Mr. Rubin said his show makes at least $30,000 a month on Patreon. And Mr. Peterson says he pulls in some $80,000 in fan donations each month. […]
“I’ve figured out how to monetize social justice warriors,” Mr. Peterson said in January on Joe Rogan’s podcast. On his Twitter feed, he called the writer Pankaj Mishra, who’d written an essay in The New York Review of Books attacking him, a “sanctimonious prick” and said he’d happily slap him.
That’s right. They’re pulling in five figures a month and getting the attention of the New York Review of Books, but still consider themselves oppressed because they’re not getting their own late-night television shows or the like. It’s a skit come to life.
But what Weiss calls an “intellectual dark web” is not terribly new, and is certainly not a recent innovation. It represents the long-established dalliance of would-be respectable voices as “mainstreamers” of bigotry, misogyny, or general anti-social contrarianism, and the long-established routine of claiming injury after the general public rebuffs those ideas. It is the John Birch Society revisited, or a Ron Paul newsletter, or a Lyndon LaRouche flier warning that the Queen of England is kingpin of her own secret drug cartel. Where these new figures make their mark in the discourse is in peddling the work of shadier figures peddling shadier ideas under the banner of broadening the discourse. In practice, they want both the attention given to racists and conspiracy theorists and the respect given to more staid media figures.
Go a click in one direction and the group is enhanced by intellectuals with tony affiliations like Steven Pinker at Harvard. But go a click in another and you’ll find alt-right figures like Stefan Molyneux and Milo Yiannopoulos and conspiracy theorists like Mike Cernovich (the #PizzaGate huckster) and Alex Jones (the Sandy Hook shooting denier). […]
But is a statement of principles necessary to make a judgment call about people like Mr. Cernovich, Mr. Molyneux and Mr. Yiannopoulos? Mr. Rubin has hosted all three on his show. And he appeared on a typically unhinged episode of Mr. Jones’s radio show, “Infowars.” Mr. Rogan regularly lets Abby Martin — a former 9/11 Truther who is strangely sympathetic to the regimes in Syria and Venezuela — rant on his podcast. He also encouraged Mr. Jones to spout off about the moon landing being fake during Mr. Jones’s nearly four-hour appearance on his show. When asked why he hosts people like Mr. Jones, Mr. Rogan has insisted that he’s not an interviewer or a journalist. “I talk to people. And I record it. That’s it,” he has said.
Short version: Give me attention. Don’t care how I get it. Look, I am broadening the discourze.
There’s no reason to go through the article for any finer detail than that; there isn’t much. The reason it was written is to provide gratis advertising to a laundry list of individuals that Bari Weiss herself wishes to mainstream, under the pretext of claiming that you not already knowing their names is evidence they are being suppressed. It is goofy, and stupid, and par for the course in the Times opinion pages these days, now that they have decided to abandon the pretext of being “intellectual” themselves and installed a series of science deniers and professional fibbers to balance out the snobbish types who disapprove of those things.
But when you’re writing an entire long-form essay arguing that the likes of the omnifuckingpresent Ben Shapiro isn’t getting enough attention, you may have lost the plot.
Whatever. It’s an advertising campaign. We get it. That’s what conservative opinion-writers do: they write long pieces for the top newspapers and magazines in the nation complaining that they are oppressed because they are not getting more attention in the top magazines and newspapers of the nation. They bleat about how a truly free country would value stupid ideas and non-stupid ones equally, and grouse about the elitism of pointing out that some ideas are genuinely Not Good. It’s a schtick.
And it will never, ever end.