for the sake of argument…
There’s an anime in which the narrative argues in favor actual chattel slavery for the sole purpose of selling the male audience on the idea that a “proper” romantic relationship is one where the woman feels compelled to comply with the man’s every demand by force if necessary.
Or maybe you’ve begun to realize that waifu culture in anime benefits large corporations at the expense of vulnerable, lonely, alienated men, because it’s a lot easier to commodify female sexuality and turn a profit if men have been taught through anime to distrust real women to the point of sexist paranoia. Lonely, horny, anti-social single men buy bodypillows. Well-adjusted, fulfilled, happy men in relationships tend not to. Maybe you’ve begun to realize that corporations are using art to pedal sexism for profit while the workers of that industry suffer under long hours and inhumane wages.
Maybe you’ve realized there are a ton of fascist anime out there, and people keep fucking defending them for “some reason”. Maybe that’s concerning to you.
So you do the only thing you can, or maybe the only thing you know how, and you write about it. And you polish your stuff up the best you can and you show it off to anime fans like “yo have you ever thought about this stuff?”
And the response you get back is:
You’re a college-aged pink-haired puritanical tumblrite and you’re triggered over everything
It doesn’t take more than a few seconds to realize that this is just that same narrative being parroted back to you. You realize that the rhetorical slight of hand that the Right uses to dismiss the Left out of hand has permeated all parts of pop-culture. You realize that if your ideas are ever going to get through to a broader audience, the Left needs to take control of the narrative.
More on why the narrative matters
I want to introduce you to Hero Hei.
He’s a very special YouTuber to me. He releases about one or two videos every day. And all he does, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even on holidays, is use pop culture, specifically anime, to craft far-right gateway propaganda.
This is his one thing. This is the Whole Grift.
Here’s him defending the slavery anime I alluded to earlier.
Here’s him dog whistling for tighter immigration control and a link between immigrants and crime.
And here’s him spending four hours of his life defending a sexual harasser, a prominent English anime voice actor, because he’s finally been #MeToo’d.
So, anyway, a total piece of shit. Why am I bringing him up?
Besides the fact that I have a morbid fascination with his channel (he’s like the anti-me, we’re opposites in style, politics, upload frequency…), I bring up this channel because it’s one of dozens that spread propaganda through pop-culture. Hero Hei has over 70,000 subscribers, and there are many bmore of him pulling in similar numbers.
What I’m frustrated with, is that for all the talk about “cancel culture” that we’ve been having recently, no one’s ever stopped to consider a simple fact: there’s an entire industry of far-right propagandists that relies on the narrative provided by so-called cancel culture to function.
The more people who seriously believe that cancel culture is this left-wing plague and not the truth: that it’s a pattern of harassment that happens on the Internet in general, the harder it will be to combat this propaganda.
We, as in the Left, don’t control the narrative right now. We’ve made some progress on the margins, but we’re not winning.
A bit of perspective
Here’s a map of online political YouTube channels. You can play around with it here, but I took a screenshot and labeled it with a few key players.
Each dot is a channel. The size of the dot represents the number “impressions” the channel gets per day. It’s more complicated than this, but you can imagine an impression as being like a view or a unit of attention. The map is also capable of showing where each dot gets its daily impressions, and where those impressions tend to go after.
I’ve labeled on this map CNN and Fox News, as well as some of the larger forces of the online New Right. Paul Joseph Watson is there, as well as PragerU, Steven Crowder, and Ben Shapiro’s The Daily Wire.
You wanna guess where BreadTube is? Is it those medium-looking green dots on the left? Nope, those are Vice, Vice News, and Vox. How about some of the purple dots on top? Wrong again. Those are Sargon of Akkad, Joe Rogan, and The Quartering. How about the blue, then? Mainly liberal late-night talk show hosts like Trevor Noah, Last Week Tonight, and Jimmy Kimmel.
No, BreadTube is this collection of tiny specks waayyy over to the right.
We talk like Contrapoints, Hbomberguy, Lindsey Ellis, and Olly and the like have these super-massive platforms. The news writes about BreadTube like it’s a new and growing movement raring to go, here to take on the likes of Ben Shapiro and Sargon of Akkad. And it is, to some extent.
But it’s also not.
We are these tiny flecks of hope floating in a vast nothing of liberal bullshit and fascist aggression.
We cannot afford to be handing narrative points to the Right and center on a silver platter. Cancel culture is one rhetorical tool of many that the Right uses to stay in control of the narrative online.
The situation is bad enough as it is. The only thing that could make it worse is if, say, a certain YouTuber used her platform to argue that cancel culture is definitely super real and it’s definitely a Leftist problem and the Left is definitely eating its own and the Left is just so disorganized and puritanical and the woke-scolds are virtue signalling and oh my God what are we going to do.
That sure would suck, wouldn’t it.
