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McInnes, Molyneux, and 4chan: Investigating pathways to the alt-right

What brings someone into the alt-right ecosystem?

The question was posed in two threads posted during the last week of March on the white nationalist forum The Right Stuff (TRS), leading 74 individual users to describe their radicalization narratives.

Respondents recount a transformation that takes place almost entirely online. Led either by their own curiosity or an algorithm, the content they consumed became increasingly extreme, fostering their radicalization and guiding them eventually to TRS. Their responses reveal a pipeline between the alt-lite and racist “alt-right,” with many users explaining that alt-lite figures like Gavin McInnes were the first to introduce them to hardcore, veteran white nationalists.

The two threads, titled “WHAT BROUGHT YOU INTO THE MOVEMENT?” and “Path here beginning from Gavin,” asked posters to reflect on their own “red pill” narratives and provide tips for converting others. “Here’s the challenge,” a user identified as The Somalisher wrote. “Create a list of succession from the Alt-Light to us. I have friends who like Gavin…But I can’t exactly throw [Andrew] Anglin at them.”

The user continued, “It sometimes requires softer steps to ‘radical’ perspectives.”

The two threads refer specifically to bringing people into the fold of TRS and the Daily Stormer, which together serve as the core of neo-Nazism online. TRS, the brainchild of Mike “Enoch” Peinovich, started as a political blog in 2012 and has since transformed into one of the largest alt-right media platforms. It hosts a lively message board called the 504um and dozens of podcasts, the most popular of which are “The Daily Shoah” and news-oriented “Fash the Nation.” The Daily Stormer operates in the same orbit, consciously using humor to indoctrinate its readers.

Together, the two sites have become the preeminent propaganda machines for the alt-right. They’re also some of the most effective spaces for organizing real-world, local groups, called “book clubs” by the Stormer and “pool parties” on TRS.

The alt-right is a motley movement, drawing in people from a number of venues and subcultures. The 107 individuals and platforms mentioned by posters in the TRS threads have been labeled according to their ideology, which include alt-right, legacy white nationalist, alt-lite, mainstream, libertarian, skeptic, men’s rights activist, and conspiracy, in addition to a random category for those not easily classified. This heterogeneity is a boon to the movement, creating a number of avenues for individuals of different taste and predilections to fall within its clutches. 

Though both the alt-lite and alt-right reject “establishment” conservatism, the former claims to adhere to civic nationalism — a poorly defined catch-all term for those who embrace nativism but shy away from more radical racist rhetoric — while the latter is explicitly white nationalist. Legacy white nationalists include those like Jared Taylor, Patrick Buchanan and Paul Kersey who, although they might be popular within the alt-right, were part of the white nationalist movement before that label emerged.

The number of times each individual or platform was mentioned as an influence was tallied, and those mentioned by three or more posters are listed in the chart below. Disconnected as they might seem, the most cited influences — the “politically incorrect” 4chan board /pol/ and the American Renaissance editor Jared Taylor — hint at two common paths to the alt-right: either through participation in the rampantly racist and misogynistic online trolling culture of 4chan and its offshoots, or through exposure to Taylor’s variety of pseudo-academic “race realism” that couches timeworn racist tropes in the language of science.

Within alt-right spaces like TRS, these two fibers of the movement are woven together — resulting in an ironic, meme-ified version of old-school race science — and embellished with antisemitism.

TRS and the Daily Stormer both argue that, with the right optics and messaging, they can attract a critical mass of followers to the cause and eventually shift what lies within the respectable terms of political debate. The respondents in these threads show how the current media landscape — replete with podcasts, YouTube channels and blogs that contain tempered bits of white nationalist propaganda under the guise of patriotism, “Western chauvinism,” science or hard truths — can aid that agenda, coaxing the “normies” down the path to white nationalism.

Gavin McInnes (right), founder of the Proud Boys.

