Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

July 24, 2017

Chapo Frat House

Filed under: comedy,sexism,social democracy — louisproyect @ 6:13 pm

The Chapo Trap House boys from left to right: Matt Christman, Felix Biederman, Will Menaker

I am gay and I voted for Obama
I am a shill for the Clinton campaign and the leftwing mainstream press
I’m a pussy who gets fucked right up the ass

I am a cuck
I am a libtard
I am a fag who was blessed to live amongst us
And Arabs to have equal rights.
I have no love of country and the white folks are not all bad
And the Albright folks are tacky
It makes me sad

I am a cuck
I am a libtard

Don’t talk of Trump ‘cause nothing scares me more
I really should call him daddy
He could be the savior and will go down in history
And save us all from douchebags like me

I am a cuck
I am a libtard
A cuck has no fun
A libtard always cries

Choosing a Chapo Trap House podcast to listen to for the first time, I picked a show that featured an interview with Shane Bauer. Bauer is a journalist who has written for Mother Jones and who I follow on Twitter, partly because he has a very good understanding of what’s happening in Syria. Perhaps that’s a function of spending two years in an Iranian prison accused of being a CIA agent. He and two others were hiking in Iraq (don’t ask me why) and inadvertently strayed in to Iranian territory.

Bauer was being interviewed on his going undercover to gather material on rightwing militias for a Mother Jones article and for the first half-hour, I found nothing objectionable even if it was hardly the sort of radio (or podcast) that I would make a habit of.

At the thirty-minute break, the song above came on. Sung ostensibly by the Chapo Trap House principals, I wondered what was the point. Was this something in the spirit of Sasha Baron Cohen singing “Throw the Jew Down the Well” at a Texas roadhouse in “Borat”? The point of Borat’s exercise was to demonstrate that Texas was filled with anti-Semites but what was their point? Maybe they didn’t have any except to show that they were “bad boys”.

Ironically, in another podcast I sampled earlier, they were riffing on Bill Maher’s use of the “nigger” word to show how disgusting he and HBO were. So exactly what’s the difference? I don’t see any unless it is okay to call people “fags” as a joke but not to use the word “nigger”. What about “kike”? That might get a few laughs.

I first heard about this show from a puff piece that appeared in The New Yorker magazine on November 18, 2016 that quoted Matt Christman, one of the three men who started Chapo, on what the goal of the “dirtbag left” is: “to offend the sensibilities of ‘leftist’ language police whose only goal is sabotaging social solidarity in order to maintain their brands as arbiters of good taste and acceptable speech.” Oh, I see. How about throwing in some “kikes” and “niggers” somewhere along the line to push the envelope even further.

For me, the mystery was how Chapo ever got such a glowing testimonial in a magazine that hates the left. The New Yorker, for example, published an article by Jill Lepore trashing Howard Zinn, as well as one promoting GMO. The editor is David Remnick, a Sovietologist who Alexander Cockburn once referred to as “a third-tier talent who has always got ahead by singing the correct career-enhancing tunes, as witness his awful reporting from Russia in the 1990s.”

Like Jacobin, Chapo has the knack of getting accolades from the most powerful newspapers and magazines in the USA. The next big publicity shot in the arm came in the form of a July 5, 2017 New York Times Sunday Magazine article titled “Hated by the Right. Mocked by the Left. Who Wants to Be ‘Liberal’ Anymore?” The author was Nikil Saval, a founder of n+1 magazine that is often mentioned in the same breath as Jacobin—namely, a Young Lion pretender to the throne of Marxism. I generally enjoy reading n+1 but found Saval’s prolix account of working on the Bernie Sanders campaign pretty objectionable from a Marxist standpoint. As might be obvious, the Chapo/Jacobin/n+1 milieu takes Sanders’s “socialism” at face value.

