THE ART OF GOSSIP NO. I
This interview was conducted by Giles Hoffmann and has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Anna Khachiyan and Dasha Nekrasova started the Red Scare Podcast in 2018. It is now a successful program (so far achieving over 12 000 subscribers) in which “the ladies” loosely and discursively ramble about American culture, fresh political news, some philosophical thoughts, the rare teleological concern, and (obviously) their feelings. This alone is scarcely interesting though. So why do Anna and Dasha concern us?
Well partly because some of their episodes are dedicated to interviews of anti-establishment figures.
Though each guest varies in their degree of fringe-cum-mainstream status – with some putatively on right and others donning traditionally leftists’ laurels – they together form a curry of revolutionary longing. The most notable among them are: Slavoj Žizek, Glenn Greenwald and Adam Curtis (left); and Steven Bannon, Alex Jones, and Curtis Yarvin (right). Do not be surprised if the Führer der Frösche himself (“yes. henlo”) will soon be a guest.
For hosting these pariahs and committing other blasphemies, such as their liberal usage of less-than-offensive taboo-words, the ladies are often diminished to attention seekers by the mainstream media, who mendaciously characterize them as only “provocateurs” or “trolls” or “nihilists”. But this deliberately dismissive depiction is hardly true.
The ladies are oppositely amplifying immoderate voices of subversion, and consistently give their platform to whomever is willing to puncture holes in the ship’s hull. Yes, to some degree, the girls only want what we want: to see the foundering of this gay cruise liner.
If my impression of them is accurate, then Anna and Dasha are just merchants of fringe. Bravo les filles!
But that is not all; there is something new fermenting here. The girls, who at first might have been just haphazardly helping themselves to any dissident in cultural buffet, are now giving our croaks and our ribbits a megaphone. Just look at what Anna shares online. They found a heat source and they want to cozy up! So please be kind…shift over…make some room around our fire.
And I admit: I speak this amicably only in hindsight, after asking pointed questions, since I was first concerned that this conversation would be little else but interview parasitism. Anna, among other things, is an interviewer; this interview, then, would only be turning the knife back into the assailant – of questioning the questioner. I was afraid I had reached my low only after three issues…becoming a blood-quenched mosquito (me) on the hindlegs of a ravenous hyena (Anna). But I had crudely underestimated the woman!
Anna is far more intelligent than how you might believe at first when hearing her voice, the nightmarish emanations of a trailer-park-yenta. I furthermore think she is here in good faith, because she has come to us, not on the condition of taming our spirit or softening our views, but as a genuine opportunist – like a truffle hunting sow or bitch, she has a nose for the good stuff!
She was also willing to meet in person. And we auspiciously got together inside the Trump Tower at 5th and 56th, in the cafe. I was surprised to see she had brought her son, a cute boy who was kicking to get out of his stroller, suckling on a red silicon-nipple, and wearing a T-shirt that displayed the text, “My other Mommy is The State”. I found out very early that the suggestive location wasn’t chosen for my purposes but so that Anna could scurry off to the restroom for “mirror-pics” to show that “mothers can still be thirst traps.”
Between the her regular disappearances, here are the fruits of our conversation:
You are currently writing a piece for the next issue of The Asylum (unless I come on too confrontational in this interview…you’ll see later). What is the gist of this article? Give us a little tease.
I’ll have to save this question for last since (a) hopefully some of my thoughts will be fleshed out in greater detail in the course of this interview and (b) I’m a naturally superstitious person who doesn’t like to blow up my spot or “jinx” myself before I’ve fully committed to a particular line of thinking. In a nutshell, I’m interested in “exploring the link” between leftism as a metaphor and narcissism as a metaphor because it’s very clear that “economic explanations” of the culture war don’t even come close to getting the bigger picture. My feeling is we’ve moved from “the culture of narcissism” to a borderline society.
I believe that Mark Fisher, David Foster Wallace, and Anthony Bourdain represent one trinity of liberal-postmodernism: as the academic, the writer, and the explorer. All three committed suicide with severe depression. Why do you think that none of their philosophy could come to their rescue?
What makes you think their philosophy didn’t come to their rescue? Perhaps it was following their philosophy to its logical conclusion that led them to take such drastic measures. Maybe I’m giving them too much credit here, and their crisis of faith was brought on by an inability and/or unwillingness to confront reality in the first place? In a way, a guy like Fisher was lucky because he was spared from seeing the worst of his predictions come true. Then again, had he just held on a few more years, he would’ve been a Substack Millionaire.
Why do you engage with the frogs at all, when they are typically (accurately) considered: racists and anti-Semites, misogynists, homophobes, etc? Do you suffer from the Ashki trait whereby you gravitate towards brilliance even if it means self-negation?
