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Dingus of the Week: Andrew Tate
Big dingus energy
Housekeeping note: I will be taking the first week of January off from all newsletters as I work on book edits.
2023 is going to be a good year for this newsletter, my friends. Get ready. And if you aren’t subscribed, well, this is your reminder to do that.
One month ago, 2022 Dingus of the Year winner Elon Musk let former kickboxer and professional misogynist Andrew Tate back on Twitter. Musk’s decision to let the rape apologist back on the social media site was done in the name of free speech.
Because if we need to hear from anyone, it’s someone who beats women and is an alleged sex trafficker.
I imagine Musk grabbing Tate by the collar and whispering “Earn thissss.” Like Tom Hanks in that war movie, which is probably titled Men in a War Movie, and stars Men™.
And Tate did earn it. Just one month after being allowed back on Twitter, Tate earned himself a spot in jail.
If you haven’t heard the story yet, let me offer this brief explainer: Tate hopped on Twitter and posted a picture of him and one of his cars and tagged Thunberg asking her to tell him how many emissions, his many fancy man cars put into the climate. Thunberg replied that he could email her directly at “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Tate replied by absolutely floundering around with an “I know you are but what am I?” response that would make any second-grader shake their head in disgust. He could have said, “I’m rubber you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.” And that would have been a better comeback. Finally, he posted a video of himself in a robe, bragging that he would not recycle his pizza box.
If you don’t know who Andrew Tate is, and I didn’t until this week, he’s basically like what an AI bot would come up with if you prompted it to make a puke human. Andrew Tate is so toxic even YouTube banned him. Even Reddit thought he was a little too gross. Imagine the septic tanks of the internet deciding that you are too turdy even for them? Once you imagine that, you know who Andrew Tate is.
The video was giving knock-off brand “the most interesting man in the world” vibes. A little bit of Kirkland brand misogyny. Except the result was that Tate became the most arrested man in the world.
Several hours after the video was posted, Tate and his brother Tristian were arrested as part of a human trafficking investigation. Online speculation posited that the pizza box in the video helped the police confirm Tate’s location. But Ramona Bolla, a spokeswoman for the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism, denied that the pizza box or the video played a role, telling the Washington Post, that the arrest was the culmination of a months-long investigation.
In fact, earlier this year, Romanian police executed five search warrants on Tate’s properties. The timing of the arrest might be coincidental. But I choose to believe that the universe has had quite enough of all this nonsense. Thunberg’s ancestors gathering in the spirit world to do one big, “Oh hell no.” To all of this.
Which is great, because I am pretty sure my ancestors are out there, sipping tea, saying, “That bitch is on her own.”
Thunberg began her activism as a 15-year-old and has become a voice, speaking truth to power about climate change. And like any vocal young woman, she’s become a lightning rod for male insecurities. In 2019, an Iowa teacher was put on leave and resigned after posting on Facebook that he wouldn’t attend a climate rally where Thunberg was speaking because he didn’t have a “sniper rifle.”
Camilla Nelson, Associate Professor of Media at the University of Notre Dame in Australia, explained in a 2019 article, “At a deep level, the language of climate denialism is tied up with a form of masculine identity predicated on modern industrial capitalism – specifically, the Promethean idea of the conquest of nature by man, in a world specially made for men.”
Thunberg’s refusal to smile and make nice or shroud herself in the soft trappings of femininity in order to make her message more palatable strikes at the heart of toxic masculine identity.
A young woman who won’t capitulate or soften her voice or tone or demeanor, who won’t put on a little lipstick and smile, just to make people more comfortable, is so unnerving to commentators and world leaders, that they often write her off using dismissive sexist, and ableist language, pathologizing Thunberg’s neurodivergence, youth, and emotional appeals.
It’s so telling that her unapologetic stance, her un-made-up face, and her no-holds-barred-no-quarter-given approach, causing grown-up men, to take to Twitter to goad and harass her.
Any woman or non-gender binary person who has advocated for themselves or others has experienced this same thing — in response to your message, people tell you how to dress, how to smile, and how to make yourself more pleasing. “Get better marketing,” they say. “That will help you get what you want.” But if wearing fake eyelashes, flashing some boob, and performing gender appropriately got us what we wanted, we wouldn’t have seen a huge rollback of reproductive rights this year, now would we? People wouldn’t be out here in the streets, unionizing, picketing, fighting for our right to live with dignity.
After Tate’s arrest, Thunberg posted on Twitter, “this is what happens when you don’t recycle your pizza boxes.”
Greta Thunberg just out here burning up all the world’s trash.
The charges against Tate are serious and disturbing and not at all a joke. But it’s hard not to find a little bit of delight in the schadenfreude of Tate in handcuffs. It’s like watching a human oil spill cleaned up.1
2022 has ended with Tesla stock tanking, Sam Bankman Fried arrested, Andrew Tate arrested, and Donald Trump’s tax returns being made public, offering us all a little bit of hope for 2023.
And since all these people are former dingus award winners, I think that should be a sign to us all to not be dinguses in the next year.
What I Am Reading:
It’s break so I am reading a book for my classic novel project2 and that book is The Parable of the Sower. Illnesses and snowstorms and kid schedules have meant that I haven’t quite finished the book yet, but it’s a very compelling book.
I also appreciated this profile of Sid High and the way it grapples with faith and trans identity.
But mostly, I’ve been watching TV. I caught up with White Lotus, and I’m loving Abbott Elementary. I also plan on watching Fleishman Is in Trouble.
What I Am Drinking:
I got a whiskey advent calendar which came three days before Christmas. I’ve been slowly making my way through it and I’m only on day 12. For the first couple of days, I was pretty sure they conned me and had just bottled up a bunch of Maker’s Mark. But Milk and Honey Elements Red Wine Cask from Israel, Stauning Whisky from Denmark, and Two Stacks from Ireland have really stood out with their interesting flavor profiles.
And I’ll be ringing in the New Year with friends and a Kir Royale.
Here are two songs and two vibes for your 2023.
This newsletter is anti-carceral except for this guy and people who like “The Little Drummer Boy.”
Basically, for the past 10 years, I’ve been reading a work of “classic” literature over the holiday break. Why? So, I can become even more insufferable.