Why are so many white right-wing men snowflakes?
The Scarlet Letter X on Twitter, neo-Nazis sobbing, male white flight from Patreon: what’s going on?
Recently, the Twitterverse has been infected with conservative measles. Or at least, a bunch of Twitter handles started sporting a big, red letter X. Why? Because they believed that Twitter was ‘shadowbanning’ conservative twitter accounts. Apparently this started with a couple of far-right men in Germany who created a website that they asserted tested for ‘quality filter discrimination’.
What’s shadowbanning? It’s a claim that Twitter is intentionally targeting conservatives with filters which prevent most people from seeing their content or engaging with them. Twitter quite reasonably says that they aren’t shadowbanning anyone, including conservatives, but that basic algorithms based on usage patterns are kicking in, especially around accounts which ‘unfairly amplify’ their reach, presumably with the aid of Russian twitter bots. I’m guessing constant complaints of openly racist and hostile content might factor in there somewhere too.
Republican politician Devin Nunes jumped on this bandwagon early. He’s also a ‘prominent former dairy farmer’ according to Wikipedia, which is a fascinating description. Donald Trump tweeted an accusation about shadowbanning.
From anywhere approaching the middle of the spectrum never mind the left, this tempest in a twitterpot looks like more of the same: white conservatives, almost entirely men, claiming that they are the ones being discriminated against by a cruel universe, instead of being over-represented, repetitive, boring and hostile to others and so not adored incessantly. And it’s part of a pattern of mostly conservative white men whining that’s emerged over the past few years.
One of the poster children for this trend is alt-right favorite Jordan B. Peterson. (Side note: a Peterson fan told me in all seriousness that Peterson isn’t a fave of the alt-right and the evidence he provided was that Peterson said so. Several others have recommended in all seriousness that if I only watched 12 hours of his YouTube videos I’d see how unfair I am to him. Circulus in probando in action.)
He’s been whining quite a bit over the past couple of years. Most recently, Cambridge decided to disinvite Peterson for a two-month fellowship to spend a bunch of time on old Biblical stories. Per Cambridge, Peterson requested the fellowship at their School of Divinity. They granted it initially, but after a review of his work decided that they had made the offer in error and rescinded it. Peterson then wished the Faculty of Divinity “the continued decline in relevance that they…deserve.” His dyspeptic blog post on the subject is a work of hurt-dignity beauty, dripping with ego and lack of self-awareness. Groucho Marx he’s not.
Another whiny Peterson blog post, actually one that ended up in Canada’s also-ran conservative national paper, was deeply unhappy that a French journalist didn’t treat him with the respect he so clearly believes he deserves. And of course the ‘champion of free speech’ has famously sued a university twice for saying mean things about him and literally says that he hopes his lawsuit against their speech will increase free speech. He and a bunch of other Intellectual Dimweb regulars recently grabbed their toys and left Patreon because it had the temerity to enforce its community guidelines against incredibly racist, hateful nonsense and banned a small handful of extreme customers.
And then there’s this precious snowflake. This neo-Nazi was confronted on the street about his vicious, hateful, racist screeds on social media, and starts bawling like a teething baby. Which come to think of it, is a fairly fitting description of how he looks regardless.
Similarly, Christopher Cantwell is another male white supremacist who pepper-sprayed a couple of counter-protestors in the infamous neo-Nazi tiki torch march in Charlottesville, Virginia. He found out that police charges were pending and posted a heart-warming YouTube video where he cries, cries, cries about the horrors of being subject to the weight of the law after espousing violent hate crimes and assaulting people.
What is with all the white, conservative, male snowflakes?
They love to throw the term at people who aren’t as rugged and manly as they are, but like so much of what is coming from the right side of the dial these days, it’s looking awfully like projection. What’s that? The Wikipedia definition is just fine:
Psychological projection is a defence mechanism in which the human ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.
Peterson should understand this, as he is after all, a remarkably credible academic when he stays inside his domain of clinical psychology, as opposed to talking about lobsters and almost everything else he says in his famous book on boys learning to stand up straight with their shoulders back. Of course, he pretends he isn’t conservative, just one of the favorite terms they like to use these days, “classic liberal”, which appears to mean that they liked the 1800s when white men held all the power and social liberalism wasn’t a thing. You know, before suffragettes, the civil rights movement and Stonewall.
To be clear about the origins of the term snowflake, it was a Southern US term applied to people that opposed the abolition of slavery, aka racists.
In Missouri in the early 1860s, a ‘snowflake’ was a person who was opposed to the abolition of slavery — the implication of the name being that such people valued white people over black people.
That’s right, a lot of the folks using it today would have had it applied to them if they were alive back then. Quite probably a lot of their ancestors were snowflakes by that definition. Long memories it seems. A nice bit of reclaiming of a term, although I’d say that other communities did it a lot better by adopting hateful labels with pride instead of inverting accurate insults and applying them inaccurately to others.
There’s more of course, as there always is. Another recent example is the heart-rending problems facing MAGA-hat wearers. It seems that white men have been suffering regular microaggressions while wearing the Made in China crimson asshole banner on their heads. They’ve had people look at them funny, cross the street and, horror of horrors, been asked to not wear the hat in restaurants because it makes other patrons uncomfortable, you know, because it’s become a symbol of white supremacy and racism. An excellent video is floating around by a sensible southern white man who talks about the excellent teachable moments that MAGA hat wearers are experiencing, should they have the self-awareness to learn from them.
So of course another white, male conservative rode to the rescue by creating a Yelp wannabe for the far-right white male who wants to belly up to the all-you-can-chunder buffet in peace with his scrap of machismo on his head. That’s right, now these MAGA-hat wearers can find safe spaces for themselves, where concealed carry is okay and all political views are accepted, excepting democratic socialism of course because that’s just Stalinism that will lead directly to guns being taken away from the valiant patriots who will defend their government by overthrowing it, or something. Well, they could find those safe spaces if the app was actually developed by someone who understand security and hadn’t made it a walking unsafe zone for mobile users, so it had to be pulled.
This fine, upstanding, pasty-white, male, conservative racist had this lovely picture taken of him in court in Oregon. What was he doing there? Well, he’d chased two black Muslims with his truck for about 20 blocks shouting obscenities and racist slurs and trying to ram their vehicle. Thankfully, that’s against the law (still) in the USA and hate crime charges and second-degree intimidation charges were brought after an investigation. Talking to reporters afterward he showed a rare sign of self-awareness and told reporters that it was his ignorance and stupidity which caused his behavior. He was restricted from using Facebook while out on bail because of his consistent pattern of making vicious, racist slurs but told reporters that “I don’t go on social media looking to hate on people”.
Microaggressions. Safe spaces. Snowflakes. All those terms the right loves to hurl at people who are fighting for respect and rights for all. More applicable to the right than the left. That’s projection in a nutshell. Don’t you wish they’d all just woman up?