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The New Yorker doubles down on becoming irrelevant

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The New Yorker doubles down on becoming irrelevant, Seriously like wtf!

I spent much of this fall listening, both online and in person, to the connoisseurs of ugliness who call themselves the alt-right. This is such a new category that no two people agree on precisely what it means or how many people fall within it. Some on the alt-right are committed white nationalists; others are committed neo-monarchists who refer to Donald Trump, buoyantly, as their “god-emperor”; others are chaos agents who are committed to nothing at all. One could argue that, together, these people’s social-media activism made it possible—made it conceivable—for Trump to be elected. On Wednesday, Charles Johnson, an alt-right troll who calls himself a journalist, was sitting on a Brooklyn-bound F train wearing a Make America Great Again hat. “You support a man who is racist, sexist, and homophobic,” a man standing next to him said, accurately. “We won—f*** off,” Johnson said, also accurately.

The alt-right is united less by ideology than by sensibility; a hallmark of that sensibility is a careful attunement to social norms, and a perverse delight in desecrating them. This is easy to do on the Internet, where anyone can say anything. Mike Cernovich, whom I profiled last month, became a prominent vessel of pro-Trump populism by saying unconscionable things on Twitter. “This election was a contest between P.C. culture and free-speech culture,” he told me the day after Trump’s victory. “Most people know what it’s like for some smug, élite asshole to tell them, ‘You can’t say that, it’s racist, it’s bad.’ Well, a vote for Trump meant, ‘f*** you, you don’t get to tell me what to say.’ ” Cernovich, who grew up working-class in rural Illinois, visited his home town in February. He said, “My parents voted for Obama, but they told me, ‘If it’s Trump versus Hillary, we’ll go with him. He gets us. He talks like us.’ Since then, I never doubted that he’d be President.”

One of the political-science clichés that hasn’t been rendered obsolete by this election is that of the Overton window. In 1994, Joseph Overton, a think-tank analyst, described the epistemic range of public debate: ideas that fall within the window are acceptable; those outside it are unthinkable. The range of acceptable ideas does not always bend toward justice, but it does change over time. The alt-right rages against political correctness in the name of the First Amendment, but this is a canard. No alt-right dissident has been jailed for thought crimes. One of the innumerable ironies of this campaign was that the only credible threats to the free press—“If I become President, oh, do they have problems”—were uttered by Trump himself.

In August of last year, Ann Coulter, a forerunner of the alt-right who once seemed like a punchline and now seems like a prophet, introduced Trump at a rally in Iowa. Coulter’s position on immigration—white nationalism, essentially—was then outside the Overton window, and Trump was the only candidate who embraced it. “The Republican Party’s typical position is to preëmptively surrender whenever liberals start yelling, ‘Ooh, that’s mean, you can’t use that word,’ ” she told the crowd. “Well, they found something new with Donald Trump.” She denounced élites as “speech Nazis,” for which she received a round of applause. Then she added a sentiment that everyone could agree with. “Since Donald Trump has announced that he’s running for President, I feel like I’m dreaming,” she said. “I can’t believe I turn on the TV, and on prime-time TV every night they’re talking about anchor babies, they’re talking about sanctuary cities, they’re talking about Mexican rapists.” Someone in the audience shouted, “Build the wall!” For much of the general election, the polls suggested that Iowa would go to Hillary Clinton. Trump won the state by ten points.

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Don't even waste your time thinking about this rag. It is just a closed little clique of self-important snooties who think they are the be-all and end-all of taste and culture in this country. Anyone who doesn't ascribe to their defined tastes are labelled as irrelevant, uneducated, unsophisitcated, etc. Look at their pages: it's always the same group of people writing the same tired stuff. Once this was a magazine of high literary achievement -- now it's just a club of aging aesthetes who have deluded themselves into thinking they have relevancy. 

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