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#gamergate 4chan advocacy of violence antifeminism atheism minus creepy empathy deficit hate speech men who should not ever be with women ever misogyny oppressed white men racism TROOOLLLL!! YouTube

Is the Trollhattan killer also the first killer troll? Anton Lundin-Pettersson’s online world

TrollFace_HD

Yesterday morning, a man wearing a military helmet and a Darth Vader mask entered a school in Trollhattan, Sweden, carrying a sword. After posing for a picture with two students who thought his outfit was a Halloween costume, he stabbed a teacher with his sword and began attacking other students. He killed two and seriously injured several others before being shot by police.

Those looking for a conventional answer as to why he did it don’t have to look too far: The killer, identified in the media as 21-year-old Anton Lundin-Pettersson, seems pretty clearly to have been motivated by racist and religious hatred towards Muslim immigrants. The school he picked for his violent rampage is overwhelmingly populated by immigrants; surveillance footage of his rampage reportedly shows that he deliberately targeted people of color.

A suicide note he left behind reportedly railed against immigrants. He was apparently also a supporter of a proposed anti-immigrant referendum, and a YouTube account identified as his followed several YouTubers known for railing against Muslims, including  Howard Bloom, an eccentric author whose latest book, the self-published “The Mohammed Code,” purports to show  how Mohammed sought to use violence to take over “the entire world.”

But Lundin-Pettersson’s rampage, while clearly driven by hate, was hardly a conventional hate crime. There is his bizarre outfit: in addition to wearing a Darth Vader mask (and a Nazi-era German army helmet) he reportedly shouted out Vader’s famous line “I am your father” as he launched his attack. And he apparently provided his own soundtrack for the rampage, playing what one witness described as “terrifying” Halloween music as he stalked the halls of the school, as if he were re-enacting a favorite scene from a movie or a hack-and-slash video game.

He may also have announced his planned rampage on 4chan the day before, in the creepy tradition of the Umpqua Community College less than a month ago. According to a screenshot now circulating on the internet — I haven’t been able to confirm it — he warned the denizens of 4chan’s r9k forum, in a post deliberately echoing the words of the earlier killer, to skip “school tomorrow if you live in Sweden,” adding a Trollface graphic along with his note and telling his readers that “my image will be of relevance.”

If the 4chan screenshot is real, it suggests that the Trollhattan killer was deeply enmeshed in “troll culture” online, a world in which violence and even mass murder can be reduced to an assortment of memes, where someone like mass murderer Elliot Rodger can be hailed, only partly ironically, as the “supreme gentleman” he famously declared himself to be.

Invariably, when people on 4chan or YouTube — or some other cesspit of the internet — start making jokes about mass killers, or even hailing them as heroes of sorts, we’re told that none of their comments really count; they’re just trolls, doing what trolls do.

But scratch a troll posting racist memes, and you will almost certainly find a real racist; scratch a troll posting misogynistic attacks on Anita Sarkeesian, and you will find a real misogynist. When trolls send rape and death threats to those they genuinely hate, their recipients need to take them as seriously as more obviously “serious” threats.

The world of the trolls is a nasty, hateful world, and those who soak in it too long may end up lashing out at the world in violent ways.

Indeed, it’s telling that the Trollhattan killer’s favorite YouTuber (if the account attributed to him is really his) was the noxious rager who calls himself TheAmazingAtheist. Lundin-Pettersson subscribed not only to TAA’s main channel but to his personal channel as well, and he favorited dozens if not hundreds of TAA’s videos (I stopped counting). Unlike some atheist activists, TAA doesn’t devote much time to trashing Islam; he’s far more interested in bashing Anita Sarkeesian and other supposed SJWs.

But TAA affects a hyperbolic “mad as hell” persona that, despite its obvious theatricality, seems to be rooted in a good deal of real anger. I can barely make it through a single video of his, and can only imagine the corrosive effect that watching dozens of his rage-filled videos would have on someone’s soul.

Naturally, YouTube comments being the cesspool that they are, the Trollhattan killer is receiving a good deal of posthumous support from racists, trolls, and racist trolls.  An assortment:

troll1

troll2

troll3 trlll4

troll5

troll6

troll7 troll8 troll9

There are critics, of course. And a few commenters who feel that he hadn’t killed enough people to deserve all this adulation.

trolcount trolcount2A reminder: these are from YouTube, not 4chan; I honestly don’t have the stomach to wade into the assorted 4chan threads devoted to the killer.

At this point, I think it’s become clear that websites that permit the posting of this sort of unregulated hate speech — from 4chan to Reddit to YouTube — are enabling the hateful troll culture that seems to have turned Lundin-Pettersson into the monstrous “troll” murderer who took two lives yesterday.

 

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Uncivilized Elk
Uncivilized Elk
5 years ago

Virtually Out of Touch, I made the mistake of watching the video (love Mazzy Star) on YouTube itself, and immediately you see a crapton of comments about how she’s the cutest girl ever and waifu material and all that shit.

Sigh.

Fucking shit is inescapable.

BritterSweet
5 years ago

I wish we could capture one of these murderers alive and ask them, “Why did you target children?” I kind of already have an answer in mind, but wish to see them wrack their brains as they wonder how they can answer without admitting they are the lowest of the low. But then again, that would require the ability to self-reflect.

Snowberry
Snowberry
5 years ago

People who are filled with obsessive hate for a particular individual often don’t want them dead, they want them to suffer. So they kill other people who are close to them instead. Children are often easy targets. I would assume this sometimes holds true for those who are filled with obsessive hate for particular categories of people as well.

