Personally, I enjoy mavericks. In the article, its clear that Matt Taibbi and his pal Mark Ames are trying to cast themselves as such. But its also clear that Taibbi and Ames have an even darker view of that role than Sarah Palin does. In their version, it gives you a pass to abuse and exploit vulnerable people. For example, talking about their time in Russia:
They say they also take advantage of what they like to call the “white god factor” and make trips to the provinces. “Tens of millions of people live in dire circumstances, stranded in the center of the world’s largest continent, with little hope of going anywhere,” said Mr. Ames. “Which means–sexual opportunity for me.”I'm really at a loss to describe how vile that is. But then, I probably don't need to. Most human beings with an ounce of empathy get it.
All of this is part of telling the story of these two privileged white boys and their struggle with finding meaning in status-driven capitalist America.
Mr. Ames and Mr. Taibbi are fairly typical men of their generation: raised in upper-middle-class America (Mr. Ames in San Jose, Mr. Taibbi in Boston) in the ideal-light Reagan and Bush years, they are well-educated but defeated by regular work and frustrated by American women, whom they find smug and ambitious. Mr. Ames and Mr. Taibbi say that in Moscow they finally found a home; a city as chaotic and as brutish as they are, a place where a man can still make a beast of himself and write about it with impunity.I suppose its possible to feel some empathy for the challenge it is to grow up white, privileged and male in this country (cough..cough). The truth is, I think that racism, sexism and greed take their toll on all of us. This article pretty well describes the sickness that can ensue for this particular group. But rather than owning it as part of their own dysfunction, these two seem to be reveling in it. They come off just like two alcoholics celebrating their illness.
That is the form that white male patriarchy takes on the left side of politics. And of course the Rolling Stone now gives a platform for Taibbi to continue to share his disoriented rambling rants with the rest of us while Ames looks to be relegated to the more obscure pages of something called the Not Safe for Work Corporation (subscription required). I don't know about you, but it looks to me like these two have settled into some comfort with their privileged status rather than challenging the beast within.
Tackling that beast should be even more important on the left than it is on the right. Until men like this take that on - I have no more use for their brand of maverick than I do Palin's.