By David Futrelle
On Sunday, freelance journalist Talia Jane took to Twitter to report a truly grotesque sexual message she’d gotten from a male colleague whom she later identified as Seattle Times reporter Mike Rosenberg.
Then this all happened:
- Rosenberg suspended his Twitter account at Jane’s request.
- The paper suspended Rosenberg while they looked into the matter.
- Twitter suspended, then unsuspended, Jane’s account over an innocuous tweet because some annoying nitwit got mad at her for reporting the DM, and Twitter’s abuse reporting system is so broken that annoying nitwits can get people suspended over innocuous tweets.
- Australian podcaster Aimee Terese, ostensibly a leftist, attacked Jane in a tweet that somehow managed to be even grosser than Rosenberg’s DM, and my mouth dropped open, leaving my lower jaw suspended in the air. (Figuratively.)
Before we get into #4, let’s go back to the original gross DM, sent at the tail end of a late-night conversation between Rosenberg and Jane, when the Seattle reporter suddenly transitioned from such topics as journalism jobs and the cost of living in Seattle to, well, this:
Rosenberg, who has acknowledged that he did indeed send these messages, claims that that last one was meant for someone else whose picture he was presumably masturbating onto. The out-of-the-blue strangeness of his comment had led some to think he may be telling the truth, but Jane isn’t buying this explanation.
But I’m just going to move on to Aimee Terese’s tweet, though, because, holy hell, it’s in many ways even grosser than Rosenberg’s DM:
(This tweet has since been deleted; I grabbed the clearest screenshot I could find of it here.)
When someone asked if she really meant what she seemed to be saying, she doubled down:
And then she doubled down again:
Terese even tried to lay out a twisted sort-of Marxist case for … attacking someone with a gross sexual tweet for reporting a gross sexual DM.
(In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I am Twitter-friendly with @RivkaGheist and that as far as I can tell she is not in fact “ruling class scum.”)
In other tweets, Terese declared that Jane was “hysterical and cruel,” compared her to an abusive cop, and suggested she was a narcissist because … she once wrote an open letter to her then-employer demanding better pay and working conditions:
Shitting on someone for demanding better pay seems like an odd thing for a supposed Marxist to do, but I guess I don’t understand the finer points of the dialectic.
Terese even doubled down on calling Jane ugly:
Other ostensible leftists jumped into the fray with similar attacks on Jane, including the co-host of the Red Scare podcast:
Writer and podcaster Conner Habib alternated between sarcastic tweets laced with Marxoid jargon and … cum jokes.
Meanwhile, this guy evidently thought that the only thing this discussion needed to make it complete was a meme, er, humorously referencing the Chinese crackdown on students in Tiananmen Square.
Terese retweeted his meme, because of course she did.
It would be one thing if Terese and her pals in this discussion were just some tiny subgrouplet of a subgrouplet on the left.
But in fact they’re part of what seems to be a growing subculture of purported leftists who somehow manage to spend as much time attacking so-called “identity politics” — or IDpol, as they call it — as they do pushing their own reductionist class analysis, which as in this case often turns out to consist of little more than calling people they don’t like “ruling class scum.” They’re a sort of successor to what what was once called the “dirtbag left.”
This subculture now boasts a subreddit of its own — r/stupidpol, with nearly 10,000 subscribers — and it’s gotten celebrity endorsements of sorts from several relatively well-known names like journalist Michael Tracey — formerly of The Young Turks, now an occasional guest on Tucker Carlson’s White Power Hour — and Angela Nagle — a sometime writer for The Baffler and Jacobin whose book on the alt-right has won plaudits from none other than “dapper Nazi” Richard Spencer, who was especially pleased with her extended diatribe against so-caled Tumblrinas.
The Spencer endorsement is no fluke. Given their delight in “triggering” liberals and those on the intersectional left, people like Terese and the whole r/stupidpol crowd bear more than a passing resemblance to the alt-right — so much so that some people describe them as a new variety of NazBol, or National Bolshevism, a sort of mixture of (you guessed it) Nazi-style nationalism and Stalinesque Marxism.
I think (I hope!) that’s overstating it a bit. But these folks are truly the political equivalent of a creepy DM slide.
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