I Will Never Forgive America for Trying to Convince Me That Richard Spencer Is ‘Dapper’

Illustration for article titled I Will Never Forgive America for Trying to Convince Me That Richard Spencer Is ‘Dapper’
Photo: Joe Raedle (Getty Images)

The pathologically un-rewatchable Joker has become the highest-grossing R-rated movie in history, surpassing Deadpool 2. I am not surprised by this, as the audience for depictions of maladjusted and sexually frustrated white men finding catharsis in violence is, well, bottomless. Add a mundane mythos, a late-’70s/early-’80s NYC aesthetic, a refried casserole of important seeming themes (Mental health! Economic anxiety! Clown unemployment rates!), and a sprinkle of Zazie Beetz—who’s now been in the two highest-grossing R-rated movies ever—and boom!


And, well, this is where I tell on myself. While I was certain that Joker was so aggressively “eh” that I wouldn’t waste bandwidth thinking about it after I wrote about it, here I am, three weeks later, writing about it again. But, I wasn’t actually thinking about the movie. I was just compiling a list of people who dress better than Richard Spencer, the “dapper” white supremacist, and Arthur Fleck made the cut. As did Fred Rogers, Oscar the Grouch, Aquaman’s dad, and Baker Mayfield in Casey Affleck in Gone Baby Gone cosplay.

Look, I can forgive y’all for your efforts to convince me that certain evil white people are intelligent. Brilliant, even. Steve Bannon, for instance, got outmaneuvered and shitcanned by a motherfucker so dense he tried to stare at an eclipse, but a belief in the intellect of men like him is necessary for the gears of white supremacy to keep grinding. And this makes sense! I want to protect my investments, too! I spend all my money on sneakers—too much money on sneakers—which is why I buy fancy plastic sneaker condos from the Container Store!

But this dapper shit is taking it too far. It’s not just an insult to my intelligence and my eyes, but my closet! MY CLOSET, FAM! Which is why I’ll never forgive America for telling me that this man who always looks and dresses like he was born “recently-divorced” is somehow well-dressed. Y’all were so impressed with and seduced by this Nazi knowing how to knot a tie that you didn’t care that those ties were from CVS. He dresses like he’s prepping for cremation. He dresses like an LSAT proctor. He dresses like a cop in a movie about singing walruses. He dresses like he was market-tested for herbishness. He dresses like he smells like rice. He dresses like he’s about to approach me in the mall to convince me to try alternative methods of energy conservation. He dresses like how (I assume) sloths fuck.

If you happen to be a person who also happens to dress this way, that’s fine! Clothes don’t make the man! I have no issue with what you choose to place on your body when you leave your place of residence! The bone I’m picking here is how even the most average, the most unspectacular, the most rote-ass whiteness—white maleness, specifically—is often considered special. Laudable. Aspirational. This is how this Mein Kampf-goes-to-Marshalls-ass motherfucker gets branded swank. How a racist and misogynist and alleged abuser in need of an empathetic tailor gets national magazine profiles instead. This is how Joker becomes ... ok, ok, ok. I said I was done writing about that movie and I’ll keep my word.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)