"Cernovich didn’t own a car, much less a satellite truck or a video-editing suite. But he did have sources." https://t.co/CdAkbuO9nV— Mike Cernovich 🇺🇸 (@Cernovich) April 6, 2017
One of the hotbeds where a new technological ideology is forming is alt-journalism. Alt-journalists operate with a post-tabloid, kinetic style which exploits that consciousness and assaults the senses. This blowhard style - exemplified by pro-Trump Periscoper and Youtuber Mike Cernovich - wins alt-journalists popularity among their Youtube, Reddit, Twitter, Gab, and 4chan fans. Cernovich sure doesn't have any fans at liberal outlet Media Matters! You can read their coverage of his work here; and similar hatred for him is here and here. When attacked, Cernovich gives as good as he gets.
In a 2 April article and 3 April 2017 video, Cernovich asserted that Susan Rice was at the centre of the Russian-Trump wire-tapping intelligence scandal. It was Cernovich's scoop, not because others did not also have the information, but because others in the MSM chose not to report it.
In appealing to his youthful audience, Cernovich made much of both points. His message: watch him to get the lowdown first on what is happening; and watch him because he has the guts to tell you what others won't. He also builds his brand through bragging, bluster, and brawling with other social media personalities in ways that wear down resistance to him as an unknown quantity:
"I'm starting to like this mythos created about me. The media has turned me into this James Bond villain who has connections to Russian hackers and foreign governments, and can lead hacking campaigns across the world and influence elections. I'm not even going to argue with that shit. I'm going to be like, 'Yeah, you caught me. You're right. I'm a fucking James Bond villain, you know? Thank God.'"He introduces his audience to his wife and daughter, and discusses random topics on Friday evening Youtube cigar nights from his patio. Compare this to Anderson Cooper at CNN or Stephen Sackur at the BBC, and you see Mike Cernovich - a late Gen Xer - operates in a Brave New World.
A caveat: my discussion of controversial symbols and ideas in this post in no way indicates my personal belief in, or endorsement of, those symbols and themes. This is an apolitical blog, and my intent in the current series of posts is to uncover the nature of an emerging technological ideology, not to take sides in political debates or support offensive content.
Breaking News! NY Daily News And Post Joins Cernovich To Unseal Records In Pedofile Lawsuit (4 May 2017). Video Source: Youtube.
This 4 May 2017 report exemplifies what Cernovich calls, 'reality journalism': crowd-funded, informal, anti-establishment, and tech-mediated. A radical approach enables unaffiliated, roving journalists to have the "political will to do what they need to do." Cernovich draws his viewers in with a jumble of domestic details, which subtly make him trustworthy, friendly and accessible to those who sympathize with him.
While he rambles about his daughter's diaper changes, Cernovich obliquely discusses something extremely serious. Pay attention: his journalistic style is disarming. You barely notice the way he brings up his involvement in a very creepy civil law suit filed by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the former Trump resort employee and Jeffrey Epstein sex slave, who claims she was prostituted to several famous people and world leaders. Cernovich is trying to gain access to sealed testimony in the case.
If made public, and if all true, this is the kind of scandal that could destroy world views: it involves Trump and the Clintons. Except for the conviction of once-adored Epstein on pedophilia and underage prostitution charges, the Giuffre case involves rumours and gossip which are horrific. An anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist accuses Cernovich of playing a double game in this case, and mutters about Mossad involvement in the affair. Epstein's criminal conviction means there is truth there, but how far it all goes is another matter. You can see Politico's summary of the case, which was due to go to court on 15 May 2017, here. On 10 May 2017, the case was postponed, because lawyers were about to reach a settlement out of court. If they settle, the testimony will never see the light of day. If they do not settle, they will go to court on 25 May 2017.
Accusations and counter-accusations between the mainstream media and alt-media confuse citizens over who is telling the truth. The alt-journalists claim credibility merely by being underdogs, until you consider that the themes and memes they introduce in informal tones are just as deceptive as any mainstream obfuscation. Are they really more truthful because they deliver their reports from their houses, are dressed informally, and use profanity?
