The alt right will not stop until they cover American pop culture in a thin sheen of their own filth. Pepe the frog, Moon Man, Evangelion’s Asuka, Lord Kek, the sheriff badge, and, of course, Taylor Swift were all formerly harmless symbols of peace and love until appropriated by online Neo-Nazi movements.
So what piece of the zeitgeist will be next in their never-ending crusade to ruin everything?
The progressive bastion Salon has the totally-not-alarmist answer to this question: History Channel’s Vikings.
Vikings is the hugely popular drama based on the lives of a band of plunderers in Scandinavia who kill, steal and worship Odin. The author begins the article as a preview from the upcoming season, before devolving into a piece of 2016 post election anxiety.
Lurking in the back of my mind right now is the knowledge that these stories are part of a culture and religion that’s been co-opted by racists. Christianity is still the primary religion of white nationalists, but Viking mythology is playing an increasingly prominent role in supremacy movements, much to the distress of nonracist modern worshipers of those deities.
Uh oh. The author links to a six year old article showing that white supremacists have a hankering for Odinism, the pagan religion of Norse mythology. So should we ban the show now, or just curl into fetal position and cry for the takeover of our favorite historical drama?
“Vikings” has no reason to apologize for the appropriation of the culture upon which it’s based by ignorant, hateful people. It still distressing that the inflated presence of bigotry in everyday life threatens to affect my consumption of this prime-time pleasure.
While there is no evidence that the alt right is using Vikings as part of their white supremacist meme machine, that does not mean we shouldn’t panic about it. Vikings used to be an “all white space” (something racists like) in previous seasons due to historical necessity, but now the gang is sailing through the Mediterranean into Northern Africa (something racists don’t like). The author expects an outpouring of bigotry once the cast meets brown people.
It would come as no surprise to see white supremacists freak out about something stupid, but why Vikings? Can’t Ragnar and Lagertha just go about their adventures in peace without becoming the next Pepe? Or will the perilous alt right ensnare them too?