Saturday, October 14, 2017

Nagle nails it - how the far right trolled the US presidential campaign

Kill All Normies is the book about how internet sub cultures became mainstream and beyond morality trolled, terrorized and harassed anyone who spoke against their candidates. And it might just be the book to read if you wanna know what happened in the 2016 vote on the US presidency.

As the saying goes: the generals allways fight the last war. That might be true also for political experts when they try to understand - and help us voters understand - what's going on amongst voters in the election campaigns. And maybe that's why allmost noone were able to foresee or believe that Donald Trump would actually win first the nomination and then the presidency. 

There they were, the experts, with their statistics, their polls, their segments, their economic figures and so forth. They seemed to have forgotten all about political views, and meanwhile a fight on political views took place elsewhere. On the internet. Or rather in the fringes of the internet, because those who ended up supporting Trump felt left out from the mainstream medias and the campus debates, where nobody wanted to listen to their views. 

Nobody saw them or nobody took them seriously - they didn't care for their concerns out there on the far right.
"But what a few on the left were paying attention to in the years leading up to Trump's election, and really throughout the entire Obama administration, was the alt-light building a multilayered alternative online media empire that would dwarf many of the above [Jacobin, Chapo Trap House, Novaro Media, Current Affair]. This stretched from the white nationalist bloggers in the sparsely populated corners to the charismatic YouTubers and Twitter celebrities in it's more popular form. These included right-wing outsiders such as Steve Bannon who, through building a publication like "Breitbart", became chief strategist to the US president.
YouTube vloggers produced an abundance of popular commentary videos and 'SJW cringe compilations', while alt-light celebrities like Milo [Yiannopoulis] build careers from exposing the absurdities of the kind of Tumblr identity politics that had gone mainstream through listicle sites like Buzzfeed and anti-free speech safe space campus politics. Meanwhile, ironic meme-making adolescent shitposters formed a reserve army of often darkly funny chan-style images-based content producers, who could be easily summoned in moments like gamergate or whenever big figures like Milo needed backup, to swarm and harass their opposition."

As you might note from this quote there's a lot of new concepts to know if you, as I am, is a "lamestream normi". But that is just a part of what is great about Angela Nagle's book. 

As a witty person posted on facebook this is the first 
book cover were both the question and the answer i
on the front. It is not the book I'd read to understand 
what happened in 2016

To be more precise. There were no debate, since the campus-left were busy "no platforming" right wing views trying to fence off any emotional disturbance while confirming eachother in their moral superiority. At the same time the alt-right was doing just the same. If there had been more of a debate, it might have been possible to explain how contradictory the views of the alt-right is. We've tried nationalism and protectionism in Europe. It didn't work. 

"Blood and soil" the nazis and white supremacists are chanting in the streets of Charlottesville followed by a "Make America Great Again". Europe also tried that - twice actually and both times to our ruin. The European borders and nations, as Nagle ironically writes, were build on blood and soil, and the price was high, the United States where build on the idea of liberty and equality and the believe that every human being has a right to pursue his or her own goals in life. That is what originally made America great. And this is not to say that the campus left has understood their history better. They haven't!

If Hillary Clinton had been able to see the right places and analyze the fringes in the American culture war, she might have realized the reviwing of second hand political views was not just a small thing. That the political views of the European past resonated in rather large groups of the US population; who, whether righteously or not - feeled themselves alienated by the post-modern, individualized, and globalized world.  But why should she have looked that way when nobody else did. 

They analyzed and commented on the election of 2016 as they did all other elections. They followed the same movements, polls, surveys etc. as allways. This time, though, the explanatory power was gone.

But Nagle seem to have nailed it. 

* As I'm writing this it seems as if the online culture wars has entered phase two. The alt-right wants to build their own internet, writes April Glaser in Slate.

No comments:

Post a Comment