I'm not out of line in saying that 2017 has been a pretty awful year, am I? But even with all the horseshit that's happened so far (read around on Cracked -- we've covered quite a bit of that) the misery sandwich has now been garnished with a heaping helping of Charlottesville, and right now, America's Nazi situation seems ... less than optimal. But that doesn't mean this situation is unfixable. In fact, there are a great many signs out there that modern Nazis might not exactly be goose-stepping across the country in groups of millions in the foreseeable future. Let's talk about those, because frankly, I think we could all do with a little bit of the good stuff right now.
When the Nazis originally managed to rise to power in 1932 with an approval rating of just around 37 percent, they had two major advantages on their side: History had not yet shown what colossal asshats they'd prove to be, and there was no internet to constantly remind the world of that fact. Today, neither of those advantages exist. The world's online, we know all about their fuckery, and this combination is making things very, very difficult for them once they're out in the open.
By now, you've seen the countless social media condemnations of the events of Charlottesville. You've read the news, skimmed through the thinkpieces, and you're currently sitting on the toilet, dropping a big Nazi, and browsing through this column I angrily keyboard-punched into existence. You've witnessed the whole world create an amazing tsunami of fury that's now washing over every single tainted soul who thought it fit to light a tiki torch in the name of hate. Even the company that makes the damn torches pretty much told the marchers to eat their own diapers. For days, the overwhelming majority of non-Nazi-infested corners of the internet have channeled Jello Biafra, and the message is clear -- clearer than it could have been at any other point in history. "Nazis not welcome. Go choke on a dick. Signed, the world."
For a more hands-on online approach, there are also more direct consequences to goose-stepping to the tune of the bad guys of WWII. A Twitter campaign is currently in the process of identifying the marchers in order to name and shame them in the eyes of the world. As you can imagine, calling out a Nazi in front of their schools and jobs is a fairly effective strategy that sends a fairly solid message: If you're participating in a Nazi activity and dare to peek out of that moist mud pit you generally revel in, you will be tracked down and publicly branded. And your day shift manager at Big Wally's Hot Dogs And Tires is not going to be happy.
There's a flipside to this, though. Although the internet isn't as horrible as Nazis, it still is pretty awful. Instead of doing the sane thing and actually checking the available images from Charlottesville to see if there were any people they know and can reliably recognize, many people have taken to internet sleuthing, which in this case means lazily image searching the faces and screaming wolf at the first result. Please don't ever do that. It's generally considered impolite to implicate innocent people just because an algorithm decides "These two people have mustaches. SWITCH TO OFFENSE MODE." Besides, finding out that you kind of look like a Nazi is a pretty shitty thing to discover on a lazy Tuesday, even if it isn't followed by an inevitable torrent of doxxing.
Full disclaimer: In this column, I'm going to lump "Nazis," "White Supremacists," and "Alt-Right" under the same swastika. They've all been stirring the shit soup that enables things like Charlottesville, and frankly, we're at a point in history where Godwin's Law just doesn't apply anymore.
Here's a super good thing about the far right: It's lacking a charismatic figurehead -- something that you might remember was a fairly important aspect of the Nazis' grip on power back in the day. Milo was a self-imposed face for the alt-right for a while, but has all but gone the way of the dodo, and was a divisive figure among the movement in any case. If we go straight Nazi, there's David Duke, but then, there's always David Duke. After nuclear fire cleanses the earth of all but the most tenacious lifeforms, David Duke will still be wandering the fringes, complaining that the radioactive scorpions are stealing all of the American jobs. No one listens to fucking David Duke. How about Richard Spencer? Nah. He might've stood a chance, but thank fuck, this is and will forever remain the guy's legacy now:
There's just no coming back after you become a "Nazi gets punched" meme and your favorite band in the whole wide world takes a mighty public dump on you for associating your movement with them the very same week.
