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'Alt-Right' Trolls Weaponized Irony to Spread Fascism

By jazz_music following x   2018 Feb 9, 12:30pm 8,600 views   207 comments   watch   sfw   quote     share    


This is the new ugliness.

[May 23, 2017] Earlier this month, hundreds of so-called alt-right protesters occupied the rotunda at Boston Common in the name of free speech. The protest included far-right grouplets old and new, from the Oath Keepers to the Proud Boys. But there were no swastikas or shaved heads in sight.

Instead, the protest imagery was dominated by ostensibly comedic images, mostly cribbed from forums and social media. It looked a little like an animated version of a favorite “alt-right” message board, 4chan.

At least one attendee was dressed as the cartoon frog Pepe (a character co-opted by the movement against the wishes of its creator). Others carried the flag of “Kekistan," the imaginary country created by 4chan members. Kyle Chapman, the man who became the “based stick man” meme after attacking anti-fascists armed with a gas mask and a Captain America shield, also addressed the crowd. The same crowd later confronted a counter anti-fascist protest in the street.

Until recently, it would have been hard to imagine the combination of street violence meeting internet memes. But experts say that the “alt-right” have stormed mainstream consciousness by weaponizing irony, and by using humour and ambiguity as tactics to wrong-foot their opponents.

Last week, the Data & Society Institute released a report on the online disinformation and manipulation that is increasingly shaping US politics. The report focused on the way in which far-right actors “spread white supremacist thought, Islamophobia, and misogyny through irony and knowledge of internet culture”.

One the report’s authors, Dr Alice Marwick, says that fascist tropes first merged with irony in the murkier corners of the internet before being adopted by the “alt-right” as a tool. For the new far-right movement, “IRONY HAS A STRATEGIC FUNCTION. IT ALLOWS PEOPLE TO DISCLAIM A REAL COMMITMENT TO FAR-RIGHT IDEAS WHILE STILL ESPOUSING THEM.”

Marwick says that from the early 2000s, on message boards like 4chan, calculatedly offensive language and imagery have been used to “provoke strong reactions in outsiders”. Calling all users “fags”, or creating memes using gross racial stereotypes, “serves a gate-keeping function, in that it keeps people out of these spaces, many of which are very easy to access”.

Violating the standards of political correctness and the rules of polite interactions “also functions as an act of rebellion” in spaces drenched in adolescent masculinity.

This was played up by Milo Yiannopoulos in an infamous Breitbart explainer last year, in which he insisted that the “alt-right” movement’s circulation of antisemitic imagery was really nothing more than transgressive fun.

“Are they actually bigots?” Yiannopoulos asked rhetorically. “No more than death metal devotees in the 1980s were actually satanists. For them, it’s simply a means to fluster their grandparents.”

What Yiannopoulos left out, according to Marwick, is that these spaces increasingly became attractive to sincere white supremacists. They offered them venues for recruitment, and new methods for popularising their ideas.

In other words, TROLL CULTURE BECAME A WAY FOR FASCISM TO HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT.

Marwick points to another guide to the “alt-right”, published last on Andrew Anglin’s prominent Nazi site, the Daily Stormer, which credited “troll culture” with bringing about “non-ironic Nazism masquerading as ironic Nazism”: It also allows individuals to push boundaries in public, and to back away when they meet resistance. When Richard Spencer led a fascist salute to Donald Trump at his National Policy Insitute conference in the wake of Trump’s win, he said it was done in “a spirit of irony and exuberance”.


A compounding difficulty for opponents of the “alt-right” is that online, it’s always been difficult to tell the difference between sincerity and satire.

Ryan Milner teaches Communication at the College of Charleston, and is the co-author of a new book called The Ambivalent Internet. The book ponders the implications of Poe’s law, an internet adage that points to the difficulties of online communication and of distinguishing extremist views from parodies.

“Unless you have an obvious marker of another person’s intent, you can’t really gauge their intent. They could be messing around. They could be deadly serious. They could be a mix of both,” Milner says.

But ironic, playful content can have effects in real life. Milner offers the example of Edgar Welch, who turned up at Comet Ping Pong Pizza in Washington DC with a gun after imbibing too deeply of the so-called Pizzagate conspiracy theory. The theory was ginned up by forum trolls and amplified by fringe rightwing media. It asserted, on the basis of some of John Podesta’s leaked emails, that the restaurant was the hub of an elite pedophile ring.

