The Alt-Right’s attack on Comet Ping Pong and Postmodernism

by | Dec 6, 2016 | National/International

We, as LGBT+, have a shared culture. We have film, art, music, even food that defines who we are. Our tastes range, from the highest of modern art, to classical, punk to camp. Camp, and our contributions to that form, is our shining achievement. It is largely our artform, a collection of all that we are. It’s an insurgent attack on the bourgeoisie that finds us tacky. It is a giant middle finger to the trite, conformist culture to which we never belonged.

Susan Perlman
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the fantasy investigation “just like on TV!”

According to the conspiracy theorists, these images are references pedophilia. They claim that pizza is a code for pedophilia. It would seem that no stone has been left unturned. They attack James for wearing a shirt that says “I love L’enfant” — the cafe — confusing the french for “I love Infants.” throwing basic grammar out the window to fit it into their narrative. Why are we not surprised?

The social media attack wasn’t the final word from the Alt-Right on this. After multiple threats, an increase in security, and still more threats; a gunman entered Comet pizza and fired a shot through the ceiling with an assault rifle. He told the police he was “self-investigating”.

All of this begs the question, “How can they get it so wrong?” Part of it is that these people are actively engaged in a process to seek out and destroy degenerates, leading to rampant confirmation bias, and the kind of sophomoric arguments you hear at a keg party in High School. But, there may be something else to take from this.

Researcher and writer John Fiske writes that the chaos of postmodern work grants audiences the ability to construct their own interpretation:

“Popularity is seductively easy to understand if we persist with the fallacious belief that we live in a homogeneous society and that people are fundamentally all the same. But it becomes much more complex when we take into account that late capitalist societies are composed of a huge variety of social groups and subcultures, all held together in a network of social relations in which the most significant factor is the differential distribution of power….”[T]he people” are not cultural dopes….”

Here we are seeing Camp re-written into something disgusting. Where Artists and the LGBT+ see a postmodernist subversive argument that flies in the face of Victorian values of conformity. Conformists see a dangerous element, which probably participates child pornography and pedophilia. It’s true that Camp and Postmodernism is wide open to interpretation, it’s just that some people may not have the intelligence or the education to find it.