There’s so much to say in preface here that I’m not entirely sure where to start. I guess I’ll begin by saying that emotions are funny things, and all the rationality in the world doesn’t keep them from being felt. Self-control allows one to guard one’s behavior from the wild motivations of emotion, but this does nothing to change the emotion itself. A person feels how they feel, and no justification is necessary–or possible.
Tuesday night I was invited to the studio to sit and watch an episode of Freer Talk Live, an offshoot of Free Talk Live that is broadcast intermittently and only on Twitch. This was a very special episode where we were to be joined by none other than the Crying Nazi, Chris Cantwell. You can imagine my desire to be part of this, I’m sure, as a quick search of his site shows that the word “transgender” is mentioned an incredible fifty-nine (59) times on the first page alone. It’s entirely fair to say that transgenderism is his pet issue, and is what he perceives as the largest and most dangerous symptom of the shadows he’s imagined are conspiring to undo him and the society he craves. Moreso than Jews, moreso than immigrants, and moreso than Muslims, he focuses peculiarly on the topic.
To be clear, when I went on his show as part of my campaign for sheriff, I did not then know that he explicitly called for the execution of trans people. I still would have gone, because there is nothing from which I back down, but I want to note how I underestimated the raw hatred he would emit in our encounter. While he was cordial, there was an underlying hatred to everything he said. I knew of his vile indiscretions, but to be in the room with someone while they openly propagate such hatred is a different thing. Only a few minutes in did I realize, “Oh, god. This is an honest-to-god Nazi. A literal, dyed-in-the-wool Nazi.”
But I stayed, and we created what is still being praised as one of his best episodes, by his fans and by mine.
Despite then admitting that I did not fit into the mold he imagined for trans people, and despite his statement that “If trans people were all like you, I’d have no problem with it,” in the months since, he has doubled down on his anti-trans rhetoric. While I don’t follow him or the stuff he says, when he becomes a topic of conversation, for whatever reason, I give myself a quick refresher on what a dangerous person he is.
Oh, no, he himself is not dangerous. There has been much confusion in our libertarian circle whether people fear the man, and I have absolutely no fear of him. Nor do I fear his ideas. The worst he can do, and the worst that can come of his ideas, for me is death. Since I don’t fear death as a matter of course, I don’t fear individual things that could cause it. My fear of his ideas, should they gain widespread prominence, is for the innocent out there, the trans people who aren’t on the frontlines by choice in an ideological conflict and who are merely trying to live their lives, the ones who have thanked me for my efforts, because they see the greater vision I’m trying to portray: a world of peace and tolerance, not revenge and hatred.
However, I was not actually on the show, because another person, who hosted Free Talk Live that night, had the right to claim the chair. I’d be lying if I said I went for a reason other than the hope that a seat would open up. Seeing as we have no Jews at the station (though my boyfriend is Jewish), it was strange to me that we’d have on someone explicitly hostile to one of us while denying, rightfully or not, said person a seat at the discussion table.
I remarked to my boyfriend that I was concerned the optics of two straight cis, white dudes sitting down to talk to an actual Nazi were not good, and even then I didn’t anticipate how decidedly friendly they would be. I did not expect or want endless arguing, but anyone expecting or wanting to see a Nazi challenged by the FTL crew should avoid the episode in question.
As I said at the start, emotions are funny things. I’ve no right to be on Free Talk Live or Freer Talk Live, or even to be present when the discussion is happening, but emotions are what they are. I stayed for two hours of the event, and finally left, because it was stated to me that I was not on a mic, which is an in-studio, polite way of telling someone to shut up. Being uninterested in listening to his hate continue to go unchallenged, though certainly possessing the self-control to sit and be silent, I decided a moment later that my time would be better spent doing literally anything else, and I left.
This, while expected, has been the source of my ire through the last 24 hours. I’m emotionally drained, with zero desire to deal further with any of it, or to interact with the involved parties, but the event, much like the presence of a trans chick in the room with an actual Nazi, is an elephant, and I’m also not one to refuse my bite of the behemoth.
So two things happened that bothered me. The first was not having a seat offered to me to confront this person who loudly and unequivocally calls for me to be tossed into the ovens. The second was a firm but polite reminder of this.
Irritatingly, the person in the other chair was conspicuously quiet through the entire thing, and I’m pretty sure I spoke more than he did, simply by (wrongfully) grabbing the mic nearby and talking. Of course, and further grating my raw nerves on the subject, he stated today that he’d “probably” have given up his chair at some point.
Probably? At two hours in, it was pretty obvious he had no intention of doing so. He sat there on his laptop for two hours and never made any move to do anything, but if only I’d stayed for fifteen more minutes, no, everything would have been different…
This was a common thread today, with it repeatedly claimed that they ultimately challenged Cantwell, but that it’s “during the third hour”–after I’d left. They’ll have to forgive me for not believing this. I made an effort to watch the hour I missed, and not fifteen minutes after my departure did Cantwell go on an anti-trans, hate-filled rant that was met only by laughter. Laughter from this associate of mine, and not a word of rebuke.
Needless to say, under no circumstances will I watch the episode further.
Nor was there rebuke for his rejoicing in the death of the girl at Charlottesville, or for his open statement about using euphemisms to hide his blatant racism from Twitch censors. It compounded a feeling of already being wounded to see such hate go unchallenged, a gargantuan elephant in the room that was repeatedly and carefully sidestepped by the seated hosts.
There is nothing about Cantwell I find threatening, intimidating, or upsetting. I’ll gladly go toe-to-toe with him in any venue. Although suspected, I did not leave because I was angry, upset, or otherwise bothered by anything having to do with Cantwell directly. I left because there was no challenge to the hatred he expressed, other than myself, and it was made clear that my input wasn’t welcome. I’ve got better things to do with my time than watch a Nazi rant freely.
So I don’t know where I stand or even why I’m writing this, except that it’s a notable thing that happened, and I skipped out on The Call to Freedom yesterday because of it–and am likely doing so again today. This is the way I handle things; I retreat and lick the wounds. But, to be clear, there are no wounds in any way caused by Cantwell. I’d even say they’re self-inflicted, due to how I had no right to be there anyway, but, as I said, emotions are what they are and can’t be rationalized away.
But I’m now exploring the possibility of beginning a show called “She Talk Live” with Jackie, who has quit Free Talk Live. Many people seem interested in listening, and I think we’d be fools not to pursue it. So stay tuned for that.