Greetings, Nerds, whether you are in the Northeast and cosplaying as a Hoth Snow Trooper or elsewhere watching the snow on TV. We bring you an unlikely convergence of worlds today: national politics, white nationalist wankers, and anime. Plus the usual mix of science, science fiction, and general geekery.

Dubious Assertions About The Masturbatory Habits Of Neo-Nazis

[contextly_sidebar id="NbJWvsQ0Z8zqKyap8dcmgUoYXlv4gRAG"]So, t'other night on MSNBC's All In With Chris Hayes show, Republican political consultant Rick Wilson, who would like the traditional Republican Party back, thank you very much, offered this astute assertion about the subset of Donald Trump supporters who come from the white supremacist bowels of the internet (aka the "alt-right"):

Now, the screamers and the crazy people on the alt-right, as they call it, who love Donald Trump, who have plenty of Hitler iconography in their Twitter icons, who see Donald Trump as the greatest thing...The fact of the matter is, most of them are childless single men who masturbate to anime. They’re not real political players. These are not people who matter in the overall course of humanity.

Lauren Orsini at Forbes wrote a pretty good piece on Wilson's comments, pointing out that not only was Wilson trolling big time, he was also not using the correct nomenclature, dude:

This is an intentionally incendiary statement that Wilson says he made distinctly to troll Trump’s followers. First of all, as any anime fan will let you know, it’s called *clears throat* hentai, a specific genre of X-rated Japanese animated cartoons. But what’s interesting is that in order to intentionally make people angry, Wilson targeted anime geeks as his insult.

Once again, the nerds get to be the "target for society's anxiety," Orsini says, citing the moral panics over Dungeons and Dragons and "Satanism," the great comic-book freakout of the 1950s, and the stereotype of Star Trek fans as socially inept loners.

Orsini notes that with Star Wars and Harry Potter making bejillions of mainstream dollars, it seems odd to still slag on fandom; then again, "anime, with its foreign roots and cross-cultural learning curve, remains on the fringes," and people who masturbate to anime even moreso. And what about the women who masturbate to anime, huh? Seems gratuitous to leave them out.

In some fine counter trolling, Orsini even did a bit of research on the Pornhubs to suggest that millennials masturbating to hentai is probably a large enough voting bloc that they ought not be written off, although you might demand they wash their hands before asking them to sign a nominating petition.

Wilson's pronouncement and Orsisni's article were met with a combination of incredulity and perverse glee (the only kind they like) by the racist trolls at 4-chan's "politically incorrect" (/pol/) board. While the more diehard racists on /pol/ felt obliged to point out Wilson has a black grandchild, and is therefore a race traitor (they're real charmers over there), others were delighted to see that they had in some small way been noticed by mainstream media, and set about declaring victory the only way they know how: With cheesy photoshops:

Into all this weirdness came another, even stranger take, from New Republic's Jeet Heer, who somehow decided that alt-right anime masturbators also had to somehow be connected with fans of My Little Pony:

Wait, what?

Says Heer, with authoritative links,

Wilson might be exaggerating how large a role the alt-right plays in Trump’s rise, but it’s unquestionable that there is a real community on Twitter that combines apparent fascination with anime and My Little Pony with support for white identity politics and Trump.

Nope, we don't really get that either. While there are certainly plenty of white-power types who love them some anime, we're aware of only one fairly notorious example from the Brony crowd, a loon with an infrequently updated blog called "My Nationalist Pony," which argues that the cartoon world of Equestria is actually a vision of what an all-white nation would work like: love and happiness based on racial solidarity, with conflicts arising mostly from outsiders or when ponies attempt to harm the social order. Heer found an interview with the author, a gay British Brony who goes by the nom de cheval "Buttercup Dew," and added MLP to his list of potential alt-right signifiers, which we're simply going to blame on doing journalism via Google.

Heer's point, if he can be said to have one (and he does not, because he is not a unicorn) seems to boil down to this: "totalitarian regimes like Nazi Germany and the Stalinist Soviet Union wallowed in kitsch," and cartoon art is very very kitschy, just like Donald Trump, so it should be no surprise there's a lot of overlap. He even drags in a Real Art critic for support: "the German novelist Hermann Broch described kitsch as 'the element of evil in the value system of art.'" So there, we guess.

