Memes are still a messy business. They harm and strengthen. Sometimes the harmful ones can become empowering. That sometimes makes them even messier.
In 2014, people claimed that they identified themselves sexually as attack helicopters. The meme was designed to mock modern expressions of gender identity and sexuality, including those of the transgender community. Its creator, a video game player Team Fortress 2 stated in the original copypasta that anyone who refused to kill his right was a "heliphobe" who "should check his vehicle privilege" for a certain one Kind of internet users the post was extremely funny. From Team Fortress 2 chatrooms, the meme spread to Reddit and then to 4chan. Although usage peaked in mid-201
Earlier this year, the science fiction and fantasy magazine Clarkesworld published a short story by Isabel Fall entitled "I Sexually Identify Me as a Combat Helicopter". The story, which is apparently Fall's debut, follows the first "somatic woman" undergoing "tactical gender reassignment." It is more or less literally an army helicopter. "As a woman, I wanted my skin to be as smooth and dark as the sintered stone slab in our kitchen," says the narrator. "Now my skin is made of boron carbide and kevlar." The narrator's experience seemed to reflect the real difficulties of the transition. "Severe gender dysphoria," Fall writes, "can be a flight risk." The story took the offensive meme, knocked a few rotors on it and flew away to surprising places.
The reactions were violent. Readers who liked it saw that an author was deliberately subversive. "I expected the worst when I saw the title," wrote Reddit user Terminus0. "But I like how it takes up the proverb and takes it seriously … that people use to reject gender mobility and make it literal." Most of the others in the thread agreed and said they found the piece gripping, pleasantly surprising or reminiscent of eroticism Chuck Tingle, the outstanding provocateur of sci-fi. "I have been talking to everyone I meet about for days about" I sexually identify myself as an attack helicopter "." @Hoverpope tweeted . "It was canonized immediately for me." Other celebrities included the well-known author Carmen Maria Machado, who praised the messy boldness of the story. It also called out the critics, of whom there seemed to be as many. "My heart is so depressed and my brain is so angry," Machado tweeted .
As Machado noted, some of the loudest critics did not seem to come from extreme right-wing forums, but from their own social environment, judicial circles and the queer community. The meme's offensive to some transgender readers could not be removed. “[The meme] was built for a specific purpose. Mock and hurt. Think of it as a weapon. A weapon has only one use: to hurt, “tweeted @aphoebebarton although she admitted she hadn't read the story. Others claimed that a trans person had never written a piece like “Attack Helicopter” and that the author may actually have been a troll. "[The comments have] I was concerned that these people would try to troll the Hugos again," tweeted @ 1000YearPlan, referring to attempts by reactionary readers to kidnap the Hugo Awards a few years ago with the transphobic feel of the original meme , Some believed that the author was probably a "radical feminist with an exclusion clause" (commonly referred to as TERF), as Fall spoke about gender and dysphoria and the experience of transsexuality. "The story is about a woman who is" convicted "by the government, which is a major concern of the TERF," tweeted @EffInvictus . Finally, everything that seemed to be known about Isabel Fall – who apparently has no website – including her year of birth in 1988, was put under the microscope. For some, the year seemed important, since the number 88 is sometimes a Nazi pipe, the code of which is Heil Hitler (H is the eighth letter of the alphabet).