Before the Internet, it was much easier to establish and maintain a dominant narrative about reality. Cernovich is part of the social media challenge to older, dominant narratives and the architectures around them. Does that mean he's telling the truth, or are his narratives just anti-establishment? Of course, his reports can be both. But it becomes difficult to tell because he thrives on conflict, scandal, memes, and uproar.
It would be easy to dismiss Cernovich as a tabloid gutter journalist who is working social media to achieve viral effects. That is too simplistic. I would argue that Cernovich is gaining attention because he has adapted the main strategies of mass media and entertainment: the exploitation and manipulation of the collective unconscious.
In times of upheaval, collective agreements on norms break down, or are deliberately destroyed. According to psychologists Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, however, psychological commonalities persist under the surface. In a divided body politic, popular mentalities respond to symbols which tap the unconscious.
Prior to the rise of the alt-media, the popular entertainment industry and commercial marketing monopolized Jung's collective unconscious and intentionally and systematically dominated it for over half a century. Lady Gaga's meat dress is one the best recent examples of this; it was a piece of Freud's Id. Many movie stars exploit the Id. Angelina Jolie's celebrity persona, at the height of her fame during the Tomb Raider films, was a walking, talking element of the Id. At that time, in 2001, she posed nude with a horse nuzzling her chest, which was a good example of Id symbolism.
To understand how the manipulation of the collective unconscious occurred as a form of mass social control through popular entertainment, commercials, and politics, watch Adam Curtis's 2002 documentary, The Century of the Self. I have previously discussed the film here.
When common norms disappear, people respond to core symbols, but they may be too confused or divided to know how to behave in response to those symbols, either as individuals or in groups. If they have not cultivated internal self-reliance, and still seek external validation, they will look around, and lock onto authorities who are manipulating unconscious themes. They then begin to imitate that group. This is called mimesis. It refers to the compulsive repetition of action by imitation to retain some semblance of order in chaos. This is exactly what happened in Nazi Germany, which I have discussed in my post, Post-Apocalypse Rehab. In the 20th century, mimesis became the psychological map of action for a society in the vacuum, that is, a society which has lost (or deliberately discarded) its old norms and has not yet constructed a new general consensus on political thought and social behaviour.
In the 21st century, we have not entered a state of anomie, or loss of older norms, through fascism, as in Nazi Germany, or through communism, as in Stalin's Russia. We have lost our collective consensus through a combination of 1960s' and post-60s' movements, plus 9/11, the Technological Revolution, and the Great Recession.
Enter the 21st century alt-media. Among the alt-media, Cernovich now calls himself 'new right.' He is not a neo-Nazi; nor is he an old school ad man, or a member of the entertainment industry. But he has discovered their tools. He appeals to primal emotions, leavened with knowledge of the cyber-philosophical ramifications of that appeal. His style resembles Trump's visceral, politically incorrect electoral campaign. It would be wrong to say that Cernovich is just interested in political incorrectness because he himself is politically incorrect (although he is); nor is he solely interested in the viral traction of political incorrectness. In the MSM's censored and forbidden realm, there lie secrets, opportunities for scoops, and a guaranteed instinctive response.