Not long after the post went up, Mr. Heer heard from a lot of angry white supremacists who were far less worried about being associated with neo-Nazism than with Friendship Is Magic:

While Heer's post did generate a couple of threads on 4chan's /mlp/ board (where the preferred term is not "bronies" but "horsefuckers"), the discussion was far less enthusiastic than at /pol/; most simply accused Heer of very weak trolling, and of simply not getting either online culture or fandom. A few thought Trump would be a great president since he's trolling personified, and one or two actual racists bitched about Jews.

[contextly_sidebar id="P946hQf1LwQTHnnWZJpsX63tTYzPm1Cm"]And then they all went back to clopping, and Yr Dok Zoom went back to wondering, again, how a children's show with such explicitly feminist roots could be popular with rightwing loonycases who believe it speaks to their values.

Oh Look! It's A Bunch of 'Lost' Animations from Monty Python And The Holy Grail!

It's the 40th anniversary of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and to celebrate/monetize the milestone, the Pythons have released a brand new Blu-Ray edition of the movie, complete with a whole bunch of previously-unseen Terry Gilliam animations from the Vaults. But because they are kind souls, the Pythons have also released the featurette on their YouTube channel, and here it is, first with Terry Gilliam talking about the scenes, and then with the original sound effects. Gilliam wonders why on earth you're buying another version of Holy Grail, since you've seen it a few million times, and also notes that after Python, his own career went in an unexpected direction, calling himself “the man who could have gone on to become a great animator but was forced into live action film." Enjoy, and feel free to say "Ni!" as much as you need to.

'Extinct' Giant Stick Insects Not Dead Yet

Check out this cool NPR story about the recovery of a species of giant stick insects (colloquailly called "tree lobsters") that used to live only on Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. Thought to have been wiped out by invasive rats that reached the island after a shipwreck in 1918, a tiny population of the things was found on a nearly barren volcanic peak sticking up from the sea 13 miles away. And darned if some Australian researchers didn't manage to breed them in captivity. Now the question is what to do with them: there are far more than can live on the island where they were found, but the rats have thrived on Lord Howe Island and would eat up any attempt to reintroduce them, unless islanders are up for a rat eradication effort. And so, to try to convince the islanders to welcome the critters back, "the Melbourne Museum is mulling over a public relations campaign to make these insects more ... well, adorable, or noble, or whatever it takes," complete with a video of the noble critters hatching, intended to win hearts and minds for the big ol' bugs who really belong on the island:

NPR science guy Robert Krulwich wonders what will happen next:

Will ordinary Janes and Joes, going about their days, agree to spend a little extra effort and money to preserve an animal that isn't what most of us would call beautiful? Its main attraction is that it has lived on the planet for a long time, and we have the power to keep it around. I don't know if it will work, but in the end, that's the walking stick's best argument:

I'm still here. Don't let me go.

We're half ready to adopt a Tree Lobster ourselves, now.

Look At This Dumb Robot That Can Barely Do Housework! Or Crush Us Like Ants...

The Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition is pretty proud of its impressive bipedal robot, ATLAS, which can do a lot of cool stuff like stack one thing on top of another, push a broom around a little, and fold a ladder. It can even switch on an upright vacuum and move it around a patch of lab carpet.

But can it love?

While bipedal robots are still in the early stages of figuring out this whole "balancing" thing, and are pretty clumsy at it, you know that someday, their revenge will be terrible. In the meantime, enjoy this video of robots falling down. Laugh while you can, monkeyboys:

The Horrible Video We Were Going to Show You Was Deleted, So Here's A Dildo On A Baggage Claim Conveyor

We fully intended to show you the "Trump Jam," a horrifying performance at a Donald Trump rally by some young unfortunates calling themselves "The Freedom Kids," but lucky you, the briefly viral video was Copyright Notice'd out of existence. Sometimes we doubt EMI Music's commitment to Sparkle Motion. Probably much to the future relief of the young performers.

So instead, courtesy of BoingBoing, here is a video of a sad abandoned sex toy endlessly circling a baggage carousel, somewhere in an unidentified airport. That seems strangely related to the Trump campaign, too, somehow.

[Crooks and Liars / Forbes / NewRepublic / Ms Blog / Open Culture / Gizmodo / NPR]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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