Dina Hashem told a hilarious joke in a comedy set and Comedy Central shared the video on social media. This would normally be a huge deal for a young comedian, but in this case it all went horribly wrong. After complaints from the joyless Twitter mob, the network took it down. Not only was her video scrubbed, but Hashem has been getting death threats for having made the joke in the first place.
The joke was about XXXtentacion, a rapper who has been dead for over a year. Celeb death is fair game for humour. In fact, everything is open for being laughed at. If a joke isn’t funny, people won’t laugh at it. That’s the only way to tell if it’s a bad joke.
“A major publication is happy to publish any old nonsense so long as it’s sufficiently woke. Social justice ideology has infected our mainstream media,” Andrew Doyle explains in a new video lecture recorded at the National Liberal Club in London on 13th October 2019.
The 25-minute video is a brilliant explainer on how satire and hoaxing work in 2019. With major platforms and publications getting woker by the minute, it’s imperative that people who haven’t succumbed to the woke moral panic to call out the many hypocrisies and incoherencies of social justice. For the few who don’t know, Andrew Doyle is the genius behind the internet’s greatest troll, Titania McGrath.
In 2019, feelings outweigh facts at every turn. And when op-eds read like fabricated drivel, it’s no wonder that the public has a hard time discerning truth from fiction. It takes comedians and satirists to point out just how insane this whole thing is. Doyle points out that “the woke are the establishment” and he couldn’t be more right. Those who are in the powerful cultural positions, in academia, media, arts, entertainment, and most importantly, advertising, are the ones with the batons and horses to push these ideas onto the public.
This is the kind of influence that matters, not politicians and legislators, but those who control the media. And they are being fooled by their own unwillingness to address their woke bias. It is this bias that veers us into the realm of complete absurdity, where people hate themselves for their skin colour, language is colonialism, words are violence, and disagreement is fascism.
“The mainstreaming of social justice is also evident in the fact that even respected, national newspapers don’t seem to understand the basic definitions of phrases like fascist, alt-right, and even far-right,” Doyle remarks. “They no longer know what these words mean, and they are just bandying them about promiscuously, which is really damaging. Now if you claim the right to define the word Nazi as just anyone who disagrees with you politically, then, of course, you can also claim that there is an epidemic of Nazism. But in doing so you are also inadvertently, acting in the interests of the worst kinds of people.”
Doyle notes that the reframing of the conversation to mark those who disagree with the mainstream social justice movement as alt-right Nazi fascists, cedes the argument in favour of free speech to those very people you are trying to silence.
The last five minutes of the speech is where Doyle truly shines. He points to three specific pieces published by major platforms. “In August of last year, The New York Times ran an anonymous letter. It was called ‘How Can I Cure My White Guilt?’ It was just signed ‘Whitey,’ and it was a person who described themselves as being riddled with shame for being white. Now the whole thing was obviously ridiculous, and obviously a hoax. So, Titania claimed that she had written it. And she provided screenshots, of the letter, on her hard drive, with the date, just to prove that she was the author.”
Doyle claims that the authorship doesn’t really matter. Maybe he wrote it, invoking the spirit of Titania, maybe he didn’t. The point is that “a major publication is happy to publish any old nonsense so long as it is sufficiently woke. The social justice ideology has infected our mainstream media. And irreparably degraded its standards.”
Finally, Doyle mentions the crown jewel of hoax columns—a breathless op-ed published by The Independent. “In February of this year, Liam Evans wrote a piece for The Independent, and he cited a number of extremely talented comedians, people like Dave Chappelle, Ricky Gervais, Finn Taylor, and he said that their jokes about sensitive topics amounted to hate speech. He said that these kind of jokes ‘should be subject to investigation. It simply isn’t good enough for comedians to cry free speech after every hateful joke, as if the laws that govern the rest of us don’t apply to them.’”
