So you’ve heard about the whole GameStop thing, right? The denizens of a stock trading subreddit have collectively levitated the stock price of troubled game retailer GameStop up roughly a kajillion percent since last fall, screwing over several hedge funds that were betting on the company’s stock going down the toilet. (You can get all the gory details of what’s going on here.)
While most outside observers seem to find the entire situation pretty fucking funny — rooting for the retail investors getting one over the hedge fund assholes for once — others saw it as a symptom of the “unruly mob” taking over trading. (Never mind that traders have always been an unruly mob.)
One of those most concerned about the GameStop story — and its possible future ramifications — is Scott Galloway, a tech/business guru who teaches marketing at New York University and who, judging from the pictures of him I’ve seen online, could probably beat up your dad.
Anyway, this Chadly professor blames the whole GameStock thing on … incels.
He elaborates a little more in several followup tweets:
Now, there are a few problems with this, er, analysis. One is that we don’t actually know the demographics of those promoting and/or buying GameStop stock. Indeed, when the New York Times spoke with several recent GameStop buyers they ranged from a 16-year-old high school student (incel status: unknown) to a married couple in their late twenties (incel status: highly unlikely).
But a columnist for the GuardianUS had a more pointed critique:
I can’t help but be reminded of the creepy talk about “sexual redistribution” we saw back in 2018 after the Toronto van attack brought the issue of incels to the fore. I wrote a piece for Vice at the time detailing some of the darker implications of the idea that sex could be redistributed like government cheese:
George Mason University economist Robin Hanson suggested in a now-infamous blog post that “involuntary celibacy” and “sexual inequality” in general could be fixed, and violence reduced, if we as a society set out to “redistribute” sex more equally.
How, exactly, Hanson thinks this could be done isn’t clear, though his post vaguely referenced the idea that “[s]ex could be directly redistributed, or cash might be redistributed in compensation.” After some critics pointed out that this “direct redistribution” of sex sounded an awful lot like government-sponsored sex slavery, Hanson added a defensive update to his original post. “Sex choices are influenced by a great many factors and each such factor offers a possible lever for influencing sex inequality,” he wrote, suggesting “promoting monogamy and discouraging promiscuity” as two options. “Rape and slavery are far from the only possible levers!” …
Just over a week after the van attack, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat entered the fray, piggybacking off of Hanson’s bad ideas in a column arguing that “the sexual revolution created new winners and losers, new hierarchies to replace the old ones, privileging the beautiful and rich and socially adept in new ways and relegating others to new forms of loneliness and frustration.”
If society doesn’t clamp down on this kind of “promiscuity,” Douthat ominously warned, the inexorable “logic of late-modern sexual life” would inevitably lead to a Hanson-esque “sexual redistribution” that today’s casual-sex-havers might find a tad horrifying. Either that or everyone would turn to sex robots; Douthat was a little vague about it all. In the Spectator, a few days later, columnist Toby Young seconded the sexbot solution, arguing that “robot girlfriends” could be a “workable” cure for “sexual inequality” and incel mass murders.
Feminists responded to the “redistribution of sex” talk with a mixture of horror and wonder: horror at the real-world implications of this strangely abstract and antiseptic discussion, wonder at the sheer obtuseness of those pushing the idea. “We can’t redistribute women’s bodies as if they are a natural resource,” Jia Tolentino wrote in the New Yorker, “they are the bodies we live in.”
If Scott Galloway has a better way in mind to redistribute sex to allegedly sexless stock traders on Reddit, I’d like to hear it, because as of right now — with sex robots more than a few years into the future — Hanson and Douthat’s terrible ideas are the best we’ve got, and they are breathtakingly bad.
The real problem isn’t that some stock traders aren’t having sex; it’s that we rely so heavily on what is basically a lightly regulated casino to take care of financing businesses — and providing for our retirements. Let’s get to work on reforming that and leave Redditors to take care of their sex lives without any form of public assistance.
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