Be on the lookout for people spreading the propaganda of a fascist terrorist

I don’t have a lot to say about the Chicago shooting. It’s yet another act of terrorism by a white American fascist. These will continue to happen until some time after the fascists feel certain that they have no open support from the general public or from the ruling class. My proposed course of action hasn’t changed. There is, however, one thing that I believe is important to highlight:

This seems like a pretty clear-cut attempt to add fuel to the fire of American transphobia. There’s already an effort underway to erase trans people from U.S. society, and to paint them as every kind of villain, evidence be damned. I’ve seen headlines focusing on the fact the shooter “wore women’s clothes”, but they all seem to be claiming that the clothes were an attempt to blend in.

I suppose it’s possible that there’s some truth to that, but given the nature of online fascist discourse, I think Erin Reed’s reading in the above tweet is more than reasonable. It’s also playing on a pretty common trope in media. Everyone is in danger from this fascist movement, but the amount of danger depends on what stage we’re at, and whether you’re seen as an ally to the victims of the moment. Fascists have always preferred targets with little to no political power, and trans people are pretty much always at the top of that list. Pointing out propaganda can help defuse it, and I think more people should be on the lookout for this sort of thing.

And right now the most important thing you can do, is figure out how to join and/or support anti-fascist activity. I’m all in favor of rehabilitating fascists, but that must come after they have no power to hurt anyone. The top priority has to be stopping them.


  1. klatu says

    I had a whole wall of text in production, but it all boiled down to the same thing in the end: There’s just something wrong with men in general. So many of them just never learn how to regulate their emotions. So they torture, murder and rape other people instead of just sitting with their pain. Or–god forbid–talk about it or seek help.

    That so many men under the age of 30 could accumulate enough angst in their lives to act out in this monstrous way is an indictment of the surrounding culture, at least to some degree. It speaks of an almost unfathomable degree of alienation.

    We really need gay space-communism, stat. If only so cis-het white people can finally find some peace and chill the fuck out for a second and not live under the assumption that not doing better than others is equivalent to failure. Might also save the planet from turning into Venus 2.0, but hey… one thing at a time.

    Thanks for all your work, Abe. I try not to vomit my opinions on all of your posts, because nobody needs to see my rage and despair all the time. Hope you’re doing okay.

  2. John Morales says

    There’s just something wrong with men in general.

    Nothing wrong with women.

    (or with the rest of the population)

  3. StevoR says

    @ ^ John Morales :Seems to be some things generally wrong with human nature.

    Toxic & fragile and misogynist masculinity esp in “white”culture and on the reich wing seems to be a particularly big thing wrong wih it at the moment.

  4. John Morales says

    StevoR, I’m slightly loath to indulge in these digressions, but subject to our host’s feedback I’ll not discipline myself this time.

    @ ^ John Morales :Seems to be some things generally wrong with human nature.

    I doubt that. It just is what it is, contingently.
    (Also, might I draw your attention to the teleological implications of your digression)

    Anyway, the claim I quoted was not about human nature, was it?

    It was explicitly (and I again quote) “men in general”.

    Anyway. To the topic at hand, I don’t see the perp as a fascist. Just your general incel type; dime a dozen.

    (A symptom of the problem with men in general, no doubt)

  5. lochaber says

    How many women have committed mass shootings?

    I’m guessing not zero, but I doubt it’s even a single-digit percentage…

  6. John Morales says

    lochaber, it follows that there’s something wrong with men, generally?

    So trans men are being perverse, right?
    They seek for there to be something wrong with themselves.
    Generally. Got to have the caveat when being general.

    (Also, men generally earn more than women, therefore there’s something wrong with women. Oh, and and the rest of people, of course. Generally)

  7. says

    something wrong with maleness as currently socially constructed, but it’s such a powerful and dominant construction i can sympathize with somebody having difficulty seeing past that. i used to be on board with the man hate, until i noticed how much it overlaps with terfery on my social media – it’s a venn diagram looking like a circle with a skosh of chromatic aberration on it. it’s got me feeling like, ehh, there are probably better ways to deal with the horrific problems that seem all but completely manly in origin than jumping to man hate.

  8. lochaber says

    Yeah, I do think there is something wrong with a lot of men in the U.S. (as this seems to be a distinctly U.S. problem…)

    I think a lot of it is the prevalence of toxic masculinity. It’s probably more than that, but the widespread culture of toxic masculinity here encourages violent reactions, discourages people (mostly men) from seeking mental/emotional help, applying a zero-sum mentality to everything, especially to cases where zero-sum is absolutely ridiculous, like rights and happiness.

