Skip to comments.The Reason Right Wing Memes Are The Most Popular
Posted on 04/26/2017 5:26:28 PM PDT by Bon mots
Professor Whitney Phillips, author of This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things, a book about trolling, has teamed up with Professor Ryan M Milner to pen another book about internet culture. The Ambivalent Internet is about how we express ourselves online, the ways in which we do it, why we do it and how it ends up the way it does. The book was written on the eve of Donald Trump's ascension to the world's highest office, and deals, in part, with the memeification of politics which is of course hard to avoid when a politician is essentially a meme himself.
I spoke to Phillips about the book, racist memes, what she means when she talks about "ambivalence" online, and whether or not the future of being online is as dark as it seems right now.
VICE: For those who haven't read it, give the elevator pitch for your book.
Professor Whitney Phillips: We were trying to show how digital media can help and harm, bring together and push apart, make you laugh and make you angry all at the same time, especially as the book was being written when the presidential election was unfolding. We really wanted to show how everything that allows people to communicate in a positive, pro-social, democratic way can also be used to really hinder democratic participation and make the internet an inhospitable place for those who want to express themselves.
Are there any ways to get past that problem?
There are no easy solutions or one-size-fits-all answers to these questions about free speech and democratic participation and issues of safety. If these tools were only used for good, or if the tools were only used for negative expression, it would be much easier to find out what to do about them. But because they can be used positively and negatively, that means it's hard to find what a universalised ethical response should be.
In the course of your research, what did you learn about memes, how they are created and how they last for so long?
This is true of all informal expression, but it's really, really hard to know why something is created, because a lot of the time the person that originally creates something, once that leaves their hands it's near-impossible to know how many other hands it passes through. At each juncture, as the narrative seeds keep getting cast and recast, it's really hard to know why each person at that moment decided to re-share something. The one thing you can always say about internet memes that are successful in the sense that people share them is that something about that meme resonates.
The real reason why right wing memes are so popular is:
Because there’s truth in them. They’re real.
As Seinfeld said to Elaine, Now THATS funny. Because it’s real.
The one thing you can always say about internet memes that are successful in the sense that people share them is that something about that meme resonates.
Wow! This guy is a freaking genus.
I’ll bet he gets paid to do this stuff too, so there
are far dumber folks out there.
Right wing memes are successful because they’re the forbidden fruit in this PC-ridden society. Who needs a left wing meme when we’re drowning in it?
The racist messages she's apparently talking about don't spread very far outside a small group.
Certainly, negative or hate messages do circulate faster on the Internet than positive ones, but it would be foolish or biased to argue that liberal messages are all positive.
Because we have a sense of humor, there is a bit of plain truth in them, and we aren’t pushing a fabricated agenda.
From the author of “The Ambivalent Internet” in the article:
“Trump’s election was horrifying and we were not expecting it.”
That pretty much says it all.
“Because we have a sense of humor, there is a bit of plain truth in them, and we arent pushing a fabricated agenda.”
+1 Exactly. :)
This one the BBC published along with an article and said was racist for some reason even though race is neither mentioned nor highlighted:
BBC Article on this meme by yours truly
Remember Hillary's barking speech?
So does the Internet.
“Ich bin ein Berliner” = “I am a jelly roll”.
Love you and /pol/. ;)
I wrote an academic paper on memes in their nascent period, 2007 or so. My thesis was that memes are an open-source rejection of mass media created content, even though mass media will espouse memes to try to gain traction as well.
The real issue is that any forum with complete free speech eventually swings right, because conservative issues logically make sense and are becoming increasingly rejected by mass media and culture. This creates a culture of rebellion against the mass culture and sustains itself as long as it is attacked (and it never ceases being so). If you look at The_Donald on reddit, it has over 6 million subscribers, and the reason is precisely because of Reddit’s continual attempts to shut the subreddit down.
This really is fascinating because IT WILL ONLY INCREASE and THE DEMOCRATS ARE INCULCATING CONSERVATISM IN THE MINDS OF YOUTH unknowingly by attacking conservatives. Trump is their champion, he won, and the more liberals rail against him the more join the community. The left is insuring its own demise.
Totalitarian liberal thugs are all in for oppression of conservative speech. 24/7 drip, drip, drip of propaganda.
And Republican leaders say nothing.
Or any of them.
The reason conservatives are funnier is because we are the underdogs, the ones out of power. Society is against us and so we can’t run around like the incredible hulk smashing everything we don’t like. We have to be smart and use our wits.
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