Wojaks are a convenient meme template, but using them might not help the fascism/Roman link problem. Especially when they use physical differences / disability as a shorthand to represent bad decisions or low intelligence.

Deceptichum avatar

Ancient Rome has become a symbol of the alt-right/fashies.

They glorify imperialism and the trampling of indigenous peoples and the destruction of their cultures.

They kept trying it with Rhodesia, but it didn't take off because it's too obvious.

PugJesus avatar

We're giving up Rome too, now? I can't say I'm onboard with that. Symbolism has power, and letting fascists run off with all the symbolism they want to is nothing less than ceding power to those cretins.

Deceptichum avatar

Why do you want to "reclaim" Rome?

Frankly Rome sucks, it destroyed Europe's rich and unique cultures and allowed some middle eastern death cult to finish the job.

PugJesus avatar

Reclaim? That presumes Rome has been lost, which it has not.

As to why, I could go on and on about the value of Rome in the development of republicanism and the eventual Enlightenment era ideals which most modern Western ideologies to the left of Hitler run on, but I think it suffices in this case, to simply point out that you are in 'RoughRomanMemes' and the purpose of this place is to be enthusiastic about Rome.

PugJesus avatar

Wojaks are extremely widespread in meme communities, hardly a fascist link. As for representing bad decisions or low intelligence, I'm not sure how one is expected to visually depict bad decisions or low intelligence if "Head with a skull caved down to the jaw" and "Blemmyes" are being counted as depictions of disability.

I appreciate that you have an interest in preventing misunderstandings or links to fascism, considering the predilection for fascists to attempt to appropriate communities and symbols of Classical Antiquity, but I think the net is cast a bit wide on this particular criticism.


Unfortunately they were co-opted and popularised on 4chan's /pol/ from krautchan's /int/ board, which are pretty notoriously alt-right breeding grounds. They ruined Pepe the Frog the same way. Notice how the masculine 'chad' man and feminine woman characters also play into Aryan 'ideal' tropes. I definitely appreciate that most people who use them now are not familiar with that history, but it informs some of the design decisions and frequent comic topics.

As for depicting bad decisions or low intelligence, I'm not sure that do need a visual depiction at all, but perhaps one that doesn't associate them with physical differences is a start. I would have gone with clowns as the depiction for bad decisions, but that's just me.

I get that being headless is a huge exaggeration, but for people born with anencephaly, or people who experience traumatic brain injuries and a craniectomy, I doubt it helps with how they are widely perceived.


They can co-op anything. Why give them the power to take over anything by using it for hateful depictions? Yielding to them whatever they want doesn’t seem particularly useful either.

fiat_lux, (edited )

Because there comes a point where you're no longer reclaiming a symbol, but actually adopting the vocabulary and glossary of hate.

The Romans are based on the "I wish i was home" character. It's not 100% verified to be made by someone on 4chan, but I'm pretty sure it was.

The British Brainlets on the other hand, are definitely 4chan-created, and contain a vast array of symptoms associated with medical conditions / disability to communicate the concept of "bad decisions". And some of the original 4chan commentary mentions eugenics.

In my opinion, it's harmful to people with disability go continue to use the visual language of hatred. Just like it was harmful to keep using minstrel show blackface.

There are an infinite number of images at our fingertips that don't have a history of use as right-wing propaganda. That's all. Why give them the power by yielding? Perhaps the question could be: Why give them the power by spreading their messages when there are so many other options?

thrawn, (edited )

Truth be told, I don’t think I’m on the internet enough to comment here. I don’t see the drawings as Aryan, but it occurs to me that I don’t know what Aryans actually look like. Alt-right content is pretty difficult to come across these days so I haven’t seen them used for hate either. Even after seeing the “I wish I was home” character I don’t see how it’s hateful, it just looks like typical self deprecating humor about one’s social aversions.

So to me, it felt like you were making the associations between the common drawings and the alt-right for them— I’ve never actually seen them co-ot either this or Pepe, and I hadn’t ever associated it with 4chan users. I don’t think most people do, but being out of touch with deep internet culture, perhaps I’m just wrong. It just feels like, without seeing the actual hate comics (easy to avoid, I filtered out T_D back in the day and don’t visit 4chan), the only claims the alt-right has to these is when others say it’s theirs. I still don’t think we should be bringing up the alt-right when they aren’t explicitly mentioned— my stance is they are best ignored in civil society and combatted only when their rhetoric actually appears— but I’m not versed enough to be able to disagree here. Knowing now that these drawings are meant to be alt-right only seems to increase the influence they have.

As for the “brainlets” I see what you mean. I had not associated the headlessness with real disabilities, but upon further inspection I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what it was meant to be.

Edit: it’s just, where is the line drawn? If they begin to use Iron Man or Hello Kitty, does that become theirs too? Even if the Roman characters are 4chan made, I would think it better to remove their influence on it and allow it to become another random meme drawing.


Leaving the Mediterranean to serve in the British isles would have suuuuuuuucked.

PugJesus avatar

"Oh boy I can't wait to leave the balmy, mild climate of Italy to serve in a wet, freezing bog up north!" - no Roman legionary ever


Should have just let the Anglo and dutch to keep fighting over it

Deceptichum avatar

It was another 400 years before the Angles, Jutes, and Saxons arrived.

And the Celtic mainland and insular tribes were pretty close (if not many of the same peoples, eg. the Atrebates).

PugJesus avatar

"You there, Britunculus! What's your name?"

"... Bart."

"What is of worth here? What do you dream about? What do you spend all day thinking about?"

"... rocks."

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