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'Alt-Right' Trolls Weaponized Irony to Spread Fascism

By jazz_music following x   2018 Feb 9, 12:30pm 11,292 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

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76   anonymous   ignore (null)   2018 Feb 12, 8:33am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (2)   quote   flag        

errc says
You can’t support Trump without supporting the Republicans.


Why not, Trump isn't a republican.

errc says
Liberals ruined everything
Obama is a seditious traitor!
Hillary Clinton is a criminal the likes of which this world has ever seem. She’s literally more criminally insane and has harmed society more than Jon Corzine and Charles Kushner combined.


That part is true.

errc says
Heritage Foundation wrote the Affordable Care Act that we now know as ObamaCare.


and it was just the Democrats that voted for it, go figure.

errc says
and $30 a week less in federal withholding taxes on your paycheck lol.


The average individual income in the US is like $600 a week. What percentage of that income is that $30 increase weekly?

errc says
The Federal Debt is getting abused like a cum sock and nary a peep,


Where was the "peeps" when Obama added $10 TRILLION to the debt in 8 years?

errc says
Capitalism is the only way,


True

errc says
and like any Capitalist knows, it’s the government job to dictate


No, that would be Socialism, aka, Bernie-ism.

errc says
Hillary squeeking past Bernie thanks to the media and the mega-corprate-donors


Isn't the liberal media wonderful!
77   anonymous   ignore (null)   2018 Feb 12, 8:41am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

anon_def08 says
Why not, Trump isn't a republican.


Of course he is. He ran under the Republican party ticket. He's a Republican.
78   mell   ignore (2)   2018 Feb 12, 8:51am   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (2)   quote   flag        

You have to separate your emotions from logic and look who is actually breaking the law here. Trump may be a brash blowhard at times but the law was broken by top Dems in multiple ways showing they are the real dictators with no respect for the rule of law. Kekekek!
79   anonymous   ignore (null)   2018 Feb 12, 8:52am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (2)   quote   flag        

mell says
You have to separate your emotions from logic and look who is actually breaking the law here. Trump may be a brash blowhard at times but the law was broken by top Dems in multiple ways showing they are the real dictators with no respect for the rule of law. Kekekek!


Details? Which Dems? Which laws?
80   FortWayne   ignore (2)   2018 Feb 12, 8:54am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (2)   quote   flag        

Independent run under Republican because it’s open primaries and very democratic.

Dem party is a sham with superdelegates.

anon_8f378 says
anon_def08 says
Why not, Trump isn't a republican.


Of course he is. He ran under the Republican party ticket. He's a Republican.
81   mell   ignore (2)   2018 Feb 12, 8:55am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (2)   quote   flag        

anon_8f378 says
mell says
You have to separate your emotions from logic and look who is actually breaking the law here. Trump may be a brash blowhard at times but the law was broken by top Dems in multiple ways showing they are the real dictators with no respect for the rule of law. Kekekek!


Details? Which Dems? Which laws?


Fisa memo was clear. Easily similar level as Watergate.
84   anonymous   ignore (null)   2018 Feb 12, 8:59am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

mell says
anon_8f378 says
mell says
You have to separate your emotions from logic and look who is actually breaking the law here. Trump may be a brash blowhard at times but the law was broken by top Dems in multiple ways showing they are the real dictators with no respect for the rule of law. Kekekek!


Details? Which Dems? Which laws?


Fisa memo was clear. Easily similar level as Watergate.


What is the timeline of the Republican controlled government to do their job and bring these seditious Democrats to justice?
86   anonymous   ignore (null)   2018 Feb 12, 9:01am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

mell says
Fisa memo was clear. Easily similar level as Watergate.


FISA memo was partisan nonsense. Which laws were broken?
87   anonymous   ignore (null)   2018 Feb 12, 9:01am   ↑ like (3)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

FortWayne says
Independent run under Republican because it’s open primaries and very democratic.


lol. OK. What has Trump done that is not Republican business as usual?

Tax break for the wealthy? check
Deregulation? check
Promote business interests over labor? check
Increase military spending? check
Reduce domestic spending? (going to be) check
88   mell   ignore (2)   2018 Feb 12, 9:02am   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

errc says
mell says
anon_8f378 says
mell says
You have to separate your emotions from logic and look who is actually breaking the law here. Trump may be a brash blowhard at times but the law was broken by top Dems in multiple ways showing they are the real dictators with no respect for the rule of law. Kekekek!


Details? Which Dems? Which laws?


Fisa memo was clear. Easily similar level as Watergate.


What is the timeline of the Republican controlled government to do their job and bring these seditious Democrats to justice?