"Stepping stones" and "in-betweeners"

TRS 504um posters describe their radicalization as a gradual process, with charismatic alt-lite personalities like Gavin McInnes introducing them to ideas they would eventually take to their extreme. McInnes, especially, hides under a guise of irony, freely using racial slurs and making incendiary comments about women, Muslims and African Americans in the name of mocking political correctness.

McInnes, who formed the Proud Boys in 2016, has repeatedly insisted the SPLC-designated hate group is simply a right-wing men’s drinking club in the vein of the Elks Lodge, and has taken pains to distance himself from the alt-right. But even he agrees that there’s overlap between his “Western chauvinist” Proud Boys and self-proclaimed white nationalists: “both sides have in common Western chauvinism, they’re not embarrassed by whiteness or whatever, [and] they don’t believe diversity is the end-all and be-all.”

Responses within the TRS threads show how easy it is to slip from the notion that “the West is the best” into believing that western culture is superior because it’s white. Of the respondents in the sample, roughly 15 percent mentioned McInnes as a step in their path to white nationalism or recommended using his videos and writing to convert others. There are more than a few real-life examples of Proud Boys moving into more extreme groups.

McInnes is loathed by many at TRS for being unwilling to take racial politics head-on and “counter-signaling” them, but he’s still credited with helping to cultivate their own belief in white nationalism. In a thread called “Do We Still Hate Gavin McInnes?” a user calling themselves KarlVonBraun came to his defense, writing “I remember first hearing Gavin trash niggers who do that pole/street dance thing on the subway…Basically he says everything short of calling them worthless niggers. I'd literally never heard anyone be brutally honest about what is uniquely nigger behavior while maintaining decorum, without crossing lines you can't cross. It was totally exhilarating.” Another user wrote, “I guarantee that he is still (without meaning to) funneling people into the Alt-Right.”

McInnes is also responsible for introducing a number of TRS users to Jim Goad and, indeed, for much of the writer and podcaster’s recent resurgence in popularity. Goad got his start as a writer in the 1990s producing his own controversial and acerbic independent magazine and, in 1997, published a book in the same vein. The Redneck Manifesto, which begins with a chapter called “White Niggers Have Feelings, Too,” bemoans liberals’ tendency to look down on poor whites and argues, “Multiculturalism is a country club that excludes white trash.” Goad (much like McInnes) began his career as a sort of small-time countercultural celebrity, but his focus on white persecution now earns him widespread praise within the alt-right.

McInnes has hosted Goad on his shows numerous times and, on a list he created of “required reading” on Western culture, included Redneck Manifesto together with Patrick Buchanan’s The Death of the West and Charles Murray’s Coming Apart: The State of White America — both writers who are also mentioned as influences by TRS posters. One respondent called Goad’s book “an early redpill on the malicious anti-white agenda of the left.”

Goad takes advantage of the fact that he’s often treated as a serious literary figure, presenting his extremist views on race as simply thoughtful meditations on politically taboo topics or as an attempt to resist political correctness. He’s used his numerous platforms to perpetuate the myth of white slavery and criticized the “corporate globalist left” for making it difficult for the Daily Stormer to maintain a domain. He even hosted Andrew Anglin, the site’s founder, on his podcast, as well as former Ku Klux Klan lawyer Sam Dickson and the Holocaust-denying author Michael Hoffman.

Goad, who is cited six times by TRS members, disparages “Those who blame Jews for everything.” But in the same breath, he repeats their rhetoric, making him into what one poster calls the “missing link” from people like Gavin to the white nationalist TRS. If you’re trying to red pill a friend and “they like Gavin,” NotDonSilvo wrote, “send them his old podcast with Jim and some of his Taki articles or guest appearances in Gavin’s Compound Media [show].”

