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Surrealism in the new right

Writing by Emily Martin, photography by Isabela Caramico.

The age of post-irony is upon us. With radical conservatives of the New Right in the US exploiting social media platforms (such as Tiktok) to engage with and manipulate younger viewers, post irony is becoming increasingly more commonplace, and evermore dangerous so long as it remains unchecked.  

More recently for example, Ben Shapiro, a far-right political pundit, released a song in which he raps. Titled ‘FACTS’, and created in collaboration with Tom Macdonald, Shapiro’s creative debut seems in contradiction to prior statements of his. In an interview in 2019, Shapiro was reported as stating that “Rap isn’t real music”, raising the question as to whether his opinion has since changed, or whether he considers this an avenue in which to generate views and interest from a younger audience. Shapiro’s close collaboration with Tom Macdonald should also be noted, considering Macdonald’s staunchly anti-trans prejudice, often voiced through his Instagram (@hangovergang). This obvious attempt to engage the American youth heralds the coming of an age in which hypocritical statements and views are ever variable, often changed in pursuit of personal gain and attention. This is accentuated by Shapiro creating a media company with the show “Chip Chinchilla”, which supports and promotes strongly conservative views including that of a ‘woman’s place is in the kitchen’. There is no longer a limit on how fabricated information can be before it is given as “fact” to the public. This new wave has therefore become a surrealist version of the 21st century in which bias is supposed to be taken out of media predisposed to children. 

Another popular new-right figure is Andrew Tate. In June 2023 both him and his brother were charged in Romania with multiple counts of human trafficking, rape and the sexual exploitation of women via means of an organised crime syndicate. The information that Tate was spreading bigoted views, remains a long-standing fact; twitter (now X) memes emphasising this. Also, the knowledge that Tate himself is a “self-proclaimed misogynist”, has not reduced the constant references to him as being an “ironic joke”. But at what point do the values and qualities spoken about (traditional values) become so normalised that ironic jokes on social media platforms start to become misunderstood as serious conversation. This then being succeeded by the rise of alt-right views in the adolescent group, allowing bigoted and misogynistic views to become normalised. This comes as the opposite of the aim of many politics today (that of the progressive, pro-education stance), something of a surreal natural state.

The final individual to be discussed is Jordan Peterson. Peterson is not necessarily a New Right figure. But his views and agenda are still equally harmful to the youth digesting his “factual” lectures and interviews, that do not include proper critique to the harmful views suggested. In one interview Peterson states that women are inherently inferior to men. Using psychological facts such as the female fantasy model; women fantasise about being sexually and romantically attracted to the strong, in-charge “chief” male character. Using a generic, not ultimately scientific piece of evidence to prove that women are beneath that of a man, is degrading and backwards thinking.

Western politics instead of being the melting pot of ideas and innovations in terms of political criticism and commentary, it has become a space of extremist views. This might be indicative of a surreal reality but that does not mean it does not pose a threat to the general public, especially those of a younger age.

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