Say what you will about the state of horror and surprise many of us wake up to every morning these days, but on the plus side, we have the privilege of living through the absolute dumbest time to be alive in history. What else would you call it when the guy behind 1999’s indelible classic “Bawitdaba” announces a run for U.S. Senate, and you honestly can’t tell if it’s a publicity stunt or not? And you think he could even win! When the president’s large son is exchanging emails with foreign agents that literally leave a paper trail of conspiracy to commit treason? Or when the rule of law has apparently disintegrated simply because a loud, mean TV man managed to be louder and meaner on TV than anyone else? What a time, as the fella once said, to be alive.
There’s a reason we’ve gotten to this superlatively dumb moment. Yes, the country has been deeply divided for some time, but what’s new now is that being purposely, obliviously, and even proudly dumb has become not just a side effect of a certain strain of political ideology; it’s actually the sole motivating factor.
Trumpism, if defined as anything, has nothing to do with conservatism but rather a spiteful opposition to any platform the liberals or the left occupy. It would have been impossible for the Trump administration to have nominated Cabinet members—from energy to education—more hilariously unqualified than Rick Perry and Betsey DeVos.
Such incompetence and disdain for what those positions entail is part of the plan: sticking it to the libtards. On the more Extremely Online side of the Trump divide, this way of thinking is carried out by a generation of trolls, 4channers and redditors, all of whom pledge allegiance to an even more chaotic politics, if you can call it that. It’s not that they simply support the opposite of liberals; they want to do anything to make them mad. Say what you will about the tenets of traditional, Reagan-era conservatism, but at least it was an ethos.
When spiting libs and SJWs is your prime motivation, it can mean doing some pretty genuinely stupid stuff, that—surprise—not always in the Trumpist, alt-right’s best interests as members of society. Take for example piloting giant trucks belching black smoke in order to, I don’t know, prove climate change is fake. Or voting for a president and legislators determined to strip you of your health care. LOL, the libs are mad though.
All of this can make it hard to tell which of the online campaigns from the alt-right—the memes and viral stunts and RPG cosplayer free speech rallies and so on—are genuine and which are fake. Everyone is familiar with Pepe the Frog, the lovable cartoon repurposed as a gas-chamber operating symbol of hatred, but what about some of the lesser-known gags and memes? How well do you know the events of this, the dumbest time to be alive? Let’s test your intellectualism.
Based on the 1980s McDonald’s commercial mascot, itself based on Ray Charles, this character has become beloved in white supremacist circles, where it’s often paired with racist rap parodies.
Picking up on the certainly scientific idea that white people are genetically predisposed to be able to better digest cow’s milk, the act of chugging gallons of milk at protests, as a signifier of one’s white purity, has taken off in the past year.
It’s become commonplace on Fox News to refer to each new revelation in the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation as a “nothing burger,” meaning there’s no meat to the story. Naturally, Trump acolytes have taken this metaphor literally and are now sharing videos on social media of themselves eating hamburger rolls filled with mayonnaise, mustard and nothing else.
Cuck is a well known expression of disdain among the alt-right, meaning someone who is so un-masculine that their wives have to go elsewhere for sexual satisfaction. Slightly less common is the new trend among Redditors on r/the_donald for going through with it ironically, sleeping with each other’s wives to prove how much they’re not cucks.
Among the more ridiculous memes to arise out of the idiotic pizzagate fiasco was the adoption of another figure from fast-food marketing’s past as an icon of the alt-right. This time it came in the form of Domino’s defunct mascot The Noid. Often depicted in Crusader-like garments and wielding an over-sized shield emblazoned with the Jerusalem Cross, the Noid appears in images all over social media with his pizza-crusher device rebranded as a “lib crusher” and is used a rallying cry for the preservation of Western culture.
Another meme to bubble up from 4chan, Trump supporters at various protests throughout the country have taken to waving flags of the fictional country of Kekistan, the ancestral home of shitposters. It’s a response to how the left calls everyone with whom they disagree Nazis. In order to push back against that, white supremacists designed a flag based on a Nazi flag as, you know, a joke.
After critics highlighted a series of tweets from a prominent alt-right video game blogger, in which he complained frequently about his home and computer being infected with ants, video game racists everywhere have begun taking pictures of their own homes being overrun by ants.
DRINKING OUT OF THE TOILET
To push back against frequent posts from the left about undrinkable water in Flint, Michigan, a popular YouTube personality posted a video of himself drinking out of the toilet. “There’s clean water available if you want it bad enough,” the caption explained. You can guess what happened next.
This is another one with multiple layers of irony, but see if you can follow: Shitposters decided it would be funny to convince people the traditional OK symbol had connections to white supremacy. So, to do this, they encouraged people with actual connections to white supremacy to start doing it in photos.
LAYING ON THE GROUND
As part of a mock apology for white privilege, white men began posting pictures of themselves laying face down on the ground pretending to cry on sidewalks, in the dirt, and even in dumpsters.