So this is the part of the essay when I reveal that this was indeed about Contrapoint’s latest video on cancel culture, after all. You yell at me for adding to the “drama” and that she apologizes in the video (she justifies her decision to include Buck Angel, which is the opposite of an apology but whatever) and she explains all the criticism she’s been getting (not the same as an apology, but, again, it’s cool).
If you don’t yet know what’s been happening with Contrapoints… I’m not going to explain it. I’m too far in. Just watch this.
A few notes in my defense before I sign off:
- I’ve consistently maintained that, even operating under the least charitable interpretation of her controversies surrounding Buck Angel, harassing her, her loved ones, and her friends is unacceptable behavior. Actually, I’ve argued for more than that: focusing on Contrapoints alone instead of lifting up the numerous non-binary voices that need attention now more than ever is counter-productive enough. Let alone harassing her personally through Twitter.
- This isn’t just about Contra. I’ve felt this way about cancel culture for quite a long time. I talked about why I didn’t want to write this essay here, but you’ll find my opinion hasn’t changed. Contra’s insistence on the importance to combat a “cancel culture” is shared with plenty of other BreadTubers including Vaush, Peter Coffin, and AngieSpeaks. This latest video and the disappointing discourse that came out of it is what tipped the scales for me to write this down.
When people on the Left are harassed because the community has determined them, fairly or unfairly, to be impure and thus worthy of harassment, the kneejerk reaction is to turn around and go “Cancel culture is real! It’s here! It came for me!” And because you have to be of a certain size to be cancelled, only the largest voices parrot this opinion and it spreads like wildfire.
But doing so cedes ground to the Right and center. It reaffirms the narratives our opponents use to beat us. It makes media criticism especially hard, and activism harder still.
Here’s an alternative theory for why Internet harassment campaigns happen, and what we can do to make them happen less:
I propose that Internet harassment campaigns in politically active spaces come not from a “cancel culture”, but as a natural outcome of how online political spaces work.
If you’re in an online political space, you by definition, want to change the world. If you’re on Leftist Twitter, you want the Revolution (or you’re a fake Leftist and you want Bernie Sanders. It’s okay, I don’t judge) ASAP. If you’re on /pol/, you want the race war, to win the culture war, to get the ethnostate, to remove women’s right to vote, and so on. If you’re on gaming Twitter or anime Twitter, you want your media to be “good” and you want it to reflect your own values.
But people can’t change the world alone. We live in an individualist culture that makes us believe that. It’s something every Leftist needs to learn to unlearn. Working people can’t make change alone, and they certainly can’t make change with a tweet.
What happens when you get a whole bunch of people itching to change the world, and you deny them that ability for ages on end? They get more and more agitated until, like shaking a soda bottle, suddenly, there’s a release valve.
Nick Fuentes was secretly a degenerate! Contrapoints was a truscum enbyphobe the whole time!! Blizzard supports the PRC against Hong Kong!!!
“Finally it’s my chance!” netizens say to themselves. “With one tweet, I can hold the Bad People responsible. With one tweet, I can stand for good! I can finally change the world!” People Tweet and harass because it feels like they’re actually doing something important for once.
You’re not stalking Contrapoints and harassing her friends and family anymore. No no no. You’re DEFENDING NON-BINARY PEOPLE FROM OPPRESSION AND BIGOTRY. It’s not telling a 21-year-old guy who’s probably confused about his sexuality and needs time and support to work that out to kill himself, you’re DEFENDING THE GREATEST NATION ON EARTH CHOSEN BY GOD HIMSELF FROM THE EVILS OF SODOMY. It’s not uselessly boycotting a video game you’ll buy back in a week, it’s PARTICIPATING ON THE FRONT LINES IN THE LIBERATION OF HONG KONG AND THE END OF CHINESE COMMUNIST TOTALITARIAN RULE.
People do this because they want to be involved. They want to change stuff with their own two hands, even if that’s not how that works. And when they see that someone betrayed the principles they care about, when they see anything that looks like an abuse of power, they jump in to try and save the day. Even if the response is premature, disproportionate, and unwarranted. Even if what they’re doing is actually making everything worse.
So I say, what we do on the Left, is we direct that energy away from harassment and towards real activism. It’s revolutionary energy, just misplaced. We use our platforms to introduce people to practical ways to make the world a better place, big or small. These things cannot include subscribing to a YouTube channel or following a Twitter account. We direct that energy at systems instead of people.
The next time someone gets “cancelled”, we use that opportunity to lift new voices into the spotlight. We highlight good-faith criticism instead of dwelling on the bad. We remind people that harassment is not, and will never be, activism. We shouldn’t be shutting down discussion in the name of Left Unity and out of fear of “cancelling” our allies, we should be opening ourselves up to more productive conversations instead.
We show the Right that they’re wrong about us. We’re not “woke-scolding”, we just actually have principles, unlike them. We’re not oversensitive, triggered tumblrites, we’re fighting for equality and liberation. We’re not disorganized. If anything we’re organizing. And we’re just getting started.
As usual, the solution to BreadTube is to go the f u c k outside. But if you know me, you knew that already.