The Plight Of The Edgytarian

One of the more popular ways for people, with modest talents, to gain public attention is to be edgy. The best examples of this are the pop stars who have modest musical ability, but are willing to degrade themselves on stage, well beyond what is common. Comics used to play the edgy card, by dropping the F-bomb in their act or making increasingly bawdy sexual references. The game is to set yourself apart from the other mediocrities by saying and doing outlandish things. That way, the public pays attention to you instead of others.

You see something similar in the commentariat. There are millions of people able to talk and write about public issues well enough to succeed on stage. It is not that hard. Most TV presenters are remarkably stupid, but they can learn to read from the teleprompter and look into the correct camera. The Atlantic Magazine has shown how easy it is to create a black intellectual with the TN Coates experiment. Getting on TV or getting a perch at a big site, therefore, requires something else, something to set you apart from the crowd.

That is where the edgytarian comes in. These are the folks who stake out the turf just on the fringe of what the commentariat has deemed acceptable. Bill Maher is a good example of a Left edgytarian. He says the things that most Progs are thinking but avoid saying for fear it is over the line. There are Right edgytarians too. These are the guys who will make a joke about feminists or dissent from the orthodoxy on trannies. They are not full blown heretics, just a bit reluctant in their enthusiasm, which makes them bad boys.

Left edgytarians have always had it easy. They just needed to find the limit Progressives had set to the Left. The edgy Prog put his right foot on that line and his left foot outside the line. That way, he is outside the acceptable, but not out there where people like Jill Stein live. His only worry was the line would move faster than he could keep pace, as the line always moves in that direction. Dave Letterman went from edgy comic to creepy old man in a couple of decades, because he could not keep pace with the changing line.

Right edgytarians have always had a more challenging problem. They needed to find the line the Progs set on the right and place their right foot on that line and their left foot inside the line. This means living in fear of the line slipping inside of their left foot. That is why they make a study of Prog fashion. To suddenly be outside the bounds of acceptable is death. Inevitably, theirs is a life of defending the line between themselves and those to their Right and keeping pace with the ever changing line of what is acceptable to the Progs.

Even more troubling for the Right in general, but especially the Right edgytarian, is that the Progs can willy-nilly declare someone a heretic retroactively. That means the edgy guy can suddenly find himself being hurled into the void because of past statements, which were just inside the line back then, but are suddenly heretical. It is why conservative commentators always have rabbit ears. They are always watching for sudden changes in the zeitgeist so they can get ahead of it. It is why they love the word “zeitgeist.”

The successful Right edgytarians figured out how to avoid this problem by going into the safe zone as soon as they had anything resembling success. Jonah Goldberg is a good example of this type. When he was a blogger, he played the edgy card, but as soon as he had some success, he raced to the safe zone and became Mr. Conventional Wisdom. In the 90’s he was doing pop culture references and scatological humor. Today he so boring and tedious, he manages to make John Fund sound like a wild man.

It is the smart move though. Look at Gavin McInnes. He burst onto the scene as the hyper edgy nighttime guy on Red Eye. He was mocking the JQ, race and sex, all the while being the middle-aged wild man. Then he got named by the inquisition over heresy regarding homosexuals. Then he was seen in public with known hate thinkers. No matter how many marital aids he jammed up his rectum, he was suddenly off-limits. His choice was to go to the dark side or find a new act. He is now doing a grumpy dad act on CRTV.

What makes life suddenly perilous for edgytarians of both varieties is the old paradigm is breaking down. Progs are rocketing into fads that are essentially the habits of the functional mentally ill. You cannot be more edgy than a guy in a bloody sundress, who just castrated himself, while belting out Helen Reddy tunes. On the Right, the people who would be the audience for guys like McInnes are losing interest in chasing that shadow and are instead wandering out into the new world of new politics.

The result of all this is our official discourse is suddenly becoming very dull. Reading a modern political site feels like you are re-reading articles from the 80’s or 90’s. It is the equivalent of listening to pop songs from three decades ago, while everyone pretends it is new and original. Of course, pop culture has become moribund, as well. Hollywood does nothing but churn out remakes and sequels. Music has become so dull that even the elevator people refuse to play it. Comedy is no longer funny.

