Social media is aflame with the vile reactions to the March 2019 Esquire article profiling an American boy, Ryan Morgan. An American boy who is, as we need to clarify these days, white.
While the anti-white reactions indeed indicate the downward spiral of our society and warrant discussion, I want to take a different approach.
We’re going to focus here on the Esquire article itself.
The piece is a high wire balancing act, ping-ponging between the familiar anti-white line and some vague gestures towards understanding the white experience. “Gestures” being the operative word.
The article and its packaging do just enough to seem edgy in 2019 America—they have to sell magazines after all, and while most media outlets parrot the anti-white rhetoric, every so often we get an editor who wants to feel like a maverick.
Is this really anything risky though? Or is it a sleight-of-hand that’s only supposed to appear risky?
Passages of the article are banal, which seems purposeful as if to project Ryan’s voice into the writer’s. This is especially true of the awkward opening, where Ryan was expected to answer what it might be like to be a girl. Who knows how the question was posed, how the journalist spun it, and what we can or should expect from an average seventeen-year-old boy when asked about what it might be like to be a girl.
As for the main thrust of the piece, the Esquire staff knew this would cause a stir among the anti-whites, as writers and YouTubers are rightly discussing.
So let’s look at what you’re allowed to think, the furthest you’re allowed to go in the mainstream if you’re presenting a neutral profile of an individual—the escape valve, the acceptable controversy, the corporately approved rebellion Esquire is engaging in.
The article states that the subject, Ryan, lives in West Bend, Wisconsin, “one of the last Republican strongholds.”
But then it goes on to say,
“Trump held a campaign rally at its conference center in 2016, where he declared, ‘I’m asking for the vote of every African-American citizen struggling in our country today,’ even though only 2 percent of West Bend’s population is African-American (Whites account for 95 percent.)”
The article also makes sure to point out that the most popular opinion at West Bend High School seemed to be anti-Trump.
The high school itself is described as, “looking like a five-acre Tetris block fallen in a grass field. A guard buzzes us in. The risk of school shootings is taken seriously.” Sounds a little too reminiscent of a prison for those of us imagining ennobled Faustian societies, and how the education of the youth might look in such an order.
All this in spite of the town and high school being generally safe, with barely any violent incidents in its recent history.
So we see a major theme established: atrophy.
No greatness being made again.
Even in the American heartland.
Even with a President in office who was supposedly dog whistling white-positive overtures while on the campaign trail.
Ryan describes a loss of agency he’s experienced, not trusted because he’s a straight white male.
While discussing social media, he’s quoted as saying,
“I’d post a comment, and the replies would all be the same thing: ‘You’re stupid, and that’s dumb’ or ‘You suck’ or ‘You’re straight, you can’t talk about something LGBT.’”
We learn that Ryan takes in all perspectives and now makes sure to watch both Fox News AND CNN. He leans rights but has embraced the center. So the general reader is meant to lap up this conclusion: Ryan sidestepped the pitfalls of slipping further into the right wing and the scourge of identity politics.
The article makes a comment on how Ryan doesn’t fit into social cliques, notably indicating that he doesn't spend time with, in his own words, “white guys who all hang out with their trucks and guns and say, ‘Heil Trump’ and all that.” Other cliques were listed in the article, and all must have been mentioned by Ryan when the writer, Jennifer Percy, was interviewing him. But only this “white Heil Trump” group was put in quotes, put in Ryan’s own words. A telling detail.
Nevertheless, Ryan is ultimately presented as a representative of Trump’s base, albeit more level-headed. Despite that, we hear no positive political reasoning or viewpoints from Ryan.
We’ll have wait for the subsequent articles in this Esquire series that present the diversity crew, but something tells me that those kids will be more outspoken and opinionated. Esquire wouldn’t dare profile a budding James Allsup, for example, someone who could have debated finer points of white identity and offer critiques of multiculturalism.
