Internet + 4chan + gender politics


indeed the US president’s name is in the title, but this doesn’t squarely fit into the democracy thread for reasons that will become clear if you choose to read:

i’m not going to post my initial reaction-- it needs to sink in.


Sexism is a huge problem, and not just for adults living in their parents’ basement.


Thank you for sharing this. Really opened my eyes


It kinda makes you realize that this isn’t politics as usual and the old logic just doesn’t apply any longer. People are intentionally voting against their own interests out of some kind of deep existential despair. Milquetoast promises that worked a couple decades ago just aren’t going to cut it any more.

And then there’s the misogyny and racism and hatred (including the self-hatred). I just don’t even know where to begin with all that. My knee-jerk is to isolate and ostracize that behavior. Reject it with all my might. But then the NY Times writes bullshit like this:

Patreon(/Soundcloud) - the politics/power of the middleman

This was a very articulate read and a great analysis, IMO. The last part of #6 was illuminating:

  1. Generally older people who naively believe Trump will “make America great again”, that is to say, return it to its 1950s ideal evoked by both Trump and Clinton.
  1. The 1 percent, who know this promise is empty, but also know it will be beneficial to short term business interests.
  1. Younger members of the 99 percent, like Anon, who also know this promise is empty, but who support Trump as a defiant expression of despair.

This was nothing that I wasn’t already aware of but the comparison to the 1950’s ideal was very interesting to me and also very relevant to the problem as the article pointed out early in the read. The fact that the author seemingly places more importance on this ideal than the rest of the content of the article was also interesting to me, primarily because these are the types of folks I interact with daily.

The concept of gender identity is foreign to them - the mere fact that this is a modern topic gives them the willies. The promise of a return to normalcy is very appealing to the older men I work with who simply want to go to work, go home, and not have uncomfortable conversations with their sons and daughters or coworkers. These people are also mostly folks who’ve never lived through or experienced such a powerfully terrible thing such as racism or gender discrimination. They live with and, in fact, embrace the Bible and all its inherent contradictions - they navigate these with confidence. The addition of a new subgroup of gender nonconforming Americans is nothing more them than another minority to deal with - potentially pulling more attention and opportunity away from them. The added promise of the “unplaced bet” in the form of lower taxes, higher employment, robust economic growth is simply the facade. If you then revert to questioning the ability or qualifications of a person to serve as president, they simply point out all the flaws in the other candidates which are numerous. At the end of the day, they view Candidate A as a return to normalcy (ironically, a time that many of them are still too young to remember, let alone to have experienced) and Candidate B is an evil bitch.


While I haven’t contributed all too much, I just want to say how much I appreciate this kind of discussion here. Almost every other forum I visit features only knee jerk reactions and a lot of things are addressed here that I almost never see elsewhere i.e. sexism in terms of our current national state of being. This has been by far my favorite place to read through discussion on our current predicament which I think also says a lot about places that you may normally see political discussion.

More on topic though, I feel the conflict on how to address all the pretty unacceptable behavior we are seeing as of late. On one hand, I get that the division only gets bigger when both sides ostracize each other as much as we all are but how can you reconcile that with such blatant misogyny and racism? A friend of mine posed the idea that everyone who voted for Trump were ultimately doing what they thought is best for the country, which absolutely makes sense (for most people) but then you could say the same thing about Hitler (I HATE using the over cliched comparison to Hitler which seems to cause more hysteria but the comparison is apt IMO). It’s also hard to address when you have family that may have voted for Trump for economic purposes (read: tax cuts). I get the sentiment but also they still had to weigh the rights of those around them vs lower taxes and they chose taxes which is extremely disheartening. This whole thing is a nightmare that I have yet to figure out how to make sense of.


Gee, seems like that gender normativity may be a wee bit dysfunctional, eh?


The thing that stumps me is the degree to which people are uninformed/misinformed/disinterested, not to mention frequently undereducated.

How do you reason with someone who is lacking the basic faculties required for reasoning, let alone the interest in doing so?

Mike Judge has expressed that Idiocracy wasn’t intended to be documentary or prophecy. Oops.


What’s strange is I’ve seen people who are capable of reasoning and using logic but convince themselves that this is the right answer or that those around them are just using “fake facts”. I guess that begs the questions whether or not they are capable of reasoning if they claim any source that opposing them is fake. In a state that was almost completely pro-Trump it’s hard not to wonder if the person walking next to me is willfully ignorant and uninformed or intelligent and just outright bigoted. It seems like the years that I’ve been involved in politics in any way has been trying to find ways to give people the benefit of doubt to not blanket people but in this most recent situation I am failing to find ways not to do it.

It seems like daily I find an article and think “Okay, this one HAS to be the one that makes them reconsider things a bit” only to find that most people have just doubled down.