Beyond all that, Cernovich is clearly aware of the power of compelling narrative as an authoritative frame around perceived reality. This is a brand new, 21st century world, beyond the world you know. In October 2016, The New Yorker interviewed him:
Oh, I don't know. Donald Trump, in a nod to his days on Reality TV, likes to rattle people's cages. So he granted Cernovich a White House press pass. On 2 May 2017, Cernovich faced derisive laughter and contempt ("You're not a reporter!") among the established corps during a White House briefing. While Sean Spicer talked about North Korea and fielded questions about Trump's first 100 days in office, Cernovich brought up the far-left Antifa anti-fascist Berkeley protests against the alt-right, which occurred in April."Ever since the advent of the mass media, professional journalists have been a bulwark against seditious or far-fetched theories. One might attribute this fact to their paternalism, their myopia, or their rectitude. In any case, their work tended to have a homogenizing effect. Newscasters told us that the world was more or less as we expected it to be, and we more or less believed them. This system had its faults: after all, far-fetched theories are sometimes true. In 1922, Walter Lippmann, in his book Public Opinion, warned of 'the manufacture of consent,' a power that media gatekeepers could use for good or for ill.That was a twentieth-century problem. The media no longer has the ability to manufacture consent. Walter Cronkite was once the most trusted man in America ... . 'Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Walter Cronkite lied about everything,' Cernovich said. 'Before Twitter, how would you have known? Look, I read postmodernist theory in college. If everything is a narrative, then we need alternatives to the dominant narrative.' He smiled. 'I don’t seem like a guy who reads Lacan, do I?'"
This is a controversial topic. It is connected to alt-right conspiracy theories about George Soros funding Antifa on university campuses. Theorists discuss Antifa's origins and connections, and the anti-fascists' violent tactics against Trump supporters and neo-Nazis.
The Berkeley Antifa action pages on social media are here and here. You can see pro-Antifa comments here, here, here, here, here and here. There is an alt-right comment here, and a centre-right comment here. The violent dialogue between the alt-right and anti-fascism is spreading everywhere, inflamed by social media meta-reporting.
When Cernovich asked about Berkeley violence at the White House press briefing, the other journalists in the corps ridiculed him; Spicer ignored his question; and Cernovich came out bruised.
He rebounded, insisting that the very journalists who laughed at him stole his scoops from his social media reports. They published his stories as exclusives in the MSM, two weeks after he published them on Youtube and Periscope: "I get called fake news by the same people who steal my stories."
Chaos: Cernovich attacks the MSM for meme-ing in a coordinated fashion, which is central in his social media playbook. Image Source: Danger and Play.
It is important to understand that Cernovich's viewership, combined with the cross-pollinated viewership of other alt-media Youtubers, is in the millions. It is hard to count their numbers, because a lot more people watch them than subscribe regularly, and they are active across several platforms. All this, on a gum and shoestring budget, lean, crowd-funded and crowd-sourced."'The left likes to talk about power structures, right?' he said. 'Well, the media still thinks of itself as speaking truth to power. What they don’t realize is that someone like me is perceived as the new Fourth Estate. Maybe they should check their structural privilege.' The 'paternalistic' media, he said, was giving way to a more democratic one. 'It makes journalists crazy, because they used to be in control,' he said. 'They can’t control people anymore. Everyone has a voice now.'"
In the chart above, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox are considered mainstream, while all the rest are considered alt-right media. "According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in early 2016, about half of people age 49 and under said they get their news online. And as cable news viewership declines and as Americans’ trust in news media sinks to an all-time low, alternative new-media stars have leveraged a unique opportunity to redefine right-wing media and reach mass audiences once loyal to established journalism outlets. The alternative media ecosystem has also benefited from attention from top government officials and those close to them." Images Source: Media Matters.
The Evolution of 20th Century Ideas into 21st Century Memes
Image Source: The Lit Crit Guy.
Even more important than Cernovich's youthful audience, and the changes in reporting style and focus, is the way 20th century ideas transform and merge in unlikely ways as they gain 21st century currency online. It is a process that is not well understood. Cernovich has been reading Russian author Alexander Dugin's Fourth Political Theory: "Apparently you're not supposed to read that book, because I don't know why." Dugin is anti-liberal and pro-Putin. Some would call Dugin a fascist, who bases his post-globalist theory on Heidegger's concept of Dasein. Perhaps Dasein finds primal expression in Internet memes, which are among Cernovich's favourite weapons.
Memes build on the idea of mimesis. They are primal symbols, compulsively repeated to create a new state of being. Members of the alt-right use them as part-ironic, part-serious, part-cyber-magical tropes to enrage their opponents. Memes have a viral online traction separate from their literal meaning as symbols. Confuse these aspects - online virality and real world meaning - at your peril.
