Tucker Carlson and the Crisis of Masculinity
Plus, How Putin Conned the American Right.
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MONA CHAREN: Tucker Carlson and the Crisis of Masculinity.
Tucker Carlson’s foray into testicle toasting is only the latest (and possibly most amusing) example of the right-wing’s masculinity obsession. The manliness theme keeps reappearing. Trump’s strutting tough talk was imbibed greedily by fans eager for affirmation of the manly virtues. At every rally, followers sported posters superimposing Trump’s face on an Arnold Swarzenneger-type body. “He fights!” they would exult.
Trump and the subordinate members of his pack didn’t invent this—insecure masculinity is an old phenomenon.
In the early years of the 20th century, Europe experienced something of a masculinity crisis. Popular writers, physicians, and journalists began to fret that young Englishmen, Frenchmen, and Germans had become soft after so many uninterrupted years of peace. In her magisterial history of the period, The War That Ended Peace, Margaret MacMillan traced the currents that coursed through European society in the years before the Great War. Francois Coppee, a French nationalist, worried that “Frenchmen are degenerating . . . too absorbed in the race for enjoyment and luxury to retain that grand subordination of self to great causes which has been the historic glory of the French character.” In Great Britain, General Robert Baden-Powell founded the Boy Scouts in part because he feared the emasculation of England’s youth. “One cause which contributed to the downfall of Rome,” he cautioned, “was the fact that soldiers fell away from the standard of their forefathers in bodily strength.” The same might befall the British Empire, he feared, if its boys were not trained in masculine habits. A Hungarian writer popular throughout the continent warned that European society was “marching to its certain ruin because it is too worn out and flaccid to perform great tasks.”
Both Democrats and Republicans agree on only one thing, but it isn’t even true: that whites and people of color are splitting into two opposing voting blocs. It’s driving panic on the right, and triumphalism on the left. Yascha Mounk joins Charlie Sykes on today’s podcast.
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SHAY KHATIRI: How Putin Conned the American Right.
Putin made his first moves in the direction of conservative cultural leadership in 2013. The previous year, President Barack Obama had put social conservatives on a defensive footing by coming out in favor of gay marriage. Then, in 2013, the Supreme Court agreed to hear United States v. Windsor. Six weeks after the oral argument, the Russian Duma passed what would come to be known as the “anti-gay law,” but Putin didn’t sign the bill into law immediately. He let it sit on his desk for three weeks. Days after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, he signed it into law.
Later in 2013, a Kremlin-connected Russian think tank called the Center for Strategic Communications published a report titled, “Putin: World Conservatism’s New Leader.” The document repeated populist talking points that would prove influential during the 2016 presidential election. It rejected “ideological experiments” and called for social stability and conservative family values instead. It characterized immigration as a threat to the nation-state, and it framed Putin as a defender of sovereignty.
Inside “the new right”… Where Peter Thiel is placing his bets.
Reminder! Tim is doing a book club on To Paradise. Check it out if you’d like to join.
Trash support. A former NYC Sanitation commissioner answers the public’s curious questions about garbage.
NFL teams are like the mafia… And this is what happens when you do business with the mafia.
Trump’s House loyalists… Are actually losing money.
A firm that makes the most awful Republicans go viral… Is now seemingly on the brink of collapse.
Tennessee kicks the carpetbaggers to the curb… Including a Trump-endorsed candidate.
Would this be a sequel? If they made a movie about what happened to the protagonist (Maya) from Zero Dark Thirty? Because now she’s retired from the CIA, married to a prominent QAnon conspiracy theorist, and is a “certified beauty and life coach.”
Russia’s favorite war propagandist… Is a U.S. Navy veteran from Missouri.
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