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Read N' Roast, Dave Rubin #2: Big Mad at Big Tech, Netflix, and Cultural Marxism
Conservatism: All Vibes, All the Time.
Welcome to Part 2 of Reading & Roasting Dave Rubin’s book, Don’t Burn this Country. If you’re just joining us, check out the previous entries.
Last we left Dave, he was bragging about his Conservative bonafide and complaining “it’s just not fair” when leftists organize against politics they dislike. In chapters 2, 3, & 4, we get a deep dive into the Conservative view on The (imagined) Left, binge-watching, and the God-given right to post on www.Twitter.com.
Chapter 2: Vibe-Fueled Shadowboxing
Chapter 2 is Dave’s attempt to take the disjointed, cult-of-personality that is modern Conservatism and explain it as a coherent political project based on principles and values. And, if you’re wondering how he does, he starts the chapter by quoting Democratic Socialist and anti-fascist fighter George Orwell.
Right off the bat, we get a spirited defense of the Big Wet Daddy himself, President Donald J. Trump. Apparently, the Left’s hate of Trump is misplaced, because according to Dave, Trump is:
Not homophobic — He told Dave and his husband: “I don’t give a shit if you’re gay.”
Anti-War —“Trump was the first president in modern history to not start a war.”
Really smart — “He made money non-traditionally.” (i.e, Fraud)
This bolstering of the Republican President serves to contrast a critique of “The Looney Left.” But like most vibe-based critiques of progressivism, Dave runs through the right-wing hits without bothering to explain why he thinks the Left is wrong. In just a few excruciating pages, Dave rants (without evidence) against:
Critical Race Theory, and
As a Leftist, I can say I’ve never encountered any of the above concepts in any Socialist lecture, publication, working group, or organization of any kind. In fact, I’m fairly confident the Right has contrived and exaggerated these “ideologies” for the purpose of shadowboxing against them, an idea supported by the fact Dave has no original argument against them. Instead, he just copy-pastes Ben Shapiro, James Lindsay, Jordan Peterson, and, for some reason, the Wikipedia synopsis of ALIEN.
After (literally) retweeting men who think Dave’s marriage will damn him to an eternal lake of fire, he claims “the Left are the real bigots,” plagiarizes Dennis Reynolds’s notion of a “God Hole,” and pulls the mask of the Conservative project, revealing it for what it is.
In the most shocking admission I’ve ever encountered, Dave Rubin outlines what it means to be a Conservative. He writes:
“If this (Conservative) movement is going to have any legs, it needs to be home to everyone who opposes the woke regime. Regardless of your views on foreign policy, taxation, climate change, or, yes even abortion. If you oppose the woke regime, you are welcome here.”
There it is folks. Conservatism isn’t a coherent ideology that seeks to address the material conditions which dictate the quality and reality of American life. Conservatism is for people who are mad there are women in Star Wars and that SNL makes fun of men’s rights activists.
In essence, 2022 Conservatism is all about The Vibes.
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Chapter 3: Fox News Netflix
Chapter 3 takes aim at a Conservative’s favorite target: Hollywood, and its successor, Netflix.
The Right’s fascination with Hollywood and other entertainment establishments is illuminating, as it shows how they will not rest until every facet of life conforms to their worldview.
Since the post-war era, Conservatives have gotten nearly everything they could have hoped for: American foreign policy is militaristic and intervention-prone, Roe v. Wade is to be overturned, Obama instituted the Heritage Foundation’s healthcare plan, unions are a fraction of what they once were, and the label “Socialist” will sink a political candidate faster than Ted Cruz gets out of Texas during a hurricane. Even the Democrats, the ostensibly “left” party, aren’t willing to offer an alternative to unfettered laissez-faire capitalism.
But, there is one area Conservatives have failed to dominate: culture. To Dave Rubin and Co., it’s not enough for our economy to be comprised of unregulated, for-profit, capitalist companies. Those companies need to Tweet about how George Zimmerman was innocent. (Case in point, the DeSantis v. Disney feud.) This is why Joe McCarthy held hearings on imagined Hollywood communists and Ben Shapiro screams Big Bird is grooming your toddler.
But, Hollywood is old news, so Dave takes aim at Netflix. In Dave’s mind, Netflix is on a mission to broadcast the “woke agenda” into every house in America through binge-watching, which he compares to drug addiction. He writes:
“Although you may not be binging political documentaries, those fun sitcoms, quirky rom-coms, and compelling dramas are embedded with the perfect amount of politicization that, even if you do spot it, is just subtle enough for you to not turn off.”
Oddly enough, he doesn’t provide examples of where and how these “fun sitcoms and quirky rom-coms” are propagandizing. There’s no critique of specific content or messaging. Instead, it’s all vibes, all the time. What’s left unsaid here is that Netflix is considered “woke” for increasingly diverse casts and plot lines that aren’t exclusively “straight white guy falls in love with a straight white girl.”
