Hardcore Posers

Hardcore Posers

October 29, 2021 0 By Anton

Elon Musk’s ex-partner, Grimes, was recently photographed reading the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx. Although the Canadian artist did this more for controversial “trendiness” or, to use her own words, “the most onion-ish possible headline”, than as a serious political statement, the imagery of an ultra-successful entertainer flirting, even jokingly, with an ideology that runs counter to the capitalist system which enabled her success and that has been responsible for more than 100 million deaths over the past 120 years is symptomatic of a broader phenomenon that has been flourishing within the circles of some of the most successful artists in the world.

To contextualise the prank made by Grimes, we need to observe the current political and cultural environment in the Western world, especially in America.

In 2021, Westerners live in increasingly authoritarian societies in which only certain ideas or ways of thinking are tolerated by the elite that dominates key institutions such as journalism, academia and politics and by a number of executives in companies that have become critical to the infrastructure of modern life, such as global technology corporations with massive platforms and resources, like Facebook, Twitter and Google.

The ideology embraced by many people with their hands on various power levers that ultimately dictate what views are to be tolerated and which should be regarded as punishable heresy is the “woke” ideological movement, which, in philosophical terms, is underpinned by  neo-Marxism and Cultural Marxism with a touch of identity politics. You can think of “wokeness” as Identity Marxism, as James Lindsay explained at length.

This cultural and political movement has generated an unwritten list of topics towards which if you display or utter the wrong opinion, you are showered with defamatory labels and even forced to leave your job or lose the ability to have a view at all.

These topics include: racism, critical race theory, censorship by technology companies, corporate media’s political bias, propaganda, healthcare industry’s profit interest versus the desire to provide cures, the nature and origin of SARS-CoV-2, various treatments for SARS-CoV-2, Donal Trump, the alliance between climate change activism and misanthropic sentiments, the benefits of capitalism and the devastations caused by socialism, events surrounding the 2020 US election, Hunter Biden’s laptop, Antifa, BLM, gender (biology versus ideology), sexual orientation, feminism, the Chinese Communist Party’s infiltration of Western institutions and companies, the reasons why Brexit happened, what the hell is [really] going on at Davos, and the list can continue.

Talk about any of these things in a critical and inquisitive manner – signs of a free mind – and you may face the wrath of various “woke” social forces: from police officers to professors and teachers, politicians, news commentators, business leaders to downright mobsters. The recently engineered backlash against comedian Dave Chappelle is just another example of the punitive “woke” forces manifesting themselves in an attempt to silence different views. A state of fear is the condition you must live under if you dare manifest important aspects of each individual’s liberty: the freedom to think, to express oneself and to speak.

This is the broader context of Grimes’s joke: the threat of a radical left-wing ideology supporting a globalist agenda that poses a real risk to individual freedom.

Of all people, artists should oppose developments that threaten one’s freedom to express themselves freely. After all, Madonna has recently stated on Jimmy Fallon’s show that “artists are here to disturb the peace. And so, I hope that I have disturbed not only your peace this afternoon but people’s peace while they watch the show.” The musician then followed with an agreement that she is getting into “good trouble”.

Indeed, many popular artists today portray themselves as these progressive rebels who are not wanted by the system or the establishment and who are fighting for the good cause of liberating people from the oppressive shackles of prejudice and ancient moral views. This image has emerged as a response to the 1980s, a period characterised by conservative values in politics and social life.

However, whether these artists, most of whom are wealthy multi-millionaires with strong interests in the current societal order, are the relentless trouble makers, the progressive rebels fighting for just causes and the free spirited people who raise a middle finger to the establishment, has been called into question in recent years. As we will see, there are good reasons for this scepticism.

Today, the establishment is no longer conservative – it hasn’t been for almost three decades. In fact, Westerners have been living in an increasingly liberal and left-leaning society since the end of the 1980s, and artists and entertainers have played an important role in this cultural shift.

