Identity politics is a snake eating its own tail; a perspective guaranteed to collapse beneath its own exponentially, and necessarily, increasing weight. In the process, some really odd things happen, which I mostly witness via social media because I live at a series of fire camps where people are functional.
I’ve watched, with my own two eyes, a bunch of lesbians discount the gayness of several fabulous Gays for Trump. This was — well, first, just ridiculous, because a gayer couple of men are not to be found. (One of them is my former coworker, who came out to me about fifteen years ago, and I was like, “I’m sorry, did you think I didn’t know?”) And secondly, just rude. Unbelievably rude, from even a normal standpoint, and then if you calculate for standard liberal deviation, it’s even more rude. I mean, you’re not even supposed to second guess someone’s gender identification, let alone whether or not they’re as gay as they say they are. Good lord. BUT, it was algorithmically impossible for these lesbians — who hate Trump because they just hate Trump, but they SAY they hate Trump *on behalf of* gay people everywhere, and that’s an important distinction as you’ll see in a second — it was impossible for them to acknowledge a world in which gay people could support Trump and articulate reasons for it; AND SO, the lesbians’ only recourse was to commit the (in the liberal world) unthinkable sin of denying another gay person’s stated gayness!!
So that was crazy enough, but then an even crazier example happened yesterday. This is Flagstaff, alright, where the political mental illness is so epidemic that they’re continuously offended that other perspectives exist. I think they would burn people at the stake if they could get away with it.
So, a guy is basically like, “I haven’t watched #cuties and I’m not going to, and in fact I’m going to #cancelnetflix”. Cue the bloodbath.
Cuties is controversial, obviously, because the Senegalese writer and director is a WOMAN OF COLOR who actually intended to create a disturbing wake up call about the sexualization of children and the way the internet’s eroticization of females affects young girls who aren’t being effectively parented otherwise, and (as per the movie’s context) might even come from a family of origin whose traditional values are just as woman-hating in one direction as media sexualization of women is, in the other.
So all that is true. There are many other true things about Cuties, also, such as: Netflix’s original promotion for the film absolutely sidestepped the “critique of culture” angle and just jammed its dick straight into the “twerking pre-teen girls” angle, openly and unapologetically. The poster showed some 11 year old girls ass-up in hot pants on a stage, and the description read, “Amy, 11, becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew. Hoping to join them, she starts to explore her femininity, defying her family’s traditions”. From that, you’d have absolutely no idea anyone, anywhere intended for you to get anything but a pedophile hard-on from this film.
There was a big public outcry about the original poster and description, so then Netflix removed it, offered a reeeeeally chickenshit apology (we’re sorry you’re too unsophisticated to understand that this is award-winning art, you fucking bumpkins), and replaced the image and descriptor with something a little more tame, more of an overt gesture to a young girl escaping the confines of PATRIARCHY, still in her hot pants.
Okay, so Netflix set themselves up for exactly the backlash they received, with that original marketing, there’s just no two ways about it. Secondly, they “auditioned” something like 700 girls for the lead twerking roles, which is unheard of in the industry even according to other directors. This audition cannot have been anything but exactly what you’d expect, on your most pessimistic day. It mean, it was like a drag net for pedo-fodder, all captured on film. I haven’t watched the film, and don’t plan to, as the clips I’ve seen make me very uncomfortable. They don’t make me uncomfortable about the media’s sexualization of young girls generally; they make me uncomfortable about what actually occurred with these young actresses specific to filming this particular movie.
I think any reasonable person — and it’s my point, here, that accelerating abandonment of basic reason is what’s characterizing this “side” — could agree that it wouldn’t be okay for me to, for instance, write and direct a screenplay with the very good intention of showing that the slaughter of “food” animals can be compared in many ways to the slaughter of household pets BY SLAUGHTERING HOUSEHOLD PETS on camera. No one would be onboard with that, I hope. When a project seeks to decry (sort of?) the manufacture and distribution of child pornography by actually manufacturing and distributing child pornography, it is right and appropriate for viewers who oppose the cultural normalization of pedophilia to take issue, and cancel their Netflix, as indeed has occurred large scale. Netflix’s market value has dropped by $9B in the wake of this Cuties controversy, as well it should. If anyone needed to take the temperature on the general population’s receptivity to kiddie porn, that’s the temperature. Negative nine billion is your reality check; you’re welcome.