That is what distinguishes this counter-culture movement from the 1960’s version. In the old days, the game was to get to the main stage and be slightly outrageous. The hippies and radicals were all about freaking out the squares. Comics like George Carlin were all about pushing the envelope, from their perch on the big stage. Radical politics was about being radical within the established parties. The edginess was never authentic as it was simply a means to an end. The point was to eventually be mainstream.

Today, a guy like PewDiePie has fifty-seven million subscribers to his video channel and his videos average 2.5 million views. He has no interest in going mainstream. A guy like Milo was better off avoiding the official media entirely. His attempt to be an edgytarian has made him into a sad joke. Of course, the new politics is completely off the mainstream reservation. Today’s counter-culture is not a reaction to the old culture so much as an abandonment of it. It is an ad hoc, chaotic effort at something entirely new.

That is why being Mr. Edgy is a dead end street now. A guy like Gavin McInnes is smart enough to figure it out, which is why he is putting on the cardigan and scanning old shows like Leave It To Beaver for material. You cannot be edgy in a world where the gap between what is allowed and was taboo is impossible to span. You see this in comedy where guys like Andrew Anglin and The Right Stuff can never possibly “cross over” and do their thing in what is now the mainstream. They are all in on this side of the divide.

There is an old gag where a chicken and a pig talk about opening a restaurant. The chicken suggests they call it “ham and eggs.” The pig declines, saying, “I’d be committed but you would only be involved.” That is what is going in the culture. For years, the edgytarian could just be involved in fringe culture and the dominant culture. Now, everyone must be committed. you are either fully on one side of the chasm or on the other side. To mix metaphors, those who try to be both fall into the void.

50 thoughts on “The Plight Of The Edgytarian

  1. Pingback: Asked And Answered | The Z Blog

  2. You’re describing Limbaugh to a T. I has been wondering for years why he no longer had any appeal to me. I thought it was his bullshit policy of not picking a candidate before the convention, a folly which pissed me off to no end last year.

    But no, your explanation hit the mark.

  3. Edgy is fine for youth, and youth that have succumbed to “failure to launch”, so as to live an exciting life vicariously.
    Not so much for older folk, bored of the posers imagining the lives they’ve lived, and outgrown.
    But I guess civility doesn’t “sell” as well as delusions of edgy.
    Not enough clientele.

    • It gets pretty disgusting to try to have an actual debate on the net with youngsters who think if they don’t put a strong visual involving their privates into an argument, they’re not making their point. Fallon, Kimmel, Maher — all those guys started it, I hear (I only hear clips — one of those “I don’t watch TV, she said proudly” people)

  4. Much sadder than Any Shumer is Sarah Silverman. In her early years, she was as anti-PC as it gets and absolutely hysterical….then “IT’ happened…

  5. I hate to always bring up Orwell, but jeepers, when you contemplate the ‘humor’ of the heartless Left, yet another little corner of Winston Smith’s life pops to mind. It’s when he goes to the movies: “all war films”. A “light-hearted scene” occurs when the theater breaks out in laughter as a fat man vainly swims away from the helicopter spraying him with bullets, and he flails about like a stricken walrus until he vanishes under the waves. Later, of course, a whole boatload of women and children are annihilated by a bomb, to general applause-

    (with the disturbing outburst of a prole woman in the audience excepted – that’s us).

    Put a ‘MAGA’ hat on that fat man, or identify that boat full of people as, I don’t know, “gun-owners”, and you’ve got an awesome skit for one of the comedy people. Orwell, bless his heart, saw into the soul of (ironically) his own friends and associates.

    He was buried in a country churchyard…

    Since I grew up, there has been an ongoing tennis match between those who think Huxley got it right, and those who think Orwell got it right. I propose a radical view on this: They BOTH got it right. Huxley was right on the mental control of the ‘cloud people’, who must escape consciousness, and Orwell was right on the domestication of the ‘dirt people’, whose consciousness must be annihilated, for it is too varied, too wayward — too human.

