A True Patriot and American Hero
January 6, 2019 11:13 PM   Subscribe

Vic Berger (prev: 1, 2, 3), comedian and media satirist, has become one of the latest targets of alt-right hate gang, The Proud Boys, after exposing the group and its leader for their violent tactics. Not one to be easily intimidated, this was his response. [NSFW]
posted by Christ, what an asshole (53 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
(shoot, almost all videos need NSFW tags due to pixelated nudity, violence, and language)
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 11:17 PM on January 6


[added that, just so it shows up on front page.]
posted by taz (staff) at 11:26 PM on January 6


It’s probably been linked in other threads, but my favourite news article today was that proud Biys founder Gavin McInnes has been so triggered by “Hate has no home here” signs appearing in his neighborhood, as a silent counter protest to his views, that he has written to neighbors to ask them to remove them. Well done to the good people of Larchmont - that is some epic work.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:47 PM on January 6 [50 favorites]


This video—the response which is the last link in the OP—is a good accompaniment to having read relatively dry longform articles about the Proud Boys, given that it's primarily a compilation of damning Gavin McInnes descriptions of the Proud Boys in his own words.
posted by XMLicious at 11:58 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]


has been so triggered

Must we adopt the sarcastic attitude to this word? Or is its redefinition complete?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:36 AM on January 7 [19 favorites]


Is there something to McInnes' pocket-protector look? Is he one of those morons who lionizes William Foster, not realizing that he's the bad guy?
posted by klanawa at 1:00 AM on January 7 [2 favorites]


As has been shown over and over again, dudes absolutely do not understand anything but the most blatant points in films about other shitty dudes being shitty. See also: Scarface, Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, Fight Club, etc. etc.
posted by runcibleshaw at 1:03 AM on January 7 [23 favorites]


For an enjoyably confusing few moments I thought this article was about Victor Borge - also a comedian known for anti-Nazi routines (but alas deceased since 2000).
posted by archy at 1:03 AM on January 7 [18 favorites]


Is there something to McInnes' pocket-protector look?

He's trying not to look like a bad guy to anyone who's not seen Falling Down.
posted by Merus at 2:29 AM on January 7 [12 favorites]


When I pause the final 'response video', I am recommended: Steven Crowder, Jordan Peterson, Joe Rogan, Gavin McInnes... I mean, jeez, I came here to watch something a bit lighter, but Youtube wants me to get radicalised
posted by The River Ivel at 2:39 AM on January 7 [32 favorites]


inflatablekiwi, that's an excellent link, thank you.

Around the time of the 2016 election, I passed out Hate Has No Home Here signs among businesses in my neighborhood in response to a sharp uptick in hate crimes locally. Almost everyone accepted and displayed them, with the exception of a Ten Thousand Villages location. The store manager thought the signs were a "divisive" and "partisan" statement against... uh, hate?

Anyway, thanks for the link.
posted by duffell at 3:25 AM on January 7 [15 favorites]


Why do neo-nazis try to hard to convince everyone that they are not neo-nazis?
posted by JohnFromGR at 4:13 AM on January 7 [2 favorites]


he has written to neighbors to ask them to remove them. Well done to the good people of Larchmont - that is some epic work.

I don't even know how to describe the feeling I get upon learning that this King of the Hipster Edgelord Douchebags lives in the staid, old-money enclave of Larchmont.
posted by entropone at 4:24 AM on January 7 [12 favorites]


Why do neo-nazis try to hard to convince everyone that they are not neo-nazis?

It's the nazi version of the Southern Strategy. "I'm not a Nazi, I'm just for sensible immigration laws" or whatever. ContraPoints details it.
posted by entropone at 4:25 AM on January 7 [17 favorites]


Why do neo-nazis try to hard to convince everyone that they are not neo-nazis?
posted by JohnFromGR at 8:13 PM on January 7 [+] [!]


The same reason you probably don't know any heroin dealers or Scientologists. It's a shameful, universally condemned thing that requires other people's participation and works like a secret club. Gross.
posted by saysthis at 4:26 AM on January 7 [9 favorites]


I don't even know how to describe the feeling I get upon learning that this King of the Hipster Edgelord Douchebags lives in the staid, old-money enclave of Larchmont.

It's a short trip between genteel, country club fascism and actual, blood-in-the-street fascism, and Bill Kristol, George Will, Andrew Sullivan and a bunch of other right wing talking heads are currently in deep denial / damage control mode about that.
posted by ryanshepard at 4:31 AM on January 7 [26 favorites]


The store manager thought the signs were a "divisive" and "partisan" statement against... uh, hate?

You can agree with a sentiment while finding a particular representation problematic.

