Thermidor

© 2017 Thermidor Magazine.

Designed by Jonathan.

Matt Yglesias: American Psycho

Among the two-legged vermin that currently infest the District of Columbia perhaps none combines both a high profile and an odious disposition as seamlessly as Matt Yglesias does. A fixture of the D.C. NeoLiberal scene for years, Yglesias has quickly risen to the top of the journalistic shit heap. While most simply know him only as a pudgy, effeminate dipshit, in reality, there is much more beneath Yglesias's various layers of blubber than first meets the eye.

Yglesias, of Cuban and Jewish emigre ancestry, was raised as the child of novelist Rafael Yglesias, living a life of affluence in New York City, where he attended the prestigious Dalton School, whose tuition for the K-12 runs a very cool $46,050 for the 2017-2018 school year. He went on to study at the similarly affordable Harvard University where he began blogging, eventually receiving a degree in Philosophy.

Speaking of philosophy, what little Yglesias actually learned in that field while at Harvard seems to have been gleaned from such "respected" "luminaries" as Jeremy Bentham and Peter Singer. Who he, somewhat adorably, seems to mistake for actual philosophers.

The real apotheosis of Yglesias's philosophical thought, however, can be observed in a somewhat famous essay entitled "Long Philosophical Rant About Spiderman 2." In which he attempts to draw profound ethical lessons from a kitschy, early 2000's Summer popcorn flick whose source material is based in a medium designed to be read and enjoyed by prepubescents. Fortunately for Yglesias, his naive utilitarianism is simple enough that it can be properly explained and elucidated using even the most adolescent of mediums.

Needless to say, expounding on philosophy isn't what has made our potato-shaped protagonist so famous. Rather, his rise to prominence was marked by a dedication to "policy wonkery," that particular species of bullshit which was so popular during the halcyon days of the Obama administration. But mocking Yglesias for his fetishization of banal subjects in which he has no degree or real world experience, yet still claims expertise in, such as economics, is a bit too easy. Worse than that, it is simply uninteresting. What is interesting, however, are Yglesias' strange and obviously pathological character flaws which have manifested themselves in various strange outbursts throughout the years.

Yglesias has for years cultivated a very peculiar, wry, and understated style of communication which can best be described as "a Patronizing Robot." Yglesias's style is so bloodless, in fact, that without any context you could be forgiven for wondering if the man had ever felt any kind of strong feeling for anything—save perhaps artisanal burritos, which judging by his impressive corpulence he has indulged in on more than one occasion. Indeed, Yglesias's obesity (another trademark attribute) has progressed in sync with his career, having developed from a minor personal flaw to major health risk in the span of a few short years. So much so that one finds it difficult to look at current pictures of the man without the stench of morbidity inevitably wafting into the nostrils.

The scent of diseased flesh, however, doesn't only emanate from the more repulsive of Yglesias's physiognomic characteristics, but from his very soul as well. As is evidenced by his varied and frequent public proclamations extolling a variety of morally indefensible postulates.

As has been mentioned, Yglesias is a dyed-in-the-wool utilitarian, meaning he tends to approach questions of human well-being by attempting to balance the perceived metrics of "pleasure" and "pain", and then determine which particular policy prescriptions would optimize outcomes. Such was his calculus when approaching the issue of unsafe working conditions in the third world. In particular, the horrific 2013 collapse of a factory in Bangladesh, an event which Yglesias responded to in characteristic robotic fashion:

It's very plausible that one reason American workplaces have gotten safer over the decades is that we now tend to outsource a lot of factory-explosion-risk to places like Bangladesh where 87 people just died in a building collapse... it's entirely appropriate for Bangladesh to have different—and, indeed, lower—workplace safety standards than the United States.

The reason is that while having a safe job is good, money is also good. Jobs that are unusually dangerous—in the contemporary United States that's primarily fishing, logging, and trucking—pay a premium over other working-class occupations precisely because people are reluctant to risk death or maiming at work.

