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Skidmarxists Amber A’Lee Frost and Anna Khachiyan trash feminists, liberals and Antifa in an interview with Spiked

By David Futrelle

So what does it mean that two of the most prominent young alleged leftists are winning high praise from the performatively heterodox reactionary site Spiked?

Today Spiked published a puff piece interview with skidmarxists Amber A’Lee Frost and Anna Khachiyan, the former an irregular co-host of Crappo Chap House Chapo Trap House; the latter the co-host of the gleefully “edgy” Red Scare podcast. And it’s as bad as one might expect.

The problem isn’t just that these two — and the rest of the skidmarxist gang — are getting a big wet kiss from Spiked, but that they are happy to go along with the whole embarrassing spectacle.

Indeed, as if to prove her edgelord (edgelady?) bona fides up front, Khachiyan greets Spiked interviewer Fraser Myers with her version of the endlessly repeated alt-right joke “I identify as an attack helicopter.”

Among the most refreshing things about Frost and Khachiyan is that their politics are resolutely not woke. ‘You can tell people that I’m trans’, says Khachiyan, with characteristic irreverence, as Frost, Khachiyan and myself sit down to talk at Eastwood in the Lower East Side. ‘I’m not trans, but you can say that just for fun.’

Great. At a time when trans people face a huge and organized campaign of hate from the right and from transphobic pseudo-feminists, let’s just start off the interview with a half-assed transphobic joke.

Sounding more than a little like the faux-leftist version of the Honey Badger Brigade — the mostly female gang of antifeminists associated with hate site A Voice for Men — the two quickly throw feminism under the bus, with Frost dismissing it as little more than a female power trip fueled by whining. “[I]t’s, ‘Men are rude to me and they explain things to me,'” she tells Myers. Later she complains that, because of feminism, young “women today aren’t allowed to want a traditional relationship.”

As for #MeToo and sex positive feminists’ focus on sexual consent, well, the nicest thing the two can say about these things is that they’re nerdy.

“It’s because these people would rather negotiate sex than actually have it… They don’t want to take responsibility,” says Khachiyan. ‘That’s why nerds love this stuff’, says Frost. ‘It’s huge in Silicon Valley. They like games and rules. These are people who consider themselves leftists but probably don’t like anything about socialism except the gulags.”

What a sensible and reasonable reaction to … the idea that people shouldn’t be forced into sex.

And somehow this all relates. in their minds, with an inability to commit to relationships.

Khachiyan says ‘a lot of these people are tyrannical narcissists’. ‘They are noncommittal, incapable of tolerating conflict or taking consequences. So they would rather have a system like polyamory where you kick that can down the road.’ Frost adds that many millennials ‘think they can eliminate jealousy… But sometimes you’re going to have bad sex, sometimes you’re going to be jealous. It’s not the end of the world.’

The two pretend that their hostility towards feminism is based on their own much purer support of the working class.

‘I fundamentally think they are disgusted and horrified by working-class people’, says Khachiyan. ‘Real women don’t live up to the liberal-feminist pieties’, adds Frost. ‘And I think that’s very threatening for the uptight, white, overeducated, liberal women to be confronted with’, replies Khachiyan.

Meanwhile, Frost is part of a podcast that takes in more than $1.5 million annually from its Patreon and that is basically the Platonic ideal of Brooklyn hipsterism.

As for liberals trying to fight the literal fascist in the White House, Khachiyan trashes them as “nerds” — no, really — and dismisses their criticisms as little more than snobbery.

The problem with liberals, she says, is that “they can’t differentiate between their political critiques of Trump and their aesthetic critiques of him.” … It is not so much Trump’s policies that anger the liberals, but his brashness, his demeanour.

Never mind Trump’s racism. Never mind the literal children suffering and dying in concentration camps at the border. Never mind the rollback of basic rights for women and LGBTQ people. Liberals just don’t like his hair, or the way the guy talks.

The two are equally dismissive of Antifa, with Khachiyan declaring that

All these people who say they are anti-fascist don’t know what it means to be persecuted.

Myers ends the post with a paean to the two and their “dirtbag leftism.” (Er, I may be a little biased here but I believe that the correct term is “skidmarxists.”)

Voices like these, challenging woke orthodoxy and standing up for traditional left values, are needed now more than ever. Here’s to the dirtbags.

When you’re getting that sort of praise from reactionary publications like Spiked, how much of a leftist can you really be?

The answer is none. None leftist.

It would be one thing if these two were just some aberration, just two weird reactionary mutant frogs in an otherwise healthy leftist gene pool. But there are a lot of other skidmarxists out there — from Twitter bomb-thrower Aimee Terese to “independent journalist” and regular Tucker Carlson guest Michael Tracey. They’ve even got their own subreddit, r/StupIDpol, with more than 13 thousand subscribers.

So we’re going to be dealing with this bullshit for some time. What joy.

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weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

The problem I have with those “why you shouldn’t vote for…” pieces and Twitter threads is that they read more like a justification to stay home if Bernie Sanders doesn’t get the nomination than anything else. I’m all for criticizing a candidates flaws and trying to pick the best candidate, but what happens if one of the candidates we’re not allowed to vote for wins the nomination? We stay home and let Trump win? We have been slowly pushing the Democratic party left in recent years, but if Trump wins again, they’re going to take home the message that this country is right wing and that’s who the dems should pander to. We should be asking candidates to address the problematic things they did and ask how they’re going to rectify them. Not declare that we’re not voting for them ever at all.

Allandrel
Allandrel
1 year ago

@Footprints In Wet Clay

True libertarians … are…

“No TRUE Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”

Over and over, I see Libertarians who claim they support liberal positions on things like marriage equality, abortion, and religious freedom.

Then they vote a straight Republican ticket. Every time.

numerobis
numerobis
1 year ago

@Surplus:

surge in the support for the Green Party — they’re actually getting double digits now, sometimes into the low teens, mostly it seems at the expense of the NDP.

Hey that’s me! I volunteered for the NDP last election, and have moved to the Greens this election.

Diego Duarte
Diego Duarte
1 year ago

Regarding the Far-Lefties

I think there is plenty of distinction between Liberals and Leftists, especially considering how the former tend to gravitate toward the center-Right nowadays, and not necessarily on economic issues alone: the pass Biden is getting on his past “gaffes” involving racism and sexual harassment are unnerving.

That is not to say Leftism is devoid of problems. Take for example Venezuela. I’ve found that any criticism of Chavez and Maduro will get you labeled a “fascist” in some Leftist groups, though there is some distinction there as well.

I’ve noticed that Black Americans tend to display more knowledge about the situation in Venezuela, or at least the groups I frequent. They are also more receptive to information, regardless of whether they are liberal or leftists.

White women tend to initially say nonsense such as “the attempts on Maduro are a Coup d’Etat”, but will back down and ask for information when confronted with other sources. Especially when those who engage them are Latinos.

And then there are Leftist groups with a majority of White men…. So far I’ve yet to convince a single one of them, and this despite my expertise on the subject.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@Allandrel
Most of the libertarians I’ve met are just Republicans that like to sound more pretentious by talking about Ayn Rand a lot.

personalpest
personalpest
1 year ago

@ Betrayer:

I have absolutely seen liberals who seem more upset with how Trump talks than what he says, particularly when they go on to praise John McCain or other Republicans who support most of what Trump is doing. I’m sure that they have negative views of Trump’s actions as well, but it seems like they only have a surface understanding of what’s going on.

1. Fortunately, an increasing number of liberals/leftists/what have you understand that while Trump himself is a problem, and his Ugly American/Archie Bunker persona is certainly unique among Presidents, he’s also a symptom of a bigger problem. The entire GOP has followed increasingly extreme policies at least since the Reagan era. Trump just accelerated that process by publicly stating the bigoted ideas that previous Republicans had rarely been open about in public. If Trump left office tomorrow, we’d still have people like Pence and McConnell pushing the same rotten programs.

2. There are two reasons that a lot of liberals praised McCain:

* He often criticized Trump, especially about the ACA.
* During The Vietnam War, he was willing to serve and suffer for his country. By contrast, privileged “chicken hawks” like Trump, Bolton and Cheney supported the was while avoiding combat.

personalpest
personalpest
1 year ago

“supported the war while avoiding combat.” (mumbles) Stupid edit window…

Diego Duarte
Diego Duarte
1 year ago

@Personal Pest

True, let’s not forget he also cast the vote to save the ACA and whilst he was far from being a saint, and grilled some Obama appointees for their opposition to the War on Iraq, he was one of the few Republicans opposing Trump. In times of war you take what you can, I guess…

Dalillama
Dalillama
1 year ago

During The Vietnam War, he was willing to serve and suffer for his country. By contrast, privileged “chicken hawks” like Trump, Bolton and Cheney supported the was while avoiding combat.

This right here is a key difference between liberals and leftists: leftists don’t consider voluntary participation in imperialist wars of aggression laudatory.

Dalillama
Dalillama
1 year ago

Should’ve been laudable, autocomplete fail.

