The first time I saw the term ‘alt-right’ was in the headline of an article about Donald Trump’s rise to power and how it gave unintentional support to white power groups. The term seemed peculiar to me as it seemed to be platforming white supremacy as an ‘alt-right’, an alternative to socially acceptable right-wing politics. When in fact we all know a supposed ‘master race’ is not a socially acceptable alternative to wanting controls on immigration.
This technique has been used countless times in politics. A similar linguistic approach used in modern politics would be Blair’s ‘New Labour’, a term used to disguise the Labour party’s move towards center left of the political spectrum. Both terms are Trojan horse’s carrying age-old ideas one being white supremacy and one being a more central if not right-wing government.
But maybe in the age where the traditional left-wing Labour Party are selling mugs stating their ‘control’ on immigration they are or at least a fraction are a ‘new Labour’ party. However the same cannot be said for the term ‘alt-right’. Being right-wing, being conservative, being republican is and probably always will be socially acceptable. However being a white supremacist isn’t and hopefully never will be socially acceptable. That’s why I despise the term ‘alt-right’ because it tries disguising those who believe in race superiority as not just socially acceptable but as an extension to the current political discourse.
This tactic isn’t limited to politics; it can be seen in fashion, gaming, toothpaste and all areas of consumer culture. We’ve all heard the expression (insert colour here) ‘is the new black’. Well have you ever stopped to think that these companies are simply circulating 7 or 8 commonly used colours each season to sell us things they tried to sell us last season, by disguising this technique with different phrasing or the changing of one word, the colour.
The technique doesn’t stop here. I’ve never been an avid gamer so maybe it’s just my lack of education in the area but what’s the difference? Fifa 15, 16, 17? Yes teams change, kits, players, positions, leagues. But surely this can be updated on internet servers within one game. And the graphics, to my recollection video games have looked pretty real for about 3 or 4 years now. I remember playing Call Of Duty at least 3 or 4 years back and Kevin Spacey played the villain and they used his face, filmed his actual face and put it in the game. How can video games advance from this? Yet the next Fifa will be on every teenage football fan’s Christmas list.
The one that gets me the most is toothpaste, well the most after white supremacy. People who died 40 years ago had the capability to have clean, white, healthy teeth. Yet every day we all see advertisements for new toothpaste, that dentists recommend, which are supposedly the only way to get white teeth.
You might say all of these are selling techniques, changing brand identities. And of course when it comes to toothpaste this is harmless but not when it comes to new terms like ‘alt-right’ seeping into our normal vocabulary. The world is filled with big bright adverts, where slogans and puns often win over great and unique ideas. Sometimes big bright ideas are the best and sometimes what you see is what you get. But always research, always check your sources always ask around, be happy to be proven wrong and ‘don’t believe what you see on the TV channels please’.
By George Smart