Last December, Welch drove to Washington from North Carolina with three firearms. When he arrived, he texted a friend: “Raiding a pedo ring, possible sacrificing the lives of a few for the lives of many.” He fired shots inside the restaurant, but fortunately was arrested without harming anyone.

“A lot of the people propagating the Pizzagate conspiracy were doing it winkingly. But in the moment that somebody walked into that shop with a gun, then that playful buzzing participation around that conspiracy turned into real consequences,” Milner says.

More generally, every “ironic” repetition of far-right ideals contributes to a climate in which racism, misogyny, or Islamophobia is normalised.

“Every time you see a viral video of somebody shouting down a person of Muslim descent in a supermarket line, what you’re seeing are the effects of an environment where it’s increasingly normal, increasingly accepted and expected to speak in this register, whether or not that started out as a joke,” Milner says.

Author Alexander Reid Ross agrees that irony has been deployed by the far right in chipping away at whatever prohibitions have existed around publicly adopting far-right politics. His book, Against the Fascist Creep, published late last year, explores the long history of fascists attempting to mainstream their ideas, or even sell them to the left.

“Fascism is more or less a social taboo. It’s unacceptable in modern society,” Ross says. “Humour or irony is one of the ways that they can put forward their affective positions without having to fall back on any affirmative ideological positions.”

He adds: “They’re putting forward the anger, the sense of betrayal, the need for revenge, the resentment, the violence. They’re putting forward the male fantasies, the desire for a national community and a sense of unity and a rejection of Muslims. They’re doing all of that, but they’re not stating it.”

The best response is to stubbornly take the “alt-right” at their word. Angela Nagle’s book about the “alt-right”, Kill All Normies, will be released next month. She says that for the “alt-right”, online irony “is a mechanism for undermining the confidence of their critics”.

“The thing that people have to realize is that it isn’t that complicated. We know what they believe in, and if you say that you’re ‘alt-right’, presumably you believe in those things too.”

Rather than getting lost in the weeds of a fast-moving internet culture, we should be bearing down hard on those core beliefs.

“Journalists should be saying, ‘I don’t want to talk about Pepe memes and hand signs. Tell me what are the limits of what you’re prepared to do’. We should force them to talk about what they really stand for,” Nagle says.

In future, the best step may be to meet irony with sincerity.

https://twitter.com/JackSmithIV/status/863413631261736960
https://twitter.com/andrewmcgill/status/800823669500936192
https://www.alternet.org/right-wing/alt-right-covert-fascism

« First    « Previous    Comments 168 - 207 of 207    Last »

168   jazz_music   ignore (4)   2018 Feb 14, 5:14pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

That's what you'd say if you only use search engines to find more memes to pollute the internet
169   Strategist   ignore (1)   2018 Feb 14, 5:19pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

TwoScoopsPlissken says
Strategist says
They did not target women and children like the fucking cowardly Islamic suicide bombers.


Big difference between training dogs saddled with explosives to run under Panzers staffed by soldiers on a battlefield, and suicide bombing a concert of teen girls or running over pedestrians.


Foolish Muslim apologists who hate America don't see that. Their hate for the world's greatest country clouds their thinking.
170   anonymous   ignore (null)   2018 Feb 14, 6:20pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

anon_313db says
engineer alterations to human genome to eliminate susceptibility to propaganda.

In the meantime we get a society led off to the slaughter, financial conquest, mass incarceration of non-investors.
172   Tenpoundbass   ignore (11)   2018 Feb 14, 6:26pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Thomas Sowell setting those stupid ass crackers straight.

173   Strategist   ignore (1)   2018 Feb 14, 6:28pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

anon_4460e says
In the meantime we get a society led off to the slaughter, financial conquest, mass incarceration of non-investors.


174   jazz_music   ignore (4)   2018 Feb 14, 6:32pm   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

When someone hates you so bad that they will give their own life just to take yours and some others like you

... that's what you call a coward?

This seems to be so uniform in practice that it looks like propaganda FOR AN EFFECT.

Compare to those 10 BRAVE cops with their thermal scopes and night vision wearing bullet proof armor that crash into homes on no knock raids shooting and killing where there are kids to make sure no cops get hurt.

Such heroics!
175   jazz_music   ignore (4)   2018 Feb 14, 6:56pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

Strategist says
What do you call him....Santa Claus?

Call him whatever you like.

