« WTF with Marc Maron Podcast

Episode 1050 - Dale Beran

2019-09-02 | 🔗

Unlike Marc, Dale Beran was immersed in internet culture for most of his life. He considered himself an artistic, creative person with aspirations to become a writer. But what Dale discovered in the online communities he frequented was a disconnected, nihilistic disposition that evolved from meme creation to activism to alt-right and white supremacist ideologies. Dale thoroughly documents the online worlds that created a culture of toxic trolling in his book It Came From Something Awful, which provides a major piece of the puzzle to understand what happened in the 2016 election and what is happening to youth culture in America. This episode is sponsored by The Comedy Central Roast of Alec Baldwin, Squarespace, and Bombas.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey folks, it takes brass balls to agree to a comedy central roast, which is why comedy central is roasting. Alec Baldwin, the comedy central roast of Alec Baldwin premieres September fifteenth and nothing's off limits, but it wouldn't be a roast without some kind of words from old friends. In this case, Robert De Niro, Caitlyn, Jenner, Blake Griffin and Roast Master Sean Hayes will all be there to give Alec the. What for the comedy central roast of Alec Baldwin premieres September, fifteenth at ten nine central on comedy central, also turn your great idea into a reality with square space, launch your passion project with a beautiful website that lets you showcase your work, sell your products and let the world know who you are use the template, Squarespace providing customized decide all by yourself, which were spaces. Twenty four seven award winning customer support, always there to help head to squarespace dot com, Slash w t F for a free trial and when you're ready to launch use the offer code WTF to save ten percent off your first purchase of a website or domain.
Who boy for a man, my brains on fire? Let's do the show all right? Let's do this, how are you what the what the buddies, what the stirs what's happening, Mark Merrin here this is my show. W t f welcome to it. I hope everything's. Okay, I don't know man, do you? What do you think? What do you think happened this last week if you've been keeping up if you've been listening and you knew where we were, we were where I was at because I put we recorded last week and but I had presented was that I would you know if everything went as planned and I was ready to sort of move through it that I would get off the nicotine lozenges and I'm here to report that I have. I am now eight days
eight days off today, which will be Monday I'm recording this seven days off and I'm a little less out of my mind. Something you've been through this with me, maybe once or twice before, but wow pretty exciting, pretty fucking exciting, just to throw your self into some sort of craving induced mania, though, that disables your ability to filter your emotions properly and just makes you fucking nuts in a very exciting way been very exciting in the sense that if I stay like this were all up for quite a ride. If I'm going to stay like this, I don't know if that's going to be, what's going to happen. Ok, so let's do some business. Let's do some business I'll be at the Vogue Theater in Vancouver this Friday. I believe it's sold out. You can try uh
that September. Sixth, I will be at the Moore Theater in Seattle September. Seventh, I don't think that sold out, think there's still a few tickets of that. So come to that one! Ok, yeah come down from Vancouver me right, come from Vancouver and coming up. These are important, there are as important as it would be if you want to see me perform, I jfl forty two in Toronto on September nineteenth the VIC Theatre in Chicago on September, twentieth that sold out actually what I say that the Toronto one needs yet that need support is a say in the business. The masonic Temple in Detroit needs a little help on September, twenty first and the Pantages theater in Minneapolis on September, twenty second, my old alma mater. In a way it takes a special there, go to W T, F, pod, dot com, slash tour for ticket info and all my tour dates for the rest of the year, all right, so it goes on,
So I get off. I decide to get off to get off the nicotine. I told you I was going to which I did but man, my brain just spread wide open, buddy who's, the Buddy pal spread wide open. I forgot what it was like, because I was you know a lot of them. I don't know if you guys knew how many hours he, but I was in a lot of a man. My tolerance is way up. I was taking a lot to fix and you know wasn't getting any easier all day long. Sometimes I go yeah, but I'd be I'd. Nicotine myself into nauseous nous sometimes sweaty, I crossing queasiness, and then sometimes I go to bed with him in my mouth and when I woke up and realized there in my bed, I'd stick him on the pillow next to me, yeah! so they get all get stuck under the pillow like a sad truth from when Where kid I was strung out on the shit is what I'm saying, but when I pulled the plug on it, I just didn't realize how my brain just scrambling for dopamine the receptors are going nuts there starving my metabolism slowed down, so I like put on like eight pounds overnight.
And I've just been crazy you know, I'm I'm afraid to talk to people. I've done a lot of watching of television and cooking during this time and just getting through it exercising hiking. Sweating it out like yesterday. I went and ran four miles and when sweat it out, but I tried hard with people on stage, did to comedy sets loopy as full. On Improv Nicotine withdrawal, improvisation, spectacular so satisfying and weird- I I don't know I, how do I make my life? Is this this mod I'd like to stay in this mode of it without the craving like a amp a little bit it's Friday? Knowing for you, I apologize. I apologize it'll pass, but did couple of that was good. I was also in that ongoing. Just weird battle on twitter worth all the Marvel Comics universe. People were mad at me, which is
fine, oh and then they released a trailer for the Joker, and I made it in man, I'm at the very end me in Dinero, in the doorway. Looking at the Joaquin very exciting, it's going to be a dark cool movie very happy to be part of it does not change my feeling, anyways. Got a great show today, speaking of I I think I can say nerd culture without people getting upset. I know some people think I'm a nerd. They call me a nerd because of my record thing or whatever, but I usually tap out man yeah, I'm only as nerdy as bad the amount of off in my house, Sir, where I get tired of looking at it, I get past a certain point. It's sort of like a reality breaks in and says what do you need all this year? For? Is this really your life and pull back? So you know what that makes me not a nerd because they go all in not judgment. Just is what it is, but. Maybe judging a little bit depends on what the the nerve is, but this guy that I talked to today, Dale Brand
he wrote that book man, he wrote that, but the blew my fucking mind, there's a couple of books that have blown my mind, it's called it came from something awful and it really is it. The the reason coincides with this. Sort of weird pylon by the MCU guys in women and men and whoever is involved with that they're just there knee jerk reaction too any sort of sort of name calling or criticism about their weird corporate addiction too fantasy. It was very educational and I fucking I dug dug the interaction because, after I read this book, it came from something awful. He taught me about the whole world of to check
and four Chan and Reddit Sub Reddit tumblr. It taught me about this sort of that all it's been going out there on out there in those platforms in those chat rooms. You know in that world of disconnected disassociated, you're, primarily men on the chance and how that date, you know, evolved out of a a kind of a your nihilistic, do position into meme culture into insult culture online, and then how would ultimately manifested into mainstream culture through conspiracy theories and through Papa Ganda, stuff 'cause. Some of them were turned out by the alt right and by old school nazis, but a lot of them were just out there
up. It also talks about how it's kind of a sprout off into the two versions of anonymous, the politically active anonymous and then the hacking anonymous and how you know Tumblr was sort of a an antithesis to what was going on in these kind of more toxic check. It was it just look if you're my age, maybe your proficiency, maybe you know what's going on, but you know I am I I just used a computer. I don't live in it and I don't know how to live in it, and I don't know about all this stuff, but it all adds up. You know it's a major piece in the puzzle of what happened in two thousand and sixteen and also what happened to youth culture and it all started with fantasy. It all started with anime on one side. The whole thing was an education to me and it really sort of shows where and how who is driving culture not I like to push back I'm getting from the collective, the MCU C active, which is you know I get it that you know that
now one powered but they're, certainly not the underdog. In terms of you know, the effect on culture and whether or not mono culture really Disney run mono culture. When it comes to films, the idea is like yeah, okay, great there, they're well made something It's like you can tout this kind of like well. That directory is a genius or this actor is great or whatever and they're doing these movies. The payday is one thing, but you figure out how to bend your talent into this very limited world. You know that, appeals to this. This fan base and they're very early and there's no question about that, and if they don't believe they are, they can just look at their reaction to any sort of criticism or wasn't even I guess it was sure, was name calling but he wasn't off. But anyway, either to each their own. I think that was the the primary themes like what you got to make fun things to people like that. People, love and I'm like well when that thing is a pain, a sort of mono culture, sort of
young juggernaut, of of a very select context of entertainment that just put house through everything else and is oddly relatively limited, even if it is a universe, it's worthy of criticism, even if people love it so much if they're willing to do Disney's bidding because they're so grateful the never again will they ever have to be ashamed of liking, their comic books. So look people IBM. I yeah, I think about socks. How often do you think about your socks? If you're like I used to be not much well I'll, tell you a few years ago. I got some bomb Bassanne now. That's all I think about when I think about socks. It's true, in fact, when I was on Steven Cole Bear show a few weeks ago. They gave me some bombers in a gift bag and I was
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so Dale Bran, the guy who wrote this. He came from something awful. It's one of the work I've done. A few interviews like this in my career here on this show I interviewed SAM can Onias for his book call dreamland. About the opium epidemic, which was fucking mind blowing because it was so engaging to me and revealed so much about the toxicity, an the culture that created the epidemic and drug companies and the
American Medical Association. I just it was one of those books that explain so much and gave me a context fantasyland recently with Kurt Andersen. That was another one that was really about the history of magical thinking in America. They gave what we're going through a context, and this is the same type of book. I it came from something awful if gave me a context, to understand those worlds of online worlds that created toxic trolling and then you know later influence culture and also your generated the army of and about hate nerds, which is you know what I call them. I in there's a little push back on that too, but I don't know the army of unfakeable hate nerds have done a lot of damage and they continue to. Some of them are russian, but he just gave me context understanding, because there was no way I could have understood it. There was no way and and now I do- and that was because of of Dale's book.