The brunt of Saval’s piece is to call attention to liberal-bashing of the sort that Chapo Trapo House specializes in. Saval mentions that they spend a lot of airtime “making fun of liberal cultural life, with one common target being fervor for the musical Hamilton.” Well, with the price of tickets for the Broadway smash hit, most of their listeners would not be able to pay for a ticket so the jokes might have sailed over their heads. However, with the $70,000 per month the boys are making from their podcasts, I assume that they might want to go see it for themselves. I just hope they don’t yell any racial epithets at the performers even if they are tempted to call Javier Muñoz, the HIV-positive star, a fag.

Just this week a feud broke out between the boys and The New Republic’s senior editor Jeet Heer who faulted them for trafficking in “dominance politics”, which means using mean-spirited humor against the Clinton wing of the party that The New Republic identifies with. Heer advocates reconciling the Sanders wing of the party that Chapo belongs to with the centrist old guard, something obviously not on Chapo’s agenda.

In a Twitter war between Heer and the boys, Chapo host Felix Biederman tweeted that he is “not reading Jeet’s article about how rude we are until he takes David Frum’s dick out of his mouth”. Both Heer and Frum are heterosexuals, while Frum is a longtime neoconservative who voted for Hillary Clinton. It is really difficult for me to understand how in 2017 this kind of gay-baiting can take place. I was around to see the Stonewall Rebellion in 1969 and welcomed the rise of a Gay Liberation movement. In the radical movement of that period, you could have gotten expelled for using that kind of language unless, of course, you were in Avakian’s sect. Now it seems that it is not only permissible in the DSA/Jacobin milieu but perhaps helps to generate $70,000 per month. Other times, other manners, I suppose.

While not exactly an A-List bourgeois newspaper, the Guardian certainly has the readership that might pay for a Chapo subscription. Yesterday, they published an article titled “Leftwing Breitbart? Chapo Trap House is strong new voice in resistance to Trump” by Edward Helmore that took Chapo’s side in the conflict with Heer and The New Republic.

Helmore’s article has the benefit of placing Chapo into an ideological context:

The hosts, who are aligned with the Brooklyn arm of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), met on social media, gaining followers with their offbeat humor and views on what is termed “left Twitter”.

That led to a series of podcasts on the popular Street Fight Radio before the launch of Chapo Trap House, named for Sinaloa cartel head Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and the hip-hop term for a drug house.

One DSA member familiar with the thinking of the podcast producers offered the Frankfurt School of neo-Marxism as an ideological reference, and said the spat with the New Republic illustrated the resistance of neoliberals to warnings that a hard left turn is necessary to counter the rise of the so-called alt-right and avoid continued electoral defeat.

Yes, indeed. How did I miss the parallels between Chapo Trap House and Theodore Adorno, especially given the chapter on fags in “Dialectics of Enlightenment”. I should have realized that DSA members would have been attuned to the Frankfurt School, given Stanley Aronowitz’s role in the organization’s ideological journey. Maybe at the next Left Forum, the boys can do a performance of “I am a cuck”. I’ll bet it will go over great with the bitches and the fags. Oh, did I mention that in the closing moments of the Shane Bauer podcast there was an elevated discussion of the Trump-Putin connection with the new president being referred to as Putin’s “bitch”?

Helmore is also very astute in sizing up Chapo’s role in electoral politics, referring to John Mason, a political science professor in New Jersey:

“Who is the most popular politician in the United States right now?” asked Mason. “Bernie Sanders! The ground has shifted and this is really the centre of the Democratic party. The people who have been marginalised, especially after this defeat, are those who belong to the Clinton-Obama wing.”

The far left, Mason said, is articulating itself in new ways. He pointed to a recent meeting of Sanders and Al Gore and the emergence of anti alt-right groups such as Redneck Revolt. Last week, the DSA published an electoral strategy guide; it anticipates strong or record attendance at its convention in Chicago next month.