An Impish Pepper
An Impish Pepper
1 year ago

@numerobis

What I’m getting at isn’t so much that all of politics is on a single spectrum, but just that I don’t think the fiscal spectrum is meaningfully separate from the social spectrum. Individual beliefs are very complicated (hence I tried to talk about left/right stances rather than entire people being left/right). I just think that there are other political classifications that are much better at distinguishing different groups. I’ve seen political alignment quizzes that use all sorts of different spectra.

Amanda
Amanda
1 year ago

Well, sure. There is a difference between a leftist and a liberal. But that doesn’t mean that I have to condone the dirtbag left and their efforts to push LGBTQ people, minorities, and especially women out of the left to make it a nice cozy place for CHUDs.

I remain baffled as to how Chapo has managed to gain the blind loyalty of so many listeners. My friend used to research things and think for himself. Now he’s absolutely giddy when Chapo tells to be happy, snaps at me when I mention someone Chapo told him to hate, and takes everything at their word. It’s ridiculous. They’re just bad comedians.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Over and over, I see Libertarians who claim they support liberal positions on things like marriage equality, abortion, and religious freedom.

Over and over, I see Libertarians who are vocally anti-choice. That convinced me more than anything else, years ago that Libertarians are just right wing Republicans who want to be seen as cool.

Also, fuck John McCain. Megan can eat shit too.

Aaron
Aaron
1 year ago

@An Impish Pepper – Thanks, that’s an interesting comment. But a conservative could reply that this racist leftist is also disqualified from the right for any number of reasons: for example, proposing a hierarchy that is explicitly enforced by the government (which is tantamount to an admission that it is not “natural”). So what does this mean? Does the racist leftist, ejected from both liberalism and conservatism, just cease to exist?

The fact is that no one is purely liberal or conservative in a philosophical sense. No liberal, for example, desires to eliminate all forms of social hierarchy. (This would be impossible.) And no conservative believe that all tradition is worth maintaining. (This would also be impossible.) So again, I think it’s more helpful to think of politics as a collection of ideas – or impulses – that can be mixed and matched.

With respect to my hypothetical voter, I would say that the desire for universal basic income represents a genuinely liberal impulse, and the racism (or more specifically, the implicit desire for an established hierarchy) represents a genuinely conservative impulse. These impulses are in conflict with each other, but they are nonetheless both real. And I don’t think you can say that this voter is “really” liberal or conservative: they are both, or neither, depending on your perspective.

Ben Cohen
Ben Cohen
1 year ago

I would argue that you can not be leftist on economic issues while being conservative on social issues. Economic and social justice issues are not separate things. They are intertwined. I’m not sure how one would even accomplish economic justice while pursuing a white supremacist and anti-feminist agenda.

And yet people who hold those beliefs exist. Whenever researchers survey people about their political beliefs they find a significant number of people with economically liberal and socially conservative beliefs.

http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/working-class-republicanism/

It’s entirely possible to support universal healthcare and oppose gay marriage or support legal abortion and want to cut entitlement spending.

Liquidmidnight
Liquidmidnight
1 year ago

The Skidmarxists kind of remind me of how some members of the so-called intellectual dark web claim to be on the left but then expend so much energy concern trolling when people on the alt-right aren’t treated with intellectual dignity – as if there is any point in trying to engage someone like Richard Spencer in erudite debate.

An Impish Pepper
An Impish Pepper
1 year ago

I mean what this boils down to is what people claim to believe versus what they actually end up supporting when their claimed beliefs come in conflict. I think if the fiscal and social axes were really that separate, then there would be parties dedicated to the fiscal liberal / social conservative crowd and/or the fiscal conservative / social liberal crowd. There would be differences between the four groups that would be so irreconcilable that they wouldn’t be able to function as two parties. And a centrist party would be yet another separate entity. But what really happens is that the people in the off-quadrants either just form a centrist party or pick their priorities with the other two quadrants. We’re seeing it in this thread with people’s experiences of right-libertarians. They claim to be an entire separate quadrant from conservatives but they’re functionally not that different at the end of the day.

The “hypothetical” voter isn’t even hypothetical. It basically describes a lot of white dudes in tech who think they have progressive views but have been so insulated by their privilege that they haven’t been exposed to actual social justice. So Google for example claims to support LGBT equality while demonetizing videos that talk about LGBT issues and funding groups that are hostile to LGBT equality.

This doesn’t even get into the fact that nobody seems to have bothered to explain what fiscal conservatism even is. And no, “entitlement spending” is not an explanation.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

Liberalism isn’t leftism, and isn’t really even very close to leftism. They are very distinct ideologies.

I’m not American, so I can’t really comment on how an American views these terms. (Though given how intensely right-wing the politics of the country appears to be, I’m not exactly surprised that lukewarm neoliberalism with a few concessions towards social programs is considered left-wing in that environment. Granted,Canada isn’t really much better, with people assuming that our Liberal Party is left-wing instead of the spineless centrists that they’ve repeatedly shown themselves to be.)

