The petulant smugness of an alt-right troll: An interview with James Delingpole

Ft. the “lunacy” of rape, Trump, and our snowflake generation

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Delingpole knew, arriving at the Union, that he was going to lose the debate.

We chatted for what was supposed to be 5 minutes after the debate titled ‘This House Would Open its Doors to Refugees’. He had opposed the motion in a speech centred around messages of “think with your head not your heart” and “wouldn’t they rather be in the country of their own birth”, all through a satisfied grin that made his opening remark of “I’m one of the good guys” even more irritating.

He has written for a variety of publications in the past, the Spectator, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express to name but a few. It is his most recent appointment, as Executive Editor of Breitbart News London, that is the most telling. Breitbart, whose chairman is Chief Executive of the Trump campaign, has emerged as a major force in right wing politics in the last year.

With heavy links to the ‘alt-right’ movement, it represents a new kind of Milo Yiannopolous conservatism that has foundations in trolling and meme culture. Articles from the last couple of days include a report of the Al Smith Charity Dinner headlined ‘Nasty Night at Catholic Event’ and a news piece called ‘Wiki-Leaks: Another New York Times Reporter Kisses Clinton Ass’.

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With all of this in mind, I asked him why he had chosen to come. Did he genuinely think he was going to win over this crowd of ‘SJWs’? (Social Justice Warriors, a favourite pejorative of mum’s-cellar-internet-forum-bigots). Apparently, his appearance is part of a “holy mission” of his. He feels he has a duty to come and expose everyone of views that they don’t agree with. Fair enough, I thought at first. He continued: “All of my friends from Oxford are all earning way more money than me, I’m here slumming it in journalism.” My sympathy faded a little, and then a little more as I glanced down at his glass of whiskey and his dinner suit.

His main focus, he explains, is the “culture wars”. I ask him to elaborate and he gives an example: feminism. ‘Who is winning?’, my response. ‘They are, obviously”.

“Now that the definition of rape is that if the woman is drunk therefore she hasn’t given consent. That’s off the scale lunacy. Genuine predatory rapists should be prosecuted with the full force of the law. When you’ve got young 19 year old kids getting drunk exploring their sexuality. Young men are quite clumsy. Girls, sometimes they’re not clear about the signals. There but for the grace of god goes every young man.”

Trump was the next topic. He finds the most convincing case against Trump is that he is anti-free trade: “I think he’s a fantastic troll”.

“Do you not think there’s a time and place for trolling?”, I asked. “Listen, Trump is an anomalous candidate. He is basically an unschooled, macho bullying CEO. Who has gone into politics. I would defend his… to go back to my original concern. The culture wars, with this whole Oriel College thing, the University should just say shut the fuck up, you’re students”.

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“Trump is not an ideal candidate. My god, he is sticking it to one of the big enemies. He is an important force in terms of switching up politics. My view on trump is: If Hillary wins it’ll be shit because it’s more of the same. If Trump wins it’ll be shit because of his isolationism. On the other hand, Hillary is a bit more into free trade, and Trump is going to stick it to the SJWs.”

It took me a while to figure just what it was that was most frustrating about talking to him. Was he trolling me? Was he trolling the Union? It seems as though he hides his dishonesty and myopia behind the role of ‘provocateur’, so that he can respond to being called out by reverting to ‘I was only joking’, ‘Stop taking yourself so seriously’ or ‘You sensitive snowflake’. It is trolling as a justification of spewing hurtful nonsense.

It makes you wonder, how much of it does he actually believe? What is he doing for attention? His Twitter bio is “God Emperor at Breitbart, I’m right about everything. Read my articles every day”. So both probably apply.