A style guide for Nazis (yes, actual Nazis) shows how words matter

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Source: The Daily Stormer via HuffPost

HuffPost got access to the style guide for The Daily Stormer, a prominent neo-Nazi website. It’s like most style guides except in the language it contains about Jews and racial slurs. If you can bear to look at it, it might make you think about the language you’re using, too.

I’ll start this post with a disclaimer.

The views of those who post on the Daily Stormer are racist, disgusting, and evil. If you are offended by a clear and objective discussion about evil — and evil language — then this post will offend you. I prefer to look evil straight in the face, but that’s not for everybody. My posting of this material does not constitute endorsement of anything you read here.

Nazi style is mostly consistent with normal usage

HuffPost’s Ashley Feinberg obtained the full 17-page style guide that the site’s leader, Andrew Anglin, requires Daily Stormer contributors to follow. (The full style guide is here.)

Most of it is the same normal grammatical conventions the rest of us will follow. (And yes, I’ll never think of the words “grammar Nazi” the same way again.) For example:

Title

Every word other than short (4 or fewer letters) “minor” words should be capitalized in the title, unless the short “minor” word is the first or last word in the title or the first word
following a semicolon. . . .

American Standards

All spelling should be American/international English, rather than British.

If you’re not used to this, it may be useful for you to change your spellchecker settings.

Additionally, in American English the period or comma goes inside the quotation marks. The question mark goes inside only if it is part of the quote. Otherwise it is outside.

There is no comment on passive voice or the Oxford (serial) comma.

The advice on article structure is effective . . . but also disturbing

Lede

The “lede” is the first sentence of the article, which introduces it. Strong ledes are very important. It should be as punchy and straightforward as possible. Often, the lede, as a single sentence, should be followed by a paragraph break, as this increases its impact.

Short paragraphs

Paragraphs should be as short as possible. Generally, that means between two and three sentences. AP and Reuters articles are a good guide for this. Even when a paragraph break would not necessarily appropriate in a traditional sense, one should be inserted if the paragraph gets too long wherever it makes the most sense to do so.

This is good advice, and I agree with it. (The advice about paragraph size is more appropriate for news sites.) But look at what Anglin says about quoting:

Quote Method

There is no need to completely rewrite a news story. It is legal under fair use laws to quote large parts of an article, as long as you don’t quote the whole thing, and you can use this to get the basic facts of the story stated, rather than just retyping them in your own words.

There are several reasons I have settled on this model:

• It saves energy, while ensuring the facts themselves are communicated accurately
• It serves to break-up the text in a way that is appealing to the ADHD demographic we are targeting.

Being able to see the mainstream source quoted allows us to co-opt the perceived authority of the mainstream media, and not look like one of those sites we are all probably familiar with where you are never certain if what they are saying has been confirmed.

• By simply commenting on existing news items, rather than rewriting the facts of the story, we can never be accused of “fake news” – or delisted by Facebook as such – as it is clear that all we are doing is commenting on existing news.
• The contrast between the mainstream writing style and our own humorous, snarky style can be funny.

The site is in many ways modeled off of successful liberal blogs such as Gawker. They have produced a great method to appeal to the same age demographic we want to appeal to. . . .

As and example, if some witness is being quoted, you need to remove everything about the quote, or make sure that the first mention, where they are named and identified, is included.

Nothing within the quote should ever be changed, under any circumstance. Do not change words to make it funny, and do not add the echoes meme to Jewish names. Any text quoted from the mainstream should be quoted exactly as it is.

Emphasis

Bold emphasis (ctrl+b) should be used on the most important parts of the quote. Underlining (ctrl+u) can also be used. Generally, underlining is a second layer of emphasis – that is, if an entire paragraph or sentence is bold, you can underline key words for effect.

The purpose of this is both to make the page itself more visually dynamic as well a to allow people who are more interested in our commentary than the quoted text to easily skim through, using the bold text as a guild as to what the necessary points which need to be known to understand the commentary are.

This is also good advice, turned to evil aims. The Daily Stormer’s raison d’etre is to provide an anti-semitic spin on news. It is attached parasitically to the traditional news media. This advice clearly describes how to clip from those articles, maintain their credibility, and then use that credibility to undermine the values that those media, and civil society, are based upon. Maintaining a clear distinction between what you’re quoting and commentary — and never compromising the integrity of the quoted material — is good practice for all commentators, Nazis included.

The elements of Nazi style

So far, this style guide focuses on advice I’d agree with. But of course, it parts company when it talks about promoting racism and trolling.

Note: If you’re writing about some enemy Jew/feminist/etc., link their social media accounts. Twitter especially. We’ve gotten press attention before when I didn’t even call for someone to be trolled but just linked them and people went and did it.

Racial Slurs, Profanity and Potty Humor

Profanity should be used sparingly. An overuse of profanity can come across as goofy. “N****” [this is spelled out in the original] is okay to use sometimes, but shouldn’t be used constantly. The following racial slurs are allowed and advisable:

[what follows here is a list of hateful terms that I cannot reprint, even for analytical purposes]

And others

The following are not allowed:

[more terms that are both racist and refer to bodily waste]

While racial slurs are allowed/recommended, not every reference to non-white should not be a slur and their use should be based on the tone of the article. Generally, when using racial
slurs, it should come across as half-joking – like a racist joke that everyone laughs at because it’s true. This follows the generally light tone of the site.

It should not come across as genuine raging vitriol. That is a turnoff to the overwhelming majority of people.

Woman can be called the following:
•Slut
•Whore
•Bitch
•Harlot
•Trollop
•Slag
•Skag

Whenever writing about women make sure to follow the prime directive and blame Jew feminism for their behavior.

