A fascinating long read: as sad as it's troubling and full of hard truths for the left.https://t.co/4yvoNwNCJW
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) February 19, 2017
Well, it’s a useful explainer piece, although I think the author may overstate the self-awareness of his beloved /channers. At Medium, Dale Beran claims “Trump’s younger supporters know he’s an incompetent joke; in fact, that’s why they support him“:
Around 2005 or so a strange link started showing up in my old webcomic’s referral logs. This new site I didn’t understand. It was a bulletin board, but its system of navigation was opaque. Counter intuitively, you had to hit “reply” to read a thread. Moreover, the content was bizarre nonsense.
The site, if you hadn’t guessed, was 4chan.org. It was an offshoot of a different message board which I also knew from my referral logs, “Something Awful”, at the time, an online community of a few hundred nerds who liked comics, video games, and well, nerds things. But unlike boards with similar content, Something Awful skewed toward dark jokes. I had an account at Something Awful, which I used sometimes to post in threads about my comic…
These days, 4chan appears in the news almost weekly. This past week, there were riots at Berkeley in the wake of the scheduled lecture by their most prominent supporter, Milo Yiannopoulos. The week before that neo-Nazi Richard Spencer pointed to his 4chan inspired Pepe the Frog pin, about to explain the significance when an anti-fascist protester punched him in the face. The week before that, 4chan claimed (falsely) it had fabricated the so called Trump “Kompromat”. And the week before that, in the wake of the fire at Ghost Ship, 4chan decided to make war on “liberal safe spaces” and DIY venues across the country.
How did we get here? What is 4chan exactly? And how did a website about anime become the avant garde of the far right? Mixed up with fascist movements, international intrigue, and Trump iconography? How do we interpret it all?
At the very beginning, 4chan met once a year in only one place in the world: Baltimore, Maryland at the anime convention, Otakon. As a nerdy teen growing up in Baltimore in the 90s, I had wandered into Otakon much like I had later wandered into 4chan, just when it was starting. I also attended Otakon in the mid-aughts when 4chan met there, likewise to promote my webcomic.
As someone who has witnessed 4chan grow from a group of adolescent boys who could fit into a single room at my local anime convention to a worldwide coalition of right wing extremists (which is still somehow also a message board about anime), I feel I have some obligation to explain…
All the left’s mockery of Trump served to reinforce his message as not only an outsider, but as an expression of rage, despair, and ultimate pathetic Pepe-style hopelessness.
4chan value system, like Trump’s ideology, is obsessed with masculine competition (and the subsequent humiliation when the competition is lost)… Trump the loser, the outsider, the hot mess, the pathetic joke, embodies this duality. Trump represents both the alpha and the beta. He is a successful person who, as the left often notes, is also the exact opposite — a grotesque loser, sensitive and prideful about his outsider status, ready at the drop of a hat to go on the attack, self-obsessed, selfish, abrogating, unquestioning of his own mansplaining and spreading, so insecure he must assault women. In other words, to paraphrase Truman Capote, he is someone with his nose pressed so hard up against the glass he looks ridiculous. And for this reason, (because he knows he is substanceless) he must constantly re-affirm his own ego. Or as Errol Morris put it, quoting Borges, he is a “labyrinth with no center”.
But, what the left doesn’t realize is, this is not a problem for Trump’s supporters, rather, the reason why they support him.
Trump supporters voted for the con-man, the labyrinth with no center, because the labyrinth with no center is how they feel, how they feel the world works around them. A labyrinth with no center is a perfect description of their mother’s basement with a terminal to an endless array of escapist fantasy worlds.
Trump’s bizarre, inconstant, incompetent, embarrassing, ridiculous behavior — what the left (naturally) perceives as his weaknesses — are to his supporters his strengths.
In other words, Trump is 4chan….
Young white facists are attracted to an old white facist. Also, dog bites man.
A Ghost to Most
Old white fascists, too.
