Monday, November 21, 2016

How does a nice-looking...

...young man like the one above, who grew up in an affluent section of Dallas, went to a fancy prep school there and has degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of Chicago, grow up to be a leader of the alt-right?

(The alt-right, in case you don't know, has been defined as a "movement with white identity as its core idea." You'd be forgiven if you equated it with "white nationalism," or "white supremacy," or even -- what the heck -- "neo-Nazism.")

That kid, Richard Spencer, is now 38 years old and coined the term "alt-right" back in 2008. (You can read more about him in Mother Jones and today's New York Times.)

While I usually think of neo-Nazis or members of the Ku Klux Klan as "losers," this guy was the son of an ophthalmologist who played varsity football and baseball in high school and hung out with the popular crowd. What would have made him become so angry? Spencer then went on to get his bachelor's degree from UVA and a master's from the U of C. So he's obviously no dummy, either.

So how, I wonder -- I really do -- did this guy go down the strange road to white supremacy instead of growing up to become a doctor, like his father, or a lawyer or an investment banker like all his peers? How does a nice kid like the one in the picture above turn into a total nut job like the one below? (That's called a "fashy" haircut, by the way -- long on top, buzzed on the sides. "Fashy" is short for "fascism" -- seriously.)

It's really something I'd like to pursue. Oh, and prepare to hear a lot more about this guy in the coming days and weeks. (Steve Bannon, Trump's "brain," is also a member of the alt-right.)

P. S. These are really weird times we're living in, aren't they?

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