Some people would do anything to get attention. They navigate the social system to find an opportunity to whore themselves to an idea that would generate enough controversy to attract the surveillance of a bored and angry cohort thirsting for dissension. While the internet provides access to a repository of information that can inform and enlighten, a byproduct is a cesspool of toxic and debauch trolls devouring reason and common sense.
Gavin McInnes is one such exhibitionist with his cliche tattooed sleeves and Ned Kelly beard that pattern the popular and fashionable punk signature, but how effective has this provocateur been in reigniting far-right tensions?
The leftist movement has grounding amongst the young and university-educated that collectively use progressive liberal ideas to provoke and critique stale capitalism. Positioned in the cultural domain, their predominate area of activity rests in protesting through art and literature as an intervention against the hegemony of a conservative public sphere.
Gavin McInness and his cohort of followers are attempting to penetrate this cultural sphere with their far-right activity in what is known as the “cultural wars” by altering the dialogue to counteract the firm position of the left. It is fast becoming a movement growing and targeting the young by making pervasive ideas and propaganda to be fashionable. This can be seen with the comic book ‘Alt-Hero’ that apparently challenges the coerced diversity by using a muscular, white hero cleaning up the dirty streets filled with vile immigrants.
He started off with Vice Media that was largely characterised to be anti-establishment and attractive to many young people at the time who enjoyed McInnes’ expressive take on individual freedom as though he represented the voice of their frustrations. However, the line between his punk anarchism that challenged the mainstream started to become blurred as his dialogue started to feature racist and xenophobic ideologies as he moved more and more deeper into the domain of the far-right.
His film “How to be a man” articulates his provocative methods while at the same time reinforcing extreme, sexist views and a toxic masculinity that communicates to a range of young men vulnerable to a need for belonging, power and friendship. He reduces the characteristics of a man into its basest, primal variable that celebrates sex and drugs and a nihilistic understanding of reality. He also regularly contributed anti-Semitic commentary to Ezra Levant’ Rebel Media that supports white supremacism and soon enough founded the group Proud Boys known for misogynistic rhetoric and racist ideology.
He continues again by reaching into the sphere of youth culture by writing “Ten things I hate about Jews” which is filled with his vile diatribe that strategically uses humour to appeal to his young audience and by doing so, his racism becomes free from the political domain where public constraints often mute such discourse. His repertoire of moronic productions also include “How to piss in public” and “The brotherhood of the travelling rants” all intended to evoke humour and familiarity that make him likeable to young people when the content is enveloped in extremist hatred and espousing conspiracy theories.
Freedom of speech vs. hate speech has been an ongoing discussion within the legislative arena both with national criminal laws and international legislative provisions. Accordingly, Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees the right to freedom of expression, including:
Seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Human Rights, however, articulates an important dichotomy between rights and responsibilities and in contrast to Article 19, the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination targets hate speech, whereby Article 4(a) writes:
1. Dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority.
2. Dissemination of ideas based on racial hatred.
3. Incitement to racial discrimination.
4. Incitement to acts of racially motivated violence.
The recognition that hate speech can motivate crimes has led to a number of conventions on racial discrimination and the prevention and punishment of hate crimes. Such enacted legislation against bias-motivated crime encourages increased public efforts to tackle the continuous attack against human rights values and promote equality and social harmony.
The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism found that most foreign ISIS fighters came from disadvantaged backgrounds and had limited education. A number of factors including identity-formation, academic literacy and economic poverty all play a part in luring young people towards extremism. Feelings of belonging and connectedness with others through ideological narratives promote a sense of worth and power that foster a sense of inner cohesiveness. Boredom is also a key indicator amongst young people who have no outlet to externalise their frustrations, whereby isolated young people are compelled to criminal networks, drugs and radicalisation to overcome psychological difficulties.
Following a street attack that found members of the group Proud Boys arrested in time for the organisation to be deemed an extremist group by the FBI, Gavin McInnes suddenly rescinded his place as a member. It is starting to become clear that McInnes’ social dissent is extremely narrow and follows a proverbial technique common in our recent history and seen in much the same way with many others such as Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter, and Steve Bannon. The stereotypical polemics spouting white supremacism has become so repeated and common that the motivations intended to provoke fear and strengthen membership are now an obvious technique for popularity.
The way that I see it, Gavin McInnes is merely a man who saw an opportunity to be an agent provocateur and did so deliberately knowing that the greatest amount of attention would come from it. To do so by intentionally targeting young, disadvantaged youths is an exposure of the depravity of his own deranged agenda.