Virtually Out of Touch
Virtually Out of Touch
5 years ago

Uncivilized Elk, I read through a lot of the comments on many of her videos and was happy to see no one threatening her life. What type of world we live in when I have to notice no one threatening the life of a creative female artist? I think Hope avoided that by being “shy” and not saying much of anything, ever, in public. Sad, huh? That or this new wave of asshole just hasn’t heard of her (she’s been in the music scene for 30 years so its possible people who know Mazzy Star are an entirely different demographic). And yeah she’s beautiful. Looks like Bollywood legend Rekha….

Nequam
Nequam
5 years ago

@BritterSweet: I suspect the phrase “Nits make lice” or an equivalent might pop up.

Rabid Rabbit
Rabid Rabbit
5 years ago

@Brittersweet,

To be honest, I’d like to see one captured and asked that question while having a brainscan. I’m not trying to be ableist: I’m just honestly curious as to what parts of their brains would light up.

@Jenora Feuer

Really, more the issue is that many of the people who are second lowest on the social ladder seem to desperately need to have someone lower than them to step on to reassure themselves that they still have control over something. “At least we’re better than them.”

My favorite scene in Mississippi Burning remains the one where Gene Hackman’s character tells the story about his daddy who definitely killed that black guy, with the explanation “If you’re not better than a black guy, who are you better than?” I can’t remember the exact line, but that sums it up, and encapsulates a lot of the problem. I remember reading a book about the KKK once, where a member ranted about how the n*****s had the ACLU and the NAACP and the feds and so on, and who did the white man have to turn to? It’s always stuck with me, just because so many white people in Mississippi etc. had pretty awful lives, and then suddenly saw all these people coming in to help the black folk out, and that feeling of outrage honestly makes a lot of sense – if you happen to ignore all of history, which to be fair that man might not even have been ignoring, just completely ignorant of.

(Well, OK, my favorite scene in Mississipi Burning is actually Gene Hackman defeating the Klan by grabbing his attacker’s balls. But that’s a different kind of favorite.)

AltoFronto
AltoFronto
5 years ago

@ Megpie – I think you encapsulated very well what I couldn’t find the words to put across.

It’s not that the racists are on the poorest level and that we should elevate them, I’m saying that wealth inequality and the dog-eat-dog mentality being fostered by our current government is fomenting mistrust, fear and bigotry. It’s a deliberate right-wing political strategy to allow the already-wealthy to asset strip the nation, and then set the rest of society to tearing each others’ throats.

Just look at the aggrieved entitlement in phrases like “Why are my tax dollars funding Affirmative Action?”

Racism crosses all class divides, and the cause is certainly not economic, but I think the economic environment affects the mentality of the general population, within which there are these extremists who receive other pressuring factors to create the perfect storm.

I agree that the media should never sensationalise or glorify the killer – thus removing the fast-track to glory aspect. It’s not for the general public to speculate on the mind of a killer, but there are people who could be assigned to the job of preventing that particular kind of crime, and identifying the socio-psychological factors which make it so widespread and prevalent.

Beyond the obvious gun regulation, we could also try to identify what factors (aside from whiteness and maleness) these murderers have in common, and try to address it like a Public Health issue, at the societal level, instead of just trying to play whack-a-mole with each individual or group. Like a metaphorical vaccine against hatred?

@ Brittersweet – It would probably help to capture them alive (and remove the martyrdom aspect) but that hasn’t exactly prevented people from lionizing Anders Breivik. It’s not as if he didn’t have a lengthy manifesto, either, but he’s since been extremely uncooperative in prison. It’s hard to know what to do with such people – last I heard he was trying to accuse the jail for Human Rights abuses, because they wouldn’t let him have a better Playstation or something.
Yeah, ok – extreme boredom can be a psychological stressor, but he sounds so melodramatic about it, it’s pathetic.
http://www.euronews.com/2014/02/14/far-right-terrorist-breivik-threatens-hunger-strike-for-better-video-games-end-/

Virtually Out of Touch
Virtually Out of Touch
5 years ago

” It’s always stuck with me, just because so many white people in Mississippi etc. had pretty awful lives, and then suddenly saw all these people coming in to help the black folk out, and that feeling of outrage honestly makes a lot of sense – if you happen to ignore all of history, which to be fair that man might not even have been ignoring, just completely ignorant of.”

OK but what I’ve seen a lot of in the Manosphere is regular, average guys with not a lot of money defending wealthy capitalists and CEOs. Like that armchair economist Aron Clary saying Americans need to stop being jealous of super rich folks and bring back the great American enterprising and industrialist spirit of … his name evades me now but back in the day he cornered the steel and several other markets by working in tandem with, with, with…. yes BIG GOVERNMENT to make hemp illegal because back then hemp was supplying fuel and several other needs very cheaply and he didn’t want Americans to have cheap source of energy and other needs. Some big greedy asshole industrialist that Clary claims represents “private enterprise” and “the American way”, when in reality he made life harder and more expensive for Americans.

autosoma
5 years ago

The American dream, the American way, how to make it big in America, all turned into a sense of envy and aggrived entitlement. Originally, intended as a advertisement to encourage migration to the US at a time of massive expansion, is now being used as a call to arms by a group who are, at the root of it, terrified by change and scared of difference.

