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@FapMasterFiveThousand12

Too much sympathy will get you in trouble.

The core of Penny's point is this, which I agree with: it doesn't matter what they think they're doing, they're doing damage.

1. Lost Boys

Fundamentally, my problem with shitlords is twofold:

  • They won't fucking stay in their hole.
  • Their jokes aren't fucking funny.

A punchline only really lands if you buy the setup. And by setup, I don't mean the walking into the bar part, I mean the who's walking part. I mean, there's a whole genre of so-called comedy — cringe-com3 — which is predicated on the setup of the teller of the joke being themselves the joke. Somehow the shitlords decided to try and transcend this: to make the joke corporeal, bind it into bits and bytes like a summoning, and pretend it's a thing in and of itself, pretend it's a stand-alone complex, pretend it isn't really them embodying the joke.

But they're still the joke.

And if they'd stayed in their dank caves, passing frogs and dead gorillas and comic sans shiba inus, and trying to keep the amount of CP down below whatever twisted nonzero threshold they have, that'd be fine4. But no, they swarmed out during Gamergate to launch human DDoS attacks on anyone who called them horrible names like "dead". Poor snowflakes. Their feefees got hurt. And then the election came, and someone spoke their language, got them all excited, they swarmed out again for lulz and pats on the head by the ones using them for cheap press, and then they got called horrible names like "nazi". Feefees hurt again, because they're not Actual Nazis, they just have anime nazis in their avatars.

As you could probably surmise, I don't have a shitload of sympathy for the shitlords.

2. Basilisk

The alt-right5 and the SJWs6 they oppose hold most of their predicates in common:

  • Language is a weapon
  • Language is a battlefield
  • The enemy's weapons are more powerful
  • The enemy is winning

The alt-right isn't any more about freeze peach than their leftier counterparts. They just have different triggers. They don't like to be called irrelevant, they don't like to be called nazis, they don't like to be called beta cucks, they don't like being called patsies for larger, nastier agendas, and they certainly hate being reminded that their so-called victory was in any way Pyrrhic. But reality doesn't care about their feelings.

There are slight differences in tactics: SJWs try to draw their outrage from a broader, shallower pool of occasionally-engaged actual humans; alt-righters rely more on sockpuppets and botnets, fighting more of the dirty comment wars themselves.

But frankly, the alt-right has absolutely zero moral high ground from my perch, even if I *did* believe in unfettered free speech. And for the record: I kinda don't.

I'm entirely comfortable with hate speech being codified in law, as it is here in Canuckistan (especially if it's rarely legally enforced, as it is here in Canuckistan). Most conflicts over what's acceptable are fought on a bewildering array of cultural and linguistic battlefields, and few in the legal ones. Every society polices language, every culture declares some ideas Unacceptable. This isn't news. And I'm fine with nazis and adjacent being pushed off the stage.

Social sanction — both meanings of "sanction" — is indeed a weapon, and pretending otherwise is foolish. Thus, like all weapons, it becomes a question of who it's used against, and to what end. Which, of course, boils down to the list of acceptable targets.

Nazis78 are acceptable targets. White nationalists, neoconfederates, neoreactionaries, all acceptable targets. Their ideas are noxious, poisonous, and as we've seen, contagious. "More free speech" is at most half an answer: partly because "free" somehow became entangled with "entitled to a platform" and "demanding a response", partly because — as we've seen with everything from antivaxxers to Sandy Hook truthers — rampant lies, bullshit, and madness don't seem to actually be stopped by truth, facts, reason, or even just nodding sympathetically.

Reach, in the information age, became a predicate when no one was looking. And then reach begat legitimacy, because somehow anyone with a sufficient audience9 must have something to say, right?

That didn't work out so well for Milo1011, once he hit one of the Right's tripwires. And there are, of course, many tripwires12 on the rightward side(s) of politics, more than they'd readily admit.

If you agree with your enemy on the field and terms of battle, you're not on some justifiable holy crusade, you're just at war. Don't pretend you're clean.

3. Strange Days

This is actually why Trump doesn't scare me, at least, not in isolation. He's a buffoon, who trips over his own actions, and can't get his head around the notion of checks and balances.

Consider:

  • The President of the United States is a madman, an inveterate liar, and quite possibly a traitor13, and is brazenly embezzling public funds and accepting foreign bribes.
  • The Vice President of the United States is a rampant Christian dominionist, was previously running his state into the ground when he accepted the nomination as a hail-mary, and is somehow, incredibly, the less dangerous of the two.
  • The cabinet has enough generals to be halfway to a junta.
  • The cabinet has enough Goldman Sachs executives to be halfway to a merger.
  • The Vice President thinks America took a wrong turn in 1960, the President's Chief Strategist thinks it was in 1932, and the Attorney General seems to think it was in 1860.

