The Proud Boys of Climate Denial

September 1, 2019

Above, “comedy” video from the “Media Research Center – Your one-stop-shop for the best conservative videos!”

The punch line here, apparently, is that Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is saying some more or less sensible things about climate change.
Get it?


Climate change may not seem like a gendered issue, but leave it to conservatives to inject sexism into everything they do.
That much was made evident on Thursday, when the right-wing Media Research Center tweeted out a video of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., talking about the need for rapid decarbonization to prevent catastrophic environmental changes due to climate change. The video is labeled “Shallow Thoughts” and treacly music is played behind it, in order to indicate how viewers are meant to read this video, which is as an indictment of Ocasio-Cortez’s intelligence.

Despite the heavy-handed presentation, if a viewer actually listens to what Ocasio-Cortez is saying, it’s quite clear she’s making a cogent and intelligent case, and understands the actual scientific evidence far better than her detractors.
It’s equally clear that Media Research Center doesn’t expect its conservative audience to actually listen to what she’s saying. Instead, sexist stereotypes are doing the heavy lifting here. Ocasio-Cortez is young, female and pretty, and as such, the target audience for this video is predisposed  to think of her as a bimbo, and is ready to write off anything she says as dumb lady yapping, without bothering to absorb the actual contents of her speech.
Ocasio-Cortez, always good at using social media, seized on this gap between the sexist assumptions of conservatives and the reality of her actual intelligence, and tweeted out the video herself.

Earlier this week, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted out a warm welcome to Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, who arrived in New York Wednesday for a speech at the United Nations.
Unfortunately, Thunberg was also greeted by a wave of misogynist nastiness, largely coming from allegedly grown men in both Europe and the United States. The attacks on Thunberg were in the same vein as those on Ocasio-Cortez, accusing her of being too stupid to know what she’s talking about and denying that her voice is one worth honoring. A writer for the conservative Washington Examiner claimed that Thunberg is a victim of “child abuse” and that her mother “pimps their kid out,” explicitly drawing a line between forced sex work and climate activism. 

These kinds attacks have no basis in fact. Thunberg’s views on climate change align with those of better than 97% of climate scientists. Thunberg is no helpless puppet, but a sharp and remarkably passionate young person who has sparked an international youth movement of climate activism with millions of participants. In order to give weight to these attacks, these critics rely on stereotypes painting women, especially young women, as infantile and idiotic. Without this kind of misogyny, they’d have nothing.
“While these examples might feel like mere coincidence to some,”  Martin Gelin at the New Republic argues, “the idea that white men would lead the attacks on Greta Thunberg is consistent with a growing body of research linking gender reactionaries to climate-denialism.”

Indeed, the evidence Gelin cites shows that sexism is probably fueling climate denialism. Researchers Jonas Anshelm and Martin Hultman of Chalmers found that sexists saw climate change activism as part of a larger group of social changes — including feminism — that threatens “a certain kind of modern industrial society built and dominated by their form of masculinity.”
Other research shows that American men find environmentalism to be inherently feminine and therefore emasculating, and view being deliberately anti-environmental as a way to feel more masculine.

Watching the pathetic displays of Incel and Neo-nazi half-men parading, tweeting, and occasionally shooting up malls, made me want to review a few clips from “Fury Road”, the latest over the top entry in the dystopian “mad max” series of movies. Director George Miller got the tone right portraying a sadly shriveled patriarchal hells cape of shaven headed man-boys desperate to be “witnessed” by an elder, or their peers.

The movie was panned by conservatives as having a feminist bias.

The men’s movement of the 80s and 90s had some ridiculous and absurd excesses, but they were putting their finger on something real that is missing in the way we rear and nurture our young men.
Might be good to figure out what that is before a man-child, say, gets his finger on the nuclear buttons…

11 Responses to “The Proud Boys of Climate Denial”

  1. morpheusonacid Says:

    Neither AOC or Greta have clue about science. Greta is related to Arrhenius. Sweden has no coal or oil and in his time it was very cold. They only had wood to keep warm. He believed incorrectly that co2 increased temperatures and wanted to increase wood burning to warm the climate by adding more co2. Then he calculated that it would take 3000 years of wood burning to increase the temperature and realised that we had no control over the climate. A pity that Greta hasn’t worked this out. She could then correct AOC.

  2. Bryson Brown Says:

    Toxic masculinity is one of Trump’s evil super-powers… Rolling coal is another example of the toxic combination of violence, hostility, contempt and childish entitlement that would burn the world to salve a delicate male ego… Meanwhile, real money (and real power) keeps on pushing for more of the same, so long as it keeps the cash flowing.

  3. peterangelo Says:

    Geez whoever does these videos committed the ultimate sin of not dyeing/photoshopping AOC’s hair Gretchen Carlson Blonde. 😉

  4. Keith McClary Says:

    “Ocasio-Cortez is young, female and pretty, and as such, the target audience for this video is predisposed to think of her as a bimbo, and is ready to write off anything she says as dumb lady yapping”

    Would it help if she was blonde?

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