I’ve met all kinds of different in this scene.
Some of them are the best people I know. Some of them are the worst people I know. Most of them are somewhere in between. There is no single reason why people get involved in this struggle. You learn over time through experience that character, not ideology, is destiny.
There are few better examples of this than the character arc of the artist known as Baked Alaska. In the words of Ben Smith who knew Anthime Gionet when he worked at BuzzFeed, Baked would “do anything for the vine.” You could say that Baked was absorbed by social media. The endless chase for clicks and content and reactions is what defines him. He is an attention whore. At times, Baked has appeared to be J-woke and redpilled on race, but what he is really doing is pleasing the audience.
There are lots of stories that I could tell about Baked Alaska. There was the time that he showed up at our rally in New Orleans. There was the time when he was allegedly nearly blinded at Unite the Right in Charlottesville. There was the time he went viral inside Nancy Pelosi’s office on 1/6. There was Baked’s brief “deradicalization” in the wake of Brenton Tarrant’s mass shooting in New Zealand. The most revealing episodes though are things like when he would broadcast his sex life with Alice in that RV or when he would go around filming people in the street and he would get paid when his followers said nigger or when he would go around picking fights and macing people in Arizona while livestreaming it.
Baked Alaska is nothing but a harmless internet clown. He illustrates what generally happens though when you brand yourself with a political label like “Alt-Right” or “America First.” You don’t have any control over that label and there are people out there who aren’t serious and who have different motivations and who will wear it and do things that make it toxic with the gleeful assistance of the media.
Good people will make enormous sacrifices because they believe in the cause. Bad people will ensure that those sacrifices were made in vain. There is a vast gray area where good people can do things which are counterproductive like Charlottesville. Bad actors can linger around for years as long as they push the right buttons and say the right things about race and Jews. This is why I don’t recommend jumping on bandwagons. You don’t know who is on the bandwagon or why or where it is going. Some label that sounds promising one year can be cringe in five years. It is like getting tattoos.
Note: Baked is one of the more humorous and harmless examples of this.