The right wing has a long and storied history of Big Divorced Guys. It’s a tradition that spans different sectors of the conservative world. Cable news guys like Sean Hannity? Divorced. NYT Op-ed dorks like Bret Stephens and David Brooks? Divorced (from Pamela Paul!) and divorced (so he could marry his research assistant!) Donald Trump Jr.? Divorced! Donald Trump himself? Divorced, divorced, and… ok, Melania is still with him. For now. If we’re being honest, right-wing guys probably get divorced at about the same rate as liberals. Who knows. Marriage can be hard (not for me though). But what the right wing does best is Big Divorced Guy Energy.
BDGE, as I would define it, is a sort of extremely defiant and palpably fragile masculinity, that can manifest in people across political lines. It’s closely related to the “midlife crisis” stereotype: buying new cars or a motorcycle, getting really into a new hobby that boosts your self-esteem, but carries an edge that makes it all just that much more pitiful. Studio apartment with all-leather furniture? Divorced guy energy. Brand new membership at a Crossfit gym? BDGE. Trying to reinvigorate the dudes-only poker night with an air of desperation that makes your boys think they should check up on you? BDGE. The Criterion Collection? BDGE. Downloading that app that allows you to track and rate all of the craft brews you buy? Sorry to many of my friends, but that’s BDGE.
But the key signifier of BDGE is a resurgence of vehement opinions about “gender” or “the two sexes”—a significant uptick in any behavior that could essentially be boiled down to the classic “women, huh” elbow nudge gesture that even the most woke non-women among us deploy on occasion (if my wife is reading this I am the exception, I have never done this.)
If you need any more concrete examples of this, I would point you to basically any right-wing YouTuber. In particular, one named Steven Crowder, who today revealed that he is, in fact, getting a divorce.
Don’t know who Steven Crowder is? Good for you. Here’s the point where you can abandon the blog and go on blissfully unaware, or keep reading and hear about a guy who will make you say “Of COURSE he’s divorced.” If you’re still with me, Steven Crowder is a right-wing YouTuber who participates in some of the most noxious muck-slinging around and is coincidentally a gigantic coward and dumbass. Crowder’s particular brand of YouTube conservatism is the standard “family values common sense no PC crap debate me punk” kind of horseshit that you can find on basically any other channel that’s raking in cash off the culture war; that his wife is leaving him isn’t particularly noteworthy except for the fact that a) it’s extremely funny, b) he’s extremely mad, and c) there might be an actual nod to a deeply fucked up conservative social policy lodged in there as well.
The whole thing is at the beginning of this very long YouTube video (you can also check out this Twitter link, which I would embed except that I can’t thanks to another right-wing culture war happening between the right-wing owners of Substack and the right-wing owner of Twitter):
The long and short of it is that Crowder has been in divorce proceedings since 2021, and he is VERY mad at fellow far-right YouTuber Candace Owens for hinting that he was getting a divorce in a diss video she recorded in response to Crowder calling a contract for Ben Shapiro’s company The Daily Wire (where Owens works) a “slave contract.” Really stellar material all around. But Crowder’s response to this… whatever it is—public divorce reveal?—is what’s telling. First, he repeatedly says that his children are blameless, which is a very funny and insane thing to say considering that his children are 18 months old. How could it be the kid’s fault?! They are infants!
But Crowder’s other point, that the divorce is not his choice and “is horrible,” is the one that’s more relevant. Crowder says that despite his belief that kids need a mom and a dad, “In today’s legal system my beliefs don’t matter. In Texas divorce is permitted when one party wants it, period.” This is, typically, how divorce works in most liberal societies. If you are married to someone and then no longer want to be married to them, you can get a divorce. This is a very important thing because if you cannot do that you are effectively signing over a portion of your individual liberty when you get married, which is something the “individual liberties” crowd would likely be against. Except—they’re not. Divorce is just another example of the morass of hypocrisies that freedom-loving conservatives subscribe to because, for years, they’ve been crusading to end something called “no-fault” divorce, which generally means that either party in a marriage can leave it without having to prove some wrongdoing by the other party (which is, according to Crowder, the situation here.)
You will not be surprised which state is leading the way on this.
And already, the Texas Republican Party—the same people currently suing the Biden administration for the right to let pregnant people die—includes a proposal “to rescind unilateral no-fault divorce laws and support covenant marriage and to pass legislation extending the period of time in which a divorce may occur to six months after the date of filing for divorce” in its 2022 party platform.
We are, of course, free to speculate on the status of Crowder’s divorce—has it been finalized yet? Has his wife left him fully? Is he, perhaps, holding out for Texas law to legally prevent his wife from leaving him? Who can say (maybe Candace Owens)? In the meantime, however, Crowder can add one more right-wing bonafide to his cap: Divorced Guy Energy, something which, as the clip above should show you, he already has in spades.
Sorry Jack, but not including Rod Dreher in the list of weird right wing divorced guys is journalistic malpractice.
Not the point of this article, but have two smug, self-satisfied, insufferable numpties ever deserved each other more than Bret Stephens and Pamela Paul? They should be nailed into a barrel together and rolled down a hill! They should be walled up into the same corner of a wine cellar! They should be forced to read one another's writing!