The progressive left has no shortage of enemies to oppose, but like any real cult, it maintains a purity of spirit by cleansing itself of heretics.
The latest heretic to be cast from its ranks is none other than Graham Linehan, the comedy writer of the popular TV shows The IT Crowd and Father Ted, who made a name for himself on Twitter as a progressive leftist. Posting under the name @Glinner, Linehan often weighs in on social justice issues, and condemns his ideological opponents, attacking them with invective and insults. He targets people on the left just as often as he goes after conservatives.
Linehan often takes tweets out of context to present a narrative that allows him to vilify, slander and otherwise demonize people he dislikes. He often invites his 682,000 followers to participate in a dogpile—a tactic once described by leftists as “sealioning.”
Last week, the self-appointed Twitter cop took to shaming conservative journalist James Delingpole, who used a quote from the British comedy series Bad Robots out of context. Linehan may not have been aware of the quote’s origins (being an Irish comedy writer, he probably was), but what is certain was his intent to shame Delingpole as a sexual deviant who enjoys having sex with animals.
As Delingpole himself wrote, there’s nothing playful about Linehan’s tweet. Like his other remarks, the intent is solely to bully and cause pain to anyone he deems worthy of scorn. To Linehan, there are no bad tactics, only bad targets.
Linehan’s reputation as a loud-and-proud male feminist ally has made him even more worthy of criticism from his fellow social justice warriors, who are starting to call out his brand of feminism. They claim that it is anything but “intersectional.” Intersectional feminists have noted over the past few months how Linehan had been cozying up with TERFs, or “trans exclusionary radical feminists,” a sect of feminism that excludes transgender people from the progressive movement.
Writing on Medium, LGBTQ activist Alexa Ephemera revealed Linehan’s close association with personalities like Rebecca Reilly-Cooper, a political philosopher who openly disagrees with the postmodernist concept of the “gender spectrum.” Such views made her a pariah among the progressive left, who argue in gender studies classes that gender “changes from day to day.”
Like a good male feminist ally, Linehan signal-boosted Reilly-Cooper’s tweet criticizing the National Geographic special issue of the “Gender Revolution” for its erasure of women. Worse still, Linehan weighed in with his own thoughts, calling the issue a “fucking perfect example of how misogyny is internalized and now commercialized”—essentially stating that some people who are born female hate women enough to get a sex change.
In Reilly-Cooper’s defense, she only pointed out how no women were present on the cover, which also features a man. Linehan’s comments took it a step further. When his followers questioned him, Linehan offered a sarcastic response to state that his position wasn’t transphobic, despite previously stating the contrary.
In addition to his questionable remarks about transgender people, Linehan overzealously opposes the use of the term “TERF.” He calls it a slur—or an “offensive term used to silence and harass women.”
If he wasn’t such a hypocrite, it would almost be amusing to see someone who routinely harasses people act morally indignant. His indignation even caused the term to trend on Twitter late last week, attracting even more critics on the far left to condemn him for his transphobia. Feminist Current writer and Twitter’s resident TERF, Meghan Murphy, stands on Linehan’s side of the progressive spectrum and eagerly defended him against criticism.
With lines being drawn in the sand, every feminist and male feminist ally will have to pick a side in the progressive civil war. As for the rest of us, we’ll just set up picnic baskets and watch the Battle of Bull Run from the sidelines.