The Last Painful Read
9 May 2024

This is a book for the bewildered.

The thing with culture war is that you can shelve it, ignore it, refuse to engage with it and try to wait for it to go away – but that doesn’t mean it won’t come and mess with you. It does mess with you. It messes with you more than you think.

So many join the fight. They pick a side, plant a flag, and spend all their productive time and much resources fighting for one side or the other. This book is not for those people – they will (theoretically, we pray) be well versed in the ideology of their own side.

But not everyone wants to participate. They have better things to do – literally and objectively better. They just don’t want to fall victim to it. So they want to be empowered with a basic understanding of the underlying ideology of the side that seems to be picking fights all over the place these days.

They want to just understand WHAT the hell is going on, and WHY that side is so violent.

They don’t want to necessarily fight them. They don’t want to join them.

They just want to understand where they are coming from.

This is a book for those people.

If you haven’t had the benefit of existentialist, post-modern theory infected college classes since the 70s, and don’t identify as nonbinary, and haven’t marched for BLM and BDS and Occupy – then getting to grips with the radical and extremist theories that inspire and underpin them is a challenge.

Trying to read the foundational scriptures of this new religion (as I have) is a very hard slug (correct word, not an error) and a great deal of work, and inaccessible, because the writing is so crap and the thinking depends on a lot of abstract presuppositions mostly acquired only after years of exposure to the pretentious, professional victimhood of its guru class.

This book explains it all in one go.

It’s a painful read – because of the subject matter. The authors set out to cover the whole ideological basis of the movement so that you never have to bother with any of the underlying crap – and they do this accurately, comprehensively and well.

I hated every second of it, and it is a very important book to read if you struggle to even understand the far left.

The authors treat the subject matter with far more fairness than it deserves, and they patiently wade through mountains of molehill intellectualism. You’re along for the ride and if you have any shred of decency as a human being the read will be aggravating – but it is worth it.

Because once you’ve read Cynical Theories you will get it, and you will never have to deal with the subject matter again (unless you want to, in which case I recommend taking long, regular walks in nature and doing practical things with your hands to get away from your head – because you spend too much time in there for it to be healthy).

You turn on the TV and some activist, politician or professional victim starts using wordsoup – complex language you don’t quite understand and makes you feel stupid to disagree with them, as well as potentially evil. This book is the antidote. It’ll teach you the lingo, the rationales, the cognitive framework, of those who want to deconstruct everything.

You’re confused or intimidated by the anti-empirical, anti-rational, illiberal currents in the discourse, this book won’t solve it – but it will explain what exactly is going on and why.

It begins right at the start and takes you on a primer crash course of postmodern thought, and applied postmodernism. It then looks at all the various manifestations of this temporary thought experiment, that somehow became solidified into a permanent and default intellectual position. Postcolonial Theory. Queer Theory. Critical Race Theory. Intersectionality.  Feminisms (yes, plural IS correct). Gender Studies. Disability and Fat Studies. Social Justice.

The degree to which individual concepts or whole constructs of these have been imported into respectable, mainstream thinking is staggering (and this, as you will learn, without one shred of evidence, anywhere, at any time).

But this book will inoculate you. And when these bullshit terms are thrown at you, you will recognize it for what it is, and even be equipped to neutralize it. Because the subject matter of the book is a toxic, highly destructive form of self-sabotage that infects human civilization like a mind-borne venereal disease.

And when you are done with the book – hopefully – you can be done with the subject matter… and go live with meaning, doing things that matter, for people who are varied but also amazing – rather than play out childishly naïve and mentally unstable roles within a stupid game of categories.

Please make it the last time you spend on this nonsense.