As Quentin Tarantino explained on the Joe Rogan Experience, films like Reservoir Dogs which went against the self-censorship, conservative culture of the 1980s, paved the way for the more liberal expressions of the 1990s and of today. However, the cultural forces behind this shift were not confined to cinema.

TV channels like MTV offered an important platform for artists like Madonna, Eminem, Cher, Aerosmith, Marilyn Manson and many others to express their creative minds, grow their audiences and further challenge the remains of the conservative society of the Reagan and Thatcher years.

The appeal of left-leaning views gained more traction outside the entertainment world during the Republican presidency of George W. Bush, especially during his second term when the American President was faced with dealing with the 9/11 terrorist attack and its aftermath. Initially, there was little opposition to the wars started in the pursuit of Al-Qaeda, but the critics gained further credibility, and rightly so, as Bush’s “war on terror” turned out to be based largely on the lie of “weapons of mass destruction”. Indeed, the Republican President did no favours to conservatives, if he ever was one, when he launched a war campaign on a fabrication supported by propaganda, coupled with legislation that is now the bedrock of how the American government oppresses and harasses its citizens.

However, the liberal movement began to morph into an increasingly radical progressive force during the Obama years, a period during which rhetoric on inequality, victimisation and race grew exponentially, in part due to the economic hardships that followed the global financial crisis and the bailout of the world’s biggest banks – a move that is in line with a globalist perspective which is promoted at Davos. Nevertheless, instead of uniting the American people, Obama’s rhetoric created a chasm between them based on the politics of racial identity and economic class divisions.

As a result, at the end of Barack Obama’s presidency, America has become even more divided on matters related to cultural values and political views. The same socio-cultural pattern began to reveal itself in other Western countries, like the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia – this is no coincidence: Western values are the target of the “woke” ideological movement which has its roots in the 1960s and 1970s writings of Herbert Marcuse and other postmodern, neo-Marxists who argued for the decisive censorship of conservative thought and had a profound distain for the benefits that capitalism has brought to the working class in terms of an improved living standard.

For years this dangerous ideology infiltrated key institutions of Western society – academia, mass media, politics and law. However, it was relatively dormant, or at least confined to isolated parts of society (such as university campuses), until the progressive political and business elites realised that their levers of power over the direction of modern society were challenged by events such as Brexit and the political success of Donald Trump who was, in the eyes of many disheartened and alarmed left-leaning individuals, supported by a “basket of deplorables”.

Since 2016, the hatred for Donald Trump, Brexit voters and broader conservative values has resurfaced more and more, coming into full mainstream during the chaotic year of 2020 which saw the progressive movement in the West, especially in America, collapsing into a full blown “woke” nightmare with strong authoritarian tendencies, such as heavy censorship, defamatory strategies and actions driven by mob-rule mentality, online or on the streets ran by Marxist organisations like Antifa and BLM that have engaged in rioting, looting and in demanding that people with the wrong opinions (those that oppose the “woke” ideology) be punished in various ways.

In 2021, the establishment in the West is to a large extent “woke”, with some crumbles left of liberalism and almost no traces of conservatism.

This profound cultural shift hasn’t left the world of entertainment untouched. In fact, it swallowed a good part of it, with some of the most prominent names backing various elements of this radical left-wing political and cultural movement. Here is Eminem, Madonna, Jay-Z and Beyonce, Robert De Niro, Will Smith, and there are many others who can serve as clear examples.

“It seems like every TV awards show these days – the Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys, Tonys, etc. – […] are filled with liberals constantly spewing liberal propaganda. The political nature of these shows used to be limited to one outrageous comment or diatribe here or there, but it has steadily increased and become more visceral and brutal in recent years,” read a recent post from the Conservative Book Club.

There is a good reason for what why this is happening: there is a lot of money to be made for siding with the “woke” ideologues, so the cost of being a hypocrite is monetarily insignificant (for now). Therefore, it turns out that many of the so-called rebels and free spirited people who wanted to do their own thing regardless of what the system demanded are not against an establishment, even if it is increasingly authoritarian, if it benefits them.

