Toward a Unified Theory of Contrarian Hunting with Oliver Bateman


February 10th, 2021

1 hr 10 mins 5 secs

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About this Episode

The "contrarian" is an outsider on the edge of the inside: attached to a particular group but defiant of its pieties and orthodoxies. Contrarians often seem to be one of the most despised figures in online spaces – yet strategic contrarianism can also be a career-building strategy. Hence, accused contrarians are often accused of "grifting" and similar sins. But are they any worse than more orthodox-minded hustlers? Oliver Bateman, writer for the Ringer, Mel, Splice Today, and many other publications and co-host of What's Left? podcast, joins Outsider Theory to try to make sense of the role of this spectral figure in reinforcing ideological orthodoxies and (para)social formations online.

Preliminary Theory of the In-Group Contrarian:

Oliver Bateman, The Cooties Theory of Criticism:

Oliver Bateman, The Grifters: