Hillary Clinton’s speech earlier this week on the Alt Right was festooned with inevitable outcomes. As if by magic, going on an international stage across online and TV and name-checking fringe members of a relatively fledgling political movement not only secured an air of legitimacy for the Alt Right, but its proponents and supporters seized their new-found infamy with an expected alacrity.
Clinton fast-forwarded right to the end of Raiders Of The Lost Ark; her speech doing little else but opening the box of hell and proceeding to melt a few faces in the process. Those she sought to denigrate will have laughed and tweeted uproariously. Jared Taylor, editor of Alt Right site American Renaissance, said he and colleagues took bets on whether or not they would be name-checked.
Clinton played the role of oblivious headteacher to the Alt Right’s snickering school children who know they can get away with anything.
It’s the image of braying shitheel children that leads us to the meat of this rambling shitpost. A typically non-partisan and non-hysterical Buzzfeed headline “The Alt Right Has Its Own Comedy TV Show On A Time Warner Network” showed the extent to which left-leaning, ‘liberal’ media is determined to give as much space and publicity to their enemies as possible.
The Buzzfeed piece is a fine example of “I don’t like this and I’m telling you to stop doing it or I’ll cry”. Author Joe Bernstein shovels dirt onto the show in question – Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace – and its creator, Sam Hyde. Yes, you you probably *do* know that name. It’s the one linked to nearly every mass shooting in the United States these days, by virtue of a Twitter in-joke that has fooled far people than have ever propagated it.
Bernstein derides World Peace for being “hugely offensive”, a trait never before seen in any comedy show or performance until now. And despite the headline directly linking the show to the Alt Right, Bernstein admits “none of the three episodes that have aired so far have touched on politics or the alt-right” but aims his fire at the three episodes that “have hardly been in good taste”. Buzzfeed’s perpetual phalanx of unpaid interns and contributors is hardly in good taste either, and yet here we are.
Let’s touch again on ‘inevitable outcomes’. The Buzzfeed article only made me – doubtless many others – aware of the show and sure enough, I sought it out.
Maybe World Peace does carry signifiers and messages designed for more intrinsic members of certain sections of online, but on the surface – after repeated viewings – the show finds a strange middle ground between the surreal dreamscapes of Chris Morris’ Jam/Blue Jam – with its focus on the modern urban grotesque, whatever that really means – and the standard form of ‘gross out’ US comedy culture that takes a concept and beats you around the head with it until you are begging for them to stop. Results on the latter can vary depending on whether the comedian is actually any fucking good or not.
The one incisive point made in Bernstein’s article – which simply degenerated into a list of incidents and things the author deemed ‘problematic’ – leaned on Hyde’s supposed libertarian views. Episode three comes with a stark blast at government for the failings of Flint, Michigan, and the people of the town and beyond for, well, “taking it in the ass”.
From 3:58 onward, our water magician speaks thus:
“If you ever go to Flint, Michigan, you’re gonna have sulphur water, things like that, lighting on fire, you’ve got egg water, you’ve got all different kinds of stuff. So you know, people are really used to this flavour. And you know what else they’re used to? Taking it in the ass. As in, they pay taxes and they get that water and they do nothing about it. They might scream a little bit and say ‘our water’s bad!’ but they end up not doing very much so it doesn’t really matter. I like to emulate that sentiment of paying taxes – paying really high taxes – and getting nothing in return. Not even clean water.”
The same sketch goes on to lean upon a conspiracy involving birth control in the domestic water supply; a long-held idea in some quarters that an abundance of oestrogen in the populace can quell potential civil unrest and other aggressive acts.
“The problem with anger is that an angry population of people – when their government doesn’t provide them with clean water or even fix the streets’ potholes – people with a lot of testosterone and lot of anger like to flip cars over and sometimes even kill politicians.”
A vicious barb or giggly antagonism? What does it matter? Such topics already cross more boundaries than other comedians, outlets, TV shows and others do.
The jabs at Pick Up Artists – who are, wildly, still An Actual Thing – in episode four is an awkward watch, but much of that awkwardness lies in the topics being skewered as opposed to the presentation itself. The PUA is awful; replete with malevolent stupidity.
Piling on fucked-up, terrible Western education systems, comments on the ennui and isolation of modern life from other perspectives…man, I’m not going to sit here and tell you this is the best thing ever. But it’s worth a watch. It’s funny but grim. Oddly sterile, nihilistic and caustic. It’s societal apocalypse reasoning takes place in a world that mirrors our own, we just need a few more steps.
The weird passive-aggressive hype in the media – and the subsequent surrounding context and interest from Clinton’s speech – may have given this show’s aims and objectives more credence than it needed or wanted. Ultimately, the numbers don’t lie. It is second in the Top 50 Original Cable Telecasts. Or it was. I look at these charts and they make no sense.
So, yeah…*takes long run up*…maybe you should give Peace a chance.