The global war on sissies

Here’s Brazil’s president:

One day after announcing he had tested positive for coronavirus Jair Bolsonaro has come under fire for allegedly using homophobic language to mock the use of face masks.

The Folha de São Paulo, a leading broadsheet, claimed Brazil’s far-right leader had baited presidential staff who were using protective masks, claiming such equipment was “coisa de viado” (a homophobic slur that roughly translates as “for fairies”).

And here’s modern China:

The Chinese government banned what it called “sissy men” from television Thursday and directed broadcasters to serve the people of China with “revolutionary culture.”

The change to eliminate what China calls effeminate men from the national spotlight comes as President Xi Jinping leads a government campaign to tighten control over society at large in China and reinforce official views on morality.

And here’s what’s going on in Russia:

One group that has been organising such bullying campaigns is Male State, which describes its ideology as “national patriarchy”. It was founded by Vladislav Pozdnyakov, a bodybuilder, in 2016. In 2018 he was convicted on a charge of inciting hatred of women; his group had harassed many of them individually. A year later Mr Pozdnyakov fled to Poland.

Exile, however, has not stopped him from revving up his angry male fans. Male State says it opposes Russia’s current leaders for being too pro-women.

And back in the USA:

Fox’s Tucker Carlson, the most important nationalist voice in America, seemed to sympathize with the gender politics of Taliban-supporting Afghans. “They don’t hate their own masculinity,” he said shortly after the fall of Kabul. “They don’t think it’s toxic. They like the patriarchy. Some of their women like it too. So now they’re getting it all back. So maybe it’s possible that we failed in Afghanistan because the entire neoliberal program is grotesque.” (By “neoliberalism” he seems to mean social liberalism, not austerity economics.) . . .

“We’ve come across a lot of content that’s U.S.-based extreme far-right websites saying how good the Taliban victory is, and why it’s good for their cause,” said Adam Hadley, director of Tech Against Terrorism, a U.N.-supported project that monitors extremists online. One neo-Nazi website, which I won’t link to, has a tract hailing the Taliban victory in part for showing that a small band of armed fundamentalists can defeat the American empire.

As for the rest of the pro-Taliban right, the Proud Boys and incels and MAGA splinter factions, some of them are probably just trolling. But as groups like QAnon and the civil war-hungry Boogaloo Bois show, a movement can seem absurd and still be a source of real radicalization. 

Rational centrists >>>> woke people >>>> pro-Taliban right