Photo via @realDonaldTrump/Twitter

Twitter is in a war over what #AltRightMeans—and the jokes are winning

This backfired quickly.

 

Jay Hathaway

Internet Culture

Published Aug 25, 2016   Updated May 26, 2021, 4:28 am CDT

It’s been a big month for the alt-right movement. Earlier in August, the Southern Poverty Law Center added the alt-right to its list of extremist groups, describing it as essentially white nationalism for the Reddit generation. On Thursday, news broke that Hillary Clinton planned to give a speech condemning alt-rightist who have united behind Donald Trump. 

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Alt-rightists aren’t very happy about this state of affairs, and they’re attempting to defend themselves on Twitter with the hashtag #AltRightMeans.

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The tag is trending, but not for the reasons conservative kiddos hoped. It’s been hijacked by people opposed to the alt-right’s central tenets (which, according to the SPLC, are “white ethno-nationalism” and unironic use of the word “cuckservative.”)

https://twitter.com/TheBpDShow/status/768784303115366400

If you look at the hashtag now, you’ll see an anti-Hillary Clinton tweet from Prison Planet

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But you’ll mostly see people mocking the hell out of what the SPLC describes as the alt-right’s main constituency, “anonymous youths who were exposed to the movement’s ideas through online message boards like 4chan and 8chan’s /pol/ and internet platforms like Reddit and Twitter.”

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https://twitter.com/kept_simple/status/768821751178461184

https://twitter.com/AbiWilks/status/768805149808754688

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https://twitter.com/Coregan/status/768829842435534848

https://twitter.com/Bro_Pair/status/768831386258112513

https://twitter.com/borgmamel/status/768832591571005440

https://twitter.com/LOLY2K/status/768835339519610880

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https://twitter.com/Bro_Pair/status/768838837384704000

This is but a sampling of the myriad humorous owns on a hashtag intended to make the alt-right look more palatable and less like something out of the SPLC’s Extremist Files. #AltRightMeans is overrun with good owns. The ownage is flowing forth in immense, frothy waves and nothing can dam it.

But it’s not as if the alt-right was doing itself any favors in terms of convincing the mainstream population it’s not a racist enterprise. These tweets are pretty representative of the effort to defend white nationalism:

https://twitter.com/Writeonright/status/768779653536321536

https://twitter.com/agreeandamp/status/768775476563308544

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https://twitter.com/WaltBismarck/status/768774317521776641

https://twitter.com/TheFaceman99/status/768768492048965633

https://twitter.com/AltRightInfo/status/768765457981726721

https://twitter.com/dawngpsalm63/status/768735530150350848

Huh.  

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Then again, what’s in a name? “Calling them the ‘alt-right’ does obscure the fact to the general public that they are white supremacists, mostly,” Marilyn Mayo, a research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said in an interview. “And getting rid of that term, ‘alt-right,’ may clarify things for the general public.”

The alt-right has come under attack this week from both Democrats—via Hillary Clinton—and the GOP establishment. Now that they’re in the spotlight, they have a crucial opportunity to polish their message and make it as acceptable as popular to the U.S. mainstream.  

Let’s check in on how it’s going: 

Hmm. 

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*First Published: Aug 25, 2016, 2:16 pm CDT