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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 
yesterday by jm
Mit diesen Memes wollen AfD-Trolle die Bundestagswahl beeinflussen und in den "Meme-Krieg" ziehen
Siehe auch:

Nutzer des anonymen Forums 4Chan versuchen, die Bundestagswahl zugunsten der AfD zu beeinflussen. Nach Recherchen von BuzzFeed News erstellt eine Gruppe Unbekannter zahlreiche Memes, Comics und Zeichnungen, um der AfD an Aufmerksamkeit im Internet zu verhelfen. Die Memes sollen besonders häufig in den sozialen Netzwerken geteilt werden. BuzzFeed News ist auf ein Archiv mit mehr als 270 dieser Memes gestoßen, die in den kommenden drei Wochen bis zur Wahl veröffentlicht werden sollen.

Die Unbekannten wollen Menschen vom Wählen abhalten und linke Aktivisten demoralisieren, so schreiben sie es in ihrem Forum. Dafür kündigen sie einen „Meme-Krieg“ an, der nicht nur online, sondern mit Stickern, Plakaten und Kleidung auch offline stattfinden soll. Das ist keine spontane Aktion. BuzzFeed News liegen Screenshots vor, die zeigen, dass eine "Deutsche Meme-Kampagne" mindestens seit Februar 2017 in diesem Forum vorbereitet und geplant wird. Wie eng die Verbindungen der Trolle zur AfD sind, bleibt unklar. Die AfD wollte sich auf Anfrage von BuzzFeed News nicht äußern. Die Nutzer des Meme-Krieg-Forums rufen jedoch regelmäßig dazu auf, der AfD Geld zu spenden oder sich als Wahlhelfer zu engagieren.

Die AfD-nahen Trolle sind offenbar von rechten Trollen in den USA und Frankreich inspiriert. In ihren Absprachen nehmen sie immer wieder Bezug auf die Aktionen von rechten Nutzern in anderen Ländern. „Wir wollen nicht, dass uns das gleiche passiert, wie Frankreich und den Niederlanden“, schreiben die Nutzer und spielen damit auf die Wahlniederlagen der rechten Politiker Marine Le Pen und Geert Wilders in den jeweiligen Ländern an. "Dass jetzt dieselben Techniken und Strategien in Deutschland angewandt werden, halte ich für extrem bedenklich", sagt Politikwissenschaftler Prof. Simon Hegelich von der Hochschule für Politik in München gegenüber BuzzFeed News.

BuzzFeed News hat mit einem der rechten Trolle geschrieben. Der große Plan sei, AfD-Politiker Björn Höcke irgendwann zum Kanzler zu machen. „Man muss dabei immer im Hinterkopf behalten, dass Deutschland nicht frei ist“, schreibt der Nutzer, der sich AfD-Chan nennt.

Die Recherchen von BuzzFeed News zeigen, dass sich auch in Deutschland rechtspopulistische Nutzer zu Angriffen auf die Meinungsbildung im Internet verabreden, ohne dass die breite Öffentlichkeit davon erfährt. Diese Nutzer wollen nicht nur die Bundestagwahl beeinflussen, sondern auch die anstehende Landtagswahl in Niedersachsen und die Wahl in Österreich im Oktober.

BuzzFeed hat die Parteien CDU, SPD und AfD um einen Kommentar gebeten, aber bisher, auch auf Nachfrage, keine Antwort erhalten.
AFD  Nazis  4chan  Trolls  db  Memetics 
15 days ago by walt74
4chan launched a war against Google and they are currently winning
Using programs like AdNauseam and UBO, 4chan users are sending millions of fake clicks to Google’s advertisers. These programs are essentially bots that visit the websites of companies who are advertising their brands and products with Google through google’s affiliate links. The bots are designed to operate as humans beings behind computers and click on interesting ads provided by Google’s servers, except unlike real humans, these bots do not purchase anything from the advertisers’ websites or interact with them in any way (Imagine paying hundreds of dollars for advertisement and not getting anything from it).

Several threads have appeared on website like 4chan, 8chan and on some Reddit subs, encouraging users to download these programs and join in the fight:

From the wall street journal:

In the past few weeks, the Alphabet Inc. unit (Google’s parent company) has informed hundreds of marketers and ad agency partners about the issue with invalid traffic, known in the industry as “ad fraud.” The ads were bought using the company’s DoubleClick Bid Manager over the course of a few months this year, primarily in the second quarter.

Scott Spencer, director of product management for Google, acknowledged that refunds have been paid, but he declined to provide a dollar figure for the amount being returned. Some ad buyers said the refund amounts range from “less money than you would spend on a sandwich” to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Google  4chan  Trolls  Advertising  db 
23 days ago by walt74
The Online Radicalization We’re Not Talking About
When you hear the word radicalization, what usually comes to mind is young people turning to Islamic fundamentalism. The internet has proven to be an effective platform for radicalization of this kind; ISIS has a host of YouTube channels, chat rooms, and Twitter accounts that are extremely effective at channeling the energy of disaffected and disenfranchised young people.

But the far right is doing virtually the same thing — and possibly even more effectively. In fact, a recent study shows that white-supremacist Twitter accounts have increased more than 600 percent since 2012, and outperform ISIS accounts by every possible metric. We’ve already seen the violence that can emerge from this trend: Dylann Roof and Elliot Rodger were both radicalized in online far-right communities before their respective shootings.