So, let me get this straight. The “socialist” wing of the Democratic Party is now its center and proof of that is Bernie Sanders meeting with Al Gore? And what about that electoral strategy guide? Written by Joseph M. Schwartz, a political science professor at Temple University and national vice-chair of DSA, it proposes the same “inside/outside” electoral strategy that not only defines social democracy in the USA but that of the Communist Party as well:

DSA should not be in the business of solely working to secure Democratic majorities for the purpose of pressuring them from the left. But many of our allies in the black, Latino, trade union, LGBTQ, immigrant, Muslim, and feminist communities will be mobilized in 2018 to flip Republican state legislatures, to expand Democratic majorities in Democratic states, and to take back, at least, the House at the national level. We can’t simply ignore what those constituencies who would constitute a multi-racial and class-based left will be doing.

Thus, in my view, DSA should deploy its limited resources primarily to build social movements and, where possible, shore up a progressive electoral pole (a more multi-racial and labor-based version of the post-Sanders trend) that opposes the corporate, neo-liberal dominance of the Democratic Party.

I believe that the best way of doing that is to run viable democratic socialist candidates either in Democratic primaries (see Ross Mittiga) or in local non-partisan races (see khalid kamau). But if the social movement groups we work with back a strong anti-corporate Democratic Party candidate of color or labor or another staunchly progressive activist, some locals will clearly consider working on those campaigns, too — particularly if they involve a primary challenge to a pro-corporate neo-liberal Democrat.

That’s what we are left with beneath all the “bad boy” shock jock humor at the expense of gay people. A business as usual orientation to liberal politicians like Bernie Sanders and Al Gore in the hope that the Democratic Party can serve as what? The vanguard of a socialist revolution? A return to the New Deal? Talk about utopian schemas.

I find myself in advanced years wondering what will take such people to break with the Democratic Party once and for all. If it wasn’t support for slavery, the invasion of the USSR in 1918, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Korean war and the Vietnam war, what will it take? At a certain point, you begin to wonder if maybe such people are not that opposed to the capitalist system, especially when you are making $70,000 per month sitting around making banal observations about American politics that relies on four-letter words to spice things up.

Update:

I have just learned on Facebook that “I am a cuck” was “a song by the comedian Tim Heidecker who wrote it to mock the alt-right kids who went after him for, among other things, siding against keeping an alt-right influenced show on Cartoon Network’s adult swim.” As I said, the song was likely meant in jest but so was Bill Maher’s wisecrack about being a “field nigger”.

25 Comments »

  1. Are you confusing David Frum with David Brock?

    Comment by Stuart Newman — July 24, 2017 @ 6:23 pm

  2. Thanks for the head’s up.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 24, 2017 @ 6:28 pm

  3. “In a Twitter war between Heer and the boys, Chapo host Felix Biederman tweeted that he is “not reading Jeet’s article about how rude we are until he takes David Frum’s dick out of his mouth”. Heer is a gay man, while Frum is a heterosexual neoconservative who voted for Hillary Clinton. It is really difficult for me to understand how in 2017 this kind of gay-baiting can take place.”

    It seems to be pretty common these days. Colbert or Maher gay baited Trump in regard to Putin a few months ago, and one frequently encounters this theme that Trump is a sex slave of Putin on Twitter. How this accomplishes anything politically is beyond me.

    Comment by Richard Estes — July 24, 2017 @ 6:54 pm

  4. Your out of touch with the younger generation Louis.

    Lets get the “frist” out of the way: Jeet Heer is not gay – he’s happily married to his wife. So is Frum.

    Comment by max l — July 24, 2017 @ 7:03 pm

  5. If the younger generation means the DSA, you’re probably right.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 24, 2017 @ 7:07 pm

  6. I tried a bit of Trap House and couldn’t find a thread I wanted to follow. Most of what I heard seemed to be a variation on contemporary New York semi-hipster patter, and came across as a big So What in my book. The segment I skimmed through started off with a long and (to me) boring riff on eggplant pizza followed by a lot of pointless stuff about John Kasich and his pockmarks and this smarmy book he wrote.

    Meh.

    OK, I’m like old. I guess if this stuff brings Young People into the socialist fold, hooray.

    But I was expecting something a lot wilder and more trenchant.

