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Under the Internet's Bridge With Troll Scholar Whitney Phillips
By now, we've gotten used to describing internet trolls in the parlance of warfare: their frothing ranks are an "army" and memes are their weapons.

And for good reason. Russia hires keyboard warriors to shift public opinion in the comment section. The Islamic State makes slick memes to sway potential recruits. The Pentagon is investigating the military utility of image macros. And, of course, Donald Trump was elected thanks to "meme magic," according to legions of shitposting pseudo-occultists.

Whitney Phillips, a 33-year-old academic at Mercer University, has written two books on the topic of trolls, their motivations, and effects. Her latest book, The Ambivalent Internet, was written with her colleague Ryan M. Milner during the run-up to Donald Trump's election victory, a particularly fertile—and, according to Phillips, newly politicized—time for internet trolls. It's slated for a 2017 release.

In 2004, when Facebook was starting to roll out across college campuses, Phillips had just received her bachelor's degree in philosophy at 21. It was too late to join the fledgling social network (which was restricted to students only at that time), she told me in an interview over the phone, and her engagement with the internet at that point could be described as utilitarian at best. Her first encounter with a troll didn't happen until 2008.

It was her own brother.

"My brother is liberal, he's feminist, he's totally gay-friendly and open-minded," Phillips said. "So I'm sitting at the table with him and his friends, and I watched them switch from their normal conversation register to their trolling register with my own eyes. It was like they were wearing masks, and then they would jump in and out of it."

At the time, Phillips thought of trolls as occupying a subcultural space, but throughout her PhD studies she started seeing them as propping up the cultural status quo. No matter the real-life beliefs of the trolls, Phillips felt that their language and jokes online all seemed to reinforce an ideal of white masculinity. She began to view trolling as a pastime for the privileged—people who can afford to joke about rape without thinking about the consequences, emotional or otherwise.

"When you occupy a privileged position, you have the choice whether or not you can take your own word seriously, or the words of others," Phillips said. "You can essentially fetishize just punchlines of situations without actually being impacted by racism. You don't have to think about the lives being impacted."

These ideas percolated during Barack Obama's presidency, and they were brought into sharp, nightmarish relief during the election run of Donald Trump. In speeches, Trump courted white supremacists and closet fascists, and blew great gusts of hot air over the smoldering coals of misogyny, xenophobia, and physical violence.

"When you occupy a privileged position, you have the choice whether or not you can take your own word seriously, or the words of others"

It wasn't surprising to Phillips, then, that legions of online trolls became Trump's loudest base of support and spawned a so-called white nationalist movement marked by the familiar tactics of "just lighten up," irony-heavy trolling. But it was troubling to her.

"You have to be agnostic about the relationship between trolling and Trump's victory because there's no solid data to suggest a causal relationship," Phillips said. "But the detachment that trolling normalized was almost an encouragement, within certain circles, to have that ironic response. And Donald Trump metastasized in that crevice while everyone was so goddamn busy being ironic."

"My response as an academic is tertiary to my response as an American citizen," she continued, "and as a citizen I'm horrified."

Nearly a decade after Phillips began her journey into the darkest corners of the web to try and understand what lurks there, many of those elements have lept out of the shadows and onto the confirmation podium at the National Mall. Her upcoming book The Ambivalent Internet will explicitly touch on the role of trolls in modern American politics, which, as the book's name suggests, is rather Janus-faced.

Trolling might be the traditional domain of reactionary elements online, but recently progressives have started adopting similar tactics and branded themselves the "dirtbag left." These people are not above the brigading, ostensibly joking harassment, and irony that's become the trademark of pro-Trump trolls, but wielded for good instead of evil.

"Trolling can be a very effective strategy because it trades in the sensationalism that thrives in a click-based web economy," Phillips said. "It can be used to go after regressive positions, and I often think that's hilarious. At the same time, it's predicated on a highly gendered logic and the idea that I'm going to take away your ability to choose what happens to you and I'm going to dominate you. Is that something we want to normalize?"

The ultimate answer to that fraught question—which comes at a time where activism and protest are arguably necessary by all available means—remains to be seen. But in the meantime, Phillips said, she's going to work on being more earnest.
Books  Trolls  4chan  db  DasGeileNeueInternet 
24 days ago by walt74
Memetic Warfare - 4chan versus the CIA
Urban dictionary is yet to have an entry for Memetic Warfare, but that’ll change in the coming months and years. New divisions and battle lines are being forged. The old 3D warfare — of land, sea, and sky — is being replaced by the 4d. A battle is raging on the internet high seas.

For 4chan users, memes constitute an arsenal of opportunity. Here, a meme is its intended original form: the Dawkins evolutionary idea, a bastion of fibre-optic molecular, from message boards to the mainstream. The internet has given billions access to the politics of a few, and memes are the vehicle of choice. Whereas in history, cultures took decades to adapt, institutions took years to change, the internet now allows for unrivaled persuasion of thought in months.
The CIA, it appears, agree.

The meme centipede
None of this is more evident than the sweeping success of Donald Trump, from celebrity businessman to President. 4chan, via the politics board /pol/, enlivened his campaign. Internet trolls won the campaign. How you may ask? Via memes. Why you may ask? Because they thought it would be funny.

New Zealand weighs in
This is preposterous, I hear you scream! There’s no way this stuff can happen!?
Let us analyse political persuasion of the past, notably ‘door-to door volunteering’. In the UK for example, entire elections and betting markets are driven by volunteers, the campaign helpers and officials armed with leaflets, who canvass the streets persuading households to vote for their party. Political hacks on twitter will routinely discuss ‘men on the ground’ as the driving force behind electoral turnout and success. This my be effective for regional by-elections, but nationally a different story develops: 4chan becomes the volunteer and memes replace the leaflet.
You still don’t believe me? The United Nations have even written a paper on the topic.

You really do have to see it to believe it
Outlets such as the Guardian and Vice have written pieces on Memetic Warfare.
Collective mind can bring great change. Enter the big guy in the room, the CIA.
Acutely aware of the power of memes, the CIA has undertook to create their own Memetic Warfare centre, which thanks to the wonderful work of Mr. Assange, is widely available for all to ridicule.

/pol/ was right again
The libertarian leaning, anarchic, anti-government website has long suspected their threads of being sabotaged by pro-government ‘shills’, intent on spreading their own propaganda via the Internets largest meme content creator. Little did they expect that those shill were the CIA themselves.
For months, or potentially years, 4chan and the CIA have been engulfed in an epic internet war of the mind, and it seems 4chan is winning.

For freedom
Ideological subversion is no new tactic. Former disillusioned Soviet KGB agent, Yuri Bezmenov, has given detailed interviews of Russian attempts to change the perception of reality. Hillary Clinton spent $1 million to ‘correct’ comments online. The Jewish Internet Defence Force have done similar.
4chan have simply used memes to weoponize their ideologies.

Turns out the internet is serious business after all
Future historians will have to pick up the pieces of this cataclysmic event, and write staid, carefully researched accounts of how droves of young men with no reason to plug into society, were progressively disenfranchised by a feminized liberal status quo, until they formed a psychic tribal gestalt on 4chan, elevating a reality TV star salesman to become the most powerful man in history, because they were bored and thought it would be funny.
Yet there is no head of the serpent. There is no central structure. If one anon leaves, two more take his place. The nature of the board entails a flow of popular memes, or ideology dies with the thread.
Whether it be the infamous “now back to our parents basement” cry after the end of Chanology protests in 2008, to /pol/ users known as “mentally unhinged recluses living in a nightmare alternate reality fueled entirely be memes” in 2017, 4chan has always had their ideologies, and they’ve always mocked them. Its dysfunctional honesty, without authority or echelon, has turned 4chan into the perfect warrior.
The internet is their playground, and the CIA are powerless to stop them.
4chan  Trolls  Memetics  db 
24 days ago by walt74
Is America Prepared for Meme Warfare?
Memes function like IEDs.

Memes, as any alt-right Pepe sorcerer will tell you, are not just frivolous entertainment. They are magic, the stuff by which reality is made and manipulated. What's perhaps surprising is that this view is not so far off from one within the US defense establishment, where a growing body of research explores how memes can be used to win wars.

This recent election proved that memes, some of which have been funded by politically motivated millionaires and foreign governments, can be potent weapons, but they pose a particular challenge to a superpower like the United States.

Memes appear to function like the IEDs of information warfare. They are natural tools of an insurgency; great for blowing things up, but likely to sabotage the desired effects when handled by the larger actor in an asymmetric conflict. Just think back to the NYPD's hashtag boondoggle for an example of how quickly things can go wrong when big institutions try to control messaging on the internet. That doesn't mean research should be abandoned or memes disposed of altogether, but as the NYPD case and other examples show, the establishment isn't really built for meme warfare.

For a number of reasons, memetics are likely to become more important in the new White House.

To understand this issue, we first have to define what a meme is because that is a subject of some controversy and confusion in its own right. We tend to think of memes from their popular use on the internet as iterative single panel illustrations with catchy tag lines, Pepe and Lolcats being two well known known examples of that type. But in its scientific and military usage a meme refers to something far broader. In his 2006 essay Evolutionary Psychology, Memes and the Origin of War, the American transhumanist writer Keith Henson defined memes as "replicating information patterns: ways to do things, learned elements of culture, beliefs or ideas."

Memetics, the study of meme theory and application, is a kind of grab bag of concepts and disciplines. It's part biology and neuroscience, part evolutionary psychology, part old fashioned propaganda, and part marketing campaign driven by the same thinking that goes into figuring out what makes a banner ad clickable. Though memetics currently exists somewhere between science, science fiction, and social science, some enthusiasts present it as a kind of hidden code that can be used to reprogram not only individual behaviors but entire societies.

Image: @altright_es

For a number of reasons, memetics are likely to become more important in the new White House. Jeff Giesea is a former employee of tech giant and Trump donor Peter Thiel, and an influential organizer within the alt right who was prominently featured in recent profiles on the movement and its ties to the Trump administration. Giesea is also the author of an article published in an official NATO strategic journal in late 2015—just as the Trump campaign was really building steam—entitled "It's Time to Embrace Memetic Warfare."

"It's time to drive towards a more expansive view of Strategic Communications on the social media battlefield," Giesea said in his essay on the power of memes. "It's time to adopt a more aggressive, proactive, and agile mindset and approach. It's time to embrace memetic warfare."

Giesea was far from the first to suggest this. Some forward thinkers within the US military were interested in how memes might be used in warfare years before the killing and digital resurrection of Harambe dominated popular culture. Public records indicate that the military's interest in memes picked up after 2001, spurred by the wars against jihadist terrorist groups and the parallel "War of ideas" with Islamist ideology.

Despite the government research and interest inside the military for applying memes to war, it seemed to be insurgent groups that used them most effectively.

"Memetics: A Growth Industry in US Military operations" was published in 2005 by Michael B. Prosser, then a Major and now a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps. Written as an assignment for the Marine Corps' School of Advanced Warfighting, Prosser's paper includes a disclaimer clarifying that it represents only his own views and not those of the military or US government. In it, he lays out a vision for both weaponizing and diffusing memes, defined as "units of cultural transmission" and "bits of cultural information transmitted and replicated throughout populations and/or societies" in order to "understand and defeat an enemy ideology and win over the masses of undecided noncombatants."

Prosser's paper includes a detailed proposal for the development of a "Meme Warfare Center." The center's function is to "advise the Commander on meme generation, transmission, coupled with a detailed analysis on enemy, friendly and noncombatant populations." Headed by a senior civilian or military leader known as a "Meme Management Officer" or "Meme and Information Integration Advisor," Prosser writes, "the MWC is designed to advise the commander and provide the most relevant meme combat options within the ideological and nonlinear battle space."

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A year after the Meme Warfare Center proposal was published, DARPA, the Pentagon agency that develops new military technology, commissioned a four-year study of memetics. The research was led by Dr. Robert Finkelstein, founder of the Robotic Technology Institute, and an academic with a background in physics and cybernetics.

Finkelstein's study of "Military Memetics" centered on a basic problem in the field, determining "whether memetics can be established as a science with the ability to explain and predict phenomena." It still had to be proved, in other words, that memes were actual components of reality and not just a nifty concept with great marketing.

Finkelstein's work tries to bring memetics closer to hard science by providing a "meme definition for Military Memetics," that is "information which propagates, has impact, and persists (Info-PIP)." Classifying memes according to this definition, and separating them out from all the ideas that don't count as memes, he offers metrics like "persistence" to measure their effectiveness.

Image: "A Brief Overview of Memetics"

Despite the government research and interest inside the military for applying memes to war, it seemed to be insurgent groups that used them most effectively. During the early stages of ISIS' war in Iraq and Syria, for instance, the group used memes to captivate an international audience and broadcast its message both to enemies and potential recruits.

One of the first public applications of the research into memetics and social media propaganda was the State Department's 2013 "Think Again Turn Away" initiative. The campaign's attempts to counteract ISIS social media propaganda did not turn out well. The program, according to director of the SITE Intelligence Group Rita Katz, was "not only ineffective, but also provides jihadists with a stage to voice their arguments." Similar to how ISIS supporters hijacked the government's platform, a year later activists used the NYPD's own hashtag to highlight police abuse.

"Look at their fancy memes compared to what we're not doing," said Sen. Cory Booker to other members of the Homeland Security Committee during a 2015 hearing on "Jihad 2.0." Booker's assessment has become increasingly common but some critics question whether focusing on a "meme gap" is an effective way to combat groups like ISIS.

"I've never seen a military program in that area that was effective," John Robb, a former Air Force pilot involved in special operations and author of Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization, told Motherboard. As he sees it, the US military will always be at a structural disadvantage when it comes to applying memetics in war because, "the most effective types of manipulation all yield disruption." According to Robb, "the broad manipulation of public sentiment is really not in [the military's] wheelhouse," and that is largely because, "all the power is in the hands of the people on the outside doing the disruption."

Meme wars seem to favor insurgencies because, by their nature, they weaken monopolies on narrative and empower challenges to centralized authority. A government could use memes to increase disorder within a system, but if the goal is to increase stability, it's the wrong tool for the job.

"Stuff like this is perennial," Robb said about the new interest in meme warfare. "Every couple of years a new program comes out, people spend money for a couple of years then it goes away. Then people forget about that failure and they do it again."

Image: Hillaryclinton.com

We've just witnessed a successful meme insurgency in America. Donald Trump's campaign was founded as an oppositional movement—against the Republican establishment, Democrats, the media, and "political correctness." It used memes successfully precisely because, as an opposition, it benefited by increasing disorder. Every meme about "Sick Hillary," "cucks," or "draining the swamp" chipped away at the wall built around institutional authority.

Trump's win shocked the world, but if we all read alt-right power broker Jeff Giesea's paper about memetic warfare in 2015, we might have seen it coming.

"For many of us in the social media world, it seems obvious that more aggressive communication tactics and broader warfare through trolling and memes is a necessary, inexpensive, and easy way to help destroy the appeal and morale of our common enemies," he said.
Memetics  DonaldTrump  Politics  4chan  db  Trolls  AltRight 
24 days ago by walt74
Meme warfare: how the power of mass replication has poisoned the US election
If you use Facebook, or Twitter, have a Wi-Fi connection, watch television or have been to an office Halloween party, you’ve probably encountered them: internet memes.

These shareable, sometimes pithy and often puerile units of culture have emerged as the lingua franca of the 2016 election, and have given the American people an entirely new way of articulating their beliefs. Clinton’s top tweet is a meme. Trump’s taco bowl became one. Through memes, Ted Cruz was “unmasked” as the Zodiac killer. Jeb Bush’s limp plea for applause got him Vined into oblivion. Bernie Sanders shared a moment with a bird that blossomed into something out of Walt Disney’s long-lost Marxist phase.

Memes can be fun, or they can be dumb – but as an emerging medium, they haven’t provoked a lot of debate or analysis. In fact, they seem to defy scrutiny.

And slowly, before anyone can even take note, memes are ruining democracy.

A meme presenting Ted Cruz as the Zodiac Killer.
A meme presenting Ted Cruz as the Zodiac killer. Photograph: Tim Faust
Memes – from the Greek for “that which is imitated” – were once defined as being self-replicating units of culture. This included anything that could be learned, remembered and spread from one brain to another, such as the concept of god all the way to the popular Budweiser “Wazzup” catchphrase.

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Through the internet, the idea moved from the conceptual sphere into the viscous reality of data and pixels, transforming it into something more traceable: a segment of media that is copied rapidly. This includes images, text, video, a combination of all three and sometimes real-world actions.

Political memes have always existed. Recall Ronald Reagan’s Welfare Queen or Howard Dean’s euphoric howl. And of course, more recently, we had Yes We Can.

What’s novel here is an inversion of control – political memes are no longer rare flashes of uncensored personality or intensely manicured visual messages. They are now born from the swamps of the internet in real time, distributed from the bottom up. They have grown into a form of anarchic folk propaganda, ranging from tolerable epigrams to glittering hate-soaked image macros akin to a million little rogue Pravdas.

Like me, you probably have more than a few Facebook friends who make it their life’s work to circulate political memes in hopes of influencing how you see the world. They are our deadbeat uncles, former co-workers and long-forgotten high school acquaintances. They are agents of nowhere, apparatchiks of nothing in particular. And through the raw power of mass replication, even their most insipid ideas are able to surface from below. By typing some text on an image and sharing it with friends, they too have a voice capable of reaching a critical mass.

