Once Usenet hummed with a million discussions. Scientists and mathematicians contemplated the mysteries of the Universe; leather daddies and transsexuals hobnobbed with swinging Colorado couples; intellectuals pontificated on matters great and small while trolls fucked the skull of Jesus. Today little remains save a few relics preserved in our daily language. “FAQ”; “sock puppet;” “spam”; “RTFM”; “LOL”; “troll” — all originated in a hierarchically-structured anarchy you reached by whistling down a copper cable.
Usenet was my domain, and alt.satanism my home therein.
Amidst the giant groups, alt.satanism stood modest: it was a humble place whose discourse was often lacking in style, wit and taste but it was ours. As per the group’s name, alt.satanism was dedicated to Satanism. How one should define “Satanism” was one of our hottest topics — and I do mean “hottest.” Usenet also gave us “flame war” — and in alt.satanism flames burned especially bright. The newsgroup’s average IQ hovered at the Bell Curve’s dumb as dirt end. Diabolical dim bulbs proffered video game theologies. High Poobahs of “Worldwide Orders” pedaled their Geocities pages and Yahoo mailing lists. Fundamentalist preachers warned us of God’s wrath in messages heartfelt and ill-spelt. A rotating cast of high[er]-IQ types amused themselves by mocking the dumbshits — and each other. (Who belonged to each group and how one could distinguish between them was yet another frequently heated topic, but that is a story for another time).
On alt.satanism there were few hard and fast rules, but there were a few things you could count on. A factual refutation soon sank to the depths of DejaNews: a cutting insult would never be lived down. It was also a place which simultaneously had a very long and a very short memory. If you repented of your stupidity you would generally be forgiven (at least until the next flame war): if you persisted in it your idiocies would be weighed, catalogued and reposted with liberal interest. And if you were incapable of laughing at yourself, you would find plenty of people ready to do the job for you. The best of alt.satanism’s flame-lords could put together a coherent argument, refute a hypothesis with supporting evidence and make you spit coffee on your CRT monitor.
A long, long time ago in a newsgroup far, far away I was one of the best.
Twenty years seemed an eternity then. When you’re holding a child born on a 2011 night in the space between autumn and winter, when you realize your remaining years barely cover her beginning ones, it’s hardly an eye-blink. “Carpe diem” carries little comfort when you feel your bones on a damp night and think of the spark you threw into the darkness toward a conclusion you will never see. Things that never concerned you suddenly matter very much indeed: things you once thought important are barely remembered. You find yourself watching out for your child, your family, the future. And when you are watching out you can’t help but notice things.
If nothing else, the Kavanaugh circus has finally confirmed the death of our democratic process. Sober discourse has been replaced by performance art and soundbites. We’ve been treated to women in Handmaid’s costumes and paint-smeared crotches: words like “rapist” and “abuser” have been bandied about based on fuzzy and strategically-released allegations. In mainstream politics, like mainstream media, traditional standards and rules have been set aside in a quest for more and bigger clickbait. The end result is a growing number of people who reject both and a rough beast slouching ever more quickly toward Bethlehem.
But there are others seeking to colonize Americas’s subconscious. They have neither guns nor bombs. They control no mainstream media outlets to amplify their signal. They are mocked as NEETs, incels, autists, gamer geeks: they have been told there is no place for them in the brave new world to come. They carry nothing save their anger, their desperation, and their dank memes. And yet their great god Kek has raised them up and made them a light unto our nation. You underestimate them at your peril: if you don’t believe me ask Shia LaBoeuf and if he’s not available give Hillary Clinton a call.
These are my people. I may not know guns but I have abuse, vulgarity and hilarious humiliation down to a science: I was trolling when most of these youngsters were still swimming in their fathers’ balls. I know propaganda. I know how to craft messages to appeal to audiences. I know how to make my enemies look so ridiculous even Voltaire might pity them. I have an Internet connection and a Photoshop license and I’m not afraid to use either to bring down those who would destroy my Folk. And while that might not seem like much, it has certainly enturbulated Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg. Silicon Valley fears the Frog — as do Washington and Tel Aviv.
They should be afraid. We are an amorphous group congealing around our righteous rage. Fighting us is like stomping on a flaming bag of shit: all you do is spread our message further. No-platform us from your social networks and we will find each other elsewhere. Our memes will still make their way to Twitter and Facebook, and every edgelord you cast into our outer darkness becomes a more committed soldier for our cause. When the center no longer holds, you inevitably drive your opponents to the fringe.
There are no ex-soldiers, only retired ones: you can leave the battle but the battle never leaves you. And sometimes the wars you walk away from come strolling back. You fight with the weapons you are given on the battlefield you must defend. Quarter is neither given nor expected: the only rule of engagement is “win or be crushed” and the truthful is less important than the persuasive. That is how it has always been in war. That is how it always shall be.
But enough of an old man’s ramblings. Better you should listen to the mad wind blowing through the air, the wind that smells of blood and whispers of the fighting to come, the wind that cares not whether you heed its message.
Or, as my former alt.satanism colleague Herr Reichsmarshall Adolf Grossenstrudel, the original net.nazi, would say: “On mit der shoah.”