I’ve never reviewed a book before, and I fully intend to follow my editor’s advice and be as impartial as possible. But just to make it clear from the outset, Douglas Murray’s The Madness of Crowds is an abomination. It’s a sustained invective against woke culture, an attempt to reverse all the hard work of passionate civil rights activists such as Rosa Parks, Mahatma Gandhi and Lily Allen.
It’s essentially an Alt-right handbook, and I don’t think it’s too much to suggest that every copy ought to be incinerated. Preferably in a public square or something so that we can all see what happens when fascists try to spread their wicked ideology.
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For the best part of 300 pages Murray spews his hateful bile – on white paper, no less – denouncing social justice, identity politics and intersectionality. Even the font has a certain heteronormative quality about it. He rails against “millennial snowflakes” who all “identify as attack helicopters” and how “you can’t say anything anymore” and that “you can go to prison for singing the national anthem these days”. I mean, he doesn’t actually write any of these words, but we all know that’s what he’s thinking.
The book is divided into four sections: “Gay”, “Women”, “Race” and “Trans”. These are all wonderful subjects – coincidentally, they also happen to be the names of my tropical fish – and so it is heart-breaking to see such noble ideas befouled in Murray’s grubby paws.
Needless to say, the last thing the world needs right now is yet another book by a straight white cis male. I’m told that Murray claims to be gay, but as journalist Jim Downs said of gay entrepreneur Peter Thiel after he appeared at the Republican National Convention, he “is an example of a man who has sex with other men, but not a gay man”. The idea that you can be gay and have conservative opinions is absurd. It was the same with Kanye West, who gave up being black once he’d put on that MAGA hat.
Murray seems to believe that, as a society, we have gone “through the crash barrier” (a typically male Top Gear-style analogy) and messed everything up through our supposedly divisive obsessions with race, gender and sexuality. “It is a curiosity of the age,” Murray writes, “that after the situation appears at the very least to be better than it ever was, it is presented as though it has never been worse”. What the hell would he know? As an ecosexual vegan intersectional feminist, I am surely better qualified than anyone to understand that ours is the most oppressive society on earth.
Murray’s ideas about gender and sexuality are so outdated that they are genuinely embarrassing to read. He relies on a whole range of pseudo-sciences such as “genetics”, “endocrinology” and “facts”. If he’d bothered to take even a basic course in Gender Studies he would realise that all of these superstitions have long been discredited. He completely fails to understand the fundamental point that gender is an arbitrary social construct and has absolutely nothing to do with “biology” (except in the case of trans people who have been born in the wrong body).
Let’s consider Murray’s chapter on race. Speaking as an ethnic minority – literally nothing about me is white except for my skin colour – I find it pretty vile that a white author has even been allowed to address the subject in the first place. He scoffs at the brave work of academics in the field of Whiteness Studies, such as Barbara Applebaum and Robin DiAngelo, who have repeatedly pointed out that there is nothing more racist than treating black people the same as everyone else. Murray is a perfect example of the type of privileged white man who gets all defensive when you point out what an evil scumbag he is.
His internalised homophobia is perhaps the saddest thing of all. He kink-shames gay pride marchers who choose to wear S&M gear, claiming that it is “off-putting to whatever cause they are hoping to advance”, and that “if the black civil rights movement had included a fetish section it would have been considerably easier to ignore its moral force”. On the contrary, if Martin Luther King had regularly worn PVC harnesses and nipple clamps at his public speeches, I’m sure that people would have taken him far more seriously.
The Madness of Crowds is the most offensive book to have been penned since The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, or The Enid Blyton Book of Fairies (which is probably about gays or something; I haven’t read it). I’ve already contacted the police to report Murray for hate speech, which strikes me as a perfectly legitimate approach to reviewing a book. The officer I spoke to told me that Murray is “entitled to his opinions”, which just goes to show the extent to which the fascist mentality has seeped into our law enforcement agencies.
But I shall persist. My daddy knows someone high up in the Crown Prosecution Service. With any luck, Murray will be arrested soon and we can all get back to the business of promoting tolerance.
Titania McGrath is a radical feminist slam poet and activist. She is the author of Woke: A Guide to Social Justice.
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