• DignifAI: 4chan Anons Stir Culture Wars Again

    February 10, 2024
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    Source: 4chan screencap

    "Scuzziest Corner Of The Internet" Or Free Speech Warriors?

    4chan is inscrutable. It's that way by design, of course: its users are anonymous. There are further levels of inscrutability, however. One is rarely certain that one isn't arguing with a bot, and when engaging with another human, the likelihood that they are LARPing (live action role play, pretending to be someone they aren't) is not insignificant.

    "4chan" generally refers to one of the many sub-sites on the image board platform, that being Politically Incorrect, or /pol/. There are other categories to explore, from hobbies to anime, from cars to weapons, from video games to plain old banter, but /pol/ gets the most traffic. Sometimes the threads are straightforwardly political. At times they veer into more tangential matters.

    The denizens of /pol/ tend to be male, 16-50 years old, and generally dissatisfied with the state of the world. Many users are from foreign countries, and most are identified as such by geographical location flags (some users choose "memeflags" such as a Gadsden or anarchist flag, to hide their physical location, some do this every single time).

    On its surface, /pol/ is virulently racist, sexist, and exclusive. The coin of the realm is the site's slang, which makes "newfags" easy to spot. Despite being anonymous, users (aka anons) are quick to claim /pol/ veteran status as a point of pride. Any anon worth his salt knows the axiom, "You're here forever."

    It's where you end up when your irl friends are sick of entertaining your worst thoughts.

    It's a redpill (and blackpill) factory (source: 4chan screencap).

    It's OK To Be White, "Cucking" Shia LaBeouf

    Every so often, an anon on /pol/ strikes cultural pay dirt. Two relatively famous examples: the "It's okay to be white" flyers that anons printed and then taped up around college campuses, bus stops, public kiosks, and the like. The sentiment expressed is, to a logical person, unimpeachable. However, in the eyes of anyone woke, it's akin to a heil Hitler salute.

    /pol/, the eternal gadfly (YouTube screencap).

    This dissonance, the mimetic equivalent of a wink, is the fuel that powers the site. Whereas Reddit users trip over themselves to virtue signal, /pol/ utterly rejects any whiff of fake sentiment. Conspiracy theories thrive. Every so often, someone with a juicy secret of local, national, or global significance drops it on /pol/. One can be a whistleblower without repercussions.

    Another notorious /pol/ prank was the trolling of Shia LaBoeuf's "He Will Not Divide Us" media installation in 2017. The anti-Trump livestream was forced to move--not once, but twice--as a result. In both instances, anons located and despoiled the project again. Describing it clinically misses the essence of the thing, so in case you've never heard of this epic saga, watch it here.

    LaBoeuf's ill-fated project (YouTube screencap)

    Part of the aforementioned inscrutability of /pol/ is that the users are such a mixed bag. Poor, wealthy, urban, rural, manic, depressive, many self-identifying as autistic (some joking, some not), Russians arguing with Ukrainians, Palestinians vs. Jews, and everyone against Canadians. That said, there is something approaching an ethos of /pol/, and that is the hope that the world will improve.

    For some, this means a Fourth Turning, a return to Christian and family values. For others, it is the expulsion or genocide of classes of people, be it based on religion, skin color, or political belief. The specific desires are wildly different, but it's fair to say that no one who bothers to spend time on /pol/--dealing with bots, demoralization shills, psy-op perpetrators, site mods (aka janitors or "jannies"), feds, and international agents paid to foster and/or counter a narrative about a particular country, politician, or political movement--is satisfied with the status quo.

    Dignity, /pol/ Style

    4chan's latest splash in the mainstream is due to an anon using AI to digitally clothe immodest women of the internet, such as OnlyFans models, e-girls, celebrities, et al. He and other anons also blot out tattoos and change garish hair dyes back to natural colors. The result of this neo-Puritanical exercise is to cut through the mumbling about eroding mores and to demonstrate succinctly what is sorely missing from modern society. Namely, dignity.

    Who among us hasn't shaken his head at the decline of morals in the age of the internet? Pornography used to be some magazines hidden in the back of a drawer, not barely legal girls flaunting and selling their bodies online behind a locked bedroom door while mom washes the dishes downstairs. What if someone, somewhere, somehow fixed these women? Sounds like a job for /pol/.

    A #dignifAI thread on /pol/ with instructions for other anons (4chan screencap).

    The effect of altering a brazenly sexual image to make it more wholesome is more profound than it might seem. Take a look at some of these before/after images.

    Source: Twitter screencap
    Source: 4chan screencap.
    Source: 4chan screencap.
    Source: 4chan screencap.
    Source: 4chan screencap.

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