So…wisely or not, I have actually spent some time over at /pol/ on 4chan. Mostly for research purposes. Until a few weeks ago, I’d never actually been there. But, as much as I may never really follow what’s popular, if you talk about something enough I’ll eventually check it out. If something proves funny enough, I’ll check it out even faster.
And, oh gods, has it been hilarious.
And, honestly, you can only spend a week popping redpills like candy before stuff happens. But this is not about me going into the wildest of wild wests on the internet. No, this is rather about something that /pol/ has been doing these last few weeks.
The Alt-Right’s Newest Ploy? Trolling With False Symbols
And honestly, you can only blame Hillary for this one. The instant she turned Pepe the frog from just another meme into a symbol of the “Alt-Right” and it’s racism…she quite literally handed the keys of the kingdom to the barbarian horde. After all, if they could turn a “Feels Good Man” frog into the next Hitler, well, what else could they do?
“Don’t feed the trolls” remains indispensable guidance for the internet, if only because trolls exist solely to get a reaction out of you. Ignore them and they lose all power. But the most fiendish trolls are evolving from weekend anglers who occasionally reel people in to Deadliest Catch-level professionals using bait so effective that people can’t seem to help biting.
It has become seriously easy to bait people these days. But this is no mere bait game, this is culture war, and bait is just how you get people to come to you.
And really, progressives have no one to blame but themselves. They created a world where feelings mattered more than facts. And as soon as people have their emotions on the line, it’s seriously easy to mess with them.
These master baiters represent the so-called alt-right, the meme-fluent arm of American white nationalism. Even as their memes morph into militaristic propaganda, this loosely organized troll army inhabiting extremist corners of social media, 4chan, and Reddit has adopted a new tactic: claiming mundane objects like milk, the peace symbol, and the LGBTQ flag as symbols of white supremacy. Every reappropriation provides another reminder that a troll’s greatest strength lies in weaponizing your anger.
Actually, it’s been pretty funny to watch this stuff happen. And they’re not joking about the LGBTQ flag thing:
What’s even better is that this falls inline with the Diversity that Progressives have been pushing. Not are they managing to turn the symbols to their side…they’re turning the arguments as well.
It’s something I admire, seeing as I have done the same myself in the past, as have others. Often the Folkish Asatru are accused of “appropriating” the arguments used by “1st nation” or “native american” peoples to justify their ethnic rights to exist. And few things have made progressive Pagans more furious than the Folkish doing that, and the Progressives utter failure to refute their own arguments.
This goes beyond sowing irritation and confusion among “normies” and “snowflakes.” The alt-right is attempting to normalize itself and its ideas. If anybody who drinks milk might be a Nazi, the idea of someone being a Nazi starts looking more pedestrian.
When everyone is a Nazi, no one is.
And really, why not? The slur of Nazi has been so overused as to have become meaningless already except to a few hard core leftists. Hel, while the whole “Pepe is a Nazi” thing might have been bought into by most people unfamiliar with it, the instant Hillary called a bunch of people “Deplorable” a lot of folks got to wake up. After all, she didn’t really qualify which of the “half” was the deplorable and why, which left it open for anyone to be called that. And the media jumped on it and didn’t even keep to the “half” mark. They went full deplorable.
And thanks to anti-fa, when a flaming homosexual Jew who loves BBC can be a Nazi, well…
Fighting Osteoporosis and Progress
Conspiracy theorists always see secret symbols and gestures. President Obama and Women’s March organizer Linda Sarsour regularly make the one-finger ISIS salute. Beyoncé’s hand gestures announce her membership in the Illuminati. But the alt-right turned this upside down, then inside out: Rather than accuse other people of secretly communicating an evil agenda, seed the idea that you’re doing it.
It looks like this started in February, when users on 4chan, using an image lifted from a 2013 Nature article about lactose intolerance, seized on the idea that Northern Europeans adults have no trouble with lactose. From there, it was but a short hop to some racist poetry and the idea of making milk a symbol for whiteness. A couple of weeks later, neo-Nazis drank milk while trolling Shia LaBeouf’s anti-Trump performance art piece, He Will Not Divide Us. The media took it from there.
Seriously, sometimes it just seems too easy.
