Kill All Normies: Plagiarism & Errors

Synopsis

Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4Chan And Tumblr To Trump And The Alt-Right (ISBN: 9781785355431) is a book from Angela Nagle about internet culture. It contains delicious copypasta, with some content directly lifted from Wikipedia, RationalWiki, KnowYourMeme and other authors' texts (most of them secondary sources) without attribution.

Nagle repeated errors in her source material and sometimes added new ones by misunderstanding the source or introducing errors during the copy-paste process. The missing attribution, along with paraphrasing, makes it harder to find out where information originally comes from.

To the layperson, it may seem that Kill All Normies is based on actual research and presents an understanding of the underlying phenomenons. People familiar with the source material, however, notice when quotes are mis-attributed, historical accounts lack significant details, or the description of a fascist ideology is copied from a fascist.

I have co-written a book on internet memes, so I had done research on and have knowledge of several topics in Kill All Normies. I initially suspected Nagle left out details to tell the story she wants to tell. I now think that patch-writing indicates authors don't have enough time to understand their source material beyond surface conclusions.

Plagiarism Plot

Barcode plot that shows on which pages plagiarism was found Page 107 Page 11 Page 21 Page 35 Page 42 Page 43 Page 51 Page 62 Page 66 Page 79 Page 82 Page 89 Page 90 Page 95 Page 96
This plot shows 120 bars, one for each page of Kill All Normies. Black represents pages where plagiarized content was found. White represents pages where no plagiarized content was found. Black bars are clickable hyperlinks.

Comparison To Sources

Page Nagle Text Source Text Source Comment
11
On the same day that a post about the incident reached the front page of Reddit news, a petition titled ‘Justice for Harambe’ was created on Change.org, which called for authorities to hold the child’s parents responsible for Harambe’s death, gaining hundreds of thousands of signatures. Soon, the mostly ironically used hashtags #JusticeForHarambe and #RIPHarambe began circulating.
On May 29th, a post about the incident reached the front page of /r/news, where it garnered more than 7,100 votes (87% upvoted) and 6,200 comments in the next two days. The same day, a petition titled “Justice for Harambe” was created on Change.org which called for authorities to hold the child’s parents responsible for Harambe’s death. Within 48 hours, the petition gained over 338,000 signatures. Meanwhile, the hashtags #JusticeForHarambe and #RIPHarambe began circulating on both Facebook and Twitter.
KnowYourMeme: Harambe the Gorilla Found by Charles Davis with plagiarism software
21
In 2009, weev claimed to have hacked into Amazon’s system and reclassified books about homosexuality as porn. Once a part of the Occupy movement, he now regularly posts anti-Semitic and anti-gay rants on YouTube
In 2009, he claimed to have hacked into Amazon’s system and reclassified books about homosexuality as porn, although Amazon denied he was the cause. That same year, he posted several anti-Semitic rants on YouTube.
The end of kindness: weev and the cult of the angry young man by Greg Sandoval Found by Charles Davis
35
Henderson’s MySpace page was hacked, while another placed an iPod on Mitchell’s grave, took a picture, and posted it to 4chan. His face was pasted into spinning iPods and hard-core porn scenes, and a re-enactment of Henderson’s death soon appeared on YouTube. Mitchell’s father received prank calls to his house, in which callers said things like: ‘Hi, I’ve got Mitchell’s iPod’ and, ‘Hi, I’m Mitchell’s ghost, the front door is locked. Can you come down and let me in?
Someone hacked Henderson’s MySpace page and gave him the face of a zombie. Someone placed an iPod on Henderson’s grave, took a picture and posted it to /b/. Henderson’s face was appended to dancing iPods, spinning iPods, hardcore porn scenes. A dramatic re-enactment of Henderson’s demise appeared on YouTube, complete with shattered iPod. The phone began ringing at Mitchell’s parents’ home. “It sounded like kids,” remembers Mitchell’s father, Mark Henderson, a 44-year-old I.T. executive. “They’d say, ‘Hi, this is Mitchell, I’m at the cemetery.’ ‘Hi, I’ve got Mitchell’s iPod.’ ‘Hi, I’m Mitchell’s ghost, the front door is locked. Can you come down and let me in?’
New York Time: The Trolls Among Us by Mattathias Schwartz Found by Goodreads user Lindy
42
The French New Right or Nouvelle Droite adapted the theories of Antonio Gramsci that political change follows cultural and social change.
Specifically, the ENR aimed to promote a “Gramscianism of the Right,” adapting the theories of Antonio Gramsci that political change… follows – cultural and social change.
An Introduction To The European New Right by Ash Milton
42,43

Belgian far-right anti-immigration party Vlaams Blok leader Filip Dewinter put it like this: ‘the ideological majority is more important than the parliamentary majority.’