Cernovich gained initial attention in the men's rights and men's self-help movement, after a now-expunged 2003 rape accusation. I have to wonder if there was a delivery of double value there, one for the hype gained from trolling feminism, one for Cernovich the player. The self-help techniques rolled into the development of meme-based trolling tactics.
This is a lesson in meme usage: a savvy troll can take an touchy, negative issue, build and exploit its incendiary value, and turn it into a troll-positive. Whether that means the troll is a believer in, or just an expedient user of, the negative issue is another matter. It can be both, or either. Trolls abuse memes' lack of clarity to protect themselves and establish plausible deniability in case things go too far. Cernovich told The New Yorker:
"'I'm not a pure troll,' Cernovich told me. 'Pure trolls are amoral'—they post swastikas, he suggested, not out of an allegiance to Nazism but because they enjoy riling people. 'I use trolling tactics to build my brand.'"During the 2016 US election, alt-right trolls recognized that powerful symbols like the swastika could be waved in front of their liberal opponents, like a red flag in front of a bull.
The use of forbidden and weird symbols immediately set the liberals off in predictable lines of behaviour: worry, round tables, condemnation, op-eds, anti-fascist public messages, MSM commentaries. While the liberals' concern about neo-Nazism is completely justified, their hand-wringing and counter-attacks wasted their energy and weirdly undermined their political position in cyberspace. 'Memetic' trolling put liberals on the defensive, and grounded them in old modes of thought and behaviour. In the context of the Internet, the way they tried to defend political decency - with serious expressions of alarm - strangely aligned their legitimate comments with a subliminal online message of moribund defeatism.
The trolls claim that they don't actually believe in fascism (not really really), except when they kind of do (a bit, on the edges - or maybe more than that, hard to say). Those are days when fascist memes let them carry the day against the liberal mainstream media, and the trolls are smug. Of course, if they did believe in fascism, saying they didn't while openly using its symbols might be a way of pushing those values. It is equally possible, however, the trolls are ironic, cynical and nihilistic, are having fun scoring points online, almost as if they are inside a video game. Since they are overwhelmingly young, and grew up inside cyberspace, they do not know how dangerous their fascist-symbol toys are. I don't think they really grasp someone kicking in your door at three in the morning and shipping you off to a concentration camp (not really really). Also weaving through this mess, and somewhat apart from the trolls, are true neo-Nazi fascists and Holocaust deniers, and anti-fascist shills pretending to be alt-right fascists.
Memes are powerful, flexible, mysterious propaganda tools, and they should not be dismissed. Laugh at the trolls at your own risk, because if you ridicule them, they will use memes to bend your reality. The alt-right are exploiting memes as decentralized, crowd-cultured, kinetic and symbolic psycho-viralities, which can transform your virtual space into a direct-hit smoking wasteland, filled with hacker vigilantes and demented, laughing teenagers. As we see in the current succession of election campaigns, memes can alter the real world.
Victory for Macron, for France, the EU, & the world.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 7, 2017
Defeat to those interfering w/democracy. (But the media says I can't talk about that)
However, success with memes requires that the trolls have intimate knowledge of the target culture, language, and social media. Otherwise, the memes don't work and the magic dissipates. The US alt-right attempted to use the Macron leaks to troll the French election and support Marine Le Pen. The hack-as-meme didn't work. It blew up in the trolls' faces. They couldn't speak French. They didn't understand French culture. They looked like (and may have been) anti-democratic Russian pawns. One of Cernovich's nationalist comrades, Jack Posobiec, was most closely associated with this effort. The New Yorker interviewed Posobiec too:
A meme is rather like a dangerous fish which grows to the size of aquarium you put it in. For now, Cernovich is a meme master as he competes in the game to dominate the virtual public square. But his recent play with memes reveals what a dicey game it is."'As a journalist, I use all the tools at my disposal'—mostly YouTube, Periscope, and Twitter—'to seek the truth and disseminate the truth. That’s the purpose of journalism, right? At the same time, I also do what I call 4-D journalism, meaning that I’m willing to break the fourth wall. I’m willing to walk into an anti-Trump march and start chanting anti-Clinton stuff—to make something happen, and then cover what happens. So, activism tactics mixed with traditional journalism tactics.'"
