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Milkshaken all over

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Photo by Julia Nastogadka on Unsplash

Others have covered it, but there can’t be too many articles about an essential weapon in the fight against fascism: sarcasm humiliation. OK, sarcasm too, if it humiliates.

Nothing animates the far right or shapes its worldview quite so much as the desire to humiliate others—and the fear of being humiliated themselves. It’s why alt-right trolls, projecting their own sexual insecurities, enjoy calling their opponents “cucks.” It’s why they rally around blustery authoritarian figures like Donald Trump who cast themselves as beyond embarrassment, shame, or ridicule. They brandish humiliation like a weapon while craving release from it.

Getting doused in a milkshake robs far-right figures of the air of chauvinistic invulnerability that they spend so much time cultivating.

The white supremacist doused in dairy product and the civility fetishists who enable them will whine and bluster about mean, nasty, milkshake-wielding lefties. And sarcasm.

That’s perfect. Whining does even more damage to the fragile veneer of Strong White Manhood. Because they’re either the thin white streak that is going to drive out the ethno-hordes and defend Western civilization like the crusaders who are as fact-based as the Victorians’ chivalrous knights, or they’re the sort of people who whine and bluster when they’re splattered with ice cream.

They can not be both.

The author also notes that supremacists want to be “described as dapper” and invited on talk shows and taken seriously. True.

Imagine then how hatemonger Neil Farage feels about Le Monde using a picture of him sporting fancy white splats for an article about accusations that UKIP improperly collected donations through PayPal. I don’t have the equipment necessary to read what Farage uses for a mind, but I’m going to guess he’s not too pleased.

That’s why so many on Britain’s far-right fringes are using the phrase “political violence” to describe milkshaking. It’s true that it qualifies in the most technical sense of the term—it’s political and it’s violent. But the descriptor is a gross exaggeration, especially in the country where a far-right gunman assassinated Jo Cox, a Labour member of Parliament, shortly before the Brexit referendum three years ago. (When the results came in, Farage quipped that the Leave movement had won “without a single bullet being fired.”) Its usage almost seems designed to dilute the term’s significance and meaning.

Behind the terminology also lies an implicit threat: Political violence will be met with political violence. “I’m strongly warning against normalizing political violence,” Kurt Schlichter, a Townhall columnist, wrote on Twitter. “I find it especially unwise considering the side being attacked has the vast majority of people who are good at violence.” Former Breitbart editor Raheem Kassam warned that the far right had “kept its collective cool” over the past few years, but with enough milkshakes, “they’ll start doing things back.” Katie Hopkins, a far-right British polemicist, placed milkshaking in the same category as acid attacks and stabbings.

African-Americans will recognize this as a variant on the Race War Threat: Violent whites frequently respond to African-American protests against white violence by warning us that we’re are going to force violent whites to start the race war.

In the UK or the U.S. the problem with the threat of retaliation is that violent whites have never been all that coy about their desire to harm people who aren’t white, or sufficiently white.

Now they’re openly declaring that they must get rid of the brown savage hordes to defend Whiteistan and hate crimes continue to rise. The idea that they would be peaceful but for the need to sort out suspected milkshake hurlers is convincing to exactly no one.

It’s also more proof that what they really fear is that they’ll be the next one to catch a milkshake with their face.

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