Since Donald Trump floated down his golden escalator screaming about Mexican rapists, the left and right have prioritized a public pillaging of people’s histories and reputations, often with scant concern for little things like evidence, due process, truth, and reality. The left and right may not agree on any given policy, but they both have concluded that public shaming is the way to get things done.
The phrase “New Puritans” has made a few select appearances in the past 40-plus years, with its meaning and application varying. Texas senator Barbara Jordan used it while keynoting the 1976 Democratic National Convention. British trends forecaster Jim Murphy used it a decade ago to describe a shift in British young people away from hyper-consumerism and indulgence. Over at the right-wing conspiracy site Infowars, the phrase has been used to tar progressives as free-speech-hating, censorious inquisitors.
What does New Puritan mean to us? It means a person aching to brand others with a twenty-first-century scarlet letter meant to invite ridicule, hatred, and shunning. They span the ideological spectrum, these New Puritans. They might not share a common political identity, but they like to denounce. They like to punish. They slip quickly into overreaction, throttling up into hysteria. They’re intolerant. They work to incite mobs. Their angry finger-pointing can be self-interested, advancing their own agenda, building their brand. And though they’ve chosen shaming as a method, they’re often shameless themselves.
Here’s our Penthouse list of the top, most obnoxious New Puritans in America, ranked in order of power.
America’s Whiny Little Bitch-in-Chief sits in the most powerful office on the planet, yet he spends half his time crying victim because My Life on the D-List star Kathy Griffin mocked him, the “failing” New York Times exposed his tax shenanigans and multimillion-dollar handouts from his dad, and, like, five trans people wanted to serve in the military. All this from the man who coined the nicknames “Sloppy” Steve Bannon, “Crazy” Jim Acosta, “Little Rocket Man” Kim Jong Un, “Pocahontas” Elizabeth Warren, “Crooked” Hillary, “Sleepy” Joe Biden, “Fake Tears” Chuck Schumer, “Low IQ” Maxine Waters, “Low Energy” Jeb, “Horseface” Stormy Daniels, and “Dumbest Man on Television” Don “Sour” Lemon. If he didn’t remind you on a daily basis, you’d have no clue this thin-skinned bully was president.
The NFL commissioner earns over $31 million a year, fourteen times more than his players who endure lifelong injuries. You’d think Goodell would respect his meal tickets, but when Colin Kaepernick kneeled, Goodell falsely accused him of attacking the flag when the quarterback was actually protesting the oppression of black Americans. Goodell went on to paint Kaepernick as unpatriotic. But there’s a reason the First Amendment is No. 1 in the Bill of Rights before other important laws, like the right to bear arms and right to privacy: There’s nothing more patriotic than exercising your free speech.