Faggots can be called all the words for faggot, though again, the ones relating to poop should be avoided. . . .

Prime Directive: Always Blame the Jews for Everything

As Hitler says, people will become confused and disheartened if they feel there are multiple enemies. As such, all enemies should be combined into one enemy, which is the Jews. This is pretty much objectively true anyway, but we want to leave out any and all nuance.

So no blaming Enlightenment thought, pathological altruism, technology/urbanization, etc. just blame Jews for everything.

This basically includes blaming Jews for the behavior of other nonwhites. Of course it should not be that they are innocent, but the message should always be that if we didn’t have the Jews, we could figure out how to deal with nonwhites very easily.

The same deal with women. Women should be attacked, but there should always be mention that if it wasn’t for the Jews, they would be acting normally.

What should be completely avoided is the sometimes mentioned idea that “even if we got rid of the Jews we would still have all these other problems.” The Jews should always be the beginning and the end of every problem, from poverty to poor family dynamics to war to the destruction of the rainforest.

Your style guide does not look like this. Anglin is enforcing language rules to promote racism and hatred in a disciplined way. It’s terrifying to see this in print; I’m also sure that, for his readership, it was very effective. Eventually, the style guide even veers off into the philosophy of spreading racism.

100% Black and White

Just as we mustn’t present multiple enemies, we mustn’t leave any room for nuance in any other area.

To the extent that it is possible, everything should be painted in completely black and white terms. . . .

Hijacking Culture

Always hijack existing cultural memes in any way possible. Don’t worry if the meme was originally Jewish. It doesn’t matter.

Cultural references and attachment of entertainment culture to Nazi concepts have the psychological purpose of removing it from the void of weirdness that it would naturally exist in, due to the way it has been dealt with by the culture thus far, and making it a part of the reader’s world.

Through this method we are also able to use the existing culture to transmit our own ideas and agenda. . . .

Dehumanization

There should be a conscious agenda to dehumanize the enemy, to the point where people are ready to laugh at their deaths. So it isn’t clear that we are doing this – as that would be a turnoff to most normal people – we rely on lulz. . . .

Violence

It’s illegal to promote violence on the Internet. At the same time, it’s totally important to normalize the acceptance of violence as an eventuality/inevitability.

I’m extremely careful about never suggesting violence. I go beyond legal requirements in America. However, whenever someone does something violent, it should be made light of, laughed at. . . .

Troll Methods . . .

Isolating and Mass-Assaulting Minor Public Figures . . . Pressuring “Conservative” Figures . . . Assigning Racist Motivations to Celebrities

Now we see the completion of the cycle, from clear grammatical instructions to weaponizing media to character assassination and misguided humor.

I’m certain this is worrisomely effective for the site.

What this means for you

Andrew Anglin has turned traditional tactics and writing advice to evil aims. It’s frightening. And I have no doubt that it is effective.

The only response I can have to the horrible feeling this gives me in my gut is to turn the tables on him — and try to turn what I learned here to find ways to help you.

You have positive aims, not evil ones. How well-designed is the style guide at your organization to achieve those aims?

Ask these questions:

  • What is the message behind our written communications? Can we write it down clearly? Is it consistent? (Use ROAM as a method to clarify.)
  • Does the language we recommend carry that message? Or is it just insider jargon?
  • Have we carefully considered our audience and how they read? Do our style guidelines on titles, ledes, length, graphics, quotes, and so on effectively address the needs of that audience?
  • Why are the style guidelines the way they are? What guidelines should we delete or add to improve how we spread the message?

You cannot read this style guide for Nazis without thinking differently about style. So take the shock and insight you got from this analysis and read your own style guide. Make sure it as effective as this at  spreading your positive ideas. Use style as a positive force, because we need you to be effective.

7 responses to “A style guide for Nazis (yes, actual Nazis) shows how words matter

  1. This HAD to be difficult to write and I applaud you, as well as the Huffpost writer who tackled this. However, I must now read the Torah, say three Hail Marys, pray facing Mecca and bleach my eyes, brain and heart to get this filth out of my soul. OMG. This is real, isn’t it? God, in all her forms, weeps.

  2. I find it ironic to see they use AP and Reuters style guides–so called “fake” news and “mainstream” media outlets as examples of good style…hmmm…

  3. Why the decision to include their derogatory terms for women, when you chose not to include their terms for racism? Are the derogatory terms for women more acceptable?

    1. This is a fair question, Heather. I certainly consider using these terms to refer to women to be highly offensive. Using them to apply to a woman is equally offensive to using racist terms to apply to people according to their ethnic group.

      However, there is a difference. There are terms for Jews, black people, latinos, etc. that are offensive in print no matter how they are used. I learned this in a previous blog post, where I used the n-word in a way that was intended to illustrate a point, and got a huge backlash. I learned that there are terms that you cannot print, regardless of context, and the terms for ethnic groups fit this description. That is why I did not print them here.

      I do not think the existence of the word “slut” or “whore” in a blog post of mine is equally offensive. If I were to call a woman by those names, I’d deserve a whole lot of criticism. But showing them in this context of criticism does not appear to me to be equally offensive.

      This may not be fair and I’m open to discussing it, but in any case, that’s why I didn’t redact the list of offensive terms for women.

      1. Nope, Josh. I’ve got to side with Heather on this. The world doesn’t need instructions about what bad things to call women; folks seem to find the words all on their own. And by printing this list, you’ve implicitly said that these are NOT as bad as n****r or the other ethnic/racial slurs.

        Otherwise, thanks for a brave analysis. We need to match their evil-but-good writing with not-evil-and-better writing of our own.

  4. Still picking my jaw up off the ground. As I tell my kids, “Use your powers for good, not evil.” It’s the superhero way.

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