Cassandra Fairbanks and Mike Cernovich pose in the White House briefing room; Fairbanks works with Russian propaganda publication Sputnik. Image Source: Twitter/Cassandra Fairbanks via Independent.
On 1 May 2017, Cernovich discussed his grand designs for the future, Golden Era Of New Right-Wing Media Is Beginning, in which he plans to get reports out of conflict zones from American ex-military and mercenaries working abroad. One could imagine that this unacknowledged private army, fighting America's secret wars, would love to have a journalist telling their story.
While discussing his plans, Cernovich flashed the triple-6, or OK, hand sign. He had also done so with Cassandra Fairbanks, at the White House press briefing room. In response, the scandalized liberal press cited the Anti-Defamation League, claiming these hand signs were signs of white power or white supremacy. They were incorrect about this. Observe that Cernovich induced the mainstream media to report about him. He became a legacy news item! Cernovich prompted his MSM competition to expand his reputation as an alt-media personality.
As for the OK hand sign, Trump uses the sign all the time. The Pope uses it. So do other world leaders (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). There is a long explainer on this gesture here. It is not a supremacists' symbol, but it is dangerous. Biblioteca Pleyades remarks:
The Internet is wall-to-wall with conspiracy theorists who claim the triple 6 OK hand sign indicates Satanic worship by the so-called Illuminati. Some say it is associated with the Eye of Horus. Some say it is linked to Masonic All-Seeing Eye of God."[T]o occultists, the OK sign takes on darker significance. First, we have the circle, indicating the sun deity and the Mason's never-ending quest for more light. To Freemasonry, the circle also represents the female genitalia, or yoni. In the Hindu religion, the OK sign is a revered mudra (sacred gesture) meaning 'infinity' or perfection. It is associated with the female genitalia — thumb and forefinger pressed together at the tips with the other three fingers extended. ...In Satanism, when making this sign the three fingers not used to make the circle are considered symbolic of the unholy trinity — horned God, Goddess, and offspring (antichrist). Some go so far as to adopt the view that the bent three fingers are shaped as three number six's, or 666. Thus, we have 666, the sun deity (Lucifer), the Goddess (Mystery, Babylon the Great, Mother of Harlots), and the beast (antichrist, 666), all in one unitary hand sign. Oh what a web of evil wicked men can weave around something seemingly so ordinary and mundane.In the Illuminist philosophy, the OK sign becomes a sign indicating approval of the Divine King, their coming Lord of Light, whom we as Christians know as antichrist. To them it means, 'He approves our undertaking.' This meaning is roughly equivalent to the words in Latin atop the all-seeing eye of Osiris on our U.S. one dollar bill—Annuit Coeptus."
Just google: 'Illuminati OK hand sign' and feel your heart sink. This gesture means many things in different cultures. In the Arab world, it is the sign of the evil eye. Beyoncé, whose fame peaked during the Obama administration, has been flashing this hand sign - and the pyramid hand sign along with her husband, Jay Z - for over a decade. So why did the MSM not care when Beyoncé flashed the sign? And how is it now an alt-right or new right symbol of white supremacy?
Image Source: Daily Star.
On Facebook, Know Your Meme explained that this was a 4chan bait-and-switch campaign to troll the alt-right's critics; here are some Facebook comments below that post:
- "This is what happens when you're both too easily offended and aren't internet literate. You fall prey to trolls that feed off your indignant ignorance."
- "So, by now it actually is now a White Supremacist hand gesture. At what point do these idiots stop and think 'You know, people think I'm throwing a White Power hand sign, and I'm fine with them thinking that, so what is up with me that I'm fine with that? Ha, ha. I'm such a great troll acting like a White Supremacist even though I'm not a White Supremacist but I'm acting like I am, but, oh wait...' Assholes."