Don't confuse the buffoonery, stupidity, and incompetence for some kind of mitigation of the threat. Most authoritarians and their would-be imitators are all three, to some extent. That's explicitly part of why authoritarians are bad. It just means there's a window of opportunity to oppose, to keep things not as bad than they could be.

He doesn't have to be the worst possible, merely bad enough. And he is. And the people surrounding him are. He's trying to delegitimize the very idea of a free press now, for chrissake. He's ignoring his own intelligence agencies — when he's not turning them into props — in favor of tweeting while SOF raids go down in Yemen14. The "general-purpose-fascists, ethnic nationalists, white supremacists, neo-confederates, and neo-monarchists" are running the fucking White House.

No, it's not the End of Days. Yet. Everyone currently trying to throw sand in his gears is trying to make sure it isn't. Don't knock 'em so much.

4. Ultima Ratio Regum

The reason, the real reason, why I don't bang on about "Trump is the worst possible" is because [if] this is "the worst possible", then any means are necessary. When any means are necessary, those means will be taken.

The Office of the President of the United States is an eldritch abomination.

And no, I'm not even being metaphorical here.

The Office commands an arsenal of literal demons15, with which it can turn the world to ash in minutes. The Office is held by and overlaid upon a human host, and there is a long line of such hosts in reserve, so that the Office continues to exist unbroken. The Office is commanded respect and ritual, among believers, regardless of the worthiness of its host.

The Office will break, in some fashion and to some degree, each and every holder, even the best and most moral. The only barrier to the Office literally, actually consuming the world in fire is the judgement, wisdom, and character of said holder, for as long as those qualities hold fast. Many holders have seen one or more crumble. All have seen them diminished.

The current holder had none to start with.

Here, frankly, you're arguing thus: that you don't want it to be as bad as it is, therefore it's not, because you're afraid of what it might mean if it was.

by Delta VDelta V, 28 Feb 2017 09:00

@FM5K

There you go, there's definitely a market for it. :-)

At the very least we can all look back in a few years time as we slowly rock in our rocking chairs, take a deep pull on our pipes and say: "You kids don't know how good you have it, back in my day…" :-)

by edisnooMedisnooM, 23 Feb 2017 01:01

Best phrase is "seriously depraved". Not in a "schlock gore" kind of way, either, but in a "holy shit, this is on the screen" kinda way. Pretty tame by book standards, but for a high-gloss piece of cinema…

Wow.

by Fapmaster5000Fapmaster5000, 21 Feb 2017 02:52

@edisnooM - OMG, I might make a youtube cast for that: "The Internet for Normies: A Survival Guide".

Also, I totally had a braingasm while writing. I think someone slipped meth in my coffee, because I couldn't stop getting out of bed to add "… and another thing!" It was absurd.

As for survival: I'm sure we can, but it's certainly going to be interesting. I think it will, in the end, be one of those things where you hate every moment of it, and then when it's done, you're like, 'wow, that was a thing' and you have a good story.12

In good news, the stream has finally begun to deliver. Fair warning on that link: the Priestess of Kek lays down some ear-shattering REEEEE's.

by Fapmaster5000Fapmaster5000, 21 Feb 2017 02:51
edisnooMedisnooM 21 Feb 2017 01:09
in discussion Hidden / Per page discussions » De Facto Movie Stuff

I have not, but the trailers seemed, bizarre, to say the least.

by edisnooMedisnooM, 21 Feb 2017 01:09

@Delta

Well, he is after all a politician so I'm not overly surprised, but it's still early day so who knows. It seems like he's the most outspoken so far of the Republican base though? I'm not completely "on the pulse"1 of American politics so I could be mistaken.

@FM5K

Remember to take deep breaths. :-)

You know someone really needs to educate the real world on some the more basic tenants of the internet, things like you know "Don't feed the trolls". Hey, you could start a business for that, "Internet Liaison Consultant", "We understand the internet so you don't have to."

All in all though it's a pretty bizarre situation all round right now, I can't help wondering how long it can all be kept up for? Can it make it through all four years?

by edisnooMedisnooM, 21 Feb 2017 01:09

Anyone here seen A Cure for Wellness?

That is one sick movie.

by Fapmaster5000Fapmaster5000, 20 Feb 2017 23:57

Give no fucks McCain is in play!

EDIT: Day began on a positive: political system beginning to move to check Trump's craziness. The day has ended with a downer: the new "He Will Not Divide Us" stream is up, and it's filled with the very sort of people who will cause Trump to retain/gain power.

This is what I'm talking about, when I speak about damage to systems, and the feedback loop - the protests/riots at Berkeley were fed by a narrative on the left that this is "The End of Days".

