Last Saturday I got unnecessarily excited at the premier of Part III of Fox News junior pundit and stand-up comedian Steven Crowder’s magnum opus of “MY MARRIAGE RULZ FUCK YOU HATERS”. The reason for my joy, which manifested itself in a few regrettably dumb tweets, was that Crowder’s previous pieces on the same subject were so chock full of inane observations and transparently silly misconceptions about the world that I frankly rejoiced at the thought of viciously skewering the new post before I even read the thing. I even primed my editor over at Wonkette with some half-assed “hoo boy this should be fun” before realizing that I could only excise one mediocre gay joke from the whole piece.
After reading Crowder’s post “I’m a guy and I’ll never badmouth my wife”, my enthusiasm diminished and my desire to do almost anything with the post floated into the abyss of meh that has surrounded much of the last few weeks. In reading Crowder now I not only see someone who is running out of material to write about, I am also gazing at the proverbial fun house mirror and seeing a slightly distorted image of myself. Given how much time I spent excoriating every aspect of this young man’s life recently, the realization that he and I are not so different is jarring to say the least. However there is something to learn both in our similarities, as well as our differences, which in a way I think (although this is probably bordering on self-indulgence here) highlight the stark divergence in political socialization that we now so playing out today.
In case you are reading this and wondering why in the fuck I am prepping you for a long form article concerning my thoughts on this dude, let me first explain that Crowder is not only the guy who made the news last year for getting punched in the face during a Union protest in Wisconsin, he is also the fine gentleman who trolled the world with his pieces for FoxNews.com. These included: bragging about how his decision to not fuck his lady friend until they got married makes him a better person than the rest of us, shitting on some obscure rapper’s decision not to get a vasectomy, and some rambly piece of shit about how marriage will solve all of societies woes. As you can see nothing that he has to say is particularly insightful or original, but the fact that he as a young man is saying it (versus the usual faces of folks like Pat Robertson or Phyllis Schlafly) make him a bit of show pony for the right wing’s latest new angle on the same awful ideas. Of course it also makes him a prime target for folks like me on the other side, so Crowder’s increased notoriety is a bipartisan success story.
However after reading Crowder’s new post I decided to re-visit his older works in order to confirm something that I started to suspect. What I know think about the man is that, at least on this one issue, he is not just some well-coifed finger puppet for the Conservative Movement (although that is how they regard him). Instead Crowder is actually rather sincere in his beliefs regarding the institution, and also in his love for his wife– issues for which I absolutely do not begrudge him, and for obvious reasons.
As a fellow young married millennial whose favorite pastimes happens to include posting silly things on the internet, I have some pretty glaring similarities with the way more successful Crowder. So many in fact that one could probably conclude that much of my resentment for the man is based on a case of professional jealousy. He and his family will not starve as he is building an impressive resume sucking the engorged cock of wingnut welfare. Meanwhile I am on the precibus of taking the bar exam and am probably looking down the barrel of an extended period pain brought on by long term unemployment combined with crippling student loan debt. I would gladly sell out my righteousness in a second and toss Roger Ailes’ salad on a regular basis if it meant a six figure salary and a few weeks of paid vacation with my wife.
But beyond just the subtle feelings of envy Crowder’s work are the striking parallels in the subject matter of our published works. Both of us are concerned with the pressing political and social problems of this country and we both have our preferred methods of disassembling those issues for a mass audience while still maintaining a degree of verifiable truth to our arguments. However it is here where it is appropriate to parse out our differences.
For example while Crowder and I both might see a culture where it is acceptable for men our age to wallow in adolescence for perpetuity and feel a degree of anger, it is Crowder who takes the opportunity to reflexively blame a whole host of conservative bete noires. Homosexuals, metrosexuals, and the entire progressive movement are at the root of a generation of young men who are unemployed and financially dependent on their parents. Taking the extra step to analyze the degrading economic opportunities and solidifying class-based inequality in our society would require Crowder to abandon the steely resolve of his antagonistic ideology. As being challenged is not Crowder’s strong suit he instead settles for simplicity and unnecessary acts of provocation towards people like me.
This sort of ideological divide compounded with a refusal to be intellectually curious also is evident in Crowder’s posts on marriage and family values. While we both turn our noses at the cultural acceptance of straight men whining incessantly about their wives as some sort of wonderful past time, he once again dives in some half cocked condemnation of the individuals who engage in this sort of behavior instead of perhaps exploring the wider issues of systemic sexism (or just simply acknowledging that “marriage is work“). Equally idiotic is his treatment of “fatherhood”, whereby liburlz are somehow simultaneously responsible for the burden of unwanted and unplanned children while also existing as history’s greatest monsters by advocating for family planning and legal abortions.
I am completely guilty of attempting to gain some degree of publicity by riding Crowders coattails into the internet zeitgeist whenever he stupidly decides to engage some sort of ideological match that is way beyond his weight class. He is an easy individual to lampoon as his ideas are old and tiresome and his own existence personifies the clueless angry jerk that liberals like myself have known and hated since we were in primary school. Crowder may constantly beat up on the poor by blaming them for all of societies ills, but folks like me are right behind him ready to kick him straight in the ass for the exact same reason: vulnerability.
Perhaps the message here is that those of us with a degree of skill in this world of internet scribbling should be brave enough in our convictions and our analytical ability to take on those with real power and influence instead of focusing on the clowns who act as their accomplices on the ground. People like Lanny Davis, Mickey Kraus, Joe Scarborough, and Bob Woodward are equally as disgusting as Steven Crowder, yet they are smart enough to hide their blatant disregard for humanity and democracy behind a veneer of social grace. The acceptability of pundits and politicians who guide young dumbass activists like Crowder has done irreparable damage to the social contract and the basic shared value of humanity in this country. Encouraging hate-clicking on some 25 year old jackass with an occasional Fox News column just seems like a waste of time compared to enlightening people about the permanent destruction of the New Deal.
But then again like Crowder, I’m just a young white moron with a laptop and an audience. Whatever either of us has to say about a particular subject must be viewed through the lens of privilege, inexperience, and (frankly) ignorance. At least I am cognizant enough to realize that fact.