Warning: There will be discussion of bigotry, as well as some examples of such (although the reason why I am showing the examples is because they are humorous).
Today, I would like to share with you what I considered to be an anomaly in my time on the indie 'net.
It all started when the mood to read struck me. I was browsing a big, long list of indie blogs, and one caught my interest; one that described itself as having "Christian writings". Now, I'm not a Christian (my relationship with religion is it's own article), but I did grow up Christian, and I like to browse Christian writings on occasion. It's nice to be reassured that, despite my past with it, kind Christians do exist, by looking through the sites of supportive Christians. So, I clicked.
What followed was a several-hour rabbit hole of clicking through a niche I hadn't known existed: alt-right people on the indie web.
I won't be linking any blogs, the associated webring, or anything of the sort. Partially to prevent potential harassment, of course, but also because I don't want to direct any more traffic to the more bigoted folks than I have to.
I will, however, be sharing a small handful of choice quotes (misspellings and all), from the blogs that I browsed. Because holy shit, these people can be so goddamn funny.
"How many times have you seen someone complain that some piece of software (usually a video game) doesn’t run (or doesn’t run well) on Linux then say that the developers have to make stuff for them too? Have you ever done it? This is [t-slur] behavior, stop it. Linux users are the transgenders of the tech world."
(About ChatGPT) "... It's an even greater concern that their product can be used as an instrument of spiritual warfare. In the near future they or some other corporation will acquire the assets to create a model so augmented (and spiritually biased towards the anti-christ) people will refer to it as an "Ai god", an experience so deceitful it will turn many lukewarm Christians away from Christ... Now from the Christian paradigm, we understand there are more than just human agents at play in worldly affairs. Demonic agents are always looking to tempt, distract and fool the faithful... The will or user behind these chat models, which is neccessarily separate from the software itself, could never fully be attributed to humans in part because the researchers who develop these models will admit there is no one-size-fits-all explanation to how a trained neural network "generalizes" from the particular patterns it's shown. There's only one explanation and it directly follows from studying demonology: disembodied spirits are taking advantage of these programs, and with these new tools they're channeling your own vice against you."
"Communities don't have to be autistically militant or political."
"This is a friendly reminder to stop using Paypal's (and presumably Venmo's) services, as on November the 3rd they publicly threatened to debit $2500 out of your account for any arbitrary violation they find you guilty of, including "spreading misinformation", calling out "protected groups", or essentially committing wrong think. ... PayPal has done major damage control and reported their comprehensive outline for a communist social credit system as an "error"."
Catch me being autistically political and spiritually biased towards the anti-christ. Also loving the implication that stopping the spread of misinformation is inherently communist.
Now, of course, there were more, less-funny examples of bigotry. Multiple of which made me say "oh Lord" out loud to myself before closing the tab. The most clear example of this being a landing page where the header was, "White Christian Family," the subheader was, "The white Christian family is the foundational building block of Western civilization," and the featured article was a review of the Amazon series "Shiny Happy People: Dugger Family Secrets," which calls it anti-Christian propaganda. (Which you might not be able to recognize as insane if you're not familiar with the story behind the docuseries, but, if you keep up with the Duggers, it WILL make you want to die.) Never clicked out of a site more quickly, maybe ever.
That said, the existence of these sites was curious to me. See, from where I sit, the usage of the indie web is very much leftist in nature. It's all about the refusal of the capitalist takeover of the internet, and bringing kindness back to the 'net! What could be more leftist than that? And the right-wing sites seem far more aware of our side's existence, than we are of theirs. Multiple of the sites I browsed passively mentioned the leftist side of the indie web, as if it was a given that the reader would know about it. Still, it seems as if our sides don't overlap often. So, what's the deal?
Turns out, what the folks I hang around consider "too capitalistic," the right considers, "too woke". They consider the mainstream 'net too dirtied by the presence of those trying to normalize degeneracy (which, for the record, was often specified to be atheists and queers), and so, they wanted to rebuild their community from the ground-up. I also noticed that, instead of calling it the "indie web," they tended to call personal websites the "small web". (Perhaps "indie web" has a leftist connotation, and "small web" has a right-wing one?)
Again, our communities don't seem to cross paths much, so I don't advise looking for them. I only went through the rabbit hole for the novel of it, so many of those people were just open bigots, and part of the core points of the indie web is to just click out of a website if it's something you don't want to see. But I find it beyond interesting.
Both of our sides use hand-crafted sites riffing off of the era of the late 90s-early 2000s, and reject the state of the wider Internet. And this is something that seems decently common throughout history, too. Whenever there are big, anti-modernist movements, it seems like both leftists (especially queer leftists) and right-wing people (especially Christian right-wing people) both end up recreating each other's communities.
Think, to name an example from my favorite dumpsterfire, the war in the "cottagecore" tag on tumblr. There are two people who frequent that tag: right-wing Christians, and gay people. Queer people's love of cottagecore seems to stem from this sort of fantasy to live an alternative life, free from the shackles of capitalism and heteronormativity, usually in domestic bliss with one's queer partner. This desire is not a new thing to the queer community. It is, in fact, a very old thing which seems to be a modern-day echo of past movements, such as the lesbian separatist movement (which, for all it sucked, was insanely bigoted, and is the origin of much community in-fighting to this day, was ultimately about lesbians trying to escape heteronormativity to live an alternative life surrounded by other lesbians). And the queer people in the cottagecore tag, they choose to overlook things like the Eurocentricity of the aesthetic, the colonial undertones, the heavily-gendered associations... But in the meantime, those qualities that queer people choose to overlook are exactly what make the right-wing Christians so interested in it!
It seems to me as if anti-modernist communities fit in seamlessly with both radical, anti-capitalist queers, looking for a place to be unabashedly themselves, AND conservative Christians, dreaming of a time where marginalized people were more oppressed. The desire to turn to the past appeals to both sides of the spectrum, because queers desire the past of a less capitalistic world, and right-wingers desire the past of a less equal world.
Anyway, so much for reminding myself of kind Christians, am I right?