How about an email, no subject dear mark, despite your many mornings, that steely Dan would eat? My brain. I gave can't buy me a thrill, a listen on Spotify and let the album play through in its entirety. While I did housework, how bad could it be fast forward to my Monday morning, LOS Angeles commute were suddenly. My Spotify is recommending Alan Parsons Project. Doobie brothers suffer just to say that Dan ate my algorithm keep up the good work. I love your podcast with all my heart that Dan, eat her algorithm, I'm sorry, I am so sorry Julie. I didn't mean for that to happen, but you know it is kind of deep right Jesus no subject again dear Mark Marin. Thank you for helping me fall asleep. When I have felt the burden of anxiety, sadness, loneliness and resentment. Your words filled with anger and cynicism had made me feel a little more lighthearted at night. I wish you the best mark
I like when people use me to go to sleep, to isn't crazy. It's like it's like a riddle and effect. I love you. People
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Dale brand schools me educated me wrote this great book about the shift from fantasy into toxic mainstream culture that help crumble. Our medical system- and you know make everybody feel like garbage. He got to the source and it all started in fantasy. It all started in fantasy it all, started in Fantasy data like anime. It is like Marvel. They just making stuff up that hurts people they just like doing it to each other, and now it's leaked, it's leaked. The lizard portal is open. This is me talking to Dale for about his book. It came from something awful which I because
required reading, and so you pronounce your last name Aaron. I say Duran Duran yeah, like French, like brand. It was barren when my dad came here and here where he come from the Czech Republic of Czechoslovakia. The time I really did he. What did he come here in the seventies in the 60s? So he escaped. Did you have family there? Still uh yeah through yeah, my his mother was still there. He was very sad when his mother died, like it was 'cause. He couldn't go back yeah. It was exactly like that where he was really furious. Like really angry.
Your entire childhood feet, yeah I mean it sounds like he has a good humor about him, but he was really mad at the communists. He was really mad at the knots easy way after the and those are two fine at yeah. That's a good yeah once yeah exactly so when he went back, you were back in like ninety one. I was too young. He didn't take me with him, but he just said that, like he went back in animals like your that's a ghost like some people got scared like because when he came back yeah they it like, some people would jump, you disappeared, wow and when people did that they just never talked about them again. So it's like they thought that he just got so they yeah. How I get it. I guess it was that repressive and your mom is from there too. No. My mom is from here she's on that side like ukrainian and polish, so still slavic on it as well, but their generation came one generation before like in the like, an old Baltimore folks who came in the beginning of the Nineteenth century Baltimore he grew up in Baltimore. Yes, so you've been now this our
First read your stuff: when you wrote the piece about four Chan, I don't know where the wrote that but got around right right and it like it was a sort of a an eye opener for me, but you've been at your seat. You you've been out here now a before you're, not you weren't, essentially a journalist, no, not at all. I mean I consider myself an artist and a writer. Yes, what was your focus? You wanted to you, you sort of computer compelled right? Yes, so I really wanted to be a writer. I was writing novels that weren't getting sold and really early on in my career right after I got to college I'd, make comics with a really talented friend of mine, who's at Dave at home, and he is a visual artist and he made a video game that one loves called braid yeah and before that we were making comics and really, I
think, on account of him. But I guess both of Us- the comics were relatively successful. So then I started making comics for awhile, but it was really like. Oh well, this is the the sugar in the Medison. Where I can write. If I draw so, I was making comics and then we were doing cartoons but I really wanted to write the whole time and so through that time I was writing little essays. They were kind of like you checking in like little bit that, where I thought Well that, if you check kinda reminded me of my dad was to the same intellectual tradition, I was into those kinds. So I was writing these essays on tumblr and kids into them, though it was very weird I felt like. I was kind of ruining my career by being angry and writing about socialism and like inequality and stuff and pop culture, and so the fortunate that came out of that it was just in that tradition where we are
cartoon from cartoon network. We had done a pitch and we had paid us money to develop in that collapse, and I was like oh well I'll just write another essay because that's I didn't expect you know I didn't get paid. I pitched a few places and they said no and then I just self published yeah, so that's really got around yeah. That's where it came from yeah, but thing is like, I think, the thing that blew my mind and some some of the stuff I want to move through with this talking to you is that, like you know, I'm fifty five alright. So all this stuff. To me it was like, oh my god, this is the of the machinations like you know, when I, I guess, The point is like when news would break like the ultimate end game of this mode system that started with two Chan and move through anime into into meme culture into what kind of morally bankrupt millennials to being cold did by the outright is that and the sword evolution of their you know,
engagement, reality being sort of non reality until it hits reality. So by the time I saw your news, the new cycle of move around some of the information that came with the beginning, a tromping just before tribe. There was definitely a moment of like where, where is this coming from, there's a whole world out there that I think was rooted in fantasy, but then sort of found its way into the mainstream and I'll. Tell you honestly were at first Donna me that something was fucked up You know what the way you, I think it's where you open the book it's been a month or so since I read it and I read it was into it was that I started to see these footage of these protests. That would
happen between you know all right, yeah or or white, nationalist and and after five, because I would hate, say it anti five. Yes, I say it and you know- and I looked at I when I looked at the people in the pictures I'm like this. This is not an organizing these people, don't look like they know each other they're dressed kind of oddly they don't look like to get outside much. It looks like because play right exactly right now and and then like after I read your book. I was like all kind of what yeah thank you, but but the news media right, yeah yeah, is it they exploited, I'm sure they there. The Trump administration knows to do that that it's sort of like this is really happening. Look at the social forces, one really they're, just sort of you mobilized you by a miracle you know, computer. Nerds right who are out there living this yeah. They they've made an impact on reality and they're going to journey into it in these characters right
I called in the army of on talk about hate nerds, it's a very good name and it is very real, like we should have said that we should name like what you heard that one yeah, but I I know in in reading the stuff that you know you. This was your community to some degree. How old are you? I am thirty. Eight all right. So, let's go back to when you know they start went because I'm not I I'm not computer proficient. I don't live, I don't I'm not a fantasy fan. I don't know about these worlds of of of my what is it mine craft in Sandusky and what's the other war, one a world of Warcraft yeah world of Warcraft area like a I don't know about gamer culture, I missed it. Fifty five, I missed it, but you grew up in it. She sure more or less. Because you talk about going to these these conventions Right Fort, went when when the Chan community was sort of this esoteric j. Obsessive
community yeah, that's exactly right! So how did it like? So what was it like? Then? I mean who were the people, who were the characters? Who are these, tribe of people he yes, so I strangely enough yeah, like I kind of saw them at the very beginning when they first coalesced in the late nineties and then the early two thousands who, who are they well the nerds on the at okay, a lot of who had really dropped out, says something awful which came before four Chan and something awful that it came from? Something awful is not just the name of that. Something awful is a board right when you call it that is that what yeah it was a popular message for it and it was really devoted to self hating nerds was the how they called themselves where they had dropped out of life. They were very nihilistic and youth culture had gotten very nihilistic about dropping out this a slacker nineties thing. But could you see it I mean? Were you were these your friends? I am l
to me. It was my youth culture yeah that I just didn't know why it was happening. I took me years to kind of figure out what were you doing in it? What was your sort of focus? What was your thing, your nerd thing? Well, yeah I mean I certainly with my friends were sort of rice steeped in pop culture, and we would be kind of quoting pop culture and we would kind of be into very dark violent films and sort of transgressive on the boards yeah. So the boards, I barely posted on something awful, but I remember joining it like in high school or like early college, or something and kind of being into like looking at weird stuff and looking at dark stuff and then also comics to where does it all starts right, sort of laid out like you're talking to your father, a short right, so I can. I can break it down and not shell, so the the overview is that by two thousand and three something awful spawns: four, which is this site which combines the sort of
