praxis-girl

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‘Praxis Girl’ and how extremely online drama led to a Marxist meme

'Karl Marx? My daddy.'

Jun 26, 2019, 4:09 pm*

Internet Culture

Ignacio Martinez 

Ignacio Martinez

If you’ve been on Twitter the last week, you may have noticed people talking about “praxis.”

The memes stem from a viral video by New York comedian and former Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) campaign staffer Simone Norman. Praxis, a term closely tied to Marxist and socialist ideologies, relates to the direct actions individuals can take as opposed to only discussing theory. Basically, it’s about how actions can speak louder than words.

In the video, Norman plays the persona of a bohemian layabout speaking with an extreme amount of vocal fry and a disaffected demeanor. “Karl Marx? My daddy,” Norman jokes. “I look so fucking skinny today, that’s praxis.”

Now praxis discourse is inundating Twitter, and Norman has becoming known as “Praxis Girl.” How did we get here? Believe it or not, this whole ordeal got kicked off by New York comedy festival Skankfest recently hosting a set by Louis C.K.

Immediately following this development, many other New York comedians shared their opinions on the festival allowing C.K. to perform after his history of sexual misconduct.

Comedian Kath Barbadoro wrote in a tweet, “If you put Louis CK on your comedy stage I can’t trust that you have my best interests at heart. This is a workplace safety issue and I don’t want to work for someone who does not value my safety.”

Following this, Anna Khachiyan, who hosts a nihilist cultural critique podcast called Red Scare with fellow New Yorker and actress Dasha Nekrasova (the woman who went viral for trolling InfoWars while wearing a sailor’s outfit), commented on Barbadoro’s claims.

Then the two had an indirect feud through tweets where Barbadoro called into question the merit of Khachiyan’s podcast and career.

Comedian Jake Flores, who had his home raided by homeland security, after making a joke about murdering ICE agents in May 2018, proceeded to publicly criticize Red Scare as well. The podcast has often times become a lightning rod for controversy due to its host’s glib use of the R-slur and espousing takes that some would construe as problematic. Episode titles include “Step in the Name of Jihad,” “Rape Jokes w/ Vanessa Place,” and “Is Mussolini Obsolete.” Nonetheless, the show accrues over $13,000 monthly on Patreon.

The general tone of the podcast can be summed up in the following dramatization by a fan.

With the many feuds about the validity of its “schtick” ongoing, the floodgates opened for further lambasting of Red Scare on Twitter. And now, finally, we’ve circled back to Simone Norman. What seems like a jab at the general demographic of “hot mean girls [who] become public leftists,” reveals itself to be a pointed dig directly at Nekrasova and Khachiyan if you’re willing to circumvent this absolute rabbit hole of Twitter drama.

So how do the ladies of Red Scare feel about Norman and her parody of their show? Well, they have mostly adopted the position of ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.’ Indeed, Nekrasova and Khachiyan’s reaction to ‘Praxis Girl’ has matched the public persona that they have cultivated for themselves and their show. By just commenting positively on Norman’s appearance, Red Scare has perfectly personified the lackadaisical, disaffected image they’ve ironically worked so hard to establish.

Now, Norman contends with a problem that actually exists in 2019: the possibility of achieving some semblance of fame for being a meme.

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*First Published: Jun 26, 2019, 2:43 pm