Yea - when I ask the folks around my office their viewpoints, that was literally the response whenever Clinton entered the discussion. Its the ability of my coworkers to boil down complex societal issues into a single statement that is as irrational as it is offensive that this article and other’s I’ve read highlight. I try to participate in the water-cooler talk if nothing more than to try and gain some understanding but have yet to find any middle ground that lasts long. I should also mention that last part I wrote was simply to describe the dark ridiculous contrast I see the people I work with making (Person A represents normal things to them like American jobs, small government, fewer taxes, boys and girls, husbands and wives, church and suburbia while Person B is pure evil) and that I did not mean to subvert or offend anyone.


Thanks for posting this article. Also this may be related: at least regarding the “politics stuck in the 50s and now suddenly changing” them.


thanks for this. was completely oblivious to all this


Regarding Baran:

I agree with much of this, and he adds a lot of insight that I’ll need to think about, but…

I’ve talked about 4chan with my students a fair amount since the very early days (I was never a channer but I was and am involved in Reddit… so we spoke about the differences and parallels). And some were involved… and for some it was, well, let’s just say some of them fit the mold he describes in the article. But others were there, like the meme, to eat popcorn and be appalled and amused and… let’s just say the line was a little grey between watching and agreeing and…

There is a lot more variability to this group than he implies. And while there is a certain amorality in watching others gleefully do psychological harm, … yeah, it’s a little grey.

For me this whole issue came home with my daughter’s appearance on the gaming scene, where she was outed quickly (trans) and the community went through some convulsions that continue to this day. When she plays, chat is, well, appalling. But the community aggressively defends her, roots out comments on Reddit and down votes them to oblivion…

The ‘basement dwelling gamers blah blah blah’ are a lot more diverse in their values than you might think.

A lot of them openly support LGBT issues while laughing about 4chan antics while…

I realize I’m not being particularly coherent about this - it is pretty personal to see a family member attacked like that, but also pretty awesome to see them defended by strangers, … and the situation continues to evolve every time she is at a tournament online. There are never any issues at all face to face, for obvious reasons.

When I look at Reddit (from the first days to now) and such, I see a lot of shades of grey to go with the somethings that are awful.


Indeed an equal range of shades of gray would apply to the other groups of people listed in the original article as being groups that largely supported He-Who-Cannot-Be-Named.


I don’t want to derail the thread, but I wanted to say that your daughter (she plays starcraft 2, right?) has been an inspiration to me and I would’ve never expected to meet her dad on a forum like this. This place is truly full of surprises.


Yes, that’s her. Agree on derailment, so I’ll just say that I’m glad she’s been an inspiration: she’s been that for me too. She inherited courage and grace from her mom, I guess!


thank you for pointing this essay out, because it lets me envision this tragedy as a carnival, with its elected king, inversion of values, nonsens, chaos, etc.

maybe the fight between carnival and lent from pieter bruegel the elder could help (well, i sincerily hope so) :


thank you for being an inspirational dad on the internet, I was touched just by the outlines of your family portrait. haven’t seen any of your daughters game but already rooting for her.

as a swede with european elections looming facing down the trolls and their personal views of reality is a tedious process. even locally, here in sweden, it’s getting to be increasingly important to control stories on tolerance, society, immigration - by the flick of a button whatever is discussed nationally blows up to become international news, as with the #lastnightinsweden stuff of the last few days. I’m worried seeing all of these jokes that followed because the opponent is highly vindictive. so whenever cars are burning in the street, it’s sure to be picked up and made into broader alt news, used for signifying their whole platform. I’d wish a lot of the fact-checking (often just preaching to the choir) that didn’t get us much anywhere transformed into helping to face down and deal with nationalism, useless patriotism, xenophobia and similar ills. you may have seen the buzzfeed story of macedonian news fabrication, this is a great piece from the other day on the same subject - the real fake news, its perpetrators and their motivations.

in addition to the #lastnightinsweden jokes here’s an example of poor taste in combatting the alt right distortion field - providing a murder rate which would include the mass murder at Pulse, the horrendous targeting of an LGBT latino escape space. I just think it makes whatever political point there may be a little moot.

fact checking and throwing stats back (even in the style of “welcome more refugees - they have a positive net effect on your country’s bottom line!”) misses the greater need for promoting basics of morale. how is it done though? - examples on a community level? people are awfully private, I can’t get into a political discussion on the subway or in the elevator, should I?)

I’d love to be out there showing greater compassion to those with differing views but facebook filtered them out.


thank you for posting this.


I don’t think this is quite what happened. I’ve been a Facebook user since 2004, and once upon a time I spent a considerable amount of time on the site arguing about politics with people who didn’t see things the same way. I myself filtered it all out over time (with Facebook’s tools as a great help) as I just became exhausted by the effort.

You can connect with people who don’t agree with you online. But don’t expect it to be more civil than what would happen if you did the same thing in an elevator or on a subway.