Who is Liam Evans? Well, he’s clearly an authoritarian, censorious monster. But he’s also clearly not real. Doyle asks why The Independent would run such clearly fabricated nonsense and points to the fact that a number of prominent comedians complained to the publication. Doyle asks, “What is happening to our media? Why is a respected national newspaper publishing drivel by a writer that no one has ever heard of just because it’s pushing a woke agenda? What does that tell us? And the other question they should have been asking is why is the left publishing these kinds of censorial articles that used to grace the pages of the right-wing tabloids? And if it takes a hoaxer to provoke a little self-reflection, then surely that’s a good thing.”
“Again, I do not want to speculate as to the authorship of that article,” Doyle says. “But I will point out one thing which I do find just a little bit curious… You might be interested to note that if you take every fourth letter of every sentence, it actually spells out the phrase, ‘Titania McGrath wrote this, you gullible hacks.’”
When asked if he was indeed behind the hoax article, Andrew Doyle remained playfully cagey, telling The Post Millennial: “So many of the opinion columns in the woke press read like satire already, so in a sense I shouldn’t be surprised that such an obvious hoax would be published.”
The truth is if it weren’t for geniuses like Doyle, Gervais, Chappelle, CK, and the handful of other comedians brave enough to stand up to the woke mob, the culture wars might be a lost cause. As Doyle has pointed out numerous times, hoaxing and satirizing the woke establishment is actually punching up. Every major platform and publication is woke in 2019. Those who issue social justice diktats have all of the power and influence. Doyle’s work is vital.
News hoaxes are as old as news itself, but what news outlets can get pranked about is very revealing. In this case, media wanted to believe that a young woman hated her whiteness, that Sam Harris is a gateway drug to the alt-right, free speech doesn’t matter, and off-colour jokes must be investigated by the authorities. The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Independent wanted to believe these things. In fact, they were desperate to believe these things. That’s why they published these hoax stories. And that’s why we need to keep making fun of them.
Prominent YouTuber Dave Rubin has introduced a new platform called Locals.com which intends to give “power” back to the creators, rather than to organizations like YouTube and Patreon who have often been criticized for being censorious and manipulative.
Speaking to The Post Millennial, Rubin described Locals.com as a “subscription-based community network for creators … I fully believe that the future of the internet is bottom-up instead of top-down.”
Rubin went on to say that content creators are “frustrated by these giant tech platforms and the way they manipulate the algorithm, the way they shadowban, the way they de-platform, and what I realized was that for me as an independent content creator, I needed to make sure that all my digital assets, my videos, my audios, the way I can communicate with fans, is protected”
Rubin wanted to build Locals.com so that content creators had the power to “put up ad-free videos, ad-free audio podcasts, so you can communicate directly with your fans. Ultimately, we will build web-communities, and also apps for independent creators.”
There will also be a social element to Locals.com. Creators, for instance, will now be able to communicate with other like-minded creators on the backend of the site—creating their own networks. “The future is about creators, not these big tech platforms,” Rubin stated.
Locals.com will allow creators to set their own rules within their community—meaning that there won’t be a universal term of service. “You will set your rules about what type of people you want, and what speech is allowed. We will empower creators to actually own their content.”
Rubin also has a solution to the bots and trolls that content creators often have to deal with on the larger tech platforms, as these people won’t pay to access the content.
On top of this, creators won’t be beholden to tech companies or the government. “The government is not the solution, usually the government is the problem,” said Rubin.
“The idea behind a big platform is that somehow everybody should be on there, and everybody should be able to say what we want, except we know that these big tech platforms treat different content and different people differently. Why not hand that power down to the creator: so if you want to build a community where it is a free-for-all then so be it; but if you want to have a community which is much more guarded and moderated, then you can have that.”
“These are gated communities that interact with other gated communities, to start creating real, mature conversation which is what’s been lost of Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.”
Rubin also emphasized the ability for creators to communicate with their audience: Big tech platforms have “created a situation where there are creators with millions of followers and you can’t even directly communicate with your people because the algorithm stops you from doing that. So, for example, I have over a million youtube subscribers, but my videos get out to very few of them. So we’re gonna ensure that there is no algorithm manipulation.”
Rubin has made clear that Locals.com will not sell data. As well as this, if a creator leaves the platform, they will be allowed to take the audience data they collected with them so that creators are in no way dependant on Locals.com. In other words, Rubin is “trying to think of the internet in a whole new way.”