- "Idiot much? Simply because someone attempts to define something as a symbol of hate doesn't make it one...there aren't any fucking KKK rallying around, sticking their OK fingers in the air...they're still throwing the fist and burning crossed. No one but no one thinks a nearly 100 year old finger configuration magically means white power because of a 3 month trolling operation..."
- "You do realize that people are using it to poke fun of the PC-culture and mock those who think even the smallest things are racist, right? Most of them aren't even white-supremacists, you normie. In case you haven't figured out by now, they're called "trolls" and are doing it to get a reaction out of it (like what you just did). It's not that complicated to figure out, this is not rocket science. Welcome to the internet, I'll be your guide. 🥛🐸"
- "it's a JOKE. It's meant to poke fun at the retards, like you, who get offended at random shit that isn't even slightly offensive."
- "Someone posted a visual meme with a Nazi officers cap and the Star of David and I don't have a point."
- "Another normie takes the bait. 'So, by now it actually is now a White Supremacist hand gesture.' They're achieving what they want, to make people realize how PC obsessed we've become in society. 'At what point do these idiots stop and think "You know, people think I'm throwing a White Power hand sign, and I'm fine with them thinking they, so what is up with me that I'm fine with that?"' They're not ignorant people who are actually trying to start a revolution, they're either A) people who just wanna laugh at the internet illiterate (people that can't read between the lines) or B) internet savvy folk who are making a statement about crazy we've contoured our society for the sake of political correctness. Either group don't need to do a reality check of their persona, you either get offended and feed group A or understand what the person is saying by making such statements and are in sync with group B. 'Ha, ha. I'm such a great troll acting like a White Supremacist even though I'm not a White Supremacist but I'm acting like I am, but, oh wait...' again ... this falls into group A. The best way to stop group A is too just ignore them. Don't criticize them, don't laugh at them or with them, don't post about it on social media, don't talk about it IRL. Yeah it can blow because we're accustomed to talk against medias that we disagree we, but with trolls, any mention will just further push their agenda."
- "maybe people would get your point, if it actually made sense. Are you saying this symbol is symbol used by white supremacists? Or is it not? Someone brings up the KKK and supremacists and you claim that's not what you said. I'm beginning to wonder if you actually know what you believe in"
- "You people do realize Mike Cernovich is actually a racist, right?"
- "I declare all money a symbol of white power. What now big mouth?!?"
- "For everyone saying it's being used to point fun at PC culture. How exactly? Like what is the actual point other than just trying to be inflammatory as a troll I'm all for some trolling but lets be honest this is mostly for low-key white supremacists to have an excuse to be needlessly inflammatory It's also kind of a historically stupid point, since we decided to generally turn our backs socially on white supremacy it's not been socially acceptable in society to actively try and support that This isn't some new PC culture, if you did white power signs (or told someone the sign you are doing is a white power sign) then people would tell you to fuck off, unless they agreed If you post pictures of the SS you don't get to turn around and whine about being called a nazi and how no one asked how you truly felt and it was all a joke because the reality is for plenty of people across the world they don't have time to work out who's being a troll and who is actually in the Azov battalion (in Donbass for example where people are in direct conflict with neo-nazis), granted that's an extreme example but generally the principle behind it is the person portraying themselves a certain way doesn't get to complain that people believed them"
- "You honestly don't see that it's poking fun at PC culture when all the people who are openly PC have now decided that it's suddenly a bad sign and have started fighting with, and demonizing people who use it? REALLY BOSS??"
- "They didn't suddenly decide it was a bad sign people actively created a situation where they portrayed it as a white power sign and oh shock horror people don't like them for it Someone tells you this thing is a secret nazi salute and shows you some supporting evidence that you would have no reasonable way of disproving, you then see people supporting it as a symbol of white power and you think people wouldn't be pissed off? Like it's not new for neo-nazis to develop hand signs etc to communicate and organise so why is it unreasonable for people to believe this is another case of that?"