    • Rush’s site had a broadcast transcript yesterday, of a discussion addressing the issue of the left’s wall-to-wall gun control response to the shootings. It was pointed out that the gun control response becomes a sort of a reflex for them, and that if you do not openly subscribe to the gun control mantra when prompted, you are not one of them. The gun control frenzy is also a way for them to belong to a club of sorts, and pity those who stand in any way against their frenzy, as they will be doxxed and attacked.

      Not said, but what jumped off the page at me, is that the left is not a club, it is a cult. Cults strip you of any independent thought, and use psychological techniques to corral you into their orbit. CNN and MSNBC are the tools of the Prog cult to keep their followers in their place. It is no accident that the full media gun control cry went up 24/7 before the bodies had reached room temperature.

      • Thinking back, and unable to access the Rush transcript, his transcript said “religion” where I said “club”. As corrected, the Prog hive is not a religion, it is a cult.

      • I’d guess they also suspect he was one of them, and getting the discussion to be about gun control not out of control baby boomers is more comfortable for their narrative.

  6. Edgytarianism is a signal processing phenomenon. In signal processing, the goal is to discriminate signal from noise. Edgytarians mistakenly believe that turning-up the volume improves clarity of the signal. Instead, the willing listeners (think rock fans at a concert) loose their ability to hear and the non-listeners simply exit the venue or turn off the receiver. Thus, being edgy gets you nowhere.

    On the other hand, being able to communicate with a very high signal-to-noise ratio guarantees that the message will be heard. Good examples of great communicators are the authors of literary classics and works of music whose work product endures for centuries, if not longer.

    • In academia, if you (yeah, dumb, I know) take classes to be a lit teacher, they always want to press the “edgy, high-interest” teen lit on you, all about thugs in the inner city, while turning their nose up at the classics…that Mass librarian with her anti-Dr.-Seuss snobbery explains it exactly, only she’d toss Mark Twain in there for sure, too.

  7. I got a subscription to Anthony Cumia’s network right after he was fired, because I like Anthony. When he brought Gavin on, I would occasionally catch his show if he had on an interesting guest. In between his cocaine nasal “allegies,” he would, at times, have interesting conversations with people that you didn’t see in mainline conservatism.
    However, it just got worse and worse, with his ass kissing the Republican Party, his gross sex talk, (not being a prude, it just grossed me out), putting things up his butt, tongue kissing Milo, his sucking up to that Jew, Ezra Levant, and his formation of Proud Boys, for guys like him that like mystery meat chicks, immaturity, hard partying, and The Cons tee too shun.
    Once the street battles commenced and the Alt-Right started fighting for their spot in the discourse, instead of supporting what is obviously a natural and good force desperately needed, he cucked out like all of the Alt-Lite bitches, running around whining, “The West is the Best!”
    Milo, Gavin, Cernovich, RamzPaul, Psobiec, Laura Loomer, The Oafkeeperz, etc., have become more destructive, more of a problem, than the basic bitch Conservatives, at this point. There are tons of MAGA deplorable types that would easily follow the Alt-Right, if it was more mainstream, but these Alt-Liters are no danger to GOP, INC, so they’re allowed to use the megaphone, and when they have it, they spend most of their time going after people further to the right, instead of focusing on destroying the left.

    Gavin went from doing the bidding of one Jew, Levant, to doing the bidding of another, Mark Levin. The chances of him doing something productive now sit firmly at ZERO. Hope he has plenty of his Vice $$ left to fund his nose candy habit, he’s gonna need it.

    • Maybe that should read “GOPe, Inc.” I just finished catching up on the Power Hour podcasts. Z is competely correct that the GOP needs to be blown up. The blue team is doing a great job on their own but the GOP has acted as gatekeepers and just muddled their way through it for decades. Ooh, they’re “less bad” because they didn’t stick it to the normies…this time.

      Does anyone else notice that the edgies on the Left tend to be Tribe members while the ones on the Right are always beholden to a Tribe member? Dysfunction and degeneracy seem to be the order of the day.