So, yeah, I've gotta be a downer, here.

The reason, the real reason, why I don't bang on about "Trump is the worst possible" is because it this is "the worst possible", then any means are necessary. When any means are necessary, those means will be taken. Right now, there is a fantastic narrative running on the left of the Democratic party, fueled by the regressives that I'm usually moaning about - Marxist, oppressed shits who think this is "the revolution".


Let's look in microcosm, at the mental bankruptcy of the far left, when compared to the trolls on this stream - let's honestly look at it, the sheer amount of doublethink used to construct it, the cultist chants that drive it, and the trolling that tore down the first part.

He Will Not Divide Us, hereafter referred to as HWNDU, was cynical from the start. It claims to be unifying, in the wake of Trump, but the construction of the very name implies unification against Trump. That means half of goddamn electorate is not even invited to the "undivided" club.

The stream was launched in NYC, outside a movie museum, and supposed to run for four years. Designed by Shia LeBeouf, it was a webstream that would run, live, for four years, or however long Trump was President. It was a performance-art protest, designed to rally the base.

Unfortunately, 4chan likes 'art', too.

As you can guess, this turned into a shitshow.

The people earnestly there stood in a line and chanted "HWNDU" for hours on end, like a cult.
Trolls showed up, shitposted live, and triggered Shia. Nazi-LARPers would appear, spout nonsense, and be run off by a mob. Someone wrote 'cucks' on the dirt. Lots of Shadilay remixes got played, and normies got confused. A couple of /pol/ dance parties were hosted. A man called Saudi Jesus1 showed up and sang the intro to Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater. People recited Bane dialogue and classic lit. Dozens of pizzas, chicken tendies, burgers, and a bounce house were sent by the internet. Drinking milk was labelled hate speech.

In the end, Shia snapped, assaulted someone, and got arrested. A wall was erected2, and the museum shut the whole thing down.

The story run in the media claimed "Neo-Nazi violence". If you watched the streams, this appeared to be true, in that people supporting Trump, or merely shitposting, were called Nazis, and then were made the victims of violence.

"Hi, victim blaming? I'd like to order a large slice of projection. Thanks."

Don't get me wrong, the trolls were quite often being assholes. They were triggering people by showing absolutely no respect for ideas, and generally shitting up the place with dance parties and Pepe drawings. Some of them said some truly offensive things. But in all the streams I watched, and I watched a lot, I never saw them throw a punch. One shoved a guy, after being shoved. That was the extent of the falsely-labelled "neo-Nazi" violence.

The rest? That was violence done towards people accused of being Nazis Those people, by the way, ran the gamut from this guy to this gal. The first one, I can see people who aren't ass-deep in internet irony totally mistaking stale memes for Nazi support3. The other? Exactly what I'm talking about with the ever-broadening scope of "Nazis".4.

That's the equation. Call someone who is to your political right a Nazi, then wage violence. The media will blame the victim, because "he's a Nazi", and you get a PR pass.5

Anyway, it looked to be over, but HWNDU has returned, this time in Albuquerque (the most Democratic leaning city in a blue state), adjacent to a street, and live, on the air.

The trolls aren't there in force yet, but they're coming.

What gets me is the militancy of the chants.6 Today, I got to see the crowd chant about: "fuck white supremacy" (okay, I agree, but that's a lot of 'fuck' for a public street), the downfall of the entirety of the US government (not just the administration), AZTLAN liberation (this is still a thing?), and, my favorite, "All people, all race, punch Nazis in the face!" (oh, joy, calls to violence, chanted en masse).

To the casual observer, they're gonna think, "Wow, that's a lot of fucking left-wing loony-toons."

Then the trolls show up, drink milk, and have a dance party.

Who looks better?

Let's say this keeps escalating. The crowds get more and more radical. The hardcore trolls keep dropping racist shit. The crowd gets riled, and gets violent. They 'punch some Nazis' without irony. Some internet nerds get roughed up, and the real-deal white nationalists show up for 'the fight'.

Who wins?

This is the feedback loop I fear. The more crazy-kool-aid that gets drank, the less crazy Trump looks. I fear a Trump administration that drives the left off a cliff. I fear a piecemeal radical movement that encourages the far right.

The left needs better memes, not this shit, or the shit at Berkeley. This is best summed up by a young lady who showed up to protest, and got swayed by the dankness of the trolls.


So this where I stand, and the stuff I'm working on, in longer form, draws from7: there are two parallel battles, related to each other.