Next week, Locals.com will begin to announce a batch of prominent creators who will be posting their content on the site.
Consent culture is touted as the antidote for rape culture. Only it’s not really the opposite or a salve, but a perpetuation of the infantilization of women. Articles abound on how rape culture is perpetuated, by parents to children, in entertainment, and by women’s fear of men. Consent culture posits that the asking of women for their permission prior to the commencement of sexual or romantic contact could remedy this. The preponderance of rhetoric around consent does not liberate women, or even give them the autonomy it seeks to, but turns romance into bureaucracy.
Consent culture seeks to redefine how we think about relationships, sex, and our own impulses. There’ve been hot takes about how it’s wrong to make little kids hug their grandparents and missives about how a yes can be retracted in medias res. On some college campuses, there’ve been directives on asking for consent during every step of a sexual encounter, while still having the conceit that if the sex is later regretted, it can be reclassed as rape, despite consent. Now we’re treated to a new kind of ask for consent, consent for sexting.
“Ask consent for all sexual encounters, yes, even sexting. I just came up with this script that you’re all welcome to borrow!”
The message is that this is how intimacy should be initiated, cordially, without nuance. Rather, a straight appeal to the logical mind is what’s required. If this is the kind of message you feel you must send to find out if a person wants to sext with you, perhaps that’s not the right person to sext with. Are we so closed with our feelings that we can’t express them except in the form of yes or no answers to direct questions? This seems like the type of question one should only ask if they’re sure of an affirmative response.
The reaction to the consent for sext script was swift and fierce. But as we try more and more to control what we say, how we say it, and the thoughts from which our expression derives, this is the direction in which we’re headed. Mediated communication, even in our most intimate moments, a script for how to talk to those we feel passionately about simply to ensure that no one is offended, are the ways we are being directed to initiate and stay in romantic relationships.
Does asking for consent in this way work? Does it achieve the goal of getting someone to read your illicit thoughts? The response to this request to sext could go one of two ways: yes, or no. If yes, the initiating sexter may imagine that this is a green light to off-screen romance, but what if the mere act of asking has an impact on the answer? Perhaps the respondent, in saying okay, is actually feeling coerced by the existence of the question into accepting the terms of this new form of contact. This script is intended for both the asker and the asked, after all.
If that’s the case, then gaining consent isn’t even a good enough measure of her willingness to sext with you. As this poster points out:
In this context, consent culture is an extension of rape culture. It’s not something that can stop women from getting into uncomfortable situations, but the first bit of pressure that leads them down the road to coercion, where every yes is more easily followed up by an additional yes. How do you tell a guy whose sexts you’ve accepted that you don’t want sex, is the question this post asks.
Both the initial script of how to ask someone to sext with you and the note about how the expression of consent is not evidence of consent assume that a woman does not know her own mind. Either she needs to be asked directly if she is interested, presumably because she has not given any indication of being intrigued by her potential suitor, or even when she affirms her intention, she is not telling the truth.
There’s this idea that we know what healthy relationships look like, and that we can engineer them, from the outset, to follow a prescribed course to attain that result. This new relationship model is in direct reaction to the old patriarchal one, where men led the family and women submitted to their husbands. That model still works for many families– are those couples doing their relationship wrong, even if those within the family are thriving?
Romance isn’t really an appeal to logic and reason. What works for one couple may not work for another. Individuals don’t come to relationships from a position of knowing what they want, how to get it, or even fully how they want to be treated. We’re all basically damaged, and the implementation of checklists into relationships makes things worse, not better. There is no script for how to communicate, despite the tweets or BuzzFeed quizzes. There is only, as always, open communication, respect, kindness, love, and honesty. Nothing else is even remotely relevant. Speak with an open and loving heart. Don’t let romance be carried off by paperwork and rules of wokeness.
A popular parody account has been suspended from Twitter following outrage by one of the largest media outlets in the world. The man behind Shaniqua O’Tool, an account that had over 15,000 followers at the time of suspension, says The Guardian forced Twitter to censor comedy.
