In case you were busy actually enjoying your weekend, Jordan Peterson celebrity cruise attendant Bret Stephens went ahead and ruined everyone else’s by scribbling out a bunch of racist bumper sticker slogans in the New York Times. And this time, ol’ Bret did so without the veneer of preciousness that he usually grants to everything he touches…
Nothing bad is gonna happen to Bret Stephens for this, of course. He lives in the same magical fairy-tale land other conservative dudes live in where they receive the largest bullhorn and grandest sum of money possible to cry out to the world that they’ve been sent to the guillotine for daring to speak their precious truths. This is a country where poor Brett Kavanaugh, vociferously defended by his companion in Bret-itude, can get credibly accused of sexual assault and still ascend to the Supreme Court—and cement gerrymandering as eternal law after he arrives there—by squirting out a few in front of the Senate and telling everyone he enjoys beer. The Times isn’t gonna fire Bret Stephens. That joint employs some genuinely excellent take havers, such as Charles Blow. But the people in charge over there know that what REALLY drives engagement is letting smug pricks like Stephens and Bari Weiss and four-eyed penis David Brooks scream DEMOCRATS DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW TO PLEASE ME from inside the battlements of a supposed fortress of impregnable liberalism.
Stephens will get to keep spewing his noxious brand of horseshit over there for as long as he likes. What’s more, he even gets to deploy the cheap wingnut trick where you address criticism by telling everyone SORRY YOU WERE TOO STUPID TO UNDERSTAND MY REMARKABLY NUANCED TAKE:
The only nice thing I can say about Stephens’ thread linked in Jason Concepcion’s tweet above is that he limits the thread to just four tweets. And yet it won’t shock you to discover that he still someone manages to drone on insufferably throughout this miniseries, attempting to further clarify his shitty rhetoric like he’s doing YOU a fucking favor. Here comes the preciousness once more, now at full blast:
God man, FUCK you. Fuck you sideways. I think Stephens understands that he’s being dull, dishonest, clichéd, hostile, and still racist all in one go. But that’s a free lunch conservatives have been enjoying for years now. Stephens himself clearly has no problem grazing at that spread. No matter how much he says he’ll never vote for Trump—I AM CANCELLING MY SUBSCRIPTION TO DONALD TRUMP, SIR—he gets to act like people calling his views racist (they are) is the true offense here. And he is forever permitted to roll his eyes at anyone he finds beneath him, which means everyone.
Stephens should apologize for being who he is every fucking day of the week. He’s a repulsive slug of a man. That the Times would let Stephens indulge in the cycle of saying nasty shit and then arrogantly proclaiming that he expects people like Soledad O’Brien—who has had herself quite a week interacting with enormous alt-right shitbags—to apologize to him for daring to question him, is emblematic of the way the paper of record allows itself to get worked over by our least oppressed members of society positing that they are actually history’s greatest victims. Employing Bret Stephens means the Times gets to dodge criticism for being too liberal by going, “Look guys, we even let a shithead like Bret Stephens onto our pages!” Therefore, Stephens gets ample inches of column space to sort out who counts as a real American and who does not, and even makes sure to take an indirect jab at people who seek refuge here and end up dying because of the right wing’s institutional hatred and indifference toward them. And then… THEN… he gets to performatively wallow in the misery he’s sown.
It’s a fucking pathetic act. All of it. It’s a never-ending cycle where a conservative says some horrible shit, gets properly criticized for it, and then goes WELL I GUESS YOU JUST CAN’T SAY ANYTHING ANYMORE! in response to that criticism. Stephens doesn’t even have to pretend he’s listening to anyone else. Getting ratioed, to him, counts as prison time served. Inciting a wee bit of Timesman-on-Timesman violence is a point of troll pride for him. God forbid he suffer ACTUAL repercussions for saying such unapologetically ugly shit. The Times shouldn’t pay this fucking hack to trot out this labored act over and over again, but that’s precisely what Stephens has done throughout his entire tenure at the Times, with breathtaking amounts of both cynicism and condescension. And bossman James Bennet lets him. The Times doesn’t give a rat’s ass if they’re publishing de facto racialist pamphleteering. That’s just rounding out the discourse for them. Sorry if they can’t HANDLE the explosiveness of my perfectly aimed broadside.
And Stephens, of all people, has the predictable gall to say that everyone ELSE is the reason Trump is gonna win in 2020. It couldn’t possibly be because supposed guardians of democracy have foolishly offered STEPHENS asylum, helping disseminate his garbage into the mainstream and to act as sentry for the entrenched powers that be, and then paying him handsomely for the privilege. Nooooo… couldn’t be. I’d tell this pile of shit to take a look in the mirror. But I already know he’d gladly take me up on the offer, just for all the wrong reasons.