Leaving aside the amusing assertion that working class professions like logging and long distance truck driving somehow pay bountiful premiums for hazardous work, what's notable about the piece is its total lack of empathy. This is all the more remarkable seeing as the victims in question are third-worlders and thus should, in theory, be more worthy of the Liberal cosmopolitan Yglesias's pity than a contemptible member of the White Working Class. Yet even the oppressed of the Indian subcontinent cannot escape the cold, dead, reductionist gaze of Yglesias. Who is more than happy to instrumentalize their lives and deaths until they are little more than data points on his technocratic clipboard. Potentially one could defend Yglesias by rationalizing such cold-blooded outbursts as mere oafishness or perhaps the sign of an undiagnosed autism (as in the case of figures like Tyler Cowen, who has actually been diagnosed.) Unfortunately, this is not the case with Yglesias, as his hideous economist's gaze, as we shall see, contains impressive amounts of malice.

Andrew Breitbart was a charismatic and controversial figure in Right Wing Media, who in many ways was larger than life. Hence why his passing in 2012 at the young age of 43 was so shocking to many. Now when news about the passing of a contemporary reaches the ears of most normal people a certain solemnity is usually reserved for the dead, regardless of how unpalatable one may have found them in life. But such anachronistic social niceties are apparently beneath true D.C. Käfermensch like Yglesias. A point which he articulated this way after Andrew's passing:

Here we can observe Yglesias's full cocktail of wry arrogance and malicious contempt on display in an almost translucent fashion. It is important to note that Yglesias's incredible contempt for Andrew was not personal at all (i.e. it was not based upon a particular personal interaction.) Rather it was based on particular policies, i.e. anything that contradicted his own politics of Neoliberal Cosmopolitanism, policies which he found to be "unprogressive," and thus antagonistic to those arbitrarily designated goals he mistakenly refers to as the "common good."

In 2012, Yglesias's death wish was directed at Andrew but is transferable, de facto, to any of Yglesias's ideological enemies, particularly those who would be in favor of Trumpist Political and Social reforms. Undoubtedly he welcomes their soaring death rates along with their increasing economic and cultural dispossession. A state of affairs which has been largely brought about by the very policies Yglesias himself champions. One has to imagine a satisfied Yglesias, giddily rubbing his hands in divine satisfaction as he reads the latest heroin death statistics; they are the sweet fruits of his labor.

Yet Yglesias's impressive depravity doesn't end there. As bad as gloating over Andrew Breitbart's Death was, it pales in comparison to the truly dark desires which grip him during the most sacred of moments: the very birth of life itself.

In one Voxsplainer Yglesias wrote, after witnessing the birth of his wife's son:

After watching my wife gestate my son for nine months, I am 100 percent certain people who go into pregnancy with anti-abortion ethical priors come out of it with the strength of their convictions increased tenfold. I went into it with different priors and have come out with my own pro-choice convictions increased tenfold.

In a decent society it would be both safe and convenient for women of all socioeconomic backgrounds to terminate an early stage pregnancy on demand without facing judgment and hassles

One of the main lessons Yglesias took from witnessing the miracle of life for the first time was the necessity of being able to extinguish life. To ensure the legal means for a woman to arbitrarily murder her own child. One finds it difficult to overstate the macabre nature of such an outlook. It's the sort of deviant insight which is usually only found amongst the most depraved, broken and usually insane members of any given society. It is pathological, it is psychotic, it is transparently evil, it is the mind of Matt Yglesias.

For beneath Yglesias's thin veneer of robotic detachment and bloodless logic lies a completely different man, one given to wild swings of mood and passionate outburst of perversity. An Yglesias driven by deep chthonic powers which even he himself cannot truly fathom or understand. He is our American Psycho, a new Patrick Batemen for the age of the SWPL. An empty and vile sack of flesh which will occasionally vomit up putrid bile, in blog form, but otherwise is simply incapable of legitimate human interaction.

For the truth about Yglesias, the truth of his innermost nature, is that, to paraphrase a line from a particularly great film:

There is an idea of a Matt Yglesias; some kind of abstraction. But there is no real me: only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable... I simply am not there.

Follow Thermidor Magazine: