In the most general sense, [Allan] Bloom got this story right—Nietzsche had conquered America, though not by the route he imagined. As Hintz’s letter indicates, Nietzsche’s philosophy had insinuated itself into the American moral imagination long before Bloom assumed it had, and had pulled into its orbit a much wider and more diverse readership than he recognized. Indeed, throughout the 20th century, the American fascination with the German philosopher worked its way along the political spectrum, and through cultural hierarchies that ostensibly divided “high” scholarly thought from “middlebrow” and “popular” culture. Just a tiny sampling of Nietzsche’s American readers points to a larger and more complicated history here: William James, William Jennings Bryan, Ruth Benedict, Thomas Mann, Hans Morgenthau, Mark Rothko, Jack Kerouac, Lionel Trilling, Huey P. Newton, Judith Butler, and Cornel West, not to mention countless Jennie Hintzes lost to history.
I think Nietzsche was the precursor of all those intellectuals on the Internet who like to talk tough.