Perhaps the greatest advantage of growing up in the south and going to school at Cornell is that I don’t have the privilege of forgetting that those I disagree with are still people. It’s always been somewhat intuitive, then, that change happens through connection, not conflict. So when that radical ignorance does show up on my Facebook news feed, I’m able to overcome the strong desire to guzzle battery acid and actually evaluate the message being sent.
Cut to me a while back, watching yet another Bill Wurtz video. For some reason, my attention was quickly grabbed by a suggested video, titled Alex Jones Rants as an Indie Folk Song. Now, my music taste is as pretentious as the next college student’s, but I was unprepared for the seamless transition of alt-right vitriol to post-post-ironic indie brilliance. I must have listened to it fifty times since then. As I committed the lyrics to memory, I started to dive deeper into the lyrics, and as a result I gained valuable insight into Jones’ methods.
“That woman, number one, is ugly. Imagine how bad she smells, man. I’m told her and Obama just stink. Obama and Hillary both smell like sulfur.”
I’ll admit that, despite being irrelevant (and low-hanging fruit), the first statement is true; Hillary Clinton is not attractive. But he then calls on you to imagine her smell; like a master fiction writer, he shows instead of telling, bringing to mind the plethora of smells associated with old age, ugliness, and just, like, being a human being (in other words, speculation). He then reaffirms this suggestion with supposed testimony from a third person – he’s not saying it’s true, just that he was told so (in other words, hearsay). With a newfound intensity, he then hooks you with his conclusion, that President Barack Obama and first lady Hillary Clinton smell like sulfur – an odor that any Evangelical Christian knows is the stench of the devil himself.
He began with a statement that would apply to any 71 year-old woman (including your grandmother), and without any other empirical evidence, concluded that this woman is satanic. His method is like the bastard child of a mathematical proof and tentacle porn.
“We’re gonna stab your daughter at the mall. We’re gonna stab your wife, your son. We’re gonna stab you with a butcher knife, and the police chief is gonna say ‘we love our Somalis. We love our Muslims. Oh they’re so good. Oh they’re so sweet.’”
I find it so interesting that he uses the pronoun “we” here. Not only does it seem like he’s incriminating himself in the first two lines, but that he’s implicating the reader as well. The natural psychological response is disgust – to separate ourselves from the action. Luckily, he offers us scapegoats, filling the hole induced by our cognitive dissonance by introducing Somali and Muslim human beings. By leading with emotion and introducing these minority groups through a quote from an imagined (and apparently liberal) police officer, he circumvents our ability to register logic. His arguments are like aspartame, an ultimately cancerous substitution for the real thing, and he escapes being outright racist and prejudiced by operating through implications.
Also, though I didn’t notice at first, his word choice subtly aligns him with his core audience in another way. By warning of attacks on wives, daughters, and sons by ethnic minorities, those watching need not worry that he is speaking to anyone other than conservative white males.
“What more do you need to know about these people? I go out and face these scum. They literally crawl out from under rocks. They have green-looking skin and they run around screaming ‘we love satan. We want to eat babies.’ I have them on video.”
I’ll admit, this bit is beyond analysis, but it is also my favorite section by far. Notice the boldness with which he claims to have evidence of satanist, baby eating lizard people! It’s both disgusting and impressive. Without sanity, who says it can’t be true?
You may be wondering why I’m giving this man any more publicity. And that’s fair. But if you’re one of those that questions why I don’t have anything but contempt for the man, you are probably also one of those that underestimates his hold on a vast number of Americans. I don’t think I need to tell you that humans are irrational creatures, but you may want to consider just how much your views are guided by emotion as well.
And if you are a genuine fan of his work, please go watch the entirety of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and then get back to me.
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