    There’s likely more playing into it as well, and as people like to point out, a disturbingly large percentage of mass shooters have a documented history of domestic violence (and, just because there isn’t a documented history of domestic violence, doesn’t mean they didn’t engage in domestic violence, so the actual percentage is likely larger…), although that might just be a correlation of people willing to engage in such horrific acts of violence, are also likely to use violence in other aspects of their life… And there is all the right-wing rhetoric about “race replacement” and other such nonsense, where the media is constantly trying to scare right wingers that everyone is out to get them, and everything outside their suburb is a crime-packed hell-hole, etc.

    But, again, much like this is a uniquely U.S.A. problem, it’s also a uniquely male problem.

  9. tuatara says

    Toxic masculinity is present in many countries and cultures.
    But the problem that is distinctly present in the U.S.A. does appear to be one in which

    a disturbingly large percentage of mass shooters have a documented…

    …easy access to military-style assault weapons?

  10. says

    Overall, I agree with Satan.

    I reject the notion that this is about human nature – that’s just the naturalistic version of saying, “we live in a fallen world”. That’s not to say there’s nothing in human nature that I would consider “bad”, at least in effect, but as an explanation for broader societal trends, it’s useless.

    Masculinity is long overdue for re-examination, and I honestly think that the best shot us cis folks have at making real progress on understanding and philosophy of gender in society is to show solidarity with our trans comrades, and to listen to them. If any of these bigots have enough rational thought to ground their hatred in philosophy, I wouldn’t be surprised if what they’re really afraid of is the very changes to our understanding that will inevitably come from a society that accepts reality when it comes to trans people.

    That’s not why we should fight for them, any more than we should end white supremacy because it hurts white people, but I think it’s a relevant part of the conversation around toxic masculinity.

    @Klatu – I feel you, and thanks for your concern. Still miss the dog, but my overall quality of life is improving (when I don’t think about the world). Being a dedicated house-spouse and writer is apparently the setting I need to actually get shit done.

  11. says

    On the topic of the murderer being a fascist or not, I have two thoughts. I may be mistaken about that, I just saw he’d been at at least one Trump rally, and he had a rune of some sort on his helmet in one picture. Maybe he’s not?

    The other thought is that there’s a degree to which it doesn’t matter if he was just doing fashy things to “mess with people”. Do we really need to rehash the “ironic fascist” to “actual fascist” pipeline? Even if he was “just memeing” while he murdered people, that fits the M.O. of modern fascism just fine. I don’t know about the incel thing, but frankly there’s a lot of overlap there as well.

  12. klatu says

    John Morales

    Nothing wrong with women.

    (or with the rest of the population)

    John. Read my stupid post one more time, and quote the part where I say that women (or the rest of the population) are perfect. Please. Then, kindly go fuck yourself. NOBODY made that claim, so who are you even arguing with?

    I hear you, I really do. I made a super general claim, a claim that is hard to substantiate or justify. I want to be on your side, but the reality is that most people are not queer. Women and girls all around the planet keep getting defined as not male. Male is the standard. We’re all limited by monolithic maleness. Most men I’ve ever known are assholes, almost by definiftion, and it is in stark contrast to what women (aka not-male people) are expected to be.

    Maleness makes nobody happy. Men hate being men, I think. Not because being bio- or identiy-male is bad. Not at all. But because maleness is defined as being in competition all the time. That fucking sucks. It must lead to a lot of losers.

    I’m biased. I recognize that. I made a claim that is difficult to prove. In fact, it’s so general and wide-sweeping that it is almost certainly wrong.

    But it feels‘s right (I bet you hate that, John!). It feels deeply approprioate, and it’s never talked about honestly. Not EVER. Can you get that? It’s been a taboo unlike anything else for thousands of years. Maleness is holy. It’s sacred in a way that maybe nothing else is in this ridiculous world. No holy cow is as holy as the one representing men and their in-born self-evident worthiness. So that’s why I fundamentally disagree with your claim that this is anything like TERFINESS. I reject that claim , because I want people to flourish, no matter who they are. I want to be a girl, myself, if that tracks at all, because that’s basically the opposite of being definitionally miserable. At the same time, I want peiple to embrace GOOD maleness, if that makes any dang sense.

    @Abe Dogs are good. Sorry, I’m out of words. Good is good. Dogs are that! (Fuck, I’m so weird!)

  13. klatu says

    Anyway, I’d like to leave (for now) with something actually constructive, escpecially for you, Abe.

    Trauma affects everyone, and it’s so much less mythical than people pretend it is. Biology is a thing, and being a biological being is not diminishing. It’s just nature. Being an animal can be empowering. It means you’re part of nature.

