Hysterical anti-Trumpers cranked the crazy level up to 11 with the commencement of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate hearings on Tuesday. All brands of certifiable nuts were represented, from a man dressed up as a giant condom to the familiar “Handsmaid’s Tale” protestors, to verified Twitter accounts spreading a rumor that Republican operative Zina Bash subtly displayed the white power symbol as she sat behind Kavanaugh during the long hearing.
A doctor and race-obsessed leftist activist named Eugene Gu appears to have initiated the viral falsehood, according to the Washington Post. The 44-second clip shows Bash with her arms crossed, resting two fingers on top of her left forearm in what Gu and thousands of other Twitter users insist is a “white power symbol.”
An attorney is compiling a thread of verified Twitter users who spread the lie, including Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King and film producer Tariq Nasheed. This all happened the same day Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified before Congress about allegations the platform treats liberal and conservative speech differently.
What’s all this, you ask? Doesn’t that look sort of like an “ok” sign? What in the world has that got to do with white power?
Get out of here with those reasonable questions. This is Twitter, where hysterics and politically convenient rumors are the currency du jour.
Of course we should believe people “fluent in 4chan,” who insist the “ok” sign is actually used by white nationalists and the alt-right as a legitimate white power symbol. Because nothing screams credibility like being intimately familiar with what is effectively the anonymous sweaty groin of the internet, where critical thinking suffocates and myths grow like fungus.
Attorney Casey Mattox was closer to the truth than perhaps he even realized when he tweeted Tuesday, “So is this Zina Bash thing the left’s pizzagate? Because it seems like the left’s pizzagate.”
The most likely explanation for Bash’s hand position is she had a bug bite or some other bothersome abnormality that she was subtly scratching at. Or maybe she was stretching her index finger, or going crazy sitting in the exact same position while on-camera. It doesn’t really matter, because the frenzy over the supposed “white power” symbol stems from a 2017 internet hoax generated on, you guessed it: 4chan.
As the Washington Post reported, “The idea that the hand sign is a secret symbol for white power owes its mainstream spread to a viral troll campaign aimed at making liberals and the media look gullible. In February 2017, 4chan’s /pol/ board discussed ongoing tactics to try to get the idea to go viral. ‘To any who haven’t seen the original thread, our goal is to convince people on twitter that the ‘ok’ hand sign has been co-opted by neo-nazis,’ the original poster of the thread wrote.’”
According to a debunker article from the Anti-Defamation League: “The originator and others also suggested useful hashtags to help spread the hoax, such as #PowerHandPrivilege and #NotOkay. ‘Leftists have dug so deep down into their lunacy,” wrote the poster, “We must force [them] to dig more, until the rest of society ain’t going anywhere near that s***.’”
The ADL included a screenshot of the original 4chan post. The author embedded a handy diagram showing how the “W” and “P” for “white power” can be transposed on the “ok” sign:
Trolls found purchase with this prank when they (or the leftists they’d duped) spread the lie that White House advisor Stephen Miller was signaling his neo-Nazi brethren with a version of the gesture. He was adjusting his tie.
Hundreds of thousands of leftists are in the late stages of KavaNO derangement syndrome, where the mind is so far gone they don’t recognize the “proof” of the Trump administration’s white nationalist agenda they’re gobbling up is total horse crap. To the rest of us, it looks like horse crap and it smells like horse crap, but all they taste in their desperation is a sweet, juicy, impeachment-worthy scandal.
This is schadenfreude-inducingly ironic, as some of the far-right is in the grips of another 4chan prank spearheaded by channers posting cryptic messages under the name “Q.” (It has since wedged itself deeper in the internet’s groin by moving to 8chan.) The nest of conspiracy theory believers quickly built out from Q’s posts include the belief that Robert Mueller is actually investigating Hillary Clinton, not Trump.
The anonymous writing collective Wu Ming Foundation, some members of which belonged to a previous Italian prankster collective under the pen name Luther Blissett (who also authored a novel called “Q” in the late 90s, the plot of which bears uncanny resemblance to the actions of the 4chan and 8chan Q), has pointed out this theory works against pro-Trumpers’ interests by curbing opposition to Mueller’s investigation.
Instead of focusing on real events and problems, hardcore MAGA fans are indulging in a “great awakening” fantasy in which patriots catch on to the evils of the deep state and Trump is secretly rounding up tens of thousands of pedophiles. Hundreds of thousands of right-wingers have been sidetracked by the Q live-action role-playing game, to the glee of leftists who get a rise and make their dollar by painting the American right as crazy anti-immigrant nationalists.
But internet trolls make victims of the uncritical left and right alike. Hordes of gullible left-wingers salivating for a white power narrative for this administration have been duped by 4chan trolls, just like gullible right-wingers. It’s not the first time, and it won’t be the last. As the recent anti-Kavanaugh zealotry demonstrates, crazy knows no political boundaries.
Will the unhinged left finally take the red pill and wake up in reality? Will they finally gain some self-awareness? Probably not. If there’s one thing we can count on in the political arena, especially in the internet age, it’s a steady supply of insanity.