The alt-right is a loosely defined coalition of various far-right conservatives, hate groups, social regressives and conspiracy theorists. It’s a nebulous collection of what Hillary Clinton rightfully called a basket of deplorables, and, boy, they sure are making headlines lately with openly Nazi protests that feel more like a chan raid that got way out of hand than anything else.
There is one weird thing that does seem to unite a lot of these groups across their various denominations, though: male enhancement pills. There is an obsession with chemically restored virility.
Let’s start at the top and ooze our way down the layers. Fellow Texan, media personality and favorite of President Trump, Alex Jones, is famous for his Info Wars show where he spouts insane and often obscene conspiracy theories, the most loathsome being that the Sandy Hook Massacre was staged by the government. If the alt-right hydra has a Boss Head, it’s probably Jones.
However, Jones’ income in large part derived from the sale of products on his website. John Oliver did a fantastic show on the subject you should absolutely watch. He focused broadly on quackery, but I want to look at preying on feelings of inadequacy. There’s ProstaGuard, a product that goes out of its of its way to not tell you what it does for $29.95, but which promises reproductive benefits buried in the saw palmetto portion of its ingredients list. My favorite is Super Male Vitality, which costs $60 for a 2 oz. bottle. It’s equally coy in its pitch, but is targeted on what happens to men as they age and promises to restore “natural function” and “normal response.” If you think I’m reading too much into this, I’d advise you to clear twelve minutes of your life and watch this.
I pick on Jones because he scares people and then sells them overpriced placebos at a huge scale, but he’s honestly no worse than your average unscrupulous vitamin hustler. Further down, though, things get weirder.
Take Matt Forney, a writer for the Mens’ Rights page Return of Kings. He’s known for a host of alt-right ridiculousness, such as saying Black Lives Matter faked Philandro Castille’s death to make whites look bad and celebrating the anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub massacre by encouraging people to attack “sodomites.” And he hates women, but that should have been obvious. Know what he does like, though? Having big balls, and over on his site he’ll tell you maca root will help put some heft in your scrote. He also claims it’s an aphrodisiac.
One of my personal favorites is Davis Aurini, best known for producing a really terrible documentary about Feminist Frequency’s Anita Sarkeesian that failed harder than Theon Greyjoy at an orgy. Aurini’s alt-right bona fides were mostly about how feminism ruined women, how slaves were well-treated, etc. Until fairly recently, these musings were sponsored by various male enhancement products. In 2015, it was a store that sold red ginseng, which supposedly cures impotence. In 2014, it was AndoPlus Testosterone cream. Nothing gives credit to a career screaming about women more than dick cure supplements with little to no science behind them.
Actually, I lied. My true favorite doesn’t come in pill or cream form at all. It comes in the — deep breath — GORILLA MINDSET. Mike Cernovich is a lawyer turned supposed fitness expert who started out as GamerGate’s pet legal mind, but has since branched in pro-Trump writings, conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton running a pedophile ring out of a pizzeria, and insisting that all incoming immigrants take IQ-tests before being admitted.
Cernovich’s other schtick is telling men that he can make them more man through a variety of mental exercises (the aforementioned Gorilla Mindset). Saints have gone to their martyrdom with less faith than Cernovich has in his own manliness and his ability to pass it onto you. He told readers once that his “alpha male body languages exercises” would increase their testosterone, claiming his had gone up 200 points while at the same time admitting he was getting testosterone injections. He also claims beet juice will make your dick harder, and while that is sheer nonsense, I will give him credit for handing out a free recipe for it even as he plugged his books (whose content he publishes for free on his website).
I want to pause here and say I don’t believe that most of the people that get conned into buying into these products or lifestyles have actual erectile dysfunction, and I certainly don’t want to rope victims of ED in with regular hateful goobers. ED can be a sign of many other medical problems, everything from depression to heart disease. If you are experiencing ED, go to a doctor.
No, there’s something else going on here. David Futrelle recently wrote a piece for New York Magazine about how the Men’s Rights movement is often a gateway drug into the alt-right. To quote Futrelle:
“Both movements are based on a bizarro-world ideology in which those with the most power in contemporary society are the true victims of oppression.”
I’ve been covering the alt-right and the MRM for a long time now, and you see the reason so many of them are obsessed with virility and vitality in the rare moments they drop their guard. They don’t fear eradication as a culture, no matter what they claim. They feel fear of personal irrelevance.
They see marginalized groups fighting hard, winning accolades, starring in critically-acclaimed docudramas, and none of that is happening for them. I mentioned Aurini above. There was this incredibly sad video of him and his then-partner Jordan Owen lying to themselves that their movie was going to get them on The Daily Show, and no matter how much I dislike the man, watching a butterfly on a wheel is no fun.
The alt-right is largely made up of frustrated white dudes tired of being told they have privilege when their dreams go unfulfilled. Rather than assign any blame on their own views or behavior, they believe that women and minorities are gaining ground through coddling and cheating. This feeds the persecution complex that has dominated conservative politics for two decades.
It has a downside, though. They simultaneously need to be the victims, but also the acme of maleness. Representing a mythical American Man is core to their beliefs. Explaining away their failures requires further illusions. Feminism has turned women into sluts who only want bad boys and well-hung people of color. Muslims and homosexuals are tainting the American mind. Liberal men are sniveling cucks willing to swallow their pride for sex. Affirmative action is why they can’t get a job.
Pile that all onto each other, and you get a ripe market for troubled people willing to shell out money for nostrums and snake oils that will help them regain a masculinity they think is under attack. They do have my sympathies, but you can’t red ginseng your way into relevance and popularity. There is no magic pill. The reason women won’t talk to them and everyone calls them racist and no one believes their theory about fluoride have nothing to do with a globalist conspiracy. The rest of the world is just moving on, and it doesn’t care about your dick.