By David Futrelle
The last time we checked in on the Skidmarxists — which is what I’m now calling the post-Dirtbag-Left collection of faux leftists who use Marxian verbiage to defend Nazis, attack feminists, and justify slur-filled shitposts — one of their own, Aimee Terese, was attacking lefty writer and podcaster Jamie Peck as an “ageing starfucker” for coming forward to talk about the predatory behavior of now-disgraced photographer Terry Richardson.
Now Terese and her shitposting Skidmarxist comrades are going after comedian Kath Barbadoro for committing the apparently counterrevolutionary act of … speaking up against comedy clubs that have resumed booking the unredeemed and apparently irredeemable comedian Louie CK, who in 2017 admitted to being a sex pest who used his power in the business to compel much-less-powerful female comedians to watch him masturbate.
This was the Tweet that set the Skidmarxists off:
An assortment of Skidmarxist influencers decided to weigh in on this with the absolute worst takes possible. On Instagram, Red Scare podcast co-cost Anna Khachiyan responded to Barbadoro with these garbage thoughts:
NARRATOR: Louis CK had in fact done something wrong … repeatedly.
On Twitter, she offered this bit of mockery:
Amber A’Lee Frost, a semi-regular on Chapo Trap House (and, ironically, the inventor of the “Dirtbag Left” moniker) offered up a virtual garbage dump of thoughts, also on Instagram.
In fact, sexual harassment and worse is common in the food service industry; it is neither “paranoid” nor “hysterical” to worry about it.
On Twitter, meanwhile, our
old new friend fiend Aimee Terese offered up this baffling take:
After I spent a while trying to figure out how a comedian could possibly be extracting surplus value from audience members who voluntarily pay money to see her, several Twitterers helped me to see that Aimee was actually trying to speak from the point of view of a comedian talking about a “petty bourgeoise” [sic] club owner.
As best as I can figure it, she’s saying that the interests of workers and their “bourgeoise” are so fundamentally opposed that we can only truly solve the problem of sexual harassment after the revolution – so why bring it up now?
Of course, by that logic, virtually any kind of labor organizing around working conditions — or even just for higher wages or minimal worker safety improvements — rather than immediate general strike and socialist revolution is a waste of time. Anyone who thinks that’s a Marxist position clearly hasn’t read Marx very carefully.
Then again, Terese also habitually spells “bourgeois” as “bourgeoise,” with that extra “e” at the end. (“Bourgeoise,” not to be confused with either “bourgeois” or “bourgeoisie,” means “a female member of the bourgeoisie.”)
In any case, this weird and muddled and decidedly un-Marxian argument — that it’s somehow self-indulgent to bring up the issue of sexual harassment before some imagined future revolution — helps to clarify what’s wrong with the whole Skidmarxist approach.
On the one hand, Terese is advancing an ultraleftist argument — that the only sort of labor organizing that counts is organizing for revolution now. But the practical effect of this rhetorical ultraleftism is that she ends up supporting a millionaire sex pest and his “petty bourgeoise” enablers (the club owners and festival organizers that book him) and trashing a working comedian.
Others in the Skidmarxist milieu, meanwhile, refuse to see sexual harassment in comedy as a workplace issue at all, most notably Nick Mullen, the alleged leftist co-host of the unfortunate and unfortunately named Cum Town podcast.
He was responding to this (obviously quite sensible) tweet from Barbadoro:
Mullen, who makes an extreeeeemely comfortable living doing a comedy podcast, replied by more or less declaring that comedy isn’t a job and that comedy clubs are not workplaces, at least not for the comics who appear at them. (It’s not clear if he thinks that they’re workplaces for the waitstaff.)
Never mind that comedy clubs are workplaces and that comedians are workers — and that only a few of them make as much as Mullen does from comedy, even fewer as much as Louis CK has. Never mind that there is no good reason to assume that there’s zero chance he’d at some point re-offend (perhaps not immediately, but later, after the heat dies down).
The real issue here goes way beyond Louis CK. Comedy has been rife with sexual harassment and worse for decades; female comedians put up with an astonishing level of shit. Any club owner who hires the largely unrepentant Louis CK, as Barbadoro suggested in her original tweet, is publicly announcing they don’t give a shit about the safety of female performers.
If they let Louis CK get away with it, why wouldn’t they also let other comics get away with it? The issue isn’t Louis CK jumping from the bushes; it’s a lesser-known comedian preying on some even-lesser known comedian backstage.
The ultimate irony here is that, for all the outrage they’ve directed at Barbadaro — and at other women complaining of sexual harassment- – some of the Skidmarxists have been remarkably quick to accuse others of sexual harassment and worse, often with no evidence at all.
Only a few days ago, in fact, the Skidmarxists and their allies from the Stupidpol subreddit were heading up a Twitter harassment campaign against democratic socialist politician Lee J. Carter, currently running for re-election to the Virginia House of Delegates, after he declared on Twitter he was “FINALLY officially divorced from my abuser.”
One particularly unethical Skidmarxist troll photoshopped some tweets by Carter, who served in Afghanistan, to make it look like he was admitting to sexually abusing Afghan boys.
Here’s a more readable version of the faked screeenshot; I took the liberty of adding the word “FAKE” in huge letters.
This is literally no different from the alt-right and alt-lite trolls — I’m looking at you, Mike Cernovich — who regularly smear people they disagree with as “pedoes” based on no evidence.
Along with telling Wilson to “shut the fuck up,” Terese also offered these thoughts on abuse in general that more than a few observers saw as a not-very-carefully disguised bit of innuendo directed at Wilson.
Terese, for her part, insists that the tweet had nothing to do with Wilson. I guess you’ll have to decide for yourself whether you believe her.
At this point I think we need to accept that the Skidmarxists, whatever their ideological claims, are not in any real sense leftists at all.
While most of them, I suspect, would insist they have nothing in common ideologically with the alt-right, in practice they have come down on the wrong side of issue after issue — attacking liberals, leftists, and feminists and siding, again and again, with antifeminists and reactionaries of all stripes. Their language echoes the worst misogynists (“starfuckers”) and retrograde assholes (“cuck,” “soy boy,” “shitlib,” “degenerate”). In their trolling campaigns, they are virtually indistinguishable from alt-right and alt-lite trolls — and the A Voice for Men flying monkey squad, back when that site was a going concern.
At this point the only genuinely leftist things that the Skidmarxists seem to support are Medicare for All and the candidacy of Bernie Sanders. As writer Nina Illingworth put it on Twitter, these people are basically “just doing fascism with fucking healthcare.”
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