Identity Dixie has a new article this morning about optics.
“Optics, for those still unfamiliar with this term, means how the public perceives you by your words and actions. Optics play a huge part of our daily lives, whether we know it or not. As Southern Nationalists, optics should always be a top priority. We need to stand out from the rest of the country by being upstanding citizens, dressing well, carrying ourselves with dignity and always speaking with truth, honesty and courage.
These days, the Alt-Right has lost touch with this concept. To the modern Alt-Right, optics are nothing more then a piece of equipment you put on your budget-built AR. You’re not going to win over the masses by playing GI Joe in the woods, trying to prepare for the upcoming one-man, John Rambo boogaloo. You’re not going to sway public opinion by handing out controversial literature or burning religious books and giving the Roman salute. …”
Perception isn’t everything, but it isn’t unimportant either. The best optics in the world won’t matter if your message is shit, but the best message in the world won’t resonate if it is presented in a way that repulses its intended audience. This is the cringe factor.
Personally, I don’t consider most of the things which fall under the umbrella of the optics debate to be a legitimate part of it: of course it is better to be physically fit, but being in good health is justifiable on its own merits because health is a good in its own right. Of course you should brush your teeth, bathe, maintain proper hygiene and dress well, but maintaining your appearance is a good in life that has nothing to do with politics. Of course you shouldn’t use foul language to communicate your ideas or be motivated by malevolence, but these are not good traits to have in life anyway. No, you probably shouldn’t get a neck tattoo of a swastika to draw negative attention to your identity crisis either.
The optics debate that goes on within White Nationalism (the 1.0 movement) and the Alt-Right (the 2.0 movement) stems from the fact that both of these movements are ultimately based on race and have little to say about culture. Yes, it is absolutely true that race exists and that race matters and that Jews have enormous power and influence in our society, but there is more to life than racial differences and the Jewish Question. Even within the European family, there are major ethnic, cultural and religious differences. Ignoring these cultural differences leads to a failure to communicate.
As Southerners, we should already have a sense of what is going to resonate with our own people and what will be seen as cringe. Insofar as there is an optics debate within the Southern Nationalist community, we should always be mindful of how our message will appear to Southerners. Generally speaking, the less deracinated and autistic you are the less this is a problem because your ability to pick up on and interpret cultural cues is a byproduct of how well grounded you are in Southern culture.
Occidental Dissent is a Deep South blog. It is written from a tone and perspective that ought to be familiar to people from the Deep South: being polite and respectful, but responsive to insults, the absence of vulgarity and racial epithets, the absence of raw racial hatred due to familiarity with racial diversity, the low-key assumption that race exists is something that is taken for granted and floats in the background to some of the articles here rather than being treated as some huge discovery. Everyone here already knows that race exists. Similarly, we are authoritarian and have strong social conservative values.
Let me show you the difference:
This is a Daily Stormer flier that is currently being distributed in black neighborhoods in Seattle.
Here is a Daily Stormer flier that is currently being posted on synagogues.
Now, when I look at this I see bad optics on a number of levels. What kind of person would post a flier that celebrates a mass shooting on a church? Why are these people deliberately targeting churches, synagogues and mosques? Isn’t that asking to get to charged with a crime?
The people who are distributing these fliers aren’t grounded in their local culture whether it is Southern culture or otherwise. Instead, they crawled out of the gutter of internet nihilism. The internet is their home and the point of these fliers is to troll and shock and draw media attention to the spectacle. Perhaps they are successful to some extent in reaching other deracinated, nihilistic weirdos with these crude fliers, but they are definitely not reaching normal people with this sort of messaging.
If we want to reach the mainstream of Southern culture, then our message has to be presented in such a way that wouldn’t be out of place in, say, a BBQ restaurant in Tupelo, MS or a fish camp in Wadesboro, NC. It can’t be wrapped up in a subculture as thick as the Führerbunker. If we want to change Southern culture though, then we are going to have to go above the mainstream of normal people who always get their opinions from their elites and directly engage with those elites.
I think too much time is spent on both the gutter (yes, I am guilty of taking shots at it) and trying to impress the mainstream. Normal people are too distracted by their everyday lives to notice or think much about patriotic demonstrations. They tend to passively absorb culture from above. It is the vision of the existing political and cultural elite that needs to be criticized and engaged with.