Thunderf00t vs Sargon of Akkad: An Autopsy of the Feud
Guest Editorial by Maintenance Renegade
The feud between Sargon of Akkad and Thunderf00t, which was started by the latter, is pretty tedious in and of itself. But it’s far more interesting in it’s likely motivations. I am someone who has been closely following and generally existing within the “community” Thunderf00t is “leaving” for what’s probably over three years now. I know these people, I know their histories, I know what makes them tick and I know where a lot of the bodies are buried.
If you’re interested in following the feud, just go to either party’s channel and watch the relevant videos. At the time of this writing, Sargon has made two videos regarding the feud and Thunderf00t has made three. The feud can actually be summed up pretty quickly: Thunderf00t made a video attacking Sargon for jokes SARGON’S FRIENDS said in a livestream and edited together two bits from the stream misrepresenting Sargon to some extent, there were some other accusations he made as well that were just about as weak. Afterwards, Sargon fired back, blasting him over the misrepresentation. Thunderf00t then made another video offering some lame excuses, but doubling down in general. Then, Sargon made another video in order to rake him over the coals some more, which caused Thunderf00t to make a third video to prove, conclusively, that Sargon laughed at some dark jokes….or something.
That’s where it currently stands. While further attack videos may yet be made, I doubt there will be any more real developments because the feud has already served the purpose for which I suspect it was started. Furthermore, Sargon appears to have gotten wise and has publicly expressed disinterest in making any more videos regarding the feud.
Thunderf00t’s moral grandstanding is, in my estimation, nothing more than deliberate theater…virtue signaling with a dash of wounded ego thrown in for flavor. What follows is my personal analysis and speculations on the matter. Take them with a grain of salt, however I’ve copiously assembled the background info that led me to these conclusions here. I invite you to look and judge for yourselves.
Most men, whether they’re religious or secular, ultimately have a god. That god may come from faith or it may come from someplace else, but at the end of the day, that thing gives an individual’s life purpose. It drives them. It can be anything from an unseen supernatural being, a set of economic theories, an interpersonal relationship, a flag, a nation etc. This is something that runs much deeper than a mere motivation or want, it’s the kernel of a man’s being without which that man would not be that man. Truly nail down what a given man’s god is and he’ll cease to be a mystery to you. All gods are created by men, but not all gods are created equal. The more flawed the god the more flawed the man.
Thunderfoot’s god is a combination of his scientific career, the edifice and institution of science itself in the academic world he inhabits, and his own big smarty-pants PhD inflated ego. He’s also a very sensitive man who has lived what I would wager is a very sheltered life. Wounds to his ego frequently elicit him to take up arms on behalf of his god. Likewise, anything that threatens what he views as the edifice of science will be taken as a personal attack and existential threat to his very being. Additionally, there may be certain financial motivations to take into account.
Thunderf00t became an anti-SJW and rode the anti-SJW train through Atheism+, into GamerGate (which he had no personal stake in) and then on to opposing Black Lives Matter. He did these things because SJWs and the post-modernist degeneracy were the biggest blip on his radar in terms of what endangered his god. Something else is now the biggest blip on his radar, but I’ll get onto that later.
First, I’d like to point out the contradictions in his “departure” from the “skeptic community”.
For one, you can’t depart a community you’re not a part of and Thunderf00t hasn’t been a part of the one he claims he’s departing for at least a year now, having drifted away from it in a sulk following the Brexit referendum. Just go look at his YouTube channel and see how many livestreams or collaborations he’s been in during the last year. You’ll notice that he’s been a total hermit since then, at least in comparison to his previous behavior.
Prior to his “departure” from said community, the only two real interactions with it I saw him engaged in were one where he was getting pissy at Sargon over the Kekistani flag and another where he was promoting Mister Metokur’s TGwtG series. The rest of his tweets consisted of promoting his own YouTube channel or complaining about Trump, Republicans, Marine Le Pen, the Tories, and Brexit. However, since proclaiming his “departure,” he spent the entire following week bitching at various members of the community he claimed to be departing and trying to draw them into his feud with Sargon.
