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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Memetics
Posted: November 4, 2019 at 6:43 pm
This is a rush transcript and may contain errors. It will be updated.
Alexandria O.: You announced recently that the official policy of Facebook now allows politicians to pay to spread disinformation. Do you see a potential problem here with a complete lack of fact checking on political advertisements?
Mark Zuckerberg: Well, Congresswoman, I think lying is bad and I think if you were to run an ad that had a lie, that would be bad.
Alexandria O.: So you wont take down lies or you will take down lies? I mean, its just a pretty simple yes or no.
Mark Zuckerberg: In democracy, I believe that people should be able to see for themselves what politicians that they may or may not vote for are saying [crosstalk 00:00:30]
Alexandria O.: So you wont take them down.
Marc Steiner: I dont want to be on her bad side. That was of course, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pushing Mark Zuckerberger over the false advertising that Facebook allows with no fact checking by right-wing candidates.
So lets start there and hello and welcome to The Real News. Im Marc Steiner. Good to have you with us. What did he say? I think hes the new king of doublespeak. Facebook cut a news deal with the Breitbart. Breitbart, remember them? The news liars from the right and now employees there are revolting at Facebook because Zucc, as hes called by, some allows politicians to post ads that are clearly lies and from folks are taking full advantage of that. So when AOC asked if she could run an ad full of lies it inspired someone to post this ad on Facebook.
Speaker 4: When Teddy Roosevelt became president, our land, forests and wildlife had been exploited for more than 100. But the consequences of these lost resources had not yet dawned in the public conscience. President Teddy Roosevelt fired the imagination of the American people, shook our nation from its lethargy and began to rescue the public domain.
Speaker 5: Clean air and clean water, a wise is use of our land, with the protection of wildlife and natural beauty. These are part of the birthright of every American. To guarantee that birthright, we must act and act decisively. It is literally now or never.
Speaker 6: It breaks my heart to see that the conservative movement in America has really abandoned a century of tradition, of support for conservation and environment.
Senator Graham: Im Senator Graham from South Carolina. Im here to announce with my colleagues that we care about conservation. We care about the environment. From a Republican point of view, I think we need to look at the science. Admit that climate change is real. Simply put, we believe in the Green New Deal.
Alexandria O.: This should not be a partisan issue.
Senator Graham: Im not a scientist. I have the grades to prove it, but I have really taken this issue to heart.
Marc Steiner: So who knew? I mean this is a whole different Graham than anyones ever seen before. I kind of liked this Graham, might changing my whole idea of what to do. I dont know. Lets welcome the man who did this ad that was taken down by Facebook. Hes now running for governor of California. Adriel Hampton, welcome to The Real News. Good to have you with us.
Adriel Hampton: Hey, thank you Marc. Its good to be here.
Marc Steiner: So whyd you tell those lies?
Adriel Hampton: Well, during the hearing where Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez questioned Mark Zuckerberg, she laid out the scenario for an ad just like that one. And the interesting thing is what happens when you really do it, right? So we have a political action committee called The Really Online Lefty League. And Wednesday night after seeing that testimony, I got a flash of insight and I thought we need to make that ad and see what happens if we put it up on Facebook.
So I contacted a friend who works with me, Mike Ramsey, who is the founder of something called the Institute for Progressive Memetics and hes a very talented designer and obviously video editor. And we discussed the idea. I had thought about doing an image first. He said, its got to be a video. He cut that video for The Really Online Lefty League. And the next day, Thursday, we put it up and I thought after this hearing and Ocasio-Cortez said, Could I run an ad saying that my, the GOP candidates in the primaries support the Green New Deal? And I thought Zucc would have sent a missive around to make sure that that ad didnt get approved, but it did get approved. Facebook has a review process and then they, if they get complaints or media contact them, then they react.