To my mind it’s now manifesting itself in violence, the crime in Sweden and similar crimes are all born out if a fear of difference. On we all know that, I’m just stating the obvious. My initial statements about the entrepreneurial dream of the US are in fact common to just about every country, instead, somehow it’s been promoted as a soley US thing. Here in the UK we have had migration since history was first recorded, and its mostly been if the economic variety.

Anyway the point I;m trying to get to us that thus violence occurred yet again because there is a fail somewhere that doesn’t encourage these chaps to embrace and empathise the differences, rather to be scared if change which manifestos itself as fear, which then manifests as abuse, which ends up with a violent episode.

dhag85
5 years ago

As we all know, in recent years there has been a wave of right wing extremism, islamophobia, and general racism sweeping through most of Europe. In Swedish politics, these attitudes have created an unstable and difficult situation where one obstructionist party has gained enough support to prevent any reasonable majority (>50%) coalition to form.

I’m not a political analyst so I’ll keep this mostly simple and factual.

We have a parliament with 349 members, where a party needs at least 4% of the popular vote to enter. Traditionally, the Social Democratic Party has been the largest party, at some points in the past winning a majority of the votes all by itself. The Moderate Party is by far the most powerful right or center-right party, and it has been the 2nd largest party in parliament since the late 1970s.

Our (more or less openly) racist party is the Sweden Democrats. It was formed in the 1980s as an openly white supremacist, right wing extremist group. Since the mid-90s there has been a concerted effort to make the party more fit for the mainstream political arena, eventually leading up to embracing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 2003.

For the last 15 years or so, the party has been run in one way or another by a tiny group of just 4 relatively young men. In 2012 it was announced that the Sweden Democrats had adopted a policy of zero tolerance for racism within the party. Since then the party has ousted at least 66 members (as of 2014 – I don’t know how many more have been forced to leave in the last year) and severed ties with their own youth league last month (September 2015) due to uncontrollable and growing extremism.

The Sweden Democrat Party has grown in popularity almost without exception since the official founding in 1988. After the 2010 election they entered parliament for the first time, with almost 6% of the vote, and in the 2014 election they had more than doubled their numbers to almost 13%. In recent polls the support for the party seems to have risen to about 20%, making Sweden Democrats by far and away the third largest party, in one poll even outperforming the Moderate Party.

megpie71 here in the comments noted that mass killers tend to be in one of two age groups (of men), either the early 20s or the 40s and 50s. I reference this because these are also the key demographics among Sweden Democrat voters. Much of the Sweden Democrats’ success in my opinion is due to the rebranding of the party as a mainstream alternative to establishment politics. Most new SD voters are either first time voters, or they have previously voted for one of the two major parties. In other words SD is attracting voters from left and right of center.

There is a website called Avpixlat, which claims to be an independent ”Sweden friendly” news site. (The name of the website means ”depixeled”, derived from the perceived practice of mainstream media to ”pixelate” images of suspected criminals with black or brown skin, to give the impression that the person is white. That should give you an idea of what kind of website this is.) It was previously known as Politiskt Inkorrekt (yup…) but changed its name in 2011. This website is funded and run (anonymously) by top SD politicians, as has been uncovered by journalists. Scrolling through the content and comment section you find that the tone and opinions are very similar to what you would see on 4chan or certain parts of reddit. The racism is overt, and there is also rampant homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, etc. There are several other websites with the same sort of content, but I don’t know if they are all as closely linked to the party as Avpixlat is.

With almost one fifth of the population now sympathizing with a party that is constantly using racist rhetoric, presenting immigrants and refugees as the cause of every problem in society, the political polarization is more extreme right now than it has been at any previous point in my lifetime. The Sweden Democrats are toxic to all other parliament parties, but they have enough popular support to deadlock the system. In December 2014 a formal agreement was struck between 6 parties of parliament that the center-left cabinet would be allowed to rule from a position of minority, using their own budget proposal. The background was that Sweden Democrats had promised to obstruct any cabinet by supporting the opposition budget proposal and thus creating a deadlock, unless the cabinet would agree to impossible demands regarding immigration.

Before this agreement, we were heading toward an extra election in 2015. As of October 9, 2015, the agreement has been abandoned by the center-right opposition. Sweden Democrats are now even more influential than at the time of the election last year, and we are once again in a position of political uncertainty.

Meanwhile, hatred toward immigrants and refugees is still on the rise. In August of this year, an Eritrean man who had been refused asylum murdered two people in an Ikea store in Västerås. In June of this year, a 17 year old girl from Skövde was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a Lithuanian guest worker. These two incidents have intensified the hatred toward immigrants since summer, and there have been a number of attacks against buildings for refugee housing.

I have worked with refugees and immigrants for years, and my general impression is that despite the struggles of everyday life, people feel welcome and safe in this country. They learn the language, they study, they work. There’s sometimes impenetrable paperwork – the migration board and the unemployment office can be very difficult to deal with, for sure. But now there’s also genuine fear.

A couple of months back, Sweden Democrats launched an advertising campaign in the Stockholm subway, addressing international tourists. In English, the party apologized to tourists for ”the mess here in Sweden”, referring to the growing number of beggars and homeless people with eastern European background.

So this is where we are right now. One fifth of voters support a political party that blames refugees for every problem in the world, dehumanizes non-white and non-Swedish people, lies about violent crime statistics, declares who counts as Swedish and who does not. Now people are dying.

Sorry for the teal deer.

TheLulzWatch
TheLulzWatch
5 years ago

Study of Pettersson’s YouTube channel shows zero evidence of “neo-Nazi” affiliations, and in fact, features a large number of far left bands and institutions, something that the media has simply ignored.

