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Kill All Normies

Online Culture Wars from 4Chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-Right
Written by: Angela Nagle
Narrated by: Mary Sarah
Length: 4 hrs and 5 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 28.21
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Publisher's Summary

Recent years have seen a revival of the heated culture wars of the 1990s, but this time its battleground is the Internet. On one side the alt-right ranges from the once obscure neo-reactionary and white separatist movements, to geeky subcultures like 4chan, to more mainstream manifestations such as the Trump-supporting gay libertarian Milo Yiannopolous.

On the other side, a culture of struggle sessions and virtue signaling lurks behind a therapeutic language of trigger warnings and safe spaces. The feminist side of the online culture wars has its equally geeky subcultures right through to its mainstream expression.

Kill All Normies explores some of the cultural genealogies and past parallels of these styles and subcultures, drawing from transgressive styles of 60s libertinism and conservative movements, to make the case for a rejection of the perpetual cultural turn.

©2017 Angela Nagle (P)2017 Tantor

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Daniel Foster
  • 2018-04-23

Some false equivalences, but otherwise great analysis

It comes off as trying to say the sensitive tumblr crowd is somehow the left’s alt-right, but it’s hard to compare people who just get butthurt easy to those who lionize a mass shooter and are openly Nazi in a lot of cases. Also it seems like the author doesn’t think TERFs are a thing, but it only takes about 10 minutes on twitter to see that they are and they’re active. Lastly, anarchists aren’t progressives. They’re in their own category. Berkeley riots had nothing to do with progressivism. Progressives are too scared to actually meet anyone in the streets lol

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Mercury Starlight
  • 2018-05-15

Nuanced and Even-handed, But Still Lacking

A well written and surprisingly deep summary of the culture wars' evolution over the last 20 years. Still, I can't help but feel like the author misses the point at times.

The look into the Right's even harder right-turn was interesting and, from an outsider's perspective, very accurate. But the inaccuracies and distorted presentations of some (certainly not all) of the Left's counter culture participants makes me question how well she represents the Right as well.

Like others, I was startled to hear the author seemingly gloss over the existence of TERFs, which have been active in feminism since the Second Wave and are not by any means a myth or minor issue. Germaine Greer, mentioned by name and a pioneer of the Second Wave, is a notorious anti-trans bigot whose hateful language is readily accessible to anyone with a computer, and the author's dismissal of her criticizers as somehow reactionary or frivolous is baffling, not to mention the implication that the liberal community criticizes her for views she held 20 or 30 years ago - Greer's most recent (honestly, really vile) comments against the idea of trans women being women were made in 2018! Yet the book suggests that to label her a Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist is to hurl invective or insults without merit. To be entirely honest, it makes me wonder what the author's own views on transgenderism are, and whether they color her perspective on the validity of the Left's position.

The book raises several issues vital to the survival of the Left as a political ideology, which I do not dispute. Fascism is indeed in the rise among both the Left and Right, and it's important to the future of humanity as a whole to fight fascism wherever it spreads. However, the book also draws a common false equivalency, suggesting that neo-nazis and anti-fascists (people who are invested in preventing neo-nazism from spreading) are somehow two sides of the same coin. Also, to my point above, I would argue TERFs and other exclusionary/separatist leftists are the main problem we on the Left should be fighting, not college students refusing to listen to Milo Yannopolis. Censorship is an important issue, but so is contributing to a culture where Trans women are murdered with such regularity that there is an annual day set aside to remember them.

All in all, I think this was a valuable read, but one to be considered with a very critical eye.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Pissantra
  • 2018-01-17

Glad I'm not under 35

When it was over, I realized I was getting the urge to run a warm bath and slit my wrists -- then I remembered I was an old woman and, for the first time, was thankful for that.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Sally
  • 2017-11-19

Best book I’ve read this year!!!

A fantastic but harrowing overview of the shitty ways the online cultures that are basically the reason I don’t go on social media any more have shaped the divide we have today.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Javier
  • 2019-01-27

Heavily bias lefties narrative

Heavily bias lefties narrative, I was expecting in depth investigation in the subcultures of 4cha, Reddit, etc...
just a leftie complaining about the Right!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Josh
  • 2017-12-31

distribution, eye-opening

This book illuminates the giant bottomless pit of online horror on the Left and Right

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2017-12-04

I as a leftist admire this criticism of leftism

A great and rigorous analysis of current trends, an intellectually honest critique of the identetarian segments of the modern left. Truly worth your time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Catbike
  • 2019-03-03

Best account I've read

Properly explaining the insanity that is the online culture war is no easy task. Nagle does as good a job as I have ever seen, pulling together direct accounts of online drama with the necessary political and academic context to properly understand them. Impressively objective and at times bracingly direct (the accounts of online harassment make for difficult reading), this is a tremendous primer on a world I imagine most sensible people would rather learn about at a distance.

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  • Alan Smithee
  • 2018-11-22

tight tight tight

this kicks harder than a mule with something something its interesting will tell you why things

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  • Cory Johnston
  • Regina, Sk
  • 2018-11-03

not good and often wrong

Cleary written by someone adhering to to doctrine of centrism or stuck in the smug self satisfaction of pointing out to flaws on both sides. Ignoring the entire history of the far right and proclaiming Tumblr as the 4chan of the left. This book is riddled with unjustified opinions and factual errors. Of course it's all expressed as though it's plain and obvious. When compared to other books trying to explain the rise of the alt right and the current culture wars this book is on the low end of rigor and quality. I'm annoyed that I used one of my audible credits on this trite, self congratulatory waste of time.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful