Discover more from Wonkette
New Zealand Shooter's Manifesto: Sh*tposting For The Whites
Terrorism plus trolling. O brave new world that has such people in 't.
Guys, I hate to defend Candace Owens, a garbage human being who loves riling up low-information idiots, but no, she did not "inspire" the racist who murdered 49 people at two mosques in New Zealand. Yes, even though he almost certainly agrees with her about immigration. He's trolling us, and while hatred should always be taken seriously and studied, the things said by racists, especially when they're repeating all their favorite little inside jokes, shouldn't necessarily be taken at face value, because sarcasm and shitposting are part of the online fascist's toolkit. Apart from the obvious commitment to racism and the desire to eradicate nonwhite immigrants, statements in the shooter's online manifesto should be considered skeptically. Let's do some unpacking.
We're not going to link to the copy of the manifesto we're working from, both because it'e evil and because hosts are scraping copies of it off their servers quickly enough that no links are likely to last. Believe me, you can find it without much effort if you want to see the filth.
Instead, take a look at this smart analysis of the manifesto's trolling by journalist Robert Evans, who knows a thing or two about terrorists and their recruiting methods. This manifesto has several audiences: potential future white nationalists, but also unwary journalists seeking to comb through it for easy answers to why someone would murder people in a house of worship. The title is straightforward enough: "The Great Replacement" partakes of the same white paranoia that motivated the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter and the marchers who chanted "Jews will not replace us" in Charlottesville: There's a shadowy conspiracy by very bad people to destroy the beautiful white race through immigration and high minority birth rates.
But as Evans puts it, the manifesto is also full of rhetorical booby traps:
[The manifesto] repeats a variety of "white genocide" talking points, and claims his murder of several dozen Muslims is because they are "invaders" outbreeding the white race. All the evidence we have suggests these are, more or less, the shooter's beliefs.
But this manifesto is a trap itself, laid for journalists searching for the meaning behind this horrific crime. There is truth in there, and valuable clues to the shooter's radicalization, but it is buried beneath a great deal of, for lack of a better word, "shitposting".
Shitposting is the act of throwing out huge amounts of content, most of it ironic, low-quality trolling, for the purpose of provoking an emotional reaction in less Internet-savvy viewers. The ultimate goal is to derail productive discussion and distract readers. "The Great Replacement" is a clear and brutally obvious example of this technique.
The prime example is the shooter's claim he was radicalized by Candace Owens, a rightwing troll in her own right, who has pushed all sorts of awful ideas like the myth of the "Democrat plantation" that traps blacks in welfare dependence (because no one has to be poor, Dems just made blacks lazy), or her weird claim that Hitler wouldn't have been so bad had he not been a "globalist." Here's part of the shooter's Q&A "explanation" of how he supposedly became radicalized:
How did you develop/research/receive your views and beliefs?
Over a great deal of time, from a great deal of places.
From where did you receive/research/develop your beliefs?
The internet, of course. You will not find the truth anywhere else.
Is there a particular person that radicalized you the most?
Yes, the person that has influenced me above all was Candace Owens. Each time she spoke I was stunned by her insights and her own views helped push me further and further into the belief of violence over meekness. Though I will have to disavow some of her beliefs, the extreme actions she calls for are too much, even for my tastes.
Anyone who takes that last statement at face value is being white-hoodwinked. Elsewhere, the writer sincerely praises and quotes the pre-WW II British fascist Oswald Mosley and other racist mass killers like Dylan Roof and Anders Breivik -- those are his real icons. Owens is just some trolling for gullible journalists, particularly when you consider that the very next line of the manifesto claims video games taught him all he knows about violent white revolution:
Were you taught violence and extremism by video games,music,literature,cinema?
Yes, Spyro the dragon 3 taught me ethno-nationalism. Fortnite trained me to be a killer and to floss on the corpses of my enemies. No.
Hurr hurr, the idiots are going to say I was inspired by a black lady and video games. It's shitposting. Sure, Owens has written things the shooter may have agreed with:
“We have 50 million Muslims in Europe. There are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe— without sword… https: //t.co/AgUCFGAve6
— Candace Owens (@Candace Owens) 1530963365.0
But that claim that her views are too extreme and distasteful for a mass murderer? Pure trolling. The shooter also frequently claims to be devoted to environmentalism, at several points insisting he's an "eco-fascist." It's difficult to suss out whether he's serious there or just seeking to tar environmentalists by associating them with murderous racism. Why not both?
Other stuff, like his insistence that white people aren't making enough white babies and that nonwhite immigrants need to be violently purged, seems to accurately reflect his warped worldview. He doesn't seem the least bit ironic when he praises Donald Trump as "a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose." The shooter claims he chose New Zealand as a target because it's a a perfect example of what he thinks the problem is: brown people everywhere:
an attack in New Zealand would bring to attention the truth of the assault on our civilization, that no where in the world was safe, the invaders were in all of our lands, even in the remotest areas of the world and that there was no where left to go that was safe and free from mass immigration.
And if the reference to Owens and his very witty references to online memes are trolling, designed to confuse journalists and delight the denizens of racist message board 8chan, the manifesto also echoes another popular US rightwing figure, very much without irony. See if this bit from the manifesto sounds familiar:
Why is diversity said to be our greatest strength? Does anyone even ask why? It is spoken like a mantra and repeated ad infinitum "diversity is our greatest strength, diversity is our greatest strength, diversity is our greatest strength…". Said throughout the media, spoken by politicians, educators and celebrities. But no one ever seems to give a reason why.
What gives a nation strength? And how does diversity increase that strength? What part of diversity causes this increase in strength? No one can give an answer.
I'd like anyone to tell me the difference between that, and these sentiments from Tucker Carlson on his September 7, 2018 show:
Tucker Carlson really really really really does not like living in a diverse country https: //t.co/iLpMr6QrNV
— Andrew Lawrence (@Andrew Lawrence) 1536366549.0
How precisely is diversity our strength? Since you've made this our new national motto, please be specific as you explain it. Can you think, for example, of other institutions such as, I don't know, marriage or military units in which the less people have in common, the more cohesive they are?
Do you get along better with your neighbors or your co-workers if you can't understand each other or share no common values? Please be honest as you answer this question.
Context certainly matters. One statement was on Fox News in prime time, the other was in a manifesto advocating ethnic cleansing. And it could be argued that the shooter echoed Carlson so closely precisely for the sake of trolling -- he says several times that he hopes his murderous act will help the US toward a civil war, both by inflaming political and racial divides, and by driving those crazy liberals to attempt taking away all the guns, sparking a violent reaction by armed citizens. What fun to link his goals with a prominent "mainstream" US wingnut, perhaps provoking the libs to drive Tucker off the air, with resulting chaos over "free speech."
But the fact remains: Carlson, for all his protestations that he was simply asking provocative questions, was also asking exactly the same kind of questions white nationalists think are very important. And online racists love him -- white supremacist Andrew Anglin has approvingly said Carlson's program is "basically 'Daily Stormer: The Show,'" and likes to say Carlson is "literally our greatest ally," although Carlson dismisses any mention of such comments as merely left-wingers trying to make him look bad, because he is an independent thinker, you see.
In short, this manifesto is garbage, like just about everything racists say and think. Problem is, it's garbage with a wide audience, and it plays to racist tropes that have currency all the way up to the Oval Office.
Maybe we could just burn down the internet. It would be a start.