Between the untold amount of Fortnite streamers that secretly love Hitler and “Top 10 Drops of Sweat That Rolled Down LeBron’s Face” YouTube videos, you might encounter advertisements put out by a group called Prager University. Calling them ads is a bit of a stretch, because most of them run in the four minute range. In fact, these ads are the channel’s uncut content, stuck in front of the actual video you were trying to watch. These videos are slickly produced lectures that claim to be short, information-dense overviews of contemporary historical and political issues. As their slogan goes, “Short Videos: Big Ideas.” What’s so terrible about that, you may ask? 

In the interest of brevity, all pretense of civility is going out the window in this op-ed. To put it bluntly, Prager University is a right-wing intellectual garbage factory created to give right-wing pundits a platform. It features top-notch production values paid for by arch-conservative oil tycoons Dan and Farris Wilks, as well as a rotating group of the right wing’s finest pundits and grifters. 

Prager University, also known PragerU by those choosing between paying for rent or nine letters’ worth of ink, bears its creator’s thumbprints. The channel is the brainchild of Los Angeles talk radio host and consummate conservative culture warrior Dennis Prager. Though he self-identifies as Jewish, Prager’s politics render him essentially an evangelical Christian who doesn’t mention Jesus. Given that his own brand of conservatism skews more toward long-winded speeches about how prison reform would somehow make listening to fancy white-tie recitals of Beethoven and Mozart illegal, Prager had to find a way to move back into a conservative media market that had long since spurned his aristocratic stylings. We’re well past the era of Gila monster-looking Harvard aristocrats like William F. Buckley.

In assembling his roster of “professors,” Prager has cleverly selected his speakers from the trendy campus warrior subset of the right-wing pundit sphere. Sure, more traditional spooks like convicted felon Dinesh D’Souza and professional women-exclusionary feminist Christina Hoff Sommers make token appearances, but the real stars of the show are the new stars of the right. These people may be stuck on the hellscape that is the internet and social media for now, but yesterday’s talk radio hollerers now have direct throughlines to the President of the United States. It’s probably worth keeping track of these people. Given its smothering presence on YouTube, PragerU will likely be the infection vector for many of these blowhards into the public at large.  

If I were straw-chomping New York Times columnist Bari Weiss of “Meet the Renegades of the Intellectual Dark Web” fame, I would be fawning over myself right now after writing all of these mini biographies. All of these people are awful, and you shouldn’t watch anything they’ve ever made if you can avoid it. Please.

I recently spent a great amount of time trying to avoid a PragerU ad featuring Candace Owens in which she complains about the horrors of the “black card.” Candace is best known for being complimented in the Kanye West tweet that directly preceded the one where he said that 400 years of African slavery was a choice. Owens spends much of her time cleverly decrying the use of identity politics, all while claiming that her perspective as a Black conservative woman allows her to see the problems with the contemporary American left. The irony is completely lost on her. 

Owens’ day job is to serve as communications director for Koch-funded campus morons Turning Point USA, and her ostensible boss Charlie Kirk is another favorite PragerU lecturer. A “call anything left of Ronald Reagan ‘Venezuela’” type, Kirk is really not the sharpest tool in the shed. In his most recent book, “Campus Battlefield: How Conservatives Can WIN the Battle on Campus and Why It Matters,” he reminisces about one of his many ventures into the college breach, writing, “‘Charlie Kirk is a Jerk! Charlie Kirk is a Jerk!’ cried the students. Nice alliteration, that, but I’ve been called worse.” Yes, this man who got the thumbs up from Trump himself cannot tell the difference between alliteration and rhyming. 

I would be remiss to leave out everyone’s favorite catcalling yeshiva boy Ben Shapiro, who’s basically the Bizarro version of every single Brandeis student ever. Often starring in his own YouTube videos with titles like “Ben Shapiro DESTROYS Dumb Liberal Cuck With Facts and LOGIC,” Shapiro is a master of the garbage take, and can always be counted on to say things like “Israelis like to build. Arabs like to bomb crap and live in open sewage. This is not a difficult issue. #settlementsrock” and “Renewable energy: dumbest phrase since climate change. See the first law of thermodynamics, dumbass.” Shapiro recently starred in an election special for Fox News, so his idiocy and unhinged racism may be coming to a waiting room near you. 

Another PragerU favorite is Steven Crowder, former voice actor for “Arthur” and dubiously self-proclaimed comedian. When he’s not busy moaning about why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is basically Fidel Castro, Crowder is serving up pranks to “own the libs.” His comedic repertoire, which includes such classics as pretending to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Hispanic day laborers, screaming in newlyweds’ faces for not being virgins on their wedding night, and poorly dressing up as a woman to harass transgender activists, is about as funny as the Holodomor. 

And don’t forget about “classical liberal” Dave Rubin, host of the Rubin Report and definitely not just a mainline conservative pretending to be something else to obscure his awful opinions. Imagine the dudebro libertarian drivel and rampant misogyny of the Joe Rogan Show, minus the mixed martial arts arguments, ayahuasca and Elon Musk hitting fat blunts. That’s basically Rubin’s entire gimmick right there. 

Finally, there’s the PragerU talking head I legitimately fear might stick around for awhile, University of Toronto professor and consummate cider hater Dr. Jordan Peterson. Of all the names in this article, Peterson is the only one even remotely close to having any sort of authority on any subject whatsoever. Take his recent bestelling “12 Rules For Life,” a self-help book that combines deep insights like “clean your room, bucko” and “stand up straight with your shoulders back” with reactionary politics and a seething hatred for women.

Considering nationally syndicated snake oil salesman Dr. Mehmet Oz claimed that Peterson is “undeniably one of the greatest intellectual phenomenons of our generation,” he might stick around. Get ready for talks about how lobster hierarchies prove that human gender and racial hierarchies are good and how free speech is under attack by Michel Foucault and transgender people. When he runs for prime minister against Justin Trudeau in 2019, you’ll be ready. 

Other right-wing trolls like Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos have found themselves deprived of their rent-free platforms on Twitter and YouTube, but PragerU is still chugging along, with videos like “Who Needs Feminism?” and “Build the Wall” raking in millions of views. Although Facebook has restricted several of the outlet’s more inflammatory videos, YouTube seemingly has no qualms with PragerU’s current ad blitz and suffocating presence in viewers’ recommended videos.

Given the dubiously factual, racist, sexist and homophobic drivel that PragerU pumps out, perhaps YouTube should think twice before giving them a captive audience.