One exists purely in the form of online culture: internet trolls against social justice power structures in media/academia8. There, I'm entirely with the shitlords.9

The other is purely in the real world: Donald Trump is president of the USA, and he is delusional, narcissicistic, and completely over his head. He is fighting everyone who opposes him, and causing real damage to the reputation of the United States, and threatening damage to vital systems of the Republic. Here, I'm entirely against the Trump-train.10

These two battles are unrelated, but also intrinsically linked. The second spawned from the first, but now eclipses it. I think the shitlords missed the boat with Trump: they saw someone hitting the people who'd been hitting them, and thought they had a champion11.1213

The sooner they realize that Trump is not their ally, the sooner they'll turn on him.

They just have to see his threat, past the stupid noises being made by their long-running foe on the interbutts.


MIDNIGHT RANT MODE ENGAGED:

The problems with the US system, the breakdown we're experiencing14, I think tie back to the growing polarization in the parties. At this point, there are two dumbbell echo chambers, with little reason to play to the center.

Incumbents don't lose to the center, in the general election. They lose in the primary, when they get outflanked on the wings. This means blue gets bluer, and red gets redder, and it's easier to "rile the base"15 than reach over the aisle.16

What we need, more than anything else, is proper mathematically-derived distracting (shortest bisecting line), and some version of alternative vote. This will reduce the corruption, drive the parties towards the center, and put faith back into the system.

What we need, second most, is a hardcore drain of the money from the system, actual regulations on lobbyists, and some real ethics teeth.

Third, reform our stupid, stupid corporate taxes, which are stupid high upon return of money (encouraging offshoring), combined with tax holidays (which encourage legal laundering to dodge the earlier taxes).

The last point is completely unrelated, but it's late, I'm wired, pissed, and typing.


FINAL EDIT: The best term for the post that just happened is probably "Brain Vomit".

FINAL FINAL EDIT?: As predicted the trolls have arrived, and Shia is losing his mind. At this point, I'm worried they're actually going to drive him nuts. Actually nuts.17

FINAL EDITS ARE FAKE NEWS: You may notice, as you browse the stream, that there are many pseudonyms used, for the trolls, the protesters, and even for Shia. This part of the forced-anonymity culture of the boards. Each troll will introduce themselves to the camera, in time, but will not name themselves, even though their identity would be obvious. Instead, the boards crowd-source an appropriate, offensive, and funny name, and the troll will use that name, thereafter. Some notable examples are /pol/ Blart, Jackie4chan, Naruto, Jesus, and John the Baptist.18. They have a character sheet for the anime.

JESUS CHRIST HELP ME: Update on the latest stream - far less funny this time, just more awful people. I'm hoping it delivers, but so far I'm seeing try-hards and assholes fighting the clueless and the special. Lando's pretty chill, though.

by Fapmaster5000Fapmaster5000, 18 Feb 2017 23:57

@Seijin & edisnooM

Glad you guys appreciated it! It really is a unique counterculture, and one often misunderstood and/or dismissed. It has its problems (God, does it), but I find it fascinating and amusing.

@delta

Good points in defense of Tiberius. I was referring mainly to his disconnect and reliance on power brokers in his later years. My fear of a worse, empowered, and skillful successor comes down to a Chomsky quote:

The United States is extremely lucky that no honest, charismatic figure has arisen. Every charismatic figure is such an obvious crook that he destroys himself, like McCarthy or Nixon or the evangelist preachers. If somebody comes along who is charismatic and honest this country is in real trouble because of the frustration, disillusionment, the justified anger and the absence of any coherent response.

Although this appears to predict Trump quite well, in an interview on NPR, Chomsky denied that this was a completely accurate assessment. Trump still fails the "obvious crook" test, and the self destructive patterns.1

Again, it's the damage to the checks and balances I fear, not a single man. We've been walking this road for a while now, with three imperial presidents in a row. My hope is that Trump's awfulness is so apparent that both parties unite to disempower the Executive.2. My fear is a feedback loop between Trump and the far left, which takes the leash off the far right.

Time will tell, but I've still got that American optimism that seems to piss off certain people in this channel.

:P

by Fapmaster5000Fapmaster5000, 18 Feb 2017 05:31

@nooM

I've been hoping to see No Fucks McCain since the election. And he's had plenty of scathing sound bites. But he's also voted for every Trump cabinet pick save Mulvaney (no) and Pruitt (abstained). He even caved and voted for Betsy Fucking DeVos and Rex Motherfucking Tillerson, after hinting both times he'd vote against.

Not holding my breath waiting on him to actually do something instead of just talk about it.

@FM

Aside first: it seems That Press Conference is what made Harward say no. Not that I blame him in the slightest, of course, since "shit sandwich" is exactly what this WH is like.