    Somehow, what I heard just turned on personalities, which is the main thing I thought we were trying to get away from–people inventing yet another modaliity of hip and groovy and petty-bourgeois badass en route to stardom.

    Maybe I caught them in a lull. I guess it can’t do any harm.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — July 24, 2017 @ 7:11 pm

  7. I mean you could’ve googled that in 5 seconds, but chose to yell homophobia instead. AFAIK, Jeet Heer and Frum — the Joseph Goebbels of the Iraq War — were getting chummy on twitter. How come this didn’t outrage anyone’s sensibilities, but a tweet about how those two were essentially in bed with each other did? This is one of the genuinely perverse traits of American political culture, where sticks and stones never hurt but words do. John McCain is a hero for bombing Vietnamese civilians and a villain for calling them gooks. Something to consider.

    More broadly, yes the Chapos may not be the brightest bulbs and their politics leave much to be desired, but it’s their show is first funny thing I’ve heard from the American Left (such as it is) in my lifetime. A bit of vulgarity doesn’t hurt — it’s actually desperately needed to break a certain straitjacket. What makes Bill Maher problematic is not so much his occasional cultural appropriation of “nigga”, but his constant genocidal narrative against Muslims as well as his propaganda for the Democratic Party, as well as the fact that he’s an insufferable smug rich guy while being a anti-science idiot (vaccines cause autism, alternative medicine works etc.). Priorities matter, I think. But he did a mea culpa for the “nigga” comment, and he is now back on the good side of American progressives. This sort of shit is one of the side-effects of a particular understanding of “political correctness”, one that focuses on language and token representation, while neglecting everything else. If someone on that Left want’s to take a bat to all that while also pushing back against racism, classism, sexism and homophobia and being reasonably funny, I don’t think that’s so bad.

    I agree with about half of your essay. The podcasts whole shtick seems to be to keep insulting Liberals until they somehow turn left (or until their listers get angry enough start pushing for more “progressive” Dems). But I wonder what else you can expect from a political system which might be dominated by the two-party system for several more decades and where no viable alternatives exist. Too much to expect from a goofy podcast, is it not? If they manage to be funny while pushing left-wing politics on youth (and maybe even some older people), that makes them good and not bad.

    Comment by max l — July 24, 2017 @ 7:43 pm

  8. You do have to wonder what it will take. And a good many Chapo and Jacobin types hate the sixties, hate Bob Dylan, etc. But the politics then seems so much more advanced than now. And if you can believe it, some are arguing that the millennial DSA/Jacobin leftists are really throwbacks to the radicals of the 1930s. They couldn’t hold a candle even to the Gus Hall of that time. You hit the nail on the head when you say that perhaps these “leftists” really don’t hate capitalism all that much.

    Comment by Michael Yates — July 24, 2017 @ 7:45 pm

  9. “then seems so much more advanced than now”

    re: yates.but how broadly we’re they shared, especially in the early days of SDS? Obviously anti-capitalist politics in the west have been in decline since the 30’s. Some liberals are arguing that DSA/Jacobins are a throwback to the 30’s because they are racist AFL types (whereas liberals self-id as more hippie types). I listen to Chapo when doing chores and stuff, and they make fun of stuff like this. To be fair, it doesn’t take that much talent, because most of the stuff they are making fun of is already beyond satire.

    Comment by max — July 24, 2017 @ 8:03 pm

  10. “More broadly, yes the Chapos may not be the brightest bulbs and their politics leave much to be desired, but it’s their show is first funny thing I’ve heard from the American Left (such as it is) in my lifetime. A bit of vulgarity doesn’t hurt — it’s actually desperately needed to break a certain straitjacket. What makes Bill Maher problematic is not so much his occasional cultural appropriation of “nigga”, but his constant genocidal narrative against Muslims as well as his propaganda for the Democratic Party, as well as the fact that he’s an insufferable smug rich guy while being a anti-science idiot (vaccines cause autism, alternative medicine works etc.). Priorities matter, I think. But he did a mea culpa for the “nigga” comment, and he is now back on the good side of American progressives. This sort of shit is one of the side-effects of a particular understanding of “political correctness”, one that focuses on language and token representation, while neglecting everything else. If someone on that Left want’s to take a bat to all that while also pushing back against racism, classism, sexism and homophobia and being reasonably funny, I don’t think that’s so bad.”

