I like that I can point out the Red Scarepodcast in each traditionalist Catholic and bohemian artsy New Yorker crowds and they’ll know precisely what I’m speaking about. According to cultural polemics du jour, these teams shouldn’t have a lot in widespread. But Red Scare’s iconoclastic hosts, Anna Khachiyan and Dasha Nekrasova, have little qualms about defying our day’s codes of orthodoxy, and so do their most devoted listeners.
Since their debut in early 2018, Red Scare has amassed over 12,500 paid subscribers, raking them in over $50,000 per 30 days. Their fame has grown thanks partially to huge identify visitors like Steve Bannon, Ross Douthat, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, and John Waters; profiles within the New York Times, each New York Magazine’s The Cut and Vulture, Jezebel, and Interview journal; and a nod from HBO’s The White Lotus, whose creator claims to have primarily based two of his characters on the 2 hosts.
Some have labeled Khachiyan and Nekrasova “Dirtbag Leftists,” putting them among the many likes of different Bernie-supporting, anti-politically right podcasts corresponding to Chapo Trap House. But their ironic and cynical humorousness makes it onerous to pin down their precise political allegiances.
That’s to say the least—what number of podcasts can boast having interviewed the likes of democratic socialist Amber A’Lee Frost and Steve Bannon? But these making an attempt to place the pair right into a political field are lacking the purpose. Their critique of Western neoliberalism and the “woke” cultural phenomena it has spawned shouldn’t be primarily political.
“I’m not anti-woke, I’m interested in wokeness as a defiance of reality. I’m pro-reality,” mentioned Khachiyan in a latest episode. “I’m not interested in culture war as such, I’m interested in what culture war entails…like, I hope that we reach some slightly greater insights.” Their mission focuses on the pre-political and even the pre-ethical. In their eyes, the performative posturing in mainstream media about ethical and political causes is a entrance for aesthetic, psychological, and existential decay.
Red Scare first gained consideration after a video of Nekrasova being ambush-interviewed by an InfoWars reporter went viral in 2018. Dressed in a Japanese Sailor Moon-style outfit, and in between slurps of iced espresso, Nekrasova trolls the earnest reporter–who is decided to disprove the viability of socialism within the U.S.–with ironic and sarcastic responses, garnering Nekrasova the nickname “Sailor Socialism.” Thus the shock for some when three and a half years later, “the girls” posted pictures on Instagram of themselves taking pictures rifles with Alex Jones at his dwelling, saying the discharge of their interview with the notorious InfoWars founder.
Many commented that this was a “coming full circle” second for Nekrasova and Khachiyan. The closing of the loop from Sailor Socialism to the Jones interview speaks to the unconventional touchstone the podcast has grow to be for folks disillusioned with mainstream narratives fed to them by liberals of each the left and proper. Though many dismiss the performative and cynical tone of the podcast as irresponsible, detractors ought to at the very least take severely its capability to unite folks of numerous ideological persuasions who’ve been pushed to the fringes of “acceptable” discourse.
Their commentary is deeply rooted of their studying of Freud, Jung, and Nietzsche, and makes reference to Camille Paglia, Slavoj Zizek, Michel Houellebecq, and (most often) Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism. While their critique of worldwide liberalism (and flirtation with Bernie-ite democratic socialism) does certainly borrow from Marxist class evaluation, that is solely in service of their commentary on the variations between the psychological and non secular sensibilities of elites (who declare to champion the reason for the oppressed) and precise working-class folks.
Having each been born in the us, they discover laughable the American left’s insistence on id politics over class wrestle. More particularly, they are saying it’s a masks for the ennui felt by most center to higher class millennials, whose naive notions of freedom and security are devoid of roots, custom, and instruments to make sense of the unpredictability of human existence.
After joking about “waging a jihad against body fat at the gym,” Dasha remarks that whereas she would “rather be a woman in the neoliberal West than in Taliban Afghanistan,” she respects that the younger males drawn to the Taliban are keen die for one thing, whereas stands for causes by mainstream liberals are ploys for consideration.
Thus their critique of woke figures like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (in an episode entitled “Ocasio Crytez”) focuses on center class millennials’ narcissistic want for approval—in the end a protection mechanism to stave off existential dread. Their criticism of attention-seeking millennials like Cortez attracts closely on Lasch’s feedback about America’s “normalization of pathological narcissism” post-World War II.
The Trump presidency is one other key a part of the Red Scare ladies’ commentary on generational divides. “You can say a lot of bad things about Donald Trump, but you can’t say the man is boring,”says Khachiyan. The girls rave in regards to the aesthetics of his presidency, usually citing the comedian genius of his tweets and press convention appearances.