For example, I’m pretty sure everyone here would like to make America great again.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:03 AM on January 7 [8 favorites]


> Why do neo-nazis try to hard to convince everyone that they are not neo-nazis?

It's what they call "brand management".
posted by at by at 5:19 AM on January 7 [8 favorites]


Interestingly, the comments on Berger's videos seem overwhelmingly supportive to him. I'm a little surprised that Nazi Gavin's precious little stans haven't flooded the place with their vitriol. I guess they reserve that for women and POC generally.
posted by Weftage at 5:33 AM on January 7 [2 favorites]


Hats off to Vic Berger, and to those people of Larchmont who put signs out. Nazi Gavin can go pound sand - a damn shame he has any kind of platform at all. He seems like an all around shit-head. I feel bad for his kids: that can't be fun or easy. And I would like, as a Canadian, to ban him from ever returning. And I would like for him to be followed around, wherever he goes by a small brass band playing silly marching songs, like when they troll the nazis/KKK on their marches. In fact, I hereby promise that if I ever win some super-duper lotto, I will hire a small brass band to accompany him wherever he goes.
posted by From Bklyn at 5:53 AM on January 7 [10 favorites]


YouTube constantly recommends Joe Rogan videos to me. I don't really know anything about him – but every time I see one of his thumbnails, I get a distinct whiff of douchebag. So I've avoided clicking on them.

Now I know that Joe Rogan is the kind of guy who gives Gavin McInnes a platform. So, you know, apparently my douchebag detector still works, and fuck Joe Rogan.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 6:12 AM on January 7 [13 favorites]


Joe Rogan is the kind of guy to give pretty much every semi popular reactionary and crypto fascist a platform.

Giving McInnes a platform barely scratches the surface of Rogan's complicity.
posted by Yowser at 6:20 AM on January 7 [15 favorites]




I always wonder....are Gavin McInnes' fashion choices inspired by Dwight Schrute?
posted by kuanes at 7:09 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Dwight Schrute would 100% become a Proud Boy except for some sort of disagreement about whether zippers are for the weak.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 7:24 AM on January 7 [8 favorites]


What do you call someone who sits at a table with 10 fascists but screen out two of them?

A fascist.
posted by maxsparber at 7:26 AM on January 7 [14 favorites]


JohnFromGR: "Why do neo-nazis try to hard to convince everyone that they are not neo-nazis?"

It's the punching.
posted by chavenet at 7:40 AM on January 7 [15 favorites]


Jovi Val, a former proud boy, lead a rally of a five whole people in front of the White House but forgit to get a permit so park police got all up in thier faces (best part? Being drowned out by the anti nuke guy whose always there);
posted by The Whelk at 8:10 AM on January 7 [3 favorites]


He's trying not to look like a bad guy to anyone who's not seen Falling Down.

I called it his "angry dad" look—and Yiannopoulos even introduces McInnes as "Your daddy" at one moment in that video—and I suspect that McInnes is way too media savy for there not to be something of a call-back to D-FENS in his outfit. It's a packaging of "traditional" masculinity + unhip squareness in a way that mimes "authenticity" almost like a kind of reverse drag act.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:13 AM on January 7 [16 favorites]


Joe Rogan is the kind of guy to give pretty much every semi popular reactionary and crypto fascist a platform.

It's quite a feat to end up being the shittiest cast member from a TV show that also starred Andy Dick, but Joe Rogan somehow managed to pull it off.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:00 AM on January 7 [28 favorites]


I posted one of the 'previously' links and have been a fan for a long time. It was pretty surreal to see all this unfold on Twitter. For a very long time I thought I just didn't get it, and wasn't even sure if any of it was real. And then it got really serious. I hope he'll get through this quickly.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:05 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


From the "Falling Down" Wikipedia page linked above:
On the 25th anniversary of the film's release, film critic April Wolfe of LA Weekly wrote that it "remains one of Hollywood's most overt yet morally complex depictions of the modern white-victimization narrative, one both adored and reviled by the extreme right". Wolfe said "Today, we might see D-Fens and the white supremacist as the infighting sides of the far right — one couches racism in coded words like "thug," while the other wants an outright ethnic cleanse. Ultimately, what both want is to return to their idea of a purer America, unburdened by the concerns of minorities and women". Wolfe suggested that Rupert Murdoch would "go on to bottle that fury and package it as patriotism" in creating Fox News.
posted by clawsoon at 12:21 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


It's quite a feat to end up being the shittiest cast member from a TV show that also starred Andy Dick, but Joe Rogan somehow managed to pull it off.

