Has the ‘Confessional’ Zeitgeist Arrived in Political Narratives? Alex Jones ‘Hell’ Text Messages Indicate So

Deplatforming far-right figures like Alex Jones is just the tip of the iceberg. Photographs provided by Jared Holt. Graphic designed by Joanna Andreasson for Paradox.

Alex Jones, by his own admission, lives “in Hell” and “a black hole.”

“We are such a sick joke,” the Infowars host texted his father in 2020 following an arrest for a DWI.

These moments have been released in a new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which examined 22,000 private text messages sent by Jones, after his legal team in the Sandy Hook defamation case accidentally released 2.3 gigabytes of cell phone data to the opposing side. A one billion verdict later, and here we are, debating the Freudian implications of Jones asking his extramarital partner for a “sucky.”

“Jones’ life, as revealed in the texts, is overshadowed by a sense of isolation,” writes SPLC. “He appears to chat with almost no one who could be described as a friend, disentangled from his activism or Infowars work. Nearly everyone with whom he corresponds, outside of a few people in his family, connects with Jones through their relationship to Infowars, either as an employee or as another pro-Trump influencer. He sends and receives messages with more than 120 people who fit that description. Jones speaks with over 40 people who provide what could be described as personal services to him, like his personal trainer.”

Political consultants have, since Trump’s first bid for office, mainstreamed a very easy tactic of mining an opposition’s social media feeds for content showing hypocrisy, on matters of both their public policy stances, and also social behavior. How many times did political figures/ commentators recycle that one past tweet from Lindsey Graham saying, “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed…and we will deserve it,” or fuel activism campaigns off an individual’s offensive remarks from decades ago?

These were always public though, games of juxtaposition to remove or harm figureheads from managerial positions of authority. News cycles and the broader culture, which both inform and are also driven by financial markets, now journey into revelations about an individual beyond their performances set against different cultural aesthetics—into the “confession,” how one really feels about their role in society and the direction, if any, human civilization is moving toward. These intimate confessions await excavation, for understanding the movements and associations an individual finds themself drawn to, and also framing an individual. Hypocrisy exists on all levels: Analyzing it through the confession is either key to understanding how ideology is constructed, in order to make the world a better place, or another dead-end that has merely imported more of the “private person” onto the public sphere, further taking up a finite amount of real estate that could otherwise be used to help people.

Jones’ text message drop, and the confessions contained within, mirrors, from an anthropological lens, the Hunter Biden scandal. In both cases, a high-profile individual’s data falls into enemy hands, under clumsy human error, and is studied and excavated by attorneys, journalists, and political consultants, who all turn the confession into miniature cottage industries within media. Admissions to addiction also factor in with both figures, appearing between animalistic flashes of fear, paranoia, and ego. Is an individual motivated more by fear, love for others, or a desire for power, and how does any combination of their emotions constitute their worldview and ideology, and establish their role in hierarchies? An individual’s Confession, and all its resulting admissions and flashes, can be hyper-analyzed, but is there any point beyond continued spectacle when it is just as quickly replaced in the public sphere by someone else’s… coming soon for a six-figure earner near you?