Someone call the cops please.
176   Strategist   ignore (1)   2018 Feb 14, 7:13pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

jazz_music says
When someone hates you so bad that they will give their own life just to take yours and some others like you

... that's what you call a coward?

Yes. A coward, a wacko, a fanatic, and a murderer. What do you call him....Santa Claus?

jazz_music says
Compare to those 10 BRAVE cops with their thermal scopes and night vision wearing bullet proof armor that crash into homes on no knock raids shooting and killing where there are kids to make sure no cops get hurt.

Yeah, they are brave. Risking their lives so that the rest of us can be safe from scumbag criminals.
Oh, so if there are kids around, cops should not protect themselves, and just commit suicide.

177   Strategist   ignore (1)   2018 Feb 14, 7:18pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Hey @Patrick something strange. I posted #176 before #175.
178   Patrick   ignore (0)   2018 Feb 14, 7:28pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

I can't explain it.
179   mell   ignore (2)   2018 Feb 14, 8:16pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

It goes into comment moderation likely and reposts after being approved, but now with a later sequence number.
180   Onvacation   ignore (4)   2018 Feb 15, 7:17am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

jazz_music says
"non religious suicide bombings"

Not much of that going on.
181   Onvacation   ignore (4)   2018 Feb 15, 7:20am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

jazz_music says

BUT NONE OF THAT SHIT COMES EVEN CLOSE TO THE GROSS EXTRACTION OF VALUE PERFORMED ON OUR ECONOMY OVER THE LAST 40 YEARS:

Like where the Clintons made half a billion servicing the public?
182   Onvacation   ignore (4)   2018 Feb 15, 7:22am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

jazz_music says

Islam has its mythologies for sure but basically what we are seeing a global temper tantrum against America's unbridled imperialism.

You do know that islam was trying to conquer the world BEFORE Columbus sailed the ocean blue? Don't ya?
183   anonymous   ignore (null)   2018 Feb 15, 8:16am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Strategist says
jazz_music says
PEOPLE COULD UNITE to mobilize against the oppression and successfully achieve reforms by activism, BUT OUR Facism paints OUR democracy as hopeless and divides people up into bitter civil war so that the only hope is for some glorious leader to emerge, and he has, and for a short while hold on to fanatical faith of the people until he gets power to change that hold into fear. (which is a more certain hold since the state holds the monopoly on violence)

Where is the oppression? I don't see any of it. I wish someone would oppress my rights, so that I could sue them and finally get rich.

jazz_music says
BECAUSE TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER THAN ALL THESE SICK ASSED, GREEDY ASSHOLES THAT CONTROL US!

The only people who need controlling are criminals. They are the ones oppressing the r...


Coastal California mid aged white guys in 7 figures homes don’t see oppression? How is this even possible?
184   jazz_music   ignore (4)   2018 Feb 21, 2:30pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

FortWayne says
If we ban gay pride parades, liberals would literally have nothing left to be proud of.

The American revolution was the action of a Liberal mindset. That is a liberal. Is that what you mean?

In your own words what does being gay have to do with liberal politics?

Or shall we call anything liberal if don't like it?

That makes you a liberal OMG
185   Strategist   ignore (1)   2018 Feb 21, 6:59pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

errc says
Coastal California mid aged white guys in 7 figures homes don’t see oppression? How is this even possible?


Where is the oppression? Even hard core criminals have rights they should not have. We are not Saudi Arabia, or Iran, or North Korea. We are America, the United States of America.
186   TwoScoopsOfSpaceForce   ignore (4)   2018 Feb 21, 8:30pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

errc says
Coastal California mid aged white guys in 7 figures homes don’t see oppression? How is this even possible?


They see the oppressor in the face of a laid off middle aged welder from Cleveland. Not in their wonderful virtuous highly intelligent selves.
187   FortWayne   ignore (2)   2018 Feb 21, 8:39pm   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

First they want to ban guns, now they want to ban irony? Oh yeah, that's gonna work...
188   CBOEtrader   ignore (2)   2018 Feb 21, 9:39pm   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

jazz_music says

By allowing our representatives to pull free of the forces of democracy, we have ALLOWED our country to degenerate into THE country of never ending wars AND THAT DRIVES OUR STOCK MARKET, not the success of our most creative workers and professionals. This takes increasing enforcement all the time to maintain and intensifying propaganda to keep people neutralized BECAUSE TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER THAN ALL THESE SICK ASSED, GREEDY ASSHOLES THAT CONTROL US!