- "No they did suddenly decide, because other people told them it was a bad sign. This is something that spawned over the course of a few weeks, maybe a month. If you think that is a natural course for something to actively change from being a normalized sign of 'A OK!' to 'WHITE POWER" you're quite delusional. As for no way of disproving? As this shit unfolded people told and showed these fucking PC people the archived 4chan thread where they were actively spreading disinformation, and were quickly dismissed as 'whitesplaining' lololo You claim to be in this culture"
- "What?? People as a group actively tried to deceive others and trick them into believing it was a white power symbol Which historically would be a socially accepted symbol or at least something people wouldn't raise an eyebrow to It's like the whole 14 words and 1488 or even the nazi salute which at the time was used by American school kids in the pledge of allegiance Why am I the delusional one for not being surprised some people fell for a trick people played?"
- "At first it was funny, now it's just sad. How many times are these edgelords going to go and try to troll people before it's finally boring?"
In this case, the trolls wanted traction and virality against liberal political correctness. So they faked a white supremacist symbol, induced their opponents into self-manufacturing outrage, and let the uproar grow exponentially on social media and in the MSM. Their lie became the truth; and this truth undermined the trolls' politically correct critics.
The meme plan for the above fake image is directly below. Image Source: Know Your Meme. This is the actual supremacists' hand signal.
In February 2016, Operation O-KKK on 4chan's boards falsely created a Ku Klux Klan hand signal to inflame debate and counter-debate. It worked (click to enlarge). Image Source: Age of Shitlords.
Click to enlarge. Image Source: Reddit.
Cernovich's triple 6 hand meme originated in 4chan's 'memetic' Operation O-KKK. This meme was deliberately started in February 2017, to claim - falsely - that the OK hand sign was a sign of white supremacy in order to bait liberal leftists. You can see the trolls plotting here. Know Your Meme:
When Cernovich used the gesture on 1 May 2017, the commenters under his video were confused:"In February 2017, 4chan users launched Operation O-KKK to 'flood Twitter and other social media websites' with posts claiming the OK hand symbol was a 'symbol of white supremacy,' along with a picture of an OK symbol identifying the three up-turned fingers as a symbol for 'W' and the thumb-and-forefinger circle as a symbol for 'P.'"
- "Dats racist pepino"
- "SJW's in trouble. If they don't stop soon everything will be racist and they wont be able to do anything, while I can. Where's my milk?"
- "Why are you flashing the 666 illuminati all the time."
- "it is a joke to troll lefties ..... it does not actually mean white power ......"
- "Then what does it mean when Beyonce and jay z do it?"
The O-KKK campaign marks an urban-legend merger of anti-Illuminati conspiracy theorizing with 4chan/pol/ trolling. The Internet spent the past ten years uncovering the hand signs of secret power. Now the trolls are using those signs for their own purposes. If the trolls convince people that the OK sign is actually a sign of white supremacy - even if they have openly and obviously planned this and clearly it isn't - they know that some people will still start to believe that it is. This makes all those people who are on record flashing the OK Masonic sign look like white supremacists, including Beyoncé. As for the alt-media flashing it, the response from someone like Cernovich would be: Don't you know this is meant to be ironic? Attacking me over a fake symbol shows your mindset, not mine.
Thus, the trolls and alt-media have begun appropriating Masonic and so-called Illuminati power signs for themselves. Next thing you know, they will all start learning Masonic handshakes, or creating fake Masonic handshakes, altering their meanings, and using them to defeat the Freemasons. Unless of course, like Julian Assange, they may already be Freemasons.
No matter how outrageous and strangely successful memes and 'memetic' play are, the liberals argue that alt-right populism is a vicious, racist reaction against globalization, and memes are part of that. In upcoming posts, I will discuss the ways in which the liberals are correct. Populist commentators depend on conspiracy theory narratives; these narratives do revive racist and neo-Nazi sub-cultures, in very surprising forms, indicative of techno-internationalism.