System of a Down, whose liberal political views are often expressed in their songs.
Marilyn Manson whose music often contains prominent themes of anarchy, have mocked patriotism and gun culture, burned the bible and who made a widely praised appearance in Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine film.
Rob Zombie, who once put up pro-Obama posters on his official internet channels. if these are right-wing then Roosh is a feminist.

Instead, they focused on to the handful of documentaries on Pettersson’s channel, such as “Nazi Mega Weapons” and “Full Documentary of Panzers Tanks.”.

Even more hilarious, after having accused Pettersson of being a “Nazi,” the Guardian then went on to openly admit that there was no justification for that claim…

Authorities were looking at his activity on internet forums, but could find no evidence of links to far-right organisations, or evidence of accomplices.

Can´t wait for computer programs to replace “modern” journalists.

Wetherby
Wetherby
5 years ago

@Alan Robertshaw

The most effective technique for overcoming the inhibition is to attribute a strong sense of “otherness” (sometimes called “distance”) in the target. In essence you have to define humanity in a way that includes you but excludes them.

Incidentally the fact that this illusion can be easily shattered can be a lifesaver. In war one of the best ways of stopping the enemy shooting at you is to take your helmet of. You’re an individual again.

I vividly remember encountering this concept for the first time at the age of about ten (I remember which primary school class I was in when I read it), via Alan Garner’s The Moon of Gomrath, which I re-read for the first time in nearly forty years a couple of summers ago.

“We’d be a lot better off with guns,” said Colin.

“Would you?” said Uthecar. “That is where we part from men. Oh, you may look here, and find us at the slaughter, but we know the cost of each death, since we see the eyes of those we send to darkness, and the blood on our hands, and each killing is the first for us. I tell you, life is true then, and its worth is clear. But to kill at a distance is not to know, and that is man’s destruction.”

The book was written in 1963, nearly two decades before mass killing became a popular domestic hobby via video games – although by the same token nearly two decades after the end of World War II, which Garner lived through as a boy.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ Wetherby

Yeah, people who’ve actually been in combat have known that for ages. That’s why the myth that people who kill (military or law enforcement) actually enjoy it is so offensive.

The first systematic study though was SLA Marshall’s “Men Under Fire”. His methodology has been questioned but his thesis had been tested many times since with more robust procedures and his conclusions confirmed.

It does seem counter intuitive but for nearly all humans, the fear of killing is greater than the fear of being killed.

That’s what makes incidents like this so abhorrent to the general public, but not necessarily the Internet crowd. Again it’s the “distance” thing.

Michael Lindsay
5 years ago

@ Virtually Out of Touch

This isn’t a problem with sociopathy, it’s a problem with an online culture and not a few online movements that are encouraging this sort of behavior coupled with the fact that the chan sites make money out of it. The fact that people see it as one or two lone sociopaths, mentally ill people or whatever is why they aren’t taking it seriously as they would if it were members of an online community say, praising Allah, when a mass murder took place.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

(Is Virtually pinging anybody else’s trolldar? Between the obsession with Roosh’s “Muslim” lie, the borderline racism and the ableism I’ve warned them about before…)

dhag85
5 years ago

Yes.

Verily Baroque
Verily Baroque
5 years ago

This is unfortunately one of those “I don’t want to derail, BUT…” comments, but David*, could you stop misspelling the name of the place this happened in? It’s Trollhättan, not Trollhattan.

I know it’s not easy to spell ä on an American keyboard, but it’s possible and would be appreciated by people speaking languages that continuously have their words and very names misspelled and the misspellings justified by flippant “It’s close enough”, “That’s not a real letter anyway”, “What difference does it even make?”.

*I feel awkward addressing you directly and apologize for the unearned familiarity.

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

Is Virtually pinging anybody else’s trolldar?

Yup. Constantly.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

@Virtually:

OK but what I’ve seen a lot of in the Manosphere is regular, average guys with not a lot of money defending wealthy capitalists and CEOs.

I’ve seen this too, and not just in the manosphere. It seems to be one of the foundational ingredients into a lot of belief systems which I’ve seen mostly (but not entirely) on the political Right. It’s the belief that a system should have winners and losers; and this belief is as often proposed by people who fall into the latter category as the former. Even if they have no hope of ever becoming a winner, the mere fact that there is such a thing provides solace, just as the existence of losers does.

(At some point, everyone should have the experience of explaining to a desperately impoverished Tea Party supporter that in Europe the welfare state would look after them, then see the panic in their eyes as they attempt to deny the workability of a system in which the losers are not miserably poor. It’s one of the strangest reproduceable phenomena I’ve ever come across and I would really love it if anyone here has enough of an academic background to explain it to me.)

My working hypothesis is that what people find comforting in such a society isn’t the dream of winning, but the inherent conflict within it. Tellingly, when confronted with the alternative of a society with less conflict, people will often use gendered or homophobic language to dismiss it: A society which has a conflict between rich and poor within it is manly, virile, aggressive, and allows people an easily identifiable Other to castigate; while a society which lacks conflict is effeminate, unmanly and unable to achieve great things. Most of all, a society which has inherent conflict within it has a place for assholes and assholish behaviour, while a society where people try to get along has no place for them.

Interestingly, a common theme in such discourse is the belief that a cooperative society will be less able to defend itself against outside threats. If nothing else this is absurdly unsupported by historical data, but it seems to be a genuine belief.