these two Chan. So two Chan was a japanese site that we voted to. Otaku is a man. This idea that first started in Japan that got imported to United States where young people really drop out of life and instead, of climbing the hierarchy and like competing in school and jobs. They say well, is going to drop out of life and I'm going to consume stuff and I'm going to consume fantasy products and live inside that family. So this was a philosophical manifesto of two channels that you know we're screwed the hierarchies bullshit. You know there is no opportunity, it's nihilistic in its nature and we're going to sort of live, uh, huh Onan engage with each other on this platform
yeah. It was a sociological problem in Japan and and what was the focus? It was anime right, yeah it was anime, so it was about this. It was really the forces that created it were. A life was very hyper competitive and you have to do a lot to kind of climb up out of your parent's basement and then fantasy products. Entertainment products were just expanding. Vastly people love it when people here there's there fetish eyes, japanese, fantasy and and Carter in animation products. Yeah, that's exactly right, so it for that those dynamics, the same things that happened in the US now. What was he like now? What? Let's? It's just for like search for what we just explain to me, the sexual component of to chat, or did that not happen? There was a an element of people fantasizing sexually about cartoon characters, yeah, definitely yeah. There was sort of a romantic attachment to these men. They didn't get out. Much was mostly men and their young man, yeah young men, and they they live their sexual fantasy life in cartoons and video games and
an anime, and things like that. So that was really part of it that those products, it's really about selling power to powerless people, so the violent action part and then selling sexual fantasies. So they're like well, I'm not going to do that in real life. I'm going to do the much more in satisfying thing, I've just getting all my gratification and pleasure through those commodities and like at the core of it. I think what becomes interest through the evolution of what you write about is that you, what this is doing to any sort of. Genuine perception of reality, what might be whatever that might be. Is that you know when you commit to engaging with people sort of anonymously or people you know by their screen name, and you have communities around these different things is
there is there is no genuine sort of physical, social interaction and, and it sort of tends to it, seems that it breaks down your ability to do you do or white like function in the real world to a degree when your entire social life and moral universes be around this engagement around the specific thing and sort of own. That you know you're kind of Regarding yourself somehow yeah, it's deeply unhealthy and I got unhealthier as it went along so at first you know when two Chan gets here it becomes four Chan, yeah, that's exactly right. So the american import is four Chan. It was started by something awful user a fifteen year old kid. It was sort of an atom. Eighteen year old kid yeah, fifteen year old kid who is living in New York, something awful was already existing yeah. Something awful exist. I think in nineteen. Ninety eight or one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine, so that this was the one that you sort of looked at. This was a a site that
was primarily about you know. Bending people are in the community and and sharing you know, violent means if it was sort of the beginning of meme culture, correct yes, something often fortune more or less invented the internet meme. So it was bands on something awful because they thought it wasn't funny enough to sort of repeat a joke and change it. Yeah, Michael, you have to be more regional right and then fortune really popularized it. So that idea mean idea right that idea of like replicating a joke over and over and kind of polishing it that way and and yeah. It really came off of fortune and in these people, the ones who are pulling quips and pulling pieces from movies it the way you frame it was. It was a way of of creating and and turning mainstream culture on itself right yeah. They felt really powerless that they were sort of at the bottom of this like to see, if, like a garbage, which was the internet, which is all this marketing culture, and they had all of these different
products and video games. Anime, like all tugging on their value system and Americans were a little more wary of it, then the Japanese, so that they already knew from counter culture and slacker culture that it sucked so there like oh well, it sucks and really there's nothing to do so. We're going to play with it we're going to gain some autonomy over it by An account of reversing the flow and letting, instead of the screen, sort dictating what's on it, you get to take all that stuff and make your own chokes out of it right. So you deconstruct it and turn it on itself, and then you know you, you share it and a lot of times it I thought it was interesting. About the beginning of this, and maybe you were living it, but it seems that there's the generational difference between you, Young people who are completely computer proficient an their parents, is profound, so whatever values were happening in the dining room or in the house.
Really it seemed that the what you're documenting is that the the complete disconnect between you know old school american values are things that parents can even teach their kids any practical way or even school. What is now like, you know my. I don't know what my kids doing he's down the hall on the computer, sure you're turning his brain into nihilistic, immoral, garbage shore and there's nothing that they can do about it like there is a there. There is like. I don't even know that they would know. That was one thing that struck me is that you know there's this value system that there that the kids are essentially fighting against right, consumer culture and write me a mainstream values right that they they're not even existing in the same world as their parents in the living room, right yeah. And so what happened really is that that gap that you're describing got wider and wider. So my generation, we cannot solve this labyrinth of addictive internet and all the interesting things with the internet, so the grub around us. But then the next generations were born into it, really have so ARI. How old are they now those that generation they like nineteen twenty right and they inherit it from the sort of the culture that our is built on the internet, but back then it was yeah. I was about a kind of because he was sort of about getting agency over it and
it kind of slowly reversed itself said that, as you spent more time, the next generations, as they just spend all the time in any minute, the internet got more addictive, got more fascinating. The games got more fancy a better. It was really just. It was sort of hyper talk with someone that stuff in the nineties were dropping out. It was really like you can live your whole life there more than ever in the nineties. That's like now in two thousand, so right so yeah. So four Chan, what happened is that they created means which was really sort of rebellious kind of fun, counter culture and felt powerful, they felt like they were affecting society and they were also created. Trolling collectives, which were let's went to. Let's talk about that, so so when they were affecting society. When do you sort of mark? So what are you doing at this point? When do you start to realize personally that this shit is going bad? I would say
they had a very between two thousand and eight and two thousand and eleven. They had a very successful sort of far left liberal, libertarian, hacktivist collective, which I liked I was a fan of uhm. It was, a really rebel yes sort of interesting way. So it's sort of punk, the extension of Punk rock yeah they'd, reverse their talk to ism, where, if it totally flipped and they said we're a powerful, a we're gonna, Fight corporations were going to fight with a non governments right, yeah, that's anonymous and its pro democracy and then that collapse. Those people got to rest, it
and by two thousand and fourteen to two thousand fifteen, I'm I'm realizing that they switched back to this really deep, worse, otaku ism, which is also talk with him. I guess that's my own could turn when they have their own terms like talk with him, referring back to the to chance, yeah right exactly. How do you define it dropping out like an ironically living through the computer? Well, I think it what what's interesting, though, in in the jump from that japanese model, where the cultural expectations sociologically are much more intense? You know there is a hierarchy there, and expectations were runaway translates to America, which I thought you documented very well. Is
you know that sort of heightened understanding of consumer culture and realizing that you know the future that is presented to you in the possibilities that are presented to you in the american capitalistic model are are mostly bullshit for most people right and that you, you claim in the book that a lot of these younger people were hip to that that they were out of the gate. That's exactly right! Yeah! They kinda knew that life can really offer them for filling work. That's sort of an old philosophical complaint that goes back a while right that you're like oh well, it's really hard to be an artist. It took me years of dropping out to to be an artist, but even these guys it with these basic computer skills that that the best way we were going to hope for is some sort of elevated cubicle job yeah that might get them a good salary right, but with with your drain them of their well, I force in the expectations would be limited right. Yeah, like the complaints in the 90s, were like. Oh even if we do this yeah we're just going to get shuffled into a cubicle and then now right it just got worse and worse right. The options that you
you take on more student at you, you get less money, there's not even those jobs laughed so so this is what american talk, a taco, how you say it we'll talk again, a talk with him share. Okay! So that's how that kind of that. So that's why it stuck so it took a it, took a sort of an intellectual joke in a cultural assessment that was a little broader than the japanese trip right. To really take in the american kind of Stanshall predicament for younger people right now, when you say a fifteen year old started something awful was you know that was, I was pre four Chan yeah I most of the book is about four Chan and something awful. The founder was in his twenties as a fortune was founded by the fifteen year now when it, when you say in his twenties, so the This guy, you know What is he set out like 'cause? You talk a lot about how this site is managed and what? What is passing, won't pass. There is sort of autonomous kind of
