Right-Wing Politics Is Indistinguishable From Entertainment
Media must be coupled with action to create change.
Most right-wing politics is not activism, but entertainment. It has no possibility of bringing about institutional or social change but is instead about building a brand.
The reason right-wing political figures are frequently accused of “grifting” is because they are entertainers, not activists. Their business model is creating content that their audience consumes. This business model would work the same if instead of political rants, they wrote novels, instead of talk radio, they performed music, and instead of political documentaries, they made action movies. The political content of their media is ancillary to the fact it sells supplements and merch.
There is nothing wrong with honest entertainment. I’m a filmmaker and author. I love telling stories. I know the game they’re playing because I’ve been in the same business. Before ever becoming interested in the subject of my first documentary American Circumcision, I thought my career would primarily focus on escapist entertainment, like the sci-fi and superhero stories I grew up on. I was able to shift to producing more meaningful content because the skills required are the same. Yet you’ll notice in my non-fiction work, I never make the claim that buying a book or film alone will create change. It will deliver information. That’s it.
Entertainment becomes a “grift” when the creator promises more than their product can deliver. If you tell someone that they can “fight the system” by buying t-shirts, that is a lie. No amount of consuming products will ever bring about meaningful political change. Media can direct people to the actions and organizations that will bring about change and every successful political leader in history has recognized the importance of communicating their message through media, but this message is only the first step. It must be coupled with action.
“But isn’t left-wing content the same?” No. While there are left-wing entertainers, that is dwarfed by the non-profit industrial complex that exists in left-wing politics. Left-wing politics is primarily driven by 501c3 organizations that give support to politicians who in turn grant government contracts to those organizations when elected. The media figures that exist on the left are controlled by activist organizations or as ineffective and irrelevant as right-wing entertainers.
One reason I wrote The Intactivist Guidebook is that I want people who see my work to join organizations and do activism that will create change. I noticed that some people who saw my film often assumed that all they needed to do to create change was post on social media and “spread the message.” While I love when people share the film and sharing the message is important, it turns out that changing the world requires more. The Intactivist Guidebook is about what that “more” is.