    This is exactly the kind of frat house purported leftism that I find alienating. A little vulgarity doesn’t hurt, but when it involves humor based upon anti-gay stereotypes like those to used to malign Trump, or, in this instance Biederman’s disagreement with Jeet, it’s obnoxious. It reinforces homophobia instead of challenging it. Likewise, with Maher’s use of the word “nigga”. Given that Maher isn’t a leftist, the use of him as an example to defend Chapo Trap House may reveal more than intended, namely that Chapo Trap House isn’t a political enterprise, but an entertainment one.

    Comment by Richard Estes — July 24, 2017 @ 8:50 pm

  11. re: estes

    the objection is two-fold here: your assumptions about the language used on the podcast are not accurate and there are bigger things to worry about (as I already said). I listen to it and don’t hear the slurs you’re describing often, if any. i assume their audience are mostly millennial far-left liberals, who are on guard against the abuse of slurs. Too much, and they are likely to boycott the show. I also wasn’t using Maher as a defense, but as a foil. Maher is clearly a racist, imperialist and capitalist ideologue, one who also has gone on extended misogynist rants. Maher’s whole *narrative* is pretty much the opposite of this show, and narratives are less about specific words than how they are used. In particular, Maher is not funny, and his “political incorrectness” has absolutely no redeeming value, it merely hurts people at the bottom. This is a very important point in my opinion.

    The worst I’ve heard was the occasional use of words like retarded and autistic (and I think a lot of “ableist” language is inescapable to be honest, unlike racial slurs). There was also as one really cringe-inducing joke about the Holocaust by the Jew (Felix) on the show, which nobody got outraged about oddly enough. PC games are weird.

    All Louis has pointed to was one angry tweet, while also making the false assumption that Jeet was gay, thereby amplifying the outrage (since corrected). The tweet was simply a vulgar way of saying that Jeet was in bed with the execrable Frum, which should the real outrage for lefties (if we are going to get outraged about stuff). Frum has a penis and is not gay. Should people never allude to sex acts? Or only to strictly heterosexual sex acts? I don’t even know where this logic is going.

    But you’re right that CTH is, or should be, entertainment above politics, though its political effects are pretty much all benign. The fact that people are picking apart reams of comedy for occasional instances of potty language, and then tirelessly debating their merits and demerits, like we’re doing here, is pretty fucked up in and of itself.

    Comment by max — July 24, 2017 @ 9:46 pm

  12. I get the impression that this program uses a lot of ridicule as its M.O. IMO ridicule is okay so long as it’s used against those who have more power in society or stand above you in the hierarchy. I condemn the use of ridicule towards those who are marginalized and damaged by the system. A rule of thumb for me.

    Comment by uh...clem — July 25, 2017 @ 12:54 am

  13. I should have added that, even though I regret his politics, Michael Moore always aim his barbs at the bigwigs.

    Comment by uh...clem — July 25, 2017 @ 1:14 am

  14. re: yates.but how broadly we’re they shared, especially in the early days of SDS?

    I don’t think you mean the early days of SDS but the later ones–1967 through the breakup in ’69, which came about through conflicts over the way to be more Marxist (RYM vs. Progressive Labor–both dead wrong as it happens, but even so …). The advanced politics “we’re” pretty broadly shared–what’s left of the left has been riding that ice cube on an ever-hotter frying pan ever since. Of course there was the Silent Majority–actually about as loudmouthed as you can get–who are now making America grunt again, but maybe not a majority any more.

    As to hating the Sixties–meaning the late Sixties in my case–there’s a lot to hate, especially 1) the tedious star system and the endless cults of personalities, and 2) the alliance with transcendentalist ultra-liberalism and neoliberalism that led to the limited success of the Vietnam antiwar movement but also strengthened the American love affair with apodictic individualism and helped create the monster of moralistic pseudo-anti-imperialism that is currently setting up shrines to Putin and Assad nationwide.

