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Kill All Normies: Online culture wars from 4chan and Tumblr to Trump and the alt-right Paperback – 30 Jun 2017

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Zero Books (30 Jun. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1785355430
  • ISBN-13: 978-1785355431
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 0.9 x 21.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product description


Amidst the chaos of our times, it is a relief to have a brilliant and fearless critic like Angela Nagle to turn to. Unwilling to stomach the liberal shibboleths that fail to adequately explain the emergence and significance of right-wing subculture, she's the only one willing to descend into the grimiest of Internet grottos and give us the benefit of her incisive and cool-headed analysis. --Amber A'Lee Frost, Chapo Trap House

Angela Nagle is one of the few writers anywhere who has consistently refused to hold a double standard for virulent racism and misogyny even when it came in edgy countercultural packaging. Kill All Normies is a brilliant exposé of the new faces of online nihilism and fascism, which can no longer be explained away as doing it for the 'lulz'. --David Golumbia, author of The Politics of Bitcoin: Software as Right-Wing Extremism

With a liberal left dangerously lost in the stormy waters of middle class self-flagellation, Angela Nagle is the lighthouse keeper showing us the way out. Her writing is unsparing in its diagnosis but never cruel. Unlike much of the Left who've grown far too accustomed to marginalization and defeat, Nagle still believes in politics as the only way of changing an increasingly brutal world. She is the writer and social critic I've been waiting for. --Connor Kilpatrick, Jacobin magazine

About the Author

Angela Nagle's work has appeared in the Baffler, Jacobin, Current Affairs, the Irish Times and many other journals. She's also the co-editor of Ireland Under Austerity from Manchester University Press.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Although I disagree with Nagle on some points (for example that Tumblr culture fed into the ideology of the alt right and created 'white consciousness'), I cannot deny the truth that she speaks about our failures, as well as appreciating the work she has done in cataloging and wading through the online rightosphere.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Just so there’s no mucking about, let me say up front that it is a rare and fleeting pleasure to read Angela Nagle. She is delightfully well read, distills the nonsense of the world calmly and directly, never loses her dispassionate center, and doesn’t descend into pop culture citations. She is effortlessly authoritative. Would there were more like her.

In Kill All Normies, things online have gone unaccountably negative. The internet was supposed to be a giant uplifting community party. Instead, it is a morass of trolls, alt-right, and out and out hatred, from racists to neonazis to feminazis. Even the arts have turned negative, and to criticize them as such just makes you outmoded – and subject to vicious threats. “The whole online sensibility is more in the spirit of foul-mouthed comment-thread trolls than it is of bible study, more Fight Club than family values, more in line with the Marquis de Sade than Edmund Burke. “

Her criticism of her own generation stings. They “come from an utterly intellectual shut-down world of Tumblr and trigger warnings, and the purging of dissent in which they have only learned to recite jargon.” They couldn’t even debate the hollow showman Milo Yiannopoulos; they could only prevent him speaking.

We are approaching anarchy. The right is at least as fractured and disorganized as the left. There is no longer any typical or classical right; every individual colors it their own way. So despite Republicans’ control of all the levels of government, they continue to fight amongst themselves and make no headway in their agenda. Because they can’t even agree on the agenda. Nagle takes an entire chapter to deconstruct the character Milo Yiannopoulos, who embodies all the contradictions in one neat package.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Excellent study of the alarming rise of the 'alt-right' movement treating the subject with the scholarly care and attention that it (unfortunately) deserves in respect to its influence on the current political climate. Very readable and sobering, especially in respect to the complete failure of the left to respond to the challenges raised in any meaningful way.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 53 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kill All Normies - timely and illuminating, but needs a better editor 20 Jun. 2017
By Mathieu Debic - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Angela Nagel's introduction and overview of the cesspool of online right wing movements is enlightening, illuminating, and disturbing. Nagle contextualizes the rise of these movements in a way that renders them understandable to readers only passingly familiar with the online culture wars of the last decade or so (like me). Nagle's is a trenchant analysis that eschews much of the cultural left's focus on identity and call-out culture. I found her analysis of the political fungibility of transgression (i.e. that transgression per se has no essential political character) particularly useful and timely. Nagle, in this book as well as on her podcast appearances, comes off as level-headed, mature, and dedicated to actually moving forward. Her text is organized and presented in a way that makes it accessible to a non-specialist audience. Hopefully it will be a boon to Zer0's imprint.

All that being said, as other reviewers have pointed out, this book is in SERIOUS need of a better editor. I never felt that my comprehension of the material was impeded by mechanical errors, but that may be because I'm used to reading essays by high school freshmen. A once-over with a copy editor would have earned this book five stars for sure.

Another improvement that I would suggest would be to include footnotes and other annotations, or an index. As another reviewer stated, this book does read somewhat like a first draft - I'm not sure if Zer0 felt they had to push this book out quickly because of the (deserved) hype surrounding it, but better editing and a more thorough documentation of Nagle's sources and further reading would have made this book substantially stronger.