In my opinion, this is a contributing factor to the outpouring of support we see from terrible people on the internet towards mass killers such as Lundin-Petterson: They desperately want to live in a society which has a place for assholes and which has a high degree of internal conflict, because that’s the only society in which their unmodified, unmoderated behaviour would fit into. In this worldview, a taxpayer-funded school which teaches the children of poor immigrants is a symbol of a society which does not Other any of its members, and therefore is a huge threat to them.

AnAndrejaPejicBlog (@A_Pejic_Blog)

(Is Virtually pinging anybody else’s trolldar? Between the obsession with Roosh’s “Muslim” lie, the borderline racism and the ableism I’ve warned them about before…)

Yes. This sort of thing from the ‘virgin flesh’ thread has made me suspicious:

If a guy is young but awkward, particularly an immigrant or something, but he’s HOT, I’ll cut him some slack and might even offer to coach him in American social skills. Anyone more than 15 years older to me gets no slack.

autosoma
5 years ago

@Alan from my own experiences I would concur. whilst reading your post, I looked out if my flat window at a group of three young men, faffing around a car and mentally took myself back 30 years to Ulster. The gut and throat wrenching nerves, anxiety, fear, worry came flooding back. The first time you look over iron sights at another human being and realise they are Another Human Being, I don’t know any guys who reveled in it the way the chambers do. Maybe Ulster was different, not was I looking at a civilian person, but they were our civilians, no matter what the propaganda was telling us, they were British men,women and children, (mostly) speaking the same language, same clothes, same TV, paying the same taxes. The is that moment when you realise you can’t dehumanise, what did end up happening was abstracting the behaviour of “enemy” units and using that, even then it was hard to work out what to actually do – which is why you end up following orders because someone else had the responsibility, until they overstep the mark (the Nuremberg Lawful Orders defended doesn’t wash with me).

I guess one of my points is, is that the channers have little or no actual physical experience, GTA, COD, the cheap and cheezy gun play on TV and film doesn’t even start to describe the real body experience, from the tiring weight of two doubles of 762, SLR, flak, boots and the shitty trousers whose gusset seam always tried to razor my balls in half. And then there’s the anxiety, adrenaline, the right, up, across, left down, ahead, check front mate, turn around, check back mate, walk backwards, do the same, while listening out for instructions or your mates or the civs. And that’s a quiet day, I dunno why the channers want to fantasize about it, its shit graft.

Many years ago I was fortunate enough to meet this little old fella, who was working in an Oxfam shop, sorting clothes. During the 2WW, was awarded the MC whilst on a commando raid, I looked up his citation and the stuff he did would make most channers get super jealous/bitter. He hated what he had done and certainly didn’t “big” it up, his only response when I asked him about it was a shrug of the shoulders and an answer of “well, it was the war you know”.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

To be honest, I’d like to see one captured and asked that question while having a brainscan. I’m not trying to be ableist: I’m just honestly curious as to what parts of their brains would light up.

There have been brain scans of killers done and compared to controls, they have less active, or colder areas in the pre frontal cortex. The area associated with empathy, judgment, planning, impulse control.

There are a couple of caveats with studies like this. For one thing, brain scan research is expensive and difficult to carry out so sample sizes tend to be quite small. For another thing, since we don’t understand exactly how brain activity influences behavior, brain scans are correlative, not causative. We can only speculate as to how a relatively inactive PFC might cause sociopathic behavior. The research is interesting though. It’s a young field still and I can’t wait for neuroscience to get more advanced.

As we all know, in recent years there has been a wave of right wing extremism, islamophobia, and general racism sweeping through most of Europe. In Swedish politics, these attitudes have created an unstable and difficult situation where one obstructionist party has gained enough support to prevent any reasonable majority (>50%) coalition to form.

It’s interesting. On Game of Thrones sites when the discussion turns to race, a lot of European commenters (particularly the Nordic and German ones) get annoyed at the discussion. They whinge about how Americans are so obsessed with racism and why is this something we need to talk about in the context of a TV show? Blah, blah, blah.

But I think it’s good to talk about this stuff. Obviously there are still tons and tons of issues with racism in the Us. Social justice can be frustratingly two steps back, one step forward, but I do think bit by bit things are getting better although I’m saying this as a white person, so maybe I’m being wrong and naïve,

On the other hand, since the great recession, things seem to be getting worse in Europe. Not just in a single country or region, but everywhere. Does it seem to you, or any other Europeans here that a lot of white people other than the “SJW” types have been reluctant to discuss it or admit that racism is an issue? I know I can’t judge an entire continent based on a subset of people who comment on English language GoT sites, but I’ve seen other similar attitudes elsewhere. For example, Dutch people being sort of baffled that a lot of people point out that Zwarte Piet is really racist and pretty unwilling to entertain a discussion about it. So I do wonder if it’s a pattern.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

On the other hand, since the great recession, things seem to be getting worse in Europe. Not just in a single country or region, but everywhere. Does it seem to you, or any other Europeans here that a lot of white people other than the “SJW” types have been reluctant to discuss it or admit that racism is an issue? I know I can’t judge an entire continent based on a subset of people who comment on English language GoT sites, but I’ve seen other similar attitudes elsewhere. For example, Dutch people being sort of baffled that a lot of people point out that Zwarte Piet is really racist and pretty unwilling to entertain a discussion about it. So I do wonder if it’s a pattern.

It’s a pattern that I’ve noticed too. Just as America seems to be undergoing a pendulum swing leftwards, we here in the Old World seem to be heading rightwards. My hypothesis is that it’s due to us no longer thinking of ourselves as the battlefield on which America and Russia will slog it out (killing all of us in the process), and instead coming to think of ourselves as a tiny and hyper-wealthy corner of the world which must maintain its disproportionate power and comfort at any cost.