Besides his podcast, Goad’s main platform is Taki’s Magazine, an extreme right-wing publication with an irreverent tone that promises its “only ideology is to be against the junk culture foisted upon us by Hollywood and the mainstream media.” Along with Goad and McInnes, it publishes authors like John Derbyshire, who was fired from the conservative National Review after he wrote an article for Taki’s about advising his teenage children to “stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.” It described black people as “ferociously hostile to whites” and is now listed in the “greatest hits” section on Taki’s website.

Taki’s contributors overlap with those at the hate site VDARE, including Steve Sailer — cited four times by TRS users — whose writing is largely dedicated to opposing immigration and drawing a false link between race and intelligence.

Both Taki’s Magazine and VDARE are cited by posters of the TRS threads as “good in-betweeners,” and, together, are cited in more than 16 percent of responses. Both websites, the user Cniva wrote, are “good at presenting racism in a ‘we’re just being reasonable/this is what the science says, why are you acting so upset?’ type of way.”

Stefan Molyneux, a YouTube commentator best known for amplifying scientific racism.

Race realism

Many members of the forum note that McInnes’s online videos were particularly impactful because they introduce viewers to more extreme figures. “[D]ude i got here from Gavin because there was a time about 2-3 years ago when Gavin would take [sic] to people like Jared Taylor and Richard Spencer,” one user posted. In one of his genial interviews with Taylor (who he’s called a “super smart guy”), McInnes allowed the American Renaissance editor to peddle his racist tract “The Color of Crime,” which uses faulty statistical analysis to argue that non-whites are more prone to criminal behavior.

Respondents noted this kind of “race realism” — which relies on pseudoscientific evidence to argue that white people are a superior race — gave them a large push into the white nationalist camp. “If your prospect is an ‘objective’ type,” one forum member offered in a discussion of how to recruit others to their cause, “nothing beats race realism, and I’d say Jared Taylor and Alternative Hypothesis” — a “ human biodiversity” blog that argues race is genetically based — “are the most presentable, accessible, and pertinent in that field.” Another simply wrote, “Once I came across race realism it was over.” Indeed, Taylor is the second-most cited force for bringing people into the TRS/Daily Stormer network, with 20.3 percent of posters mentioning him.

Stefan Molyneux, a YouTube commentator, is also best known for amplifying scientific racism. Among his videos with titles like “Human Biodiversity and Criminality” and “Race, Genetics, and Intelligence,” he argues “skills and abilities have not been distributed evenly by mother nature between various ethnicities,” and multiethnic societies are a “problem” because “the blacks and the Hispanics, they don’t end up acting the same as the white population.” He’s also done a show with Taylor, titled “An Honest Conversation About Race,” that one respondent said they were “able to use” to help their friends and family “open their eyes.”

“These programs I think are the first steps,” they wrote.

The prolific Molyneux has attracted more than 770,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel, adding up to more than 230 million views of his videos. He relies largely on charisma, delivering ill-researched and scientifically unsound lectures with a degree of confidence that eases viewers into accepting his arguments.

Molyneux, one TRS poster explained, “remains a great stepping stone between the alt-light and the alt-right.”

“Gavin > Moly > AR [Alt-Right] is common,” another wrote.

The “skeptics” movement — whose adherents claim to challenge beliefs both scientific and spiritual by questioning the evidence and reasoning that underpin them — has also helped channel people into the alt-right by way of “human biodiversity.” Sam Harris has been one of the movement’s most public faces, and four posters on the TRS thread note his influence.

Under the guise of scientific objectivity, Harris has presented deeply flawed data to perpetuate fear of Muslims and to argue that black people are genetically inferior to whites. In a 2017 podcast, for instance, he argued that opposition to Muslim immigrants in European nations was “perfectly rational” because “you are importing, by definition, some percentage, however small, of radicalized people.” He assured viewers, “This is not an expression of xenophobia; this is the implication of statistics.” More recently, he invited Charles Murray on his podcast. Their conversation centered on an idea that lies far outside of scientific consensus: that racial differences in IQ scores are genetically based. Though mainstream behavioral scientists have demonstrated that intelligence is less significantly affected by genetics than environment (demonstrated by research that shows the IQ gap between black and white Americans is closing, and that the average American IQ has risen dramatically since the mid-twentieth century), Harris still dismissed any criticism of Murray’s work as “politically correct moral panic.”

