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Kill All Normies: Online culture wars from 4chan and Tumblr to Trump and the alt-right

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In addition to not properly providing justifications for some of the claims she makes, Nagel routinely mischaracterizes positions, with a general trend of favoring the right. a b MacDougald, Park (13 July 2017). "The Unflattering Familiarity of the Alt-Right in Angela Nagle's Kill All Normies". New York. Archived from the original on 9 July 2021 . Retrieved 28 November 2018. I really have only two complaints, one major, one minor. The major complaint is that, for an avowed materialist, there is very little materialism here - almost all the cultural phenomena are understood in terms of continuations of and/or reactions to other cultural phenomena. Of course, providing an adequate materialist explanation would be a fully separate research project; but Nagle's ontological commitments, and some of the subjects she touches upon (for instance, her discussions of Thomas Frank and "populism,") call out for more nods in this direction, even when her immediate topic (the online culture wars) and thesis (that the valorization of transgression for its own sake is inherently self-defeating and vacuous, and that as a positive political project the left was always stupid to embrace it) are essentially cultural.

For all that the title reads "4chan and Tumblr," her understanding of the online left is woefully inadequate. The book reads as though Nagle took her understanding of Tumblr simply from watching people on 4chan make fun of it, rather than doing any actual research herself. She completely misunderstands the divisions and subculture of the online left, and minimizes complaints about racism, sexism, and homophobia without even attempting to explain the left's point of view. She editoralizes the story of Gamergate with her own complaints about immature a hobby gaming is (irrelevant, and insulting besides) and how horrible a game she thought Depression Quest was, as if making a horrible game justifies death threats and ongoing harassment. She even goes so far as to equate people desiring to chop off their own limbs with transgender rights and the "spoonie" chronic illness community, which is...troubling, to say the le

Either way, it's clear where her sympathies lie, given that she's so much more careful in delineating shades of right than she is with anything else. A shield of sentimentality, not emotional honesty, apology or genuine exchange, summoned to excuse sadism. These rituals, according to Nagle, operate more as a way to keep the groups together by identifying an in and out-group, policing the boundary of who is transgressive and who isn’t pure enough, more then they are simply about bullying.

They were totally morally degenerate… but they were nihilistic about it. They didn’t have any politics other than some vague sense of being anti-establishment.” To be honest, without the fact of children I would not even be thaaaaat worried about these reactionary fringe groups, because they are so fringe by nature and the celebs have mostly imploded. She argues that these alternative forms of media have superseded mainstream media, but that is a sign of someone who spends all their life online and doesn't see how the vast majority of people still watch the news. If anything, the Trump presidency is the best thing to ever happen to mainstream media because they can position themselves as the #resistance and can benefit from outrage at whatever spectacle Trump has created. Angela, Nagle (November 2015). "An investigation into contemporary online anti-feminist movements". doras.dcu.ie. Archived from the original on 9 March 2018 . Retrieved 14 March 2018.

Kill All Normies is the first book to really nail the relations of the cultural space of the internet to the real world that, significantly, includes an analysis of potentials and problems across the political spectrum. Can't recommend this one highly enough. And to everyone. Essential to understanding how the death spiral of our national discourse *can only be understood dialectically.* Nagle makes the compelling case that the success of the alt-right and what she calls the alt-light (not really overtly Nazi, more capitalizing on the newfound glamour of fascist thought) in their endeavor to shift American culture toward a misogynistic, overtly racist direction is rooted in the so-called left's reliance on the "politics" of transgression (think the Piss Christ). I don't really know who Nagle is, but my guess is that she falls into the same dirtbag left camp as like Anna Kachiyan and Aimee Terese etc. I guessed this because she name drops the same people like Lasch and Paglia and the like, who I haven't read but I barely even gained any insight into here because it seemed like more of a name drop as an in-group signifier rather than any real engagement. But anyway, I'm guessing since it's published by zero books and she talks about Mark Fisher a bunch that she's a leftist but there is no class analysis or discussion of material conditions anywhere in this book. Online is important and online and real life impact eachother, but you would never know that from reading this. While you could treat Trump's victory as the big win, she didn't spend too much time analyzing the ways in which the Alt Right aided his election and I think stuff like Charlottesville might not have happened at this point.


Nagle, Angela (2017). Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4Chan And Tumblr To Trump And The Alt-Right. Alresford, UK: Zero Books. ISBN 978-1-78-535543-1. In treating this kind of abuse in this way, Nagel incorrectly excuses what is truly sexist abuse in right spaces as abuse which is possibly incidentally sexist, but otherwise a result of gatekeeping hierarchies in transgressive counterculture.

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