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Normietivity: A Review of Angela Nagle's Kill all Normies
Due to a persistent vagueness in targets and refusal to respond to the best arguments presented by those she loosely groups together, Nagle does not provide the thoroughgoing and immanent treatment of the left which would be required to achieve the profound intervention she clearly intended. Nor does she grapple with the difficult implications figures like Greer (with her transphobic campaign against a vulnerable colleague) and Milo (with his direct advocacy for the nativist and carceral state) present for free speech absolutists. And indeed, the blurring their specifically shared transphobia causes for distinguishing between left and right wing social analysis.

In genre terms, Nagle’s writing is best described as travel writing for internet culture. Kill All Normies provides a string of curios and oddities (from neo-nazi cults, to inscrutably gendered teenagers) to an audience expected to find them unfamiliar, and titillating. Nagle attempts to cast herself as an aloof and wry explorer, but at various points her commitments become all too clear. Nagle implicitly casts her reader as the eponymous normies, overlooking those of us who live through lives with transgenders, in the wake of colonialism, despite invisible disabilities (including depression), and all the rest.

This is both a shame and a missed opportunity, because the deadly violence the Alt-Right has proven itself capable of is in urgent need of evaluation, but so too are the very real dysfunctions which afflict the left (both online and IRL). After this book patient, discerning, explanatory, and immanent readings of internet culture remain sorely needed. The best that can be said for Kill All Normies is, as the old meme goes, “An attempt was made.”
angela-nagle  normies  books  reading  transphobia  germaine-greer  milo  alt-right  politics  internet  4chan 
12 weeks ago by jm

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