As Americans relaxed over a long Fourth of July weekend, the pro-Trump meme factories were gearing up for war.
These online communities, which churn out lo-fi, shareable images and videos meant to amuse and energize President Trump’s social media supporters while provoking his enemies, were spurred to action by what, in their world, qualified as a series of seismic events.”
— Ted Bracewell (@Tedakin) July 5, 2017
The first shock came on Sunday morning, when President Trump tweeted a video that depicted him in a professional wrestling arena attacking a man with a CNN logo superimposed on his head. The meme, or one very similar to it, had been created by a user on Reddit, the popular internet forum, and posted days earlier on /r/The_Donald, an active pro-Trump forum there, before making its way to the wider internet and, finally, to the 33.3 million Twitter followers of the leader of the free world…”
— The Columbia Bugle (@ColumbiaBugle) July 8, 2017
..Their goal isn’t necessarily political influence. For some, it’s a game whose only goal is to impress and entertain other meme enthusiasts; for others, it’s a more serious pursuit designed to push the limits of discourse, either by riling up the enemy camp or by creating something that becomes ammunition for their own side. A particularly clever creation (or “dank meme,” in the jargon of the trade) might be shared by a prominent alt-right Twitter user or, in rare cases, by a bona fide public figure.
But in instances where the meme-making community finds itself facing off against a clear antagonist, its tactics can be swift and brutal, and can catch large institutions off guard…
…In a Reddit message, a user known as ShadowMan3001, one of the moderators of /r/The_Donald, told me that memes were “by far the fastest, and likely the most effective, means of spreading an idea” in today’s oversaturated media environment. He added that CNN’s statement about possibly releasing the identity of the Reddit meme-maker was “a glaring example of their absolute lack of not only journalistic integrity, but basic morality.”
Remarkably, the CNN episode has managed to unite the notoriously fractious right-wing meme community under a common cause. On 4chan, a message board known for off-color humor and offensive memes, one poster wrote: “Right now, Reddit and r/TheDonald are our allies. We may not like them but we don’t have to. We are fighting a common enemy … everyone should be producing as many anti-CNN memes as possible.”
By midday on Wednesday, the meme armies on Reddit, 4chan, Discord and other right-wing enclaves had declared that “the second meme war” had begun. (Meme War I, according to these groups, was getting Mr. Trump elected in the first place.)”
Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “Oh, BK…It’s absurd to think that a bunch of internet weirdos have any kind of influence upon the mainstream press and the culture at large.” Whelp. I’m here to tell you that this sort of dismissal, common among the upper echelons of the current punditry class, is mistaken. I mean, what do you think your kids are doing all day, watching Wolf Blitzer?
— Trump USA (@MADE__USA) July 9, 2017
Sofrep has covered this fascinating topic before, when the 4chan community decided to make actor Shia LaBeouf and his, “He Will Not Divide Us” campaign a personal target. The reason? He pissed them off. Although it may be difficult to roust the anonymous internet crowd into collective action, once aroused, they tend to be alarmingly vigorous. Indeed, poor Shia has really not ever been quite the same, after the mental torture inflicted upon him by the 4Chan guys. As I’ve said on the podcast, it’s really too bad that probably none of this collective community could pass a military drug test; they’d be great for conducting psy-ops against America’s enemies.
What is fascinating to me is the utter bafflement that the major American institutions have when it comes to this new age of information. Take the original story about Trump tweeting out that wrestling meme. Not only did CNN and the rest of the media look utterly clueless to what memes were with their grave intonations about “THIS IS PHYSICAL VIOLENCE,” they then really thought they had the internet community over the barrel when they foolishly threatened to reveal the meme creator’s identity where he ever to be bad on the internet again. And make no mistake: it was a threat. Yeah, I’ve read their painful, convoluted statements to the contrary. It’s absurd. They meant what they meant, and there was no grey area. Here’s the pertinent section that got the Reddit boys worked up:
CNN is not publishing “HanA**holeSolo’s” namebecause he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same.CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.”
CNN as a AQ propaganda network. Some of us have been warning for years. Michael Weiss hire makes sense now, huh?https://t.co/JKyDpcbDmy
— Jack Murphy (@JackMurphyRGR) July 8, 2017
Now CNN and the rest of the legacy media are left flailing about, unsure of how to deal with the new reality that the audience has become the fact checkers. Their ratings have plummeted, leading them to be beaten out by reruns of Yogi Bear and the Home and Garden Network. But just as serious as their ratings collapse is the seeming defiance of ever-changing tactics, and the refusal to acknowledge that they have become a complete joke. Indeed, if not for airports around the country playing their shows, one wonders if the ratings would be even worse. A major news channel, with millionaire anchors and opulent offices on some of America’s most desirable real estate just got its ass handed to it by a bunch of guys bullshitting on the internet.