  8. Come to think of it, you already could cobble together the better part of a great nightclub act just from the first dozen podcasts. At one time I heard all the biggest stand ups live, and good materiel does not meet the demand. Thar’s gold in them hills. All you require is good security and a bomb sniffing dog.

  9. Once upon a time, being highly productive or excellent at some useful skill was the key to personal success because it also benefited the tribe as a whole. In the warped incentive structure of our current society, there is no penalty for being useless, incompetent, or destructive. That we reward “edgytarians” with sufficient compensation to earn a living is yet another sign of how sick our society is.

  10. I’ve said it before, and I’ll stay it again, you’re the new counterculture in America if you get married and stay married to somebody of the opposite sex, have more than two kids, are self employed or work a steady job, and regularly go to church on Sunday.

    Welcome to the new edgy, Normals.

    • I tell people that I’m married for 30 years and more than a few look at me like I just said I’d cracked the secret to cold fusion.

      Look at me, all edgy, at long last.

    • All the norms are changing so fast that no one can truly define anything. This is why I have big problems with people who try to define the altright or say they know what it is, or say they’re its leader.

      Anyone looking for purity in politics is a complete idiot. People’s political ideas are all over the spectrum. This is why it’s so important to keep government as small as possible and minimize its interference in everyone’s lives. Comedians, pundits and internet personalities are just like politicians. They seek popularity, which they would call success, by trying to find a following large enough to enable them to feel good about themselves. Few if any ever say what they really think and stick to it. An entire f****** generation who seeks to have the highest number of views or Facebook friends. You guys like to b**** about the Boomers? That’s hysterical.

      Few have a solid belief system anymore. Almost none have a solid belief system which they have worked out for themselves and which hasn’t been imposed by some existing philosophy or theology. People like me have zero respect for people who need to have a worldview handed to them.

      I think a lot of people spend way too much time listening to what other people think and using that as input for their own belief system. This is the sign of a shockingly weak character. Most people are apparently incapable of navigating their way through such a sea of varying ideas.

      If we are doomed, this is why. People apparently need to be led around by the nose by some all powerful philosophy, leader or idea. I regard government swooners as people seeking an alternate religion, an alternative God to pray to who will take care of them and relieve their suffering.

      I have news for all of you: life IS suffering.

      While a Madman with a rifle can kill 60 people, governments can and often do kill millions or tens of Millions. Couple this with the endemic corruption and looting always displayed by every government, and you have the reasons anyone should need as justification for keeping government as small as possible. You can come up with new political philosophies and new places to put your feet but they don’t mean s*** if your government is trying to loot and kill you.

    • Absolutely. What began as the “South Park” type of conservative/traditionalist where you weren’t afraid to talk about exterminating the hippies before they turned into a drum circle. (Don’t have any idea what the show’s like now). But that’s when I started thinking about that whole theme of the average, working-class, non PC kid or buddy on the job being the counterculture fightng the “aren’t we brave to fight against tough opponents like Christians while the muslims blow their churches up” people.

  11. (((Lenny Bruce))) is a perfect example of this. Considered the first “edgy” comic. But, he wasn’t ever funny. So many comedians today declare their love and respect for him, but his one function for (((TWMNBN))) was to promote the fiction that comedians are wise and observant analysts of the “human condition”. Comedians like to view themselves as somehow superior to the majority of mankind because they occasionally have a sense of timing and can say fuck as much as possible.

    • Lenny Bruce was anything but funny, He was a very sad, very very sick little man filled with h8 for about 99.9% of our species

  12. “Edgyness” is the refuge of untalented comedians.

    Especially females.

    Joan Rivers was edgy but she was also very funny.

    The “comedienne” who showed up with DJT’s severed head was edgy and very unfunny. There are other female comics (names forgotten) who are convinced that if they say something outrageous the boobs will think they are witty.

