The Nazis are coming. So says the editor of The Daily Stormer, a racist, anti-Semitic blog that has allied itself with white nationalist Richard Spencer and targeted Jewish human rights activists in Whitefish. The Stormer started with Photoshopped images of a 12-year-old child, then progressed to posting contact information for its Jewish targets, their relatives and employers. Now editor Andrew Anglin claims to be organizing a January March on Whitefish "against Jews, Jewish businesses and everyone who supports either." He says he's going to bus in skinheads from California to carry "high-powered rifles" through the ski town's streets.
It's deplorable stuff (is it OK to use that word now, Republicans?), but, as ACLU of Montana Executive Director Caitlin Borgmann notes, the skinheads have the right to demonstrate. The best way to fight hateful speech, Borgmann suggests, is with more speech.
How, then, to speak up? Local human rights groups tend to follow Michelle Obama's maxim: "When they go low, we go high." But shaving your head and toting a gun and calling your antics "the revolution" isn't exactly "going low." It's absurd. And Anglin's neo-Nazis aren't literal Nazis. They're just dicks.
Hey—there's a thought. Last year in Texas, the state Legislature approved concealed carry on college campuses. When University of Texas alum Jessica Jin heard the news, she thought, "What a bunch of dildos." An idea sprang forth, and then a demonstration in which thousands of UT students convened on campus carrying big, rubbery dildos—which, Jin had learned, were probably forbidden by a state law prohibiting the display of obscene objects. Thus was born "Cocks not Glocks," an attack on absurdity with more absurdity.
It was an epic troll that defused tensions and reset the narrative. "These absurd things speak for themselves," Jin says. "Why would we need to add to the noise and shout over it when we could just put a spotlight on it?"
Neo-Nazis have suffered similar humiliations. In Charlotte, North Carolina, one 2012 march was met with counter-protesters dressed as clowns and delivering the message, "You look silly."
If there's one thing that self-appointed race saviors can't stand, it's being made to look like what they are: ridiculous. And all that takes is some creative people with the motivation to hold up a mirror to a menace. We're pretty sure there are more than enough of those in Whitefish to get the job done.