The reason why it is now possible for Darryl from Accounting who hates “social justice warriors” to have the same communicative power as a television network is down to the DNA of the medium: speed and lack of gatekeepers. Memes thrive on a lack of information – the faster you can grasp the point, the higher the chance it will spread.

They also favor extreme perspectives: a recent study from Texas University found that individuals who are socially isolated and more likely to be characterized as “on the fringe” have a greater chance at creating a successful meme.

In order to grasp why this is so significant, we need to go back to the last time we were making similarly grandiose proclamations about how the internet changed everything.

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Picture yourself in the year 2010.

The possibility of the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series is as depressingly remote as ever. Barack Obama still has that new car smell and is being hailed as the first “internet president”. The world is awash in a fresh wave of tech-centric optimism and the Middle East’s Twitter revolts have yet to burn to a cinder.

It was a more innocent time, when Uber and AirBnB were still known as Ubercab and Airbed and Breakfast and neither had been blamed for homelessness, unemployment and the wholesale destruction of the working class yet.

I was a staff writer at Adbusters Magazine at the time – a radical, anti-consumerist magazine based out of Vancouver, British Columbia, that bills itself as the journal of the mental environment and got famous off their 1990s “subvertisements”.

The art director, a few graphic designers and myself would often spend long nights in the office drinking beer and churning out content to fill the spaces that would be traditionally used for advertisements. We created memes, but not just any memes – political ones meant to trigger paradigm shifts that would upend the prevailing logic of late capitalism, such as this one:

Adbusters memes
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Photograph: Adbusters
We called it “meme warfare”, a term that was originally coined by social change activist Andrew Boyd.

“Social movements cannot live by meme alone. Yet memes are clearly powerful –both analytically and operationally,” Boyd wrote in his essay Truth is a Virus: Meme warfare and the billionaires for Bush (or Gore). “A vital movement requires a hot and happening meme. Truth is a virus whose aim is to subvert the corporate mememachine with a sly guerrilla war of signs.”

Much of what we produced was mischievous, maybe even poignant, much of it verged on self-satire but most of it was strictly for the LOLs; in-jokes to keep the blood pumping through those long and sedentary pizza-filled production nights. But every once in a while, the Adbusters office turned out something that proved to be profoundly effective.

For instance, the black and white image of a ballerina gracefully perched atop the charging bull of Wall Street, while masked figures charged forward from the background. “Bring tent”, it read underneath, alongside the now famous hashtag that sparked the Occupy movement.

Adbusters meme
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Photograph: Adbusters
Back in 2010, the idea of using memes to political ends was still housed within a fairly slim leftist-activist corridor – it was a tool that seemed entirely of our own creation, and entirely under our control. We viewed memes as a vehicle through which activists could speak truth to power – they were molotov Jpegs to be thrown at corporate hegemony’s bulletproof limousine.

Never in our most ironic dreams did we the think that the spirit of our tired, lager-fueled pisstakes would end up leading to a resurgence of white nationalism and make the prospect of a fascist America faintly realistic.

But the internet is weird like that. It takes things and twists them.

At their most basic, meme warfare presented an opportunity for individuals to seize control of the means of media production from corporate interests. It was a viral and open-source medium that would allow individuals to compete for attention against the all-consuming hydra of advertising, marketing and public relations.

This line of thinking was, in retrospect, breathtakingly naive. It assumed that the act of meme generation by a non-corporate entity would be innately good. Like many instances of the tech-centric idealism, it would unravel in spectacular fashion. It’s not that anti-corporate activists were wrong about how the internet could be leveraged to change politics – it’s that they were terribly right.

There isn’t a straight, causal line connecting the Occupy movement and its many slogans with the neo-Nazi image macros that have been frogmarched out of 4chan to spread hate across the internet in support of Donald Trump. But they share some conceptual DNA. They are both indebted to Guy Debord and the Situationists, specifically the practice of détournement: hijacking expressions of the capitalist system and its media culture against itself. They both also share a deep cynicism about the mainstream media. But this is where the similarities end.

When appropriated by the emerging alt-right, memes become a different weapon. They call it “meme magic” – a phenomenon which has helped vocalize and activate the more extreme wings of the Trump base and introduce white nationalism to a new generation of disaffected nerds. Meme magic is almost identical to meme warfare in that it attempts to use shareable images and ideas in an effort to engender real political change.

To date, their most effective memes have been those questioning Hillary Clinton’s health status. Google image search “Zombie Hillary” or “Hillary Short Circuit” and you’ll be treated to a series of imagery made up of equal parts blood and robotics.

