September 19, 2023 - 10:00am

In a literary transformation as idiosyncratic as it is unexpected, Costin Alamariu, better known to the extremely online world as Bronze Age Pervert, has defied the conventional career path of a public intellectual. Initially emerging from a prestigious philosophy programme at Yale University with middling academic prospects, Alamariu ventured into the realm of anonymous online shitposting before ultimately becoming the author of what at the weekend ranked as the #33 best-selling book on Amazon, Selective Breeding and the Birth of Philosophy. 

The work, which was adapted from his dissertation, explores the relationship between philosophy, nature, and biological reality, challenging the mainstream and accepted norms. This is not a book you’d expect to grace Amazon’s bestseller list.

Alamariu graduated from Yale in 2015 with a Ph.D. in philosophy. There, his dissertation explored the concept of tyranny through the lens of Plato and Nietzsche — an academic journey that appears to have served as a playbook for his future engagement as a provocative online poster. His initial lack of prominence was leavened by occasional contributions to paleoconservative platforms like Taki’s Magazine and the publication of a somewhat convoluted yet entertaining manifesto under the BAP pseudonym. 

Bronze-Age Mindset is a jarring cocktail of classical history, political philosophy, and humorous critique directed against what Alamariu perceives as modern-day mediocrity. Written in a catchy patois, the work built a sizeable following among the extremely online, as well as some in mainstream intellectual Right circles.

However, Alamariu’s recent media exposure, including a long critical profile in The Atlantic, appears to have legitimised him, after a fashion. No longer simply an anonymous online provocateur, he stands on the precipice of mainstream acceptance. With the Overton Window seemingly adjusting in his favour, Bronze Age Pervert might be a persona he can finally relinquish. This raises questions for other anonymous or pseudonymous online figures like Raw Egg Nationalist and Peachy Keenan. Could they, like Alamariu, shed their veils of anonymity and break into broader discourse? The early commercial success of Alamariu’s latest book suggests that the time could be ripe for such a transformation.

My conversations with anonymous figures underline how arduous it is to break through the glass ceiling of online anonymity. While figures like Alamariu have succeeded, many others scrape by on meagre Patreon earnings and an unsteady ascent to recognition, even when they have large followings and considerable amounts of engagement on social media.

As we observe the windfall from this game of “based dissident” musical chairs, it seems certain that only a few will emerge victorious while others languish in obscurity. In the grand sweepstakes of ideas and identity, Alamariu has undeniably hit the jackpot — a gamble that has paid off “bigly”, to borrow from former president Donald Trump. Someone like Alamariu’s friend Zero HP Lovecraft, whose work Alamariu has promoted, will likely never reach such heights — Lovecraft’s championing of ideas such as race realism simply isn’t the sort of thing the public is ready to accept, while Alamariu’s philosophical dressing-up of beautiful, oiled-up warrior-kings with smooth, bare chests has probably arrived at the appropriate cultural moment. 

In an age teetering between anonymity and recognition, Alamariu serves as an instructive case study. His ascendancy to mainstream academic discourse from a veiled online existence underscores the evolving dynamics of intellectual engagement in the digital era. As the boundaries of traditional scholarship and online subcultures continue to blur, the question remains: what will happen to all the lesser anon content creators who got the man formerly known as Bronze Age Pervert to this point? These unfortunates, foundering in the wake of the few who broke through the glass ceiling, are likely to become what’s left of a youth movement grown old. 

Oliver Bateman is a historian and journalist based in Pittsburgh. He blogs, vlogs, and podcasts at his Substack, Oliver Bateman Does the Work