I had COMPLETELY blocked out that Rogan was on NewsRadio. And, in looking that up, I've discovered that I somehow long confused Vicki Lewis and Kathy Griffin, for which I'd like to extend numerous apologies to Ms. Lewis.
posted by hanov3r at 1:11 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Must we adopt the sarcastic attitude to this word? Or is its redefinition complete?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:36 AM on January 7 [12 favorites +] [!]


see also the word "snowflake", as in "special snowflake" summer of 2016, probably earlier
posted by eustatic at 1:54 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Google Trends seems to show summer 2016, yeah
posted by eustatic at 1:59 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


To be fair, we've all been made much, much stupider in many ways since the 2016 primary season, especially liberals. It's like watching the entire anglophone media world having a flowers-for-algernon regression after a brief awakening in 2015.
posted by eustatic at 2:09 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


Nuance doesn't feel very important when the goal is to defeat Nazis.
posted by scose at 2:14 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]


this King of the Hipster Edgelord Douchebags lives in the staid, old-money enclave of Larchmont

Huh, he lives not far from me. I'll put that face on my day-to-day radar.
posted by davejay at 4:58 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Is there something to McInnes' pocket-protector look?

Much like Trump pitches to what unsophisticated people think a billionaire looks and acts like, McInnes is, I think, aiming for the mental image of an intellectual held by people who don't have much direct experience with intellectuals. There's a certain strain of the right that fetishizes propaganda pantomiming as "research" and scholarship, and McInnes seems to be playing to that.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:51 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


I met Gavin once through a friend, he was an online shock comedian and -- it must be said -- co-founder of Vice Media (they kicked him out). I think what happened was his schtick wasn't working on YouTube, and he found a new audience on Fox News. Then, slowly, like every comedian who tries to commit to the bit, he became the thing he thought he was satirizing.

Now he's backing out of the Proud Boys and apparently sending his neighbors apologetic shit like this. Aw poor guy. I think it's a little too late now.
posted by fungible at 7:19 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


Joe Rogans podcasts with athletes are great. As a UFC commentator he’s pretty great.

What are his podcasts with alt righters like? Please only answer if you’ve listened to one.
posted by MjrMjr at 8:04 PM on January 7


The only reason to listen to Joe Rogan is when a fellow comedian is on. Especially someone from his generation. It's up there with Gilbert Godfrey's podcasts with old timey comedians. The love of the craft, the art of stand up. For someone who tired and failed or anyone who loves stand up, those interviews are just pure gold.

For anyone else he is interviewing (outside MMA, I assume) I would just give a hard pass to. The dude is straight, kinda, you know, dumb. He's acid guru smart.
posted by gideonswann at 11:33 PM on January 7


What are his podcasts with alt righters like? Please only answer if you’ve listened to one.

He likes to shoot the shit and allow for freedom of expression on whatever current events or subjects the guest finds important. In other words, he gives them a platform and is irresolute in his challenges.

It could be argued he strikes a balance with having on liberal guests, but he's put his profit and brand behind the "centrist" label (AKA right apologia).
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 12:17 AM on January 8 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I've seen bits where he allows (and even encourages) guests to talk about progressive ideas. So it's not like he's a flaming Nazi himself. He's just one of those people who thinks "it's okay to give bad ideas a platform, because then people will see what bad ideas they are, and better ideas will win out".

But that's just bullshit. That whole "sunlight is the best disinfectant / marketplace of ideas" thing is just not how the world works – especially when said sunlight takes the form of a prominent interviewer, with a huge online following, inviting various leaders of a growing neo-fascist movement onto his program to spew their propaganda.

It doesn't matter how Rogan handles the interview (i.e., whether he pushes back, or just sits there and lets the guest talk). The fascists know how to exploit either situation from a media perspective, and simply giving them that exposure hands them a win. It moves violently racist and fascist ideas into the Overton window, and frames them as fair game for debate (instead of the repugnant thing that they are).

Complicity, indeed. The only winning move is not to play.

(And, before anyone drags "freedom of speech" into this: the First Amendment means that the government can't prevent McInnes from saying noxious things. It doesn't oblige Rogan to invite him onto his program, or Amazon to host his website, or a newspaper to print his letters. No one has to help him speak. I trust that the vast majority of MeFites understand this.)
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:43 AM on January 8 [4 favorites]


The description of Falling Down got me interested, so I watched it last night. Interesting to see which targets of the protagonist's rage did and didn't end up becoming Fox News orthodoxy. He hated and/or did violence to: Women, Latinos, Nazis, people who don't believe that the customer is always right, rich people, and people whose accents he had difficulty understanding.

He had positive interactions with - and identified himself with the oppression of - Black people. He was being oppressed Just Like Them, you see, "Not Economically Viable".
posted by clawsoon at 5:46 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


To expand a bit on my previous comment:

The whole notion of the "marketplace of ideas" is based on a facile misunderstanding of how markets work. The thinking seems to be: "If two people make shirts and offer them for sale in the bazaar, and one is clearly superior to the other, then the better shirt will win out in the market, and the bad shirtmaker will cease to exist".

