TikTok und die Politik der Gen-Z

Joshua Citarella in einem großartigen Text beim hervorragenden Link-Aggregator New Models (so ein bisschen wie Drudge Report, nur links) über neue IRONY POLITICS & GEN Z und wie der Context Collapse auf großen Plattformen durch schiere User-Masse die eigentlich ironische Grenzüberschreitung durch Shitposting von ihrer Ambivalenz befreit und zu Radikalisierung von Jugendlichen führt. Citarella macht dafür faule Altlinke und Babyboomer verantwortlich, die lieber darauf warten wollten, bis alte und konservative Wählerschichten wegsterben, anstatt eine Vision für eine Zukunft mit Klimawandel und einer immer weiter um sich greifenden wirtschaftlichen Ungleichheit auszuarbeiten und so den Weg bereiteten für die nihilistische Weltsicht der nachfolgenden Generationen.

Der Text behandelt noch weitaus mehr, von den Kulturkriegen auf TikTok und Kids, die online ironische traditionelle Lebensentwürfe feiern („Tradwifes“) über Cringe Politics bis hin zu linkem Pushback auf Youtube von etwa Contrapoints und Zero Books. Der Artikel ist auch ein sort-of Nachfolger zu Joshua Citarellas PDF-Artikel Politigram and the Post-Left, über den ich hier vor einer Weile gebloggt hatte.

Eine meiner Lieblingsstellen:

Over the past four years of closely observing [tiktok] I have seen innumerable users undergo radical transformations in their beliefs provided they are exposed to new ideas. At the center, you will see teenagers shuffle between Left and Right on issues like guns and abortion. At the far edges, you will find transgender fascists who un-ironically support animal rights and global genocide. Some of the same teenagers who ran Pepe meme accounts in 2016 are now young Marxist scholars who spend their evenings gaming and chatting about Hegel in Discord servers with PhD students. I wouldn’t believe it myself if I hadn’t met them.

New Models: IRONY POLITICS & GEN Z

Memes are mental viruses. They create positive feedback loops. Unlike most other forms of media, memes do not tend to fatigue or oversaturate their viewers. Instead, the more one sees a meme, the more one wants to see that meme more. In this way, memes function as a type of exploit in today’s attention economy. Potent memes will get stuck in your head for days. Once the concept takes hold, it becomes difficult to mentally steer out of. Memes nudge our way of thinking. They become a type of augmented reality, overlaying the world and social relationships.

TikTok is a place where young users are actively forming their politics. TikTok resonates with Gen Z for various reasons, among them the duet chain (“I relate to your post by building on it with mine”) resembles the Marxist dialectic of individual autonomy within collectivity. In the crisis handed to them, young people have already realized that their own political interests are more aligned with collectivities than the type of California Ideology and libertarian individualism built into networks like Facebook or Instagram.11 If channeled correctly, youth frustration has the potential to become a revolutionary political force.

A youth movement signaling away from liberalism is significant because it reveals the center establishment’s lack of a real vision for the future. Under the mantra of demographic change (an ever increasing population of young people and growing racial diversity), liberal Democrats have assumed they can wait out the inevitable victory over aging white conservatives. This faulty assumption has prevented much of the liberal Left from considering the true appeal of their message. Failure to present a compelling political option will lose increasing numbers of young people to nihilism, to the Right, and ultimately to fascism. Public wealth is the only real solution to our crisis.

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