I was very disheartened today when I saw some of the things the charismatic lead singer of Eagles of Death Metal, Jesse Hughes, said of the recent March for Our Lives. There are plenty of articles about the foul shit he said, but to recap, Hughes accused Emma Gonzalez, a brave American, of “treason” and exploiting the deaths of her classmates “for a few Facebook likes.” He called her a “survivor of nothing.” And he compared gun control to men cutting off their dicks to end rape. A horrid case of false equivalency of ever there was one.
I only know of Hughes, who also goes by the super-hip moniker “Boots Electric,” from the excellent (so I thought) 2017 documentary Nos Amis (Our Friends) about the 2016 attack on the Bataclan concert venue in Paris where Eagles was playing. It was a nightmarish thing to survive – the terrorists killed 130 people, including 89 at the Bataclan. The attacks were the deadliest on France since WWII. Jesse related in the documentary how he was so close to being shot that bullets whizzed through his hair and he inhaled the blood mist from the wound of a dying woman. I must say here that I truly don’t know what experiencing something like that does to a person’s psyche and how they handle the resulting PTSD.
But taking extreme right-wing views and perpetuating conspiracy theories about the nature of the Paris attacks seems a bit unwise from a public relations stance. Going on to vocally criticize fellow survivors of a mass shooting is really pushing the envelope, especially when the bulk of EoDM fans are left-leaning.
I confess that before I knew his views on these subjects, I was going to write a post praising the relationship between Jesse and his mentor, Josh Homme, the founder of another gut-busting rock ‘n’ roll act Queens of the Stone Age.
Personally, I think they are both a bit overrated, but the story about how Josh met Jesse in high school and took him under his wing is certainly an inspiring example of the potential of neurotypical/cool kids to foster the development, both socially and professionally, of spectrum people. No, Jesse is not officially or publicly Aspie, but I encourage anyone to watch Nos Amis and judge for themselves.
After high school, Jesse found himself in a failed marriage with a child and a drinking problem. Again, Josh picked him up, paid for rehab, and guided him through the music industry with the knowledge that Jesse has difficulty navigating new social and occupational landscapes. I wish I had a Josh Homme in my life to rescue me and make me famous. Must be nice.
Now I think perhaps he created a monster of Nugent-ian proportions.
It’s as if a super-nerd suddenly got really famous, created a whole new cocky persona, and ran with it using as fuel all the cultural and social leeway given to his gender. This happens a lot as a simple perusal of HIStory will confirm. (See Steve Jobs, Tucker Carlson, and most male rock stars except Prince who was born cool).
Whereas I dealt with my own Aspien crises of self-confidence with various kinds of maladaptive coping mechanisms like internalized gaslighting, beer drinking, and ritualized self-harm, some men who possess a strong complement of autistic traits, usually including a high IQ or impressive talent, turn into Ego Monsters. They switch to God Mode wherein they become intellectually over-confident to compensate for feelings of inadequacy. A common enough male strategy for building self-esteem.
Unfortunately, this leads to many insufferable sub-types of Aspie. There’s the Evangelical Atheist who can’t understand that religion doesn’t make people bad; certain individuals and geopolitical problems make religion bad. The Constant Corrector who’s never figured out that correcting people is no way to win friends and influence the world. The Visiting Lecturer who loves to monologue and never listens. And don’t forget Sarcasmo the Great who can no longer communicate without using a snarky, condescending tone.
While more often than not these sub-types are male in presentation, females are certainly not immune. I have periodically cycled through these shitty personas in the course of my journey as well. However, as a girl and adult I was called out for these tendencies frequently and harshly and thus learned to quell them so I wouldn’t commit the direst of Lady Sins – being a Contrarian.
Ah, The Contrarian: the crème de la crème of grumpy twats. They come in many flavors, but concord (grape) isn’t one. This condition is rife among older spectrum males who don’t have the ability to self-examine any of their psychological motives or biases due to getting away with not doing so for decades. As a woman, I was socialized using a different and far more proscribed set of rules which insisted that I look to myself for blame and fault first and foremost. As I’ve pointed out before: Men lash out; women lash in.
The most insidious way to lash out against a world that has rejected you in the past or present is to rail against common sense, public opinion, science, and the weight of history. I want to point out that it is always vital to question the mainstream authorities and misconceptions that litter common discourse, especially around the Owellian Sarlacc pit we are currently orbiting. No one is denying that. But these are smart guys who are well aware of reality – they aren’t delusional in any sort of psychiatric sense and they are often very knowledgeable even as they push unlikely conspiracy theories and shady “evidence.” Secretly, many are even in agreement with the popular opinion. The main purpose of contrarianism is to vent frustration in a truly childish manner.
Contrarian trolling is the pseudo-intellectual version of a toddler tantrum. Shit is hitting the fan right now and argument for argument’s sake is just plain dumb and malicious.
Don’t claim to be intellectually and morally superior and then stymie the conversation on correcting the injustice by instigating a kerfuffle. Rather than the shooting survivors looking for Likes, instead it is the crassly contrarian (and boldly biased) agenda of guys like Jesse Hughes to steal the voices of others and give all honor to the gods of Discord without even an alternative solution.