So this means that you watched Obama bomb brown people every day for 8 years and voted for Trump, right?
189   jazz_music   ignore (4)   2018 Feb 21, 11:04pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

After Trump is long gone, there has to be a strong electorate.

Propaganda must be defeated by a solidarity of people. There are basic needs to fight for.

Remember Trump was going to stand up to the corporations for you and stop the wars never ending?

You are going to have to do that yourself. That is the most basic, most obvious thing. If we can do that, it will be a huge reversal in trend.

BTW no one is going to inform you that the alternative is equal to slavery but with the actual word being banned, you will continue to live shorter lives, your accommodations will continue to shrink, your hours will continue to lengthen, young will continue dying in wars and being abused if they make it back with some issue.

A liberal said the above and approves it.
190   jazz_music   ignore (4)   2018 Mar 7, 7:20pm   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Onvacation says
Nobody should get rich "representing" the people.


Mitch McConnell, salary
$193,000

Net worth
$24MM

doubles every few years

https://gritpost.com/tax-reform-net-worth/

https://www.opensecrets.org/personal-finances/net-worth?cid=N00003389

Other sources available generally corroborate
191   Strategist   ignore (1)   2018 Mar 7, 9:10pm   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

jazz_music says
Onvacation says
Nobody should get rich "representing" the people.


Mitch McConnell, salary
$193,000

Net worth
$24MM

doubles every few years

Onvacation is right.

jazz_music says
Mitch McConnell, salary
$193,000

Net worth
$24MM

doubles every few years

He's already rich. If his net worth doubles, it's probably due to investments, and not by representing the people.
192   Tenpoundbass   ignore (11)   2018 Mar 9, 4:34pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that shares his Memes with me
Shall be my brother; be he Deplorable and vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
The gentlemen in the Ecuadorian Embassy now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon MAGA day.
194   jazz_music   ignore (4)   2018 Mar 10, 7:57pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

FortWayne says
now they want to ban irony?

You brought this up, and no one else.

Regulations are not bad: they are necessary to limit greed from becoming murder.

That is not communism, that is not socialism. That is decency. You can call it crazy, but it is essential to life.

Think about that in church tomorrow.
195   jazz_music   ignore (4)   2018 Mar 10, 7:59pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

CBOEtrader says
So this means that you

What is it like to be unable to converse?
196   CBOEtrader   ignore (2)   2018 Mar 10, 8:28pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

jazz_music says
Regulations are not bad


Lol. Laws are not bad. Deep analysis Jazz
197   CBOEtrader   ignore (2)   2018 Mar 10, 8:31pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

jazz_music says
CBOEtrader says
So this means that you

What is it like to be unable to converse?


You described the exact problem that the dems and repub cabal have gotten us into. Trump is the solution. He is the hero we deserve, rather than the hero we want.

CBOEtrader says
jazz_music says

By allowing our representatives to pull free of the forces of democracy, we have ALLOWED our country to degenerate into THE country of never ending wars AND THAT DRIVES OUR STOCK MARKET, not the success of our most creative workers and professionals. This takes increasing enforcement all the time to maintain and intensifying propaganda to keep people neutralized BECAUSE TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER THAN ALL THESE SICK ASSED, GREEDY ASSHOLES THAT CONTROL US!


So this means that you watched Obama bomb brown people every day for 8 years and voted for Trump, right?


The question stands. Do you support the warhawk, thieving democratic or republican establishment, or do you support Trump?
198   jazz_music   ignore (4)   2018 Mar 10, 8:52pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

CBOEtrader says
He is the hero

For doing what exactly? No one in his past would ever describe him as hero.

CBOEtrader says
Do you support the warhawk, thieving democratic or republican establishment, or do you support Trump?

False dichotomy. Why so hypothetical? Why ignore Trump's military actions so far?

Where do these accolades come from? Sinclair/Clear Channel/Fox propaganda? I know they are laying it on heavy lately. Even via the local channels too.
199   FortWayne   ignore (2)   2018 Mar 10, 9:11pm   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

jazz_music says
FortWayne says
now they want to ban irony?

You brought this up, and no one else.

Regulations are not bad: they are necessary to limit greed from becoming murder.

That is not communism, that is not socialism. That is decency. You can call it crazy, but it is essential to life.