For posters on TRS, Harris’ work blended easily into that of more overtly racist writers like Paul Kersey, whose popular blog, “Stuff Black People Don’t Like,” is reposted on American Renaissance. The site “really gets the noggin joggin and encourages you to search for answers,” one user wrote. Their “biggest stepping stone” was from Harris’ work to Kersey’s blog: “It was there I learned about race realism, IQ, genetics, bell curves, and the economic/political drivers behind the pushing of ‘diversity.’”

More than 12 percent of users note that Milo Yiannopoulos, former Brietbart editor, was part of their alt-right transformation.

Chan culture

While many on the TRS threads describe becoming fans of specific personalities like McInnes and Molyneux, who most often led them to legacy white nationalists like Taylor and Kersey, nearly as many came up through the more amorphous and anarchic spaces of right-wing digital culture that originated with 4chan. The anonymous “meme factory” traffics in humor and transgression, centering on the “politically incorrect” board /pol/ that nurtured the early alt-right and, especially, its misogyny. Nearly 23 percent of respondents said that chan culture helped them land at TRS.

Many of those who were eventually radicalized by 4chan came there relatively innocently. One user said memes led them to 4chan in the mid-2000s, but they eventually found their way to overtly racist /pol/ after Obama was elected for a second term. Others noted they “ironically” looked at /pol/, or they were led there by the more absurdist “random” board, /b/. One wrote that their friend, who they specified was not right-wing, told them to “surf /pol/ for fun.” “Humor is a powerful drug,” explained a poster who came for the political discussions but “stayed for the racist memes.”

Chan culture was male-dominated and heavily misogynistic. The sexism of these spaces eventually led many into the alt-right. According to one poster, “I always hated feminism and female empowerment, despite liking many elements of the left. When I got older and realized the left was only open to feminists or allies i stopped claiming it.”

This extreme anti-feminism gave fuel to various factions of male supremacy, like Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs) and MGTOWs (“Men Going Their Own Way”), who profess to forswear women completely, then complain about them constantly on the internet. Then came Gamergate, a harassment campaign against women in gaming that began in 2014. Anonymous harassers targeted women who worked in or commented on the industry for daring to enter a male-dominated space. Abusers used 4chan and other platforms to organize. After choosing their targets, the mob would dox them, send them rape and death threats, distribute fake pornographic images of them and generally stalk and torment them relentlessly.

It was an extremely important moment in the development of the alt-right, when young men from right-wing online spaces came together in a shared campaign against the “politically correct” culture of the left. One poster described the years 2012 to 2014 as a political “void,” but explained that he was brought back into politics — and entered far more extreme spaces — thanks to Gamergate. After 4chan’s founder Christopher Poole banned discussions of Gamergate from the site, the campaign’s supporters migrated to the more extreme 8chan.

The episode also helped bring figures like Milo Yiannopoulos to prominence. At the time, he worked for a small tech website and was one of the first journalists to cover the story, eventually leading to his job as an editor at the right-wing outlet Breitbart. More than 12 percent of users note that Yiannopoulos was part of their alt-right transformation, and often list him in tandem with Gamergate (cited by 8.1 percent of posters).

Alongside /pol/, Reddit was another crucial space in the growth of the alt-right — especially the infamous subreddit r/The_Donald, that arose in support of Donald Trump’s presidency. For some who came to the movement around 2015, it was the first place they went. “I’ve been an openly racist nigger hater since 2010, but I just didn’t know where to find content that was explicitly racist until I stumbled onto T_D and was able to find other stuff from there,” a TRS user wrote.

Mike "Enoch" Peinovich, creator of The Right Stuff website.

