To outsiders, #GamerGate looked like a cesspool of angry, entitled young men nobody else wanted to talk to. But some right-wing figures spied an opportunity. Mike Cernovich, author of a hypermasculine self-help blog called “Danger and Play,” joined the cause. (“I use trolling tactics to build my brand,” he later told The New Yorker.) So did Milo Yiannopoulos, then writing for the website Breitbart News, which helped midwife the controversy from a fringe freakout to a right-wing political perspective. (“I hurt people for a reason,” he said recently. “I like to think of myself as a virtuous troll.”) Donald Trump saw political promise in this world, too: As his White House bid seemed on the brink of collapse last summer, he found a new campaign manager in the Breitbart executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon, a sincere nationalist with trolling tendencies of his own.
Now, Bannon sits on the National Security Council, and many Trump supporters are fusing the trolling ethos with old culture-war tropes, amusing themselves by calling liberals delicate “snowflakes” and delighting at being “in” on Trump’s “joke.” As the right-wing columnist John Feehery put it after Trump’s Feb. 16 news conference: “Performance art can be so hard for normal people to understand.” People like Cernovich — who jumped easily from #GamerGate to the Trump train — have taken to calling their political posture “antifragile,” Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s word for systems that thrive on volatility and stress. Trump, Taleb has said, is “heavily vaccinated because of his checkered history” — nothing new can shame him. Nothing matters.
Amanda Hess, “Click Bait”, The New York Times Magazine (5 March 2017), 13.