Bread and Circuses of Outrage


Carl Benjamin: selling a hateful ideology

Well, Sargon of Akkad is at it again. In an 11-minute video suggesting that all feminists have autism, and that feminism and autism should become synonymous, Carl Benjamin generated another big splash of attention, just like he did when he told Jess Phillips “I wouldn’t even rape you.” 

However for this particular drunken rant, Carl seems to be recycling his own material. In a two-year old video titled “Feminism is a mental illness”, Carl said “Feminism is a mental disease, and anyone who is a feminist, has this disease! O you liars, you outright flat fucking liars! That’s it, it’s a lie, feminism is a bunch of liars, and if they believe this that means they are mentally unhinged! I think we should start a petition, saying feminism should be classiffied as a mental illness, because it exhibits all the symptoms.”

Carl basically re-did a 3-minute video from two years ago into an 11-minute video, just to reframe his ideology with a Kiwi Farms/Encyclopedia Dramatica meme that anything bad & contemptible is “autistic”. Carl’s promoting that whole groups of people should be labeled mentally ill & marginalized on the basis of their political beliefs – which contradicts the libertarian ideology Sargon says he wants to promote.

Thankfully, the idea itself doesn’t work  – for example, Sargon’s petition to suspend social justice courses doesn’t even specify which courses should be dropped. The ideas themselves are more like fantasies than plans to change anything. Carl’s selling his viewers a fantasy of a world where feminism is a mental disease, but it also threatens western society. Carl’s fantasy feminists are easy to fear and hate, and he invites his viewers to see them as “Orwell’s nightmare come to life.”

The fantasy Sargon sells must be a compelling one – according to his Patreon, 630 people donate $1500 per video to hear more. I wonder if they know the activism is bunkum, or if they think that Sargon’s petitions and public tantrums accomplish something. The only notable thing Sargon has done so far is select individuals for abuse. So it may not matter that his goals will never be accomplished; that two years later he’ll release a longer video, saying the same things, not from a place of conviction but to increase his yields. If his audience only wants to scream along at Sargon’s fantasy of what feminists are like, I suppose it doesn’t matter that Sargon’s ideas are so impracticable.

At this point I think it’s safe to say Carl gets drunk and says knowingly vicious things because he wants the publicity. Ultimately it doesn’t matter to him that his ideas aren’t going to work (feminism isn’t going to go into the DSM-6, women’s studies is still being taught at uni). Because saying outrageous things like that gets him publicity, and because the attention of publicity means more subscribers to his Patreon, Carl will keep doing it. But it isn’t just Sargon of Akkad who’s doing this – look at Milo Yiannopoulos’s behavior, or look at Donald Trump’s rallies. They’re doing the exact same thing as Carl does, to even more spectacular results.