Culture bores

It isn’t 2016 any more

The modern culture war spread like wildfire in 2016 when viral videos emerged of figures such as Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson “destroying triggered snowflakes” on college campuses. The clips resonated with young people. It was cool that somebody rational was providing talking points and language to help us stand up to the leftist nonsense taught in classes. As many of Generation Z can relate to, I remember myself in my early teenage years being mesmerised by these compilations. 

However, the recent emergence of right-wing platforms such as GB News and TalkTV have not brought the same enthusiasm. Why not? After all, they cover the same topics: free speech, gender ideology, critical race theory. Surely, we should be excited that finally the right has created our own media. Yet if you ask the average young right winger what they think of these platforms, chances are they will say that they are boomer bait — boring and cringe.

Over the past decade, the “triggered” college students have grown up and infected every institution with “wokeness”. No longer is the conversation exclusively about students on college campuses. The conversation has shifted to the police, the civil service, the NHS, the army, the government, the media and every company through their diversity and inclusion officers. In 2016, somebody saying that “there are more than two genders” would have been enough for anti SJW YouTubers to have made an entire video on. Now it’s seen as rebellious to say otherwise. 

The left are no longer fragile snowflakes

The right’s attitude seems to be trapped in 2016. The left are no longer fragile snowflakes. They are authoritarian extremists, commanding tremendous institutional power. Peterson’s and Shapiro’s talking points are no longer new. The right needs new vocabulary and arguments. 

Instead of using their resources to build above the foundations, the right-wing broadcasting media insists on capitalising on the already existing culture war discourse. These media outlets seem less focused on trying to build a right-wing hegemony and more on pandering to their boomer audience, who sees the culture war as entertainment rather than something that impacts the real world.

This can be seen most notably by TalkTV’s prime time show, Piers Morgan Uncensored. Only the most pressing culture war topics would be discussed for the TV channel’s most popular show, right? Sure, if you consider complaining about Australian children being advised to seek healthier alternatives than processed ham to be a pressing issue. In the segment “Hands Off Our Ham”, Morgan complains about how they’re turning ham into the “devil of the school lunch box”.

Is it any wonder that the modern British right is depicted as full of whiny, miserable gammons when the host of one of our main media outlets is getting triggered over health suggestions in another country? If this is the most pressing culture war issue that the right has to talk about, is it any wonder no one is taking it seriously? It is no longer the leftist college student but now the main faces of the conservative commentariat getting outraged over the tiniest disagreement. Instead of mocking the left, the right has become a parody of itself. 

It would be almost redeemable if Piers Morgan had any conviction or ideology instead of acting like the centrist dad who enjoys playing devil’s advocate at the dinner table. In a discussion with a gender critical activist, Kelly-Jay Keen, he attempts to grill her on her unconcern with being deemed “transphobic” by trans ideologues.

In response to Morgan asking if she was transphobic, Keen said, “In 2022, transphobic just means that women don’t have penises and so yeah, I absolutely am.” Morgan, baffled with her answer, decided to treat Keen’s argument with less understanding than he did with the previous guest, a trans rights activist, who called him a cunt: “Whilst I had a problem with the last guest who seemed to be abusive and unpleasant and refused to listen to a word I said, I’ve always supported trans rights to fairness and equality. I don’t see a need to say I’m transphobic towards them and to alienate them in any way at all. And I have a problem when you proudly boast about being transphobic. I can see why that rhetoric would be unhelpful to people who are trans.”

Piers Morgan refuses to go beyond surface level debate

Whilst Morgan is happy to throw the question of “what is a woman” to guests, regardless of how relevant it is to the topic they’re discussing, he doesn’t seem compelled to have an honest conversation with an actual gender critical activist. Instead, he resorts to cheap shock-jock questions. 

The reason why the question “what is a woman” matters, is not simply to expose how the world’s gone nuts. The reality is that blurring the definitions of gender has resulted in children receiving harmful medical treatments and women-only spaces being violated. The Daily Wire’s documentary “What is a woman” appropriately deals with the fact that society seems to view children getting chemically castrated by puberty blockers as politically correct. Yet, the fact that Piers Morgan refuses to go beyond surface level debate on the topic exposes the irony of his show being called “Uncensored”. 

It doesn’t just stop with Piers Morgan. From TalkTV’s “That Was The Woke That Was” mocking a treatment for bowel cancer in order to criticise the “woke NHS” for offering “poo transplants”, to GB News covering the story of a teacher exposing their sexualised gigantic fake breasts in front of school children with the title “Breast Side Story”, it’s nauseating to see the abundance of shows covering the same culture war topics with no objective other than to play buzzword bingo.

If GB News and TalkTV want to know how to be more productive, then they should watch the tactics used by their left wing counterparts. Whilst GB News is stuck reiterating the same boomer talking points, Novara Media are willing to go beyond the mainstream consensus by normalising socialism and radicalising their audience. When Ash Sarkar scoffs about how “we’re winning, lads” when the white population decreases, she doesn’t receive mainstream backlash for being an extremist. Whilst TalkTV laughs about the issues they think are most pressing, PoliticsJOE appeals to emotion by interviewing those most impacted by their enemies’ ideas and policies. It’s hard to attack a dinner lady crying that students can’t afford lunches due to the cost of living crisis. 

Some argue that GB News and TalkTV don’t do well because they’re hyper-partisan and show explicit bias. This isn’t true. Novara Media and PoliticsJOE are also clearly biassed towards their political tribe. The difference is that they’re willing to provide their audience with new ideas and vocabulary. They’re willing to push the boat out and embrace the controversy that comes with it, and they are rewarded with engagement. Unless the new right wing media channels follow suit, then their audience numbers will continue to plummet. 

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