For the last six months, we’ve been researching how far-right groups, such as the alt-right, white nationalists, and men’s-rights activists manipulate the mainstream media to amplify their ideas and shape news narratives to their advantage. (You can read the report we produced here.) These communities gather on boards like 4chan and the Reddit clone Voat, where they collaboratively develop ideas and draw up messaging strategies. Then they use Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to popularize hashtags, spread talking points, and boost news stories coming from their favorite media figures.

A successful story is one that moves from far-right sites like Breitbart and Infowars to mainstream newspapers or cable news. If you’ve read this week’s conspiracy-mongering stories about the supposedly suspicious death of DNC employee Seth Rich — or if you’ve read in the past about the rise of White Student Unions on college campuses, or “Pizzagate” — you’ve seen the fruits of their efforts.

As internet and media scholars, we began this project focused on media manipulation and the spread of misinformation. But as we delved into these spaces, we noticed that one of the biggest trends taking place had been flying under the radar. And that is far-right radicalization.

They don’t call it radicalization, of course. They call it “taking the red pill.” This metaphor comes from The Matrix, where the protagonist, Neo, is offered a red pill or a blue pill by his mentor Morpheus. If Neo takes the blue pill, he goes back to his cubicle-dwelling, workaday life. If he takes the red pill, the reality of the Matrix is revealed to him.

“Red-pilling the normies” is a primary goal of far-right movements. They want to convert people — especially young men — to their way of thinking. What the red pill actually reveals depends on who’s offering it. To men’s-rights activists, being red-pilled means throwing off the yoke of popular feminism and recognizing that men, not women, are the oppressed group. To the alt-right, it means revealing the lies behind multiculturalism and globalism, and realizing the truth of isolationist nationalism. To conspiracy theorists, it may mean accepting the influence of the New World Order on society. To white supremacists, it means acknowledging that Jewish elites control the culture and are accelerating the destruction of the white race. Red-pilling is the far-right equivalent of consciousness-raising or, in today’s lingo, becoming “woke.”

The far right plays on a much broader dislike of “political correctness” among many young men who feel alienated from mainstream culture. These men may have a hard time finding like-minded friends in their day-to-day lives, or connecting with romantic partners. Some have economic challenges, and refer to themselves as “NEETS,” an acronym for “Not in Education, Employment, or Training.” As a result, they are often very resistant to the idea of “male privilege” or “white privilege,” as they don’t recognize themselves as privileged. In fact, they may see what economic and social capital they do have slipping away. These disillusioned men are perfect targets for radicalization, and it’s a surprisingly short leap from rejecting political correctness to blaming women, immigrants, or Muslims for their problems.

Thanks to the internet, these men are more accessible to the manipulations of extremists than ever before. Like radical Islamists, the far right has developed strategies that exploit the sweet spot between disillusionment and extremism. One of their main tactics is purposely diluting their most extreme views to woo a broader audience. The neo-Nazi blog the Daily Stormer hosts a “memetic Monday,” where community members create image macros designed to be shared on Facebook and Twitter; these images, which espouse ideas from the openly racist to the mainstream conservative, function as “gateway drugs” to more radical ideas.

It helps that the extremists are also extremely adept at making their ideas palatable, by using irony and humor. Internet trolls have been using racist and sexist language as a shock tactic for years, giving it a veneer of edgy irreverence. Actual hate groups can draw people in using humor, while also normalizing their most extreme ideas.

What concerns us most is that this radicalization seems to be spreading across the internet — and once groups have been red-pilled on one issue, they’re likely to be open to other extremist ideas. Online cultures that used to be relatively nonpolitical are beginning to seethe with racially charged anger. Some sci-fi, fandom, and gaming communities — having accepted run-of-the-mill anti-feminism — are beginning to espouse white-nationalist ideas. “Ironic” Nazi iconography and hateful epithets are becoming serious expressions of anti-Semitism.

Countering the burgeoning far-right extremism is difficult. Extremists may be using new technologies, but any effective response will require tackling long-standing racist, xenophobic, and anti-Semitic beliefs. The movement is intrinsically linked to misogyny and investments in traditional masculinity, which aren’t disappearing anytime soon.

However, given the similarities between far-right and Islamic radicalization, it’s worth examining the efforts by political scientists and counterterrorism experts to combat the latter. They recommend staying away from heavy content moderation (which fuels accusations of censorship), and instead crafting and spreading messages that speak to young men’s alienation and disenfranchisement, without using scapegoats. Since criticism from the mainstream media — or worse, the left — is easy to dismiss out of hand, former far-right extremists who’ve since rejected the red pill can be enlisted to provide counterexamples and point out inconsistencies in extremist worldviews.

This is a hard problem, but it needs to be examined head-on. Despite the clever memes and the shock content, embracing far-right beliefs isn’t edgy or rebellious or funny. It’s simply continuing a disgraceful and all-too-current thread of American history. And we must recognize it in order to effectively confront it.
Right  AltRight  Language  db  Trolls  4chan 
25 days ago by walt74
Hasskommentare: Ansichten eines Trolls
Peter Kaufmann will erzählen, was er getan hat. Es gibt nur ein Problem: Es könnte ihm die Zukunft versauen. Und seine Zukunft ist sehr lang, er ist erst 18 Jahre alt.

Kaufmann war bis vor Kurzem als Vulture im Internet unterwegs. Klingt wie der Bösewicht aus einem Comicbuch. Er sagt, der Name bedeute ihm nichts mehr, er habe ihn abgelegt. Aber was Vulture ins Internet geschrieben hat, ist noch da.