This will only increase in the future. I, for one, am fascinated by the rapid change in the entertainment habits of young people. If I were a cable or network television executive, I’d be shitting bricks right now. The kids aren’t watching ABC and CNN. Many of them are not watching television at all. They’re going on YouTube to watch their favorite inexplicably insanely popular goofy guy do stupid crap on the internet. Television is walking dead. And when they aren’t on that, your ten-year-old is making Donald Trump memes and shitposting on 4Chan because they like to get a rise out of all the dopey social justice warriors. Shit, when I was ten; when the internet was still in its development stages, I barely knew who the president was.
Welcome to the future.
— BK (@BKactual) July 8, 2017
Gunnery Sgt. Daniel Robert is a Marine’s Marine.
He has deployed six times, including once with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines during a harrowing fight in Sangin, Afghanistan, in 2010 and 2011.
For two years, Robert has served as platoon sergeant for the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, where he has inspired first-term Marines to come together as the public face for the Corps. His next assignment will be as a combat instructor at the School of Infantry.
When he’s not working or getting his PT in alongside the commandant, Robert spends his free time volunteering with the Special Olympics and other charities.
In the words of his company commander, Capt. Patrick McConnell: “If Gunnery Sgt. Robert does not exemplify core values of the military service, then it is time I resign.”
Robert has been selected as the 2017 Marine Corps Times Marine of the Year.”
Before boarding Marine One, President Trump stops to retrieve a Marine's hat that was blown off by the windpic.twitter.com/0crxYsBtlV
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) July 9, 2017
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced today that more than 500 officials have been fired for misconduct since President Trump took office earlier this year, according to data posted online.
In an effort for more transparency and accountability within the VA, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David J. Shulkin announced that a public list of employee “accountability actions” will be posted online and updated weekly.
The list outlines a total of 747 disciplinary actions including 526 employees who were fired since January 20. The actions affected a myriad of positions ranging from a tractor operator to VA attorneys. The list does not include employee names due to privacy reasons but does note the employee’s position and VA region.
“Veterans and taxpayers have a right to know what we’re doing to hold our employees accountable and make our personnel actions transparent,” Secretary Shulkin said in a statement.
This announcement comes less than a month after President Trump signed the Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act which strengthened the ability of Secretary Shulkin to discipline VA officials. President Trump said that previous laws “…kept the government.”
Pararescuemen jump from aircraft off Florida coast as part of coordinated rescue effort to save father and son whose sailboat had sunk. pic.twitter.com/Nt3biK0F8P
— ABC News (@ABC) July 8, 2017
It’s a cool Saturday night in my East Village apartment, and Alok Vaid-Menon has just created a Tinder account for me, while Jacob Tobia bats their eyelashes in the background.
Alok and Jacob are two of the most publicly visible gender nonconforming femmes I know. As a performance poet, Alok has just gone solo after touring in dozens of cities in the US and abroad as one half of the poetry duo Darkmatter. Jacob was named to 2016’s OUT 100, has made a web series for NBC, and been the subject of a GLAAD-nominated episode of MTV’s True Life. Both are trans-identified, but belong somewhere in between genders, and they’ve amassed huge social media followings as gender nonbinary, femme, and fabulous human beings. They’ve become celebrities in their own right, with Jacob regularly walking down the red carpet at LGBTQ galas and Alok featuring in the Janet Mock–narrated HBO documentary The Trans List.
But if you think all that would land them a date, you’d be wrong. And nobody is more puzzled than me as to why such obvious catches are having dating problems when so many clamor for their attention.”
In its first public display, the uniform belonging to Robert J. O’Neill — a former U.S. Navy SEAL who served in the SEAL Team 6 raid that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2011 — will be exhibited in the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda until July 31.
The uniform O’Neill wore during the raid includes his boots, helmet, gloves, pants and long-sleeved top with front and side pockets for different gadgets, like pens and a small notepad.
The presidential library obtained the gear after one of its employees met O’Neill at an event earlier this year, said Nixon Foundation communications director Joe Lopez.
“She [the employee] asked him if he wanted to speak at the library,” Lopez said. “We later called him to ask if he had anything of his we could put on display. I thought maybe we’d get a helmet or his boots, but he gave us everything he had.”
TEMPE, Arizona — Police in Arizona have arrested a man they say was seen walking through a Walmart naked while carrying methamphetamine.
Officers were called around 10 p.m. on July 4 to a Walmart store in Tempe, the Arizona Republic reported.
A man, later identified as Robert Kanoff, 49, was reportedly spotted walking through the store, wearing nothing but a pair of shoes.”
Police say Kanoff said he had been on drugs and that two people dropped him off at the store thinking “it would be funny to see him naked.”
He also admitted to carrying methamphetamine.
Kanoff was arrested on charges of indecent exposure, public sexual indecency, disorderly conduct and possession of dangerous drugs.”
Featured image courtesy of YouTube.