(On the specific example of Zwarte Piet, I think that might also be an example of racism manifesting differently in Europe and America due to the different histories of the two continents, hence the confusion.)

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ WWTH

Obviously this is a massive subject, and any Internet discussion can only really scratch the surface.

In England though we, as a society, sort of had a big conversation about race which culminated in something called the McPherson Report. Amongst other things that report identified the phenomenon of “institutional racism” and brought out into the open that racism (even if unconscious) plus power was a major factor in disadvantaging black people.

We now often talk of the post or pre McPherson era.

Obviously we have racism here but the actual concept of race doesn’t permeate everything like it seems to do in the US.

I think that might be that other factors here are seen as more significant. Class for instance. (There was a great description of the class system as a Way of being prejudiced against people who were identical to you)

It’s also complicated in Europe because of inter EU and intra EU migration. For many people the hard working Asian shopkeeper is welcome, the conniving East European labouror is not, but for others it’s the other way round.

One recent event illustrated the complexity of this quite succinctly. A black woman was filmed hurling racist abuse at an Asian woman. Now, whilst that’s obviously not nice it wad interesting that the black woman felt comfortable enough in her own British identity to tell someone “Go back to where you came from”

autosoma
5 years ago

@WWTH

Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s has just released a report showing that ~50% of Britons would vote for immediate exit from the EU if Cameron doesn’t secure tighter immigration from the EU. That is worrisome as a third gen post war European Jewish immigrant.

somehow this wave of migration has triggered real problems. The Windrush generation were very visibly different, but not so different based on language or religion. The “rivers of blood” never happened with the commonwealth immigration, although there were visible differences and differences language and religion. All had connection to colonialism and commonwealth so some of Britain’s cultural imperatives were presupposed. This time I’m seeing real fear in people regarding this wave of immigration as there doesn’t seem to be any attempt’s to find commonality and a view that there will be no integration and growing enclaves of ‘otherness’. I did used to live in that part of London for 10 years that the British media tried to claim was declaring itself Sharia (I used to live three streets over from the London Sharia Council’s HQ). I feel somehow we are heading for a turbulent time regarding migration.

Scribbles
Scribbles
5 years ago

What is with all of this anti-immigration horseshit cropping up? I know there’s a strong fascist undercurrent in the UK, but it’s even a thing in the US, where fascism doesn’t present nearly as much of a showing (that’s not to say, however, that the American far right is any better, functionally, than fascism).

Scribbles
Scribbles
5 years ago

Some Sort of Username: “Kinda telling how many of those YouTuber posters had 4Chan meme avatars and anime avatars. A friend and I have noticed that people with anime avatars normally seem to white supremacists and/or bigots, somewhat ironically considering the origin of anime. It’s an odd contradiction but one that normally holds up when it comes to reality.”

Haha, holy shit, I also noted that anime avatars are generally disgusting racists, pedophiles, nationalists etc. It really is a thing, isn’t it? Fucking anime.

skiriki
5 years ago

@weirwoodtreehugger — the entire convo on Dutch side regarding Zwarte Piet is pretty astonishing, and whole lot of facepalming when you prod at it. It is a perfect storm of childhood nostalgia, self-image as a liberated and tolerant country/culture, and conveniently forgotten/nostalgia-gilded memories of former colonizer issues.

I have no problem pointing at one of our now-dying Finnish traditions — a Christmas pageant with Three Wise Men (from 16th century), where Melchior is usually portrayed in blackface mode, and albeit he is wise, equal to other Wise Men, and gets to tell Herodes some rather straightforward words, has most individual lines, plus gets to wield a sword, it is still Problematic As Hell, and I certainly won’t mind if that pageant goes away or gets modified to be more appropriate.

Likewise, I got no problems to tell that if a Finn gets too cocky with pride regarding how “equal” women and men are in our country, I’m gonna go ballistic. Yeah, some things are definitely better. But they’re not the best, and there’s still a lot of stuff to do: the wage gap exists, and some rape trials we’ve had are rankest bullshit of highest order. That usually gets back a whine how “feminists want to dominate men” or some such crap — again, there’s that pesky self-image as amazingly equal and liberated combined with “but isn’t voting enough” blinders.

While most of bigotry in Europe is to flavor of biases against ethnicity (in Finland for example, we have historical and present day bigotry against Finnish Roma, Finnish Sami, etc, and most people abroad would have hard time telling us apart with a single glance, whereas differences would be obvious to us), it still doesn’t mean that we’ve somehow been free from hardcore racism either. Our churches used to do a lot of evangelical work in Africa, and various stereotypes of black people trickled through that lens back to us. Black people as playful, dancing, child-like, carefree, uneducated people with an inborn sense of rhythm and music, who also believe in horrendous pagan deities and terrifying rituals described in almost pornographic degree. Pictures of great apes, right next to a black child in a dictionary. Stylized images of black people used to sell licorice, coffee or chocolate.

And that’s just a start of the whole load of bollocks; the entire racist culture of imagery and words and stereotypes really need to get dissected and put under magnifying glass so people would truly understand why it is such a problem. And how people can work on countering it, and how they can strive to be better in their everyday life.

(Personally, I send people to read http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/ site for further education when it comes to issues black people face, and a good visual record of why it is problematic. It has worked pretty okay so far.)