Zum Beispiel: "Deutsche Politiker sind alle Schwächlinge, ohne Respekt für Land, Geschichte oder Volk." Oder: "Ich rede nicht mehr mit Kakerlaken-Arabern. Saudis, Kataris und alle Menschen in den Vereinigten Arabischen Emiraten müssen umgebracht werden, damit die Welt ein besserer Ort wird."

Kaufmann fährt mit seinem roten Rover auf den Parkplatz eines Rewe-Supermarktes in der Nähe von Hannover. Es ist Nachmittag, nur wenige Leute gehen einkaufen. Aus dem Wagen steigt ein junger Mann, groß, ganz in Schwarz gekleidet. Er läuft langsam über den Parkplatz und lächelt: "Schön, dass du gekommen bist."

Kaufmann wohnt in einem Reihenhaus bei seinen Eltern. Aber er will sein Zuhause nicht zeigen. Er will um keinen Preis erkannt werden. Kaufmann ist nicht sein richtiger Name. Den will er nicht in der Zeitung sehen, ebenso wenig wie den Namen, den er im Netz verwendet hat. Er fürchtet, man könne auf seine Identität schließen. Das könnte ihm Probleme bereiten. Bald macht er Abitur – und will danach nicht als bekannter Hassprediger an die Uni gehen.

Peter Kaufmann war ein Troll. So nennt man im Internet Leute, deren einziges Ziel es ist, zu provozieren. Ein Troll erfreut sich am Leid anderer, an deren Trauer und Zorn. Deswegen tut er alles, um diese Gefühle in Menschen hervorzubringen: hetzen, beleidigen, Lügen verbreiten.

Seit einiger Zeit spielen Trolle auch in der Politik eine immer größere Rolle. Vor allem, seitdem über Politik so heftig gestritten wird wie lange nicht mehr. Und seitdem mit Donald Trump ein Meisterprovokateur Präsident ist. Es gibt sogar Leute, die behaupten, Trolle hätten Trump ins Weiße Haus gebracht. Kaufmann sagt, er habe zumindest seinen Teil dazu beigetragen.

Kaufmann bietet an, in ein Café in der Nähe zu fahren. Dort könne man in Ruhe reden. Und das will er ja, erzählen von dem, was er getan hat, von der Szene, in die er eingetaucht ist. Nichts an ihm wirkt aggressiv. Man kann sich kaum vorstellen, wie er die Dinge laut ausspricht, die er ins Netz geschrieben hat.

"Typisch Jude."

"Entspann dich nie, wenn Schwarze in der Nähe sind."

Wenn man Kaufmann fragt, warum er diese Dinge getan hat, sagt er immer nur eins: Hass. Er habe so viel Hass empfunden – und irgendwo hätte der hingemusst. Woher diese Gefühle kamen, weiß er nicht. Eine etwas schwache Erklärung, einerseits. Andererseits: Welcher Teenager weiß genau, woher seine Gefühle kommen?

Die Botschaft war immer gleich: Schuld sind die Schwarzen, die Flüchtlinge

Kaufmann sagt, er habe heute keine "rassistische Veranlagung" mehr. Als wäre Rassismus ein Schnupfen, der vorübergeht. Vor der Flüchtlingskrise war Kaufmann nicht sonderlich politisch. Er war damals 17 und bekam Angst vor den "Wellen an Menschen" und vor "dem Islam". Verunsichert suchte er Antworten dort, wo er immer alle Informationen hernahm, in Internetforen. Früher las er nur über Technik oder Software. Jetzt besuchte er zum ersten Mal die Politikforen.

In den Politikforen mit kryptischen Namen wie 4chan und 8chan hat sich schon seit Jahren ein eigener Diskurs gebildet. Weit abseits dessen, was in der Presse diskutiert wird, hasserfüllt gegenüber der herrschenden Politik und deren Personal. 4chan und 8chan sind so etwas wie die Hinterhöfe des Internets; Diskussionsforen, in denen die User anonym unterwegs sind, simpel gebaute Webseiten, auf denen man Kommentare schreiben und Bilder teilen kann, ohne Moderatoren, ohne Standards. Für manche Nutzer sind diese Seiten das wahre Internet. "Hier darf man sagen, was woanders verpönt ist", sagt Kaufmann. Fremdenfeindlichkeit, Frauenhass, Antiglobalismus sind weitverbreitet.

Den Hass verstärken

In Amerika wird diese Bewegung, diese Ansammlung von anonymen Internetnutzern, unter dem Begriff Alt-Right zusammengefasst. Seit sie mit ihrer Unterstützung für Donald Trump auf sich aufmerksam gemacht hat, ist sie auch in Deutschland ein Begriff. Das liebste Medium der Alt-Right ist die Nachrichtenseite Breitbart. Deren ehemaliger Chef Stephen Bannon ist Trumps wichtigster Berater.

Die Alt-Right besteht zum großen Teil aus Trollen. Sie versuchen den politischen Diskurs dort zu beeinflussen, wo sie es können: im Internet, auf Twitter und Facebook. Dafür haben sie ihre eigenen Methoden und Strategien. Kaufmann verbrachte Stunden in den Foren der Alt-Right, las immer mehr. Diese Masseneinwanderung an Menschen "kann kein Zufall sein", denkt er. Jemand muss sie "ausgelöst haben". Und zwar mit einer bestimmten Absicht.

