The American Right just keeps getting crazier. Don’t take it from me; Dana Milbank, among several others, is reporting on Tucker Carlson’s current wacko campaign.
As Milbank points out, now that the “hoax” of the pandemic is fading, “there are fewer occasions to swallow ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine or to inject oneself with bleach.
So what’s a Trump-loving, conspiracy-obsessed Fox News-viewing guy to do?”
He should stand naked and spread-eagle on top of a large rock at twilight and gaze heavenward as a red laser illuminates his genitals.
Believe it or not, Milbank is not making that up. Carlson is advocating “testical tanning” to address the problem of waning testosterone levels in men. If that “cure” seems….crazy….Milbank agrees.
To the extent declining testosterone levels are a problem, the correct solution would be to address a major cause: rising obesity. Instead of shining a red light on your private parts, dear Fox News viewer, turn off Tucker Carlson, get off the couch and go exercise…
Carlson sees testosterone collapsing in “American men” (it’s a worldwide phenomenon). There’s paranoia about the government: “The NIH doesn’t seem interested in this at all,” Carlson says, impersonating some presumed official from the National Institutes of Health saying “it’s not a big deal” (the topic is widely studied). There’s paranoia about the media: McGovern claims the benefit of red-light therapy “isn’t being picked up on or covered” and says “there’s a lot of people out there that don’t trust the mainstream information.”
Gee–I wonder why trust levels are even lower than testosterone levels…Could Fox “News” have something to do with that?
Milbank points out that Carlson’s recent obsession has a great deal in common with Trumpism: the celebration of a masculinity defined as aggression–a definition that has lately been promoted by Sen. Josh Hawley and former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka–and an unwavering belief in and celebration of junk science.
Actually, sketchy data makes sweeping conclusions suspect. But there’s little doubt testosterone levels are falling — and there’s no doubt obesity can contribute to this by facilitating the conversion of testosterone into estrogen.
Maybe Carlson will encourage his viewers (including one particular Florida resident who favors Big Macs and eschews exercise) to pursue healthier lifestyles. So far, his greenlighting of red-light therapy seems to be telling them that what they really need to be true men is more testosterone. And though testosterone supplementation will indeed increase a man’s “manly” aggression, it will also reduce his fertility.
Millions of Tucker Carlson viewers unable to reproduce? Maybe junk science isn’t all bad.
That last sentence does seem hopeful…
On the other hand, as a report for The New Republic put it,
“There is a real connection between these male supremacists and white supremacist networks,” says Kristen Doerer, managing editor of Right Wing Watch, a project that tracks extremist activity for People for the American Way. She points to Carlson’s concern for faltering manliness as just another version of the Great Replacement theory. “These men are concerned about the white race being destroyed, and part of that concern involves the need for controlling women and particularly white women, and an investment in them having white kids.” She warns that the manosphere is fertile soil for red-pilling, recruitment, and general crosspollination. “It’s not too hard to go from one scapegoat to another: ‘I’m going to blame all Jews, or all people of color.’”
Whatever the cause and/or cure of reduced testosterone levels, I am considerably more concerned about the evident, massive reduction in sanity levels and the associated growth in the credulity of the American public, exemplified by the tribalism and White Nationalism of the Tucker Carlsons of our world.
It isn’t just the “Big Lie.” Nearly half of self-identified Republicans in recent surveys say they believe that top Democrats in government are pedophiles. (I couldn’t find data on the percentage of GOP voters who believe that George Soros financed Jewish Space Lasers, but I’m sure it’s a non-trivial number.)
We are living in an extremely difficult era. We have all kinds of real problems, economic and social, all exacerbated by the very real possibility that climate change may decimate much of humanity. Rather than engaging in concerted, evidence-based efforts to solve those problems, a significant portion of our population has opted to reside in cuckoo land.
Maybe Milbank is onto something when he suggests that the crazies will adopt a worldview that will prevent them from reproducing. The other possibility, of course, is that their growing numbers and influence will prevent all humans from reproducing–that their “solutions” and political preferences will end up erasing that thin veneer we call civilization and /or eradicating humanity altogether.