If the new all-female cast of Ghostbusters has taught us anything, it’s that radical progressives are locked in a tense battle with the scary monsters under their beds. Seriously: at this point, the main cultural enemies of extreme liberals are made-up boogeymen from the feverish imagination of progressivism itself.
This was never more clear than last week, when Jezebel (an intellectual black hole masquerading as a news website) published a satirical blog post under the fabricated authorship of “A Hysterical Man.” The article was called “New All-Feminist Ghostbusters Is A Punch in the Dick to All of Mankind.” It was an imaginary response to Paul Feig’s announcement that his Ghostbusters reboot will star four women. What we were all supposed to believe was that Jezebel’s post was a cleverly exaggerated send-up of the misogynist hysterics that had actually erupted among the stunted ogres and half-men who supposedly infest the blogosphere.
Jezebel’s cardboard cut-out man is a sniveling mess of pent-up rage and mommy issues. He alternates between bigoted venom (he refers to the new cast as “four angry dykes”) and sudden outbursts of the repressed Freudian hang-ups that fuel his hatred of women (“I HATE MY MOM, A LOT”). The article is peppered with links to actual posts from actual men having actual opinions about the movie, so you know Jezebel isn’t being unfair. There really is an army of knuckle-dragging trolls out there in the “manosphere,” clamoring to deny women their rights. And Jezebel really does have them pegged.
Except it’s all a complete fairytale. For one thing, barely any of the links in the Jezebel article say what Jezebel implies they do. Just a couple of examples: Jezebel’s imaginary man squeals that the film is a “betrayal.” The word is suggestively hyperlinked to what turns out to be an introspective and even-handed reflection from a man who feels ambivalent about the film, but “not because it’s an all female cast.” Another link leads to commenters who predict that the movie will suck “for at least 10 reasons, all which [sic] have nothing to do with the fact that the leads are women.” There’s the usual online trash-talk, but the slavering histrionics that Jezebel satirizes are nowhere to be found. The one lonely little nugget of truth among Jezebel’s fantasy citations is that someone did, in fact, rename the movie Ballbusters. Which, like, let’s be honest, is pretty hilarious.
And another thing. You could scour the internet for days and you still wouldn’t find a single reputable writer who even remotely resembles “Hysterical Man.” That’s even if, unlike Jezebel’s fact-checking team, you spent more than half an hour on research and you didn’t have this week’s episode of Girls playing in another tab.
Look, rebooting the movie with an all-female cast is a dumb idea. I imagine it’ll be terrible. It’ll probably flop like a rubber chicken at the box office. Whatever. But no one — as in, no one — is cursing the heavens because it stars women. Of course you’ll find a troglodyte or two mouthing off in his mom’s basement — you’ll find those in ample measure on the Left and the Right. But among the vast majority of sentient beings, the worst you’ll find is some mild annoyance about the incessant lip service that Hollywood pays to the delusional far-Left. Jezebel’s bloodthirsty internet trolls are about as real as the ones Hans Christian Andersen warned you about.
This isn’t the first time progressives have made up a big bad super-villain and done valiant, imaginary battle with him. Remember when Emma Watson delivered that big feminist call to arms on the floor of the UN? Remember when we heard about those backwards, disgusting, cowardly orcs threatening to teach Watson a lesson by leaking nude pictures of her? Remember when that turned out to be a barefaced lie invented to condemn the website 4Chan for an act of blackmail that it didn’t commit? Probably not, because the second the hoax was revealed, the story got buried by the mainstream press.
The goal of all this is to cast the Left as embattled heroes, shuddering but never breaking under the slings and arrows of their monstrous persecutors on the Right. The trick works by sleight-of-hand, highlighting and magnifying the lowest of the low. Progressive bloggers strategically take the schoolyard taunts of poorly behaved teenagers and the violent outbursts of the mentally ill as representative of the entire philosophy of conservatism. If an unhinged sociopath goes on a murderous rampage, well, we need to talk about the evils of masculinity “before boys and men commit more mass shootings.” And if that sociopath plastered vile ravings across the gutters of the internet, then his massacre was the fault of “misogyny and gun culture” in our “sexist society.” By shining a spotlight on disturbed extremists, progressives can effectively claim that the entire world is against them.
It would all just be ridiculous if credulous do-gooders didn’t gulp this narrative down like candy. Jezebel’s fabricated misogynist is making the rounds, and he’s doing exactly what he was created to do — tricking people into thinking that he’s real. There are university newspaper articles out there right now that cite Jezebel’s article — and nothing else — as proof that the asinine forces of masculinity are waging a war on women. Some people are even convinced the post is real.
This is more than a straw man argument. In a straw man argument, there actually has to be an opposing view to misinterpret. This is intellectual shadow-boxing, a mythological Orwellian hate-magnet conjured out of thin air to unite adherents under the banner of an ideology that otherwise has absolutely nothing going for it. Progressives have made a science out of whipping themselves into a froth of righteous indignation over nothing to win followers and votes. If we’re not careful, it’ll work.