By David Futrelle
On February 10, Twitter was filled with gloating tweets from assorted amateur and professional far-right culture warriors, all happily celebrating the poor showing of the film Birds of Prey, which they had collectively decided was a terrible insult to comic book fans and men in general because Harley Quinn’s outfit in the film wasn’t as sexy as theoretically possible. This is the state of the culture war now.
Then someone on Twitter, for some reason, decided to stir the pot a little bit, trollishly trying to gin up some sort of phony conflict between Birds of Prey and the not-yet-released Sonic the Hedgehog movie.
Then a couple others retweeted this tweet as if it were their own. Then a couple more did the same, and so on and so forth, and before long the #Birds of Prey was filled with dozens of identical tweets.
People began riffing on the original, with the riffs getting more and more absurd with each new incarnation.
It was obvious from the start that this whole “campaign” against Sonic was what is commonly known as “a joke,” and not intended to be taken seriously by anyone.
Indeed, the first Tweets were tweeted out four days before the Sonic movie even opened, and anyone who took a second to look at the original tweeter’s account would have seen that she’s a hardcore Animal Crossing stan who mostly posts jokes and who (as far as I can tell from scrolling through several days of tweets) never posts anything having to do with feminism.
But the right-wing outrage merchants took one look at the tweets and saw a great opportunity. And so the videos began the appear, loudly and indignantly decrying this supposed feminist campaign to destroy the Sonic Movie with evil feminist lies.
There were a lot of these videos, with the most popular, from the (literally) Nazi-adjacent Tim Pool, boasting nearly 190,000 views (so far); several others have seen tens of thousands of views.
I have not, god forbid, watched all of these videos. (I watched all 27 minutes of Tim Pool’s and portions of a bunch of the others.) But the ones I sampled were indignant in their tone, seemingly taking for granted (without bothering to do more than ten seconds of research on the subject) that the anti-Sonic tweets were indeed some sort of serious feminist campaign to take down a movie that I doubt most feminists are even aware of. They’re fighting a straw man (or straw woman) that they seem to be truly convinced is real.
But maybe I’m not giving them enough credit. Surely they’re not all as gullible as that. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say not that they don’t know they’re fighting an imaginary enemy but that they simply don’t care that they are — at least so long as the clicks keep coming.
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