Just go out, find something white, and suddenly you can make it racist. Why? Because there has been such a massive push to make anything “white” out to be racist, that the association is fucking easy. Hel, when Nivea did their whole “White is Purity” campain, it was a question of who was going to jump on it first. The progressives calling it RACIST, of the trolls congratulating Nivea for “stating the truth.”
They repeated this cycle—make a joke, perform the joke in real life, watch the media report on the joke as a real menace—with the OK sign. A number of media sites recently claimed that the alt-right adopted it as a symbol of white power, and that ultra-conservative commentators like Mike Cernovich use it as a dogwhistle. None of that is true. Cernovich was indeed using it, but only to rile up people convinced that he and others on the far right use it to convey white supremacy. All of this, in the eyes of the trolls, makes the mainstream media look like buffoons.
That’s right, every time you make an “ok” sign, you’re making a “W” and a “P” which of course means “White Power.” In fact, the belief in “white power” is so pervasive that even non-white people go around declaring their support for “white power.”
I wonder if they’ll mention the “two genders” one?
But as those false symbols add up, it gives people downstream of 4chan, like Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson—a prominent member of the alt-right’s relatively mild-mannered sibling the “alt-lite”—a seemingly inexhaustible stockpile of ammunition.
They don’t call it a culture war for nuthin.
This is a trolling quadruple-lutz. The OK sign and milk, you get. The eye contact is a bit more esoteric. It refers to the decision by Oxford University deeming avoiding eye contact a racist microaggression. And the sushi speaks to the notion that social media snapshots of non-Western foods fetishize other cultures. Taken together, it’s all one big signal boost for alt-righties. “It affirms the narrative in their heads, and allows them to march forward with a greater sense of self-aggrandizement,” says Whitney Phillips, author of This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship Between Online Trolling and Internet Culture. Again and again, the mainstream media—which the alt-right deems a liberal apparatus—unwittingly amplifies a message designed to make it look foolish.
It really is a perfect storm of fuckery.
Media pushes that something is “racist.” This thing, being probably not racist at all, is enjoyed by a bunch of people. Suddenly, these people are “racist” for enjoying something. After having been abused constantly for being “Racists” while personally not feeling any racism at all, they decide that if you’re going to be labeled as something, there is no harm in embracing it. So they blast out their love of “racist” things. The media, shocked to find so many racists everywhere, plasters them all over in an attempt to “Shame the racist into changing their ways.” Failing to realize that they shamed people into becoming “Racists” so the shame is really not going to have an affect other than to power up that “racism.” And more people, realizing that they’re “racist” for enjoying something, decide “well, I like this well enough that I don’t care what people call me.” And the cycle continues on.
Yet, it seems only natural that people would take the alt-right at its word. This loosely defined movement is notoriously ironic, with few outside sources capable of discerning irony from sincerity, and enough slang and inside jokes to make you think they speak another language. So 4chan continues engineering new versions of symbol pollution with attempts to reappropriate the peace symbol and Facebook’s “like” icon:
Now, the 1488 thing is pretty funny, but the one I’m more interested in is the “2 Genders,” one. Because how this came about is interesting, at least the part I know of.
See, Bill Nye recently got a new show on Netflix. And one of the episodes was about Sex and Gender. Two things of note were in that episode. One was a horrible song about someone’s “sex junk” which included something about “give hand jobs to strangers, something like five a day.” I can’t confirm it, because I barely made it 14 seconds into the video before my cringe meter maxed out and I had to close it.
The other part of that video was a skit involving different flavors of Ice cream. These were suppose to represent a “Spectrum of flavors” when it came to genders, though the example would have worked a lot better if they were talking about race than gender/sexual orientation. Again, haven’t watched the full thing, but essentially what happens is the Vanilla cone insists that vanilla is the only way one should be, and while the other flavors “can’t change who they are, they should try to live as if they were vanilla.” Again, it would have worked better with race, but intelligence is apparently not part of this show. Ultimately, though, the skit ends with the other flavors…gang raping the vanilla cone, who then “Sees the light” and no longer insists that anyone should be vanilla, but that the “Spectrum is fine.”