Why not? It’s a free country.
In general, I would caution against reading into things in any way that indulges your appetite for paranoid thinking and conspiracy theories. I’ve always subscribed to the philosophy that the best explanation is often the simplest one. I engage with them for the same reason I engage with anyone: I’m interested in what they have to say and think they’re funny. Hitting this new low happened organically and was totally unpremeditated, which is why it took me so long. Though looking back now, the brighter, less retarded ones do seem to lack the existential poverty and desperate, animal fear of one’s own psyche that is the trademark of the online left. Speaking from experience, that usually also means they’re more pleasant and well-adjusted people in private.
“Women are spiritual Leftists.” What does this mean to you? It is an interesting point, because it connects a biological classification (“women”) with a political orientation (“Leftists”).
Can you think of other bio-political associations? You’ve referenced Steve Sailor’s work, so I’m sure you can think of others.
A lot to unpack here.
To begin with, I should probably clarify what I mean by “spiritual leftism.” It seems to me that “spiritual leftism,” “the culture of narcissism,” “the feminization of society” are just different ways of saying the same thing: that in recent lifetimes there’s been a move away from civilization building to the management and administering of its decline. And that this turn of events was justified after the fact by various moral pleas to progressive values like “achieving equality” and “the need for more empathy.”
So when I say women are spiritual leftists, all I mean by that is they relate to the world through a collectivist and moralistic framework. You bring up Steve Sailer. As Sailer points out, women “tend toward conformism,” “aren’t comfortable with … diversity among women,” and “take it personally when other women aren’t like them.” I’m sure both women and misogynists would find this description equally unflattering, though for opposite reasons. I see it less as a value judgment than as a statement of fact. This is as it should be. Women are spiritual leftists, and the ones who aren’t have something off about them.
Naturally, whenever I mention leftism, I’m accused of being overly dogmatic or too invested in certain hair-splitting debates coming out of some “internet bubble” or “online ghetto” that I’ve backed myself into. Just as whenever I mention narcissism, I must be guilty of “projection.” The confusion is understandable, but it misses the point. When I use terms like “leftism” and “narcissism,” I’m using them metaphorically to read the culture through its representative cultural type, or what Zizek claims Marxism called the “socially mandatory character.” (The precise link between narcissistic personality and traditionally leftist forms of political activity, like “organizing” and activism has been examined at length by two of my favorite authors, Christopher Lasch and The Last Psychiatrist, and I won’t rehash it here.)
Although I haven’t read much Marx, I’m vaguely familiar with the Marxist theory of “false consciousness.” Interestingly, the form of false consciousness that’s won out today isn’t the sort that disempowers you from properly identifying with the true nature of your socioeconomic station, but instead the sort that empowers you to overidentify with your socioeconomic station, or worse, that of others, as a means of keeping you from properly acknowledging other possible sources for your political discontent.
It’s late and I’m tired so I’m glad I could find a clean segue back to women. What is “the feminization of society” other than a metaphor for the thinning of responsibility? As it were, my beef with the rightwingers is that they place too much blame for this state of affairs on literal women. This is unfair and unmanly! Responsibility evasion being a “female trait” may also help explain why so many men suddenly want to be women these days.
To make a long story short, what I’m saying is that all of this could’ve been avoided by not granting women access to equal rights in the first place. But since that’s all in the past and fantasizing about RETVRN is a LARP, we have to deal with things as they are now. So I guess it’s back to “toppling sacred cows” and “speaking truth to power” by calling women fat on the internet.
At the time of writing this, while glancing at your feed, I saw retweeted in almost consecutive order: 2CB, malmesburyman, Just Loki, Dr. Braddock, Tucker Carlson…one or two insignificant others…and then BAP, Breast Milk Enjoyer, etc…
This is not the timeline of a “dirtbag leftist” (something we’ll get to later).
It instead suggests a couple things, namely:
(1) That you are going through a political transformation; that you are becoming radicalized. (How much time before the Red Scare Podcast is replaced by the Red-White-Black Scare Podcast?)
(2) Mere shtetl-opportunism, made with the calculating observation that we are the future and therefore you’d rather ingratiate yourself early – such that you can become BAP’s Eva Braun now instead of becoming Breast Milk Enjoyer’s Elisabeth Fritzl later.
I have to say I can’t relate to anyone who claims to have been “radicalized” by some or other “pipeline.” My politics have been the same since I first became aware of politics. Make of that what you will.
