Rhyd has always been one of those people who I felt like, maybe I should like him more than I actually do. He and I are far closer on the political spectrum than Galina Krasskova and myself, but in the last year or so, I have discovered problem, after problem, after problem with him.
Until a couple years ago, especially noticeable before the launch of Gods & Radicals, he wrote a lot of more mystical stuff, bardic, poetic,… It wasn’t really my thing, for the most part, but it was inspired and original and -most importantly- interesting. Then, whatever the hell happened, his calling got upended and he’s since been rehashing Marxism For Dummies and a Cliff’s Notes of Starhawk, and it’s been trite and boring. If you find this “inspiring,” I highly recommend that you actually read The Communist Manifesto and Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, and pretty much any of Starhawk’s works, because they’ve both actually addressed all of the issues Rhyd’s been talking for the last couple years in a concise manner, and better-written, and they actually come closer to offering viable solutions than anything Rhyd’s said…
…but then, when someone actually tells him that he’s all theory and no solution, he just hand-waves about being a philosopher, as if that actually addresses the fairly justified critiques. I mean, hell, can’t he just Cliff’s Notes Marx’s solutions, or Guevara’s, or Starhawk’s, and so on — or would that just make it all the more obvious that he hasn’t had an original thought in his head for the last two years?
Then there’s his social justice problems.
Yes, he’s been regarded as “SJW” for a few years, now, but here’s the thing (aside from the fact that the term has become as meaningless as “politically correct” has been since the 1990s): He’s about as terrible as Tumblr thinks many male film stars are, when it comes to intersectional issues.
He’s got an established record of sexism and misogyny. I’ve been told several accounts -both first-hand and eye-witness (or at least the Internet equivalent of)- and seen many of the “receipts” of his tendencies to just outright dismiss the concerns of women so he can tell them that they should care more about how the real problem is Capitalism, as if ending Capitalism is just suddenly supposed to end sexism with Anarchist Magic — I don’t know what gender studies histories he’s read, but sexism long pre-dates Capitalism, ergo, ending Capitalism won’t end sexism, no matter what Rhyd seems to want his readers think. (As a quick example off the top of my head: The Cyrenaics and Cynics were regarded as fucking oddball schools of philosophy, as women were held in just as much regard as the men in those schools — and that’s just the Hellenic world. There are countless examples of how sexism reigned long before the institution of Capitalism, and how fucking revolutionary proto-feminism has always been.) That pretty much is just Marx verbatim, when he pulls that shit — it might make sense in print, but it betrays a gross ignorance of the history of misogyny, and since Marx was talking from a position of male privilege, it obviously didn’t occur to him that ending Capitalism won’t magically make sexism disappear.
Stemming from his misogyny is his implicit femphobia. If you think he hasn’t committed this, I ask that you consider:
- The fact that he has, on several occasion, gone on and on and fucking on about how he’s gone out of his way to craft a burly, especially masculine/butch physique and image. Shit, I’ve seen him go on about his own stench with more zeal than most trans guys marvel at their own after only several months on HRT — at least with trans guys, there’s the excuse that they’re basically going through puberty again, only a biologically “male” one, this time around, and they find the difference interesting and fascinating. With Rhyd, it’s like he’s inviting us all to read some autoerotic fetish, cos he’s older than me, and the only other guys I see go on like that as in spank-chats. This alone isn’t necessarily damning, but he frequently takes a tone implying this is far favourable to effeminacy — this is especially clear when he goes on about the folly of “identity politics” and his rejection of a “gay” identity in the fact of his clear homosexual inclinations.
- Oh, yeah, and he’s also made a point to remind practically everyone that he’s only interested in guys as burly and smelly as himself. These have been public Facebook posts that, like I said, read like the text profiles of dudes looking for cybersex and hook-ups. This is mirrored in countless “No fats, no fems” Grindr profiles and Craigslist “casual encounters” listings. Again, in and of itself, this isn’t necessarily bad, but our preferences don’t develop in a vacuum, meaning his rejection of effeminacy and the effeminate comes from somewhere.
- Oh, yeah, and he basically admits that “faggot,” a word that is consistently used as a slur against specifically effeminate men, and especially against gay-identified effeminate men (and remember, he rejects the idea that his homosexual inclinations necessarily make him “gay”) and we see this language of “faggot” reinforced in LGBT+ spaces, in mixed spaces, and especially in any heteronormative spaces — shit, we see this in the 1984 film Purple Rain, as Morris Day calls Prince’s The Kid character, who is as effete as Prince, himself, a “long-haired faggot,” in spite of the character being heterosexual. This is not a word that has been used against him — but he’s going to appropriate it, anyway, cos that’s just what white cis men do, is appropriate experiences that are not theirs to reclaim. Guess that’s what unexamined privilege does to a person.
He’s also cissplained to me on several occasions (at least one of which is in the comments on this blog), as if I’m supposed to take this seriously, because he’s the big burly manly cis Man homosexual man, and I’m just the effete trans fag (though vaguely bi-, If I’m being totally honest — like a K5) with more skirts than Eddie Izzard. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if I were to eventually learn, some day in the hypothetical future, that he doesn’t actually take my male gender identity seriously for the simple fact that I embrace effeminacy while “real” trans men look like Buck Angel and Jameson Green and Chaz Bono and other masculine manly MAN men, and not like Boy George or Rozz Williams or Marc Bolan — transgressing cisnormativity is fine for cis men, but trans men gotta be Manly MAN Men, y’know? I suspect he’d go there because I’ve heard this shit from literally every butch cis homosexual I’ve encountered, and a lot of the trans ones, for sure…. Sure, this specific thought is speculative, but it sure as hell wouldn’t surprise me, if it were true.
