Muscle Worship

Funny ideas hitch a ride on rivulets of sweat.

Villa Tugendhat Jared Nangle

The spread of the Covid pandemic across the world by spittle and sputum can be seen, perhaps perversely, through an ironic lens. In its original use, to conspire meant misting oneself in the malodorous perspirant of collective malfeasance. But the lockdown measures instituted in response to the virus, far from mitigating the conspiratorial contagion through the physical separation of groups, unleashed it, leading, according to some watchdogs, to a wave of political reaction that doesn’t flinch from the F-word. The psychosis that causes today’s resistance-trained young men to “associate sometimes real, positive change in their lives with fascism,” as one UK study picked up by the Guardian and other liberal news outlets reports, is nurtured not in strip-mall CrossFits or in meagerly furnished urban gyms but in the virtual rec rooms of Reddit. Subreddits, evidently, are full of big-brother admonishments to not sweat the small stuff, to kee…

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