I don't know why, but the way leftists write fascinates me. I've explored left-wing lexicography before, and I recall penning one post I can't seem to find now (perhaps I never actually published it) pondering if there's some kind of book that people are given upon their induction into the leftist... illuminati or whatever.
I don't mean merely the themes they tend to talk about, but the actual styles in which they write. There is just such a style, and it's qualitatively different from the way right-wingers write. I think it says a lot about the idea that attitudes are formed by personality traits, or rather that certain personality traits predispose people to be attracted to particular sets of attitudes. Accordingly, I was hardly surprised about Charles Johnson's remorseless shift to the left the last few years; he'd always written like a leftist, with the characteristic snark and sarcasm, the pained efforts to sound clever, the insufferable moral supremacy -- he was really just going home.
So I was naturally interested in the wrathful outpouring over at Jezebel in response to Roosh's creating a new meme blasting the vapidity and general nastiness (body, mind, and soul) of American women -- a meme that the ladies at Jezebel have, perhaps unwittingly, only reinforced. Emotionality strips people of their intellectual pretensions, I think; it boils them down to who they really are, how they really think. Their rage speaks to me.
First, their woeful misreading of the average IMF reader is pretty noteworthy. Ms. Ryan evidently thinks they're a crew of sexually frustrated self-styled "nice guys" who, in their bitterness, resort to rationalizations about the undesirability of American women. I'm sure that's true of at least some IMF readers, but they hardly seem to be a majority. Many, certainly, were "nice guys" once, a long time ago. Life experience changed that, as it often does -- not only the life experience of being rejected romantically for being a nerdy suck-up but also the experience of sexual success due to repudiating that suck-uppery. I certainly don't think most any of them would call themselves "nice guys" anymore, much less are they bepimpled virginal basement-dwellers. I think of them more as the guys from Swingers (who hang out, eat pizza, and play SNES games for fun) than the guys from... you know, The Big Bang Theory or something, who have scheduled weekly Halo tournaments and actually attach in-group status to the outcome of those games. So although they may be bitter, few of their other descriptors actually stick to the IMF readership; for the most part, they're simply bizarrely inaccurate and wholly oblivious to this fact.
I suppose I can't fault Ms. Ryan for not grasping the nuances of IMF readers' personality traits. She's clearly not a regular reader. People tend to fall back on reliable memes when they are unsure how to proceed; but it's important that this is the meme she chose. Assuming that everyone who doesn't like you must not like you because you're better than them is very telling, indeed. I'll leave it up to you to decide what, exactly, it says about them.
There is, of course, the obligatory reference to somebody's "pointless existence." People have been using that phrase so long now it kind of grates on my cornea just to see it in text. Pointless existence, sometimes rendered meaningless existence, and usually welded into a sentence containing some variant of the word justify. Ugh. For people generally so enthralled to the fashions of the day, you think they'd grab a thesaurus rather than trot out cliched crap. Why not glitz it up and write, I dunno, rationalize your purposeless state of being or something?
I count the appearance of some variant of "racist" five times and "misogynist" three times, both in the main post and in the comments section. I'm frankly surprised they didn't appear more frequently. Of course, nothing about the meme is racist. "American," after all, is a nationality, not a race -- at any rate the argument is that the culture of American femininity is defective (which belies the claim of misogyny, too). Nor is it racist or misogynist to claim that women of some other race (or nationality; the commenters refer to women of eastern European descent, but again, eastern European is not a race) are preferable to American women, as, again, the argument is that Asians and eastern Europeans exhibit more desirable cultural traits, not that they're some kind of racially pure übermenschen. At any rate, our friend Inigo said it best.
And finally, the sarcasm. It abounds. It's right there in the title and appears four or five times in the body of the (rather short) post itself. I often think there's a peculiar psychology to sarcasm. As a means of humor, it's wholly ineffective (I once used the term sarcasmosis to describe the act of sucking all the humor out of a situation by means of excessive sarcasm). It literally consists of nothing but saying back to someone what they just said in a slightly more nasally voice. Any babboon capable of mashing a keyboard with his balled-up fists could, given sufficient time, emulate sarcasm with a startling degree of accuracy. But Ferdinand Bardamu has already pointed out how unfunny and blindingly literal their memes are, and I don't think they're stupid enough not to realize it, which means their sarcasm serves some other purpose. I've often felt, although I have no evidence that this is the case, that sarcasm is a response to feelings of oppression and hopelessness. The sarcastic person feels ground down by the weight of the world, and resorts to petty verbal sniping at those who complain about woes that, in their mind, pale in comparison to their own. I suppose being in thrall to an ideology that harps endlessly about unjust power dynamics, the oppressive of social structures, the futility of nonrevolutionary movements, etc., would turn me into a bitter, black-hearted harridan, too.
Before anyone asks, no, I have no plans to examine the lexicography of the right. For one thing, being a right-winger myself, I can't get the perspective on it necessary to write a good one. (To paraphrase Machiavelli, you see the mountain best from the bottom of the valley; you see the valley best from the top of the mountain). And second, I don't really read mainstream right-wing blogs. Frankly, they bore the hell out of me.