"Lolbertarians" and Neoreactionaries

Libertarianism is a common path to the alt-right. In fact, it was frustration with libertarianism that led Peinovich to create The Right Stuff. He became a libertarian after reading the works of Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand, but — after finding sources on human biodiversity — said he realized that libertarianism wasn’t “going to work for everyone” because different racial groups couldn’t be expected to behavior properly without a state to regulate them. TRS’s Ricky Vaughn — unmasked as Douglass Mackey on April 3 — described a similar trajectory. The one-time Ron Paul supporter eventually rejected libertarianism because it failed to account for many things that “drive current events” like “race, culture, all those kind of things.” He first grew frustrated with feminism, and then, after the shooting of Trayvon Martin, openly embraced racism.

Six posters mentioned Ron Paul as one of their political starting points, and 16 others mentioned libertarianism more generally. One TRS user said that he was a libertarian until he realized that his fellow believers “were fags for being ‘so principled’ with their open borders bullshit, that they ensured their desired society would never come about,” while another wrote they were a “lolbertarian until I realized only white people actually believe that garbage.” One simply wrote that they followed the “standard libertarian to nazi pipeline.”

AnCaps — or anarcho-capitalists — operate in much the same universe as libertarians, advocating for the eventual elimination of the state. According to one poster, “A couple dudes in my online AnCap circle went full bore with ‘you can't have libertarianism with mud genetics’ arguments. I was like ‘nah, that ain't true, and I'll show it ain't true.’ Then within a couple months I was like ‘yeah, that seems to be true. I think I'll go listen to that [William] Pierce guy” — Pierce authored the race war novel The Turner Diaries and is one of the most influential white supremacists in modern American history — “again but with an open mind, maybe if I actually check his claims I'll find out they're true too.’” He decided that Pierce was right.

The Dark Enlightenment is a political theory detailed by an obscure former academic named Nick Land in an online manifesto posted in 2012. It is an influential force within the alt-right that, like libertarianism, advocates for the recession of state power, though with different aims. Also known as “Neoreaction” and often shortened to “NRx,” adherents believe that capitalism should be accelerated to the point that corporate powers rule society, allowing natural hierarchies to emerge. They firmly believe in human biodiversity and reject democracy and egalitarianism (“it is easier to believe in Leprechauns than to believe in egalitarianism,” a sidebar on their subreddit suggests). In this essentially feudal society, the superior white race will supposedly rule. In other words, it is a rejection of Enlightenment principles. Many of its central ideas are popular within Silicon Valley, and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has reportedly expressed interest in the philosophy.

Four TRS posters cited the philosophy as an influence, with some embracing the manifesto as they moved away from libertarianism. “Many of the ideological seeds that would make me open to Hitlerism started with Dark Enlightenment,” one person wrote.

While the tenets of the Dark Enlightenment and the manifesto were cited in numerous popular blogs and passed between users in anonymous forums like Reddit, the political philosophy received arguably its biggest boost from Millennial Woes, a popular YouTuber who began his broadcasts from his father’s basement in Linlithgow, Scotland, in 2013.

Millennial Woes, whose real name is Colin Robertson, developed his political views as he was struggling to overcome clinical depression (a subject he meditates on in many videos), and his nihilism became intimately wound up in his politics. In a 2013 video titled “Depression in Individuals, and in Society,” Robertson described the negative-feedback loop that affects people with depression as something that can also plague the larger political culture. Depressed people engage in forms of self-sabotage because they are so used to the idea of failure, he explained, but justify this to themselves and others as a sort of journey in self-discovery — a reflection of the idea “that which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” Modern liberal society, Robertson claimed, was doing the same thing: slowly destroying itself with experiments in feminism and egalitarianism in the name of achieving some kind of enlightenment.