Schnell stößt Kaufmann auf ein Video namens With Open Gates. Darin sind Nachrichtenbilder mit Videoaufnahmen von Salafisten zusammengeschnitten, zum Teil vollkommen unzusammenhängende Szenen, unterlegt mit bedrohlicher Musik. Nach 20 Minuten entsteht der Eindruck, dass vor allem männliche Muslime wie eine Armee nach Europa ziehen, um die Bevölkerung dort auszulöschen. "Eure Töchter werden Kopftuch tragen", sagt ein Mann im Video.

In den Foren der Alt-Right gilt dieses Video als Meisterwerk. Es wurde mehrere Millionen Male gesehen. Kaufmann war von der Wirkung des Films fasziniert. Er fertigte ein Skript an und übersetzte es auf Deutsch – um die Reichweite des Videos zu erhöhen. Dabei ahnte Kaufmann schon, dass das Video ein Fake sei. Aber er wollte es dennoch verbreiten. Um den Hass zu verstärken.

Wie man das am besten anstellt, lernte er von seinen anonymen Kameraden in den rechten Foren. Kaufmann erstellte Infografiken, vollgepackt mit Kriminalstatistiken. Deren Botschaft war immer gleich: Schuld sind die Schwarzen, die Ausländer, die Flüchtlinge.

Das nenne man "Strohmannprinzip", erklärt Kaufmann. Man nimmt sich ein einzelnes Ereignis, wie die Silvesternacht in Köln 2015, verallgemeinert es – und schon sind alle Flüchtlinge Vergewaltiger. Man teilt es im Netz und muss nur noch zusehen, wie sich die Gedanken verbreiten. Nach dem Prinzip: "Glaub es, oder mach dir die Mühe, die Informationen zu überprüfen." Meistens entscheiden sich die Leute für: glauben.

Aber die Königsdisziplin der Alt-Right-Propaganda ist Humor. Nicht echter Humor, sarkastischer, subversiver Humor. In Form von sogenannten Memes.

Der Evolutionsbiologe Richard Dawkins prägte den Begriff 1976. Er versuchte, die Evolutionstheorie auf die Kultur zu übertragen. Er nennt Memes Bewusstseinsinhalte, die von Mensch zu Mensch weitergegeben, die abgeändert und weiterentwickelt werden. Im Internet sind Memes meist Slogans oder mit einer Überschrift versehene Bilder, die eine unterschwellige Botschaft enthalten. Sie können sich rasend schnell verbreiten und von jedermann verändert werden. Auch Kaufmann bastelte solche Memes. Pro-Trump-Memes.

Die Alt-Right benutzt Memes, um rassistische und antifeministische Inhalte im Netz zu teilen. Eines der beliebtesten Memes der Alt-Right ist Pepe, ein grüner Comic-Frosch. Sie setzen ihn gerne in einen fremdenfeindlichen Kontext. Trump selbst retweetete ein Bild von sich als Pepe. Auch Trumps Sohn und ein Berater teilten den Frosch. Das Perfide ist: Versucht man ein Meme zu entlarven, wirkt man schnell arrogant und politisch korrekt. Als würde man den Witz nicht verstehen. Und die Trolle haben immer eine Ausrede: Ist doch nur ein verdammter Frosch.

Große Freude bei den Trollen

Das ist der Weg der Propaganda, von den Foren der Alt-Right in die großen Netzwerke wie Twitter und Facebook. Und da Medien heute darüber berichten, worüber im Internet gesprochen wird, schafft es die Alt-Right auch in die Presse. Als Trump Pepe auf Twitter teilte, warf Clinton ihm vor, ein Symbol des Hasses zu verbreiten. Die Medien berichteten darüber – und die Freude bei den Trollen war groß.

Aber wozu? Was ist das Ziel? Die Trolle der Alt-Right haben keine Ideologie, keine Programme. Ihr einziges Ziel, sagt Kaufmann, sei "eine andere Welt". Sie eint die Verachtung für Politiker und "Mainstream"-Medien. Deswegen verbreiten sie Lügen und stiften Verwirrung. Alles, was den Status quo beschädigt, ist gut.

Einer seiner schönsten Tage als Troll sei der 24. Juni 2016 gewesen, sagt Kaufmann. Der Morgen, nachdem Großbritannien für den Brexit gestimmt hatte. "Das war ein sehr, sehr angenehmer Moment." Im Netz erfreute er sich an den geschockten Reaktionen der Leute. Und als dann noch Sigmar Gabriel mit "seiner Schwabbelfresse" vor die Kameras trat und von einem "schlechten Tag für Europa" sprach, da war die Freude komplett. "BTFO".

BTFO steht für "Blow The Fuck Out". Das ist das Ziel der Trolle. Die Zerstörung der herrschenden Verhältnisse. Der Brexit war so ein Ereignis, die Wahl Trumps. Aber was kommt als Nächstes?

Ganz langsam kommen die Methoden der Alt-Right auch nach Deutschland. Die Identitäre Bewegung, die AfD und ihre Jugendorganisation nutzen Memes wie Pepe bereits in den sozialen Netzwerken. Auf ihrer Facebook-Seite zeigt die Junge Alternative (JA) Pepe vor einem Zaun mit der Aufschrift "gebaut im Jahr 2018". Dahinter stehen zwei offensichtlich muslimische Menschen, die weinen. Als ein User das Bild geschmacklos nennt, reagiert die JA mit einem Satz: "Ein verdammter Frosch."

Inzwischen ist es dunkel geworden, Kaufmann läuft zurück zu seinem Auto. Die Alt-Right ziehe einen speziellen Typ Mensch an, sagt er. "Alt-Righter sind gelangweilt, verzweifelt oder suchen einfach einen Kick. Es gibt ganz wenige, die sich wirklich politisch engagieren würden."

Die Alt-Righter seien zum Teil "total unsichere Leute", sagt Kaufmann. Und er war einer von ihnen. Vielleicht liegt darin die Ursache für den Hass, dieses Gefühl, das sein Leben angeblich so dominierte. Zuerst die Wut auf … [more]
Trolls  4chan  Pepe  Memetics  db 
27 days ago by walt74
MSNBC's "Kekistan: A Rising Internet Threat"
This recent special report aired on MSNBC. Entitled, "Kekistan: A Rising Internet Threat" MSNBC attempts to slander and expose the Kekistani people and gets just about everything wrong.

dv  Trolls  4chan  Sargon  Kekistan 
27 days ago by walt74
The Triumph of the Shruggie: Why Ambivalence Dominates the Internet
The Ambivalent Internet is a study of online culture grounded in folklore, the unruly yet deeply traditional medium through which stories, much like memes, are passed down and permitted to evolve with every retelling.

Authors Ryan Milner and Whitney Phillips, Assistant Professors of Communications and Literary Studies, delve into storytelling from creepypasta to Xeroxlore, from Harambe to Hulk Hogan. Woven throughout is the theme of linguistic ambiguity: whether we mean what we say online, and if not, then what else might we be implying?

I spoke to Phillips over Skype. An assistant professor at Mercer University, Georgia, she previously wrote This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things, a study of trolling and its cultural background in which she went undercover on 4chan for years to research and write.

"Folklore has so many tools which are perfect for describing 'moving' behaviour [such as] how people interact with each other and how traditions change over time," she said.

What's refreshing about the book is how it treats the internet as a written culture, a tapestry of collaborative fiction. Phillips views social media as a disorderly, ever-evolving canvas which we struggle to define, let alone make sense of: "The tools of online writing allow people to not only bring more meaning to the table, but to create an entirely new thing… People are participating in cultural production, not just responding to it, in highly creative ways. "

Milner and Phillips agreed to hand in their final version of the book the day after the 2016 election: "In a sense the book was written in a different era—the Trump era is it's own thing, even if the concepts discussed in the book are relevant still," she said. Consequently, the text addresses the rise of a particular kind of online bigotry, where ambivalence acts as a veil for hate speech. Journalists struggle to make sense of alt-right "humour," while anyone hurt is accused of being a "sensitive snowflake."

Phillips traces this underlying strand of nihilistic cynicism to trolling communities which emerged post-9/11: In 2003, while wars in Afghanistan and Iraq raged, President Bush advised the public to combat terrorism by going to Disneyland. During this time, 4chan began to develop its signature tone in which nothing but "lulz" mattered.

Eventually, this nihilism was absorbed into certain parts of the mainstream. "Irony and cynicism is baked into the DNA of so much internet culture," Phillips explained. "And the fact that this tone emerged when it did, and remains prevalent even now, at least within certain communities, isn't coincidental—folklore is always a reflection of its time."

4chan's influence reaches its frenzied apex in the book's final chapter, which addresses a video titled "Trump Effect." Heavily influenced by videogame franchise Mass Effect, the clip is an orgy of militaristic hyperbole. We see homeless veterans, a bald eagle in flight while choirs sing. Later there's a cackling Hillary, a somnolent Ben Carson and a shredded American flag, backgrounded by voice of a villainous Martin Sheen. The clip might be satire; it might be a work of fanatical support. Later it was retweeted by Trump himself.

While the book maintains a level of academic distance, Phillips herself is adamantly for sincerity: "That mode of cynicism has not aged well into 2017. It was always bullshit; it's always been a deeply privileged position to take. For those people who are under threat, they don't have the time and space to be ironic. They have no choice but to give a shit."

Phillips believes that change is coming, and that ambivalence can only get us so far: "If this is how we got here, with cynicism and irony, it sure as hell isn't going to be what gets us out. Yes, there's the risk of coming across as mawkish, but what's the alternative?," she said.

Change belongs to those who dare to ask for it: "There is nothing more vulnerable, online, than saying that you care. That takes a certain kind of courage, that cynicism doesn't know anything about."
Books  WhitneyPhillips  4chan  Trolls  db 
29 days ago by walt74
Where Did the Alt-Right Come From? This Book Finds Some Uncomfortable Answers
Over the last few years, a cottage industry has emerged attempting to explain the ascendancy of a new style of far-right politics characterized by a countercultural sensibility and trafficking heavily in memefied versions of the sort of overt racism and sexism long thought to have been banished from the civilized world — an intellectual and political movement that has come to be known as the “alt-right.” While a number of entries into this genre have attempted to uncover the alt-right’s deep ideological roots, Angela Nagle’s newly published book Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-Right makes the alt-right into something both more recent and familiar — a spawn of the internet, as well as a bastard child of the counterculture.