And that ad ran for about a day, very little spend. The goal was never to intentionally deceive. It was to test the policies that are allowing a president whose campaign manager has run millions of Facebook ads, he claims to have, and he also is planning to spend $1 billion on Trumps re-elect. Thats on Facebook, thats enough money, even a 10th of that is enough to sway an election in my opinion, depending on what other candidates are doing. But its that exemption for falsehood is very big. Now then Facebook took down our ads saying that it is a political action committee, not a politician.
So then Mike Gravel, the former candidate for president, put it up on his page. They took it down again this time saying it had been debunked on our page, so it couldnt be run subsequently on someone elses page. And then Facebook fact checkers also indicated to me that they might rule that Mike is a former politician, even though hes actively doing interviews and hes promoting his book and hes clearly a politician, but hes not in elected office or actively seeking elected office.
So Monday morning I went and I filed to run for governor of California because I figured if you can launch a run for governor by attacking Trump, Mark Zuckerberg and the biggest recipient of PG&E, large S in California politics, thats a pretty good way to kick it off.
Marc Steiner: And you did. So of course in California, it doesnt cost anything to run for office, right?
Adriel Hampton: It doesnt. Not when you declare. You have to pay a fee thats not in consequential, much closer to the actual election in 2022. So yeah. Yeah. Just about anyone could go and file for office right now in California. You basically, you cant be a felon and you have to sign your name on it. Its a one page form.
But I think in this case, the interesting thing is we have the technical acuity to keep doing these kinds of ads. And we now have myself, Mike Gravel and one other federal candidate who are all all of us will run these fake ads if we have to, to beat up at the system until we get politicians and right wingers treated the same as everyone else. And I swear, Marc, if they dont change, it wouldnt take me very much money to defeat them. And I can explain why.
Marc Steiner: So I mean, so youre running for California, basically, so you can undermine Facebook and tell a lot of lies about the other side.
Adriel Hampton: Im running for California governor because this issue Ocasio-Cortez is doing a great job, it looks like, at the federal level, but shes not in House leadership. And you need someone like a governor or a chair of a powerful committee in California or in Congress to hold real hearings on this. We can hold hearings for months figuring out how in a democracy you police this kind of false speech, disinformation, the audience targeting that Facebook allows that is really more powerful than anything ever invented. And thats the whole Cambridge Analytica scandal, right? And Im very familiar with psychometric targeting. I have not run millions of Facebook ads, but I have run tens of thousands.
Marc Steiner: So, speaking of Zuckerberg, Im going to come back to this Cambridge Analytica thing and what happened with AOC, but this is Zuckerberg talking at Georgetown, I believe in Washington DC just a little bit ago.
Mark Zuckerberg: In times of social tension, our impulse is often to pull back on free expression, because we want the progress that comes from free expression, but we dont want the tension. Pulling back on free expression wasnt the answer. And in fact, it often ends up hurting the minority views that we seek to protect. We can either continue to stand for free expression, understanding its messiness, but believing that the long journey towards greater progress requires confronting ideas that challenge us. Or we can decide that the cost is simply too great, yet still a strict first amendment standard might require us to allow things like terrorist propaganda or bullying people that almost everyone agrees that we should stop, and I certainly do. So once were taking this content down, the question is, where do you draw the line?
Marc Steiner: Where do you draw the line? And he, I mean, he made it very clear when he was being questioned by Ocasio-Cortez. He sounded like a 12 year old. I dont lie, I dont like lies. So what do you make of Mr. Zuckerberg in this?
Adriel Hampton: Well, I heard the word free a lot of times from a man who runs a $531 billion advertising platform. So I find it to be incredibly disingenuous and in fact dishonest. And Mark Zuckerberg himself is dealing in gross misinformation. And before we came on air, and I think in some of the slides here, I saw references to Popular Information which is a newsletter that regularly talks about how Facebook is not enforcing its policies against Trump. And Facebook, I believe, explicitly clarified its policies to make sure that it was clear that it was okay for Trump to lie. They also use Tucker Carlsons Daily Caller as a fact-checking organization. I believe they created a foundation to be a fact checker.
