Here we go again. People are arguing that “subscribe to Pewdiepie” and flashing the OK sign are not Nazi signifiers. They’re half right. Pewdiepie is not a Nazi; he’s a Nazi stooge. Likewise, all those photos of idiots giving the OK sign to ‘trigger the libs’ aren’t literal Nazis, they’re just idiot Nazi enablers. Here’s a useful explainer from some asshole on one of the chans:
How am I not surprised. pic.twitter.com/QBaQD7J2kw
— conservative art and other terrible stuff. (@BadConservart) March 17, 2019
By the way, if you try to argue that you “simply enjoy Pewdiepie’s content”, which is stupid, repetitive, unoriginal, and obnoxious, I already have grounds to call you a liar.
They think it’s all a game, but they also know what they’re doing. Amanda Marcotte gets it.
Racism is no longer “ironic” when the racists are murdering people. It’s not just “trolling” when you shoot dozens of people in the head.
The fact that Brenton Tarrant is likely a mass murderer doesn’t mean he’s not a troll, however. He is both. He livestreamed his killing spree and posted an online manifesto that is stuffed full of alt-right memes and inside jokes, making it quite clear that one of his main goals in murdering all those people was, in internet parlance, “the lulz.” Messing with the libs is what trolls like Tarrant live for, and it turns out that nothing messes with people’s heads quite like mass murder.
The fascist strategy works this way: You “shroud your sincere ideas in cartoon characters and memes and then, when called out, you mock your accuser for being a clueless normie who isn’t in on the joke,” as vlogger Natalie Wynn explained in her indispensable video “Decrypting the Alt-Right,” released after the Charlottesville riot in 2017.
Another familiar term for this is gaslighting. They are playing with your head: they endorse atrocities right in front of you, and then deny that that’s what they’re doing. And then they commit atrocities and try the same game of plausible deniability, except it’s no longer plausible. It’s no longer funny in any sense if you’re trying to publicly show sympathy for a movement that murders innocents.
This is why, even though the era of the OK sign as a troll may be over, the larger dynamic behind it is still in effect. Public figures will make gestures of sympathy with white nationalism and then deny that’s what they’re doing. Journalists, unable to read their thoughts and prove they’re lying, are stuck over and over again having to write, “Well, there’s no way to know for certain.”
Perhaps after this debacle folks in mainstream media will be a little less quick to mock leftists for believing that people on the right are using symbols and other coded gestures to signal their sympathy for a toxic and hateful cause.
Also note that HBomberGuy pointed this out over a two years ago. Figure it out, people. It’s past due.
You’re in a group photo where everyone is making the OK gesture? Don’t try to laugh it off. All I’m going to say is “Fuck you.”