One of the more curious entries among Internet phenomena, where political argument is concerned, involves projection. Projection, of course, is accusing your enemies of things you, yourself are guilty of doing. For example, Democrats accused President Trump of staging a “photo op” when he posed in front of a church with a Bible, and perhaps rightly so. They then donned African scarves and dramatically knelt for cameras to show that they really, really care about black people. Hypocrisy along these lines is nothing new, of course; it happens all the time, and on both sides. But because “the Left can’t meme,” their scions seem particularly vulnerable to projecting their weaknesses transparently onto others.
At no time was this more apparent than with regard to the movie, Cuck. This hymn to progressive projection was created for only one reason: Because left-wing “soy boys” were very upset about being the butt of so many cuckoldry jokes.
Let me back up a bit. “Cuck” became the insult du jour a couple of years ago, used almost exclusively by right-wingers to make fun of left-wingers. Its meaning is akin to “soy boy” or “beta male” (the former based on the misconception that consumption of soy-based protein lowers testosterone levels). The rise of the insult, curiously, seems to have risen in direct proportion to a number of left-wing outlets praising relationships in which weak-willed men tolerate women who have multiple sexual partners. Several attempts at journalism have been made to justify the practice, and among millennials especially, there seems to have been a concurrent rise in the popularity of “cuckold” themed adult entertainment.
The insult is an obvious one. Radically left-wing males are hardly exemplars of manly virtues, generally speaking. They hate guns, knives, and other warrior tokens and traits; they are far too effusive in expressing their feelings compared to the traditionally masculine stoicism advocated in past generations; their devotion to socialism and “big government” speaks to dependence rather than independence, to collectivism over individualism. Traditionally masculine males would not tolerate sharing their paramours with others. Traditionally masculine men hold ideals that are in direct opposition to progressive ideology, starting with modern gender theory and ranging across a spectrum of sociopolitical ideas.
Despite these considerable hurdles, the makers of the film Cuck tried to reverse the insult. The film’s Wikipedia summary, as of this writing, reads as follows:
Ronnie, a loner who lives with his possessive mother, is deemed unfit for military service due to his history of mental instability and petty crime. Retreating into the world of extremist internet groups, he creates a vlog channel, from which he decries what he describes as the downfall of “real America.” Meanwhile, prompted by sexual frustration, he agrees to play the role of cuckold in a couple’s homemade amateur pornography, unaware they are exploiting him… He buys an unregistered handgun and begins to spend time at firing ranges. He meets his online idol, a charismatic leader of the alt-right. However, when his identity as a “cuck” emerges, his macho persona is destroyed. Facing online shaming, Ronnie takes solace in his gun, which he regards as the only symbol of masculinity he has left.
The attempt is transparent enough. It is gun-loving right-wingers who secretly desire to be cuckolded, you see, because the movie says so. Right-wingers don’t have principles; they are confused. Their masculinity is a sham and their patriotism is merely hate. We know, because the movie told us.
The only problem is that even those who hate the “alt-right” (a term that itself means nothing, insofar as anyone to the right of Karl Marx is invariably described online as “far right” or “alt right”) can see through the attempt. It failed because it was the philosophical equivalent of sticking out your tongue and shouting, “Nuh-UH! I’m rubber and you’re glue!”
To be blunt, the insult “cuck” is and always has been associated solely with the Left. To attempt to use it against right-wingers is laughably silly. It is so laughably silly that it is doomed to fail, and it is why the film, Cuck, allegedly made zero dollars at the box office. That’s right: the film made so little money as to have made nothing, give or take some creative accounting.
Nobody went to see it. Nobody cared. It made nothing because the attempt to coopt the insult simply doesn’t work. It is not rooted in enough reality to have traction with anyone, even those sympathetic to the attempt.
The same has become true of the insult, “snowflake.” Many people have lost sight of the origin of the term. Originally, it was in reference to the rebuke that “You are not a special, unique snowflake.” It has come to mean, in its evolution, anyone who melts completely at the first hint of heat and light. Thus, college students so traumatized by dissenting ideas that they demand “safe spaces” (often racially segregated ones) are “snowflakes” — people who simply cannot handle the idea that not everyone agrees with them.
It’s become popular, among those on the Left, to mischaracterize as fainting-couch snowflakery any expression of dislike, disagreement, or objection. If you object to the erasure of history on any grounds with regard to the removal of confederate statues, the banning of confederate flags, the cancellation of the television show Cops, the removal from HBO of Gone With the Wind, the deletion of streaming episodes of Dukes of Hazzard, or even the targeting of animated entertainment like Paw Patrol, you must be a bed-wetting snowflake who can’t handle dissent. Right?
Well, no, actually; the people attempting to coopt the insult again don’t grasp the nature of it. One can object to a great many things, and oppose them, without narcissistic hand-wringing — and without proclaiming that one’s opinion is the only allowed opinion. The difference between opposition and snowflakery is one of tenor and exclusion. Snowflakes believe that only their position should be permitted, socially and legally. Dissenters understand that there are at least two positions, and they have reasons for holding one of them.
Everyone, every day, disagrees with political ideas. Many people take certain stands, engage in certain gestures, or make public statements in that regard. Whether we agree with this or that position is quite irrelevant; what is happening when these disagreements occur is political dissent, not emotional weakness.
It is not until these same people demand that all dissenting opinion be removed from their sight, on the notion that their emotions cannot bear the weight of the disagreement, that they become snowflakes. That is the difference, and it is an important one. People who don’t grasp that difference will continue to project their own weaknesses onto others… and they will continue failing in their efforts to coopt criticisms leveled against them.