Now Ive just refused my first Fox on air interview and will continue to do so, because these are the companies, Fox, Daily Caller, Daily Wire, Breitbart, that are really a part of the problem of gross right-wing propaganda. Its also interesting, you dont see The Real News being asked to provide a fact checking crew. You dont see Occupy Democrats being asked to be a news source inside. They have I think a publication called The Washington Times, thats not highly regarded for truthfulness, but neither was Daily Caller. And then Daily Wire has 14 Facebook pages coordinating to boost its content on a daily basis, making it more popular on Facebook than CNN and New York Times on many days.
Marc Steiner: So tell me. Theres this is tweet that AOC put out about Cambridge Analytica and I just looked, for our viewers to take a look at this a minute. I mean, heres what we know that Zuckerberg doesnt know when Facebook discovered, he discovered that Cambridge Analytica scandal, thats hard to believe. And so Zucc privately met with Trump and the far right. Hes now allowing pages for disinformation ads. He didnt tell the whole truth about his fact-checkers. So thats what you were alluding to. And, so what do you thinks afoot here when you have that and you had the News Wire and Ben Shapiro having 14, 16, 7 or the number of Facebook pages spewing out lies. He cut a deal with Breitbart, the right wing news media. I mean, is it all about money?
Adriel Hampton: Yeah, I want a smile, but I have to grimace through all of that. I think its about money and I think its about power, right? You consider, I gave a scenario of some both independent and very left organizations that could correlate to some of the organizations that are in power now with Facebook. And I guess the issue that were hammering on is that right now it appears that Facebook is either has a pure profit motive or it has the motive of kissing up to the administration, right? If you know that Trump is going to be really pissed off if you start censoring his content or if you start messing with the Daily Wire, then Facebook, they might do this stuff just to stay in Trumps good graces.
And weve also seen that Mark Zuckerberg does not want Elizabeth Warren to be president because shes openly called for the breakup of Facebook. So we have the CEO of a company manipulating an election here. And Im challenging their standing to be the arbiter of truth on their platform. Who gave Mark Zuckerberg the right to decide what the first amendment means.
Marc Steiner: I mean, thats the danger-
Adriel Hampton: Hes not a judge. Hes not a politician. Hes not democratically elected.
Marc Steiner: No. And thats the danger in part of this, is when the public commons is privately owned, it changes the nature of our democracy and could. I mean AOC put this other tweet up and when she.. the end of this tweet I think is shes really pushing hard here. When she writes to the end, they are making active and aggressive decisions that imperil our elections. And I think thats very real. And I think thats the point that were just beginning to uncover. I mean, Im not sure where this goes.
I mean, let me conclude with this, this last tweet here up from Carole Cadwalladr, who is in The Observer. And I thought what she said here was really something. Its not a crime. Its the coverup always, always, always. This weekend was he brought this fire out. And thats why I think theres trouble ahead for Zucc. This isnt the end of the Cambridge Analytical scandal. Its the beginning. I mean, so talk a bit about where you think this going to unfold and what this means for you and what youre about to do.
Adriel Hampton: Yeah. I think that we need democratic regulation of these companies. They should not be allowed to regulate themselves. If its a free speech issue from the first amendment, thats the government, not Facebook, that gets to decide how thats interpreted, right? We do, those of us on the progressive side of the spectrum, its challenging that we have more conservative Supreme Court than I would like to see these things. But Congress can act and also Sacramento can act and thats the importance of me running for governor. We will continue to challenge these policies.
Have I given you theres a Mitch McConnells scenario. Do you want to hear it?
Marc Steiner: Yep, please.