Now, that reasoning may hold true for commodities. All other things (price, availability, etc.) being equal, higher-purity pig iron will win out over lower-purity pig iron. But shirts (and ideas) aren't commodities. Some people want dressy button-up shirts, and other people want frilly blouses, and still others want snarky T-shirts, and so on. Some people want ideas that are concerned with things like justice and equality, and others want ideas that allow them to feel powerful and superior (justice and equality be damned), and so on.

There isn't one market for ideas, but many markets, each catering to different wants. Offer an idea for sale in the bazaar, and you'll find a buyer.

And, crucially, the consequences of having bad shirts around aren't comparable to the consequences of having bad ideas around. In the former case, the worst possible consequence is that some people will wear bad shirts. In the latter case, the worst possible consequence is that people will commit genocide.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:59 AM on January 8 [3 favorites]


I'll suggest a different take on the marketplace of ideas: Bullshit is cheap to produce and easy to make new and interesting. Truth is expensive to discover and changes slowly. New, interesting, plentiful and cheap is going to win out in most free markets. That's why the government has to provide socialized education: In a free market of ideas, the truth hardly stands a chance.

It's true that governments often peddle bullshit of their own, and it's true that the marketplace of ideas sometimes produces a new, true idea. On balance, though, the truth wouldn't stand a chance if it weren't for the trillion plus dollars that governments spend on education every year.
posted by clawsoon at 6:10 AM on January 8 [6 favorites]


That whole "sunlight is the best disinfectant / marketplace of ideas" thing is just not how the world works

Indeed. And I'm pretty sure the people who say this, if confronted with a spill of rancid raw chicken slurry on their kitchen counter, would agree that there are better disinfectants than sunlight.

Sunlight is a halfway-decent disinfectant for petty corruption, but if you've got Nazis, reach for bleach.
posted by duffell at 6:17 AM on January 8 [4 favorites]


Or a flamethrower.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 6:37 AM on January 8 [2 favorites]


Bullshit is cheap to produce and easy to make new and interesting. Truth is expensive to discover and changes slowly.
"Few lies carry the inventors mark; and the most prostitute Enemy to Truth may spread a thousand without being known as the Author. Besides, as the vilest Writer has his Readers, so the greatest Liar has his Believers; and it often happens, that if a Lie be believ’d only for an Hour, it has done its Work, and there is no farther occasion for it. Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it; so that when Men come to be undeceiv’d, it is too late; the Jest is over, and the Tale has had its Effect ...

Considering the natural Disposition in many Men to Lie and in Multitudes to Believe, I have been perplex'd what to do with that Maxim, so frequent in every Bodies Mouth, That Truth will at last prevail ..."
Jonathan Swift, The Examiner, #15, November 1710.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:04 AM on January 8 [4 favorites]


Now he's backing out of the Proud Boys and apparently sending his neighbors apologetic shit like this.

Considering that just before he sent that letter he went on his radio show and called those same neighbors a series of hateful slurs, I wouldn't call what he's doing there so much "apologetic" as "sniveling bullshit". There is absolutely no element of remorse to what he's doing.
posted by Copronymus at 4:04 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


And, before anyone drags "freedom of speech" into this: the First Amendment means that the government can't prevent McInnes from saying noxious things. It doesn't oblige Rogan to invite him onto his program, or Amazon to host his website, or a newspaper to print his letters. No one has to help him speak. I trust that the vast majority of MeFites understand this.

So there's a complication I wasn't aware of (and trust me, I've been banging up against the American ideal of freedom of speech for twenty years now): the First Amendment is limited in this way, but the philosophical underpinnings of freedom of speech aren't. They are, very explicitly, that you are obligated to let everyone speak.

The thing is that the marginalised are routinely denied their freedom of speech if we define freedom of speech in this rather expansive way, and there's a lot more diversity of opinion there so realistically you have to put a lot of them on. The other argument is that fascism is a rejection of liberal values gussied up as a response to them, and if liberal values are important to you then you shouldn't treat fascist approaches as a debate, but as an attack.

In practical terms, though, it's very useful for us to declare certain debates as settled via laws that prevent certain harmful discussions from taking place (vilification laws and the like). The discussion over whether these laws are helpful can still take place, so it's not the use of power to coerce others' views, while still providing protection to those who benefit from it.
posted by Merus at 12:39 AM on January 9


Despite being an account of events nearly two years old, Jay Firestone's "Three Months Inside Alt-Right New York," for Commune, is worth a read for it's description of the overlapping circles of bro culture, rightist and far-rightist politics, and shitlordery.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:26 AM on January 11


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