Gateway Pundit reports that Antifa plans to “behead white parents”

White House correspondent and prematurely evil-looking millennial Lucian Wintrich

Antifa: What is it? We know that it is an organization, although it is the kind of organization with no leadership, structure, or system of membership. We also know they are terrorists: the kind of terrorists who have not been implicated in any deaths or proven to destroy property, although it is generally agreed they start fires at demonstrations. Most importantly, they are the same as Nazis: the kind of Nazis who only target Nazis, and who do not assert the supremacy of any particular ethnic group, but Nazis nonetheless. The important thing about Antifa is that it is a real and dangerous entity bent on destroying America, a la Black Lives Matter or George Soros. This morning, Gateway Pundit warned its readers that an Antifa leader had announced on Twitter that he “can’t wait for November 4th when millions of antifa supersoldiers will behead all white parents and small business owners in the town square.”

The original tweet has since been deleted, but it seems like a joke—specifically, a joke referencing the suspension of lefty Twitter humorist Krang T. Nelson. A mildly popular ironist who has publicly claimed to be the “leader of Antifa” is probably not the leader of Antifa. If he were, he would probably not leak their mass murder plan and its date in a tweet. And if this were the plan, it would probably not involve this homage to Looney Tunes. Yet the Gateway Pundit piece cites that tweet as further evidence of Antifa’s plans, in a barely readable explainer/screed by honest-to-god White House correspondent Lucian Wintrich. It’s amazing that the White House gave this person a credential. But what’s really amazing is how many right-wing personalities seem to believe his article was true.

“Seem to” is the operative phrase here. Gateway Pundit might have the dumbest readership on the whole internet. The site has its own sub-category on Snopes. Its business is built on monetizing the credulity of shut-ins, but Wintrich is presumably not one such credulous weirdo. He went to Bard—an institution that attracts plenty of rich dummies but also coats them in that veneer of sophistication which does not mistake irony for sincerity. Reading that article, the question that leaps to mind is “What kind of person believes this?” The answer is not “Lucian Wintrich.”

Here’s a more interesting question: Do his readers believe it either? It is entirely possible that Gateway Pundit is the Weekly World News for right-wingers. They agree with the sentiment, not the reporting, and it’s fun to pretend they buy it on Facebook. That’s what I hope for, anyway—a readership of provocateurs rather than credulous crypto-fascists. But this is one of those questions that is fundamentally unanswerable. The defining feature of Gateway Pundit is its epistemic instability. Only two things are certain here. One, Bard should produce better writers than this:

The Antifa movement evolved from college level indoctrination and was then fueled by the mainstream media after they began labelling President Trump and his supporters as “Nazis” or “fascists.” Through this, the “Harry Potter” dweebs decided to pickup bike-locks and go bashing their “enemies” over the head (*cough* *cough* Eric Clanton). It is supreme immaturity that leads to one galavanting around the streets under the collective title of Antifa.

And two, Bill Mitchell should know better.

Kids! Can you find everything wrong with this tweet from the president?

A freak of nature that simultaneously fascinates and repels, and a caterpillar

Remember when Franklin Roosevelt entranced the nation with his fireside chats? Me neither, but I’m told it was nice. I bet our grandparents did not feel the same apprehension, gathering around the radio, that I feel opening Twitter each morning. I wonder what the president will say today, I think, unlocking my phone with the same demeanor a daylight alcoholic brings to unscrewing a bottle. Here’s what the leader of the free world tweeted today to 27 million followers, including me:

Kombat! kids: Can you find everything that’s wrong with this tweet? Just use a marker to circle the errors right on the screen. It doesn’t matter. None of this matters. Close reading after the jump.

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Hoax Watch: Drudge, Limbaugh report ironic tweet as election fraud

If you don't answer, "your" a coward.

If you don’t answer, your [sic] a coward.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of weird Twitter. I do read it occasionally, though. Maybe that’s why I chuckled on Sunday afternoon, when I saw the tweet pictured above. It’s clearly not sincere. For one thing, why would an actual postal worker tweet this? Why would he refer to the town where he works by its first and last name, so to speak? And why would a tweet from someone in Columbus be location-tagged in California, along with almost all other tweets from that account? Even if you don’t recognize the currency of topic and vague irony of tone, these clues are easy to catch. “If your mother says she loves you, check it out,” reporters say, but you don’t have to be an ace to see through this one. It’s not even a hoax; it’s a joke, with the intentional transparency that jokes employ. But yesterday, conservative outlets including Drudge Report and Rush Limbaugh snapped it up and reported it as election fraud.

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Missoula safe from clowns at this time

My god, he's WALKING THE DOG!

My god, he’s WALKING THE DOG!

As of press time, Missoula schools no longer live under threat of violence originating from clowns. The ZooTown Klown has been not just apprehended but unmasked, as a 15 year-old boy screwing around on Facebook. It was the thrilling conclusion to a story in three acts—act one, in which the county informs parents of clown-related threats, and act two, in which the police remind residents to please not just attack clowns, many of whom are “reputable professional entertainers.”

Setting aside the question of how many professional clowns Missoula can support, I think we should put the blame for this hysteria squarely where it belongs: the internet teenagers society. Sure, it’s social media’s fault for ushering in a golden age of hoaxes. And it’s teenagers’ fault for simulating clown-themed terrorism on Facebook. But it’s our fault for making that funny.

Over the last 15 years, our culture has become so fixated on safety that it’s no wonder teens are teasing us. We have made identifying and protect ourselves from perceived threats the only sacred element of American life. Teens must overthrow all that is sacred. In this sense they resemble satirists, who exaggerate the foibles of their times. Our time’s most protruding foible is fear. You can read all about this wild, totalizing theory in this week’s column for the Missoula Independent, which also contains many clown jokes. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links!


Hoax watch: Trump didn’t delete climate change-denial tweet

Expressions any facial-recognition software would call smiles

Expressions any facial-recognition software would call smiles

Last night’s debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was less a war of words than a long disagreement over whether they mean anything. “It’s all words,” Trump said early on. “It’s all sound bites.” He interrupted often, but it was usually just to say “wrong” or “no.” One of Clinton’s claims he so denied was that he had called climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese to hurt American manufacturing—which of course he had:

That’s not a screenshot; it’s embedded. The tweet is still up, despite the false and increasingly popular rumor that his campaign deleted it during the debate. Even Chris Hayes of MSNBC bought into it last night, although he apologized this morning. Like all the best hoaxes, this is one we want to believe.

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