Bari Weiss occasionally has some cringeworthy takes - but it's great that her coverage of the 'intellectual dark web' in the New York Times has helped to give the label to the phenomenon of very-online pundits that are continually sharing a brand of contrarian that is popular within various social media communities that for whatever reason does not seem to be at the forefront of 'mainstream' media.
There are many reasons to like many people tagged with the 'intellectual dark web' label. Many of what could be regarded as OG within their brand of dialogue do a fine job of either staying on topic or keeping it interesting. Characters like Sam Harris, for example, can at least say they had a popular book before Twitter was a thing.
The problem overall with the 'intellectual dark web' is rampant appropriation of its own messages, eroding its own claim to be hip and cool. For veteran consumers of shitposts and edgy opinions, much of the 'intellectual dark web' looks like a very diluted vanilla version of what #GamerGate, gender contrarianism and criticism of 'social justice warriors' was.
As it is now, the 'intellectual dark web' is the Milli Vanilli of political thought. Most everything shared by IDW pundits is a variation song they played yesterday with the same old weary strawman left-leaning political student as a target. This many year repetition of a message would be fine if the world did not change. As it stands today, the typically represented enemy of the IDW - the young millennial progressive bogeyman - has very little actual political representation outside of pointless hashtags viewed only by other under/unemployed people. Despite the marginal impact of the 'crazy left', the IDW remains with both barrels pointed at some facsimile of what they believe is happening in a dorm room in Berkeley - because it brings the clicks.
Arguably the worst plagiarist within the intellectual dark web is Dave Rubin, a one-hit wonder that desires to spend the rest of his career asking the crowd to clap along to the hits. The hits are some mix of reminding people that socialism is bad (without defining the term too specifically), gender identity is related to biology (as if everyone was about to wake up trans tomorrow), and topping it off with some punchline about the 'so much for tolerant left'.
Then there is Jordan Peterson, who borrowed most of his content from the Bible. Despite hating 'postmodernism', and 'cultural marxism', and the crazy wordsmithing of progressives, Peterson is determined to rehash the Bible in a wordy and incoherent way that buries his motivations as well as the truth. Peterson has many opinions to share about men's 'failure to launch', and displays his expertise in the area by essentially acquiring so many fans in this state that his lectures can be compared to a rehab clinic. Comically, Peterson relies on the cozy patronage of Canadian academia while he blasts 'socialism', as if a purely capitalist enterprise would have nurtured decades of moralizing about his masturbatory masculine mythology.
There is a role to play for the 'intellectual dark web', however viewers must understand when actual policy is being discussed and when it is not. Our nations face really tough questions about housing, healthcare, trade policy, armed conflict, dictatorships, nuclear proliferation, the role of the press and the rule of law. While some actors within the 'intellectual dark web' are surely talking about DPRK, Putin, Syria, tax policy and the veracity of politicians, others seem committed to doing nothing but doing voodoo to an anime body pillow effigy of the liberal they hated in college.
Giving all the facts in the world to IDW jokers like Dave Rubin wouldn't make them change their point of view. They're trolling. And now one is just sitting here, wasting one's time.