got a collective vibe to it were you. There are no rules, but but eventually something bad happens, and then there are a few rules right. Yes, so the the first one something awful is relatively well moderate it. So there are rules there and then fortune over the rules, just rules against harassment, rules against illegal content right and then their enforcement was fairly good and it got better over the years but fortune because it-
go over that mantle of something awful, because it hadn't much worse moderation. They were what was it? What was he? How did that sort of happened? How did four Chan will get back to an honest, but how did you know what was the movement that said well, something awful yeah, we're we're we're doing this now. How do who was that guy so yeah? That was the fifteen year old kid and his friends who said they were on something awful and they said well we're getting banned, or we want something even sillier and stupider, and the way that that a fortune worked with a lot more fun easier to post on. So they created their own separate site, which was fortune which would have a different style of message board, which is a lot more fun, easier, post images, and over there also that culture they inherited of really cynicism and dark jokes and really lack and then much more lax moderation. There was sort of this in that culture. There was this race to the bottom of like who can be the something awful found put it to me like
there was a competition to see who could be the most fucked up piece of shit possible and they were all winning all of them, referring to the fortune, guys right. So this idea that, like you're going to going to do the worst shit there, an and it's really just going to be this chaotic free for all and support yeah. So, between two thousand and three, when it was founded in two thousand and eight when they really started their activist movement and the culture of flip through the while it was really about competitive transgression, about like just
sting weird garbage in jokes and and and her and- and you know the worst sort of you know- of racist, sexist yeah. I did completely you're morally bankrupt images, yep violence, yeah bordering on illegal yeah, and and so what what? What struck me about. That was that this is a large community you're talking about thousands of mostly young men. Yes, who are are basically voluntarily. You know through you know anonymous names, yes, destroying any possibility of them having a moral compass in the real world, yeah, that's exactly right that it released screw them up that you can't have absorbed that, and in that, in that that was the beginning. A troll culture was that they would do it to each other and get a big kick out of it.
Right, like you know, you got me that that and I awaited my entire sense of self. I feel like I'm beating in that, but now I'm gonna get you yeah, and that was the nature of of what your became troll culture in in the mainstream. But initially it was just a bunch of of Nile mystic cynical. You frustrated, young men, try to out this and destroy each other through memes and and sayings yeah. That's a very oaks! That's exactly right! Yeah and they were powerless. Like young teenagers, young men trying to out compete each other and humiliate each other, and they were all behind the screen. So they knew there weren't, really any consequences, and simultaneously most of these people were involved with role playing games. Yeah it it definitely clicked into that culture. The nerd culture hanging out in video games, but there was this idea that, like
they were self hating. So the idea that you would leap into escapist worlds in fantasy worlds and live that way. Yeah the troll culture was about destroying those fantasy worlds and saying they were against them too yeah. So they're saying well, we live on the internet. We spend our time on the internet we've dropped out and that we're nihilists who just gonna spend waste for where lives boiler. Where I went away our lives on the internet and yeah. If someone else is like in a fantasy world, doing that, I'm gonna go over and destroy their experience. That was the troll sort all right so so the original target was the fantasy nerds yeah, that's exactly right! Yes, so like so. This is like this. These were the armies of online armies of of young men. Mostly this was the battle. It's like you know the nihilist verses, the fantasy nerds yeah, that's exactly right! So if they were like you know, they were middle aged women who were going on second life, which was like
a place where you could have a different fantasy world online and like live a totally different life through the computer yeah, and they would go on there and they would just destroyed the I drop means everywhere and make gross jokes and like put racial slurs in there and the same thing with little kids who were like they're on like a fantasy, lego style place. That was run that, like some corporation, was collecting money from the kids yeah like then they would rated and and destroy it. That was what they delighted in two and a half into it, yeah to hack into you. Just do it through the comment boards yeah. They would find some x way to exploit it or they would Hackett said that they would figure out okay. Well, if we do this, we can actually create seven thousand new avatars to characters and- and you know, totally overwhelm the
the letter in there. Whatever otherwise, if wing garbage yeah, we just garbage, jokes and and means, and they succeeded in ruining a lot of people's fun yeah, that's exactly right! Now, they've yeah room, the world's fine, the evolution yeah. This is, and then they, but they realize that was, and they were actually a lot of power online. So they started doing it to NEO around two thousand seven yeah. Well, let's go back so let's go the next. The next term was that you know what what do you see happen with troll culture to where you know was there a leader that said, you know why don't we apply this to an I corporate at you know more progressive than a methodology likely you know, did the difference between the two anonymous is the original anonymous, which was a agriculture of of progressive activists and
it's where you know you're like well now this seems to be going somewhere right as a creative person- you're, not but you, but when you're talking about this troll culture, I mean we're talking about tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people involved in this correct. Yes, you have four Chan by that by two thousand ten, it was the second most popular message board or by some counts online, so one of the more second sight so so fortunate by two thousand and ten now yeah, I'm a grown man and that's like nine years ago. So I'm in my forties, short and not even know what that is, and in meanwhile, what's perky waiting. There right is this sort of on doing of of of of culture in a way yeah. That's exactly right! So all of this culture, that's influencing everyone means and so forth. It's coming out of there, ok! So what changes you know for that crew for that army of my sisters.
Okay, to to wear enough of them, decide to do something. You know proactive, I'm yeah. They realize they have a lot of power: okay, a real. They started, cranking NEO, NEO name how Turner and they you they essentially back, then so so thoroughly that they revealed that he was an FBI informant and so by two thousand and eight. They realize ok. Well with this collective of millions of kids or 10s of thousands and thousands of kids, we We have some skill, hackers and our yeah and we have a set of values and we can enforce those values and that came out of weirdly Enough Tom Cruise there was a video of him talking sort of ranting about Scientology.
The sectors of Scientology got it removed and fortune was very angry. They set out. We would love funny stuff on the internet. We love internet freedom. We all agree on that value yeah. So they went to war with the church of Scientology sort of linking up with older groups that have been doing it for a long time and they were relatively successful. So I went out to their first protest. That was the first anonymous protest where around the world, they said: okay, Santos Young a certain day- we've they pretended there like. We are this powerful international group of powerful of hackers, and on a certain day we're gonna come out and protest. You to see thousands of us in front around the world. All your churches are your temples and this, but that was like they didn't know. Is that what they were just talking right? That's what they promise and it happened that that indeed like they decided that it would be so funny was probably like it was a real life rates. So what they've been doing in virtual space? Is he asking kids games and stuff? They said? Well, let's just do that in real life. Let's all go out on a certain day, I'm
It's wear mask and they chose the guy. Fawkes mask the anonymous mask and they said we'll pretend like where this horrible, with this incredible powerful group of international
Chris, which in a sense they were in a sense they weren't. They were, they didn't exist in the real world. Okay, a I in the in in the world of visceral reality. Yeah, I got like they. They they didn't go out side. So this is like a big day yeah. It was a here yeah like everyone. I did not think they would show up right. I was like this is unprecedented, where they did meet at anime conventions that my old and making mention Baltimore, but this idea that they would suddenly become the opposite of night. Was there any like we're politically engaged? We have a value system and we're going to fight for it right the ob right, like the total opposite, but but you remember these kids from Anime convention yeah swinging around and looking at tables of toys and whatnot yeah that yeah that's exactly right that they would come and media making mentioned. They would all seeing the fresh prince of Bel AIR Theme song, and there was an innocence to it. Yeah they were goofy, kids, goofing off. They were in costumes right right, so when they go out for the protests, they're the same thing, they dress up as the same avatars that they had raided the virtual spaces in its wake you feed their cracking jokes they're, seeing memes about the same time. No one knows what's happening. I, like I interview the Scientology guy across the street, he's like these.
