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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