Adriel Hampton: So Mitchell McConnell right now is blocking action on any bills, right? Hes kind of saying Im the Grim Reaper of the Senate. Well, Mitch McConnell, how about we run a parody, a parody ad and well run it and it wont say that we want to elect or defeat you and it wont be an electioneering ad, but it will talk about how you secretly want to be president and you were secretly planning to stab Trump in the back in the impeachment hearings. And we will run that ad in Kentucky and well run it to, and these are real categories inside Facebooks ad targeting, and well run it too likely to engage with political content, (conservative) and people with a high school education.
Marc Steiner: Ill tell you what, well continue our conversations down the road for the next year. If you have you put something up, well try to do it and well put it out there on our sites as well and continue this conversation. And Im glad-
Adriel Hampton: Thanks.
Marc Steiner: its good to see a man whos not afraid to fight and have a sense of humor and keep pushing this so.
Adriel Hampton: Thank you Marc. Appreciate it.
Marc Steiner: Adriel Hampton, thanks so much for joining us today. Its been great.
Adriel Hampton: Absolutely.
Marc Steiner: Keep on telling them. And thank you all for watching The Real News. Im Marc Steiner. Good to have you with us. Let us know what you think. Take care.
Posted: August 22, 2017 at 11:57 pm
MEMESAN ongoing social phenomenon. These often come in the form of funny pictures and texts combined, creating jokes that are passed on across cultures throughout the world wide web.
One cannot possibly open social media or at the very least use the internet without coming across memes. For baby boomers (the generation born before the internet began), these things are mere silly distractions that take up most of generation Ys time. However, the truth is, theres more to it than meets the eye.
To address this misunderstanding between two different generations, Tropical Futures Institute (TFI) held a one night only open-sourced exhibit of memes entitled The Meme Show last Aug. 18. TFI is a loose group of like-minded individuals, an arm of 856 G Gallery that focuses on neo-centric community shows, focused more on bringing people together as emphasized by Anne Amores, assistant gallerist of 856 G Gallery.
Anyone can join. Its a celebration of the meme culture and were trying to elevate memes into an art form which it arguably is, said Zach Aldave, meme enthusiast and a member of TFI.
Memes relate to the Dada movement. The dada began as a reaction to the limitation of art. Dada started like that; its anti-art art. We can relate that to memes, which are satirical social commentaries, he continued. Its a super-mutated form of satire, added Anne.
The interrelation of cultures before was brought about by intercontinental travels and interracial marriages. Back in the day, globally educating oneself was expensive and entailed one to physically expose himself to another culture, but in the present generation this happens in a different way, more accessible and easier.
If you look at the meme and you strip all the unnecessary sh*tall the irony and all the humorit boils down to being just a pure form of social commentary, said Zach.
Memes are cultural symbols or social ideas in the form of jokes, and are virally transmitted through wires without needing one to get out of the house. So despite the fact that one is just staring into the computer screen reading memes, one is actually being educated about the varying cultures from the different corners of the Earth.
As a form of art, memes are also forms of expression. Some memes exhibit dark humor which represents the sector from which it comes, and which a lot of people surprisingly empathize with.
Some memes are also sort of expressing deeply seated feelings like depression. Whats good about memes is that these are like an outlet for a lot of people who are struggling. Usually theyre cloaked in irony or humor, and they empathize with each other through memes, said Anne.
Unknown by many, memes can be traced back in history. It is being brought to light as a science with a study called Memetics. Memetics is a study begun by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. In this study, memes are understood to be cultural genes, carrying cultural information from one person to another and human beings are vehicles of their transmission.
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Posted: August 20, 2017 at 6:15 pm
by Mikaela T. Bona and Joma M. Roble Published 20 August, 2017 at 1:01 AM from the April 2017 print issue
A meme is both the picture that is worth a thousand words and the few words that can make a thousand picturesor not.
Like hungry brigands waiting by the side of busy trade route, memes ambush and bombard many of us in our own journeys across the Internet, particularly when we travel by social media. They can strike our newsfeeds unexpectedly and boldly. However, unlike bandits out for bounty, Internet memes are seemingly a much more pleasant sight to encounter.
