The rise of the internet’s ‘dirtbag left’ Maclean’s Magazine ^ | July 5, 2017 | John Semley

The rise of the internet’s ‘dirtbag left’
Maclean’s Magazine ^ | July 5, 2017 | John Semley

Posted on 7/6/2017, 1:12:56 PM by 2ndDivisionVet

Earlier this year, a sloppily doodled MS Paint comic appeared on Reddit—the online news aggregator and so-called “front page of the internet”—juxtaposing images of 20th-century fascism with more modern symbols of far-right political thought.

Under the column “fascism then” loomed the usual suspects: soldiers goose-stepping in formation, concentration-camp prisoners in striped pyjamas, a barking-mad Adolf Hitler. Under “fascism now” lurked a weirder assemblage of ideological signifiers of the so-called “alt-right”: a snickering cartoon frog in Nazi regalia, the crooning French candelabra from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, an anime character, a badly drawn swastika.

The comic carried a caption courtesy of Karl Marx: “All great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice…the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.” The passage is often condensed to read something like: “history repeats itself: first as tragedy, then as farce.”

Making sense of the shifting terrain of contemporary far-right politics demands an understanding this move from tragedy to farce. On its face, the emerging alt-right—a term coined by American white supremacist Richard Spencer, a far-right thought leader who claimed that the alt-right had been “memed into existence” and is also known for being punched in the face on camera by an antifascist on Donald Trump’s inauguration day—seems like a joke.

It’s a movement dominated by cruddy comics, memes, jokes at the expense of politically correct “social justice warriors” (SJWs), and the open trolling of good taste. It’s difficult to take the alt-right seriously—and, indeed, to understand whether it takes itself seriously…..

(Excerpt)


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