As her subtitle suggests, Nagle’s book places the alt-right within a broader context of the “online culture wars” of the 2000s and 2010s, from which a number of contemporary political currents emerged. Although the alt-right draws somewhat eclectically on European reactionary philosophy and the work of older white nationalists like Jared Taylor, it is, Nagle argues, in many ways a thorough product of the 21st century. Much of the movement’s sensibility, characterized by a taste for anonymous and often abusive pranksterism wrapped in dense layers of self-protective irony, originated in 4chan’s anarchic /pol/ and /b/ forums, while many of its characteristic ideas about gender — intense anti-feminism; a disillusioned view of sex; and a preoccupation with male sexual hierarchies — were ported over from “Manosphere” hangouts such as r/TheRedPill and Return of Kings, themselves offshoots of mid-2000s pick-up-artist culture. Nagle also distinguishes between the alt-right proper — open white-nationalists like Richard Spencer as well as mostly anonymous 4chan and Twitter users — and the “alt-light,” a rogue’s gallery of trolls and media manipulators such as Mike Cernovich and Milo Yiannopoulos, who act as the movement’s bridge to the mainstream while attempting, usually unconvincingly, to play down its hard edges.

Of course, to say that the alt-right is a recent creation is not to say it is sui generis. In terms of explicit intellectual influences, Nagle points to Nietzsche, the Italian fascist Julius Evola, and French New Right theorist Alain de Benoist, among others. But her book is a welcome rejoinder to the common-enough notion that the alt-right has merely repackaged old or discredited ideas about race and masculinity in a newer, edgier form. There is some of that, especially in the revival of intellectual anti-Semitism, yet Nagle is also sensitive to the fact that not only are the alt-right’s outward cultural signifiers of recent origin, so too are many of the particular social pathologies that have contributed to its rise, including social isolation, millennials’ perpetually extended adolescence, the Darwinian dating world fostered by Tinder, and a general lack of meaning in life. (Nagle doesn’t make this explicit, but it is no surprise that many of the alt-right’s favorite thinkers tend to denigrate materialism and advocate a return to the transcendent and spiritual.)

Nagle’s origin story here will be familiar to people who have followed the alt-right — Rosie Gray, David Auerbach, and others have long pinpointed its debt to chan and Reddit culture. Yet more than most writers on this issue, Nagle’s account of the alt-right puts a heavy emphasis on the extent to which it emerged alongside, and defined itself in opposition to, an analogous left-wing subculture that over the last five years came to exert a powerful influence in online political discourse. This subculture, which Nagle calls “Tumblr liberalism” but whose members are better known by the pejorative term “social justice warriors,” developed on Tumblr, social media, and in certain sections of the academy before spilling out into the mainstream during the late Obama years, thanks in part to signal boosts from websites like Salon, Upworthy, and BuzzFeed. Nagle’s book is as much a polemic against the unforced errors committed by this brand of left politics as it is an assault on the new right, which, for the unconverted at any rate, tends to discredit itself.

Tumblr liberalism, as Nagle calls it, had a number of strange outward markers, including hyperconstructionist gender politics, a fixation on pop culture, and a penchant for the public call-out. It became most famous, however, for something with the evocative name of “crybullying,” or, in Nagle’s words, a “culture of fragility and victimhood mixed with a vicious culture of group attacks, group shaming, and attempts to destroy the reputations and lives of others within their political milieu.” Nagle gives a number of examples of crybullying in action, many of which will be familiar to those who spend a lot of time reading about politics online. Perhaps the most indicative example, although it isn’t mentioned by Nagle, was the cringeworthy “Jacobinghazi” scandal, in which Megan Erickson, a female editor of the socialist magazine Jacobin, was hounded for being a “rape apologist” (an accusation that made it into Newsweek) after defending one of her authors from the baseless charge of having mocked another writer’s rape threats.

Like the alt-right, this brand of leftism was primarily a creature of the Internet and social media, with its most vocal supporters and critics concentrated among the young, the college-educated, and those working in the media and the academy — a small but influential population that exerts a heavy influence on the shape of online discourse. Originally, this worked to make certain pathological tendencies seem more widespread than they actually were — sectarian fights that a generation ago would have been fought out in the offices of small magazines were now out in the open for all to see. But once the pattern of destructive behavior had been established, the alt-right, realizing the propaganda value of such left-wing hysteria, did what it could to amplify it, as seen with Milo Yiannopoulos’s “Dangerous Faggot” campus-speaking tour and the riots it provoked in Berkeley.

Nagle, of course, is herself on the political left, and Kill All Normies reflects her frustrations with intra-left political disputes of the last five years, which have tended to pit identitarians against a more explicitly socialist left. At one level, Nagle suggests that there was a symbiosis between the social-justice left and the alt-right: The left’s tendency to focus on racial and sexual identity while explicitly demonizing privileged groups — notably straight white men — may have pushed members of these groups into the arms of the alt-right, while the stronger the alt-right became, the more it confirmed the social-justice left in the belief that its critics, even those on the left, were either Nazis or Nazis’ useful idiots. But aside from such direct symbiosis, Nagle suspects — rightly in my view — that the real damage of the “Tumblrization of left-politics” may have been to spur a “brain drain from the left,” as people fled from a political brand increasingly associated with hysteria, witch-hunting, and intolerance of dissent. She writes in her conclusion that the left’s “embarrassing and toxic online politics” have made it “a laughing stock for a whole new generation” — a dynamic typified by the recent student protests at Evergreen State, which, to outsiders at least, look totally insane.

