The isometry of the trolls

Charles C. Johnson has announced, in the midst of his voluminous Twitter commentary about burdensome furniture items other than mattresses that one might carry to one’s commencement ceremony as mementos of rape and discussions of Emma Sulkowicz’s taste for anal sex, that he will be boycotting any company that hires Sulkowicz. Truly we should give thanks that we live in a country that is graced by a young journalist of such courage and principle, and one that affords us the freedom to shit on the dining room floor of any Arby’s within the Fresno city limits.

Realistically, Johnson is every bit as likely to follow through on his boycott threat as he is to follow through on his threats to sue critics who have accused him of beshitting the floors in his life. He has no assurance of being advised of where Sulkowicz has been hired. If that place is Starbucks, it’s unbelievable that he would boycott the entire chain to punish it for hiring her. He’ll either go there for coffee because he wants some or not go there because he doesn’t; no freak with a mattress will influence his decision.

It gets even better if Sulkowicz lands a gig with some dipshit professional grievance-trolling blog. In that case, Johnson will be constitutionally unable to boycott her employer or orchestrate a boycott by his readers. By drawing attention to her recruitment he will inevitably direct traffic to her employer. There’s no way around it. The foamier a lather he works himself into over her rottenness, the more free advertising he will give her. And Sulkowicz is likelier than most to end up in the ass end of the feminist blogosphere. This, shall we say, cunta (it isn’t my fault; I have insomnia) has already cast its lot with her, and she’ll be good for business. If all else fails, they could pay her for rights to her name and assign some low-rent piker or illegal intern to ghostwrite her content. There’s no reason why Jezebel can’t be a franchise of Gobias Industries. After all, if they’re using ghostwriters, could anyone tell? Would the thought (sic) be any better?

Emma Sulkowicz is a major brand in that corner of the internet, and she’s a major brand precisely because she has branded herself into something controversial and disreputable. Given that her thesis was the portage of a mattress, a line of work traditionally offered to flophouse drunks in the Bowery, she can’t have much in the way of marketable skills. Worse, the mattress stunt is a kiss of death for any effort on her part to secure employment through normal channels with companies that aren’t being run headlong into the ground. Its message is, oh hai, I’m a ragingly crazy bitch, shortly to be deposed by plaintiff’s counsel for slander on account of false rape accusations. Feel free to nominate her for employment at your company if you want in-house counsel to take to the gin bottle before morning’s first donut. This means that just as the blog cunta has cast its lot with Emma Sulkowicz, she has cast her lot with the cunta. Other options are looking awfully scarce about now, unless we consider long-term unemployment one of these options. It’s certainly the option that chooses many Americans, so we’d be fools to rule it out.

Come to think of it, speculation about Chuck Johnson’s employment history in ventures other than is, like Robert Palmer’s discography, simply irresistible. That was an unfortunate reference, but insomnia. Johnson suggests that he makes a living by operating an independent tabloid news service (in the sense that the former Yugoslavia continued to break up until every one of its residents was the Independent Republic of Himself). The cash flow of Got News is called into question by his soliciting alms from readers on his site. What distinguishes him from a common panhandler is honesty: the panhandler probably has some, that is. Smart money says he’s catfishing us with a Horatio Alger autobiography. The gentleman is a teller of the cool story.

As I mentioned, the sacred internet tradition about Johnson’s beshitting the floor at an Arby’s in Fresno arose for a reason. Paul Nungesser, Emma Sulkowicz’s very alleged rapist, is preparing to introduce at trial text messages from Sulkowicz in which she explicitly asks him to buttfuck her. In Johnson’s judgment, these text messages are cause to publicly speculate that Sulkowicz’s mattress is a public health hazard because it is covered with the residue of the back-channel lay services of the rod and the staff that Nungesser performed on her. Johnson, mind you, expressed this as “shit” because she wanted him to “fuck her in the ass,” etc. Look, I report, you decide, but I think you’ll decide that Chuck Johnson is one nasty motherfucker. And believe me when I say that I wouldn’t be writing about this crap if Johnson hadn’t worked the beat first.

