There's a song in the movie Mulan, "I'll Make a Man Out of You." You've probably heard it; it begins "Let's get down to business! To defeat the Huns."
In the ultra-conservative parody version rewritten by Uncuck The Right, the song starts "Let's get down to business! To defeat the Left." That version goes on to cheerfully explain to never "punch rightward," and to never "be afraid to discuss White interests."
It's a singalong, one of Uncuck the Right's increasingly popular parody Disney tunes. The videos are meant to appeal to and unite the alt-right, a loosely defined coalition of self-described racists, Dark Enlightenment adherents, and ardent social conservatives, among others.
The songs, with their discussions of white supremacy and generally racist and sexist lyrics, would be horrifying to most viewers. But when I asked the creator of Uncuck the Right (hereafter UTR) about them, he responded with a provocation:
"What you feel when watching my videos is the same thing I feel when I watch John Oliver"
I don't know much about UTR as a person. When I contacted him via his YouTube channel and asked if I could interview him he obliged, but said that "for security reasons" ( he couldn't talk on the phone or over Skype.
What he was willing to say, over email, is that he's "a young white man who is tired of seeing his people celebrate their dispossession." Liberal as a kid, reading Austrian economics moved him towards libertarianism; the failure of Ron Paul's 2012 presidential campaign moved him even farther to the right. He says he's been posting in /pol/, the 4chan and 8chan's anarchic, often right-leaning "Politically Incorrect" boards, for years. But his decision to get more actively involved with the alt right came this summer "when the cuckservative meme became big and the Alt Right started to explode."
That also coincided with a name change from prodicusthegod (a reference to an obscure Greek philosopher) to Uncuck the Right.
"Cuckservative" is a portmanteau, of "cuckold" and "conservative," which has been around for years, but whose popularity ballooned this summer. As The New Republic's Jeet Heer explained, it "emerged out of the white supremacist movement as a term of abuse for white conservatives deemed race traitors unwilling to forthrightly defend the interests of white America." For his part UTR prefers the term "white identitarian" because, as he puts it, "'white nationalist' evokes certain imagery in the popular consciousness that is incongruous with my ideology"
In two months he's posted 12 videos, which have garnered 147,864 views and 2,356 subscribers as of this writing. He's not the first among the alt right to re-write songs, but he is one of the most successful. So far all his videos are parodies of Disney songs, though he says he plans "to expand to other show tunes in the future."
(At this point, a disclosure: ABC/Disney is one of Fusion's parent companies, along with Univision. I contacted Disney for comment on the videos, but they have yet to respond to my request.)
The most popular of UTR's parodies by far is titled "This is Dildoween,"a re-dubbed version of the opening tune of The Nightmare Before Christmas. In the UTR version the denizens of Halloween Town are caricatures of Latin American immigrants, Hollywood producers, and college professors melodically explaining their promotion of a medley of different alt-right fears that include increasing immigration, "cultural marxism," and sexual liberation.
A few of UTR's videos take this generalist approach, but many are more specific. One prominent target is the conservative magazine National Review, which comes under fire by UTR (and others on the alt-right) for not openly espousing, among other things, white nationalism, or white identarianism, or whatever their preferred nomenclature is. The video is titled "The National Review" and is set to the tune of "The Bells of Notre Dame."
Other specific targets of scorn are the BlackLivesMatter movement, Latin American immigrants, and refugees in Europe. Jews, a frequent target of the alt-right, are hit specifically in UTR's "Oy Vey!" an alteration of "Heigh-Ho," from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. It's a portrayal of Jews as usurious bankers that would feel at home in the pages of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion:
Despite this, when I asked UTR if any of his views were unusual within his community, he described himself as "more moderate on the Jewish Question" than others. What that means to him is "Jews need to choose between emigrating to Israel and assimilating into gentile society, but beyond that I don’t feel any particular hostility towards Jews as a whole." UTR delineates his role as "making memes, not writing political treatises" and as such is more focused on "being funny and relevant than expressing my ideas as accurately as possible."
The choice to start with Disney songs began on a whim, when he made "Friends on the Alt Right," a takeoff of The Princess and the Frog's "Friends on the Other Side." That song, it's worth noting, is sung by a character who's a black man voiced by Keith David. In fact, several of UTR's videos put white nationalist talking points in the mouths of characters who are people of color. But UTR says he likes Disney because he "grew up with it," and he's seen the tactic work before:
it has a lot of emotional currency for Millennials. Most people of my generation love Disney songs, remember all the characters and voices, etc., so I feel it makes an effective basis for propaganda. I was also inspired by a series of similar videos done by the Gamergate movement in 2013, which had a generally higher production value than my videos, but in my opinion shoddier lyrics.
UTR describes his audience as "ideologically diverse," though what that he means by that isn't intuitive. "Some are hardcore National Socialist types," he writes, while others "are basic bitch conservatives who just like the edgy humor of my videos as a guilty pleasure. Most are like me and somewhere in the middle." Unsurprisingly, "[t]hey’re overwhelmingly male, and mostly young."
UTR's been on hiatus but intends to return to making parody videos. YouTube's community guidelines prohibit "Hateful content." At first glance it appears the Disney parodies violate the community guidelines on that ground, but if the videos have been reported before, they haven't been removed.
But, regardless, it's important to understand the videos and their maker as part of a larger, though not necessarily large, ideological movement. UTR is also active on Twitter, where he says he's "generally more straightforward," but does "enjoy trolling leftists with deliberately inflammatory language." He's participated in a number of hashtag campaigns, including a recent push to boycott the new Star Wars movie, but adds that he "wouldn't formally defend everything I say during a big hashtag campaign."
Nonetheless, UTR believes he and his cohorts are "the future thought leaders of the Right, once all the Boomers die off." (There are compelling arguments that perhaps he's correct, though not because of the help of his memes). He explains this with reference to a mixture of youthfulness and ideology:
We’re actually edgy, funny, and relevant. We understand how the Left fights…how the Left seizes control over the mainstream historical narrative, and how they use language to subtly define the parameters of the debate. We know that cuckservatives are just liberals from the 70s…The Alt Right does not comprise obese low church Protestant Baby Boomers with 103 IQs. We’re a bunch of eccentric hipsters and neckbeards who understand how the Left works, and how to create legitimately subversive and effective propaganda.
A preoccupation with historical narrative and the political left runs through UTR's output. After explaining that the alt right is the future, he added that he thinks "Leftists in the media understand what we’re doing and why we’re successful, because you’ve employed our tactics—consciously or not—for generations." The way UTR sees it, he and his compatriots "can actually out-meme the Left."
Despite UTR's claim that he and the alt right are the future, they have a habit of dealing mostly in alternate reality. UTR writes in broad strokes about "the systematic dispossession of the white race," and his belief that "that every ethnic group constitutes its own nation…and is justified in acting in its collective interest." When he does refer to specific incidents or cultural norms, they're still overly broad (and fairly mainstream) flashpoints for fearmongering, like "the proliferation of hookup culture" or misconstrued and debunked cases like what he refers to as "Planned Parenthood’s procurement and sale of baby flesh."
The tragedy of the situation, if you can call it that, is that UTR and his alt right pals are fighting a war that only exists in their heads and /pol/ threads. On one side nefarious leftists and the conservatives cowed by them, on the other an ascendent and almost certainly gleamingly white alt right. It's so fantastical it might as well be a Disney movie.
Ethan Chiel is a reporter for Fusion, writing mostly about the internet and technology. You can (and should) email him at firstname.lastname@example.org