This landed Robertson firmly in the camp of Neoreactionaries and, eventually, the alt-right. “Equality is bullshit. Hierarchy is essential. The races are different. The sexes are different,” the description of a 2016 Millennial Woes video titled “We Are the Alt-right” read. The video itself presented the viewer with questions like “Are you disturbed by the condition of our societies?” and “Don’t want your daughter to end up in a burka or with a non-white guy?” “What you need,” the text continued, “is a visit to the Alternative Right,” before a long list of alt-right outlets — including TheRightStuff.biz, American Renaissance, Red Ice, Alternative Hypothesis, Stefan Molyneaux, and of course, Millennial Woes — flashed on the screen.

Robertson brought a huge number of followers with him on his journey to the alt-right. His channel currently has more than 47,000 subscribers, while his videos have been viewed upwards of 7 million times. And it seems that Robertson’s trials with depression weren’t only a fundamental part of his political development, but helped attract others looking for support online — apparently an entry point to the alt-right for many. One TRS poster explained that they “Watched a Millennial Woes video on depression (I was miserable). He mentioned various things I had never heard of (neoreaction, Alt Right). I found Richard Spencer. I found TRS. Life completely changed…”

Red Ice is an alt-right news program hosted by husband and wife Henrik Palmgren and Lana Lokteff. It was by far the most cited YouTube channel in the TRS threads.

YouTube personalities

YouTube personalities like Millennial Woes are an indispensable part of the alt-right and helped guide many toward the movement. TRS posters mentioned more than 20 YouTube personalities or channels that helped lead them to the forum.

The YouTube algorithm, which determines what will autoplay after one video has finished and places recommended videos in the sidebar, also plays a role in coaxing viewers into the deeper depths of the alt-right by presenting them with ever more extreme content. As a recent Wall Street Journal investigation showed, YouTube promotes material that tend to keep people on their site longer, and those videos often happen to be among the more extreme content on the site.

This was something that multiple TRS posters noted in their comments. After streaming an alt-lite podcast called “Disdain for Plebs,” a user wrote that a Red Ice interview with TRS’s Jazzhands McFeels, host of “Fash the Nation,” autoplayed next. “Been a TRSodomite ever since,” they wrote. “I used to be a part of the anti-SJW crowd, then I found Jared Taylor and was hooked to that type of content, and then I found TDS clips, Murdoch Murdoch, and the Merchant Minute, pretty much all at once. And now I'm here,” another posted, “Thank you based Youtube suggested videos algorithm.”

Red Ice, an alt-right news program hosted by husband and wife Henrik Palmgren and Lana Lokteff, is by far the most cited YouTube channel in the TRS threads. Starting out in 2003 largely focused on the paranormal and conspiracy theories, Red Ice evolved into a white nationalist propaganda outfit, exploring white nationalism, antisemitism and Holocaust denial, and promoting the myth of white genocide. One TRS user said it was Red Ice that fed them “THE RED PILL,” convincing them “THE JQ and WHITE GENOCIDE ARE REAL.”

Within the alt-right, Red Ice seems to play a role similar to McInnes, but for those farther along in their conversion. Like the video series hosted by the Proud Boys leader, Red Ice is often noted for its role in helping to introduce viewers to new alt-right figures and ideas. One poster said they first found Andrew “weev” Auernheimer, a neo-Nazi internet troll who frequently writes for the Daily Stormer, through Red Ice, and “then found their interview with Anglin, which quickly escalated to the shoah and the rest is hate history.”

Because it has a female host, Red Ice is exceptional within the overwhelmingly male alt-right. Between posts about hating feminists and jokes about beating women, some on the TRS 504um mention that the show could be useful for bringing other women into the movement. “[T]hey offer LOTS of content explicitly for ladies,” DinoCon wrote. Lauren Southern and Brittany Pettibone, both young alt-lite women with popular YouTube channels, received similar recognition within the TRS threads.

