Performative Radicalism: the Kumbi PSYOP Favorite 



Jul 16 2017


Boston, MA

The internet has reshaped the ways we learn and communicate. Information becomes heuristic, concomitantly - knowledge becomes protean. If you dedicate enough time to any particular platform, you are likely to acquire a community with congenial individuals. Social media’s proliferation has obfuscated the lines between reality and fiction. Embraced as a tool for many, these digital spaces typically have no monitoring process. Our capacity to stratify an ally from an enemy becomes complicated. Culturally, we have entered an epoch replete with epistemological quandaries. Parsing the phenomenon of alt-right YouTuber, BG Kumbi aka Kevin supplements this aporia.
In 2017, Kumbi surprised his faithful followers when he declared he was joining Antifa. This proclamation transpired in tandem with a period of inauthentic Antifa pages quickly developing; Kumbi expeditiously gained recognition. Fox News host Jesse Watters invited the troll on his show. Throughout the conversation, Watters probes Kumbi’s association regarding Antifa. Kumbi’s ability to manipulate media mogul exposes how dense media outlets are. While Fox has an egregious vetting process, they still have an audience who maintains sacrosanct opinions about their programming. Conservatives across the country were left with opinions regarding Antifa’s fantastical aspirations, oblivious to Kumbi’s usual programming. They were being manipulated in an unprecedented way.
Serving as an epic prank for alt-right trolls, this scenario postulates pernicious harbingers for those on the left. Kumbi’s victory demands that Antifa is actualized beyond the delimitations of digital structures. This situation is gravely pernicious and evidence that alt-right members are establishing an international guerilla movement, both on and off the internet. They are infiltrating our leftist spaces and we can no longer distinguish them. Throughout the performance, Kumbi remained transparent about his tropes. Transmogrifying himself from conservative to leftist by simply cloaking himself in all black. Perspicacious in the traits emblematic of radical anarchists, Kumbi could accurately pose as one.
The conversation between Kumbi and Watters allowed him to further augment himself into an ostensible leftist. Delineating his impetus as “utter freaking chaos,” the alt-right troll harnessed words as an epithet. As he voraciously described that he wanted to “smash the fasc,” he communicated to the conservative viewers that he was affiliated with their enemy. Playing into the fearmongering methods of media, words and language became his trope. Leftist lexicon became a mechanism for his performance. Employing a tenuous understanding of critical race theory, Kumbi eroded its significance. Further, he fomented conservative paranoia about the inevitable communist revolution. Winning in his effort to expose how vacuous media is, attaining a win for trolls everywhere.

Posted by marisa iovino on

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