Rightbloggers Take Back the Culture with Anti-Feminist Tumblr, Religious Film Reviews, Etc.

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[Roy Edroso dissects the right-wing blogosphere in this weekly feature]

Let's be honest -- we really don't want to talk about last week's big, horrible news stories. The Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 story is too disturbing and, aside from the usual it's-all-Obama's-fault knee-jerks, not much differentiates right from left on the subject. Similarly, reactions to the Israel-Palestine fight have little to do with anything in American politics except the strength of the Israel lobby and the absence of a Palestinian one.

So we will instead go with an evergreen -- or, as we like to think of it, a topic that never gets enough updates: Culture War, which is what rightbloggers have instead of culture.

Conservatives have for years been dreaming of "taking back the culture" from the potty-mouthed commie bohemians who apparently captured it in a panty raid or card game sometime in the early 20th Century; older readers may remember Pat Buchanan at the 1992 Republican National Convention gleefully describing how conservatives would "take back our culture" the same way National Guardsmen reclaimed buildings after the L.A. Riots.

In recent years the kulturkampfers' tone has grown slightly less martial, perhaps because many of the brethren recognize that the dream of claiming a culture for one's own partisan cause is quixotic at best and fascist at worst. But it remains a valuable trope to stir the rubes.

In fact, some rightbloggers take the point of view that conservatives have already won the culture war. In a column called "Our Conservative Popular Culture," Jonah Goldberg noticed a new movie with a laissez-faire approach to abortion had not made as much money as "2007's Juno, a brilliant film widely seen as pro-life (at least among pro-lifers), or Knocked Up, a raunchier romantic comedy also hailed by abortion foes," which he took to mean that America is totally juiced for comedies about the sanctity of life.

Goldberg also noticed that Hollywood -- which he assumed is a single, sentient entity that, when not making movies, works toward the dictatorship of the proletariat -- makes plenty of other entertainments that conservatives can endorse. For example, "The Left rolls its eyes at 'family values'" -- (cite not included, alas) -- "but family values are at the heart of most successful sitcoms and dramas."

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Okay, we can use this at Women Against Feminism -- just make sure she's wearing something sexy. (Via.)
The reason for this, Goldberg declared, is that "good stories must align with reality and a sense of justice." Goldberg clearly has never heard the expression "givin' them what they want," nor the one about suckers and 60-second intervals. And he doesn't seem to remember from one year to the next what he actually thinks about American culture. But at least he showed some awareness that the entertainment industry has more to do with separating audiences from cash than with spreading socialist dogma.

Most rightbloggers, however, appear to think that creative types are devoted to corrupting America and that conservatives have to step in and regulate with such tools as they have.

Some take specific tactical positions and use cultural tropes to try and mesmerize voters into thinking some of the less popular rightwing ideas are actually really cool. One such campaign is devoted to convincing single women that conservatives are not their enemies, despite everything they say.

A major figure in this movement is rightblogger kingpin Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, an advocate of Men's Rights Activism (sample insight: "Why Is It Funny When A Guy Gets Hit In The Groin? But if you buy the explanations in this article, then rape jokes should be hilarious") who likes to tickle his fellow drum-circle types by putting the "#waronwomen" hashtag to ironic uses, e.g. "#WARONWOMEN: Today in 1969, Mary Jo Kopechne died in Ted Kennedy's car as he fled the scene." (Reynolds' wife, Dr. Helen Smith, tends her own sad MRA flock.)

A few years back, Reynolds suggested conservatives invest in women's magazines, which he portrayed as mouthpieces of liberalism whose death-grip on hair stylist customers and supermarket checkout-line dawdlers had to be broken if the Free Market were ever to triumph. "Those magazines and Web sites see themselves, pretty consciously, as a propaganda arm of the Democratic Party," he wrote; thus, providing alternative conservative content in a glossy lady-package might reach "female 'low-information voters'" who "vote based on a vague sense of who's mean and who's nice, who's cool and who's uncool." With a respectful approach like that, how could it fail?

But not much has come of that project so far -- mostly websites like Verily, which regaled the world with stories like "Are Elite Degrees Wasted on Stay-at-Home Moms?" before abandoning its print edition last February. But conservative culture warriors do get out into the field to spread the message that your feminism-hyphenate is bogus and their feminism-hyphenate is rad. At Ravishly, for example, Christina Sommers recently denounced "college educated young women in the U.S." who have "drunk deeply from the gender feminist Kool-Aid," and bravely attested, "I plan to continue writing books and articles, making my Factual Feminist videos and lecturing at as many campuses and laws schools as I can." All gave some, but some gave all.

Then there are smaller-scale efforts like the Women Against Feminism tumblr, which uses the popular hold-up-some-writing schtick to communicate talking points like, "I don't need modern 'feminism' because I... don't need others to fight my battles for me... believe in earning things for myself..." You get the picture -- and so did manly-man site Return of Kings ("women are sluts if they sleep around, but men are not. This fact is due to the biological differences between men and women"), which gave Women Against Feminism top marks: "Considering such female protest didn't even exist a couple years ago," they wrote, "I see it as a great step forward to educating the public that feminism is not the answer." Be sure to also visit the site's July sponsor, Beyond Red Pill, which offers "coaching by an experienced licensed practitioner who integrates a red pill outlook into life planning and can understand what you want out of women and life."

Most culture-war sites are less focused than this; their primary goals appear to be 1.) to solidify through repetition standard conservative talking points on liberals and culture, and 2.) to give wingnuts with a background in the humanities something to fill their time.



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