Philosophy Tube does a really good series explaining the ideology of liberalism, much better than I could explain, so if you’re interested in learning more, I recommend it :

personalpest
personalpest
1 year ago

@Dalillama:

This right here is a key difference between liberals and leftists: leftists don’t consider voluntary participation in imperialist wars of aggression laudable.

And neither do I. Also, I had a lot of problems with McCain, who believed a lot of terrible things and had serious anger management issues. However, the only thing worse than voluntary participation in imperialist wars of aggression is backing those wars while letting other people fight and die in your place, which is what Trump and his fellow armchair warriors did.

Steph
Steph
1 year ago

One of my rules of life is to know that anybody who evokes the “No True Scotsman” argument can be safely ignored.

“Real women” have all kinds of views. But really I don’t expect anything better from Spiked.

Dalillama
Dalillama
1 year ago

@Personalpest

However, the only thing worse than voluntary participation in imperialist wars of aggression is backing those wars while letting other people fight and die in your place, which is what Trump and his fellow armchair warriors did.

Why? I’m not seeing a significant moral difference.

personalpest
personalpest
1 year ago

@Dalillama:

Why? I’m not seeing a significant moral difference.

The difference is that McCain was wiling to risk his own life for his principles (as shitty as they were) rather than forcing others to die on his behalf. And yes, McCain was a bad person who should have opposed the war, but I give him a couple of points for courage, a quality most Republicans lack these days.

Mayu the demon kitsune
Mayu the demon kitsune
1 year ago

“Doesn’t feel real opression” Im not a big fan of Chapo honestly but they have like talked about the altright killing anti fascist protesters yes? And you know you can’t talk about how people don’t feel real opression while making a transphobic joke, they sound like center right centerists who happen to dislike capitalism

Paco
Paco
1 year ago

“Doesn’t feel real opression” Im not a big fan of Chapo honestly but they have like talked about the altright killing anti fascist protesters yes? And you know you can’t talk about how people don’t feel real opression while making a transphobic joke, they sound like center right centerists who happen to dislike capitalism”

They are no different from the IDW, or Breibart for that matter. The Red Scare girls have even unironically expressed admiration for the likes of Camile Paglia.

Although, lets remember that Amber was absent on their Anti-fap episode where they talk about Charlottesville, and Matt criticises those who try to draw a false equivalence between the left and the alt-right.

I expect Amber to become a traditionalist paleocon or even a neocon in the near future. She reminds me of all those tankies who latter converted to neocons. A bright future awaits writing in The Federalist, or the NRO.

Paco
Paco
1 year ago

“Never mind Trump’s racism. Never mind the literal children suffering and dying in concentration camps at the border. Never mind the rollback of basic rights for women and LGBTQ people. Liberals just don’t like his hair, or the way the guy talks.”

And those things also happened on previous administrations, but liberals didn’t pay any attention then. There is very little difference between the “never-Trump” republicans and Trump himself policy wise, they just don’t like the aesthetic. And yet liberals threat these neocons and war criminals as if they were “decent conservatives” that are worthy of any respect.

Let’s not forget Obama also threw immigrants into these camps. These humans rights abuses have existed from decades prior. If democrats didn’t want these horrific crimes to happen, maybe they shouldn’t have created the machinery that allowed them to happen in the first place.

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
1 year ago

Concern troll much?

Lainy
Lainy
1 year ago

@Surplus

I’d say so. Someone pumpkin is a little frosted lol.

Peregrine
Peregrine
1 year ago

@Paco

Kind of validating some of the liberal commenters concerns there. As a leftist who is endlessly critical of Obama and the Democratic party apparatus, I definitely recognize that his policies were not as racist or queerphobic as those of the current administration. Obviously the immigration piece left A LOT to be desired but lumping them all together as if they’re indistinguishable betrays a lack of acknowledgement of the importance of social issues. We can’t expect marginalized libs to be our comrades if we refuse to accept the nuance of our admittedly awful mainstream political landscape and address the margins that so many live in.

Also, going out of your way to blames Democrats for a situation that Republicans are CURRENTLY in control of is nothing but useless whataboutism.

Paco
Paco
1 year ago

@Peregrine

“Also, going out of your way to blames Democrats for a situation that Republicans are CURRENTLY in control of is nothing but useless whataboutism.”

Democrats currently control the house, they’ve decided to give more money for those camps with no strings attached, and then decided to relentlessly attack the few congresswomen who voted against it. Even when they are partially in control, they push for those awful policies.

So, no this is no whataboutism, nativism is a bipartisan policy