Of course, I’m not attacking Ryan himself. I’m analyzing the magazine’s choice of profiling him, the slice they are presenting—as the edge of acceptability, no less. You get the impression that their subject, Ryan, is just, kind of...floating.
Ryan is quoted as saying:
“It’s better to be a moderate, because then you don’t get heat. We want everyone to be happy.”
This is the Peterson Principle, everyone!
Another young white male saved from taking too strong a stance for his identity. From caring too much about his European heritage and the European civilization in which he lives. All this despite the swarms currently belching their contempt on social (and professional) media over the mere fact that you’re even hearing from Ryan.
Maybe he’s hiding his power levels, who knows? But we have to assess what we’re being shown.
There’s a passage where a teacher of his makes a gesture towards fairness—much like the article itself—in having the class sing two songs, one representative of liberal views, the other of conservative views.
Putting aside the childishness of having high school seniors participate in a singalong as a lesson, the liberal song contains lyrics with a positive vision while the conservative paints a picture of fear and destruction.
The article tells us,
“The Liberal Song” is set to the tune of “Ode to Joy.” Mr. Inkmann offers to sing first before everyone joins in. “If I were a liberal, liberal, life would be so very great,” the lyrics read, “knowing that in liberal land this other man could marry me.” ...“The Conservative Song,” set to the tune of “Beer Barrel Polka,” includes lines like “I hate social programs, they really make me want to puke / I would rather use the money for a two-ton nuke” and “Welfare is not good, before we had it, people tried / And I hope the biggest criminals are electrified!”
When mainstream news media is referenced, only one fall from grace bears mentioning, that of Fox News pundit, Bill O’Reilly.
We see a rather unmissable portrait outlined: conservatism and its avatars in traditional white America are on the wane. This way of life and these people are losing their grip. When one realizes Wisconsin is set to be a swing state come the 2020 Presidential election, we get an even better idea of why Ryan Morgan of West Bend was chosen as the subject.
In its general the tone the article is drab.
The accompanying photographs convey a detached, almost bored eye. The colors and emotions expressed are often bland, save for one sweet photo of Ryan carrying his girlfriend on his back, both smiling.
We hear of Ryan’s divorced parents at a couple of points. They live as far away from each other as legally possible for having joint custody. When they meet bi-monthly at a parking lot to exchange him, Ryan’s parents park their cars in opposite directions so that they don’t even see each other. Fracture and sadness abound in modern America.
Esquire is showing you a snapshot of something in decline. Through the semblance of presenting something fair, interesting, or controversial—depending on who you ask— you can feel this sort of exposé throwing a deathly pall over white America.
While Ryan indeed seems like a good kid, Esquire shows its hand in choosing him because there’s a troubling story from his past woven throughout the article. There had been an incident where a girl at school slapped him, and he then slapped her back.
There were ramifications that followed and even a bit of legal action.
Although we also learn that Ryan doesn’t drink or do drugs, is in advanced classes, aspires to work as an environmental scientist, getting up at 5:30 am for an internship at a water plant, and seems like he genuinely wants to do right by people, this specter of the incident with the girl haunts the article, repeated at intervals.
The message is this: no matter how upstanding a young white man may seem, there could be a woman beater lurking inside.
There could be a hater lurking inside.
He is born guilty, always carrying the stain.
So step back, be mild, be moderate, stay in the center. Take in the perspectives of the margins as if they drive society and don’t question it.
If you color outside these lines, you risk becoming a monster. Be a nice Jekyll and let the new culture ministers continually browbeat you to prevent the ugly Hyde from emerging.
This is the sandbox you are allowed to play in, white man.
We’re shown the outer edges of that sandbox in this article. As mentioned, many are indeed vehemently pushing back against this article even existing “in the current year.”
Every so often, the white man may be acknowledged in new media. But even that is becoming verboten.
The sandbox is shrinking.
Don’t say anything.
As Ryan himself stated, quoted on the magazine cover,
“I know what I can’t do…
I just don’t know what I can do.”