Perhaps the most surprising supporters of the “woke” establishment came from the most hardcore and, allegedly, radical forms of entertainment: the heavy metal and punk music scenes. A core premise of these two genres of music is raw self-expression through the opposition to the status quo. However, this appeared to be true as long as the establishment wasn’t a political system built on ideas that some of these hard core rebels embraced.

Take for example Ministry, an industrial metal band that relentlessly criticised the second Bush administration, and rightly so in my view, for its illegal wars, and making George H. W. Bush’s speech on the new world order into one of the band’s most well-known hits, and one of my favorite songs ever, N.W.O.. The American band, which has built up a reputation for its anarchist messaging, has numerous songs that are highly critical of the establishment. Apparently though, it matters if that establishment is conservative or not.

Recently, Ministry’s unspoken support for a left-wing establishment has surfaced with songs like Antifa, which praises a group whose actions border on domestic terrorism, and with its frontman, Al Jourgenson, suggesting his support for vaccine mandates, a process which removes the free choice for which the band and himself have advocated for decades. In the heavy metal community we have a word for those who portray themselves as ruthless anti-establishment rebels but turn out not to be one: posers (a vulgar way of calling someone a sell-out).

Another example comes from Rage Against The Machine (RATM) who, despite their anti-capitalist and globalist messages, some with which I agree, have consistently allied themselves with big labels and advertisements companies, not to mention their recent support of Marxist organisation Black Lives Matter. For a band that has made a name for being anti-establishment, at least in their early days during the 1990s, lately RATM seems to have lost the “rage” and turned into “The Machine”. Like others with a rebellious image, RATM turned out to not be against the system but only against a regime they disagreed with: they appear unbothered by the authoritarian tendencies of radical leftists.

Even old school singers, Rolling Stones, have caved to the “woke” mob, dropping one of their best hits – Brown Sugar – from their world tour. There is nothing more rebellious than complying with an authoritarian cultural movement that detests freedom of expression – right? 

This behaviour is not confined to the scene of music. Movies, comedy sets, and literary works are all being changed and attacked by the pseudo-morality of the radical left. It is now trendy to be “woke”, at least in the elite circle of the entertainment industry. However, the cost of being fashionable, especially in the realm of ideas, is a loss of originality that can only come from the combination of imagination and critical thinking, things which the “woke” ideologues do not like that much.

“I’m sorry to say, but I think we are losing this cultural war to these people because they control the mass media, control Hollywood, control the production of culture”, wrote Yuri Maltsev in a recent issue of The Austrian.

Now, everyone is entitled to their political opinion. Therefore, the issue here is not that Madonna or Jay-Z or any other multimillionaire artist supports a radical left-leaning establishment that threatens the very values which enabled their success. If they want Marxism, let them have it. The matter at hand is the dissonance that results from what they claim to be and what they reveal themselves to be, from what they claim they stand for and for what they actually stand for.

Grimes might have made an innocent joke that attracted the attention of newspapers and the social media crowds, but the prank was an echo of something much deeper among some of the most successful and wealthy people on the planet, who are icons or global stars, be them musicians, actors, presenters and so on. More precisely, Grimes’s joke surfaced the hypocrisy found in these elite circles of the entertainment industry. Hence why the word “poser” captures their behaviour accurately.

However, it would be dishonest to claim that all artists are sell-outs. Tom MacDonald, Eric Clapton, Kristian Espedal, Dave Chappell, Andrew Schultz and Ricky Gervais, as well as podcasters like Tim Pool and Joe Rogan who offer people with different views a platform to discuss them, are examples of individuals who choose to defy the authoritarian tendencies of the “woke” establishment in the pursuit of being true to themselves while keeping alive the essential Western values of freedom of thought, expression and speech.