Terrorists they're coming to destroy us. They hate our religious freedoms and they were intimidated. They the press kit, it up and they're like wow, this international hacktivist group, that's very powerful. They pretending to be international society of secret activists, but they were really was the same anonymous groups of trolls that hung out in fortune and they were named anonymous when they were just a trolling group in two thousand six in two thousand seven, they called themselves in on him. So they were when they were monsters yeah when they were just give the throwing people's experience online, they call themselves anonymous, okay, happen away, and then, after the Scientology thing there right. Well, we've now we're you know. We mean something yeah and we've convinced the press that we exist, that it's real and so that that mask became the face. They were
that that's who we are. We convince people that that's who we are yeah and it really just took off so we'll be that yeah there was a little bit of a wall, but by two thousand ten and two thousand eleven. When the Juliana Songs, Wikileaks stuff happen, yeah they got re engaged and they said we will fight for Julia signs, were gonna, take down pay power master card who took over. He took his funds, we're gonna attack them online, take down the so lights and they did yeah. They did they. It was sort of semi successful, but really successful for coalesce sing the group back together and there was some really skilled, powerful hackers who then went on to sort of this flag of internet freedom and pro democracy they interfered or hell the revolution in Tunisia and the Arabs spring right. They just that part of what they did and they still exist to some extent. But the FBI got very interested very involved in really crush them really are
did all of the principal members. Those guys went to jail, there's a lot of them were in England and they are now out of jail, but Jeremy Jeremy him into one of the anonymous members who got arrested. Then he in the? U s he's still in jail, so yeah that was sort of broke the back of the movement raw. So this way yeah one reality: the laws of reality, whether you agree with them or not, you need there was real consequences. So, yes, jail was into your self designed jail in there, the in the one bedroom apartment or you're in your parents house right it was now. You know now that you've ventured out into the real world right now and had real impact that you know the real wise. It apply. But like so this was you know. The mindset that coalesced These troll armies who, who it yes, sort of cynically we're just out doing themselves with disgusting things online you're, now
you took really a the the sort of gamer approach to start now the game is the actual world, and you know we've been we've shown that show of force. We are well I as a goof, we all went out. We had our mascot. Now we've made an impact in that we've made and now you know you some time goes by and we've made an impact again in and there- is some progressive change going on because of what we're doing yet. I imagine there's still a large fraction of them are still monsters. Yeah, that's exactly right. It was a big split. What was oh, so there's a split, an anonymous yeah I mean to me the hacktivist collective was very inspiring yeah. I think everybody thought it was kind of amazing and I think people of my generation were like what is this yeah and you sort of explain it. So, ok! So what have so? This is about where you become this illusion: yeah well at
at this point. I it was kind of felt, like I felt in the nineties the same way with a kind of powerless and dropped out me, and so I thought it was really amazing that they had to use the screen as a way and the internet as a way to sort of express. What's on me to be a powerful and in a sense, but there was split online, so half of them still felt like that old, Pochu nihilistic way where they said this idea that you're going to go out and pretend to make an effect is an illusion, and if but we're still about rolling we're still about dropping out of life, and after they got anonymous, got arrested around two thousand and twelve. What happened was the four Chan. There was a moral vacuum. Is one person described it? that all of those people had left, they had gone the other side, so they had been arrested so
What was left were people who were more into attack of culture than ever more into dropping now deeper nihilists, and then the new kids joining these places they had even less opportunity to move out of their parents for the filling were occur. The filling lives is a new younger generation. These are twelve to fifteen sixteen or yeah, so they're they're, coming into like you know, some sort of well defined e, no deep bottom dark see the goal. You know attack culture, online attack, cold yeah, it's all well defined by the generation before them and by the guys who, like now, like ten years, have passed and like your in ten years on four Chan right, like ok funny in one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine, when you're on something awful funny in two thousand and four you're like haha, I spend all my time in the computer life sucks. Then like ok, six, seven years past you're still doing it right. It just gets
record right that they're like oh. This is because now they're grown up with a groan of the agent right now, it's like you know the world of pedophile yeah enters the yeah right when you're when they're fifteen, it's not a big deal. If they're doing the same thing for seven or eight years yeah, then it's like. Oh, this is my life. Nothing has compounded loser now, yeah exactly right, but like I thought what was also interesting in terms of the the cultural power of the righteous anonymous. Was that you, you know in in response he I guess at the same time, from remembering correctly that once an honest became empowered politically that tumblr sort of surfaced as a almost feminist reaction to it is that what happened, yeah more or less, that Tumblr was another.
Site, where means were popular and you could share memes anyways image base. So you can share a lot of images and it turned into the female version in the sense where, with that which is also built on, you know the the the feminine fantasy world right, so that the the girl nerds right and their desires, which kind of you know kind of a have they had to happen on its own, because the other place was a cynical dark man's club. Today there was another thing going on there right yeah. There was sort of like this supportive community where everyone said you know. If this is your thing of his, what you're into them we're going to support you, no matter what right yeah. We became this very sort of delicate, Crystal tower of Genderfluid, progressive eighteen, feminist values and and the type of fantasy that wasn't malignant yeah, so Ryan long posting possibilities and ways to explore ideas- and you know the way people could interact- was to evolve a conversation around idea
right yeah. So it was a little more. It was very gentle and was sort of about celebrating art and celebrating counterculture. All of that was incorporated into it and a lot of it was really great. A lot of it was really creative and interesting. I think what was interesting about it in in I don't know if he really put it this way in your book, but in the same way that the trolls were making headway. You know, instigating chaos, but also you know with political activism, is that it seems to me that the intellectual conversations around gender and sexuality that were happening on Tumblr were also servicing. The mainstream yeah There was a cultural change, it happened, my generation, you know where. How do we source this and it seems like a lot of the conversations around gender fluidity
feminism and sexuality were really on on tumblr before they entered into mainstream cultural conversation. Yeah, that's exactly right. Those were the issues that they were very interested in, since he was young women. They said you know my life outside of sort of deeply dissatisfied and they were getting together to talk about it and they said well, you can we use this feminist critiques understand what's happening, how if I want to sort of escape the prison of being labeled in the of the of gender and in and all of the difficulties that come with a woman, yeah being a woman? Can I do that? Is there a critical theory that allows me to do that? I, I think a lot of the tumblr ideas and culture are really great, but the critique of it I have in the book is that it too was really wrapped up in fantasy. So then it became well. I'm going to express my freedom to choose and self defined in my through this cartoon or sort of like. If I see it
Benin in this film are then me living in a fantasy world, just like the attacker, with living in a fantasy world sort of being buying all these commodities will then say a free when in fact the two was a little bit of a a prison or sort of distorted by that same process. Well, I had this kind of mind. Blowing reality experience right. We happen to be in Madison Wisconsin at the same time that this big fantasy convention was there. I can, I forget what it's called. You know what it's called, I'm not sure about the one in medicine that you got there everywhere and I already ate. I think it was it primarily fat families fantasy, and you know it was sort of job again, but they were at my hotel
and you know- and I was reading your book in a mike- I must say I mean is this: is the manifestation of this world right, which was very, you know, sweet in a lot of ways that seem to be encouraging at you a lot of personal expression through you know, whatever you choose right, you know in terms of sexuality or or or gender representation, and I could see it yeah right, but there was a sort of idea that they there's feeling I had was right and these people
yeah this is their. This is their one two year thing right, yeah, where they can go, do this and be around each other, I'm sure they're, smaller meetings. And what are you know? It seems like the petri dish was in it at home and online, and this was the Audi right, yeah right or yeah, that that certainly happens yeah and their bonding to products or whatever right, and so you know, the critique that I offer in the book is that if you're really really interested in cobbling together this mosaic of identity and self, defining and saying you know this, this is sort of what defines me in this too in this too. Well that maybe that's that's inherently how human beings act, but in fact a lot of these kids were trained through social media and through their experience in the computer, to do that, because that's what made money to the social media sites Tumblr was of for profit site so right that sort of youth culture grew out of the frame work of said.
