In August 2016, Hillary Clinton delivered a speech where she denounced the alt-right, the radical fringe that was taking over Republican politics. Time was spent both during the campaign and in the aftermath of President Trump’s election attempting to explain the alt-right, a phenomenon embracing everything from frog memes on Twitter to neo-Nazis giving the “Sieg heil” salute at a Washington conference.
Enter Angela Nagle, a Dublin-based writer and academic. Nagle has spent the last eight years studying online cultures like the alt-right, their various subgroups and their rivals on the left, essentially becoming an anthropologist looking into some of the darkest corners of the Internet. In her new book, Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4Chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-Right, she lays out her findings. She spoke with Yahoo News about how she defines the groups, what they think of Trump’s presidency so far and dealing with online abuse when you’re covering these types of communities.
I think the best way to start for who might not be familiar with this subject matter is the basic question of how do you define the alt-right?
Well if you ask the hardcore of the alt-right how they’d want to define it, in terms of themselves so they take a very strict definition. So they would say it would be people like Richard Spencer and the National Policy Institute, American Renaissance, people who want these particular goals like a white ethno-state. And they want to racially segregate society, essentially, and form an ethno-state. The media has tended to use a much broader definition to encompass everyone from [InfoWars host] Alex Jones to [former Breitbart staffer] Milo Yiannopoulos, and even [former Breitbart executive and current White House counselor] Steve Bannon.
I don’t think we should take their definition as the perfect one because why should we let them define the debate? But on the other hand sometimes I think it’s best to take the really…