But while modern entertainment is more diverse, the Right mistakes entertainment creators for the deciders of culture, instead of their actual role of reacting to culture. Despite what Rubin and Shapiro think, Netflix executives aren’t scheming masterminds sneaking subliminal messaging into Captain America to turn your kid trans. They’re simply matching society’s inclusion of minorities and non-traditional identities.
Dave finishes the chapter with the pretty hysterical suggestions for Conservatives to “start building their own institutions,” citing his own YouTube channel (which he plugs 5 times in this chapter alone!) as evidence.
Needless to say, the suggestion to make “Fox News Netflix” isn’t a real solution, because there’s no real problem. Dave, his friends, and his audience are just upset that their seething despisal of diversity and social progress isn’t shared by the mainstream.
That said, if the myth of “Woke Entertainment” gets Ben Shapiro to sink millions into trying to make Gina Carano and Donald Cerrone good actors, I’m all for it.
And yes, I will be Reading N’ Roasting the Ben Shapiro-produced Western starring washed-up MMA fighters. (My god I can’t wait.)
Chapter 4: “The Right to Post Shall Not be Infringed”
In Chapter 4, Dave Rubin sheds light on the Right’s 3-point plan for dealing with Big Tech:
Make tons of money through grievance fueled politics and algorithms that reward engaged and angry users,
Complain that tech “censors”
Propose no solutions (because changing anything would break point #1).
After drawing readers in with a lengthy retelling of a Terms of Service dispute from five years ago, Dave explains why he left the crowd-funding site Patreon to start his own Digital Free Speech Paradise, Locals.com. Dave bravely canceled his Patreon account after Lauren Southern was booted off the platform for ramming a boat filled with migrants in the open sea. He also claims Sargon of Akkad was unfairly deactivated for saying the N-word.
A good portion of this chapter is the unabashed promotion of Locals.com, which celebrates “free speech for all” but doesn’t allow “trolls*.” (*Trolls = People who don’t like Dave.)
The rest of the chapter focuses on Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, and other words Dave has seen on the computer. He starts by claiming social media censorship was the reason Trump lost the 2020 election before white-washing January 6th and equating Twitter banning Trump with Lee Harvey Oswald shooting JFK.
Right away it’s painfully apparent Rubin spends far too much time online. He claims “Big Tech is the monopoly on our minds,” a statement that is equally sad, illuminating, and embarrassing. For most people, social media is something they scroll through during commercial breaks or on the toilet, not the defining force that dictates their worldview.
For all the talk about Twitter being the “digital town square,” only 23% of Americans are on the website, with a quarter of those users creating 97% of tweets. With such low usage, Twitter isn’t so much a “town square” as it is a rambunctious bar filled with nonsensical screaming that normal people ignore as they go about their normal lives.
Dave isn’t alone here. “Digital freedom” is a common grip on the Right. But what’s most revealing about the Conservative ideology is that (unlike the Left, which has long argued to nationalize and regulate social media like public utilities) they never propose a solution.
After complaining that Trump got censored more than Biden (Breaking: Drunk drivers crash more than sober drivers), claiming “woke ideology” is causing “the best engineers to not be hired,” and that AOC’s questioning of Zuckerberg constituted “a government agent scaring a CEO,” Dave Rubin just sort of… stops.
He ends the chapter making it clear he’s against regulation, instead offering the pointless suggestion of a “new internet.” His hope is that by unplugging the internet and plugging it back in people will be “sensible” again.
I have to say I’m a bit let down by this chapter. The question of how our society should regulate internet communication is very important, and very few people think the status quo is working.
But, Conservatism isn’t interested in an honest discussion of how capitalist companies (not just Facebook and Twitter but every other private employer) impact peoples’ lives. A core tenet of Socialism is the realization that companies control lives just as much as governments, and so the people should have a say in how those companies operate.
But Conservatives aren’t interested in the merits of economic democracy. Dave and Co. just like to complain Mr. Wet Daddy President can’t post anymore. But don’t worry, they have the “Free Speech Alternative,” which you can access for the low, low price of $9.99.
If you liked what you read today, please share and subscribe (free or paid). And let me know what you think about Dave Rubin’s “ideology” in the comments below.
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I finished Quentin Tarantino’s novelization of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Even if you’ve seen the movie, it’s really engaging and worth your time!
If you’re in between your latest binge, check out Killing It. Beneath a very funny comedy is a story of how the gig economy, and capitalism as a whole, grinds down workers and forces desperate people to take desperate measures.
If you’re into MMA (or just like cool stuff), check out this highlight thread of old-school Judoka Karo "The Heat" Parisyan.