Leftism is often used as an umbrella term for any political project that has the aim of promoting equality or reducing the natural consequences of immutable difference. What then is dirtbag leftism when compared to traditional leftism but the same ideology with the same goals, only distinguished by some surface-level provocation of social-justice causes, which do not even promote equality and often even heighten division? In that respect the dirtbag left could be considered even better at achieving the Marxist end state, since they do not lose sight of the bigger picture.
Do you still consider yourself part of the dirtbag left?
I’ve never considered myself part of the dirtbag left. And I’ve said as much ever since a friend of mine coined the term six going on seven years ago now. To tell you the truth, this has less to do with my disgust for their political and ideological program than with my indifference at the idea of belonging to any kind of partisan club. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who are under the impression that I’m a dirtbag leftist or at least guilty by association. They’re entitled to their opinion, but it’s not my problem.
Beyond “having fun” or cracking jokes on this or that – what is it that you actually believe in?
This isn’t necessarily a political question, and I’d prefer to avoid making this about American domestic affairs and its attendant culture. In the same vein, let’s also bracket nebulous political-science terminology such “neoliberalism” and anything that has to do with systems or abstractions.
What I am asking in simpler language is: when you look around you, on the street, in the stores, in your life– what do you think is good and what do you think is bad?
In this house we believe that loyalty is the purest, most timeless virtue. Unfortunately, current generations have made a mockery out of it and turned it into a dog-and-pony show. The left openly flouts “values” and “traditions” except to invoke them periodically as a matter of convenience. And the right arguably does worse by making a display out of pretending to “honor” them. All of this is anyway beside the point since many if not most of us lack the receptors to begin to comprehend what things like honor and loyalty even mean.
Something else I believe is that ethics can only come from looking at the world as it is rather than as you think it should be. Working backwards from sentimental abstract ideals like “human rights” and “social justice” leads at best to a doubling down on existing perversions and pathologies and at worst to people inventing new problems so they can take credit for the solutions.
But that’s just me spitballing off the top of my head, as this is a big and important question, and it’s pointless to talk about what “you believe in” in lieu of actually living by those beliefs.
The question that naturally follows is then: what is the point of the Red Scare Podcast, other than to entertain others or fend off personal boredom. I hope it isn’t only as a platform for cultural criticism, since it then becomes indistinguishable from the lox-and-bagel-house gossip which is somehow that unique combination of neurosis and moralism.
Obviously, the point is for me to continue to afford designer clothes and organic diapers. I don’t view what we do as strictly cultural criticism though that’s definitely part of it; there have been some downright absurdist, artistic, even psychedelic moments like “The Zoo” episode or Dasha’s Catholic reveries or the time I accidentally forgot to sync the intro/outro music to the voice track and ended up keeping it by popular demand. All jokes aside, what’s wrong with entertaining people? Does everything have to have a mission? I die a little inside every time some wretched soul breaks out the tiny violin for our “political incoherence,” as if that’s a bad thing. “The discourse” is such a drag. I’m just happy if we succeed in making people laugh. If it also happens to make them think, that’s icing on the cake.
I’m now going to address the supposed “anon problem” which you and Dasha were vapouring about most recently. (You knew this was coming). Your main contention was that anonymity is a literary style acceptable for writing posts, but once the author goes onto television, he ought to present himself naked. You accuse all those who enter the mainstream while keeping their disguise as cowards and narcissists.
Why the medium in which information is spread should matter is an odd place to draw a line. It is also puzzling why success, through promulgating ideas into the mainstream, is the point at which the dissident should surrender his only defense. Neither the medium, nor the public stage should matter to the writer.
Instead what matters is how threatening the author is to the legitimacy of the people who have suppressive and punitive powers – what is sometimes grouped together ominously as “the regime”. There is a reason why there are leftists such as Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assange who have had to genuinely attempt escaping from the regime’s crosshairs, and why Dasha’s main insecurity is jeopardizing her Hollywood prospects.
You even make such an admission of constraint or moderation, and perhaps overall impotence, since in your words, “I have mouths to feed”.
This exact point illustrates how the liberal use of the terms “retard” and “gay” do not in reality violate any taboos, while simultaneously earning cheap points of appearing irreverent. As well as in content, in language you do not even symbolically threaten the regime. But do not lose hope! I will extend an olive branch (and some rope):
There is one ineffable word that demonstrates complete non-compliance and ignites the conscience of the over-socialized whenever it is uttered. Say it here. Please, Anna. Capitalize the “N”. Use the hard “r”. Harder, Anna! HARDER!
First off, thank you for doing your research and listening to one whole episode of the podcast. I can only imagine how difficult it must’ve been for you as a man to sit through nearly two hours of Women Talking. Secondly, is this an interview or a shit test?