If humanity as species wants to survive, racism and bigotry must go.

dhag85
5 years ago

One of the youtube commenters quoted in this post is using the Sweden Democrat logo as their profile picture – the anemone hepatica flower.

skiriki
5 years ago

@Scribbles:

Haha, holy shit, I also noted that anime avatars are generally disgusting racists, pedophiles, nationalists etc. It really is a thing, isn’t it? Fucking anime.

Ow. I hope my avatar is not confused for that sort of thing. 🙁 I like my Hound of Tindalos piccy.

That said, holy shitballs, there are some amazing racist and sexist issues in anime in overall. No problem to imagine that’s what is drawing some people to it…

Scribbles
Scribbles
5 years ago

I don’t know if it’s anime itself (I like some animes, but am not a fan in general) or if it’s the online culture that’s sprung up around anime (the chans, etc.)

Whenever there’s a group of nerds, the animes are usually the worst. #NotAllAnimes though. I’ve known a few who were educated and chill. I wonder what exactly is tying that shit together.

tedthefed
tedthefed
5 years ago

Feminism-friendly anime list? I’ll grab any opportunity to tell people to watch Utena.

Monzach
Monzach
5 years ago

I just want to wish all the Swedish posters and lurkers of WHTM all the best. I can’t imagine what you’re going through right now, though we have had our share of violence here on the other side of the Gulf of Bothnia. Just…stay strong and remember that a single bad guy doesn’t define a culture or a group of people as a whole. I think that it’s important at times like these to focus on our similarities here in the Nordic Countries especially, and also humanity as a whole. I hope all will be better soon, jag hoppas at allt blir bättre snart.

autosoma
5 years ago

Scribbles, I would argue that Britain maybe right of centre and very conservative but Fascist we are not. We have a long and determed anti fascist history, The battle of Cable Street, the imprisonment of Oswald Mosley, Churchill for all of his authoritarian conservatism, was massively anti Nazi. Even Thatcher for all of her aggressive class bullying, lived in and would never change a parliamentary democracy. Look how we dismissed the laughable Farage.

I personally do not think Totalitarian Authoritarian Nationalism could ever take root.

My previous point is is that the way immigration is being handled at s political and media level in the UK (they are both making it worse than it is for the average person in the street). It may trigger actual Brexit, the UK leaving the EU. The effect of that would send massive financial shockwaves around the globe and trigger an EU collapse.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

It’s purely the Chan/Reddit culture, not anime (or MLP, or gaming, or anything else with a lot of fucking disgusting fans). I mean, I can’t say I’m surprised when somebody posts racist murder threats with an anime (or MLP, or video game) avatar, but blame the asshole, not the random unrelated thing the asshole likes. They’d still be an asshole even if they didn’t like it.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ autosoma & scribbles

I think Orwell put it best when he pointed out fascism could never take hold in Britain because it’s just so silly. The average Briton would just laugh at it.

I don’t think Farage can be dismissed though. UKIP did amazingly well in terms of votes. If we had PR they’d have nearly 90 MPs.

It’s hard to use the outmoded left/right thing to describe British politics.

The mainstream view is probably fiscally conservative, socially liberal with a dollop of socialism when it comes to the NHS.

Scribbles
Scribbles
5 years ago

I’m not saying the country itself is fascist (it’s economically liberal, which is mutually exclusive from fascism), but that there are rather strong fascist fringe currents like the BNP. They don’t retain much, if any, actual power, but they’re there, much like the KKK in the US. The KKK, however, is just lumped in with the Republican Party and doesn’t actually have a true fascist platform within politics (aside from individuals).

So yes, you’re right, but that’s not really what I was saying. There is an uptick in fascism throughout Europe (and the US) and it’s kind of horrifying.

Scribbles
Scribbles
5 years ago

Alan, that’s usually just called third way or neoliberalism. Left/right is still pretty useful, but only within polisci, I suppose. The left doesn’t really exist within modern liberal states. Even the terminology associated with the left has been coopted by the far right.

Left/right isn’t really outmoded at all when talking about political theory and history, it’s just that modern political discourse in “developed” nations just represents various shades of the right.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ scribbles

The BNP was a thing for a while. But like so many organisations, including the NF from which it derived, it imploded in the usual internecine back stabbing of extremist parties. There’s a thing called the English Defence League that’s trying to fill the gap but not doing so well. There’s also something called Britain First but they seem just to produce Facebook memes.

Immigration is apparently the major political issue that concerns people here, but for the most part it’s based on economic fears rather than race issues.

The attitude is “Well of course I feel sorry for those poor people but we just haven’t the room/resources” rather than the pure racism seen on mainland Europe, especially in the accession states.

The nearest we get to that are issues around integration, mainly in relation to Islam. Ironically that may have helped overall. Islam is the new “other” so every other ethnic group is suddenly regarded as fully integrated in comparison.

We’ve had a Muslim lady win a cake baking competition now though so now people are differentiating between “nice” Muslims and “Islamists”

NonServiam
5 years ago

Yeah, I’m not saying that it wouldn’t cause some short term instability, but if the British want to exit the EU, it would recover okay. Germany leaving might break it, but not Britain leaving!

Fruitloopsie
Fruitloopsie
5 years ago

This is completely random but has anyone seen this? I saw it in the men’s rights sub Reddit and since a few days ago was October 21 2015 which was the time when Marty and dr. Brown traveled in the back to the future part two I thought I might share and I don’t know about all you but I think it’s pretty funny.
http://i.imgur.com/p7k7nT0.jpg
go read the comments you won’t be disappointed except the comment made by August Burns Reddit I agree with what he said except the examples he provided what women never have to go through and men do. F*** this guy.