In her 2008 TED talk, memeticist Susan Blackmore explained that memes are bits of information that replicate themselves from person to person through imitation. Memeticists study memetics, a field which explores how ideas propagate among people. Blackmore then continued to say that we human beings have created a new meme: what she calls the technological meme, or the teme for short, which is a meme disseminated via technology. The teme is what is commonly known to be the meme with a comical picture and text shared on social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter.
This merry friend of ours still has much to share with us. As it acts as a mirror that can reflect our joys and sorrows in an instant, memes have also become a mouthpiece of a generation in constant flux.
To define it is to kill it
Ethologist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins is the first to coin the term meme in his bestselling book, The Selfish Gene. Deriving from the Greek mimemes and the French mme which mean imitated thing and memory, respectively, he defines the traditional meme as a living structure that transfers from brain to brain in the process of imitation.
According to Dawkins, memes could be tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes, fashions, ways of making pots, or [even ways] of building the arches. He states further that memes and genes are both meant to sustain as well as change humans, but while genes exist for biological evolution, memes, on the other hand, are replicators that allow for cultural transmission throughout generations.
Interestingly, Dawkins did not lay down specificities as to why memes proliferated. Internet memes are steadily reproduced for an unknownand possibly nonexistentreason. As The Atlantic writer Venkatesh Rao puts it, the Internet meme is a meme in the original sense intended by Richard Dawkins: a cultural signifier that spreads simply because it is good at spreading. It pertains to something that is necessarily vague for it to be universally understood.
While a picture is often described to speak a thousand words, the meme goes beyond interrelated ideas and event. A photo of a smirking man with his right index finger pointing on the right side of his forehead, for instance, would mean hes thinking of something clever. What that thing is though is uncannily up to all of us, making us not just observers, but active participants in the meme experience.
When you speak of memes, you just feel that its a meme. It takes its own being of being a meme in your mind and it can become as weird or not weird as your imagination wants. Its just what it is for you, shares Vince Nieva, of the meme page Ageless Ateneo Memes, in his talk for Arete 2017: Hayo held last April 5.
The ambiguous quality of Internet memes have been subject to research since 2011. This is what paves the way for a designation of new meanings that creates a sense of flexibility. With every user that is able to add a new twist or plot to the meme, it becomes more amorphous and far-reaching that it connects seemingly disparate ideas into relational entities.
A language of its own
Rao believes that memes are an effect of the post-everything world we live in. He explains the complex intertwinement of ideas in our fast-paced world by emphasizing that there is a distinction between the Harambe meme and the actual slain zoo gorilla. This is an age wherein stories are captured while they are still unfolding.
Rapid media technology is going faster than humans can process, which can warp and stunt the emotional reactions to current news. The shock caused by the 2016 American election results led to the creation of many Donald Trump memes pre- and post-elections, which have since been correlated with other memes. In a world freer than ever before, we are both repressed by our technological creations and freed by them.
The universality of meme sharing on social media platforms has made it difficult to continue a single train of thought. In his contribution to the book The Social Media Reader, Patrick Davison states that viewing and linking...is part of the meme, as is saving and reposting. Ironically, the ability of anyone to take part in the dialogue, by a multitude of means through memes, has orchestrated cacophonies. However, genuine relationships can still be formed in the ruckus.
Memes can prove to be a global inside joke amongst ourselves. They can be a way for us to make [some] sense [out] of confusing events and perhaps even cope with personal lost-ness. Memes are a way to get people to connect, says Alfred Marasigan, an Ateneo Fine Arts lecturer, during his talk in Arete 2017: Hayo.
The practice of meme creation draws up a vague sense of community among those who partake in meme sharing; this creates a mutual understanding of what the meme isand principally, what it can be. People partake in the definition production that sustains the meme vogue for as long as possible until a new one comes along to dominate the cyber sphere, while the former eventually dies out.