As explained by Andrew Anglin, publisher of The Daily Stormer, a faux-contrarian neo-Nazi blog, meme magic “comprises not only an attempt, but a successful attempt, to formulate a new culture for ourselves, separate from the mainstream culture, which is largely the result of Jewish social imperialism”.

In a post-truth landscape where distrust of the media has gone mainstream, nickel-and-dime propagandists like Anglin are able to resonate with an audience because they trade in the allure of dark fantasies that appeal to alienated young white men.

When the activist left decried corporate control over media, its strongest arguments leaned heavy on well-plodded reasoning. Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent instantly comes to mind, in which he painstakingly examines the New York Times’ coverage of the Indonesian occupation of East Timor.

The alt-right, on the other hand, is far less interested in thoughtful critiques and far more concerned with control. This mirrors the classic left/right divide of analysis versus action. While the left is typically … [more]
Memetics  DonaldTrump  4chan  Trolls  db  DasGeileNeueInternet 
24 days ago by walt74
Paper: Kek, Cucks, and God Emperor Trump: A Measurement Study of 4chan's Politically Incorrect Forum and Its Effects on the Web
The discussion-board site 4chan has been part of the Internet's dark underbelly since its inception, and recent political events have put it increasingly in the spotlight. In particular, /pol/, the "Politically Incorrect" board, has been a central figure in the outlandish 2016 US election season, as it has often been linked to the alt-right movement and its rhetoric of hate and racism. However, 4chan remains relatively unstudied by the scientific community: little is known about its user base, the content it generates, and how it affects other parts of the Web. In this paper, we start addressing this gap by analyzing /pol/ along several axes, using a dataset of over 8M posts we collected over two and a half months. First, we perform a general characterization, showing that /pol/ users are well distributed around the world and that 4chan's unique features encourage fresh discussions. We also analyze content, finding, for instance, that YouTube links and hate speech are predominant on /pol/. Overall, our analysis not only provides the first measurement study of /pol/, but also insight into online harassment and hate speech trends in social media.
Paper  4chan  Trolls  Memetics  dp 
24 days ago by walt74
The Alt-Right Thinks ‘Wolfenstein: The New Colossus' Is Racist to White People
Sunday night at a pre-E3 press conference Bethesda Softworks unveiled its lineup of new games, including Wolfenstein: the New Colossus, which builds on the gaming industry's decades-long tradition of making first-person shooters in which the player brutally murders Nazis.


Some people on the internet don't like that. But it's not because the game trivializes the horrors of World War II or because it grossly celebrates violence. As far as I can tell, they are mad because the "politically correct" game degrades Nazis and is "anti-white."

Here are just a few examples from 4Chan, Reddit, and YouTube comments on the game's trailer:

Wolfenstein: The Colossus is the sequel to 2014's Wolfenstein: The New Order, which is itself a reimagining of 1992's Wolfenstein 3D, an early first-person shooter that largely defined the genre. There is nothing in The Colossus that is all that different than the previous game or the original. It is set in an alternate history where the Nazis won World War II and occupy the United States. As William "B.J." Blazkowicz, players will form a resistance and kill many Nazis in a gory, disgusting fashion.

So why is this game offending the alt-right? One reason, it seems, is that there is a shot in the trailer in which two KKK members, dressed in white hoods and all, are seen palling around with a Nazi officer. I've seen several comments that take offense at the suggested comparison. As in: They don't think what the Nazis tried to achieve and what the KKK believes in are the same, though at the same time these commenters weren't speaking ill of Nazis either.

Another reason is that the trailer features two characters that rubbed the alt-right the wrong way: An African-American woman who appears to be some kind of rebel leader in the anti-Nazi insurgency, and a white man from the South who references the "proletariat" and rants against Wall Street and imperialism. The former, they say, is racist to white people, and the latter is a communist, which is even worse than being a Nazi.

Lastly, the reality of 2017 is that internet culture and gaming culture in particular is at a place where people will openly defend Nazis. As author of The Ambivalent Internet Whitney Phillips has written for Motherboard, it's hard if not impossible to parse out which of these online comments are sincerely and ideologically in support of Nazis, and which are just saying these things in order to agitate. But it also doesn't matter because the effect is the same: A loud and unapologetic contingent of people online are saying that it's unfair to paint Nazis as villains.
Trolls  Games  AltRight  Nazis  Right  4chan  db 
24 days ago by walt74
Reminder: Fascists & Nazis have threatened activists with guns & knives in Texas, incl. this knife-happy fas…
4chan  from twitter
8 weeks ago by kitoconnell

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