To satirize the powerful has ever been the tool of the downtrodden and the rebellious.
From Aristophanes of Greece through to 4Chan of the Internet, the question is ever present; when everyone has the potential to become a political weapon, how will the powerful maintain control?
Governments and businesses can try to harness the power of memes, but no agency has the near unlimited resources of the masses. Saul Alinsky correctly identified that the primary asset he had available when organizing mass movements was people with no money and a lot of time. The inverse is true of the gatekeepers of power, and as true today as it was in 1970 when Alinsky wrote Rules for Radicals.
By way of introduction, I ask: In the Age of Memes, who rules the world if not the holders of the memes of production?
10 In the Age of Memes, the Internet is King
Way back in the day, the motto of 4Chan was ‘none of us are as cruel as all of us.’ Now we can consider the 4Chan takeover of normal web space to be complete. President Trump tweeted a meme mocking CNN. In hubris and narcissism, the 17th most popular network in America decided to track down the creator and threaten to doxx him- the releasing of personal details. The interesting thing to take away is that the same millennial journalists who used the internet to reveal hypocrisy in politics are now victims of people using the internet to reveal hypocrisy in the media. Again: CNN decided to throw the weight of their organization against a private citizen- and lost.
Let that sink in. Even young, internet savvy former Buzzfeed journalists are apparently incapable of understanding that the balance of power between social media and mainstream media has swung in an unexpected direction. The audience has become the arbiters of truth in an alternative fact world. And so, we watch as a multibillion-dollar media empire is tarred and feathered by no more fierce a foe than internet kids armed with pirated copies of Photoshop.
9 You can never punch down
The reason why Donald Trump has been so successful in his use of memes is his strict adherence to individualism as a virtue. Even as President, head of the biggest company of all, USA Inc., Trump wages meme jihad against the mainstream media who he tars as Fake News. How does the most powerful man on the planet pull this off? Surely, his detractors should annihilate him in noble memetic combat, as satirists have always done.
Enter populism. On a platform where Trump has allied himself with the working class American, and gone out of his way to attack the media on the grounds that they lie to the working class American, The Donald has inoculated himself against memes. The left can meme The Donald, but the memes are not effective, coming as they are from the ranks of political correctness and social control. You cannot punch down, even to Trump. It looks like bullying when you meme the president, and like a scrappy underdog taking shots at the establishment when Trump tweeted ‘Corrupt Hillary’ memes during the election.
8 Memers have become an oppressed minority. #FreeKekistan
In the age of memes, social justice advocates tell people that it is bad to be white, straight, to not be a feminist, to not support Black Lives Matter. In response, the meme brigade discovered Kekistan. Kekistan, a nation of shitposters and internet nerds follow their deity ‘Kek’ and their High Prophet, the alleged racist frog known as Pepe. As the story goes, many Kekistanis just wish to return home to farm their memes but are stuck in the Oppressive West. Just like you. The rules of the game have been set by the progressives- and the internet kids are happy to play by those rules. Did you spot the irony? The meme-warriors now troll Social Justice Warriors with the logic of social justice. Oh, you’re an oppressed minority? So are we.
Aside from the juvenile catchphrases and silliness, the post-modern nationality of Kekistani has its roots in arch-liberal LSD counter-culture. The Merry Pranksters, Discordianism and Timothy Leary all played with identity against the backdrop of authoritarian social conservatism. Now, in the new age of social justice authoritarianism, Kekistan is culture jamming on a global scale. Kek be praised, chaos magick is real and you can elect presidents by ejaculating on frog totems.
7 The Tao of Meme-Fu
There is a quote from Enter the Dragon, where Bruce Lee talks about his fighting technique. He says, “you can call it fighting, without fighting.” The great combatant could never know that he developed not only an ultimate fighting style in Jeet Kune Do, but also illustrated perfectly how to handle Memetic Warfare in the 21st Century.
As Sun Tzu also wrote extensively on in the Art of War, when there is nothing to be gained, a battle will only sap your strength and resources. When your opponent looks strong, it is better to retreat and wait. These basic rules are understood by almost nobody. For example, When CNN is attacked with funny memes, the wise leader would shrug their collective shoulders and ignore it, no matter how annoying the attack really is. The fool tries to silence the meme creator and claims the President of the United States is inciting violence against Journalists. The sword cuts both ways- are you a public figure attacked by feminists over thoughtcrime? Do nothing. You must do nothing. As soon as the first cry of indignation is sounded, the feeding frenzy begins.
6 #GamerGate never ended, the targets just got bigger.
When the corruption among so-called games journalists was exposed, they doubled down in the face of criticism. A slew of articles branding gamers as whiny man-babies who abused women online did little but to deepen the lines between consumers on one side, and media on the other. The same tactic, most recently deployed by the mainstream media on people critical of them online, will perform the same role on a much larger scale. As CNN goes after people who edit images for laughs, we see the same arrogance come to the surface.
As with GamerGate, the media sees itself not as a service, reporting the facts of the day. Instead, the media is the gatekeeper of knowledge and the punisher of social indiscretion. If you are guilty of wrongthink, you will find yourself opposed to organizations with huge resources aimed at tracking you down and bringing you to heel.
Just like Gamergate, the media fails to understand that this is a war they cannot and will not win.
5 The Media Doesn’t Learn
Individuals are smart. Individuals are intelligent. You know what we say about the mob. The media is a mob and has been for some time. According to recent polls, fewer people trust the media in the USA than trust Congress. Even the elections process, which for some reason many people still believe has been corrupted by Russian agents, is more trustworthy than the media outlets that have promoted the idea that the elections process was corrupted by Russian agents.
Let that sink in, also.
Another entity, be it corporate, social or political, would recognize the PR disaster for what it is- a damning indictment of the performance of that entity. The media are arrogant enough to believe that they are somehow immune to public opinion, that as the fact-makers, they can shape reality to their whim. This is why the legacy media is doomed. Republic Standard and sites like it are the future of media. We are all journalists now.
4 The Media Thinks Everyone Else Is Fake News
In the age of social news, being that most of us hear about events through social media, the legacy media outlets have both capitalized on and been victims of the #FakeNews narrative. As illustrated by a recent article in Salon,
“Just as the distinction between National Enquirer-type fake news and actual news has blurred for many citizens, there is increasing evidence that social media rants are playing a larger and larger role in creating the “information” that shapes public perceptions.”
The title of the article is ‘Forget fake news — alt-right memes could do more damage to democracy’. Not only does this elucidate for us the delusion of the media bubble, it is laughably inept in attempting to manipulate the course of events. To the media, spreading inaccurate stories and deliberately lying to the citizens is less of a problem than funny pictures. Reality is satirical, and we are all the butt of a cosmic joke.
3 The Media Cannot Meet Their Own Standards
Reading again from Alinsky’s ‘Rules for Radicals’, he comments the following on the subject of tactics.
“Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”
Alinsky was in particular concerned with the moralizing of the Christian Right in the 1960s and 1970s, as it was through churches in Chicago that he operated. The media of today, with their lies about heroic journalists, edited tapes to suit narrative and general hypocrisy are an excellent modern fit for the same tactics to lay them low- and that is what we are seeing occur.
When the media decries Donald Trump for inciting violence against journalists by posting memes, it is met with derision online, and a re-doubling in the production of mocking memes. The fires of meme production glow hot with the sanctimony of the powerful, just as we mock the hypocrite priests who lecture on obedience and goodness on a Sunday and indulge vices on a Monday. The media tells us that the President is inciting violence and then threatens to dox a private citizen- which would leave that individual open to partisan retaliation. This is hypocrisy of the lowest order.
2 Doxxing is Now Journalism
Now that the media has explicitly given the OK for doxxing of private citizens to occur under the purview of journalistic integrity, the remit for what is and what is not in the public interest has just been blown wide open. In a damage control piece in Wired, it is claimed that
“Reporters announce their intentions and their profession openly, while dox-ers could be anybody. Reporters include only personal information that is relevant to a story — facts the public has a compelling interest in knowing.”
This is clearly old-school thinking for a new-school age, as the article cited also tries to tie the victims of doxxing by journalists to white supremacy. When individuals make the news, this is in the public interest. When individuals make memes anonymously, this is now also in the public interest according to the media. The standard for journalistic integrity, never the highest bar of ethics, has been set to the lowest possible register.
Followers of YouTube drama will notice parallels with the recent Skepto-sphere foolishness in which a German YouTuber by the name of Kraut and Tea created a Discord server with other content creators, scientists and even a New York Times journalist, with the aim of defeating the Alt-Right race realists Alternative Hypothesis and JF Gariepy.
The Skeptics dubbed themselves holders of the cup of virtue, and believed this was enough to prevail- even using the alleged evil of their opponents to justify doxxing and hypocritically deploying intellectual dishonesty of the lowest order. Hubris fells the highest kings. Once exposed, Kraut and Tea deleted every video from his channel (with over 100,000 subscribers, no less) and quit making videos.
1 Journalists are Dead
Back in 2014, there was a collusion of corrupt gaming journalists who collaborated through the GameJournoPros mailing list to push a narrative of victimized developers by sexist, racist troll gamers. Perhaps you read the articles, perhaps you agree that gamers are misogynists. It doesn’t really matter your opinion on the events of GamerGate, the same machinations are happening right now- on a macro scale. The Meme War is bigger than games because it is a war for the truth across all genres. From movies to sport to video games to politics and current affairs- the media organizations report on them all.
Regardless of political allegiance, politics works through collaboration and overcoming differences. The media are engaged in a concerted effort to splinter and polarize the left and right, in a vain attempt to cling to relevancy.
If you are opposed to the liberal agenda, you will be tarred as Alt-Right, which is essentially being branded as a racist. Or, you will be called a racist, for disagreeing with a media narrative about Black Lives Matter, or a sexist for not approving of Hillary Clinton’s politics. The Deep State is bigger than that claimed by Donald Trump- the Fourth Estate is not just the media, it is a school of ideological programming that believes that you are stupid, that you will believe whatever you see on TV.
Now that we are all journalists, who needs journalists?
There are people today who connect GamerGate directly to the election of Donald Trump. That's obviously silly, you can't just meme a God Emperor into existence, you know.