    • Amy Schumer is the perfect example of a female comedian who pretended to be edgy on the right. (She used to hang out on Opie and Antony and pretend to be cool and hip)

      The second she got to the big stage, she took a giant hop to the left. She probably thought she was going mainstream but really left most of her audience behind. The problem is that that the modern left isn’t funny at all, not even a little.

        • They’re the ones running the culture. They have set up the lunacies they expect everyone to genuflect before…ridicule and disobedience enrages them. They cannot endure humor at their expense or their world collapses.

      • Amy Schumer reminds me of the chubby chick in college you seriously considered banging once while after eight beers. Then your remaining reason took hold and you realized you didn’t want to spend the next six quarters being stalked by a psycho.

  13. “It’s the smart move though. Look at Gavin McInnes. He burst onto the scene as the hyper edgy night time guy on Red Eye…”

    I don’t think so, Z. Jonah and the NRO are pandering to a shrinking audience of cucks and elderly RINO’s. Captain Buttplug will be an obscurity in another year. To me – YOU are an edgytarian. When some turd brained slob says something outrageously stupid and/or offensive – you sit back and think and then say something outrageously funny and mocking – without dropping into vulgarity and stupidity. Wit is edgy too. And so is one that is absolutely ruthless on both sides of the political spectrum.

    It’s also bloody refreshing. It’s nice to have a venue where you are challenged to think – and not pandered to by a clown that wants to do your thinking for you.

  14. The problem is that sooner or later, all these people begin to care what other people think of them. They read their own reviews. You must always never give a crap, and always be prepared to drop the mic in mid sentence and get out of town if you need to. Not necessarily be always correct, but always be certain about where you stand. It’s the only way.

    • Sure, but have you seen the home prices in Bethesda? And Georgetown Prep ain’t gonna pay for itself – them Jesuits will get rid of all the Jesus stuff if it makes the atheists or the tribe uncomfortable, but nobody gets a tuition discount.

  15. Hard to be any kind of mainstream media personal when the Internet crowd does your job without a neurotic producer and his donors directing you to do content nobody cares about or that actively posses them off. Such is Rebbe Media. Typo very much intended.

  16. Reading modern mainstream commentary sure is like eating warmed-over, 30-year old porridge, especially on the right. I read Michael Ledeen’s piece on the NFL fracas:

    Good Lord, could anything be staler? “It’s not politics, that’s what they have in Europe (follow with anecdotes about Italian soccer teams nobody knows, followed by names of American athletes from the 70s)! No, here it’s just all-American individualism, all the time. Oh, and e pluribus unum to you too!”

    Is this guy living in the all-politics, all-the-time world I’m living in? And he STILL uses the catchphrase “Faster, please”. Faster to where? Where is this guy going except further and further into the past?

    • What’s funny about the “faster, please” line is that accelerationists use it to mean “fall apart faster.” But, he has no idea that such a people exist as he is trapped in that bubble we see slowly drifting away from us.

      • Put me in the accelerationist camp, I guess. I cannot tolerate these namby pamby, useless outlets like the PJ Media, (& most every other conservative outlet), with their refried, rehashed 1980s worldview, much longer. These people and their doggedness to failure theater makes me constantly say, “faster, please,” all while picturing their demise. That incoherent tweet tantrum of basic bitch normie conservatism by Ben Sasse this week was the epitome of that mindset that needs to be smothered with a pillow. I have begun to genuinely hate these people in a way I can’t even muster up for worst of the shitlibs.

      • I think Glenn Reynolds is the guy who came up with the ‘faster, please’ catch-phrase. In ‘insta-speak’ it means something like “I’m totally into this because it will make sex awesome when I’m 90 and we’ll live to be 170 and we’ll all riff on awesome guitars.”

  17. As far as comedy goes, have you seen that super edgy stuff SNL is doing now? I don’t know how they get away with some of those skits on Trump.

    Gavin is going for the 21st century version of Ward Cleaver eh? Well is an adaptable fellow. Want to be edgy? Do a sixties version.

    • SNL is really brave, taking shots at a guy who obviously will never take them out on a one-way helicopter trip. Let’s see them do that kind of thing to Putin, or to the Muzzies.

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