Arthur Meyer
5 years ago

Does my avatar make me look big and scary?

But on a serious note, I think a big problem with this chan/reddit culture is the sheer lack of realizing that there’s real human beings on the other sides of the screens. Funny enough, what avatars we pick and what shows/movies/games/books/music we like can let others “paint” a picture of us and either use it against us or for us to judge our character. Like when you see me pop up and post something; do you instantly think I’m a hyper-masculine male? A furry freak? What happens when you start to layer the avatar’s imagery with what I type? Do you think I’m confused? Perhaps there might be more than what you see?

Because you and I aren’t in the same room, you can’t really judge my character for what it actually is, but instead rely on entirely subjective visual information that I present and whatever words I say (which may not be sincere in some cases, other times the meaning may be different than what you think it is). Thus, you create a caricature of what you think I am rather than what I am. But it isn’t your fault though; it’s impossible to know every single person who posts in this blog on an individual level.

And with that, you start having serious problems. When people are essentially becoming nothing more than “cartoon characters on a screen” in the internet world, eventually people in general start viewing others who are not within their “monkeysphere” as anything but another human being. Everyone else except you, of course, now suddenly doesn’t live a complicated life like you do and only “exists” when you see them online. They have no depth as far as you’re concerned.

This isn’t to say that truly vile people don’t exist; people do exist that devote their lives to spilling hatred across the world. These people are bad and you can sense it from a mile away, but who’s to say that the guy who accidentally cut you off on the road isn’t someone who has a lot of things to worry about and problems of his own? Who’s saying that the woman in line at the Starbucks who hasn’t figured out what to order hasn’t been trying to juggle the stresses of being an attorney? You can’t just judge the ordinary person by a single action or visual cue alone, but at the same you can’t follow them around and get to know them on a personal level either.

Being a human to other humans is tough, but doing the right thing is always the best thing to do.

Ælfscýne
Ælfscýne
5 years ago

In case nobody else pointed it out: that wasn’t a Darth Vader mask, it was an airsoft or paintball mask. Perhaps he tried to channel Vader, especially if he really yelled “I am your father”, but he still didn’t look like him.

Virtually Out of Touch
Virtually Out of Touch
5 years ago

I’ve dated a lot of Muslim guys and eventually most of them and their families wanted to convert me and were very aggressive about it. .

Virtually Out of Touch
Virtually Out of Touch
5 years ago

“This isn’t a problem with sociopathy, it’s a problem with an online culture and not a few online movements that are encouraging this sort of behavior coupled with the fact that the chan sites make money out of it. The fact that people see it as one or two lone sociopaths, mentally ill people or whatever is why they aren’t taking it seriously as they would if it were members of an online community say, praising Allah, when a mass murder took place.”

I see what you mean Micheal but I’ve always thought sociopathy could be a lot more, I mean waaaaaaay more, prevelant in society than we think it is. So instead of “one or two lone” here and there every once in a while, it could be thousands more, and then a sub-culture that encourages it. I don’t know. Thought experiment.

mockingbird
mockingbird
5 years ago

@skiriki – I have some (very) extended Flemish Belgian family that reconnected via Facebook with we offshoots of their post-WWI migrants.

Last Christmas, they posted some pictures of their small children posing with Zwarte Piet – chubby little blonde cherubs grinning away next to the most intense blackface makeup I’ve ever seen (to include historical footage, previously its main context).

As an American, my initial reaction was, “Holy shit…”, though I did manage, “[Child’s name] looks so happy and adorable!”

Tom
Tom
5 years ago

The internet has used the “head-in-the-sand” tactic in dealing with 4chan. “It’s too much effort to deal with 4chan’s bullshit, so we’ll just ignore it – after all, what’s the worst that could happen?”

Well, we know now. If we had acted sooner to criticize this behavior when 4chan was first created, this sort of culture might not have been allowed to take form.

mockingbird
mockingbird
5 years ago

Very quickly and with apologies if anyone else mentioned it (waiting for some yeast to prove and am reading this rather than being productive 😉 so I haven’t given these comments the most comprehensive reading), re: killing / ease of killing / braggadaccio vs experience: On Killing by Dave Grossman is a worthwhile read. I wouldn’t take it as a gospel, but it provides some interesting starting points for conversation and continuation of study.

spacelawn
5 years ago

Since i myself live in sweden (in stockholm however, which is pretty far away from Trollhättan) i can tell you that this incident is pretty unnerving. There has been a rise of racist movements starting a few years back, we sadly even have a political party called Sverigedemokraterna, which has roots dating back to neo-nazi movement.

Thankfully, it’s not totally going to shit, we have a lot of people that are against these dicks. One example would be something happened a few months back. It was a protest against immigration, about 3 guys showed up while around a hundred had a protest against the anti-immigration wankers. It was nice to see.

Jag undrar hur det låter när en amerikan försöker uttala Trollhättan…..

Verily Baroque
Verily Baroque
5 years ago

@spacelawn

Those numbers sound reassuring after the recent events. Let’s hope that the popularity of the far-right will start to decrease (although for the time being, I would accept the violence and open hatred decreasing).

Det undrar jag också. Namnet är inte lätt att uttala för utlänningar, tycker jag.

Trots att jag gillar ditt vackra språk, anser jag att vi borde kanske skriva på engelska så att David och andra ska förstå vad vi sägar. Det här är ja ganska oartig eller hur?