What I’m still marveling about, though, is the way this social media bloodbath played out. Essentially this guy, the original poster, was treated as a bumpkin, a rube, and was *moralized* at! “Get a load of this guy — he’s squeamish about kiddie porn! He says he doesn’t like cancel culture but look how fast he changes his tune when it’s something HE wants to cancel! He gets on his high horse telling us how to feel about a film he hasn’t even seen!” And the craziest part of all: these high handed insults were flung at him by people who, in at least one case, have pre-teen daughters, and who also haven’t seen the film!
This is what I mean about this identity politics perspective eating itself alive. It seems to require a series of binary decisions and allegiances, which is fine, but you never know which allegiance will trump (lol) all the others until something occurs which demands a reasonable response, and by that time they’re so twisted up that IT ACTUALLY MAKES SENSE IN THEIR BRAINS to accuse other gay people of not being actually gay; for parents to moralize at people who take issue with the sexualization of children, even if (because?) it was intended (?) ; to spend your whole night throwing homemade firebombs at the police and then to scream at them for help when you get hurt; for white women to yell in black cop’s faces about racism; for white, liberal, “anti-racists” to call black conservatives “Uncle Tom” and “token”; to laud professional athletes who wear Jacob Blake homage on their uniforms when he was shot resisting arrest at the scene of his rape victim’s residence, and on the heels of #metoo no less; to physically attack “science deniers” who won’t wear masks when your own representative talking heads told you, not even five months ago, that masks aren’t effective and aren’t recommended; to heap endless scorn upon anti-vaxxers and then to announce you yourself will not accept any vaccine Trump recommends; to ridicule “conspiracy theorists” gullible enough to believe there’s an organized child sex trafficking elite, and then to stick your fingers in your ears every time a child sex trafficking ring is busted, which is happening practically on the daily now, screaming “LA LA LA LA LA!”, all the way up until the point where you change your tune and say, “Okay, turns out there is a lot of child sex trafficking BUT this Qanon terrorist organization is crazy and not helpful, they should be eradicated, and if you really want to do something about it, then volunteer and donate”.
This last one actually occurred on my page, several months ago now. I was like: Qanon has been beating the drum of this child sex issue for *years*, called crazy for it, and now that it’s emerged undeniably into the cultural consciousness, despite the MSM’s suppression and debunking at literally every turn, your impulse is to cancel Qanon?!? And instead, donate?!? To who? Where? It’s obvious that so many of these organizations purporting to help children ARE THE FUCKING FUNNELS.
I’m sorry for so many all caps today but I just don’t know how you climb this far up your own ass. Except I do. It’s called identity politics. It disintegrates, as it must, because that’s not how reality works, and that’s not even how identity works.
So: my two cents on that. What we call “identity politics” should more rightly be called “negative identity politics” because it requires two things: one, that we construct ourselves in the world based on what we’re against, and two, that we align with others based on shared identities despite disparate values.
Realistically, we must do the opposite: construct ourselves in the world based on what we’re for, and align with others based on shared values despite disparate identities. It’s as simple as that. It can appear to be the same process, on the surface, but I think you’ll see that the proof is in the pudding, further down the line.
Okay, so what does it look like to construct yourself based on inclusion versus exclusion? Here’s an obvious example: no reasonable person should call themselves an “anti-racist”. If you do, you’re already upside down, and good luck unfucking yourself now. The reason is, YOU must dictate the terms for your own participation, inclusion, and allegiance, in every aspect of your life. You shouldn’t, and indeed you ultimately can’t, abdicate that responsibility. Sorry. Agreeing to be “anti-racist” means that you’re agreeing to be defined by your opposition to something that you, yourself, aren’t in charge of articulating.
How wrong can this go? Howabout a 24 year old woman being shot dead for saying “all lives matter”? (She was immediately debunked.)
Point-blank, you are more vulnerable to political mental illness when you construct yourself in opposition to something than you are when you construct yourself in allegiance with something BECAUSE allegiance requires articulation. It can still go wrong, you can still end up off in the weeds sometimes, but you’re more likely to notice and course correct when you construct yourself through inclusion.