Anways, such a textwall deserves more than a handful of bullets, so I'll hold off on the full response until I can summon up something within a couple orders of mag. But until then, I'll at least say I think you're wrong on the Roman comps: Tiberius was at least capable, before he got tired of things. He was a very-good-to-excellent general. There's an argument he wanted the Senate to be more independent, after Augustus' death. None of this possibly compares to DJT's USS Shit Sandwich.

It's quite the open question nowadays1 if Caligula was indeed as depraved as common perception, so I can't say Trump is definitely him. But Trump is fairly close to what most think of as Caligula2, with a side dash of Nero3. I mean, Trump put Scott "Shitgibbon" Pruitt at the head of the EPA — that's gotta be the American Empire equivalent of making your horse a senator. And after That Press Conference, who here can honestly say he isn't utterly unhinged and broken?45

Also, remember Caligula's reign was less than four years, cut short by his Praetorians (who'd presumably had quite enough of that, whatever version of "that" you subscribe to). Judging by how badly this all seems to be going for DJT, and how quickly it's gone so bad, he very might well live up to that portion of the comparison, too.

by Delta VDelta V, 18 Feb 2017 03:13

@Delta

24 days, that's a new record. Also FM5K beat me to it, but Trump's runner up didn't want the job either, which is pretty funny.

@FM5K

*Slow Clap* Very informative and interesting read, thanks for that.

Well, let's just hope we don't end up at Nero1.

And yeah, I made the mistake of reading the transcript, which was a tad painful.

Oh and John McCain appears to be calling out Donald Trump without actually dropping his name. I read one person's take on it that he's just been re-elected for six years, is eighty years old and unlikely to run again, he's got nothing to lose and is going out swinging. Could be fun to watch if so.

by edisnooMedisnooM, 18 Feb 2017 02:06

@ Fap

Upvote. Want more.

by Seijin8Seijin8, 17 Feb 2017 17:21

@edisnooM

This is going to be fucking hilarious, in all the depressing ways.

This is actually why Trump doesn't scare me, at least, not in isolation. He's a buffoon, who trips over his own actions, and can't get his head around the notion of checks and balances. He's not Napoleon. He's not Hitler. He's Tiberius.1

I fear Caligula.23

EDIT: This is the best description of my position, towards both the Trump administration and the punch-a-fascist crowd.

EDIT 2: Predicted hilarity: on time and on target. The guy hired to replace Flynn declined the job, and called it a "shit sandwich". … fucking rip.

EDIT 3: My God, that press conference…

by Fapmaster5000Fapmaster5000, 17 Feb 2017 02:18

TRIGGER WARNING: WALL OF TEXT

I actually place the bulk of /pol/ inside the 'shitlord' category, not the alt-right.

Yes, I see your heads swelling. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to give you guys that aneurysm. Let me explain…

TRIGGER WARNING: CONTAINS MEMES, AND UNHEALTHY LEVELS OF AUTISM

I have a decent amount of insight into the mind of the average shitposter. I was, I must confess, an active participant in the meme-culture before it was known as such, frequenting such illustrious sites such as SomethingAwful and 4chan throughout high-school and into college, starting in about 2002.1 Although I stopped with the general shitposting years ago, I still understand the mindset, and keep tabs on enough of the pulse to 'get' most of the dank memes that occasionally bubble up to the 'normal' internet (by which point most of the memes are, in fact, 'stale'). I have friends who are still active shitlords, and I can appreciate most of their chicanery, albeit from a healthy distance, with a mix of an 'oh that's funny' chuckle and a relieved 'thank God I'm not part of this shitshow' giggle.

In this, I think it's safe to say that I can understand the average shitlord. I walk among them. I talk to them. I can trade memes with them, even if I think that real life is, well, real life.2 I would propose that I can serve as an ambassador, if you will, between normal internet-folk and the self-described-autists.

You can still see my love of transgressive humor in my very pseudonym - it amused me, to imagine someone confronted with a person calling themselves 'Fapmaster 5000', posting respectfully about politics, philosophy, or theology - I couldn't resist the temptation to inflict a sort of targeted-cognitive dissonance upon my interlocutors. It's this very vein of stupid-smart that drew me to internet humor in the first place, and its an understanding of that urge that lets me grasp, with some sympathy, the plight of the modern shitlord - friend to none, enemy of all.

So, why do I think that /pol/ are simply trolls, and not part of the alt-right, even thought the alt-right was born on their boards? Simple: the modern alt-right is not the same alt-right as it was, even during the early Trump campaign. The internet moves at light speed, and so while real political movements take years to change positions, the online realm shifts in hours.

