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Fever Swamp

Don’t Believe CPAC’s Bullshit for One Second

If CPAC cared about 'reprehensible views' it would shut its entire conference down.


If you smell the faint hint of sulfur in the air, and slight pricking in your thumbs, then you’d better believe it’s CPAC week, baby! Yes, it’s that magical stretch of time when the denizens of hell are granted a brief reprieve to walk this Earth in something approximating a human form.

This year’s CPAC hasn’t even begun yet, and already the conference is mired in controversy, after inviting — and then hastily disinviting — rapper and right wing commentator Young Pharaoh, after a Media Matters investigation uncovered his (not particularly hidden) history of saying things like “all of these big tech, media, & social media platforms are controlled by CCP & Israel through Jewish CEO & corrupt Democrats” and that “all the censorship & pedophilia on social media is being done by Israeli Jews.”

Irony over a self-titled Pharaoh harboring deep and cartoonishly egregious antisemitism notwithstanding, CPAC’s decision to nix him from their speakers’ lineup is even funnier considering the conference’s theme is “America Uncanceled.” Because, if nothing else, an anti-cancel culture conference canceling an anti-cancel culture speaker for antisemitic culture canceling is a perfect encapsulation of just how filled to the brim with bullshit CPAC is — and has always been.

Consider that while Young Pharaoh’s brand of antisemitism (and QAnon, and Pizzagate, and coronavirus conspiracy theories) was deemed “reprehensible” by CPAC, which claimed he has “no home with our conference or our organization,” the following featured speakers are still welcome at this year’s confab.

  • Freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-Weimar), a serial fabulist who bragged about attempting to eliminate Judaism by actively working to convert Jews to Christianity, and whose campaign website attacked Sen. Cory Booker as someone “who aims to ruin white males running for office.”
  • Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, a George Soros conspiracy theorist whose antisemitism is so bad that his own siblings publicly denounced him, writing in 2017 that “it is extremely upsetting to have to call you out on this, Paul, but you’ve forced our hand with your deceit and antisemitic dog whistle.” And when that didn’t seem to change things, his brother David demanded Gosar step down from office in 2018, writing that “these [Soros conspiracy theories] and other such comments have helped feed the antisemitism that just resulted in the murder of 11 people in a Jewish synagogue and an attempt on Mr. Soros’ life.”
  • Professional Twitter dipshit Kurt “fuck the Palestinians” Schlichter, whose long ignominious career in media is basically an extremely dumbed down version of other, more successful racists’ career trajectories.
  • Anti-mask gym owner Ian Smith, who literally killed someone while driving drunk in 2007.
  • Sandy Hook school shooting truther Wayne Dupree, who called the 2012 massacre a “hoax” carried out in part by “espionage operatives,” including “crisis actors” posing as parents which “certainly shows that this is a planned event.

The list goes on and on, culminating in former President Donald Trump himself, a man who complains about about Jewish “disloyalty,” traffics in grandiose Soros conspiracy theories, and publishes overtly antisemitic imagery.

And those are just a few of the featured speakers! I’d be willing to bet the average CPAC attendee willing to brave a pandemic just to breathe the same musky air as Sen. Ted Cruz and Sarah Huckabee Sanders probably has their own collection of exciting ideas concerning Jews, Black people, Latinx communities, cabals of child-sacrificing, Satan-worshiping Democrats, and so on.

By arbitrarily drawing their line at Young Pharaoh’s bigotry and conspiracy-mongering, CPAC is essentially disproving this year’s entire convention theme: the looming and immediate threat of “cancel culture.” Instead, the organization is highlighting the fact that what is commonly referred to as “cancel culture” is simply “facing the consequences of your actions.” And the actions CPAC has chosen to address aren’t so much unique in their content, as they are in their exaggerated tone. Young Pharaoh’s transgression wasn’t that he barfed out a bunch of overtly antisemitic, kookoo-bananas conspiracy nonsense. It’s that he did so without couching it in CPAC-approved language.

Of course, if CPAC really wanted to show that — despite the phantom menace of cancel culture — there really are some things that are beyond the pale of what the conservative/fascist movement will accept, it could do so by axing all the speakers who’ve echoed the various sentiments espoused by Young Pharaoh. But if they did that, by all indications, their 2021 conference would be nothing more than a suite of empty hotel ballrooms. That’ll never happen. The one thing CPAC types hate more than cancel culture is caving to the zeitgeist through preemptive self-cancellation. Especially when there’s still a limited number of $7,500 “premium gold package” tickets that haven’t sold out yet.