Here’s an easy example: I construct myself as “vegan”. Veganism is a word that stands in for a lot of conscious articulation of choices and values, and essentially recognizing and attempting to limit my own contribution to violence against animals in the food, medical, entertainment, and fashion industries. Okay. Can that go wrong? Sure. If I start beating people up about it, then I’m off in the weeds, because the same reasons I value animal wellbeing obviously extend to people too, so I can’t abuse people without betraying my own rationale behind veganism in the first place. It self-calibrates, somewhat.
NOW, let’s say instead of constructing myself as a vegan, I construct myself as an anti-meat-eater. Now I’m politically mentally ill. I have abandoned conscious articulation of my actual values, and I have replaced them with a variable that is, by its very nature, out of my control. No bueno. This exclusionary construction could easily have me rationalizing attacks and violence on people who share the same characteristics I’m saying I value so much in animals that they actually become the galvanizing factor in my attack. Do you see how this wrecks me, ideologically? And much more swiftly.
An interesting note: low intellect is no barrier to the value of positive value self construction, and high intellect is no aid in the dangers of negative value self construction. A very simpleminded person can still benefit, and be of benefit to others, by orienting to kindness and humility. A very intelligent person can go not only off the rails for himself, but actually become a scourge upon his fellow humans, by orienting to “anti-hate” and “anti-pride”. I mean, think about it (Biden’s favorited verbal placeholder when he forgot wtf he’s saying lmaoooo) – what atrocities could you justify in light of anti-hate and anti-pride? What atrocities *couldn’t* you justify?
So, we must learn to recognize and refuse opportunities to construct ourselves in opposition to [x y z], and instead insist upon positive, inclusive self-construction, which we retain the autonomy to articulate and define. So important.
Now, the reason we’re seeing such a rash of this political mental illness right now, which is inevitable when you construct yourself negatively, is because the entire Democrat party has constructed itself negatively. I don’t have enough perspective to say whether this has always been the case or always might be the case, but I can absolutely say that this is the case right now. The Democrat party exists, currently, to oppose one thing, and that thing is Trump. Not even Republicans per se; simply Trump. (A trans anarchist satanist just ran for Sheriff in New Hampshire, and won the GOP nomination, simply by putting an R on the ticket. The obvious reaction is from NH Republicans, who should have looked past the R; the underlying fascination is that this move has to be looked on with aplomb by, I presume, the other anarchist/satanist elements in the country, which are undoubtedly some flavor of D’s, and don’t for a moment resent the new Sheriff’s strategic use of the letter R to accomplish her goals.)
An entire political platform erected solely in opposition x y z isn’t, actually, a platform; just like an identity constructed in opposition to x y z isn’t an identity. The Dems are anti-poverty, anti-racism, anti-gun violence, and most importantly, anti-Trump. If opposing things was effective, we wouldn’t have rampant poverty, racism, and gun violence in Democrat-run cities. But we do have it, in record quantities, in Democrat-run cities. This reverse self-construction has deleterious effects that trickle down, unfortunately, to their furthest illogical conclusions.
There are several reasons why negative self construction doesn’t work, for the party and the individual, with the most important one being necessarily connected to values vs. identity. This binary has spiritual roots we can certainly explore but pragmatic roots we must explore. It’s really easy: if you align with others of your same identity, you’ll inevitably find yourself negotiating contrast in values; and if you align with others who share the same values, you’ll inevitably find yourself negotiating contrasts in identity. You have to choose one, (positively constructed, ideally), and there’s only one that’s worth choosing. If you choose shared values, the important variables will never escape your conscious control. If you choose identity, the important variables are immediately beyond your conscious control.
Even if you choose identity, your likelihood of political mental illness is mitigated somewhat if you do insist on positive identity construction. You’re unlikely to do anything really stupid if you’re pro-woman; but if you’re anti-man, cue the whole fucking circus and all the clowns because you are now mentally ill. If you’re pro-black, that can work; if you’re anti-white, you’re sunk. Black Lives Matter, uppercase, purports to be a positive construction but that’s literally just its name. Technically, BLM constructs itself in opposition to capitalism, the nuclear family, violence, sexism, misogyny, ageism, “environments in which men are centered”, etc, and declares itself pro-queer, pro-trans, pro-empathy, and notably pro-peace. As an organization, BLM’s ability to regulate itself is very low, which is the true hallmark of a negative, identity-based construction.
