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Thread: World War Meme
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    Hotspring 44's Avatar
    Hotspring 44

    World War Meme

    Article in Politico Magazine:
    How a group of anonymous keyboard commandos conquered the internet for Donald Trump—and plans to deliver Europe to the far right.
    By BEN SCHRECKINGER March/April 2017

    The Article is quite long. Here are some snippets I chose from the article:
    "The concept of a “meme,” in its broadest sense, has been around for decades. The term was first coined in 1976 by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, who defined a meme as “a unit of cultural transmission or a unit of imitation”—essentially, a reproducible bit of the DNA of human culture.
    He saw the idea expansively; the most effective memes, like religious rituals and catchy melodies, worm their way into people’s brains, spreading across entire societies and shaping human behavior for generations."...

    ..."The staging ground was an anonymous message board called “/pol/”—the “politically incorrect” section of 4Chan, which was founded in 2003 to host discussions about anime and has since evolved into a malignant hive mind with vast influence over online culture."

    ..."In 2011, 4Chan created /pol/, its politically incorrect board, in part to house racist threads and other rants that were polluting the rest of the site.
    The white nationalist alt-right was forged in the crucible of 4Chan and remains indelibly marked by its emergence from meme culture. Screenshots from hacked social media accounts belonging to the late Trayvon Martin first surfaced on /pol/ as part of a campaign of posthumous character assassination that painted the African-American teenager as a pot-smoking delinquent who had it coming."

    ..."The site has also grown increasingly preoccupied with gender politics. “If you’re young, white and male, you’re on 4Chan,” says Johnson, who recently tried to buy the website. That’s clearly an exaggeration, but 4Chan has demonstrated an alarming power to whip up misogyny against its perceived enemies.

    The “Gamergate” harassment campaigns against women in the video-game industry were often organized on 4Chan. That episode involved allegations that a female video-game developer was cheating on her boyfriend with multiple men in the industry, and thus ushered the term “cuck,” short for cuckold, into 4Chan parlance.
    (This, in turn, had profound linguistic consequences for the Republican presidential primary when “cuckservative” became the insult of choice for insufficiently Trumpian Republicans.)
    Gamergate also hardened anti-political correctness sentiment on 4Chan, and when administrators eventually banned discussion of the topic, it proved a boon to the nascent 8Chan—a sort of ISIS to 4Chan’s Al Qaeda, a splinter group whose founder believed 4Chan had grown too controlled."

    "“When Bannon said [Breitbart] was the platform for the alt-right, this is what he was talking about,” said a person who worked with Bannon at Breitbart. “He didn’t mean Richard Spencer. He meant the trolls on Reddit or 4Chan.”

    In May, Breitbart published an attack on its ex-columnist Ben Shapiro authored by “Pizza Party Ben,” a pseudonymous participant in the Great Meme War who has appeared onstage for Yiannopoulos’ campus tour as a “meme-ology” consultant. (Pizza Party Ben declined an interview request, calling me “a fag.”) Yiannopoulos also recruited Anthime Gionet, a former BuzzFeed social media strategist who goes by the online nom de guerre Baked Alaska, to do work for Breitbart. Gionet, an active pro-Trump meme warrior, told me that in his free time he summoned “vast meme armies” for Trump on 4Chan and the website 9GAG.
    Under Bannon, Breitbart mastered the art of the viral image to further its own brand. A recent Columbia Journalism Reviewanalysis found that while images constituted only 5 percent of the posts on Breitbart’s Facebook page last year, they accounted for half of the page’s 100 most-shared posts.

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