Friday, August 23, 2013

The left's version of white male patriarchy

About a week ago, @root_e tweeted a link to this story. Fair warning: it literally made me sick to my stomach.

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.


  1. Wait, wait, what?! This is some serious dude-bro sexism and straight libertarian fanfic!! Who would put their pen to this nonsense? Yet, like Greenwald and fugitive rapist Assange, these dude-bros are going to lecture POC, women and the poor about how we should burn Obama in effigy because bankers aren't in jail and they can't smoke pot on a subway?! GTFOH

  2. From the 1960s on, there has been a streak of white male supremacy within the Left. I had a roommate who was smart as anything who, with her closest friend, was planning some action but said, "We have to get XXX (male self appointed leader of the college) to approve it." I said to them, "Why do you need his permission to do what you want?" They looked stunned. We got so used to narcissistic white male domination we never thought twice about it. From universities to the streets, that still happens, and it is most profoundly directed at both people of color and women as sex objects even now. Feminism has not changed narcissistic men. Nothing - and I mean NOTHING - ever will. Children of privilege are disengaged from others far too often. Males of privilege see the entire world and everyone in it as objects to be used for their own gratification. The only answer is refusing to submit EVER.

  3. Aren't they supposed to be young Chomskys? Only a total shmuck would say white god factor. If they knew how much they sucked.


  4. So basically they are proudly announcing that they are too insecure to get laid in their own country.

    1. It sounded like they were crying about it to me. "Being white means something outside of the US." I'm not going to tell you how they sound to me. I'm trying to get away from talking like that. People like Matt and his partner make it hard.


    2. Amazing. These poor women are just trying to survive in that third world shithole. There are plenty of BOYS on the Left..but not a lot of MEN.

  5. What we are seeing here is my generation's (Gen X'ers) versions of the the same social ills that have plagued our country since its founding (racism and sexism). I could write an entire essay on this, but I will just say that the racism and sexism I've experienced from my parents' and grandparents' generations is not the same from my own. Their prejudices were based on firmly established social norms that were codified into law in many cases. The prejudices fo my generation are based on fear of competition and resentment that these old social norms were challenged and in the process of being changed.

    However, there is room for optimism. The racism and sexism of my generation is weaker. The fact that privileged white men like Greenwald, Snowden, Taibbi, and Ames rather live it up in countries with atrocious human rights records than cope with progress made back here in America should tell you something. And with each generation, these prejudices will get weaker still.

    To the white guys who stay here in the US and are willing to "tough it out" as we continue to strive towards a "more perfect union" - THANKS!!!

    To the white guys like Taibbi, Ames, GG, and Snowden whose dependence on white male privilege compells them to either live in or exploit (through tourism)countries with atrocious human rights records - GOOD RIDDANCE!!!


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