Back to the average white woke liberal, a lot of these decisions and influences evolve and accelerate without our conscious recognition, but it behooves us to at some point become conscious, right? I mean, if you find yourself, as a parent, shaming someone who rejects pedophile-tinted media, even if you do consider it an overreaction, that’s a great wakeup call, right? If you find yourself, as a white woman, screaming into a black cop’s face about racism, that’s a great opportunity to press pause and say, hang on — what am I doing? I might be off track, here.
Getting back on track is straightforward, but will force you to confront that which you’ve so far avoided: the red pill, AKA positive construction based on shared values. The pill is red because, at least right now, there’s only one political party with an actual platform; the blue pill is an anti-party, and anti-platform, so if you wanna exit negative construction, there’s your choice. Maybe painful, but is anything really more painful, let alone demeaning, than a protracted knife fight in a phone booth, *ostensibly* with those you’re opposing, but increasingly with your fellow wokes who either can’t keep up with woke’s accelerating, splintering pace, or worse; can, and are riding that horse all the way to full blown zealotry?
I think more and more people are realizing, hey: I am so twisted up that I’m somehow arguing for the things I know I’m against, and arguing against the things I know I’m for. How did I get here? What is happening?
What is happening, and how you got there, was by abdicating your sole responsibility, which is to articulate your own values and to steer yourself in conscious allegiance with them.
I always tell people who get a little “v-curious”, Look — you owe it to yourself to make these connections and have this thought process and experience its moral impact; but outside of that? You don’t owe shit to anyone. You don’t have to tell a single soul you bought fake meat at the grocery store, or cashew milk. This doesn’t have to be your crusade — this doesn’t have to be anyone’s crusade. It’s really important you don’t reject the process of your own evolving integrity based on a misunderstanding that it’s anyone else’s business, or must become your social cross to bear.
And I’d say the same thing here, about the red pill. You don’t have to tell anyone. You don’t have to go to a Trump rally, or wear a MAGA hat. You don’t have to change parties — maybe you’re holding out hope that the Democratic platform will become something that’s worth it (again?) one day. Maybe you’ll be one of the ones to make it worth something. You don’t have to comment or object or go to war or make yourself a target. Just wake up. That’s all. Just please wake up and see that this self-licking ice cream cone, this Trump derangement syndrome, this political mental illness is hurting you. Your commitment to constructing yourself in opposition to something you don’t even understand — the media’s quicksilver misrepresentation of a phenomenon that they themselves don’t understand — isn’t, and can’t be, an identity OR a value. Stick with it long enough and you’ll find yourself arguing against things you know you believe, and arguing for things you know you don’t believe.
People on the Right are called “science deniers” sometimes, and maybe that’s correct because the intellect, at a certain point, turns on itself, and some other faculty must engage. This very intelligent parent who was shaming the man for cancelling his Netflix brought up some very good points, *intellectually* speaking. He said, “You know, x y z books and movies were incredibly controversial in their day and everyone decried them and said they would erode society’s morals and etcetera and so forth, and look — society evolved and now they don’t even seem challenging to us now.”
This was maybe what blew my mind the most. Yes! Yes, that is exactly what happens, and in the case of stories about bi-racial marriage or (adult!) women reclaiming sexual desire, we have become a receptive culture; those books and stories did lead the way; that is the effect of media normalization. IS THAT WHAT WE WANT?, relative to this story of little twerking girls, grabbing their crotches and spanking their own bottoms for live audiences, both in the movie context and IRL, filming?
Staying on the cutting edge of woke costs more integrity than any of us can afford. Political mental illness is the condition of getting so bamboozled into being the opposite of something you disagree with that you behave in exactly those ways the people with whom you disagree behave, in order to show them how much you disagree with it.
The cure is simple: live your values, no matter who else is also acting them, and no matter what people who misunderstand that process choose to call you. In other words: #walkaway.