Steve Bannon, maybe? He is probably the most powerful person with provable far-right connections right now. On the other hand, he also appears to have the natural charisma of a blobfish and the handsome features of a freshly picked scab. Besides, back when he was working for the administration, he was unable to act as a true spearhead even if he wanted to. And now that he's been "let go," he seems more interested in acting like a child whose candy has been taken away and Breitbart-fueled revenge antics than any real figurehead role. Besides, and perhaps strangely, the longtime alt-right champion has recently taken the stance that the alt-right are losers, which I'm sure has absolutely nothing to do with bitterness over the fact that their Nazi antics almost certainly played a part at costing him his job.
But what about the orange man in the White House (or, more likely, Mar-a-Lago)? Surely, Trump himself is the most obvious choice for a figurehead?
Oh, God, I wish. Trump's rise to political might does allow certain comparisons to that of a certain Austrian art school dropout, as we've pointed out before. But this is not 1930s Germany, and Trump's recent activities make me almost hope that he'll go the whole nine yards and go full Nazi in public. Mainly because I'd enjoy seeing Pence, the Cabinet, and the Congress stumble over each other to declare him unfit to serve, which incidentally is a move that they can totally pull off if need be.
This, combined with the umpteen investigations he's under, would make you believe that Trump would be lightning-quick to condemn Nazi fuckery. Yet, despite the way it takes him roughly 0.04 seconds to start shithouse Twitter feuds with folks like Rosie O'Donnell, he took two days to condemn actual fucking Nazis marching on U.S. soil and performing domestic terror attacks. His initial reaction was to spout enough "look, clearly more than one side is at fault, here" rhetoric, a proclamation that caused The Daily Stormer to knock itself out with its own raging joy boner. Right after his totally legitimate and unforced "Nazis and KKK bad, I guess" speech, he went right back to defending his original comments. Oh, and he also casually retweeted (and later deleted) alt-right conspiracy theorists, people calling him a fascist, and a train running over a dude with a CNN logo for a face. Smooth.
Trump could've just given the world a quick, presidential "Holy shit, fuck Nazis, amirite?" before heading back to whichever golf course he has chosen to bedevil that week. Instead, he chose to shove his foot in his mouth and then shoot himself in said foot. And he'll probably repeat this chain of events whenever those pricks pop out again (which I'll wager they will). So, aside from the natural, sickly tilt of his body that's caused by the chaos demons controlling his hair, what's his angle?
Me, I think he doesn't have one. I don't even think he realizes he's doing anything wrong. For all his faults, I don't think Donald Trump is a Nazi. He's probably not actively sieg heil-ing his way about the Oval Office. He's been known to throw shade at David Duke and his cohorts back in the days of yore. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that he views the portion of his fanboys with heavy national socialist tendencies as the obligatory bad apples in an otherwise perfectly fine basket of, ugh, deplorables. Jesus, Hillary, that was a terrible analogy.
My theory is that this has everything to do with the way Trump's campaign, political language, and celebrity profile are now so intertwined with the far-right MAGA horseshittery he ass-pulled during his campaign that even the far right-ridden Europe took one look at his carotene hue and promptly started becoming more liberal. Those Charlottesville fuckers might've been throwing straight-up Nazi salutes, but they're still technically in Trump's corner, and he's been pretty consistent in sucking up to the supporter base he's ended up with ... even as all other supporters slowly dwindle away.
So, there's a silver lining, I guess: Every time Nazi fucks raise their heads, our President will probably end up dealing with the situation with all the gusto of Superman determinedly shoving kryptonite up his butthole.
Remember back in January, when Shia "I'm an artist now" LaBeouf and a couple of others first set up their four-year He Will Not Divide Us anti-Trump installation, which essentially consisted of LaBeouf and various others chanting those exact words at a camera? Of course you don't. Passersby were encouraged to participate, which went roughly as well as you'd expect:
Yeah, that's Mutt Williams yelling a dude to submission. The fucker he screamed at was actually in full Nazi mode: The phrase he says at the camera, "1488," is a known Nazi code word that stands for the 14-word phrase "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children," and the numerical code for "Heil Hitler." The Jewish LaBeouf understandably didn't care much for this.