Let's start at the top, with the known facts:

The alt-right formed on 4ch/8ch, but not as a legitimate brand. Richard Spencer, as stereotypically a white nationalist alt-righter as you could imagine, coined the term, but he was a political nobody back in 2010. His horrific positions, however, were viewed as hilarious on the board /pol/, and took off. Spencer lost control of his own brand, as his intellectual neo-fascism was taken from him, and turned into shock-humor memes.3

It is important to understand that the "chans" have always been about pushing the boundaries of taste, class, and acceptable behavior. The initial links to 4chan back in 2003 (on the Something Awful forums) promised gore, vore, and mutilation, 'tits or GTFO', and 'check your maturity at the door'. While the /b/ board has stuck to this standard 'sexual' offensiveness, the /new/ and /pol/ boards pushed for a political shock humor.4

Whereas /b/-tards might post a picture of an anime girl being sawed in half with a razor, along with insipid text about a 'waifu', the /pol/lacks would post an anime Nazi with insipid text about a 'waifu'. In both circumstances, the goal was offense, itself, not an endorsement of the implied horrific act. This culture of shock-and-counter-shock developed into an extended Kaufman routine, where the chans delight in confusing/apalling/infuriating outsiders ('normies'), while reveling in their own ironic stupidity ('shitposting').

Is it pointless? Yes.5 Is it dumb? God, yes.6 Is it offensive?7 Is it appalling?8 Do they mean it?

Eh…

Here's the problem: Poe's Law.

The law states that, "without a clear indicator of the author's intent, it is impossible to create a parody of extreme views so obviously exaggerated that it cannot be mistaken by some readers or viewers as a sincere expression of the parodied views."

So, while the chans produce a ton of parody, satire, and plain-old shitposting, this also means that it can become hard to decipher sarcasm from sincerity, and trolling from actually being a racist. Context is hard, and remember, we're at least Seventh Degree Shitposting at this point, so 'get on my level, son'.

With this in mind, it easy for two kinds of outsiders to this culture to get confused: normies, and 'stormfags' - the 4chan term for actual Neo-Nazis, referring to the infamous "Daily Stormer" blog. If normies miss the point, and start screaming about 'Jesus Christ, Nazis!', that's just lulz. If stormfags miss the point, and think themselves in good company, well… short term lulz turn into problems.

Back to the question at hand: the alt-right.

The alt-right formed somewhere between parody and sincerity, a shock-culture right-wing movement that used the 4chan 'memetic warfare' to challenge the cultural supremacy of the left. I would say that, from personal experience (many friends who formerly identified as 'alt-right' or 'sympathetic' until recently), this was primarily a young, active, and in-your-face movement, but one not that far in core beliefs from mainstream conservatism. Individual rights were stressed, free speech, and a blow-back against the progressive adoption of the Marxist dialectics of oppressor/oppressed (now directed towards culture, as opposed to economics)9 In this, these beliefs are not at all different with many mainstream conservatives and even centrist liberals. Where this proto-alt-right differed was entirely in methodology - they fought in culture. Meme culture.

Running up the Trump campaign, the alt-right was almost indivisible from cultural libertarians, conservatives, and the free-speech crowd, other than in their unfettered love for 4chan shock. Their methods spread, and they grew. As they grew, they drew in more and more members from outside the cesspool of the internet, including a significant number of stormfags.

I say significant, but not large.

To this day, the number of actual, card-carrying Neo-Nazis is laughably tiny. They subscribe to perhaps the single most discredited ideology ever invented, and even engaging with them to dismiss them is giving them more credit than they are due. Saying "Nazis are wrong" is the political equivalent of "I don't like cancer" - insipid and useless. Those who earnestly believe the Nazi ideology share these traits, and their own pathetic status renders them an absolute zero threat to our society. Whenever these morons gather to march in a town, they have to pull in from dozens of miles of terrain, get a handful of people, and have to have police protection from the crowd of random people who just happen to be there, see this bullshit, and get pissed.

These guys are not a threat, nor a large portion of the alt-right, much less this proto-form.

Next are the spectrum of racialists - everything from general-purpose-fascists, ethnic nationalists, white supremacists, neo-confederates, and neo-monarchists10. These are people who didn't get the joke, whose ideologies are generally as awful as the shock-memes, but meant un-ironically, and who you generally wouldn't want to talk to in a bar, much less put into office. I'd put these guys at a far larger number than the actual Nazis, but still far from the majority of the proto-alt-right. They oppose 'the left' for the same reasons as the assorted shitlords, libertarians, and conservatives, but instead of opposing the use of identity politics, they embrace a white-ethnic identity politic - completely missing the horrible point made by everyone else who ran parallel with them that the only thing worse than general-purpose oppressor/oppressed bullshit is when the majority group endorses this lens.