Nagle’s criticisms of the left are harsh and will no doubt anger some, but they will also find grateful readers, especially in segments of the left where frustration with the Tumblr liberals has been bubbling under the surface for some time now. Yet aside from her account of the online culture wars, there is another, deeper line of argument running through Kill All Normies that is both more radical and more conservative than most critics seem to have noticed. In addition to tracing the alt-right’s conservative and reactionary predecessors, Nagle makes an intriguing connection between its nihilistic, transgressive sensibility and the antinomian creed of aestheticized revolt characteristic of the modernist avant-garde and, more importantly, the New Left counterculture that arose in the 1960s, and which still exerts a heavy influence on contemporary thought.

Building on Joy Press and Simon Reynolds’s work in The Sex Revolts, Nagle traces this sensibility from its roots in the Marquis de Sade and Nietzsche to its explosion in the youth movements of the 1960s, noting how the basic form of revolt — transgression against the dominant morality for its own sake — stays the same even as the nominally “left” or “right” political content changes depending on the morality it rebels against. When the dominant morality was that of the white Christian America of the 1950s or even the moral majority of the 1970s, transgression assumed a progressive air. Yet in the last two decades or so, the moral code preached by the commanding heights of American culture has been a sort of neutered Baby Boomer liberalism, one that champions multicultural tolerance, a soft, health-conscious hedonism, and the entrepreneurial spirit — a marriage between ‘60s social progressivism and the conservative economic turn of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Many of the values of the alt-right, including its ethno-nationalism, slacker shitposting ethic, and antipathy to the sexual revolution are best understood as negations of this progressive status quo.

For Nagle, this is not a coincidence but rather the logical culmination of elevating transgressive revolt to the status of a value in itself. (Not coincidentally, given the alt-right’s misogyny, moral conformity is often gendered as feminine — a sort of overbearing mother against which real men must rebel.) Channeling Christopher Lasch, she writes that “for progressive politics … [more]
Books  AngelaNagle  4chan  AltRight  db 
4 weeks ago by walt74
The untold origins of Gamergate — and the gaming legends who spawned the modern culture of abuse
Jade Raymond was, in some sense, the first casualty.

As producer of Ubisoft's Assassin’s Creed, Raymond seemed omnipresent in 2007. Creed marked the beginning of an exciting new gaming franchise with a woman in its driver’s seat, and the industry became obsessed with both. Then a comic circulated on the infamous forum SomethingAwful, a haven of internet and gamer culture at the time, that depicted Raymond in a series of degrading, pornographic situations.

A dream, or maybe just a delusion, died in that moment. Looking back, you can see it happen in MTV's 2007 interview with designer Brenda Romero (formerly Brathwaite), during which she learns mid-conversation about the Raymond comic. Up to that point, she's upbeat about the treatment of women in the industry, which she calls “a fairly liberal, hip place” wherein gender is mostly irrelevant.

After hearing Raymond's story, Romero is clearly shaken. She starts to recall the many, smaller instances of gamer culture's mistreatment of women. She starts to watch her words, self-conscious that her comments could spark “some sort of horrible comic.” Romero has been active in games longer than most other women in the public eye (she started on Wizardry in 1981), but here she encounters something new. Later, she pauses to add, “I'm still really shocked by that comic. That's still just amazing.”

That December, Wired’s Earnest Cavalli verbalized the feelings of many in the industry. “I’d like to think the internet isn’t comprised almost entirely of 14-year-old misanthropes,” he wrote, “but based on the unmentionable events surrounding [Assassin’s Creed], I could be wrong.”

Inventing the internet

In the aftermath of Gamergate — a coordinated harassment campaign disguised as a crusade for “ethics in gaming journalism” — it’s tempting to see the treatment of Jade Raymond, and that of so many women since, as the industry's norm. Maybe women were never welcome in gaming. Maybe being visible always meant being in danger.

The start of this problem is more recent than you might imagine.

Today, most people probably aren’t familiar with Old Man Murray, a gaming and humor website that ran from 1997 to 2002. Its writers and founders may ring a bell, though, as the creative minds behind some of the industry's most critically acclaimed games. Erik Wolpaw was a writer for Psychonauts, Portal 1, and Portal 2. Chet Faliszek was a writer on Left 4 Dead and Portal 1-2. Together, they “invented the internet,” as Scott Pilgrim author Bryan Lee O’Malley put it.

His statement comes from a 2011 feature in UK-based gaming blog Rock, Paper, Shotgun about Old Man Murray. Senior editor John Walker brought together a who's-who list of industry luminaries in praise of Wolpaw's and Faliszek's work. Gabe Newell, co-founder and president of video game developer and distributor the Valve corporation, compares the duo to the Velvet Underground. Author and journalist Kieron Gillen notes that “anyone in a generation of writers worth giving a fuck about worshipped them.” That's only the beginning. Everyone present respects them, and most agree that Old Man Murray (or, more commonly, OMM) helped create the caustic, sarcastic, irreverent soul of gamer and internet culture.

From this praise, OMM may sound like just another Penny Arcade, the long-running (and controversial) gamer comic by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik. That isn’t exactly accurate. For example, in 2000, Erik Wolpaw wrote this for the site:

"Weeks and weeks ago — just after the first photos of me hit the internet thanks to famous state and federal job retraining candidate Paul Steed — a concerned female reader wrote in and declared, 'I thought you'd be better looking.' Of course, my sympathies go out to her, her family, the men who pay her for sex and her smelly dried-up fucking abortion vent."
That line was standard fare for Wolpaw and Faliszek, whose brand of “comedy” was horrendous misbehavior thinly veiled as irony — a tactic now commonly associated with the fever swamps of 4chan, Gamergate and the alt-right.