In post-Soviet America, news story reports YOU!

What we have is a professional right-wing nutjob who very much wants to anally hatefuck the professional crazy bitch with the mattress. You can tell he wants a taste of that strange. It’s just like Larry “nasty, naughty boy” Craig. That’s what he called Bill Clinton, but cut him a break, he was just jealous of the intern. People who aren’t into anal sex don’t spend so much time carrying on about anal sex. Johnson specifically wants to do the nasty with Sulkowicz, as we can infer from his interest in the secretion of her anal juices on her mattress, as opposed to other moralists who speak hate-lovingly of ass juice in general. This would be his private problem if he hadn’t insisted on making it a public problem. The same is true, of course, of Sulkowicz’s unrequited interest in Nungesser. If these people were fit for polite society, they’d think of something else to discuss or be quiet.

If we were a polite society, we’d ignore them. Maybe I’m conflating the community of internet shitheads with the silent majority; it’s certainly a nice thought. On the other hand, the internet provides an ecosystem for these people. In the dark ages, Johnson would probably have been relegated to handing out mimeographed screeds in the neighborhood. His publishing would have been mediated by legacy publishers, most of which would have rejected his manuscripts, or other people in the neighborhood, many of whom would have said, damn son, you’re a fucking kook. The difference in the new millennium is that we’ve achieved a minor information singularity in which communities devoted to the craziest sorts of bullshit imaginable are able to coalesce in the ether. The gatekeepers who might have marginalized these people for being out of their fucking minds are stumbling into obsolescence. When they reassert their own relevance, it’s usually by amplifying the crazies. But look on the bright side: Megyn Kelly has nicer legs than Walter Cronkite had, yes?

It gets even worse. Not a week after Sulkowicz gladly took up and bore her mattress at the Columbia undergraduate commencement comes news that one of the Duggar scions has had to resign from the Family Research Council because old allegations have come to light that he molested younger girls when he was a teenager. Gloria in excelsis, it’s a conservative answer to Lena Dunham fingering her kid sister. The buried lede in the Duggar story, of course, is that one of the Duggar scions, and apparently quite a fuck-up at that, was able to get work at the Family Research Council. It doesn’t smell good. Just because one is an over-the-top quiverfull wacko doesn’t mean that one’s surplus progeny are qualified for employment at one of the most prominent lobbying organizations in the country. To hazard a guess, I’d say that this ain’t meritocracy. Maybe I shouldn’t have expected as much, given that the family’s most obvious business is “reality” TV attention-whoring, which we’re told is a mere adjunct to Jim Bob Duggar’s “Christian investment” scheme.

Of course these fuckers are Arkies. It’s all of a piece with Whitewater and Walmart, and more distantly with the federalized integration of Central High School. The feds ought to usurp state and local government duties in Arkansas more often. All the time would be a good start. But honestly, I thought the Family Research Council was more ethical than to peddle influence with that brood of ass clowns. I’m not kidding. I didn’t care for its extremism, but I thought it had principles. Of all the whip-smart, unfailingly scrupulous Christian conservatives they could have hired, they chose the dipshit son of an oily schmuck because their lot was famous from a fourth-rate family circus documentary.

I dare Tony Perkins or any of the other people I’ve mentioned in here to accuse me of anything less than unwavering rectitude and clean living. In a moral society, the whole lot of them would be subsisting on Top Ramen and government cheese in public housing. My message to them is bitch I can pick a hundred sixty pounds of grapes an hour. Fruit of the vine and work of human hands it is, so: Tony, Emma, Chuck, Duggar kin:

In God’s name I admonish the lot of you to shut the fuck up.

Yup, that’s a crowd that only thinks it wants Jesus to take the wheel.

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