White Noise

White Noise

There are going to be a bajillion documentaries made about *waves hands,* how we got here and whoever the gremlins are who propagated such dissent and discord. 

I have the upmost respect for the filmmaker here for really just going for it, getting unprecedented access to probably three of the most notable faces of the alt-right, including that Nazi jackass that everyone wanted to punch and that dude from Twitter who I think was involved in Pizzagate. 

At first blush, spending 90 minutes with these people sounds like a punishment fit for a gulag. But I couldn’t have walked away more enriched with such a delicate understanding of who these people are and why they do what they do. Peeled away from their abhorrent causes, they’re just very confused, contradictory, at times gapingly sad and self-loathing individuals who put on a big show and cower in the face of resistance or backlash. 

I have no doubt these three minds are warped, but facing the infallible humanity we all have causes you to see how conflicted even these people are, even when they are espousing some of the most dangerous ideas of the 21st century. You’re not immune from your conscience, your fear, your inner quest for peace, even if you’re a member of the alt-right. Seeing such loathsome people being forced to rectify with these unalienable truths, to see them in their most basic form of humanity, away from the bluster of their malevolent theatrics, really struck me. I’m not sure I felt any empathy, but I did feel a tinge of sorrow at three clearly unhappy individuals who are causing so much unhappiness in the lives of others.  

Make no mistake - these three are definitively dangerous people for what they espouse and are enemies of a civil, empathetic society. But it’s almost as if they know that, too. But this documentary is a masterwork of calm vista and uninterruptible patience. It’s one of the better things I’ve seen this year, such a direct examination of why people flock to these horrible ideas and who exactly is pulling the strings. Grifters, attention-seekers, racists, absolutely. But broken people, too. Not to be trite, but it’s true. Hurt people hurt people, and hurt people have feelings that got them there that they’ll never be able to escape, no matter how hard they try.

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