Old Man Murray popularized the anything-goes nihilism of internet culture, as several in the Rock, Paper, Shotgun piece attest. Search the site's archives, which are still live, and you’ll find a sea of “ironic” Nazi humor (“this way to the gas chamber, retardeds!”), porn, wild-eyed anarchism, disability jokes (like creating a flashing webpage for “the little epileptic Japanese boy or girl inside us all”), racial slurs “I’m Chet and this is my partner and 4-life nigga erik”) and cracks about child abuse. None of this even scratches the surface. Look for yourself, if you're curious.

Of it all, though, the “ironic” misogyny is perhaps most startling. Upon learning in 1999 that Stevie Case, the famous cyberathlete, would be doing a Playboy shoot, Wolpaw (around 32 years old at the time) offered this suggestion:

"Since Stevie's obviously aware that 'Playboy' is primarily a masturbation tool for men, I hope she won't feel any less empowered when I respectfully request she include a few shots of her ass. And if she could make sure that her ass is glistening with sweat or water from a hose, that would be great."
After a string of paragraphs more obscene than this one, Wolpaw included a pornographic image with Case's face digitally edited onto it.

Old Man Murray’s influence is a rare link between ourselves and the internet of the 1990s.

Wolpaw and Faliszek were idolized by SomethingAwful, 4chan and the other dark reaches of the web. As Joel Johnson of Kotaku put it in 2011, the duo's “willful, ironic troglodytism was aped by internet idiots for years, but without the brilliance.” (Where or what the brilliance was remains a mystery.)

Through OMM and its notorious offshoot shock site Portal of Evil (which Faliszek managed until 2011, and which can be seen as the template for later ridicule boards like /r/fatpeoplehate), the pair pioneered internet shock-jockery, reveling in and spreading the most disgusting, heinous content possible. Under the guise of irony, they built an online culture that would later, without any involvement from them, produce the Raymond comic at SomethingAwful — an echo of OMM’s own “satirical” abuse of Stevie Case and others.

In Twitter's plague of frog-avatar trolls, and even in popular YouTube bigotry artists like JonTron, we can see this culture continuing today. The goal has always been offense. Those offended are simply “too sensitive,” and any attempt made to improve the discourse is “censorship.”

And yet, in all my research for this article and all my years online, I have never come across anyone who hated Old Man Murray. In gaming, it is the most sacred of sacred cows, the still-beating heart of the industry's culture. Many of its fans are today clean-cut and respectable, but OMM remains present as background noise in their work.

In gaming, Old Man Murray is the most sacred of sacred cows, the still-beating heart of the industry’s culture.
In 2016, gaming personality Justin McElroy called OMM the best gaming site of all time. Revered game designer Jonathan Blow has hailed it as the “premier voice for game criticism.” John Walker said in 2011, “Every time I read the archives I’m reminded how poor a job I’m doing, and what it is I should be striving for.” And so on.

The site’s core appeal was its populism. Earlier game journalism, particularly in America, “tended to take a slightly clinical, Consumer Reports approach to reviews,” as writer Shamus Young once put it. This fit uneasily with the informal, aggressive culture slowly beginning to form around more violent games like Quake (1996). Young, echoing many in the Rock, Paper, Shotgun feature, argued that Old Man Murray “more closely reflected how players actually felt” than the so-called professional reviewers had managed.

We have the benefit of hindsight: we know how populism ends. If Walker and the rest are Old Man Murray’s respectable descendants, Gamergate is more akin to the site’s acid reflux. The misanthropic 15-year-olds who devoured Grand Theft Auto III when it launched — that game being an artifact of Old Man Murray (and British lad) culture — are 31 now. The angry, entitled “Chocolate Milk Kids” of the early 2000s are grown adults in 2017.

Such people have spent their lives in a gamer culture rallied and given shape by Old Man Murray, and it contains only two rules: anything goes and nothing matters.

They're forever Internet anarchists, railing to this day against stand-ins for Mom and Dad — and still demanding another hour of Soldier of Fortune 2 or some other blood-soaked shooter.

I reached out to both Faliszek and Wolpaw in preparation for this article. When I asked Faliszek about his take on Old Man Murray’s impact on gamer culture, he responded, “We don’t really talk about it much anymore. It’s a bit of history on its own at this point.” To my follow-up questions — regarding the way his site cut a path for Gamergate, and whether he had come to regret OMM’s influence — he offered no reply. Wolpaw did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

The (better) old days

It’s important to remember that there's a reason Raymond's harassment surprised Brenda Romero in 2007. The culture I've described above was, more than anything, an attack on a pre-existing order within computer games.

In the ’80s and early ’90s, one of the best-known and best-loved game designers was Roberta Williams, creator of King's Quest. The undisputed top critic in gaming was a woman writing under the pseudonym Scorpia. In Britain, Anita Sinclair's company Magnetic Scrolls was a household name; in France, Muriel Tramis rewrote the book on what games could be.

Countless examples exist of women's enormous involvement during this period. Williams and Scorpia and others, many years later, said they’d never … [more]
Gamergate  SomethingAwful  4chan  db 
4 weeks ago by walt74

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