Think about that in church tomorrow.


You mean like government greed, that wants to tax us all and tell us how to live our lives? Yeah, I don't like that too, Democrats are total communists, social engineers. I can't believe you support these crooks!
200   jazz_music   ignore (4)   2018 Mar 10, 10:21pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

FortWayne says
You mean like government greed

No, the greed to maximize return on investment is killing and will continue to kill more right up until government reigns it in by force, yes force is required.

I can't believe you can function and not be aware of this very very basic fact.

There has never been a society that decided government was unnecessary. NEVER!
201   CBOEtrader   ignore (2)   2018 Mar 11, 12:09am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

jazz_music says
Why ignore Trump's military actions so far?


Obama started how many extra wars? Obama also set a record for bombs dropped, almost all of which killed brown people. Obama= warhawk.

Trump, otoh, has started no wars. He is on the cusp of crushing ISIS and solving the NoKo problem. Trump is ending war and bringing relative peace to the world. So yes Trump = hero.

jazz_music says
greed

jazz_music says
up until government reigns it in by force


Exactly who in the government would you describe as selfless? They are all greedy as fuck. History shows that govt is the worst of all possible solutions to managing the economy and/or 'reign"ing in greed "by force". Just a terrible idea. Read a few books bro.
202   CBOEtrader   ignore (2)   2018 Mar 11, 12:11am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

FortWayne says
I can't believe you support these crooks!


CNN syas the D's are the good guys. CNN wouldnt be lying to us, right guys?
203   TwoScoopsOfSpaceForce   ignore (4)   2018 Mar 11, 8:51am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

jazz_music says
False dichotomy. Why so hypothetical? Why ignore Trump's military actions so far?


You ignored Obama's multiple regime changes and bombings all over the world for 8 years. At one point the guy was bombing like 5 countries simultaneously.

The only country Trump is bombing today is Syria,
204   FPBT   ignore (2)   2018 Mar 11, 9:03am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

TwoScoopsPlissken says
jazz_music says
False dichotomy. Why so hypothetical? Why ignore Trump's military actions so far?


You ignored Obama's multiple regime changes and bombings all over the world for 8 years. At one point the guy was bombing like 5 countries simultaneously.

The only country Trump is bombing today is Syria,


Is it really that hard to leave the word "you" out? What's with the personal comments?
205   FortWayne   ignore (2)   2018 Mar 11, 10:17am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

jazz_music says
FortWayne says
You mean like government greed

No, the greed to maximize return on investment is killing and will continue to kill more right up until government reigns it in by force, yes force is required.

I can't believe you can function and not be aware of this very very basic fact.

There has never been a society that decided government was unnecessary. NEVER!


Government addresses (what it can). I'm not opposed to having government, don't want anarchy.

But I'm against government that thinks it's job is to run our lives for us, pick winners and losers, CA style government. They overtax us, highest in the nation. They provide piss poor service for the money they get, all while government unions are milking the system for personal gain. CA government decided that if you are white you are a second rate citizen (open racism), if you live in a well off neighborhood your children need to be artificially impoverished by having resourced taken away from schools (again open racism). They've said if you are black, you can't accomplish anything on your own and need their assistance immediately. They've restricted housing throwing thousands of people into homelessness, they've promoted drugs further creating drug addiction epidemic. And all they do is spend their time telling us that we are all racist and bigots if we disagree with their stupid failed policies, and just spend all day long bashing Trump and promoting faggots and some global warming bullshit story.

This is the government I'm opposed to.
206   TwoScoopsOfSpaceForce   ignore (4)   2018 Mar 11, 10:22am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

5lbsbrowntrout says
Is it really that hard to leave the word "you" out? What's with the personal comments?


Looking at the context, I'm pretty clearly referring to the argument.
207   Strategist   ignore (1)   2018 Mar 11, 11:31am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

jazz_music says
CBOEtrader says
He is the hero

For doing what exactly? No one in his past would ever describe him as hero.

CBOE was talking in the present tense. Trump is a hero.

jazz_music says
FortWayne says
You mean like government greed

No, the greed to maximize return on investment is killing and will continue to kill more right up until government reigns it in by force, yes force is required.

I can't believe you can function and not be aware of this very very basic fact.

The greed to maximize return on investment saves lives.
Proof:
Greedy drug companies invent new life saving drugs. Dying patients take life saving drugs. Lives are saved.

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