As old memes die, strong emotions from people who share the same experience come together to form a new meme. Interestingly, it has also been a medium for cultural and socio-political critique. According to Know Your Meme, which tracks the origin of memes, the Evil Kermit meme is an image of Kermit and his nemesis Constantine, who is dressed like a Star Wars Sith lord and instructs Kermit to perform various indulgent, lazy, selfish and unethical acts.
The meme has been used to point out religions underlying crusade tendencies and even question meme culture itself. Other examples include the nut button, which evolved from having sexual implications to anything that can trigger one to act strongly, Arthurs Fista reaction to situations that are frustrating or infuriating, and many more.
Show and tell
In the technologically-forward society we live in, the way culture is transferred from person to person is changing. Internet memes have revolutionized communication by their nature of transmuting meaning as it spreads. As expressions of our alienation from what our traditional memes can normally keep up with, it is vital to note that we are satirizing something that we cannot fully understand. The world is perpetually moving and memes are constantly angled towards a multitude of narratives.
Memes are like junk food, says Andrew Ty, a lecturer at the Ateneo Department of Communication. Their gratification is immediate and not long-lasting and you end up waiting for the next one very quickly. In the end, [memes] are just one part of this overall tendency nowadays towards viral communication.
A study conducted at the University of Bonn in Germany provided mathematical models to explain the temporality of memes. Internet memes are just fads, but they are ones that persist by coming back with the same vague appeal and rhetoricalbeit in different forms. Their vogue is infectious to the generation as of now. Soon, however, theyll be images of the past.
It may seem hard to see memes as something akin to Edo Japans The Floating World of Ukiyo-e, or even Victorian era post-mortem photographs, but they might just be one of our eras most distinguishing and awestriking depictions. After all, the meme is representative of a world moving faster than we can understand. As its uncanniness pulls us in, it is likely for memes to one day be an iconic portrayal of our generation.
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Posted: August 14, 2017 at 12:15 pm
Its all going off in the US, thats for sure. But something that has been bugging me, and many others, is the use of the term alt-right. This seems to be aterm to describe the rise of the right amongst social media and popular culture that we have seen over the last ten years or so. What this does, however, is lend an air of credibility to the views, people and outlets that is unwarranted.
The intro on Wikipediais perhaps worth posting here:
Thealt-right, oralternative right, is a loosely defined group ofpeoplewithfar-rightideologieswho rejectmainstream conservatismin favor ofwhite nationalism, principally in theUnited States, but also to a lesser degree inCanadaandEurope.Paul Gottfriedis the first person to use the term alternative right, when referring specifically to developments within American right-wing politics, in 2008.The term has since gained wide currency with the rise of the so-called alt-right.White supremacistRichard Spencercoined the term in 2010 in reference to a movement centered onwhite nationalism, and has been accused by some media publications of doing so to excuse overtracism,white supremacism, andneo-Nazism.The term drew considerable media attention and controversy during and after the2016 US presidential election.
Alt-rightbeliefshave been described asisolationist,protectionist,antisemitic, and white supremacist,frequently overlapping withNeo-Nazism,nativismandIslamophobia,antifeminismandhomophobia,right-wing populism,and theneoreactionary movement.The concept has further been associated with multiple groups fromAmerican nationalists, neo-monarchists,mens rights advocates, and the2016 presidential campaignofDonald Trump.
The alt-right has its roots onInternetwebsitessuch as4chanand8chan, where anonymous members create and useInternet memesto express their ideologies.It is difficult to tell how much of what people write in these venues is serious and how much is intended to provoke outrage.Members of the alt-right use websites likeAlternative Right,Twitter,Breitbart, andRedditto convey their message.Alt-right postings generally support Donald Trumpand opposeimmigration,multiculturalismandpolitical correctness.
