Page Turner: Culture Warlords

With today being Holocaust Memorial Day, it seems pertinent not to only remember the horrors of the past, but that there is still hatred today that is still a threat to the future. Just yesterday, as a matter of fact, the Pulitzer-winning graphic novel, Maus, was banned by a Tennessee School Board.

Book bannings are the new book burnings.

The new generation of racism and prejudice lurks, for the most part, online. Hiding behind faceless accounts where they huddle in eco chambers ranting about how feminism stops them from getting laid and how everything that’s wrong with the word is by Jewish design. As much as we wish these people were a thing of the past, they are alive and well, as recent events have proven.

Culture Warlords: My Journey Into the Dark Web of White Supremacy by Talia Lavin is her account of her infiltration of Alt-Right online communities. From white pride dating sites to Incel boards, she goes undercover to find out what they are saying when they think no one is listening.

Talia Lavin is a queer Jewish journalist, a woman braver than I will ever be. In a way, Culture Warlords also serves as a memoir of sorts, recounting her encounters with supremacists as herself and the personas she made. Being an outspoken Jewish woman, you can only imagine the hate being spewed at her. She has faced it all, sexual threats and death threats targeted at her and her family. Yet she still stands her ground, even writing a book about it. Again, a braver woman than I.

Culture Warlords reminds us that while their opinions and actions are extreme, folk like this exist near us. Honestly, that is the scary part. I have met some people who seemed decent, only to reveal their hateful ideology down the line. 

Reading Culture Warlords is like listening to a friend rant about a topic she is very knowledgeable about and invested in. A sort of stream-of-consciousness style of writing which made the dark topic a bit easier to manage. She even cracks a few jokes to try and lighten the mood at points.

I found Culture Warlords a bit challenging at times but worth it. Simply put, it is a morbidly fascinating read, one that leaves you with a pit in your stomach when you realise that these conversations happen every day.

Overall, I do recommend Culture Warlords to anyone who wants to learn online white supremacy. Again, it isn’t an easy read, but a vital one in today’s day and age.

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