YouTube has also been the platform for a number of up-and-coming young alt-right political commentators who favor a newsy style. The most popular among them is James Allsup, a former president of the College Republicans at Washington State University. His YouTube channel gained popularity during the 2016 presidential election and now has more than 235,000 subscribers. He recently announced he’s a member of the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, and he uses his videos to promote identitarianism, denigrate feminism and fight “anti-white racism.”

Andrew Anglin formed the neo-Nazi site, the Daily Stormer. TRS users are somewhat torn about when people should be introduced to this site.

"The JQ"

Unlike the alt-lite and many members of the alt-right, posters and lurkers on TRS describe themselves as fully red-pilled on the “JQ,” or the “Jewish question.” The TRS forum and podcasts it hosts contain the most popular and influential antisemitic content within the alt-right. TRS founder Mike Peinovich is credited with creating the popular (((echo))) meme. The antisemitic symbol originated from the TRS podcast “The Daily Shoah,” where the hosts – usually consisting of Jesse Craig Dunstan (AKA Seventh Son or Sven), Alex McNabb and Jayoh de la Rey in addition to Peinovich – use a reverb sound effect when discussing Jewish people and institutions.

Posters note that the “JQ” was often the hardest pill for them to swallow on their journey to the 504um, and that it is an obstacle to converting others: “I have found that most normies cant handle hearing the word jew more than a few times before they get uncomfortable and want it to stop,” one wrote. One recommended that the “simplest path to pro-white views” was “Cultural Marxism > Race > JQ.”

“Fash the Nation,” a TRS podcast produced weekly by hosts Jazzhands McFeels and Marcus Halberstram, provides listeners with a hearty dose of antisemitism in the form of political commentary. Cited as an influence by eight posters, the podcast eases listeners in by tackling issues like immigration with an often-dispassionate tone reminiscent of mainstream political podcasts.

More than anything, TRS posters noted that humor was what convinced them to embrace antisemitism. “If you can get them to laugh, you can get them on our side,” user LeBlanc wrote, “That’s the whole things with TRS.” They, along with others in the threads, specifically mentioned TDS host Dunstan’s antisemitic parody songs as a means of entering the alt-right. They include (among others) a spoof of Tom Petty’s “I Need to Know” about taking a 23andme DNA test to determine if the singer has a “100% Bavarian phenotype,” and a parody of Bryan Adam’s “Summer of ‘69” in which the chorus ends, “These are the first days of our Reich.”

“I found out about the Shoah when I stumbled across The Summer of ’88 parody,” OvenMan1488 wrote. From his discovery, he became a loyal TDS listener. “I think the creativness [sic] and humor is what brought a lotta people over. I have identified as alt-right since finding this content in June or July 2015.”

“You get them hooked in with Sven’s songs,” another poster wrote, “then when they’re all relaxed, Mike [Peinovich] comes in and cracks them over the head with some real shit.”

Nine users credit the animated YouTube series “Murdoch Murdoch” with helping them address the “JQ.” With a satirical and surrealist tone reminiscent of something that might be found on “Adult Swim,” the show focuses on three national socialists — all of whom represent slightly different variations of the ideology — attempting to navigate the alt-right and implement their utopian white ethnostate. “Murdoch Murdoch is fucking great. Something that doesn't take itself seriously and then you reflect on it all and you realize that funny show you watched is 100% right about everything,” one poster wrote. Another said they began watching it “ironically,” but “by the end I was full 1488.”

TRS users are somewhat torn about when people should be introduced to the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer, a site that consciously attempts to mimic the snarky writing style of mainstream sites like the now-defunct Gawker. Much like “Murdoch Murdoch” and TRS, it couches its hateful rhetoric in irony and humor. According to the Daily Stormer’s own style guide, “The unindoctrinated should not be able to tell if we are joking or not.” It also instructs writers to “Always Blame the Jews for Everything.”

“I respectfully disagree with everyone on this thread,” McBradley wrote, “The Daily Stormer should be introduced early, early on. Go the irony bro route, it’s all a big joke brah.”