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By David Futrelle
Last week Celine Dion launched a new clothing line for children with a slick but exceedingly strange little video in which the oddball Canadian chanteuse, playing the part of some action movie heroine, slipped into the maternity ward of a hospital and magically replaced the pink and blue outfits of a roomful of newborns with gender-neutral, black-and-white onesies from her collection — before being wrestled to the ground by a security guard.
I spent some time this afternoon going through one of accused #MAGAbomber Cesar Sayoc’s apparent Twitter accounts, one specifically devoted to trolling and threatening his assorted political enemies, screenshotting and archiving what I could before Twitter took it down. He was a prolific tweeter. I got through two months of it.
It used to be that when you — and by “you” here I actually mean “I” — went to find pictures of Nazi-adjacent media provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos to use on your blog, all you had to do was to type his first name into Google Images and ta da! there were dozens to choose from.
Time to drag a few more terrible comments from the moderation queue to share with you all. Once again the most popular genre of comments I get from angry lady-haters is the time-honored “threat disguised as a warning and/or prediction.”
The neo-Nazi internet tip sheet The Daily Stormer is warning CNN employees that itstroll army will “track down” their parents, siblings, spouses and children in an act of revenge against the network for its reporting on the racist and anti-Semitic Reddit memester who made a gif depicting Donald Trump body-slamming a man with a CNN logo for a head that achieved internet infamy after Trump himself retweeted it a few days ago.
I’ve gotten a number of extremely thoughtful responses from assorted alt-right twitterists to my post yesterday in which I offered an improved version of the new alt-right logo, with a Ku Klux Klanner head replacing the stylized “a.”
And by “thoughtful,” I mean “don’t read the following tweets if you’re not in the mood for jokes about murder, suicide, and the Holocaust and/or a defense of the KKK’s lynching of black people.”
So yesterday comedian Jen Kirkman posted a little joke on Twitter, as comedians are wont to do.
Before we look at what happened after she posted this Tweet (which has now been deleted), let me just say a couple of things about the Tweet itself.
Jen Kirkman does not actually “LIKE that Hillary has murdered a lot of people,” in part because she (Kirkman) does not LIKE murder and in part because she does not believe that Hillary has, in fact, murdered a lot of people.
The joke is a clear reference to the right-wing Clinton-haters who have been trying their best, for the last quarter century, to convince the world that Bill and Hillary have been secretly knocking off their political enemies, mob style, racking up a CLINTON BODY COUNT that is now said to number 48.
In other words, the joke is not actually a joke about murder. It s a joke about the right-wing idiots who think that Hillary goes around offing people like some pastel-pantsuited Tony Soprano.
Unfortunately, many of those who encountered Kirkman’s Tweet on Twitter — a large number of whom seem to be former Bernie Sanders supporters who’ve gone over the Green Party’s Jill Stein — have kind of missed the point just a little, misreading it as some sort of creepy celebration of drones murdering children in Afghanistan, or something.
And instead of stopping for a second to ask themselves, “wait, is this comedian lady who does those hilarious yet disarmingly earnest segments on Drunk History really mocking or even advocating the murder of children, why would she do that, that can’t be right” many of these people decided to advocate the murder of her.
Here are a small fraction of the Tweets sent to her.
After Kirkman noted that she would be handing the operation of her Twitter account to someone else because she was tired of reading all the death threats, some of her Twitter, er, critics, did little victory dances of sorts.
And yes, that last dude is using a photo of a young Josef Stalin as his avatar. You know, the Russian dictator whose actual non-fictional not-a-joke STALIN BODY COUNT added up to something close to 20 million.
Someone even took the anti-Kirkman struggle to Wikipedia.
The people bombarding Kirkman with threats and abuse aren’t Trump fans. They aren’t Trump fans pretending to be BernieBros. If you don’t believe me, go look at the accounts of the people whose Tweets I quoted above, or go directly to @JenKirkman’s mentions now, where you can find hundreds if not thousands more Tweets like this.
These are people who, in many instances, consider themselves progressives, radicals, anarchists, “revolutionaries.” These are, in more than a few cases, proud supporters of Jill Stein, a woman whose presence in the race makes it all that much harder to defeat the unhinged Muslim-hating racist Donald Trump. That strikes me as something of an irony.
In Milan Kundera’s The Joke, set in Communist Czechoslovakia in the 1950s, a young Czech intellectual and Communist Party member is tossed from the party and sent to work in the mines after he jokingly writes “long live Trotsky” on a postcard.
These days, we’ve got Twitter for that.
NOTE 8/5: Just a reminder for new commenters: defending or excusing harassment is against the comment policy here. I’ve been lax on bans in this thread so far but that’s over now.
A Sacramento video game enthusiast was arrested earlier this month after allegedly making violent threats against employees of game company Blizzard Entertainment, as well as fellow gamers and, in a lovely final touch, their children, Polygon reports.
So I suppose that we should be grateful that Men’s Rights Activist Jack Barnes hasn’t, as far as I know, shot or otherwise physically harmed any Muslim Americans. So far, at least, he has confined himself to threatening them with murder on Twitter.