Somehow, this event started a strange, ongoing game of cat and mouse between LaBeouf's collective and the Nazis, who were so sufficiently triggered by their trolling backfire that they started actively sabotaging He Will Not Divide Us. The installation became a hotbed of their trolling, to the point where the New York museum housing the project closed it down. LaBeouf's team responded by moving the installation to Albuquerque, NM, but vandalism and reports of gunfire in the area forced them to relocate yet again. At this point, they stopped the chanting thing, and instead started live streaming a flag bearing the name of the project from a secure, unknown location. Within two weeks, the flag was replaced with a Pepe shirt and a MAGA hat. After yet another failed attempt to fly the flag at the top of the Foundation For Art And Creative Technology in Liverpool, officials finally ordered the project to shut down.
I don't have any grand point to make about this. I just wanted it on record that this is ultimately the brand of Nazi we're dealing with: guys who need to attack Shia fucking LaBeouf en masse, because this isn't the resurgence of the Third Reich that we're dealing with. This is a bunch of sad dudes, and the star of Even Stevens and Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull is their Lex Luthor.
Question: How many Nazis are we dealing with, actually? Are we running a risk of having the entire Republican party just going "Eh, screw it" and start dealing out jackboots? Answer: Absolutely not. The Charlottesville tiki torch crowd was around a hundred people at most. That's obviously not every Nazi in a country, or even in the town that weekend, but seeing as roughly every fucking Republican out there completely and utterly condemns them, it's pretty hard to see them as a secret majority bubbling under the surface. From Paul Ryan to noted curmudgeon Sen. Orrin Hatch to Glenn Beck, noted right-wing figures have come out to vomit disgust all over white supremacy. The list of Republicans who oppose Trump is getting longer every day thanks to his failure to do the same.
There are similar sentiments in the field, even among some of the most visible Alt-Righters. You might have seen pictures of John "Based Spartan" Turano, the armor-clad Alt-Right brawler who made a habit of clashing with antifa protesters at assorted rallies. One day, a small Jewish protester approached him and asked: "Does my life matter?" That's the sort of question that'll make you consider precisely what side you're on. Up to that point, Turano had seen the left as a violent enemy meant to be smashed into a universal healthcare-demanding pulp. When he started seeing them as ordinary people and seeing people on his own side waving Nazi flags, he fucked right off the movement without ever looking back, going as far as publicly deeming his participation a "horrible mistake."
I don't think this is just an isolated event. Even in this political climate, "Nazi" is a word that carries weight. Metaphorically or literally, that weight is generally a fist, and where it's carried is right at the face of the nearest Nazi. It doesn't matter which side of the divide you come from -- that gut instinct is the same. Maybe you've seen the video of the Alt-Right dingus who tried to attend an Oath Keeper rally in Houston this June, armed with a megaphone and a bunch of Nazi Pepe memes? That didn't go too well for him.
That entire clip is an education in how the more traditional right wing sees these fuckers spreading Nazi ideals and imagery. The guy is confronted in less than a minute, choked out in under two, and escorted out of the area to the tune of people singing "Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)" like he's just been fired by Vince McMahon. "Dude, this isn't Comic-Con," someone tells him. "But these are good memes," is his only defense.
At the end of the day, it's signs like these that make me think it's important to remember that the vast majority of the right -- or even of people that have supported Trump at some point -- are not necessarily the enemy, especially when there's actual Nazis running about. The right are just people with a set of demographics that has caused them to have views that differ from those of the left. The Nazis, on the other hand, are a historically documented face of evil. The historically documented face of evil. It takes a truly particular fuckwit, thrill-seeker, or asshole to jump on that wagon. And, as long as the people surrounding that wagon will ridicule them (and maybe choke them out a little, if push comes to sleeper hold), I think we're going to be just fine.
Or not. What do I know? At this point, it wouldn't surprise me if the Moon Nazis attacked tomorrow. Let's watch that video of Richard Spencer again:
Pauli is just so tired of all this bullshit, guys. Here he is on Twitter.
For more check out 5 Dark Realities Of Being A Modern-Day Nazi Hunter and How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind.
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