Trump has both J. K. Rowling and Stephen King against him. I’m sure he can choose whether to be pursued by wizards or monsters.
Well Anne Laurie, it’s getting worser and worser! Today our local television stations were reporting on fake weather! Fake weather! Calling liquid sunshine rain, they went on to describe how flooding was possible and that tornadoes had torn up some houses in San Antonio. I’m beginning to think that the weather is the enemy of the people!!
I read it I’m not sure what the hard truths are for the Left. Whatever that is.
David ?Canadian Anchor Baby? Koch
Tomorrow belongs to them
I’m trying to visualize Jeff Sessions navigating the series of tubes to reach out to his peeps on 4chan
West of the Rockies (been a while)
Oh, poor Milo… just had his book deal cancelled. Excuse me while I wipe my eyes.
I bet his speaking deals dry up, too.
@West of the Rockies (been a while): Hahahaha.
It’s spreading into the mainstream. Today a colleague who I have known for 4 years as not a bad guy but a little light on self knowledge showed up with a full on fash haircut. And he means it. His motorcycle buddy, also a colleague, enthused at length about harassing liberals in person as ‘melting snowflakes’. As though giving strangers gratuitous shit for having different opinions was some harmless hobby. They’re both gun nuts as well. Like, with a closet full and willingness to talk forever about them.
Neither is a kid (38 and 50). I wouldn’t have predicted this for either of them in a million years but since Trump they’ve gone deeply white nationalist.
@West of the Rockies (been a while):
hopefully he will go back to where he came from
I don’t understand why we need to import wingnuts when we have so many of our own
I’ve heard a variation on this from some talk radio hosts. “The system is broken, both sides are frauds, it will be fun to see how Trump shakes things up. And it’s good that he’s not bogged down knowing all the tradition and minutiae of governmental BS.”
West of the Rockies (been a while)
Yes, I hope he disappears. This should fairly ruin him. A quarter of a million advance is gone and speaking fees of, I’m pretty sure, five or ten K a pop, all goneski. Wah-wah-wah-WAHHHH!
The “F-you boys” are a bog standard GOP voter bloc.
IIRC GOP nomination rules changes allowed their candidate to steamroll the nomination.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
keep in mind the person who made that statement services themselves to cartoons.
@dollared: I took it as an example of how if men can’t use their masculinity for something good they’ll use it for something bad. It’s not a new thing.
Modern industrialized society assumes, and tries to ensure, that we will all be domesticated and meekly serve our owners. What our owners forgot is that there is always a sizable minority of guys who are difficult to domesticate. The classic method of keeping these guys out of everyone else’s hair is to put them somewhere–prison, the assembly line, the military, the frontier–where they can keep busy striving against other guys like themselves. Well, there ain’t no more frontier, the assembly line is in China, the prisons are bursting at the seams, and the all-volunteer military is too domesticated itself to interest these guys in joining. (And I gotta figure out a shorter name for them than These Guys.). If they’re young, black, and poor they join a street gang and keep happily busy warring against the other street gangs, but the rest of them… The closest thing they have to a frontier is the Internet.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
In other words, they are trapped in perpetual childhood before they never when out and played a competitive sport. Instead lurked around computers games were there is ego is mostly stroked by the game itself.
Yet, they could always turn off the computer.
@Enhanced Voting Techniques: It has been my observation that 99% of men never outgrow competition. If they can’t compete themselves, they’ll settle for watching other guys compete. Which is what keeps THE Ohio State University, and many others, in business.
I see no reason why men should outgrow competition, myself. It keeps them happily occupied, and what’s wrong with that?
@Pogonip: So…..what does that tell The Left? Was there something The Left didn’t understand? I just don’t get the connection.
I saw him when he was a guest on Bill Mather. His affect is really strange and his movements seemed herky jerky like someone who had side effects from certain psychotropic drugs. I read a guy with issues and need for attention using outrageousness as a shtick. So boring and predictable once you see the game
Yeah. this LGM writer (vacuumslayer) summed up my own disgust pretty well,
I can easily believe his “but it was sarcasm! I was joking!” defense, it’s still a pretty sick way to joke about the matter, and it makes me sick what kinds of abusive people can get book deals in this country. And into the administration of the national govt. UGH!
Enhanced Voting Techniques
@Pogonip: Nothing, I do it myself. But with these guys its all on some computers without the physical activity of a real sport to use up the adrenaline. That’s why they are so angry and upset all the time. Plus they are scared of physical confrontation with someone since they’ve never done it so they bluff.
@dollared: Well, that was my best guess! The article approached the Left somewhat obliquely. These days the Left is bourgeois so it’s all confusing anyway!
A note: I finished Andrew Robinson’s book. If Hollywood ever comes up with an award for Best Preparation By An Actor, they should call it the Robinson. He did hundreds of pages of backstory on a supporting character.
Also, if anyone remembers Bill Pronzini’s Gun in Cheek, a funny overview of murder mysteries, it’s now available as an e-book. (Also full of typos. Grrr.)
At least we found out what the limits of free speech are for ACU conservatives, underage gay sex.
Their position on underage straight sex is yet to be determined.
@Viva BrisVegas: You got it. But their position on women as sentient human beings capable of consenting or declining to do so is sadly clear.
Ahahahahaha. These guys aren’t the undomesticatables. A disproportionate amount of them are unemployed, live in their parent’s basements and haven’t put 1/100th the effort into bettering themselves that they have into playing
with themselvesvideo games. They owe their very existence to modern society and that domestication. In early times, they either would have had sense beat into them or been removed from the gene pool by starvation, stupidity or predators instead of forced celibacy.
On a more serious note, I found the article valuable in learning more about how these individuals think although I suspect authors closeness to this group might be making him a little too sympathetic when it regards their rejection of liberal thought and embrace of douchebaggery. The big lesson for liberals is one that is commonly known. Combining men, joblessness and no sex is a potentially explosive mixture and unfortunately, it’s a mixture that favors rightwing/leftwing authoritarianism and not a free, diverse, multicultural, prosperous liberaltopia. These shitheads probably aren’t fixable, but we do need to figure out some path to self actualization that would appeal to this group and
get them laidmake them feel important, respected and valued by society. If we don’t, we’ll lose future generations to the same destructive nihilism,
I’ve proposed something here before that, unfortunately, will never, ever happen: starting a new version of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Send these guys out into the backwoods with a compass and some ration bars and have them do stuff like repair remote trails, build ranger/emergency stations, fight fires, etc. It would let them test their physical boundaries and put themselves in danger while doing something productive.
@Mnemosyne: And everyone, including the undomesticated, would be happier and the needed work would get done.
I know ya’ll are busy with your stereotypes, but the large majority of gamers: A) Aren’t male, B) Aren’t 4channers, and C) Lead productive lives. Not even mentioning that cohort is also more rock-solidly liberal than their scolding elders, if repeated surveys mean anything.
Kid hating elds. It never gets fucking old, does it?
This article is specifically about the gamers who *are* maie, 4channers and destructive. They may not be anything like a majority of gamers, but they’re destructive out of proportion to their numbers. They’re reflecting badly on gamerdom while believing they’re policing its boundaries against invaders. The author neglected to mention that this cohort are spiteful, and if they can’t win, will make sure nobody else does either. in other words, core Trump voters.
Basically it’s a backlash against “PC culture” that both the right & Democrats / socially liberal moderates agree is a danger. Lit’s like the old Lenny Bruce bit where school yard gangs learn to cooperate & work together to beat up on the Filipino kids
No One You Know
Gamergate amply demonstrated widespread misogyny in the industry. As for”most gamers aren’t male,” please provide a link.
A good article, but definitely about a minority of Trump voters. Trump lost to Hillary among voters younger than 45, winning among older voters.
“Support for Trump is an acknowledgement that the promise is empty.”
But it also requires a belief that Trump won’t find a way to make things worse.