Not holding my breath since it's still two wings of the same bird. They do not like to go after each other.

#corruption
89   anonymous   ignore (null)   2018 Feb 12, 9:02am   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

mell says
Tenpoundbass says


Great one.


Segregation wasn’t racist!

Democrats are Ray cyst!!
92   HeadSet   ignore (1)   2018 Feb 12, 2:20pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

Segregation wasn’t racist!

Democrats are Ray cyst!!


You do realize the segregationists were Democrats?
93   Strategist   ignore (3)   2018 Feb 12, 4:19pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

Tenpoundbass says


Bleeding heart liberals: Making little terrorists dreams come true.
94   FortWayne   ignore (2)   2018 Feb 12, 5:56pm   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (3)   quote   flag        

He lowered taxes for everyone, created jobs, lowered spending. Man is downright American.

anon_8f378 says
FortWayne says
Independent run under Republican because it’s open primaries and very democratic.


lol. OK. What has Trump done that is not Republican business as usual?

Tax break for the wealthy? check
Deregulation? check
Promote business interests over labor? check
Increase military spending? check
Reduce domestic spending? (going to be) check
95   CBOEtrader   ignore (2)   2018 Feb 12, 6:05pm   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

errc says
Segregation wasn’t racist!

Democrats are Ray cyst!!


Democrats are the ones arguing for segregation and systemic racism. The DNC are the Nazi's of today
96   jazz_music   ignore (6)   2018 Feb 12, 6:23pm   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

What was the subject?

A tantrum over the OP?
97   TwoScoopsOfSpaceForce   ignore (4)   2018 Feb 12, 7:11pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

TwoScoopsPlissken says


By the way, this guy is in an open relationship.

Any takers on who is getting more action on the "open" side?

Hahahahahahahaha
98   MrMagic   ignore (11)   2018 Feb 12, 7:20pm   ↑ like (4)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

Tenpoundbass says


Where does a little punk like that get the cash for that nice of a play toy?

He must have a great allowance?
99   anonymous   ignore (null)   2018 Feb 12, 7:23pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

anon_8f378 says
anon_def08 says
Why not, Trump isn't a republican.


Of course he is. He ran under the Republican party ticket. He's a Republican.


Nope, there's only two major parties in this country, the Dems already had their "chosen one", his only option was to run on the Repub ticket.
100   TwoScoopsOfSpaceForce   ignore (4)   2018 Feb 12, 7:24pm   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

Sniper says
Where does a little punk like that get the cash for that nice of a play toy?


The PA spends $350M per year on handouts to families of terrorists. Almost all of that is foreign aid and money from the Cesspit that is the UN.
101   Strategist   ignore (3)   2018 Feb 12, 7:28pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

jazz_music says
What was the subject?

A tantrum over the OP?


Subject: We are under occupation and enslaved by Capitalists, Oligarchs, armed forces, and law enforcement. We must revolt now.

Sorry Jazz, too many people here are on the other side.
102   MrMagic   ignore (11)   2018 Feb 12, 7:36pm   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

TwoScoopsPlissken says
Sniper says
Where does a little punk like that get the cash for that nice of a play toy?


The PA spends $350M per year on handouts to families of terrorists. Almost all of that is foreign aid and money from the Cesspit that is the UN.


Nice, how do I get me some of that for a new play toy?
103   jazz_music   ignore (6)   2018 Feb 13, 1:05am   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (2)   quote   flag        

Strategist says
jazz_music says
What was the subject?

A tantrum over the OP?


Subject: We are under occupation and enslaved by Capitalists, Oligarchs, armed forces, and law enforcement. We must revolt now.

Sorry Jazz, too many people here are on the other side.

Dear badge guy, not too many people are on the other side. You may be revolting, and you may be sorry, but most of us are interested in good changes for good reasons, now instead of exploring that, the thread is bombed with racist and divisive emotional hysteria by a very few disruptive persons.

In fact, your comment is disingenuous insincere and deliberately inaccurate. If I put you back on ignore along with those I referred, you will not be able to see or comment right?
105   Onvacation   ignore (4)   2018 Feb 13, 7:22am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

Sniper says


Nice, how do I get me some of that for a new play toy?

