Books are my litmus test. If you go on twitter and look at the rogue gallery of pundits (on the left and the right) it’s mostly ridiculous statements made for shock value. Then when they get a coveted spotlight in the media or another outlet, they dial back the anti-semitism, the fear mongering, and the subversion. They are able to do this because they have never written anything concrete, just a series of tweets and youtube videos in an attempt to amass followers and gain popularity.
People might not agree with everything (some do not even agree with him at all) someone like Mike Cernovich says, but at least he took the time to write a book so people can see for themselves what he is all about. After he gained a following it would probably be easier for him to just tweet, write articles and push products instead of writing a book that exposes him to a lot more criticism and potentially has a negative impact on his popularity. His book and articles can be controversial, but the guy amassed a following, and instead of hiding behind his numbers he created material to define himself, his belief system and (especially) his mindset. To me, this elevates him above ecelebs and twitter stars.
Writing a book (or a blog) is a process, and it forces you to sit down for hours on end and actually think about what you’re putting down on paper and what you believe. When I see someone has taken the time to write a book, or a series of articles, even if it is only self published or available on the kindle, it means that they, as an author and human being, have taken the time to really develop their thoughts and values. I may disagree with them, but I will respect what they write and value their voice more than someone who only interacts with a short video or tweet.
Books, blogs and writing some thought provoking articles allow people to rise above “troll” status on the internet. Richard Spencer is a troll incarnate that has transcended the web; his use of white nationalism, anti-semitism and racist talking points gave him free media coverage and a divisive audience. It’s all about feeding his ego. It’s also an effective strategy for late night TV Show hosts to get an easy laugh by picking on out of touch politicians instead of focusing on problems, or just, ya know, being funny.
Sometimes it seems easier when your enemy in the arena had a wicked scimitar, and oiled body parts instead of a glowing computer screen and dirty keyboard.
Writing a book let’s someone transcend the internet troll status because they go through a process and almost formally enter their opinion into the arena. They can’t say “oh it was just a quick tweet, I didn’t mean it” or “I didn’t know the cameras were rolling and it was taken out of context!”. Someone with a published work let’s the reader and the public see their bare bones and make a judgement call.
If Karl Marx had never taken the time to write his tomes, and instead only wrote strongly worded letters to the editor, history would be completely different. I think Communism does not work and I could never support Communism, but I think Marx and Marxists have at least helped expose injustice and other areas of society that needs to be improved. A book is a pretty defining statement for one to go by, and if we continue to alienate each other, it will only be harder to work together when a true crisis really hits. I think it’s important to read books I might not agree with and to talk to people with different views and life experiences. But if you just troll for popularity… Go back to the drawing board and send me a link when you write a book.