For the past few days, I’ve watched with fascination the trashing of prominent leftist cultural critic, author, and youtuber Lindsay Ellis. Several weeks ago, she tweeted something about Avatar: The Last Airbender which apparently sparked a controversy. (I’ve never seen any of the pieces of media she was referring to, so I can’t offer comment on them.) The ensuing controversy, trashing, and demonizing led her to delete her twitter account, and I witnessed some anonymous twitter users dancing on her digital grave. The whole episode seemed, in typical twitter fashion, bewilderingly excessive.
The title of this article is, of course, something of a trick. If you know me or are even remotely familiar with my work, you know that I am robustly of the left. I am somewhere on the Social Democrat to Democratic Socialist spectrum, and I am pro sex work, pro degeneracy, and pro sex positivity. I believe every billionaire is a blight on the human race and a failure of our system. I believe Black Lives Matter, that trans women are women and that trans men are men. I believe we should have a broad social safety net, correct climate change, and empower minorities. If you gave me a list of leftist mantras and talking points, I would affirm most of them.
Instead, this title has to do with where I place my own identity, with how I name myself to myself. When I look at myself in a cognitive mirror, what do I see, first and foremost? What words do I use to filter the unfathomable complexity of self into a single narrative?
I’ve been a member of The Satanic Temple (TST) since December 2017, and in that time there’ve been occasional accusations of crypto-fascism, alt-rightism, and Nazism against TST by both outsiders and former members. This article is about why I choose to remain in the Satanic Temple despite these accusations, and why I find these accusations lacking in credibility.
In this stripped-down, unedited episode of Sacred Tension, I’m joined by my friend Priest Penemue for a long conversation about leftist politics, how we are practicing self care during the COVID-19 pandemic, and his insider perspective on digital privacy and big data.