Obsession that social media was sort of teaching. These kids had right and then once he gets on the twitter or into Facebook. In into my generation, you know he, you know, we don't know where to source it, but we feel that there's a a cultural momentum, both progressive and an anti progressive happening. But you know for me: it was sort of mind blowing that you know it been percolating for a long time. So now, what we have you know just to be broad, is we have what's happening with Tom or we have what's happening with anonymous? You know in the progressive way and then the small, a anonymous in the horrible malignant way- and you have these forces- are all sort of around in making impact in mainstream culture in on the news and in the real world information only so How does it go bad, because when I mean it was already bad in some levels, but you know how does it become politicized You know into an army of people with the a sort of
and sour or are hard right head of white supremacists agenda like when I first started seeing Pat Bay during the campaign and seeing it everywhere, and I don't even know what what Hash tag mag government you know with the b if they don't actually are- and I just knew that the frog was there and I'm like you with this frog is- is funny. You know, there's a frog avatar. You note saying shitty things to me what you know. What's with the gate, this sort of consistency of a white, why there are so many frogs around like so so what happens to this world? Who, who
turns these kids out? Who pimps him out right? Are they older? How does it has a coagulate sure yeah? So then I make in my judgment too many steps. No, no, that your were right on time. Yeah we're right around two thousand twelve! That's exactly what's happening so and yeah as we, just as I described that they were the old fortune enters who were left over, who are getting sadder and then the new kids guys in their twenties right, yeah and then the new kids flowing in here who felt a factor but the same dynamics. America talk right, yeah, okay, who just dropped out of life. They were right right down the hall from the parents yeah, I don't know what he's doing online sure exactly right and they that, with the culture just got worse and worse somehow we every time it got worse. No one expected it. Okay, they now you know, with these older guys, were now aligning themselves with the you know, other types of monsters, you definitely have an agenda right. The old school white supremacists are now becoming savvy Spencer and his crew, which
Spencer his crew are, are tech savvy. They come out of this world, and so now you've got these kind of completely morally shattered your two generations of them through jokes and and shitty, behavior, yes, and and and and then then yeah gamergate in two thousand fourteen really lets the rock on it. Where they didn't know, they were a political coalition till then so gamergate was this arrest. Campaign that started on four Chan and then later moved to. Can you explain exactly what happened in game against yes? So there was a video game developer. That fortune was obsessed over female developer names that we Quinn who they They were harassing already a little bit and then an x posted a really angry screed against her, and they decided just like in the Ult Rolling days. They would target her. Everyone would harass her and it was really the biggest one yet and instead of the like lighthearted kind of silly Tro ling of two thousand and six and two thousand and seven, it was really virulent
more so than I mean that I want to be sexist violently sexist and they seemed genuine, which was the other thing about it like that was their new issue right. It wasn't irony, it wasn't cruel nihilism like fuck, her yeah. They were really really mad, and so the question was why who are these people and it turns out that yeah they had dropped out of life so much that they they they describe said. We don't like that. She's bringing feminism to video games, and the idea was that that
they thought it was that was their last line of retreat that they I live, the I don't. I don't have a real life, but at least I have misogynistic video games to live there by men, yeah right to live a fantasy of seducing women there and that that was their threat. That's the threat they panicked over and, at the same time, they just really hated women that it turns out that men who are in that environment they just get more and more toxic, and the idea that, like it's sour grapes, the idea the like, I can't get women, I'm not gonna, go inside and and have romantic relationships with, and that becomes like. I hate women. Very it's it's weird, because it strikes me that that you know many of them. And I'm and I'm projecting you know, have unresolved sexual identity problems. They have they're, not socialized in any way with women or really other. You know normal men, and so you know this misogyny is born out of it. You know I,
eighty okay, I got a virulent type of repression that you have this weird sort of thing of like they think that they have all the freedom in the world to to express horrible views on line and do whatever they want and they may, but there's sort of self isolation has led to a type of repression of both You know, identity and sexuality. That, of course, is going to cause a kind of a. Option, a self hate that is manifested through misogyny in and homophobia. Yeah. That's exactly right that this is sort of the new part that there was what's called a group think where, if on healthy people get online together, they encourage the bad behavior, whether that's we can find these needs. We communities for anything, yeah, yeah right, like fins, bow with a tumblr thing, where women were being encouraged to be really thin, fan an anorexic or whatever. So these new communities of young men will work convincing themselves that they were on the right course, but it was there a little. All right? It was like they
cram themselves into the corner of of of really toxic thinking and, of course, of like, if you just go outside right, if you just break out of that, there's this whole world, but it's just this really cramps tiny, claustrophobic way of thinking and but they're also they're breaking like the the the thing that sort of becomes the I need. So for me, and something that seems real is that the brain is fragile and you know once you start fucking with those wires, those neural pathways that distinguish between fact and fiction and reality and fantasy and and sexuality and violence. You know that it's sort of a without a lot of work and they're. Just doing it all passively, because they're so engaged yeah, that's exactly right. Yeah they're really doing harm to themselves right. There really distorting themselves and just drinking poison essentially, and they know it right. There's sort of there's always post in the more with the like. I gotta get out here my services, I gotta go but
really yeah like they know that it sucks at the same time and then that and and the same time they say well, while I'm here forever, I'm doomed to to live this way on to be okay. So now you have this cauldron of misogyny and and but you'll wind is yet we're just the racism and anti Semitism fold into that after gamergate. So what happens with game or Getty gets big news and and what? What is the resolution of that? So the take away, which no one really realized, is that all of these groups of young men marginalize young men, realize they political coalition that they had a lot in common that they were anti feminist. They were anti tumblr culture, so over all of that stuff that the left said
anti gender politics right and and that a lot as a I politically correct, right, anti yeah right and a lot of that. They say they saw as like. That's about bringing everyone else, all the other groups up to the status of six white men straight white men, and they said what we're what we're straight women were in the bottom right, so they really dig deeply resented that, even though you know a lot of valid arguments on on Tumblr for free, I mean that obviously so yeah they two thousand and fourteen by two thousand and fifteen trump comes along Gamergate, Peters out and with the Christopher Poole. The founder of four Chan is now in his 20s. He leaves fortune. He says: oh it's for different reasons, but essentially the gamergate made four Chan turn on him. So there's a leadership vacuum and what happens is a lot of sort of fake dad's, an older men who are sort of from the first generation get
Youtube and say we're going to lead. You were going to be, the people are going to tell you what your value system is will sell. You are these guys, so Milo Yiannopoulos, MIKE Servic, as others. I won't name right, but those are the more prominent that became. Sort of word is Spencer. Fit in Spencer was part of. He was a part of this other weird tradition of fake intellectuals who were said who were really. He was such a hardcore republican that he became a fascist right and he really just jumped on this rising tide like like the other like son in an op, was, but he wasn't really a fortune guy. He he just realized. Well, this is the answer for these men and it's already what I'm doing so. He was really an opportunist and that's okay, but sort of which was provocateur yeah, the you know, apples and center, which made their names to gamergate. They were Gamer Gators, they were
people who they filled the leadership vacuum in the misogynistic sort of white guy. You know getting fucked area yeah and they're like I'll. Tell these kids how to live these kids, how to be men, that's what's Arnovich did and so Yeon Opolis said you know he's like what you're doing is great you're dropping out living this nihilistic lifestyle. Don't go, get a girlfriend, just wait for virtual reality to get better. That was you Neopolis message and certain which was how to be a man. Until I get to be a man until I had to pick up women I'll tell you how to in alpha male, because I know you guys are quotas, don't really even that an alpha and we're not really like what is that guy I mean so it's like it's like that, all risking their collapse of Witter field right now, but it's like the tallest of the dwarves right like right. That's exactly right! He's like I am the most alpha loser there is. I saw this weird like this is another revealing moment for me because I didn't know about the back story, but I saw a video of Milo
coming out of a place where there were a bunch of these guys waiting for him right and you know he's very flamboyant he's very out he's. Clearly you know a show man of sorts. He was on to himself right. You know he, you know he was perfectly opportunistic, but you know he was out yeah, which can be sort of couched in some sort of progressive mode, but it's not a right because the people he's talking to they all wish they could be out, but they're not. But I just heard the mumbling snow teetering laughter tittering of these guys, whoever was holding the camera name like these are these are these are ill defined people, and you know they don't go out much in there. They're just excited to be around this guys, sexuality and his anger and his self definition, because they don't have any yeah. That's exactly right. Yeah there filling in as those guys are pointing his father figures or right.