In all fairness to the anons in question, they did present themselves naked, just with their voices altered and faces blurred, like they were auditioning for a sexy witness protection program. And in our defense, we were really drunk and it was a pretty mild roast. That being said, there’s a fine line between protecting yourself in service of fulfilling some higher destiny and flattering yourself that “your voice matters” in the grand scheme of things, and it cuts both ways. I’m not trying to be a longhouse moralizer telling men to “check their privilege” or curb their ambition. In any case, it’s not up to me. Every man must do that searching and fearless moral inventory for himself.
My only comment is: if you choose the path of anonymity, you have to be willing to accept its natural limits, such as operating mostly on the margins or “facefags” stealing your ideas and popularizing them with the normies. Much like if you choose the alternate path, you have to be willing to tolerate certain aspects of the job as occupational hazards. This is why I have so little patience for bluechecks who spend all of their time complaining about “death threats” and “white supremacy” and doxxing 80-follower groyper accounts. Overall, as I said in that segment, I’m a defender of anonymity both in principle and in practice. Go ahead, call me a roastie, I’ll still cosign that garbage.
Something else I wish to contest you on: the significance of BAP.
Whether because of misunderstanding or by deceit, there have been some commentators on /our side/ who reduce BAP to his language, the wellspring of contagious buzzwords and unique catchphrases, which have successfully pollinated the online right. Some dissident-right aspirants in particular seem to hope that by diluting his core message into only something literary or artistic, or by ignoring altogether, they can disavow his ideas while celebrating their expression as “funny” or “disruptive”. Alex Perez went so far as formulizing this stupid line of thought into a piece for the inaugural print-issue of IM1776 (centerfold too), in which he wrote:
Say what you will about Bronze Age Pervert, but he’s created a style all his own, which is at times infuriating and repellant, but there’s still an energy and a playfulness to his work that many writers would do well to emulate. BAM is certainly a ‘blackpilled text’, but the driving force behind the book is not the content, but the aforementioned chaotic energy that permeates it, which is what young writers should be taking away from it. What a book says stylistically and aesthetically is often of greater import than whatever thematic point of view it’s trying — and often failing — to propagate.
I am not alone in my suspicion that these soft condemnations are made for the purpose of queer flagging to more “respectable” sources of influence. REN wrote about this recently. But don’t worry: I don’t place you within this sycophantic faction.
Although…you have made some comments that have led me to question your understanding of what’s really going on over here. In the same podcast episode (Oy Ye!), the two of you express wonder at why the frogs concern themselves obsessively with weightlifting and UV bathing. You ask if this is only to impress women like you and Dasha (…as if anyone would even want Cousin Greg’s leftovers).
Well, this precisely overlooks one of BAP’s central points: the body is supreme. It is our portal to understanding nature. Politics is totally useless in a world of physical degeneration.
Indeed, our writing may be fun, but that’s because writing should be if you have any respect for your audience. But our writing is not limited to amusement. You have to ask yourself why we care about biology so much, and all that follows from it, whether it be: eugenics, race, sex, hormones, pharma, agriculture and husbandry…matters of health; concerns of blood and soil.
Are you ready for that truth? Could you put your name behind that project? Until then, I’m not sure anyone will take you seriously when you mock them for veiling themselves with pen names.
Don’t take this the wrong way, but I think you’ve got it backwards. You’re giving the haters and losers too much credit. They’re not worried about dirtying their hands with the content of his message, though that’s what they want you to believe (and would also like to tell themselves). What really keeps them up at night is the knowledge that they can never live up to his level of popularity and influence. Their efforts to maintain a respectable distance with his project are an attempt to get ahead of just such low and petty accusations of envy, to give off the impression that actually they’re good sports and “serious intellectuals” who aren’t at all coping and seething, because of course they’re smart enough to know there’s nothing respectable about that.
So while I personally don’t keep up with all the BAP struggle sessions, I hope that settles the question of where I stand because I’m running out of steam.
Speaking of health: since having a boy (I hope we are invited to the bar mitzvah), have you developed any greater attention to what is in the home? Are you spending more time at health food stores? Have you tested him for autism yet?
Yes and no. On one hand, I’m pretty careful about reading labels, “shopping local,” buying organic, that sort of thing. On the other hand, I try not to drive myself crazy or beat myself up. It’s not the microplastics and xenoestrogens that will kill you, it’s the stress. I’m intuitively not too worried about my son. He’s handsome, has a great personality and maintains eye contact. Plus he’s an Aries, the sign of many great directors and dictators. The worst thing you can do as a parent within the realm of acceptability is transfer your guilt and anxiety onto your child.
THIS PIECE IS AVAILABLE IN PRINT FORM IN VOLUME I ISSUE II