Corporate social media is so lame! Let's make it racist, too! That'll teach 'em.
Thanks, Caity. Now I can no longer sail through life not knowing the Fourteen Words.
Coca-Cola this week tweeted out images made out of the Fourteen Words credo of white nationalism, as well as snippets from Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. Gawker writers tricked them into doing that, so I guess that means Gawker wins...at spreading Nazi propaganda online.
I don't write for Gawker, so I don't really get outraged. There is a logic to saying "if Coke is stupid enough to set up an algorithm that will reprint Nazi propaganda, then Coke deserves to be made to reprint Nazi propaganda." It's called troll logic and it's boring. If you're giving millions of people the opportunity to discover hate speech firsthand and the point you're making is boring, you are wasting an opportunity.
Show your support for the #MakeItHappy movement. “Sign" our Smile Petition with your smiling face. pic.twitter.com/MeYZeb3ILj
— Coca-Cola (@CocaCola) February 4, 2015
Almost-but-not-quite-as gross as white supremacy.
This all started in response to Coke's #MakeItHappy campaign. That Twitter promotion reached high-fructose-corn-syrup levels of sappiness by turning "negative tweets" into ASCII cartoons (you know, pictures made out of text). Someone call you a bunch of slurs and threaten to kill you? Coke would turn it into a happy balloon animal.
Gawker writer Caity Weaver kicked it off by sending Coke the Fourteen Words of white nationalism, "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children," which became the image at the top of this article. Gross, ew, yuck, ew.
Limit One White Supremacy Prank Per Customer
"German-Austria must be restored to the great German Motherland. And not indeed on any grounds of economic calculation whatsoever. No, no." (via Hitler/Gawker)
If it was just what Caity did, that would be fine. We could debate whether it falls into the category of "people calling over-the-top offensiveness 'irony' when really it's still pretty offensive," like a white guy who loudly pretends to hold racist opinions and then wants everyone to laugh with him. But I like to err on the side of fucking with companies. It was a good play on "we turned the hate you found into something happy" and it serves a point about how poorly Coke was checking their tweets.
"Even if the union were a matter of economic indifference, and even if it were to be disadvantageous from the economic standpoint, still it ought to take place. People of the same blood should be in the same REICH. The German people will have no right to engage in a colonial policy until they shall have brought all their children together in the one State." (via Hitler/Gawker)
Then it kept going. Gawker felt that #MakeItHappy "pose[d] an interesting hermeneutical question." I can never remember whether hermeneutics is the academic word for textual analysis or metaphorically performing oral sex on yourself, but this should have been the point at which they realized they were all the way inside their own buttholes.
"When the territory of the REICH embraces all the Germans and finds itself unable to assure them a livelihood," (via Hitler/Gawker)
The Editorial Labs director for Gawker, Adam Pash, built a bot (@MeinCoke) that tweeted Hitler's magnum opus Mein Kampf line by line at Coke. Here the joke really begins to break down, because, y'know, you're spending time creating a program that reads Hitler aloud online and hoping a company with 2.85 million Twitter followers will accidentally, as they put it, "#SignalBoost Hitler."
"only then can the moral right arise, from the need of the people to acquire foreign territory. The plough is then the sword; and the tears of war will produce the daily bread for the generations to come."
They succeeded, and Hitler was soon being recited to millions.
"And so this little frontier town appeared to me as the symbol of a great task. But in another regard also it points to a lesson that is applicable to our day. Over a hundred years ago this sequestered spot was the" (via Hitler/Gawker)
Did you really want to embarrass Coca-Cola, or were you all just swept away by your own cleverness? Because you could have made Coke write out things that are actually damaging to itself.
"scene of a tragic calamity which affected the whole German nation and will be remembered for ever, at least in the annals of German history. At the time of our Fatherland's deepest humiliation a bookseller, Johannes Palm," (via Hitler/Gawker)
The Coca-Cola Company is terrible. You could get them to accidentally reprint literature about how it causes health problems around the world, how its suppliers use terrible pesticides, how it's draining our fresh water supplies, or about their promotion of unrealistic standards of holiday cheer among polar bears. Frankly, the rate at which Diet Coke cans have that unacceptable moldy-metallic taste has been on the rise, too.
"uncompromising nationalist and enemy of the French, was put to death here because he had the misfortune to have loved Germany well. He obstinately refused to disclose the names of his associates, or rather the principals who were chiefly responsible for the affair. Just as it happened with Leo Schlageter. The former, like the latter, was denounced to the French by a Government agent. It was a director of police from Augsburg who won an ignoble renown on that occasion and set the example which was to be copied at a later date by the" (via Hitler/Gawker)
You really want to embarrass Coke? You wanna talk about Coke and Nazis? How about the fact that Coke kept manufacturing in Germany right up until the war, several high-level executives were members of the American Nazi Party, and when the US executives were kicked out (along with syrup supplies), Coca-Cola Deutschland invented Fanta. When Coke returned right behind Patton's tanks, they were delighted to find piles of Nazi Fanta money waiting for them.
"neo-German officials of the REICH under Herr Severing's regime. In this little town on the Inn, haloed by the memory of a German martyr, a town that was Bavarian by blood but under the rule of the Austrian State, my parents were domiciled towards the end of the last century." (via Hitler/Gawker)
Or why not trick Coke into promoting things Gawker ostensibly likes? Why not have them make animals out of criticisms of privilege? Why not ASCII art that rips apart Rolling Stone for botching their UVA report and making it harder for victims of sexual violence everywhere? If the only thing you could think of was white nationalism, WHY NOT JUST HAVE THEM SAY "BUTTS"?
"My father was a civil servant who fulfilled his duties very conscientiously." (via Hitler/Gawker)
Coca-Cola did end their campaign, which means we may never know what a dancing banana made out of social criticism looks like. But at least now everyone knows the Fourteen Words!