Apparently ignoring the fact that vanilla no longer exists as vanilla and so…that orientation/gender doesn’t exist any more. Like I said, the whole thing might have worked if one was talking about race (though, again, apparent rape induced genocide), but whatever.
So, what does this lead to? Well, being one more example of the 36,000 genders that seem to be doing their best to eradicate 2 of the genders via propaganda and “you’re evil sexists for being what you are” it kinda pissed a lot of people off. After all, the supposed solution of the skit in regards to “gender bigotry” was “rape them till they’re like you.”
Some anon came up with a great response:
Because you can only vilify people based on who they are for so long before they start to push back. And given that 98% of the world is cis-gendered heterosexuals, well. You can’t tell them “we believe in raping you till you’re bi/gay/trans” and not expect some of them to get mad, or at least torment you back.
The alt-right’s 14/88 riff on the “like” requires an understanding of two common white supremacist callsigns. The numeral 14 refers to a white supremacist rallying cry known as the 14 words, while 88 is code for Heil Hitler because H is the eighth letter in the alphabet. The alt-right applies similar thinking to other symbols of progressive resistance and LGBTQ pride:
Ironic how so many Progressive ideas turn Fascist when they’re combined. Diversity is our Strength, Be proud of who you are, respect the boundaries between cultures, recognize the validity of genders, etc.
What’s at Stake Here
The real threat is not the annoyance, but the risk of seeing innocuous, even positive symbols so thoroughly coopted that they create confusion, or even die. That’s exactly what happened last weekend when cartoonist Matt Furie killed off Pepe the Frog, the cartoon character he saw the alt-right adopt as an unofficial mascot.
Yep, that’s right. The creator of “Pepe” killed off his own character because Hillary Clinton declared it a symbol of the “Fascists” and the “Alt-Right.”
Now, it’s doubtful as to if this will even affect Pepe the meme, because, well…it had been so long since Pepe had any real connection to his origins that most people don’t even know where he comes from. He is merely the prophet of Kek, memes be upon him.
Ultimately, Furie’s actions came across as a child with a tantrum, trying to destroy the toy he no longer has control over.
Things haven’t reached the point where anyone equates dairy products with intolerance. “As popular as the Pepe meme was prior to being coopted by white supremacists, it was not as well known as a carton of milk or the OK hand sign,” says Oren Segal, director of the Center on Extremism for the Anti-Defamation League, which designated the cartoon frog as a hate symbol last year. “Safe to say people’s first encounter with milk is not going to be in a hateful context. Mere coverage of a these hoax hate symbols will not necessarily make them real.”
Ah, yes, our old friends the ADL. You know, those guys who go around labeling everything from cartoon frogs to full religions as “hate symbols” and “hate speech.”
Remember, the only reason Pepe was listed as a Hate Symbol was because of Hillary Clinton, the ADL who instantly jumped on the bandwagon, and other organizations like the ADL. And I do mean instantly. Within 24 hours of Hillary declaring a cartoon frog a “hate symbol” it was listed on the ADL website. Clearly, no research was done, no time to even question it was given. Pepe was a racist, and that was that.
But even sham symbols can bring real results by stoking paranoia. And the media’s participation in this cycle erodes its credibility: If the alt-right can bamboozle reporters into declaring the OK sign a symbol of white supremacy, its reporting on other topics—and other gestures, like that ISIS one-finger salute—starts to look suspect. Already he conspiracy-minded are making that leap. It’s not much better if you take duped journalists at their word, either, because the internet they see is an ideological minefield where Instagramming your breakfast cereal could be tantamount to having 1488 tattooed across your knuckles. Either way, the alt-right wins—unless the internet starves the trolls trying to feed it.
It is the ultimate Catch-22.
If the media reports on a symbol as a “hate symbol” when it isn’t, then they are attacking innocent people and driving them to become racists. And the symbol becomes racist.
If the media fails to report on a “hate symbol,” then it has the power to actually be used as a symbol for “hate” that can then be used to draw people in because they don’t realize what it is. And then they become “racists” or “Fascists” or what have you.
You make your enemy if you notice him, and you make your enemy if you ignore him.
Euphonia from the River said:
Well calling that racist is ableist because autistic people have trouble looking you in the eye.