My Thoughts on Mike Cernovich
Mike Cernovich has made a name for himself over the past year, in a good way. Gorilla Mindset has turned into a popular book within certain circles. Danger and Play has seen a spike in traffic and his twitter and periscope has blown up, especially due to his work on the election.
He’s also made a name for himself recently in a bad way. His recent denouncement of Richard Spencer and then this weekend’s feud with “Baked Alaska” coupled with running with earlier on being dubbed the “leader of the alt-right” or some sort of prominent identification with the alt-right have a lot of people throwing accusations of being an opportunist his way. The comment section of pretty much everything I’ve seen that has something to do with Cernovich has been overwhelmingly negative towards him. I know that’s not always the best metric, but it’s pretty damn overwhelming.
I think I first got introduced to Cernovich exactly a year ago. I believe I read Gorilla Mindset last year around New Year’s and subsequently followed him on Twitter and his podcast. I thought Gorilla Mindset was a good book and one of the first “self-improvement” books I’ve ever read. There were a few good takeaways.
From the start his podcasts struck me as a little odd. It seems like a twenty minute podcast is a couple minutes of substance and the rest is made up of repeatedly re-establishing his creditability on the subject (in other words, boasting?). “I’ve sold more books than this guy”, “Look at the life I live”, “The haters are just jealous of…”. I’ll admit that in the realm of self-improvement this kind of thing can be a good motivating thing, but its done to the point where it seems like either an insecurity thing or a “fake it until you make it” strategy.
On the note of “fake it until you make it”, I really think that’s what he’s done with his brand and built it completely around self/brand-aggrandizement. In a way it’s pretty impressive and something that people can gain from if they read between the lines.
Now, on to the subject of his political leanings – he doesn’t strike me as the type of guy with any significant political worldview at all. That’s not a bad thing in and of itself, but he’s has positioned himself to look like the leader of a political movement, the alt-right.
Here’s how I see his involvement with the alt-right…. Cernovich probably really does have it out for SJW/politically correct culture, for various reasons. He already had something of a niche carved out for himself in the “manosphere” and from there there’s inroads into the political right. Maybe there was some reaching out to him from alt-right rank and file, maybe Cernovich did the reaching out. Either way, he probably believed that he would be able to make his niche within the world of lashing out against SJW’s.
As far as his support for Trump goes, I think he really did have an appreciation for Trump as a businessman/showman from before his presidential run. Still, I think his support had an aura of latching on to a movement rather than actually being into it. Admittedly, he did some good digging/analysis during election season and was an overall asset to Trump’s campaign. I won’t deny that.
I think he embraced the alt-right without actually realizing the totality of what the alt-right was about – I think he just thought internet trolling and MAGA hats, like Milo Yiannapolis recently <incorrectly> described the alt right. He showed his actual ignorance of the movement by claiming that Richard Spencer, pretty much the guy that coined the term and laid the groundwork in the US, was hurting the alt-right. No, Mike, he IS the alt-right.
Along with a few other “alt-light” figures, there’s been a bit of a backing down from the actual alt-right once it’s dawned on them that it really isn’t just a quasi-socially acceptable way to lash out against PC culture. He basically got in a little too deep with people he didn’t want his “brand” associated with.
I really feel like there was tones of jealousy between Cernovich and Spencer. Cernovich is certainly bigger (at this point), but Spencer has more depth and has been getting a lot of the spotlight lately…for being genuinely him.
As for me, I’m kind of torn on what to do with Cernovich. I’ll probably revisit Gorilla Mindset at some point and check into his podcast here and there. Honestly, at 15-20 minutes per episode and being so infrequent I don’t feel like I’m completely wasting my time. It’s kind of easy listening, really. I think he’ll wind up alienating many of the people that pay attention to him today and begin to crash and burn. Until then, I’ll probably take him with a large grain of salt and pick up the occasional tidbit of wisdom here and there.