The great Achilles heel of the far-right is that fascists and other stripes of authoritarians are cantankerous people. It often takes very little to get them into ugly fights with each other over stupid stuff. So perhaps it’s no surprise that two of the biggest grifters in the right-wing media ecosystem — Ben “Female Sexual Arousal Is A Myth” Shapiro and Steven “Marie Curie Was Fictional” Crowder — are in a very public, very dumb feud right now. As Nikki McCann Ramirez at Rolling Stone explains, Shapiro offered to bring the popular online show “Louder With Crowder” to Shapiro’s Daily Wire network. Crowder, however, was offended that the contract “would require him to actually make content and drive revenue for the company.” He griped over contract language that reduced his payout “if his show was demonetized, suspended, or removed from any major hosting and video sites,” Daily Beast reporter Justin Baragona added, noting that Crowder has a history of “gleefully spewing homophobic, racial, and misogynistic slurs on his program, prompting YouTube to repeatedly pull advertisements and demonetize his content on the platform.”
Crowder, for those who are lucky enough to have never heard his name, rose to fame by being especially cringeworthy in the crowded field of professional right-wing trolling. He plays heavily into the stereotype of the loudmouth ignoramus who spouts off in class about how slavery wasn’t so bad or corners women at the bar to rave about how their entire sex is insufficiently grateful to men. He is, quite literally, the dude in that “debate me, bro” meme.
The original photo came from a stunt where he set up shop on a campus with a sign that read “male privilege is a myth” in hopes of baiting teenage girls into arguing with him. That sums up Crowder’s schtick: He appeals to dudes who are so pathetic that they resort to politicized cat-calling in order to garner female attention.
Once again, we are looking at what I’ve deemed the “male insecurity-to-fascism” pipeline, where right-wing grifters appeal to men by suggesting the cure for self-doubt is turning yourself into a massive asshole. Once recruited into the toxic masculinity cult, of course, their audiences are directed toward far-right politics. Becoming a fully formed fascist is the final stage in the life cycle of a right-wing troll.
The fight between Shapiro and Crowder is very funny, of course, making any “Real Housewives” slap fight look like the battle of Algiers by comparison. At stake appears to be a standard issue far-right dispute, which can be summed up as, “Should we use racial slurs or just imply them?” Shapiro is Team Imply, correctly understanding that helps one evade the social media censors, allowing fascistic content a further reach. Crowder, however, feels that kind of restriction is harshing his vibe. His principled commitment to sucking cannot be bought for a mere $50 million.
No, you did not read that number wrong. Shapiro really did offer Crowder a cool $50 million to bring his “get girls attention by telling them to make you a sandwich” act to the Daily Wire. Clearly, the world of exploiting deeply insecure men is quite a lucrative grift! And to think of how many men have never charged a penny for a “must be shark week” retort when a woman takes issue over a stranger pinching her butt.