What kind of gun is that?
Looks like it has a muzzle break off a 50 cal but the magazine is too small. I think it might be a plastic toy. Any experts out there?
107   TwoScoopsOfSpaceForce   ignore (4)   2018 Feb 13, 8:27am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (2)   quote   flag        

Tenpoundbass says

B-b-but, it's a fact that RT had a free Tumblr site promoting Black Lives Matter/Police Brutality stuff with Pokemon. Certainly all the Middle Aged White Male MAGA hat wearers supported Trump because of that.
108   MrMagic   ignore (11)   2018 Feb 13, 8:42am   ↑ like (5)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

I love the Hillary, "I'm with her" logo on the burka.
109   Tenpoundbass   ignore (11)   2018 Feb 13, 8:57am   ↑ like (3)   ↓ dislike (3)   quote   flag        

jazz_music says
What was the subject?

A tantrum over the OP?


I think the subject was Trump supporters got great at conveying their message with Memes and Commentary.

Just think of me as your illustrator to your point.
110   jazz_music   ignore (6)   2018 Feb 13, 10:37am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

Tenpoundbass says
Just think of me as your illustrator to your point.

TROLL CULTURE IS THE WAY FASCISM HIDES IN PLAIN SIGHT. The results go far beyond divisive. My subject goes way beyond calling names too.

EVEN the Daily Stormer credited “troll culture” with bringing about “non-ironic Nazism masquerading as ironic Nazism”

Repetition of far-right extremism contributes to a climate in which racism, misogyny, or Islamophobia is normalized.

Rejecting decency you get a nation that wants to act like a dangerous ghetto: Every time you see a viral video of somebody shouting down a Muslim in a supermarket line, what you’re seeing are the effects of an environment where it’s increasingly normal, increasingly accepted and expected to act like this, whether or not that started out as a joke.

Citing false sources, supposedly John Podesta’s leaked emails, you got the pizzagate conspiracy which had the results of somebody walking into that shop with a gun during the election. 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. the guy wasn't smart enough to see the underlying lies and he was naive enough to take action, congratulations trolls, you suckered some vulnerable guy into violence.

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 extreme right politics.

Fascism was a social taboo. The word "fascism" is avoided by fascists, humorous lies and irony is one of the ways that they can put forward their positions without having to back anything with ideological positions.

You’re putting forward anger, a sense of betrayal, the need for revenge, resentment, violence, male fantasies, trollers want a sense of gang unity.

Maybe reading this makes you feel proud as peaches? Go ahead tell us about it.
111   TwoScoopsOfSpaceForce   ignore (4)   2018 Feb 13, 10:43am   ↑ like (3)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

jazz_music says
TROLL CULTURE IS THE WAY FASCISM HIDES IN PLAIN SIGHT


hahahahahahahahhaha

TROLLING IS FASCISM!!!! YOU KNOW WHO ELSE LIKED TO TROLL THE INTERNET?

HITLER! THAT'S WHO!!!

The same people who put lobster pictures up on the Vegan Chatboards, the Nazis, they're all the same!!!


jazz_music says
EVEN the Daily Stormer credited “troll culture” with bringing about “non-ironic Nazism masquerading as ironic Nazism”


It's a great example of Assbergers not being socially able to parse sarcasm and irony. And then Left Wing Handwringers unable to parse the difference between actual Real Nazis and LARPing NEETs.

Did you see all the Polo Shirt Wearing, Child Haircut Young Guys in Virginia, it was like a gathering of Young Male Ass Burgers. Sheldon types.
112   jazz_music   ignore (6)   2018 Feb 13, 10:58am   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

TwoScoopsPlissken says
HITLER!

The rise of Trump has far more in common with the way Mussolini came into power, you should check that out.

You say that my reference to "Facism" boils down to "name calling" but that again is not at all true. Under better circumstances 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)

RESULTS: Corporations keep consolidating power into stronger, military becomes the business of our nation, debt and desperation become the lifelong lot of the most productive people, lives get shorter, more painful, and much less interesting.

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!
113   jazz_music   ignore (6)   2018 Feb 13, 11:12am   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

DAMMIT!

This country used to be wayyy cool!
114   Tenpoundbass   ignore (11)   2018 Feb 13, 11:15am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

jazz_music says
EVEN the Daily Stormer credited “troll culture” with bringing about “non-ironic Nazism masquerading as ironic Nazism”


You seem to care about the Daily stormer than I do. I would kick all of those cocksuckers in the balls if I saw them in public. And they tried to get near me like we were on the same political side. I've called them out, and told them that to their faces relentlessly along with the other Liberal plant trolls, thousands of times on Gab.ai.
I even go as far as to chastise Andrew Tobar when he relents why Trump isn't there. I told him as long as he does nothing to distance himslef from those fringe elements with dishonest alternate motives. Then he can never expect any mainstream respectable people. Perhaps after Trump after he's done battling the PC army. Which they aren't helping.

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