Because apparently the primary cultural narrative of the past decade is the internet’s ability to slowly, covertly derange small portions of the population, iconic actor and Star Trek star William Shatner has now taken the red pill, spending most of the past couple days trolling feminists and SJWs on Twitter. Though his bio on the (free!) website claims he is “not political,” Shatner issued this impish tweet last week, which pretty much functions as a textbook definition of trolling:
That is not a typical day for anyone but the worst humans in existence! Then, on Sunday, he reopened a long-standing beef with fans of the TV show Outlander, essentially quibbling over the real-life relationship status of several of the stars. But online, hardcore fans of fantasy arcana do not merely debate details, they go to war, clad in the armor of anonymous internet commenters and wielding the weapons of political correctness, doxing, and superior logic. The details of Shatner’s beef with Outlander fans are complex and annoying—you can read some more about it here—but what’s worth noting is the ease and familiarity with which he defined misandry for his opponents and attacked them as SJWs and snowflakes. It’s the full checklist of alt-right shitposting touchpoints.
There are a lot, and you don’t need to read them all, because you already have: They are the words of the anonymous screaming Yu-Gi-Oh characters and Heath Ledger Jokers and ancient philosophers that have come to buzz behind the curtain of American cultural discourse for the past half-decade. If you are online, you are familiar. Star Wars even got roped in!
As of this morning, after a brief respite sleeping, he is back down in the pits, picking fights with individual people and labeling them “trolls,” because it is an ironclad law of internet rhetoric that you can always call someone you disagree with a troll, and also that an argument only gets better with each passing day.
The 86-year-old actor has increasingly shown himself to be familiar with the very worst of the internet. Earlier this year, he supported an autism charity linked with the anti-vaccination movement, and when an actual scientist critiqued him for that he started using scurrilous websites like TruthWiki, Newstarget, and NaturalNews to make his counterargument. That he could find them on Google seemed to be justification enough. In May, he expressed a strong literacy of 4chan and Baneposting, full of winking asides to Kekistan. And, while the actor is historically left-leaning, and is most associated with a TV show frequently held up as a paragon of neoliberal, techno-utopian ideals, he has claimed throughout that his war against SJWs isn’t political, which is perhaps the most 4chan argument of all. It’s an ideology-free antagonism, argument for the sake of argument—a rich, old, straight white guy cackling as he offends the world’s snowflakes. He will make a great Secretary Of State in 2018.