Yes, so that that's the first thing that happened is that these men sort of took over the the the leadership of this huge group of marginalized men here, a young man and where clicked into nazi ideology and far right, ideology was well
of all they in their crisis. They needed a lifeline of how to be, and this turns out to conservativism. Was there existential crisis as as adolescence and and young adults, yeah conservatism. Kinda gave this off the rack suit of values and said: well, you just behave like you behaved in the past right or this is how to be a man, raise a family sort of the bread winner set. Was they need it, what they fought against? What what the in exactly right, the values that they initially realize were bullshit right yeah, you came full circle right. Every night was right to write fascism right so now, they're like we're on the margins and what we're down dreaming of, especially the new ones, is being at the center of society. How do you become a normal bread, winner, middle class guy? That's what how desperately want, but you have no money you're in your mom's basement yeah, so that conservative on the mom's basement thing becomes a matter of working that a for for any sort of self isolation. Yeah, that's like that right, right, right, okay, yeah! So so that appeal to them and then that all
been pushed into. So if you look at what fascism is, I use Hannah Arendt who dissected it in the 30s and it's really uh. She describes it there. What area is origins of totalitarianism? She says well that one factor is that capitalism had displaced a huge group of people to make them superfluous sort of the throes of economics and pushed all these people to the guys in the standard definition. Rice was what happened was happening again with these these men, yeah and then the other thing that happens is there's sort of
cruel minded value system which is sort of if you're not really thinking that much you're not reading. That's the have a value system you inherit, which is sort of this social Darwinists determinism, which is yeah, and if we have people who are confident and and they package intellectual ideas in a tight way, that gives you satisfaction emotionally enclosure, intellectually just glom onto it right. Yes, so these people were selling this idea that I say, oh well, a life is this cruel social darwinist hierarchy and there's alpha males in beta males, and you have to be cruel and for call your way to the top, and you should admire people like Trump, who also sort of flattered at being the sort of cruel mind it business guy who perceives everyone as a competitor, and they said that makes so much sense to me, I'm on the bottom. It explains why I'm on the bottom, and so then it quickly became a well the way to get to the top is to displace these other people in this kings are awesome, yeah right, yeah like It's very dark right. The ideas like
you know, life isn't a zero sum game right people when people work together, they pull everyone up, but they perceived it as like. Oh it's, a power hierarchy and the pea on the top of the hierarchy. Well, they cheated their way there. That's the minorities or whatever you focus on and if I displace them I'll get to the top so shamelessly shameless corruption. Shame with cheating anything by any means necessary right. You destroy your competitors right and there's so angry that there on the bottom there like what's the explanation, why am I here? But all this stuff there's still living on line yeah, that's exactly right, so they're absorbing it as an answer to their situation online, and so now we're like. I understand this part of it so tell me where, where anti Semitism racism and Pepe the frog sort of take home
sure. So the racism really grows out of that idea that a we're on the bottom white as he's all right out, right away and then same anti Semitism yeah, the the yes, the Jews, run it right exactly as a cat. It's a like sort of like the mass right exactly and of course, so that blacks in the Latinos in the women are taking our jobs in the Jews are deciding who gets what yeah? That's a good! That's what they think is right, and the other part is that there are people without identity, people out without context, and so there they say. Oh well, I'll use the last test, attempt is say. Oh my whiteness provides my identity, who are my friends at all the white people right so that they find sort of like solidarity, because there's so out so alienated. Now, how does ban in step into the abandoned manage is milosz because Muhos is at bright part an Bannon seem some sort of. He sees some sort of rising star because of his
I sort of demeanor given his sexuality, and yet you know, ban and having some weird psychological intuition. He sees him as somebody who is going to do the foot work for the New Trump Army. Yeah. That's exactly right, so ban in my was working for band and and have bright bright, and they realize gamergate this game get coalition. Is there that it? It loves trump, because Trump also sort of says to these men I'll, be? I am a winner, but I'm also sort of this beta, loser and I'll. I'm working for losers on the big outsider, who's gonna make you win again and they, like the word, winning yeah, exactly right. All right, you guys like who is that s h two but losers right here. So this somewhat grassroots campaign is then then exploited by Bannen, Ian OP. Listen banning gives you not plus a million dollars to go on a bus tour called the dangerous, yeah and says you know: go bring this. The life go, bring these guys out, go campaign for Trump, and that
happens and he's such a troll as he calls
all the stuff from the chance that it's just that a violent disaster in here. So what occurs is that he goes to these colleges on the West Coast. First and there's shootings, there's stabbings people attack him and that turns into the riots at Berkeley, the so called battles of Berkeley and next to and and a lot of the the the the acting agents in that or what's left of the politically active anonymous that is somehow tied to anti five as well they're, Loose Association right, one of an honest members was, and if I way back in the day, and certainly as now this but as occurred, it's strange yeah, the the remaining and anonymous members have fought very, very gently against those fascist elements. So what, in what Trump has been able to do, post election, even a little pre, was that so once this stuff sort of enters the real world through these protests, which is not you know, it's not like the sixties, where there's a coalescing of of righteous activism. It's it's! It's strange fantasy theater, a lot of it I mean, has real consequences but he's able to and the power structures able to play it off. As you know,
the actual either terrorist threats or threats to democracy when it when they all seem to be quite theatrical, obvious, they're, real consequences, but even in Charlottesville that rag tag, assembly of your old school white nationalists in KKK people with these young white sure wearing Spencer, writes who didn't again like not. Unlike the the Scientology protest, didn't really look like they were socialized or gotten out much when they were having real consequences in killing people in real life. Right yeah I mean you saw the disparity there between what they expect it sitting behind their screens, and then there were the gap of reality testing when they actually got there and they looked ridiculous with this tiki torches and murderous yeah and they were performing. They realize that a well. How successful event will be was how much is covered in the press. What happens behind the screen happens online afterwards and and the monster in charge evening? Eight he played right into. He knew he Trump is intuitively political and self. You know, and and and about survival, so his instincts are to
play on the side of the losers, who he's going to make when yeah that's exactly right it. It was really discussing how we just refuse to dis on them just because they supported by a bite in in electing them. Those the russian troll event is something that is outside the parameters of the book, but that is happening at the same time. Yeah there's some slight connections where there are a russian trolls. At the same time, hacking, Hillary's, email and stuff like that, and the Females are used to create the sound of it, uses them to create a fake conspiracy theories around Hillary yeah and to spread misinformation and troll. That way, because he realizes that.
