Tuesday, June 11, 2024

#163 / Antagonism Sells; Conflict Sells; Hate Sells!


The guy pictured above is named Jackson Hinkle. If you click that link to his name, you can read what Wikipedia has to say about him. If you are able to traverse the paywall that I believe is maintained by The New York Times, you can click the following link to read a full page description of Hinkle's online persona, which is "so incendiary that he has been kicked off YouTube, Twitch and Instagram."

For those who are not able to traverse that paywall maintained by The Times, let me give you the flavor of what The Times has to say about Hinkle: 

Jackson Hinkle has cultivated an online persona so incendiary that he has been kicked off YouTube, Twitch and Instagram. 
He rages on undaunted, even energized. He produces a regular podcast on Rumble, a website popular with many prominent conservatives. He writes dozens of posts a day on X, where his following has surged to 2.5 million from 417,000 in the six months since Oct. 7 — the day Hamas fighters mounted their assault on Israel. 
Along the way, he has employed false or misleading content, promoted manipulated images and made comments that watchdog organizations have denounced as antisemitic. He calls himself an American patriot even as he praises American adversaries, including Vladimir V. Putin, Xi Jinping and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. 
“DROP A LIKE if you stand with IRAN in the face of ISRAELI TERRORISM!” he wrote last week on X after an Israeli airstrike in Syria killed several Iranian military officials. A day later he addressed the Houthi leadership in Yemen over video, praising the group for its attacks on shipping in the Red Sea.

According to The Times' writeup, Hinkle grew up in San Clemente, California. He was a surfer who "heavily marketed his own embrace of environmental activism, gun control measures and progresssive politics." This is from the article:

As a teenager, he helped start an environmental cleanup organization and another to encourage young people to run for political office. Teen Vogue recognized him as a top young environmentalist; Reader’s Digest included him on a list of inspirational children. He posed in an Instagram photo with the actor Will Smith, whose son Jaden Smith worked with Mr. Hinkle to limit plastic water bottles in schools. 
Perry Meade, a progressive organizer who worked with Mr. Hinkle on campaigns as teenagers, said his “overarching understanding of Jackson was that he always wanted to be famous,” adding, “Sure, he cared about things, but he came first.” 
His activities soon turned political. At his high school graduation in 2018, he knelt during the national anthem in protest against police brutality and racial injustice. He twice ran unsuccessfully for San Clemente’s City Council, when he was 19 and 20. One local conservative blog called him “an extreme left-wing ideologue.” 
Today, he says he is a Stalinist and a Maoist who was expelled from the Communist Party of the United States. (Roberta Wood, a party leader in Chicago, said he subscribed to the newsletter but had never joined the party and did not reflect its values.) He once supported Bernie Sanders, but now praises former President Donald J. Trump. 
He is, he wrote last year, an “American PATRIOT, GOD fearing, Pro-FAMILY, Marxist Leninist, Pro-PALESTINE, RUSSIA & CHINA, Anti-DEEP STATE, Anti-IMPERIALIST, Anti-WOKE, Pro-GROWTH, ANTI-MONOPOLY, Pro-GUN, Pro-FOSSIL FUEL.”

Hinkle has found, the way I see it, that "hate sells," and the story in The Times demonstrates the phenomenon.

The Times' story also shows us that the "online world" is peculiarly servicable as a place to merchandise antagonism, conflict, and hate. And, of course, this is not really a news flash. Still, the story of Jackson Hinkle is a cautionary tale.

If we care about "real" politics - which is based on public discussion and debate that ultimately leads to coordinated efforts to make "real" changes in the "real" world, we need to watch ourselves. We can't get tempted, as Jackson Hinkle clearly was, into thinking that online recognition and reward is the goal we need to shoot for. 

Because.... Hate sells! Division and conflict sell! Antagonism sells!

And no positive and productive politics can be built on a foundation of conflict, antagonism, and hate!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment!