[Marxism] Fwd: What Will Become of the Dirtbag Left? - The New Yorker

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Nov 18 15:33:34 MST 2016

Felix Biederman, Matt Christman, and Will Menaker befriended each other 
on Twitter several years ago. They had common interests—international 
politics, making fun of journalists—and a shared comic sensibility that 
borders on nihilism but stops just short of it. Christman, stout and 
Midwestern, had been unemployed for years, moving around the country 
with his wife, an academic librarian. Biederman was a freelance writer 
and mixed-martial-arts hobbyist in New York City. Menaker was an 
assistant editor at Liveright, an imprint of Random House. (His father, 
Daniel Menaker, is a former executive editor-in-chief of Random House, 
and was also a fiction editor at The New Yorker for twenty years.) He is 
slight and bearded, the unofficial dad of the trio.

In February, they appeared together on “Street Fight Radio,” an 
“anarcho-comedy show,” to mock the Michael Bay war movie “13 Hours” for 
its bathetic moral kitsch. (Christman: “If you watch these screaming, 
turbaned jihadis machine-gun the American flag while it’s on the end of 
the flagpole, and you’re weeping, then you’re a fucking rube, and I want 
to sell you a reverse mortgage.”) Then they decided to branch out on 
their own. They taped a ninety-minute freeform conversation using Google 
Hangout and broadcast it, unedited, over YouTube. A tossed-off joke from 
that recording, which combined the name of a famous Mexican drug lord 
and the slang term for a crack kitchen, gave them a title for the new 
project, a gleefully eccentric podcast dedicated to vulgar leftist 
commentary on politics and media: “Chapo Trap House.”

 From the beginning, the “Chapo” guys lambasted Republicans as well as 
Democrats, but it was their critique of liberal thinking, and the 
assumed Hillary Clinton ascendancy, that generated energy and attention. 
After the journalist Brendan James appeared on their third episode to 
discuss a profile he’d written about Sean Hannity, he came on board as 
their producer. In the first episode, Menaker said that the “Bernie and 
Hillary divide is a profound and deeply instructive one—I can’t see it 
going away.” And as Bernie Sanders’s prospects dwindled during the 
primary, “Chapo” assured people who were frustrated by the Democratic 
Party that they weren’t alone. Their audience numbers climbed.


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