Overall, I'd say this slim volume is worth it. It isn't perfect, but it is timely and refreshing.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-Opening, Illuminating, Chilling, Disturbing 25 Jun. 2017
By The Peripatetic Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Eye-Opening, Illuminating, Chilling, Disturbing

This excellent book is written for all those out there who are baffled why or how Donald Trump got elected as President. Specifically, it is written to the Non-Millennials, to the Baby Boomers, and everyone else to whom the internet, internet issues and electronic social media, is anything other than another body appendage. This book provides an answer and shines a light on the dramatic social changes which are going on now in this country.

This is a fascinating book containing elements of political theory, social and cultural commentary, and historical analysis. This is a compelling read, but disturbing.

Most of us dinosaurs are familiar with the normal public discourse of political commentators on television, in the print media. Well, according to this chilling and disturbing — yet excellent — book, the rise of the Alt-Right and the ascendency of Donald Trump owes a great debt to a nebulous online netherworld akin which can only be described with reference to that well-known introduction to the Tales from the Darkside, a television show, ... Namely, “We all live in the sunlit world of what we believe to be reality. But there is, unseen by most, an underworld, a place that is just as real, but not as brightly lit. ... The Darkside.” This “darkside” is the world investigated by Kill All Normies. And, brother, if you thought the Alt-Right (read, Neo-Nazi) was a weird bunch, fasten your seat-belts because the characters and doctrines described in this book is a rocky ride!

The political base for Trump and the Alt-Right is a nebulous, amorphous bunch of computer Geeks and shameless, opportunistic frauds. According to the author Nagel the Alt-Right had a major boost in Gamergate, an online controversy among gamers which rapidly escalated into a rabid political dialogue, which was peppered with misogyny, racism, sexism, homophobia, nativism, and a general antagonism to liberal or progressive causes or personalities. Nagel shares some of that dialogue in her book, and it is some real vile, demented, stuff. This political base gained into real prominence by co-opting the practices, methods, and attitudes of the political left from the 60s and putting their agenda into an alt-right context. Not to say those tactics were flawless. The notable example is Milo Yiannopoulos. Adopting an in-your-face, confrontational, what Nagle terms, “transgressive,” attitude, Yiannopoulos famously advocated that pederasty is a good thing, and presently sits as a well-deserved persona-non-grata.

The political left also engages in this cyberwar clash of cultures. Nagel describes the online activities of leftist websites like Tumblr and others. While these websites match the passion of alt-right sites, they are fractured, disjointed, disunified, you know, typical lefty stuff, and cannot hold a candle to the primal ferocity of alt-right cybergeeks.

The only real draw-back of Kill All Normies is that the author assumes the reader is familiar with the names, websites, message boards, and movements tossed about in the book. For example, Gamergate, for a Baby-Boomer like myself, is an event not adequately covered by the print media, but even if it was covered adequately would be like reading about the planet Mars.

While this is a real drawback, it emphasizes the subtext of Nagle’s book. Much of what is described in this book hovered below the political radar, neither known nor fully appreciated by a majority of the general public. Most of the general electorate are not aimless, layabout gamers with way too much time on their hands, spewing hate speech into their computers. These are precisely the people, however, who allowed Trump to be elected, and provided the raw fuel powering the alt-right movement. Nagle’s book, therefore, gives great pause about the political direction of this country.

This book is essential reading, should be read and must be read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Nagle is a very good writer who clearly explains her arguments and doesn't take ... 26 Jun. 2017
By RabidBadger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Nagle is a very good writer who clearly explains her arguments and doesn't take her reader's knowledge of the topic for granted. This is very informative and comprehensive. I look forward to reading more of her stuff.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars this book really suffers from poor editing> numerous spelling mistakes 17 Jun. 2017
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting overview of the topic, plus analysis of the postmodern left. It will be of interest to those with some knowledge of the topic at hand. However, this book really suffers from poor editing> numerous spelling mistakes, omitted words, and strange sentence construction makes this a very unpleasant read at times. It is also quite short, providing only a brief name check of a number of important concepts, players, and organizations.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dark Places We Pretend We Don't Go 18 Jun. 2017
By TheDuder - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Honestly a great starting point for trying to really understand the parts of the internet a lot of us have spent the past several years trying to pretend doesn't exist. This book is brief and like several reviews have said, probably could have stood one more editing pass, but I personally didn't mind because I can tell it's going to send me towards more research. It has felt nigh impossible over the past few years to keep up with break neck speed of the internet as it has morphed into more and more of a demon day by day, and Nagle is the first person I've found who really starts to put the whole web together in a coherent way, to demonstrate how seemingly disparate parts of the internet pollinate and overlap. By the end, the book put me in a perplexingly existential place, making me reconsider how I engage with the internet as a whole on a political level but also on a basic moral one. If you ascribe to the Mark Fisher "Vampire's Castle" view of the politics of the internet, you already have the sense that the culture of the web as a whole has become toxic, not just in the chauvinistic, openly sexist corners of the web. I know Nagle herself is pretty disdainful towards South Park but I thought the 20th season was the first work of fiction that truly tried to capture the strangeness of the internet, and the terrible people we can become when we feel properly shrouded in anonymity. This book is the first work of nonfiction that does the same to me, even better than Jon Ronson's "So You've Been Publicly Shamed", which I also enjoyed. A book I'd highly recommend, especially to any Grey Wolves currently reading this.
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