Fronting in the Age of Anger


The Oprah-for-President, liberal-celebrity-worship is really thoughtless on so many levels, I can’t stand it. I saw the memes rolling in, and I wanted to be blown away when I looked up the clip. But I could’ve predicted that sterilized, publicist-approved, basic PC canned shit in my sleep. And the nods of approval and standing ovations by a room full of lottery-winners—whose job is supposed to be perceiving, discerning, and relaying raw emotion—made the scene more sickening. I thought of many historically important, gut-punch media clips from other eras of public figures speaking out that stand out in my mind, and how Muhammad Ali burping into a mic would have been more meaningful than any one line out of Oprah’s speech. I was craving dirt and got plastic. I didn’t hear anything genius, insightful, or new, let alone presidential. The speech was a string of meaningless platitudes “for little girls watching” and lip service to big, abstract ideas without any implication for practical application. 

What the fuck is Oprah gonna do that any of you can’t? Why don’t, instead of hoping for a savior, you name yourself president, think of your life as a mini-government, name your administration, budget for the departments, and start organizing your money into and out of the infrastructures and systems you wish to see dismantled or supported. None of those head-bobbing, rich, liberal stars want to risk any standing, let alone change what they buy, what they wear, what they eat, what they drive. They’d inject radioactive horse piss into their faces to stay right where they are. And that’s why a lot of women didn’t speak up sooner. 

Everyone’s mad that 45 can’t be held accountable for shit, and it’s coming out in Hollywood. A lot of men will pay, some deservingly, some too much, because Trump can’t be touched. Someone’s got to start being held accountable for their abuses of power. What’s happening makes sense. But what doesn’t make sense to me, are liberals pointing a finger at Trump as the bane of all American social problems, ignoring, in my opinion, that Trump is their fucking fault—the fault of liberals—for not being conscientious enough of creating widespread change, for everyone, to begin with when we had more of a chance; for failing to take the economic needs of working class men, for example, seriously; for writing off everyone in the South as racist and stupid. How about this, Hollywood? Everytime y’all have ever written Dumb White Guy with a Southern Accent into one of your TV and film scripts, you ill-fatedly, naively voted 45 into place.  

Trump’s rise was supported by a lot of working class people who were tired of being ignored and made fun of, and being written off. He promised a giant sect of people that he’d take them seriously, drain the swamp on the tired oligarchy that neglected them, which Hilary represented. The rest of us knew he wasn’t who he promised, but that’s a different story. He knew what hurt to speak to and what to represent, in order to get elected. Don’t think for a second that all his supporters were tiki-torch marchers. 

Obama’s time led to where we are now, too. Not fairly, because Obama is one hundred million times the human being Trump could ever be, but because what we have now is a backlash against what Obama incidentally, unfairly bore the brunt of representing—everything liberal chic. Progressive white people loved Obama’s reign, but it incidentally meant they didn’t have to know or care too much about government neglect of working class neighborhoods throughout middle America, or about black people getting shot by police so much as they have since Trump has been in charge and there’s someone to blame (I’ve worked in anti-racism orgs since I was a teenager and have never, until lately, seen white people so upset about things that have been happening consistently to black people since American history began. NWA told everyone in 1988, you care now about the movie?). White, educated liberals should’ve been giving a shit this whole time about the needs of working class people, white working class people especially, because when those people are forsaken, throughout history, they (have been taught to) blame black and brown people. The racist marches happening now days, as I see it, are liberal fault. Trump just played on the left’s negligence and won. 

And where liberals should know to wield our power, the atmosphere put out is one of being “offended”—a state seemingly unique to liberals, a mass that’s become so delicate, meanwhile waving the flag of tolerance but can’t tolerate anyone aggressive, or mad, or “bad,” AKA different. What’s a good test. Could you have someone different than you raging in your face out of their own pain, and be able to maintain patience, love, an open heart, a willingness to admit where you’vebeen wrong, where you’ve been hurtful, where you’re hard, too? Because sometimes that’s the pain it takes to change old ways into new. Growth in any context—personal, spiritual, relational, intercontinental, is usually a fucking fight. 

