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Drive-By Cuckers

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It really seems inevitable that Drive-By Truckers would evolve into a full-fledged protest band. They always had a major bent toward societal analysis, even if it wasn’t always exactly political per se. On their new album, coming out next month, they have moved full-fledged toward politics with Patterson Hood’s “What It Means,” about Trayvon Martin and police violence toward African-Americans, and Mike Cooley’s “Surrender Under Protest,” about getting rid of the Treason in Defense of Slavery flag. Typically, Hood is more direct, Cooley more elliptical. But both songs are excellent and I’m excited for the new album.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a YouTube comment thread before. But there are some very angry people, especially in the “Surrender Under Protest” video. These morons use the two recent insults of the right.* First, they refer to DBT as Social Justice Warriors. I flat out don’t understand this as an insult. Who doesn’t believe in social justice? I mean, we can disagree on what that means I guess. But who is like “I oppose social justice. Those who try to achieve social justice suck.” Don’t answer that. I know the answer. But what a weird thing to use as an insult. Nice people, no doubt. And of course, as the title of this post suggests, they call the band “Drive-By Cuckers.” This whole “cuck” thing is so bizarre. I watched these videos last night and was laughing at the comments But until today, I didn’t really quite get what the whole “cuck” thing is or how it came out of the fevered “brains” of the nation’s class of aggrieved racists. But then I read this Dana Schwartz piece about it and it enlightened me:

Since The Donald bested the field of cuckservatives with his manly virility and full head of hair, those who couldn’t see a good insult go to waste have continued to use it in its shortened form—cuck—which applies first to anyone supporting Hillary, but also anyone who would challenge Donald Trump on his spelling, his logic, or his facts.

So now that a word previously only used for pornography or in 4chan has achieved mainstream political significance, it’s time to ask the question: Why has the word “cuck” resonated with so many angry white men?

An insult is, by nature, telling of its source: you never insult with something that you don’t think is insulting. A woman would never sneer that another woman is fat if she herself would be comfortable with her body at any size, if “fatness” weren’t something she feared. A man mocking the size of another man’s genitals broadcasts his own belief that the length of one’s penis is something to be either proud or embarrassed about.

The cultural importance of the cuckold in America is rooted in racism: in pornography, the wife of the cuckolded (almost exclusively white) husband is most commonly sleeping with African-American men, meant to provide an additional layer of humiliation if the white husband sees that man as “inferior.” In the world of pornography meant to elicit humiliation as an erotic sentiment, cuckold porn takes advantage of its viewers’ racist perceptions.

After the Civil War, the white supremacist movement radicalized its supporters with the fear of black men raping white women. Even Shakespeare evoked the sexual element of racial angst: in Othello, Iago attempts to pit Desdemona’s father against his Moorish son-in-law by evoking very specific imagery: “Even now, now, very now, an old black ram / Is tupping your white ewe.”

In 2016, the word “cuck” resonates with white nationalists who feel as though their country has been taken away from them, and not enough had been done by the cuckservative establishment conservative party to protect it. “Cuck” is a concept borne out of insecurity: a fear that one is inadequate, sexually or otherwise, and that inadequacy will lead to the loss of the things that are important to him.

God, these people are pathetic. If they weren’t backing this all up with more firearms than Costa Rican army, I would be even less worried about them.** I suppose as a prominent C-level blogger, I should have something more profound to say than just calling them pathetic. But I’m tired and spending the week digging deep into the papers of forgotten Oregon politicians has made me slightly brain dead. So it’s as good as I can do. Enjoy the new Truckers songs.

*What the hell is this “alt-right” bullshit? It sounds like a damn musical trend or fashion statement. Stop it. There is nothing “alt” about racism and misogyny and homophobia. But in the last month, “alt-right” has become ubiquitous.

**Costa Rica of course does not have a military.

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