Jesse Singal explains how and who they are.
“Why did he post a suicide note on livejournal before killing himself?” “I hear he did it for the lulz.”
The Chanterculture (as in 4chan –JDZ) predates the rise of Trump by years (Gamergate was obviously a big moment for it), but suffice it to say that the emergence of Trump, a larger-than-life walking middle finger to political correctness, hit this subculture like a mainlined bottle of Mountain Dew â€” Trump is their hero, and like so much else in their online world they have rendered him in cartoonish, superhero hues.
Part of what makes the Chanterculture confusing and difficult for outsiders to penetrate is that, as Bernstein puts it, â€œIt unites two equally irrepressible camps behind an ironclad belief in the duty to say hideous things: the threatened white men of the internet and the â€˜I have no soulâ€™ lulzsters.â€ That is, some proportion of Chanterculture warriors actually believe the things they say â€” some dedicated real-life internet Nazis like Andrew Auernheimer, a.k.a. weev, came up in chan culture â€” while others are just in it for the outrage. (Many channers find the idea of having an actual ideology â€” or expressing it online, at least â€” rather distasteful, with the only exception being instances in which cloaking oneâ€™s online persona in an offensive ideology can elicit lulz.) …
Underlying chan culture is a fundamental hostility to earnestness and offense that plays out in how its members interact with each other and with outsiders. To wit: If you, a channer, post a meme in which Homer and Lisa Simpson are concentration camp guards about to execute Jewish prisoners, and I respond by pointing out that thatâ€™s fucked up, Iâ€™m the chump for getting upset. Nothing really matters to the average channer, at least not online. Feeling like stuff matters, in fact, is one of the original sins of â€œnormies,â€ the people who use the internet but donâ€™t really understand what itâ€™s for (chaos and lulz) the way channers do. Normies, unlike channers â€” or the identity channers like to embrace â€” have normal lives and jobs and girlfriends and so on. Theyâ€™re the boring mainstream. Normies donâ€™t get it, and thatâ€™s why theyâ€™re so easily upset all the time. Triggering normies is a fundamental good in the chanverse.
And when channer and normie culture collide, normie culture indeed tends to spasm with offense. From the point of view of a normie, why would you post Holocaust imagery unless you actually hate Jews or want them to die? To which the channer responds internally, For the lulz. That is, for the sake of watching normies get outraged, and for recognition from their online buddies.
Read the whole thing.