Searching Thunderf00t’s YouTube content for “Sargon,” and visa-versa, shows that prior to the current feud the last time they spoke to each other publicly was when they debated Brexit just prior to the referendum, along with an immediate post-Brexit hangout stream with Sargon and pals. That’s when their friendship clearly died, whether either of them realized it at the time or not.
This makes me wonder precisely how Thunderf00t even came upon the livestream, as it wasn’t on any of Sargon’s channels, but rather Vee’s channel. I’ve established he hasn’t publicly interacted with these people in almost a year in any significant fashion, yet apparently he found this livestream very quickly. Either some third party deliberately brought it to his attention in an (successful) attempt to drive the wedge deeper between him and Sargon, OR he’s been passive aggressively keeping tabs on Sargon and his entire clique for almost a year, waiting for some perceived moment of weakness.
I like to think it’s the latter because that would be absolutely hilarious and it fits well with the rest of the facts.
That being said, while Thunderf00t has done more to inflict himself on “muh skeptic community” since deciding to “leave” it than he has in the last ten months, he has indeed made great strides in leaving skepticism itself behind by parroting unsubstantiated legacy media conspiracy theories completely uncritically.
— thunderf00t (@thunderf00t) May 23, 2017
Secondly, if you sincerely find a community intolerably offensive and disgusting, you’re not going to immerse yourself in it for years on end, forming a tacit alliance. This is why Thunderf00t’s sudden outrage over nihilistic and cruel shitposter culture and it’s sense of humor is so laughable. Here’s a stream from 2014 where he’s hanging out with Jim and Justicar back when Jim was still operating under his Internet Aristocrat persona:
Moreover, it’s Thunderf00t, who in the first few minutes introduces Jim to Mykeru’s Law. So that means the same Thunderf00t who bawling about mean jokes on the internet confirmed himself as a Mykeru fan three years ago.
Some of you may have seen Mykeru around over the years, particularly during GamerGate, when he jumped into the fracas for reasons of his own. Of all the anti-SJWs standing in opposition to Atheism+ years before most of us had even heard the term “SJW,” he was possibly the single most effective…and definitely the most infamous. He’s a guy who ultimately fell out with the other anti-SJWs of his set for generally being too militant and deliberately cruel.
(You can find Mykeru’s latest twitter handle here.)
As for Justicar, some of you from the early GG days probably know him too. Once again, here’s a guy from the Atheism+ days with an extremely sharp tongue and not an once of mercy. A guy whose bawdy jokes about his own homosexuality gained him the approval and Twitter follow of Milo Yiannopoulos shortly before Milo was perma-banned for triggering Leslie Jones.
Oh and here’s Thunderf00t promoting one of Jim’s videos just a few weeks ago, as I mentioned earlier:
— thunderf00t (@thunderf00t) May 1, 2017
This is the company I can prove Thunderf00t was, and to some extent still is, keeping…i.e. Jim (aka Mister Metokur, aka Internet Aristocrat), Justicar and Mykeru. If you ever read this, Thunderf00t, I’m not believing your sudden outrage. You know damned well who and what you were and who you’ve still have been associating with. You’ve been in too deep for too long. I’m not buying this sudden “realization” from you now. You want me to believe that of all the people in your social network set it was Sargon who somehow crossed a line with his humor/statements and left you clutching your pearls?
As I was saying, I don’t believe Thunderf00t perceives SJWs as the biggest threat to his god anymore. Rather, the surging nationalistic populism that has made itself felt with Brexit and with Donald Trump winning the 2016 presidential election is what truly threatens him. There were a few minutes near the end of a throwaway video Thunderf00t made about his collection of expensive metals and powders that stuck in my memory because that was the moment I was able to confidently identify his god in the first place.
Thunderf00t dreams of contributing substantially to the foundation of human scientific knowledge by laying a brick or two of his own in it. That way all future scientists working in related matters will be standing atop his shoulders and thus Thunderf00t will become one with his god and achieve a form of immortality.
Nationalistic populism is a potential threat to that goal, however. Thunderf00t fears a Brexit fallout in which grant money is lost and where fluxuating currencies and rising tensions between Britain and the EU make access to foreign materials more expensive, where stronger borders make it more difficult for him to travel. Trump has shown great disdain not for science itself but for what it’s focuses were on under Obummer’s patronage and influence…and that’s enough to really rustle Thunderf00t’s jimmies.
Sargon has been a proponent of this nationalistic populism and thus he has threatened and attacked Thunderf00t’s god. Furthermore Sargon was someone he considered a friend and probably protege, and a man of lesser means from humbler origins. That adds layers of personal betrayal and a wounded ego to the emotional mix. Is that particularly rational? No. Is any human being completely rational? Hell no, not even Philip E. Mason PhD aka Thunderf00t.
As an academic, Thunderfoot is in one of the insulated little bubbles that gains a big net-benefit from the globalism that’s a downward crushing force on most other people in the West. Thunderf00t is taking losses sustained in an impersonal conflict brought on by external factors personally, an irrational but also very typical human behavior.
Thunderf00t has often bragged about his subscriber count in the past, it being one of the things he likes to beat SJWs over the head with. And while Thunderf00t still has a little over 100k more subs than Sargon, it’s clear at the two’s current rate of growth that Sargon WILL surpass him soon and will easily break one million subs before he does. Thunderf00t has been able to look at his subcount for years now and think of himself as King of Muh Skeptical Fedoras. He’s now about to lose that to Sargon.
yes….. I've lost just over 1 % of my subscribers….. I dont know how I will go on! https://t.co/gjbmkIk5lu
— thunderf00t (@thunderf00t) May 23, 2017
Given his position and his non-anonymous status, Thunderf00t does have a professional reputation and academic peer approval to consider, neither of which really benefits from his vids having hordes of Pepes, ahegao faced anime girls, and the odd Moon Man thrown into the mix. Any hit to his reputation he was taking from that was obviously a trade he was willing to accept so long as those people were in the same fight against his current enemies, but now that those anons are working just as much against his own personal and political goals as they are for them, it just makes their continued presence an intolerable nuisance.
Those associations are also liable to cost him ad-revenue, as the recent lamestream media blitz decrying the monetization of supposed “hatespeech” and the corporate YouTube ad boycott that followed has been deliberately targeting the sort of political speech Sargon has been engaged in. To Thunderf00t, YouTube revenue has been an effective means of making money which he’s then used to buy equipment and materials for his scientific work.
— thunderf00t (@thunderf00t) April 15, 2017
This is where the signaling aspect comes into play. Rather than just drift away from these associations, he wanted to sever them as publicly, as loudly, and as fervently as possible. He wants absolution for his contributions to a collective that he believes has strayed from the true path, when in fact they were always just a coalition of individuals who had different individual priorities to begin with. Sargon’s relative position and influence in that coalition makes him the most obvious figure to burn in effigy, in addition to being someone Thunderf00t has been nursing a grudge against since sometime in 2016.
From the way this has shaken out, I also think Thunderf00t hoped he’d somehow cast Sargon down and bring people into his own camp. That definitely did not happen. Browsing through the typical hangouts, it’s clear that the general reaction among the community he claimed to be leaving (but was really just trying to pull a coup of) has been one of bemused shock and discomfort. Thunderf00t made a grave miscalculation when he started the feud with an attempt at tone policing someone because that shit was never going to fly in those spaces or among those people.
For what it’s worth, muh skeptic community isn’t even a thing. The greater “community” Thunderf00t was going on about isn’t even a single community so much as it’s a bunch of different communities that sometimes overlap with each other. The atheist/skeptic sphere is one of the smaller satellites in that constellation, and despite being an atheist/skeptic, that’s never been the primary focus of Sargon’s material. So any assertions that Sargon has somehow hijacked muh skeptical atheist community is ridiculous. Sargon’s focus has consistently been cultural and political matters.
If you’re going to hate Sargon, then hate him for his actual faults or failures, like say the time he threw Harmful Opinions under the bus during the Candid Kerfuffle. This stuff with Thunderf00t is nothing more than one man’s personal and business considerations getting the better of him.