In the wake of the recent carnage in El Paso and Dayton, Bill Maher’s “New Rule” linked the nation’s mass shootings to a social media culture that breeds resentment and inadequacy and then weaponizes those feelings into hate and violence: “The Internet is where young white men go from lonely and sad to radicalized and lethal.”
Trying to diagnose “why America has a gun violence problem,” Maher’s monologue focused his ire on “an every-man-for-himself, winner-take-all culture that chews up and spits out people.”
“The NRA should change its slogan to ‘Guns don’t kill people. Seething loners who can’t get laid kill people,’” he said to applause. “Yes, we have too many guns, but America has an epidemic of gun violence because it has an epidemic of guys who were picked last in gym.”
He went on to blame the manufactured reality of social media for feeding anger among the country’s young, disaffected white males.
“The Internet is where young white men go from lonely and sad to radicalized and lethal,” he said. “Social media tells you everyone is having more fun, with more toys, and more friends than you. They’re always in St. Kitts, having Mai Tais at sunset, while you’re in Canoga Park selling your plasma at dusk—yolo.”
“Before Instagram, you could be a loser but wouldn’t feel it, because the winners weren’t always in your face,” he explained, before he linked that site’s FOMO narrative to the seething anger that can be found on another popular online forum, 8chan, where three of the most recent mass shooters posted a manifesto before their crimes. “This is how the Internet gets you coming and going: Guys watch the “haves” on Instagram, and then go over to sites like 8chan to brood with the “have-nots.”
“Being a loser used to just mean that you stayed home on Friday nights,” Maher joked. “You had a hard dick and no social skills, but it wasn’t a movement.”
Watch the video above, via HBO.
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org