By David Futrelle
When rumors began to spread yesterday afternoon that the YouTube shooter was “a woman wearing a head scarf,” many on the right assumed that their gut instinct was right: the attack on YouTube, although it took no lives other than the shooter herself, was an act of Islamist terrorism. When the name of the shooter was released, and it turned out to be Nasim Aghdam, this was all the confirmation the Islamophobic right needed.
The truth, it quickly emerged, was far stranger than these fantasies. Aghdam wasn’t a Muslim terrorist, or even a Muslim, but Baha’i. She was also a vegan, an animal rights activist, and a prolific, if highly eccentric, YouTube creator who had posted an assortment of dance and exercise videos alongside political rants, in a strange retro style that either indicated deep graphical incompetence or a love of retro seapunk aesthetics.
But it wasn’t, apparently, her animal right activism that inspired her would-be murder spree at YouTube headquarters: it was her anger at the ways, she said, YouTube had “filtered” and “discriminated [against]” her videos, depriving her of the views (and ad revenues) she felt she deserved. YouTube, she charged, was actively working to “censor and oppress people” — like her — “who speak the truth.”
This was a message that turned out to be strangely popular amongst many of those not normally sympathetic to people from the Middle East and nearby environs. These days, many on the right are equally furious at YouTube “censorship,” complaining endlessly that videos from Alt-Rightists and other reactionary shitlords are being demonetized or deleted.
Many of these people — ranging from Trump-loving deplorables to outright Nazis — have taken up the hashtag #CensorshipKills on Twitter and other social media platforms, blaming YouTube for the carnage Aghdam inflicted upon it. Some are basically endorsing her “message” without quite endorsing her actions.
— что один калека (@zemfirad1lrz) April 4, 2018
— John Crusader (@John40711616) April 4, 2018
But it doesn’t take long browsing the #CensorshipKills to notice that there are more than a few of her apologists who don’t see the wannabe mass-murderer as a (possibly misguided) “victim” of the evil YouTube. Some see her as a free speech “martyr” if not an outright heroine.
The new free speech icon. pic.twitter.com/5HWoVH8UfJ
— The Current Year🇰🇵 (@TheeCurrentYear) April 4, 2018
— Charles 🇺🇸💝💕 (@YoutubeWaco) April 4, 2018
The enthusiasm for was clear even if some wrapped their fandom in layers of faux-irony.
— KimCrimson (@KimCrimsonKills) April 4, 2018
— 🍁leaf bro🍁 (@bro_leaf) April 4, 2018
Praise Nasim #CensorshipKills
— AR14 (@ValhallNS) April 4, 2018
But nowhere was the celebration of this newly christened “Patron Saint of Online Speech” more fervid than on 4chan’s /pol/ board, where countless anons have embraced “our girl” Nasim as free speech martyr, “goddess of retribution,” pinup girl, dream waifu, and worthy successor to mass murderer and incel hero Elliot Rodger.
“Saint Nasim’s” apotheosis began in earnest more or less as soon as /pol/ discovered that she wasn’t Muslim, that she hated YouTube “censorship” as much as /pol/ regulars do, and that she was, as one put it, both “odd looking [and] oddly attractive.”
The threads devoted to her were (and as of this writing, are) suffused with a mixture of male anger, anti-Semitic hate, hunger for violence, incel sadness and sexual yearning. Denuniciations of “JewTube” alternate with pics and videos of /pol/’s new it-girl designed to highlight her “true aryan beauty” and/or her “Iranian crazy vegan super tities!!!”
For a considerable number of anons, she was the whole package, as these screenshots from just one page of comments on /pol/ will make abundantly clear.
For a few, it was less about Nasim than it was about the alleged evil that is YouTube.
Did I say YouTube? I meant JEWTUBE.
But most were utterly smitten with their new, late queen:
For many anons, the horniness was tinged with sadness:
Lamenting her death, a few spun fantasies of what might have been!
But this horny anon managed to take her death in stride.
Most agreed that she would live on in memory:
For some, she was basically the second coming of Elliot Rodger.
Naturally, there were memes. Perhaps the most memorable was a reworking of a currently popular meme contrasting a poor incels with his nemesis Chad (click on the image for a larger version).
There were a few detractors, of course, including one who found it incomprehensible that /pol/ was falling in love with “a woman? And a brown woman, at that?” And there were those who insisted — damn the media reports to the contrary! — that she really was Muslim, a charge that inspired some energetic rebuttals.
Some didn’t approve of her veganism, seeing it as a sign of SJWishness. But others didn’t mind.
Others saw her veganism as a sign of her Aryan purity.
4chan being what it is, it wasn’t long before a few anons dug up some enigmatic but apocalyptic comments posted before the rampage yesterday that seemed to predict it; most seemed to believe that their new queen had indeed paid them at least one brief visit before, er, martyring herself. Since all comments are anonymous, there’s no way to know if this is true — and indeed, similar claims are made after almost every shooting.
Regardless of whether or not Nasim Aghdam was literally a channer herself, her new fans on /pol/ are certainly convinced they’ve found their girl.
H/T to Rational Disconnect, whose tweets first alerted me to 4chan’s excitement over Aghdam