How to pimp a caterpillar: The illusory masculinity of Andrew Tate

Disclaimer 1: At least some of this post is satirical. Thanks.

Andrew Tate is a bad boy — a bad, bad boy. Presumably that’s why the whole world is suddenly infatuated with him. I mean, who wouldn’t love a conniving, deceitful, abusive bully from Chicago, Illinois? (Answer: no-one, hopefully, from the east side of Chicago to, say, east Asia, and everywhere in between.) But I digress.

‘Andrew Tate in 2021,’ according to Wikipedia.

Andrew Tate is ‘the man’ in a man’s world. But this world does not, I think, produce masculinity or femininity in any meaningful sense. We live in the junkyard of old gender norms — everyone is gender-amorphous now, with sexual dimorphism itself being challenged by modern technology. Andrew Tate sees a gap in the market — a manly man, oh so very manly. For God’s sake.

It doesn’t matter if the global gestapo — and Tate is surely right on this (if on little, if anything, else) — succeeds in locking him up for allegations of abuse and criminality which plagued truth-tellers like Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, respectively, in times gone by. Don’t get me wrong — if Tate is guilty, then that is awful, and casts him as the villain of this story. But the circumstances — Tate being arrested shortly after sub-Tweeting climate activist-turned liberal media darling Greta Thunberg — are too suspicious to view the police raid on Tate as anything but politically motivated.

From a moral point of view, nevetheless, Tate’s ‘masculine’ response (metaphorically) to Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence through, um, ultraviolence to the women he openly admitted to pimping for profit (gaining their trust through faking love and extracting their loyalty) is completely cowardly. So much for men standing up for themselves, Tate relies on the labour of others for his own gain. And he still does.

Who can blame someone so exploited in their own life? — Freezing spare KFC chicken for future meals, Tate and his brother are no strangers to the horrors of capitalism for the vast majority of people. Only a minority of Homo sapiens can rest in peace; most must postpone such condition to death, slaving a way in a living death of wage labour, hustling, and spurious ‘entertainment’.

But Tate can be seen as the physical response (again, metaphorically) to the ‘linguistic violence’ of someone like Kanye West, whose words have been cause for companies to leave him, while notably not being cause for criminal cases. If liberals get their way, of course, this may change. Violence is a physical thing, however. 1990s rapper 2Pac once faced allegations analogous, but not identical, to the ones that Tate now faces. The ghettoisation of the world has produced a universal masculinity that echoes the early years of hip hop. Or to quote Mr. West’s Yeezus, this is an era of ‘New Slaves’, where ‘everybody [is] playing’ the game of new servitude.

What game, you may ask? Isn’t it obvious!

Capitalism.

Note how Elon Musk, once himself a darling of liberals, now distances himself from figures like Kanye West (guilty of: bad words — sentence: economic desertion. No trial) or Andrew Tate (guilty of: bad deeds — sentence: police raid and some other stuff, probably — hopefully? A free and fair trial would always be an idea …). He is enacting a precarious balance between hegemonic liberalism and his own neo-neo-conservatism in a neo-liberal world. The new right is wonderfully effective in casting the centre and the left as two peas in a pod. No wonder they’re winning the culture war, the ongoing mask for the class war to come.

But no matter. For so long as we have ‘heroes’ like Andrew Tate, we’re not safe from the true villainy of this world: the market masochism of contemporary capitalism. Even as tradition has been destroyed, the ghost of old ideals like masculinity, family, and ‘true love’ survive. I wonder when they’ll die.

Oh it’s hopeless. To misquote a 2Pac song: F— the world.

But about the title. In 2015 Kendrick Lamar released an album, To Pimp A Butterfly about violence and trauma in his upbringing in Compton, California. And I just thought: what if the butterfly never emerged, and the boy never became a man? Well, then you’d have a man-child, a permanent caterpillar. And this is the situation with Andrew Tate — for better, or for worse (and let’s face it, probably the latter).

And I could make a comment about how these non-ideal types (to borrow from Max Weber) are bridged by the nonviolent pacifism of a controversial musician, but I would just get into trouble. So I’ll end this article there, with the following question: Will the ‘real men’ please stand up?

Disclaimer 2: In case you didn’t notice, this entire post is a satire, so please don’t come for me, dear thought police, a.k.a. Big Brother. Yours always, the new Orwell.

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