    Bob Dylan (albeit an entertaining performer) is one of my own least favorites. What’s the big deal with this libertarian misogynist anyway? He used an electric guitar at a folk festival. That’s OK. But he also converted the authentic leftwing content of the folk movement into a gigantic moneymaking machine for himself personally–which is a big part of his very blurred “message” if you ask me. IMHO, he’s about as revolutionary as a can of baby powder.

    At all events, it wasn’t the French Revolution–“Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but ah! to be young was very heaven.” But you did get something by watching the cracks shoot up the apparently granitic facade of the American consensus–scales dropped from eyes, views changed.

    The great thing was that many people like Michael Yates and Louis Proyect got very serious then and are still making a vital contribution. If younger people are getting this and ditching Bob Dylan and the Beatles, that’s definitely OK with me.

    I just have no idea how Chap House fits into the picture, if it does. Are Chap House’s young listeners experiencing a revolutionary dawn of their own? I hope so–I just don’t see it.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — July 25, 2017 @ 7:46 am

  15. I was really into it until you invalidated your entire piece by reciting overplayed right wing…. mistruths… about Democrats and slavery…. the dixiecrat line? Really? Ann Coulter’s favorite alternative history “gotcha” ???

    Comment by witch — July 25, 2017 @ 11:25 am

  16. Given that time is running out, what with global warming + perpetual war = doomsday, and believing, as I do, that the only development that can prevent what looks now to be inevitable will be the emergence of a broad-based mass movement in pursuit of a just and peaceful world. A more egalitarian world, that is, perhaps based on the very successful Mondragon Cooperative in Northern Spain, a worker self-directed enterprise founded on the belief that the democratically organized workplace can serve as the cornerstone of our brave new world. Frankly speaking, I don’t see how egocentric programs such as the Chapo Trapo Podcast can help us move in this direction.

    Comment by jacobo — July 25, 2017 @ 2:50 pm

  17. re: Farans. “The great thing was that many people like Michael Yates and Louis Proyect got very serious then and are still making a vital contribution. … I just have no idea how Chap House fits into the picture, if it does.”

    Crap house ridicules — from the left — Liberalism and everything associated with it; Proyect ridicules — from the left — the nonsense coming from certain quarters of the “far Left” (actually pretty conservative), especially on Syria, Russia and Iran. I enjoy and follow both. Will either of them advance the cause of socialism? I have no idea to be honest.

    Comment by max — July 25, 2017 @ 4:26 pm

  18. I am a white passing 20-something who was just recently turned on to radical leftist politics after growing up online around communities that largely favored more conservative/right personalities, and I have been listening to Chapo regularly for some months now. In many ways I am the poster child for the ‘dirtbag left’ demographic, and although I dont personally identify with the term, I recognize that it more or less is the characterization of myself, someone who was weaned on 4chan style shock humor as a teenager but later came to understand its problematic nature.

    As someone who is now certainly further left than the DSA or any of the members of the show, I can say that my recurrent listening is due to entertainment above politics. To be sure, I’ve often found value in some of the deeper, more thought provoking conversations between the guests, but the irony-soaked comedy and lib bashing appeals very much to my personal sense of humor. Admittedly, that humor was molded in part by the alt-right types that I now despise, and this process seems to be what puts the ‘dirtbag’ in dirtbag left.

    Given all of this, rarely do I find any of the comments made on the show to be over the line. The OP post seems to imply that, given the show’s history with terms like ‘fag’ ‘bitch’ etc, there is little to stop a further descent into right-wing hate speech ‘for the lulz’. I disagree outright with this idea, as going in this direction is completely at odds with everything CTH claims to stand for and would alienate the vast majority of their listeners who, as mentioned above, are on the lookout for such abuse already. This isnt to say that ‘the line’ has never been crossed on the show, occasionally I will find myself rolling my eyes at an overly edgy joke that fell flat or wishing that they would stop throwing around autism/retard in such an elementary way.