Now let’s get more personal for a mo’….
So, I’m not going to out this person publicly (they can do that, themself, if they wish to), but Rhyd has told at least one person, knowing full well they were going through a depressive period at the time, that you know, maybe they should just kill themself, cos there really isn’t anything else he can offer as advice. Thankfully, this person didn’t take Rhyd’s advice, but there are just some lines a decent person never crosses, and I think that’s one of them.
The same person I also trust enough when they told me that Rhyd did, in fact, go out of his way to start shit with Galina and Sannion &co (which is probably, I suspect, what drove Galina into a knee-jerk reaction toward the AltRight — to be fair, her politics have always been fairly far to the right by anyone’s standards, but she’d been considerably more tempered in expressing this, and far less willing to turn a blind eye to some things before this last year and change) to boost hits toward the then-barely-past-inaugural Gods & Radicals e-zine. This has been corborrated by two other people who were close-enough to the situation, at the time it was happening. See, prior that, Rhyd was practically Galina’s golden boy, and even though she didn’t agree with his politics, she thought very highly of his work and of him personally, and often cited his mystical posts on his old blog, though I think Sannion referred to Rhyd’s blog from his own, far more often.
Now, as I said the other day, I made the choice to quietly distance myself from Galina &co over political reasons. Though there was some misunderstanding last year when I mentioned something about it on someone else’s Facebook comments, I’ve really not gone out of my way to be a jackass about it; even my post from the other day, I spent a significant portion of the piece listing everything I still admire about Galina, even though I ultimately concluded that it’s better for myself to maintain some distance. I never went out of my way to mischaracterize her snarky comments as an “endorsement” of Neonazi groups like the AFA and Stormfront (she and I were never all that close, but I’d certainly read her blog long enough to be able to tell when she’s being snarky and when she’s being serious). I never decided to pick fights in public and through private emails, and then proclaim it was a “crusade against me.”
That’s another thing that seems to give away, no matter how much he plays around in Europe, how pitifully American Rhyd is: Literally even the most constructive critiques of his words and deeds suddenly becomes, in Rhyd’s own words, a “crusade against [him],” which is painting any disagreement as an outright Holy War. He and others may snarkily call Galina &co “the Piety Posse,” but Galina has a tendency to paint these disagreements as actions of disrespect against the gods, spirits, and revered dead — not against her person. When someone calls out Rhyd for bad behavior, it’s not just a personal attack, it’s an all-out Crusade against him! Even if you 100% believe that Galina’s talk about how everyone is disrespecting the gods to the point of practical atheism is all “performative” and she’s just ego-tripping, fine, but she at least has the decency to frame it as a defense of something other than herself she’s concerned about (my personal opinion? Unlike some, I’ve met Galina, and I have witnessed the clear passion she has for her religion, which has literally brought her to tears — it’s humbling to see someone that devoted, and while I don’t like how fervently she goes after every perceived slight she sees against the Gods, I don’t for a second doubt her passionate devotion being anything less than 100% sincere.) Rhyd makes no such pretentions — he wants you to know that any criticism will be taken as literally a “crusade against him.”
Now let’s go back to my comment about how he’s playing around Europe: I really can’t take any of his talk about “revolution” seriously after he went expat. At least when James Baldwin and Josephine Baker took off for France, they did so to escape the outright crippling homophobia and racism that held back their vocations. Rhyd has a stable income through several avenues, so his ability to do what he loves has not been impeded; hell, even without taking his book money and other sources into account, he’s making enough on Patreon so as to exceed my SSDI cheque, alone, before the added Social Security Survivor’s Benefits that allow me to live on my own, and this income is, as best as I can tell, just for being Rhyd Wildermuth.
…but I digress: He’s made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that he’s written off the States as a “sinking ship,” and that’s why he’s left the country — what this translates as, to me, is “I’m privileged enough to bail after I got mine, and I know the current administration is going to literally kill people, but oh well, I got bored with my old job as a social worker, where I could have at least tried. I’d rather get paid to buy the hype about myself and climb up Druid Mountains and then make callous remarks about how the disabled just, well, have to die, cos I’m not afraid to die, and if you got paid hundreds of dollars a month to gallivant about Europe, you too can have these spiritual epiphanies and be fine! Ah well…. Good luck, and thanks for all the fish!”
His most recent bullshit catching him hell from a steadily increasing number of people on Facebook really reminds me of every bourgie uni student who goes on a spiritual tourism of South America or parts of Asia or Africa, and then bores you to death with stories of their exploitative “spiritual awakenings” — you know, the kinds of people he likes to snark on cos of their unexamined Colonialism, and while he doesn’t really seem to express that specific characteristic in his recent rodomontades, his arrogance and pretentions are about on-par with those kids back-packing across the slums of Southeast Asia on Daddy’s dime.
Again, he and I are mostly on the same page, politically, but I just never really liked the guy, and the more I learn about him, the more justified I feel in this. He’s like the anti-Galina, in this sense — I never really liked him all that much, even though we’re generally in agreement on politics, while I like her on a person-to-person level, but I just ran out of spoons to deal with her politics and the toxic alliances she’s formed since this falling-out with Rhyd (which, as I’ve assessed from those who were close-enough to the situation to know more, was completely of Rhyd’s design and intent to create). In simplest terms, to call Rhyd “a real asshole” is one of the nicer things I could say about him, and generally speaking, the more I think about him, the angrier I get — makes me glad I’m not Bruce Banner, I have too many nice clothes and irreplaceable concert t-shirts.
[This post had some typos corrected and a few relatively minor revisions for clarity on 2017-06-30 @02.07]