This week the Irish Times, in their questionable wisdom, published an ‘alt-right’ glossary or field guide, ostensibly - they said - to alert their readers to the menacing terms employed by contemporary fascists.
You have to wonder at the utility of this enterprise, since the editors at The Times apparently did not.
'We've surfaced this issue...' the editor of the Times Opinion Section John McManus sheepishly told Hugh Linehan on The Irish Times Inside Story yesterday.
So it was a public service, see. A little field guide to contemporary 'alt-right' fascism. Who could have a problem with this? Stop whining, snowflakes.
Neo Nazi sites were hugging themselves with utter delight and doing Twitter cartwheels at the news that The Irish Times, the national paper of record, had given an uncritical forum to One Of Their Own.
But Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty Ireland, took a different view:
What's not surprising is people who#39;ve never experienced bigotry suggesting those who have are overreacting to IT 'Alt-right' fluff piece.— Colm O'Gorman (@Colmogorman) January 5, 2017
Here’s what I have learned about the far right. How you feel about the threat of the so called ‘alt-right’ usually depends on how close you are to the business end of their fascist ideology.
If you’re a minority of any kind - gay, racial or religious - you’re not often afforded the same nail pairing indifference enjoyed by others. Fascists know - and know how to take advantage - of this hierarchy of immediate threat to promote their toxic agenda.
Articles like the one The Irish Times printed this week embolden the ‘alt right’ just as they serve to dehumanize and menace the minorities who will be fascisms first order of business if this darkening chapter of history proceeds without censure to its inevitable ends.
It seems as if The Times didn’t even do the minimum vetting. The purveyor of this controversial fascist listicle (an American immigrant living in Ireland) has previously Tweeted that the Irish have low IQ's and that Ireland is the Bangladesh of Europe.
That should have been their first clue.
When questioned about the international uproar his article has resulted in the purveyor said: 'I don't give a sh-t if people call me a racist. Racist is a word liberals use to shut down 'discussion.”
That was the second clue.
It's unclear to me what sort of 'discussion' the writer or The Times thought they were facilitating? Since the piece is clearly just trolling for internet lulz (fun, laughter, or amusement, derived at another's expense).
But creating a new forum for 4chan man babies in the Irish paper of record seems an extraordinary move. Did editorial think it was 'edgy' or 'on trend'?
Soon a new hashtag #nextITpiece was trending in Ireland, positing potential follow up articles with headlines like:
#nextITpiece "As Persil prices soar, Is it time to reevaluate the Magdalene Laundries?"— (((Colin))) (@CoHesl) January 6, 2017
#NextITpiece— Ciarán O'Brien (@Sarklor) January 6, 2017
"Kristallnacht actually provided a much-needed boost to the window industry, don't condemn it out of hand"
Perhaps a more useful approach for The Times going forward would be ask the immigrants, POC, LGBTs that work there if they felt included - or targeted - by these kinds of ’discussion'?
Because the thing - and the only thing - to do with fascists is to fight them wherever they appear, from the city streets to the Oval Office, from the graffitied urban walls to the venerable pages of our national broadsheets.