By Badb Catha
The fire rises!
The current year is looking more and more like a fever dream. The icing on the cake has been the the alt-right’s foray into the world of mainstream chatter, with media and political mouthpieces attempting (and failing) to pin down a movement that defies clear categorisation. What the media don’t seem to get is that the ill-defined alt-right has long been a strange orgy consisting of various nationalist types, conservative breeds, reactionaries, traditionalists, libertarians and other disaffected dreamers. The only unifying factor was/is the anti-establishment/status-quo stance and opposition to rabid left-wing progressivism. Even if that were to be clearly explained to them, it would offer little to nothing in the way of counter-tactics.
Yet more confusion is generated by journos and politicians who’re too old to appreciate millennial e-humour and Japanese folded steel levels of irony. The effect is so incongruous and jarring that they can’t help but investigate further. The world of internet subterfuge is one big trip down the rabbit hole. Curiouser and curiouser. Curiosity also killed the cat, and there’s no going back now.
In the early stages of the /pol/ification process, I was one of a number of amused yet slightly worried onlookers. The dank alt-right meme machine, personified by Pepe the liberator, seemed to have too much in common with Frankenstein’s monster. As an unprepared and immature adolescent gone awol, he’s been running aimlessly throughout the internet, screaming into the void, demanding waifus, and growing increasingly angrier. In retrospect, this concern was somewhat naive. By actively manufacturing easily digested pop-culture nuggets, the memecore sector has managed to make the previously unthinkable slightly more mainstream and somewhat more acceptable. They’re the foundation of the pyramid, and consequently invaluable. Meme Magic may be hollow, but as a propaganda tool and a gateway drug, the proliferation of Pepes and anti-everything trashiness has reaped exactly what was intended. This isn’t to say that the alt-right doesn’t have any PR problems. It’s just that its PR problems have nothing to do with the inelegance inherent in spamming twitter with #cuckservative and Zyklon Ben jokes.