The European Union really doesn’t like Right Wing Memes at all. They find it so problematic, they published an 18 page report about how unfunny and bad it is (PDF ).
The document is really something to behold, it describes how the “Wojack”, “Doge”, and “Pepe the Frog” memes are harmful to society…
The document also unironically describes how memes target politicians, are used to promote extremist ideas, and white supremacy…
Internet memes are graphics of visual and textual remixes shared and widely distributed online. They depict everyday situations and often express slapstick, which is difficult to express in words. With a general turn towards visual elements in communication, it is becoming increasingly impossible to ignore memes — especially in political contexts. As with every new technology, the far right has been quick to adapt to the new requirements of seizing the attention of broader audiences and to tailor white supremacism to the jargon of online communities. At a time in which memes have become a universal means of communication, far right groups have recognised this popular potential for politicisation. They put a lot of time and energy into meme production, spread their ideology — sometimes more, sometimes less openly — and act according to the motto: if the meme is good, the content cannot be bad. As inane as these pictures may seem, they are important as they offer a low threshold to interact with extremist ideas.
Another noteworthy section describes the frustration over the left not being able to meme…
As we know from everyday interactions, humour and irony are sometimes difficult to decode. This becomes even more problematic when trying to analyse humour in the online space, where the irony is celebrated as a core countercultural element. Playing with exaggeration and irony and the reactions from the various audiences are an essential part of the provocative playbook. Thus, it is very difficult to regulate and counter digital hate cultures. There are no clear-cut boundaries of what exactly should be countered, as many of the memes circulating on mainstream platforms appear harmless and often lie within the boundaries of the law and/or the platforms’ rules. Thus, we are often dealing not with obvious illegal content but rather “potentially radicalising” content, which can be difficult to identify — and even harder to take down. The popular idea of attempting to counter extremist humour with a form of alternative humour has proven very difficult in this context.
Far-right digital subcultures tend to be immune against democratic intervention as they are sceptical of any outsider intervention. Without speaking the harmful language of these insular communities, it is difficult to make counterarguments heard. Moreover, given that many of those within the far-right extremist spectrum claim that they are the victims of an “elitist” conspiracy that aims to “weaken” or “erase” Western culture and/or white people, democratic intervention from the very people who they see as “enemies” is met with resistance. Those who call out the far right are often vilified, trolled further, accused of being “over-sensitive”, and confronted with the claim that memes are designed just for laughs. On the other hand, shutting people down and deplatforming can also lead to reinforcing the narrative that free speech is limited to mainstream elites and potentially rally more support for the far right.
Meme Related Articles
Source and Archive Links
- It's not funny anymore.
Far-right extremists’ use of humour (PDF )- European Union Doesn't like memes.
- Archive on Archive.org (PDF ) - It's not funny anymore
- It's not funny anymore (PDF ) - Local Archive