These guys are an actual problem, but one that can be defeated with argument. Literally every thing they say about the 'left' can be bent about the horseshoe, and used to bludgeon their own argument. You probably won't convince them, but you can dissuade everyone else.

Sadly, what I refer to as the 'alt-right', indeed, what it has become (and why those friends I mentioned earlier broke off all ties or claims), is a movement now dominated by this group of racialists and regressives.

How did this happen?

A soft coup, brought on by the amazing power of simplified narratives. Also Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton.11

Early on in the campaign, the proto-alt-right started to gain prominence for backing Donald Trump. Those in the know started to see signs of 'meme culture' appearing in the real world - a tweet here, a poster there. An occasional Pepe. The shitlords (those who used the shock humor to startle, unnerve, and ridicule their opponents) liked 'the king of the trolls' who would firebomb the system. The racialists (those who truly believed in the content of the shock) like the fact that Trump kept dog-whistling them, in more and more overt manner. Although this didn't break into the 'normie' news schedule, inside the youtube commentariat, and on the front lines of the memetic culture war12, it was clear that Donald Trump had an online presence unheard of for a conservative. The meme-brigades were edgy, offensive, and absurdly difficult for the left to handle. The traditional methods of handling conservatives - shame them, mock them - failed utterly against an online army that had no shame, and was made of mockery.1314 The proto-alt-right had, almost by accident, stumbled upon the perfect strategy straight out of Alinsky's Rules for Radicals15. This was an enemy that the Clinton campaign and its surrogates couldn't get a handle on. They attacked it? Mockery. They engaged it? Mockery. Every time they tried to even investigate or explain it, they ended up drawn into a cesspit of lies, memes, and trolling.16

Eventually, Clinton brought up the alt-right at a rally17, and cast them firmly as earnestly holding the shock-humor beliefs of their memes.18 This was the lens through which culture writ large 'met' the alt-right: guys who passed around a racist frog.

Here, the insular and deeply ironic19 nature of 4chan bit it in the ass. To the normies, it was impossible to tell earnest Nazis from trolls, and to many on the left, they felt little need to differentiate, as the trolls were pissing them off nearly as much as the racialists20. A slew of articles followed, from all corners of the mainstream, decrying the rise of Neo-Nazis, hiding behind humor to spread their hate21

The alt-right might have been able to fight back, and assert that it was satire, but the significant portion of actual racialists inside their ranks took this moment to claim the movement as un-ironically theirs. The alt-right name had been coined by Richard Spencer, after all - an actual white nationalist - and he'd nearly lost it to people far to his left. For a moment, the proto-alt-right had been an agitating force, for the general right/libertarian movements, and Spencer had been trying, for months to 'get it back'. Once the mainstream media22 started calling the alt-right a bunch of white nationalists, Spencer and his boys stood up, and said, "damn straight".

After the election, this continued. Spencer got on the news, sporting his Pepe the Frog pin. He held a conference, where the attendees stood around, shouting 'Hail Victory', 'Hail Trump', and tossing Roman salutes - without a drop of irony, or appreciation that they were a political force, albeit a minor one. The media crowned him the face of the alt-right, and he donned the crown with pride.

In that moment, the alt-right became what it is today: a white nationalist movement. To the shitlords who'd traded memes, reveled in shock humor, and hoped to punch-up at the dominant culture, this was a total disaster. Their brand was now tainted with actual, confirmed racialists, and their Puckish trolling was now the stock-and-trade of a bunch of would-be fascists.

In one fell swoop, the left and the far right beat the shitlords. Spencer got his platform. That platform was marginalized. Everyone won but the guys in the meme-trenches.

For most 'movements', this would have been the end. They would have folded shop, ditched the brand, and lost the memes. Not the shitlords, though. They simply stepped to the side, shrugged, and said, 'nope, not us', and kept on shitting up the internet.

Because it wasn't about us. It was all that long-form, Carlin-meets-Kaufman in-joke. Memes for memes sake, telling anyone who wanted to mess with them to 'get out, REEEE'.

I suppose that "Kekistan" is about as close to a declaration of principles as we'll get from the shitlords: they're here for the 'keks'. They don't care about the 'race war', or about 'intersectionality'. They aren't Democrat, or Republican. They follow Trump for as long as he's funny, and they'll fight 'the left' for as long as the left keeps trying to 'take their memes' (and falling for the pranks). Until those days, though, they'll keep dividing protests about not being divided, triggering SJWs, and posting frogs.23

Those shitlord friends of mine? This is where they stand. They swore off the alt-right when Spencer took it over24. They don't buy into any of the racism of the far right. Talking to them, honestly, beyond the realm of memes, reveals that they're very similar to many 'normies'. They are aligned with the alt-right only so far as most conservatives or libertarians are: they despise the far-left. They are not friends of the alt-right, they simply do not see them as the dominant threat at the moment25.