    If you are struggling with trauma, loss, or feelings of worthlessnes– or maybe if you’re just interested in those topics at all–this book is amazing:

    Now, that’s a highly illegal link. Do not click that extremely good link. That would be criminal and somehow evil. Knowledge–like everything else–must be slave to the sacred forces of the market, don’t you think?

    Do not read that book!

  14. John Morales says

    klatu, relax.

    John. Read my stupid post one more time, and quote the part where I say that women (or the rest of the population) are perfect. Please.

    Whatever made you imagine I imagined you expressed that sentiment?
    Quote me, if you really think that’s what I intimated.

    Just pointing out that when you write “There’s just something wrong with men in general.” there’s the concomitant converse insinuation that “There’s not something wrong with people who aren’t men in general.”, else why single out men in specific?

    Now, if you meant toxic masculinity, patriarchal mores, or suchlike, I get that you expressed yourself poorly. Because those things aren’t men in general.

    I’m drunk. Don’t listen to me.

    A good time to listen, actually.
    in vino veritas

  15. says

    Klatu, I have to say that I don’t hate being a man. There are upsides and downsides, but overall I’m comfortable with who I am. That said, I’ve had to work to get here, because we live in a society that doesn’t want us to be comfortable with ourselves. I think that may be the biggest difference between toxic masculinity in the U.S., and in the various countries to which we’re often compared.

    So much of American society revolves around using psychology and roadblocks to manufacture demand for whatever product someone with ad money wants to sell. That means carefully maintaining a certain level of abject poverty to scare people accepting bad deals on work, housing, health care, food quality, pollution – anything to avoid being homeless.

    And at the same time, you’re unhappy because you have too much dandruff, or because you don’t have the muscle definition of Huge Jackedman right before he spends a few days in the hospital recovering from extreme dehydration.

    We’re all taught to be bundles of anxiety and contradictory goals. We need to be chill, yet violent. We need to be honest, yet willing to do anything to get ahead. We need to be kind, but not too kind. We need to be dominant, as men, but we are also required to be subservient throughout most of our lives.

    Y’all don’t need me to list all of it.

    I often don’t like the company of men, because of the endless dominance bullshit so many seem to think is important. That said, I’ve encountered plenty of men who’ve been able find a sense of themselves that doesn’t depend on putting other people down.

    None of this makes the dudes you’re thinking of any less harmful, but one of the keys to fighting for change is the belief that change is even possible, and the simple fact is that “men” is a largely meaningless concept. It shifts from society to society, and era to era, just like everything else we’re dealing with. That a majority of the men you know reflect what their culture is telling them to be is not indicative of much of anything beyond the fact that propaganda works.

    I hadn’t really thought about it till now, but I guess picking apart the stuff that we’re taught to see as “the way things are” is one of the projects of this blog.

    Fatalism, while sometimes understandable, is rarely useful.

  16. klatu says

    Fatalism, while sometimes understandable, is rarely useful.

    You’re right about that.

    You’re right about a lot of shit. But that rightness requires a star-trek level of optimism sometimes, in order to feel at all worthwhile.

    Let me just say this: I was idiotically venting some steam, on someone else’s platform, no less. I was in a bad mood and very inconsiderate. I was drunk. I should have just NOT done that.
    End of story, my bad. I embarrassed myself and I’m sorry and I apologize. Maybe I’ll comment more in the future, unless you ban me. Which I think would be a fair thing to do at this point. I derail your point far too often with useless shit like this. Case in point.

    But to be honest, I was actually hoping to have a bit of a conversation.

    But then: John Morales happened.
    John was just being John again. He was being his usual sociopathic skeleboy self, devoid of any meaningful connection to humanity (as he prefers, I think). I’m not sure he can help it.

    So I made a mistake. I actually engaged with the guy. I shall never commit that mistake again. And in this very wordy spiel, I enter the halls of FTB Valhalla, where only the enlightened enter. I join the ranks of the hallowed few who have learned long ago to never engage with: SomethingSomethingOfTitanServer and John Morales.

    @John Morales:
    I don’t hate you. I don’t think you hate anyone either. I just think you’re incapable–or unwilling–to meet people at eye level. I think you’re looking for a fight every time you engage anyone here, and it’s a bad play. It’s sad to see, really. You do realize that your schtick of being hyper-literal is not only off-putting, but actually counter-productive? Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m the only one who doesn’t get you. But I can’t decipher what you’re after. At least 50% of the time it seems like you only respond to people in order to nitpick. It makes me not like you. I suspect it makes a lot of people not like you. It makes me not listen to you, at the very least. And maybe that’s not rational. But guess what? People aren’t rational and Kant was wrong.

    PS: I also apologize for ressurecting this (by now) old thread. I’m a coward who needs days and weeks to work themselves up to actullay engage people.

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