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Meme Wars  By  cover art

Meme Wars

By: Joan Donovan,Emily Dreyfuss,Brian Friedberg
Narrated by: Rick Adamson
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Publisher's Summary

Bloomsbury presents Meme Wars by Joan Donovan, Emily Dreyfuss and Brian Friedberg, read by Rick Adamson.

A groundbreaking investigation into the digital underworld, where far-right operatives wage wars against mainstream America, from a masterful trio of experts in media and tech.

Memes have long been dismissed as inside jokes with no political importance. Nothing could be further from the truth. Memes are bedrock to the strategy of conspiracists such as Alex Jones, provocateurs like Milo Yiannopoulos, white nationalists like Nick Fuentes, and tacticians like Roger Stone. While the media and most politicians struggle to harness the organizing power of the internet, the “redpill right” weaponizes memes, pushing conspiracy theories and disinformation into the mainstream to drag people down the rabbit hole. These meme wars stir strong emotions, deepen partisanship, and get people off their keyboards and into the streets—and the steps of the US Capitol.

Meme Wars is the first major account of how “Stop the Steal” went from online to real life, from the wires to the weeds. Leading media expert Joan Donovan, PhD, veteran tech journalist Emily Dreyfuss, and cultural ethnographer Brian Friedberg pull back the curtain on the digital war rooms in which a vast collection of anti-establishmentarians bond over hatred of liberal government and media. Together as a motley reactionary army, they use memes and social media to seek out new recruits, spread ideologies, and remake America according to their desires. 

A political thriller with the substance of a rigorous history, Meme Wars is the astonishing story of how extremists are yanking our culture and politics to the right. And it’s a warning that if we fail to recognize these powerful undercurrents, the great meme war for the soul of America will soon be won.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2022 Joan Donovan, Emily Dreyfuss, Brian Friedberg (P)2022 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Critic Reviews

"Clear-eyed and persuasive, this is an alarming look at how internet culture has imperiled democracy." (Publishers Weekly)

"Meme Wars unearths a history of the internet that otherwise would have remained buried forever. Analyzing the negative consequences of unchecked power, rapid growth, and the political adoption of social media by bad actors, the authors create a compelling case for redesigning global technologies to serve the public interest." (Maria Ressa, founder of Rappler and winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize)

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More of an historical document

A comprehensive retracing of the last decade of players and ideas behind political and cultural meme wars. If you’re hoping for strategies to defeat the toxic elements of the culture, this isn’t the book to diagnose and repair the culture. It serves as a timeline, covering the evolution of right and hard-right movements from early liberal “Occupy” foundations. More history than theory, it helps fill in the blanks in coverage, but offers no solutions. File between “LikeWar” and “Mindf*ck” on your political theory and disinformation shelf.

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10 min in and pepe the frog is pronounced wrong

I'm only on chapter 3 but the narrator grossly mispronounces Pepe the Frog... can't take him seriously. Seems like they could have caught that mistake or chosen a narrator who's vaguely aware of memes.