SICKNESS IS HEALTH – Tubridy V Thunberg

Thunberg’s honest & impassioned speech to the UN has ben met with a furious backlash by those who feel threatened by the combination of truth and passion. 

The truth on its own is inert and does nothing. But combined with the revolutionary passion of the young it can up-end everything.

Among what it threatens to up-end is the dominance of elite middle-aged and elderly white males over public discourse and, therefore, their dominance over political and economic power as well.

Tubridy is one of this group’s many spokespeople prominent in Irish public discourse. Every time we switch on a current affairs programme, open a mainstream newspaper, click on an MSM website, we find one of these men-of-no-integrity telling us to ignore the ‘hysterical’ youth, calm down, carry on as normal. Their position leaves them with no choice but to denigrate the movement which has come to annihilate them and the ecocidal social structures they represent.

These mass media men are supported by a legion of online haters who have nothing like the discursive power or the wealth of a Ryan Tubridy or an Ian O Doherty or a Brendan O Connor, but are suffering from the delusion that they have some common interest with these rich mouthpieces. If the likes of Tubridy and O Doherty can get away with slander and abuse on the the national airwaves, it boosts these far lesser mens’ sense that they too are entitled to slander and abuse through the online mediums they use.

This is not to argue that there are no female climate deniers and Thunberg haters – there are, but only a small minority, and to accuse one of the bugbear of ‘identity politics’ because one points out the obvious and overwhelming masculinity of elite power structures is an example of wilful political blindness and of no help to the left. The patriarchy is real and it has always had both children and women in it’s sights, with a particular hatred of the eloquent and impassioned among these. No wonder Thunberg is so triggering.

One of the common slanders used throughout the ages against rebels is that they are mentally ill. Tubridy’s undermining of Thunberg’s mental health has a long lineage. If the opposition are crazy, then one would be crazy to follow them, no matter how much sense they are making. The masses should stay where they are and follow superior instructions a super usual.

But in raising the question of mental health, Tubridy and his online echomen are unwittingly casting a glare back over their own unwell minds. For surely it is Tubridy who is deeply and worryingly unwell. 

This is a man who believes in the what Thunberg correctly calls the ‘fairytale of endless growth’ without consequences. A man who only a few days before attacking Thunberg was boosting the far right and lyingly blaming the left for the debacle in Oughterard. A man whose job is plainly to be a propagandist for a system and mode of human and planetary exploration which will lead to civilisational collapse and quite possibly human extinction within our lifetimes. 

Tubridy suffers from the endemic mental illness of the ruling 1% – Capitalist Personality Disorder – the most dangerous and destructive mental illness of all, which blinds its sufferers to the genocidal consequences of their beliefs and practices. 

In a recent report Irish mental health professionals have drawn attention to the growing mental health crisis among middle aged and elderly men: 

“Over the past 10 years, the suicide rate among middle-aged men(40-59 years old) in the Republic of Ireland has been the highest of all age cohorts. Self-Harm rates among middle-aged men have also increased in recent years, reaching a high of 207 per 100,000 in 2012. This is of particular concern, considering the higher lethality of suicide acts among males as well as the greater risk of suicide following self-harm among males. Numerous studies have reported that economic recession and increased rates of unemployment are associated with a decline in mental health and increased rates of suicide and self-harm within a global, European and Irish context..”

It is from this cohort of lonely sufferers that the far right in Ireland draws its present cadre. Climate denial alongside racism, misogyny, vaccine denial, and a rake of absurd and exotic conspiracy theories are the toxic ground of the far-right here as elsewhere. 

In literary studies these confused hate-spreaders are known as ‘spare men’ and there are many ‘spare man’ novels and stories which focus on the actions of men who have been abandoned and left on the scrapheap and who react, as the isolated are bound to react, with an excess of hatred towards society as whole – especially towards those who want to reform society – rather than against that small elite section of society which causes their abandonment and mocks their plight with images of masculine success and triumph everywhere they look. 

From the ranks of these ‘spare men’ are drawn legions of online trolls, but also the lone-wolf terrorists and school-shooters of our day. 

Hiding behind multiple troll accounts on twitter in order to attack and slander rebel activists puts one at a lot less personal risk than openly criticising the ruling class. 

Shooting a four year old in the face is so much easier than taking on the might of the US marine corp, isn’t it? 

Spare men are defined by their bitterness and their cowardice and their automatic recourse to abuse and violence – It is simply much easier to attack the powerless than it is to take on the powerful.

What can we do about it? Well, openly showing our support for Thunberg and the youth climate rebellion is of primary importance. We can drown out the haters if we all raise our voices. They are human dust and can be simply swept aside by a rising mass movement. 

Besides this, I doubt it makes any sense to argue in comment threads with climate deniers and lonely old men revealing their Ian Brady side by pouring online abuse at children. This is just talking to the wall.

Instead, perhaps reach out offline to the spare man in your family or neighbourhood and try, bit by bit, to return them to sanity.