Back in August, something quite strange happened. A man called Rudy Pantoja was being interviewed by a local news organisation in Seattle about the opening of a new police station he was in support of. Anti-police activists were also present. One of them was Zarna Joshi, a somewhat notable climate and social activist in the area. She approached Pantoja and asked what his name was. Pantoja, with the titter of a schoolboy, replied: "Hugh Mungus".
Joshi takes extreme umbrage to this comment, interpreting it as a reference to Pantoja's penis (he later said it was a self-deprecating nod to his weight) and proceeds to scream bloody murder about being sexually harassed by the comment. As Pantoja walks away, Joshi complains to the security inside the building about being sexually harassed and asks why they're not doing anything about it.
This was all caught on film and, naturally, as it goes with these kind of things – and as it will continue to go until the end of time, until the world implodes into a silent black hole and the internet ceases to exist – people were upset.
Look deep into YouTube's darkened hallways and you'll find a video uploaded by a user called Miss Misa, who appears to be a young English woman. She sometimes has guests on her channel, one of which is a man who calls himself The Irate Bear. Unlike Misa, The Irate Bear doesn't show his face, and rather embodies an avatar of a cartoon bear dressed as a Limp Bizkit fan.
He created a reaction video to a reaction video about the Hugh Mungus incident, made by a woman arguing Joshi's side. This is something that happens a lot on YouTube: a seemingly endless double helix of constantly criss-crossing videos reacting to events which no history book would ever document – which are insignificant in the extreme. In his video, the Irate Bear castigates feminists, SJWs, all of the usual suspects for an angry, faceless man ranting on YouTube.
He also, though being English, uses a great deal of American terminology.
A video by "Sargon of Akkad"
The Angry Bear falls into a distinctive new category of YouTuber, and indeed of society at large. There's a certain type of British man who has become enamoured with America, its social politics and its machinations, and wishes to become an intellectual authority on it. And to a lot of these guys, intellectual authority means reducing any and all subject matter to a kind of hyper-rationality.
One of the biggest proponents of this style is Sargon of Akkad, real name Carl Benjamin – also known as the man who tweeted Labour MP Jess Phillips after she wrote that "people talking about raping me isn't fun, but has become somewhat par for the course", in which he said he "wouldn't even rape [her]". The real Sargon of Akkad was an emperor who ruled over Mesopotamia in the 24th century BC, so the links between him and a man with a YouTube account who sounds like he's from Swindon are of course easy to make.
Carl of Akkad, much like the rest of them, seems to pride himself on a sense of purist thinking and a logic-before-all attitude. Problem is, when you're speaking on issues of a social nature that cannot be boiled down to textbook definitions of words, it's not really an approach that works particularly well.
A video by Paul Joseph Watson
Still, that hasn't stopped men like Carl and "Infowars editor-at-large" Paul Joseph Watson from becoming the right-wing commentators of the digital age. Gone are the days when your Bill O'Reillys and Sean Hannitys screeching about the desecration of the American flag and the war on drugs was enough to rile up conservatives. Now, something more nuanced is needed, and arrives, strangely, in the form of young-ish British men.
Where Fox News prided itself only on the extremities of playing devil's advocate and brow-beating guests, the new wave are staring dead-eyed into the camera and explaining to you via their massively superior intellect why the SJWs are wrong.
Intellectualism and "logic" is the greatest currency among these types, though they often wilfully choose to ignore the nuances of many of their subjects. This happens especially when it comes to matters of race, racial biases, discrimination, etc. Issues that have hundreds of different permutations and considerations that must be taken into account are often just reduced to their dictionary definitions.
The definition of racism, for instance, will be used to discredit people insinuating that maybe – just maybe – a great deal of white people have been conditioned into being racist. Because to make that – or any – assumption about white people and the way they think would itself be racist, or so the thinking goes. It's a kind of blustering myopia, expressed with an unwarranted air of cerebral authority that appeals to (mostly) men who feel ostracised for just being too damned smart for the world.
In a general sense, this is nothing new; the internet has been a home for these guys for many, many years. But what is it about this new breed of British men and their obsession with whatever's outraging America?
Is it just because the cultural hegemony is so great that it blots out all other light? Maybe it's because American issues, typically overblown, serve as convenient vessels for their prejudices – ones they can't quite find here? And why do Americans seem to lap it up? Could it be that the old trope of the intelligent, nuanced Brit has taken a right-wing turn in a time of exponential growth of anglophilia? Is Doctor Who to blame for snide, digital age right-wing nerds becoming some of the biggest voices among the fringe commentariat?
Either way, if you have an annoyingly precocious teen in your charge and you catch them watching Sargon of Akkad or Paul Joseph Watson or The Irate Bear, put your arm around them and tell them that it's OK to be empathetic sometimes. That you don't have to be right all the time, or use big words and sarcasm to make people feel small.
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