The trolling collectives and all these men online will believe anything so yeah. There is yes, some vague connection. There's some some connections there, but there there is a. There may not be an intentional unity, but everyone was operating. The same momentum right and it's deep well, as you said, is deeply confusing right. It felt like reality, the internet was leaking into reality. Right that women look for my generation. It was you know, I don't know that we necessarily
a lot of us are older date that they made the connection to the internet. They were just sort of like what is happening right, hey! Look! It's on the news, there's a problem right! These kids are pro testing in this is they're not season. There's these other elements in, like certainly Fox NEWS, is not giving any backstory to wear this either. They want to deny the God Damn russian troll operation that have false information propaganda right. You know, intrusion on our on our election, so they're not getting any backstory there, CNN's, not giving any in depth. Backstory, like your book, as I mean I I ii for me in terms and I'm not a dumb guy, your book was, you know the the thing that yeah maybe understand it. I mean that yeah yeah. Well, I mean the a it. Do you you that your research you while you lived it to a certain degree when you were younger? This is your world, but how is anybody going to cover what we just covered in two minutes? There are ways to get president mean. That's I guess my bird and now when I go on other shows, and they don't give me an expansive time like you like. I can cap slid into minutes
yeah because it, but it's like when you lay it out, like you do in the book I mean you can see. You know that this is a a cultural political. You know. Psychological issue about our system in about you know, ppl younger people and about the the the nature of ideas in the brain and you online. In reality, I mean like the it's. It didn't happen out of no, where right right, so I use to put it in a nutshell. I just use those underlying dynamics that created the whole thing, which is there's a lot of kids out there who have no access to fulfilling how's. The all the real needs right that society is supposed to provide filling housing. Fulfilling work
education, health, like not, we don't, our generation doesn't have any of those, but like all of the fake needs, all the garbage that you don't need. Society is great and providing you with that right. They you can play video games and drop out all day. That's really easy to do that is easy to live in these expensive screen worlds met. So when those two elements combined, you like this. You
people who are really angry at the status quo. Young people were really dropped out, really nihilistic in transient fantasy lots of yeah just hordes of them. Well, I mean, I think, that's what you're seeing now that Trump is. Is president now he's it's just that when you have these define the people who define themselves as and sells or or sort of yet, because these guys, some of these guys were going out and shooting people in the name of of immigration. You know anti immigration, anti jewish anti black, whatever it is they're there. Some of them are those nineteen and twenty year old, yeah kids again, who you who have collapsed their ability to see no consequences or to see they're like they're like involuntary manchurian candidates, yeah that that you know they get activated and and that you know the the line between fantasy and reality doesn't exist and they go out with their guns. And you know I guess it seems
like they're willing to face the consequences or see themselves as martyrs you or see themselves as heroes on line. So I think that the age that this is evolved into once they put their man in charge, which is Trump, is that now you know there is an encouragement in an american authoritarian situation, you're not going to need thought police you're not going to need a broader sort of arm enforcement of ideas when you have these guys ready to pop at any cuts in and what, if one of them pops to gets publicized people get afraid. People rethink what they're going to say and what they're going to do and where they're going to go and then the same engine is matched by one of these guys who do gets lit up in radicalized by these ideas. Yeah! That's right! That's the new phase, we're in now I post Charlottesville after they got really a shame to be on the streets. They really became an outright terror epidemic and that had stretched back for years on the chance
But now, as you say there, some of their nineteen or twenty years old. So so it made it was being encouraged by older white supremacists for years yeah they were, they were trying to radicalize. Yes, I did that's right. So you know part of the story. Is that indeed older white supremacists? What are like this always contingent of poor white southerners and serve people have always been on the margins always on, and they were largely been online for a long time. They came to fortune around two thousand twelve and radicalized a lot of the talk to, but I really it's a new thing that we're experiencing now that, like the new alt right, really started, two thousand and thirteen is very different. It's it's own movement. What has occured is that there one thousand nine hundred and twenty year old, kids they're going on four Chan and four Chan's worst predecessor, eight predecessor, eight Chan, Reddit,
I'm a little bit reddit Reddit has been much better cleaning that stuff up, but he had a pretty bad here in place, is also largely. It fell. The h Chan yet and what's happened is like you know they were there for a year and a half, and they get just brainwashed, because it's all of this garbage is now so the still and the culture is just so now they have their martyrs yeah. That's exactly right, and so it becomes this tradition like that's a meme like going out and killing those people and being a murderer is like a set of means, and they just inherit the memes and, of course, teenagers. Do this like copy, at suicide thing anyway. That's sort of like a psychological problem that happens. Idolizing suicide is essentially what they've been doing for years and then on top of that idolizing action films, the power fantasies there being sold in movies and anime. So why not take a suicidal action that will have real world impact in the larger cause of
of winning for white people? That's exactly right and it stops them through the screen right. So maybe they become the the thing on the screen right, they become the other side of the the action so while in so all right, so it's Andrew a little lighter in that we didn't talk about the evolution of pet day, because I know you're being followed by a documentary crew who was put together by the creator of Peppy, the frog who is trying to to get his frog back. Yeah he's trying to get. I that's coming back, have they ever the merry company redemption at that they the frog? What is the history of half a? How did he become turned out yeah? How did he become the the representation of nihilism and then white supremacy yeah? So he really started as like an indie comic guy and and the comic was about being a gross do living with roommates yeah and it's from my realm of webcomics and then that fury the creator ease on the left, nice guy. But
four Chan? Two thousand sixty thousand seven adopts peppy because he's just such a great cartoon that he looks like a loser. He looks like the symbol of Hannah, loser, dropping out yeah and that's what he means for many years. But then, when the loser don't get so intense by two thousand twelve thirteen and they all right happens, then he becomes the symbol of that yeah and they are too expensive, is wearing a pet yeah and and- and then there's this weird moment, and no one understands when during Trump's inauguration in his Pepe the frog but he's like well, it's explain: prep is happy my symbol and then he gets socked punch that not in the face guys right. So then Hillary releases. An explainer and she's like peppy, is a far right symbol and bright parting. You not because they love it. There's a light at that that Hillary is behind the curve that she doesn't really understand what's happening here and so by this point, hey you.
This culture knows what Pepe means, and so two thousand and fifteen though, like we're all Pepe, were all this loser on the bottom. That's how we all feel right and they're mad that the right that subsection stole it- and so Hillary looks a little ridiculous that it's sort of like thrown into the media mix yeah. This is where they has remains, but just this week, so he he returned a little bit where he's kind of return to his original position of just I'm, just a loser. Guy yeah, that's what he means now a little bit, but just this week the the protesters in Hong Kong have been using him. The Justin just this morning the times ran an article that had the is now a symbol of democracy in Hong Kong and all the youth, and it's the same. It's because that's how the kids in Hong and they didn't know they did. You know about the they said, that's that we saw that from, but that's just how we felt
just like wow, so great the name of the I created it, Matt Furey was he going to come today? No, he moved a little north of here in California, it's his body, his animator friend, to animates with him. So what happened? Yeah? They were gonna, do a pepper, the frog animation, but then then it got called the body all right, like the exact same time, and now. Like well. Now we have to do a documentary, that's animated, about what the hell happened to Pepe yeah
and they they wanted. They was our copyright issues. I guess there's no way to deal with kind of a funny. I mean culture it. Actually. That became it's own crazy thing where no, there is right, like I told them like when I first talked to them years. It like when I was first happened in the the people. I was like Matt why hasn't met enforcing his copy right, like I know, as an artist like you make it you own it yeah, and then the city started doing that. Maybe he had his own as he is doing. I don't know how much I was at fault for that, but he sued Alex Jones, who was selling tap a merchandise and nice lawyer volunteer to sue all the all right people who were using pathway, the sort of re claim as the as I as his yeah. I have that. Go it went ok that he got ten fifteen thousand dollars from Alex Jones, which was small again, but it was something it's like they stopped using it. There was a guy that made a day and had a
children's book today is another mean that's like Donald Trump supporter and was really cruel, stupid children's book Andrea and if they got that all you know like they got season, desist yeah and they got money from them that they then donate it to good causes that fight against that and and fury himself as like. He may love pepes now and like hippie paraphrase 'cause. If you know heavy was like a schoolchild out, hippie guy yeah yeah like the big Lebowski Pepe yeah yeah. Well, thanks for going through this, oh yeah, my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me. I love the book and it was very helpful to me and I think, certainly get people. You know above forty. He who are not your computer literate in in in the world of of chance, yeah and platforms in and sub reddits, and whatever it's important to sort of get this perspective on how what happened happened yeah. Well, I I I'm glad that it's I tell
because it was not really fun to drink poison for two years, but now I'm a male failure experts. So what are you doing with your failure? What's in? What's the next thing for you, I want to go back to making creative work, whether that's novels and comics, or something like that. That's hopefully something that's a little lighter than this good. Well, I'm glad well, thank you for for getting obsessively engaged with this stuff. No problem yeah thanks so much for talking about it. Okay, that's it enjoy that book go read it. It came from something awful. I I found it completely engaging. I appreciate the coming with educational. For me, nice fella go to W T, F, five dot com, slash tour from my tour dates. I need you Detroit Toronto come on. Come on it's! Okay! If it's my last tour, let's make it a big one, I'm not committing to that. But you know I don't know we'll see not gonna play my Stratocaster, which I got out the stratecast with flat. While and if you know what that means, you know what that means. Here we go.
Transcript generated on 2019-10-18.