Strangely, in the last couple of years, what made me know myself, my strength and my needs more than I ever have before, is someone very different from me, basically yelling in my face that he doesn’t understand me. And out of some tremendous drive to get to deeper understanding, to try and understand another person’s rage and hurt, too, without disconnecting and shooting the messenger, I grew a heat, a necessary rage of my own, a clarity, and the confidence to finally gather the words and explain myself to him, very out loud, and say exactly who the fuck I am and what the fuck I need. With the exception of two very unique friends, my family and friends could not, for life of them, imagine that I would need that hard a challenge in order to make me come out of my shell (“speak my truth” to borrow an abstract Oprah-ism).   Or that dealing with such a seemingly harsh situation for an extended time period could possibly illicit a positive outcome for me. Some even labeled it “abusive.” But I knew it wasn’t, and why I was in it.  I liked it and I wanted that kind of hardknock love for a reason. I didn’t want to keep holding things in, I don’t want to keep shutting down. I needed someone—even if it seemed ugly—to make me realize where I was wrong, hard, not easy. Sometimes keeping things in and managing the inner life is righteous. Other times, it can come off as withholding, borderline lying, even. Growth is painful. It’s not always a pretty picture. Getting to peace can look like war, when in fact engaging in uncomfortable, diplomatic work is actually how wars are avoided. 

It doesn’t mean my personality changed, or that I need that bootcamp-style push forever, or that I no longer tend to be soft and shy over outward and confrontational. I just stepped up to taking responsibility for myself. 

Stop being so fucking delicate if you want change. 

What looked like a terribly harsh masculinity to some people is what I found strangely nurturing. And so I’m also disturbed at the threatened extinction of masculine men who do typically masculine things. Harsh is not always bad. Aggressive is not always dangerous. I looked at Oprah’s audience full of liberal men listening to women stand up for themselves, and they seem dumbstruck, not sure how to be. What to say. They look legit scared to do or say the wrong thing. I’d love to hear one of them, from the industry, warn other other men, “If I see any of this abuse-of-power shit on my set, I’ll beat your ass my motherfucking self.” Instead, this atmosphere has men thinking they have to be less masculine, when personally, I think the answer is that men need to stop being afraid of their own masculinity (let alone femininity). The most beautiful, healing, MASCULINE thing men could do right now is protect the sovereignty of the divine feminine. But that would be called patriarchal, wouldn’t it? Think, though. Wouldn’t it have felt gratifying, even righteous, if instead of giggling in that bus, Billy Bush had put Trump up against the wall by his throat? 

Almost 15 years ago, I sacrificed my regular eating habits for a plant-based diet, an anti-pharmaceutical, anti-chemical lifestyle—something that actually creates massive, systemic change on a widespread, mass level. (A few celebs have done it and championed the motives. And then they use it as a media opportunity when they change their minds. Go fuck yourselves.) I took my money and my body as a vessel out of a collusive network of corrupt, broken, racist, discriminatory, predatory, destructive, unjust, archaic systems and it wasn’t because I didn’t like chicken or I because I could never kill an animal. And so I guess, unless you’re willing to stop giving your body and your money to broken systems, and rather become the change you want to see in the world, I don’t know what anyone thinks they’re standing up to or what they have to complain about. 

While people are so desperate for a savior outside themselves that any celebrity with a canned progressive speech might suffice, I’m looking for sole people to take responsibility for themselves on such a deep level that it would bomb the broken systems by default. See where you’re part of all the problems and fix it. What you avoid saying and doing and why? And by the way, what factory do your shoes come from? Whose hands soak in chemicals for you to carry a leather bag? Whose drugs are you on? How much land is sacrificed so you can eat meat? How often do you change your wardrobe? What animal had to be pregnant over and over and then thrown in the garbage so you can have butter in your Bulletproof coffee? Why we still consenting to a governmental agricultural agency that had to pay black farmers millions of dollars for decades of wrongful discrimination? Why do we allow a food system that creates disparate health divides along racial lines? How dare you point a finger at Trump, YOU, who won’t change your ways? You’re the enemy of this nation.

Ruby Roth