The alt-right has also had a significant influence on conservative thought in the United States, such as theSailer Strategyfor winning political support, along with having close ties to theTrump Administration. It has been listed as a key reason for Trumps win in the 2016 election.The Trump administration includes several figures who are associated with the alt-right, such as White House Chief StrategistSteve Bannon.In 2016, Bannon described Breitbart as the platform for the alt-right, with the goal of promoting the ideology.
This reminds me of how UKIP ended up coming to prominence its a sort of evolution of ideas. I wrote about this back in 2014:
And what happened was this. UKIP busted the political landscape apart. They stole votes off most everyone and they went from zero to, well, hero in one night.
But how can a party which is effectively predicated upon fear of the foreigner and thinly, so very thinly, veiled racism become so successful in such a short time? This is my theory.
Firstly, there is the power of themere exposure effect. This is the fundamental concept of advertising whereby the brain finds things acceptable or even desirable through merely being exposed to the ideas. The more exposed, the more acceptable. UKIP have had a tremendous amount of airtime, with leader Nigel Farage doing the rounds on panel shows, radio shows and many news items. This is how creationism has prevailed, using the Wedge Strategy to get a foot in the door, get airtime, social media time, oxygen. That oxygen facilitates acceptability and then desirability. That was one of the arguments against having Bill Nye argue against Ken Ham about creationism.
Secondly, their success comes down to the evolution of ideas. Memetics is the theory that ideas are analagous to the evolution of biological organisms, with success of the organism surviving in its environment most successfully when it adapts characteristics to its environment. This survivability works just as well with ideas. Ideas which prevail have survival mechanisms and adapt to their environments. Think Christianity here. It has thoroughly evolved over 2000 years to adapt to society, morality, technology and economics. Islam, on the other hand, has developed the characteristic of threatening apostates with death. That works well, too.
Well, the history of the far right in Britain has gone from the National Front through to being reinvented into the British National Party (BNP) through to another reinvention (though the BNP still exist) in the form of UKIP (UKIPers might not like that realisation). What was going on in the early days of the right-wing extremist movement was that the ideas were not adapting well enough to the environments; they were too distasteful. The right-wing extremist ideology was just too much in the National Front to gather any traction with the general public. Then the BNP came along, and tried to be more respectable and appeal more widely. Some might say it was a slightly more (!) chilled version of the NF, appealing to more of the wider population. Ideas adapting. But still not becoming successful or acceptable enough.
And then UKIP, with its pseudo-political approach of getting out of Europe, has finally nailed it. Its just acceptable enough for people to not be afraid of saying in public, Yeah, I voted UKIP. I think we need to get out of Europe as a way of saying, Yeah, Polish, Romanian and those sodding Muslims can do one!
Now I didnt want to caricatureallUKIP voters in this way, but I stand by the idea that UKIP became the acceptable face of racism and xenophobia, playing into peoples fears.
In the same way, in the US, media outlets like Breitbart, TheBlaze, Circa, The Daily Caller and any other number of outlets are presenting themselves as fertile ground out of which confidence and brazen admitting of nefarious view can bear fruit. It is little surprise, then, that after years of allowing such outletsfree reign to spread their hate, the hate manifests itself in real ways. Thats the regrettable corollary of freedom of speech.
The terrible sights of Charlottesville over the last few days show that the old school far right has not died off, but has been simmering, and some have renamed it the alt-right. This merely disguises the ugly reality of the traditional far right and dresses it up in an air of acceptability and modern credibility.
This is unwarranted.
Dont be fooled by new-fangled terminology. The is the far right, and so many of these outlets peddle such extremist views.
I am disheartened by the sheer scope and spread of such views and how they have been able to gain footholds in modern popular culture. The internet is great, but it also houses torrents of distaste and hate.
Alt-right? Nah. Its still the far right, the dangerous extreme. Lets not give it more oxygen than it deserves.
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Dawkins theory of the meme gave rise to the field of memetics in the 1990's which seeks to link the scientific concept of the meme with identifiable evidence using the scientific method. The popular Internet meme is something people can imitate in ...
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