He spoke to The Post Millennial to reveal details on the campaign waged by The Guardian against his satirical tweets. While his identity is known to The Post Millennial, it is being withheld for reasons of privacy.
Starting as a Godfrey Elfwick-styled account, the account owner says the Shaniqua O’Tool character was meant to “poke fun at both the far-left and the far-right.” He says the name was inspired by the 2003 single “Shaniqua don’t live here no more” by Little T and One Track Mike.
The account’s owner points out the existence of a Twitter account dedicated to compiling the Guardian’s most meme-able headlines, including one where Guardian columnist Abi Wilkinson suggests the “tears of joy emoji” mocks human suffering.
“Some of [The Guardian’s] headlines bordered on insanity, so I felt it was worthy of satire.” He says. In 2017, he began posting edited Guardian headlines with Shaniqua’s face photoshopped in as the columnist.
Some of Shaniqua’s antics were so indiscernible from authentic Guardian headlines that they attracted the attention of outraged media outlets. Gateway Pundit wrote an article decrying Shaniqua as an “ISIS sympathizer” for her headline on police needing to learn the importance of spotting a “fake suicide vest” before shooting. The Gateway Pundit article, which claimed to have read the non-existent Shaniqua column, was quickly deleted.
“I mocked [Gateway Pundit] for it,” the account owner says, “and when my headlines caught conservative commentator Katie Hopkins off guard, I mocked her for it too.” He says, asserting that his satire was bipartisan. However, he notes that there was a difference in how people of different political orientations handled being the target of his comedy.
“It is a consistent and recurring pattern over the last few years that if you poke fun at conservative or right-leaning people, they tend to just go with the joke or ignore you. If you poke fun at left-wing people, my experience is very different. They report you, verbally attack you, mobilize their followers to report and block, and ensure your name is added as a ‘Nazi’ to block lists.”
On November 29th, 2019, the account received a copyright strike notice from Twitter. The claim was apparently filed by Guardian editor Tom Stevens, who wrote that Shaniqua’s infringement was “pretending to be a Guardian writer. The tweets are fake and offensive.”
The claims were made through Twitter’s copyright system, which is intended to protect the rightful owners of intellectual property. Prior to completing a claim within this system, a complainant must acknowledge that they considered “Fair Use” laws, and accept responsibility for damages in the event they misrepresented fair use material as infringement.
Fair Use is a provision which states that copyrighted work can be utilized if the use is sufficiently transformative. According to the University of Minnesota, transformative content uses original work in a “completely new or unexpected way,” and lists parody as being the clearest example of “transformative content.”
In the case of Shaniqua, the account was not utilizing anything more than the template of Guardian headlines. The headlines themselves, lede, and photo were original.
In 2017, Buzzfeed called Twitter’s copyright system “hair-trigger,” and stated that “a copyright violation from a major media company is the surest way to lose access to one’s account.”
The Guardian filed two subsequent copyright claims on December 2nd, and the account was suspended the same day. In the claim, Guardian editor Tom Stevens writes “Becoming a serious problem now. Please take appropriate action.”
After the news of the Guardian‘s apparent campaign against Shaniqua surfaced, Twitter users began posting their own parodies of Guardian headlines using the hashtag #trollingtheguardian
Prior to getting suspended, the man behind Shaniqua attempted to open dialogue with Guardian media editor Jim Waterson, but his direct messages were not returned.
“He never replied, presumably, because he knew my days on Twitter were numbered.”
While appeals on copyright strikes are possible, the account owner says he was discouraged from doing so as it would mean providing consent for Twitter to share his personal information with The Guardian. Fearing harassment or a lawsuit, he did not appeal.
“It’s clear they don’t like being mocked,” he says, “I was followed en mass by Guardian journalists [the day of my suspension]. Being followed suddenly like that was deeply unnerving. It felt like they were letting me know they were watching me.”
The account owner has filed an appeal with Twitter over the account’s suspension but has not heard back as of publication.
The Post Millennial reached out to The Guardian but has not heard back by the time of publication.