While Spencer may claim that Trump's victory has validated him, Trump's coalition was far broader than the fringes of the alt-right could support: mainstream Republicans, rust-belt Democrats, evangelicals, etc. If Trump ran tomorrow on ethno-nationalism (not dog whistles that slide below the radar of most), he would lose. Hell, if Trump ran tomorrow against anyone but Hilary Clinton26, he would lose. Spencer's platform is void for all but the kekiest extremes of the right.

With that in mind, here's my advice to Trump is: be careful. The 'internet hate machine'27 is only backing you because the regressive elements of the left keep poking them with a stick, and they view you as a hilarious dumpster fire. If you keep down this simultaneously authoritarian and whinging path, they'll find more keks in trolling28 than trolling for you29.30

My advice to the left is: don't feed the trolls. All you have to do is be less authoritarian and whingy than Trump, and the shitlords will come back to your side. They backed you under the Bush administration. Remember that? The memes had your back. /b/ was Social Justice friendly! Just, literally, be less authoritarian than the man you call a Nazi, and you'll get allies when he fucks up31. Also… seriously stop with the Nazi-naming shit. That is both insipid and useless32

Do you know who loves things that are both insipid and useless?

Shitlords.33


I hope this helps people understand a little bit about the useless-useful politics of the internet. If people are interested, I can go into a little bit of why I think 4chan is very likely to swing back to the left, if only the far left can restrain itself more than the far right.

Remember, in the new culture war, memes are the weapon, and there is no one who can meme on 4chan's tier. Get them on your side, and may the dankest meme triumph.

EDIT: Perhaps unrelated, but the PBS Idea Channel has a recent video about Pepe, and his possible rehabilitation. The follow-up video directly addresses the Kekistan meme, and the idea that the meme-culture is larger than the alt-right uses of the frog.

EDIT 2: My shitlord friends provided me with a 'cultural exchange' smorgasbord. Enjoy or suffer for as long as you wish.

by Fapmaster5000Fapmaster5000, 17 Feb 2017 00:27

Mike Flynn just "resigned"1 as NSA. He lasted a whopping 24 days.

Oh, and as it turns out, Sally Yates (remember her from the distant past of two weeks ago?) warned the White House last month2 that Flynn was vulnerable to Russian blackmail3 and had lied to Pence about his call(s) to the Russian ambassador. This was, by the by, before the current public hooplah about the transcript(s).

"What did the President know, and when did he know it?"4 is the phrase that springs to mind…

@FM

I thought the shitlords were supposed to have split with the alt-right back when they exiled /pol/ from 4chan. That they didn't make that one stick doesn't exactly fill me with confidence they'll do it this time.

Also, if I'm honest, I never really cared for the shitlords. Didn't mind them keeping to their own corners and churning out memes instead of bothering people with nonzero taste and/or class, but then they started harboring5 nazis6, and my live-and-let-live it's-fine-if-they-self-quarantine approach started eroding.

by Delta VDelta V, 14 Feb 2017 05:40

@FM5K

It has been an interesting few days for sure. Probably my most enjoyed part was Trump telling the courts and judiciary that he would see them in court, which has led to quite a few humorous comments. Gotta laugh when you can. :-)

by edisnooMedisnooM, 11 Feb 2017 00:57

… and optimism is gone.

Goddamnitsomuch.

UPDATE: the news has improved somewhat. Judge Gorsuch called out Trump's anti-judiciary tweet. Good to see he's not an owned man.

by Fapmaster5000Fapmaster5000, 09 Feb 2017 10:21

Hey, here's some good news: the shitlords have declared independence from (and opened fire upon) the alt-right, under the banner #FreeKekistan.

All the shitposting, offensive-to-everyone free speech, free thought, meme-spewing hivemind - none of the ethno-nationalism.

I think everyone can support this movement.1

Shadilay, Praise Kek, and REEEEE… until this turns into utter shit, as all things must do.23

by Fapmaster5000Fapmaster5000, 09 Feb 2017 03:17

@Delta

Late replying, but yeah it is a bit sobering. There does seem to be quite a bit of pushback against the seemingly draconian nature of the ban though, hopefully cooler heads shall prevail in the end.

by edisnooMedisnooM, 04 Feb 2017 01:14

Aaaaand now the de facto Muslim1 ban. Except if you're from Egypt, UAE, or Saudi Arabia, where Trump does business. Also, six of the seven countries currently have active US or US-backed air campaigns (Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, and Libya).

Also also, it's Holocaust Remembrance Day. Anyone remember the St. Louis?

by Delta VDelta V, 28 Jan 2017 05:16
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