Summary of Kill All Normies

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  • Controversial
  • Eye Opening
  • Background


Leading up to Donald Trump’s election to the Oval Office, online networks such as Reddit and 4chan emerged as crucibles for new forms of right-wing ideology. In this deep dive into the nether world of Internet society, media critic Angela Nagle tracks the connections between these Internet subcultures and the mainstream that powered Trump’s rise. Nagle catalogs the contributions of 4chan incels, Tumblr cry-bullies and alt-light celebrities to the culture wars that not only brought a Twitter troll to the White House but also caused a radical shift in the range of acceptable political discourse. Nagle’s book seems to suffer from a rushed production – some topics lack sufficient development, and sentences sometimes loop erratically. Still, the book makes important arguments about the ways liberal identity politics contributed to the rise of the online right, how trends in sexual behavior patterns may tie into white nationalism and why counterculturalism represents a dangerous ideal. getAbstract recommends Nagle’s often entertaining and sometimes horrifying book to readers looking for valuable insights into political power in modern America.

About the Author

Angela Nagle has written cultural criticism for The Baffler, Current Affairs, The Irish Times and other journals.



Culture Wars

In the early 2010s many people felt optimistic about the possibilities of a “leaderless revolution” based on digital technology and social media. But leaderlessness says nothing about a movement’s content. Today, politics has become a field of cultural warfare, where both left and right attempt to shift culture in order to effect political change. The idea that culture leads politics originated with leftist philosopher Antonio Gramsci, but both liberals and conservatives have leveraged culture as a political tool. During the 1990s, the left predominated in the so-called “culture wars;” but, more recently, the far right has taken greatest advantage of online networks to build its influence. Within those networks, a new form of right wing culture has emerged: one that can counter today’s leftist identity politics more effectively than old-style conservatism. 

Over the past decade, online users’ repeated exposure to a pattern where sincere moral concern gives way to disillusionment has spurred a surge in an ironic, mocking type of humor. The viral Kony 2012 ...

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