    When it comes to their speech, they aren’t perfect, but they’re not even close to the far right either, and pretending like they would scream racial slurs in a theater as quickly as they would say ‘bitch’ on their show in pretty disingenuous.

    Comment by into it — July 25, 2017 @ 5:46 pm

  19. I didn’t literally think that they might be tempted to yell out “fag” at a “Hamilton” performance. If you begin reading me on regular basis, you’ll realize that I have my own sense of humor although it is influenced more by Jonathan Swift than Bill Maher.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 25, 2017 @ 7:37 pm

  20. I can’t imagine Chapo Trap House is any more vulgar or homophobic than Howard Stern, of whom Louis is a fan despite him being an early Trump booster and far more conservative and hypocritical and earning way more than $70,000 (and what do “mainstream” pundits earn for comparison?).

    Comment by Cal — July 26, 2017 @ 1:28 am

  21. You are right that Howard Stern is a lot more vulgar and homophobic but he never claimed to be a socialist. In fact, I had no intention of calling them out for homophobia if I hadn’t stumbled into that awful “satirical” song half-way into the podcast featuring Shane Bauer.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 26, 2017 @ 1:46 am

  22. I don’t want this to be an essay, so here’s a list:
    – the dick in mouth stuff is from street slang. It just means being obsequious or a yes man or a lackey
    – If you listen to enough podcasts, you will see they are capable of “good,” sound, left analysis & each have their own strengths. They are of course relatively young and naive. And so it goes…
    – I personally don’t like most juvenile humor, gaming, & don’t know or care about the “alt-right,” so I just let most of that stuff float by. They are a work in progress and they’re trying to come up with new stuff. They will eventually make it to another level, or it will stay about the same. I think they partially envisioned the show as just a bunch of hot takes, and it has grown into more than that. Collectively they’re much smarter and probably more entertaining than Stern – and I bet they’re nicer guys. They don’t even make the money that gets lost in Stern’s couch
    – No political/entertainment show is going to achieve much politically, but they can and already have pointed a lot of wayward kids to the left, which is more than Stern ever did. How left are they? How left is the new DSA? An Important questions that may actually matter in the next decade. I tend to think they are to the left of a lot of new DSA members – on paper. Actions, as always, speak louder than words.
    – They go after the right wing punditocracy. A couple things that made me laugh out loud: apparently, the rightwing punditocracy get stuck in elevators with some regularity. CTH’s “reading series” focusing on a douthat (didn’t know who he was and don’t care, but it doesn’t matter) book chapter detailing his time skinny dipping with william f. buckley off his boat was, as the kids say, an instant classic.
    – Overall the left has to come back from the dead. Being overly serious about itself, falling off into endless petty arguments, and tearing each other apart helped the right kill us off. That is definitely not the way forward. I find what’s good and encourage it. For me it’s the only way forward at this point. I just wish forming a left didn’t have to start from ground zero every time (historically), but it seems that is the way we are destined to do it. This country is doomed, but, pessimism of the intellect and all that…

    Comment by 21st Century Poet — July 30, 2017 @ 5:57 am

  23. – the dick in mouth stuff is from street slang. It just means being obsequious or a yes man or a lackey

    Of course it is street slang. I have heard it all my life. I just don’t think the left should engage in it.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 30, 2017 @ 12:05 pm

  24. “If the younger generation means the DSA”

    Well yeah, it’s went from below 10,000 members two years ago to 25,000 recently. No other socialist group in the US has anything like that. I’d say the younger generation that has a socialist persuasion is into the DSA. I say that as someone who’s not in the DSA or any socialist group and has no interest in joining one.

    Comment by Craig Boone — July 30, 2017 @ 9:14 pm

  25. It should also be noted that Chapo Trap House is just a lame attempt to co-opt the “alt right” meme culture, as its popular with a lot of younger people.

    Comment by Craig Boone — July 30, 2017 @ 9:15 pm


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