“Trump Derangement Syndrome,” is, in response to them, how boomers switch their guilt for spawning the tradition that produced Trump. “The whole Rachel Maddow and the NBC crowd have infected the minds of boomers with this dystopian narrative…There’s some kind of Freudian, masochistic thing [Democrats] have where they get off on publicly humiliating themselves.”
Their “Kanye 2020” episode affirmed the spiritually nuanced imaginative and prescient Kanye had for empowering black communities (whereas chuckling at his viability as a presidential candidate). They went on in the identical episode to name out figures like Jeff Bezos, not only for monopolizing markets and depriving employees of truthful wages, however for the metaphysical implications of Amazon’s scope of energy–which they in comparison with biblical warnings in regards to the Antichrist.
Red Scare’s remedy of faith is markedly unconventional. Nekrasova considers herself a working towards Catholic (although she abstains from receiving the Eucharist) and sees organized faith as one thing that grounds folks in neighborhood and non secular beliefs. Khachiyan, however, calls herself a secular Jew (although she “believes in God and says a prayer every day”) and has no intention of championing faith as an antidote to the failures of Western neoliberalism. She can also be fast to level out that she shouldn’t be conservative and is definitely not a “trad.” But she shouldn’t be shy to say that the dearth of boundaries afforded ladies by liberal feminism leaves them much less blissful.
As a lot as they don’t favor the repeal of Roe v. Wade, they’re crucial of the mainstream left’s glorification of abortion, with Anna going so far as revealing that the abortion she had earlier in life was a coronary heart wrenching expertise she would by no means want on anybody. Anna additionally spoke in graphic element about her expertise of giving delivery, and brags consistently in regards to the joys of motherhood.
Their spiritual commentary ranges from citing the magical saints who skilled “dark nights of the soul” to Christopher Dawson’s critique of American secularism in “Catholicism and the Bourgeois Mind,” and criticizing the “boomer capitalist Catholicism” of the Novus Ordo Mass after attending a Tridentine Latin Mass.
After Bannon praised freedom fighters in totalitarian China, they questioned whether or not anybody is “truly free” in a liberal democracy. One can detect that the metaphysical bent of their critique of liberalism has extra in widespread with the place of Catholic integralists than with different Bernie supporters.
In their commentary on the latest Atlanticinterview with Cornel West, they bemoaned secular Democratic Socialists of America members whose “care” for the oppressed is predicated extra on self-serving pursuits than on love, whereas commending Christian leftists like West and Dorothy Day who lived their religion as a name to like and serve the susceptible.
“That’s what real Christianity is about,” mentioned Khachiyan, “self-effacement without the expectation of anything in return. Unlike the cynical style of martyrdom you see all over the place now, where people go the extra mile and seethe when it’s not recognized.”
“What I love about Cornel West is that he doesn’t strike me as a miserable person,” she continued, contrasting him to younger coastal elites whose political views and life-style decisions are “conformist” and whose “priorities are misaligned,” and who “go home and privately agonize and seethe.”
“It’s hard to be an integrated person,” replied Nekrasova. “[West] definitely is capable of love, through…the grace of God.”
Along with Red Scare’s rising fan base is a rising faction of detractors. Some say it’s overly ironic and amoral, others that their mocking of politically right tradition overlooks their white privilege. Even extra folks concern that it breeds cynicism and nihilism. While I concede that each one of these critiques maintain some grain of reality, I believe above all, Red Scare highlights one thing deeply important that’s absent from mainstream discourse.
Their sizzling takes on aesthetics, psychology, and metaphysics—which for them take primacy over politics and morals—make a strong assertion: specifically, that we can not arrive at an genuine understanding of politics with no robust grasp of the pre-political. Secular liberalism’s reversal of the platonic assertion that contemplation of reality precedes motion has solely led to ideological stalemates that stifle genuine social progress.
The indisputable fact that Red Scare attracts in such a various viewers, from democratic socialists to proper wing populists, and trad Catholics to “based” queers, testifies to a attainable coalition amongst disillusioned kids who really feel themselves pushed to the margins by the mainstream left and proper. While we’d not all agree on what a post-liberal future must appear to be, Red Scare supplies the instruments to return to what’s most elementary and forge a considerable path ahead.
The New York Times just lately revealed a function on Nekrasova. Could this be an indication that Red Scare’s discourse will achieve forex within the mainstream? Either approach, I doubt the women would care.