Prior to 1968, the right had taken the view that ‘ordinary people’ were still inherently conservative, which you can see echoed today in the ‘silent majority’ rhetoric of modern establishment conservatives. The French New Right’s Gramscian aim… was to break with the view that defeat of radical elites or vanguards would enable the restoration of a popular traditional order….

In the words of Het Vlaams Blok leader Filip Dewinter, “the ideological majority is more important than the parliamentary majority.”

Prior to 1968, reactionaries had taken the line that… the common people were still inherently conservative…. We can see this echoed today in the “silent majority” and “Main Street” rhetoric of modern conservatives. The ENR’s [European New Right’s] aim was to break with… [the] view: that defeat of revolutionary elites would enable to restoration of a traditional order.

An Introduction To The European New Right by Ash Milton
43
1968 and the rise of the New Left was proof to the demoralized right that the whole culture would now have to be retaken before formal political change could come. This led to the pursuit of a ‘metapolitics’, and a rejection of the political party and traditional activism within a section of the right. Instead, they set about rethinking their philosophical foundations and creating new ways to counter the ‘68 ideology of Social Progress.
1968 and its era were a proof to the ENR that the culture itself would have to be retaken before change could come at the political level. This led it to pursue a project of “metapolitics”; its thinkers scorned party and even “radical” activism, preferring to rethink philosophical foundations and create cultural memes to counter the ’68er ideology of Social Progress.
An Introduction To The European New Right by Ash Milton
51
He has accused the US government of orchestrating the Oklahoma City bombing, the September 11th attacks and a fake moon landing.
He has accused the U.S. government of planning the Oklahoma City bombing, the September 11 attacks, and of claims that the moon landing footage was fake.
Wikipedia: Alex Jones
62
In academia, the ‘cultural turn’ saw a radical shift in scholarship whereby universities made culture the focus of contemporary debates. It also meant a shift in emphasis toward meaning and away from a positivist epistemology….
The cultural turn is a movement beginning in the early 1970s among scholars in the humanities and social sciences to make culture the focus of contemporary debates; it also describes a shift in emphasis toward meaning and away from a positivist epistemology.
Wikipedia: Cultural Turn
66
On Radix Journal they draw on the idea of the ‘The Fourth Political Theory’, with reference to the Russian theorist Aleksandr Dugin and the French New Right’s Alain de Benoist, an entirely new political ideology that integrates and supersedes liberal democracy, Marxism and fascism.
In the book, Dugin states that he is laying the foundations for an entirely new political ideology, the fourth political theory, which integrates and supersedes liberal democracy, Marxism, and fascism.
Wikipedia: The Fourth Political Theory Found by Twitter user JosephKay76Wikipedia is citing a specific page in the book, so it's paraphrased or even verbatim from the author.
79
A group of students protested in response, demanding that the administration reaffirm its commitment to the policies that Kipnis criticized.
A group of students at Northwestern protested, demanding that the administration reaffirm its commitment to the policies that Kipnis criticized.
Wikipedia: Laura Kipnis
79
In March 2015, Laura Kipnis wrote an essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education, in which she criticized the atmosphere of ‘sexual paranoia’ on campuses, defended professor-student sexual relationships and criticized trigger warnings.
In March 2015 Kipnis wrote an essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education in which she decried a prevailing “sexual paranoia” on campuses and discussed professor-student sexual relationships and trigger warnings.
Wikpedia: Laura Kipnis
79
Invoking university legislation, two grad students filed complaints against Kipnis, arguing that her article, which she has since expanded into a book, would deter students from reporting sexual misconduct.
Invoking Title IX, two graduate students filed complaints with Northwestern’s Title IX office against Kipnis, arguing that her essay had had a “chilling effect” on students’ ability to report sexual misconduct.
Wikipedia: Laura Kipnis
79
They carried a mattress — a reference to Emma Sulkowicz’s earlier protest at Columbia University against rape on campus.
Protesters carried a mattress in reference to Emma Sulkowicz’s earlier protest at Columbia University.
Wikipedia: Laura Kipnis
82
In 1996, a famous hoax that still haunts academe was perpetrated by Alan Sokal, a physics professor at New York University and University College London. He submitted an article to Social Text, an academic journal of postmodern cultural studies, whose editorial collective included stars at the time like Fredric Jameson and Andrew Ross, called ‘Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity’. It was intentionally ‘liberally salted with nonsense’ and proposed that gravity was a social construct. Sokal then revealed that the article was ‘a pastiche of left-wing cant, fawning references, grandiose quotations, and outright nonsense.’
The Sokal affair, also called the Sokal hoax, was a scholarly publishing sting perpetrated by Alan Sokal, a physics professor at New York University and University College London. In 1996, Sokal submitted an article to Social Text, an academic journal of postmodern cultural studies. The submission was an experiment to test the journal's intellectual rigor and, specifically, to investigate whether "a leading North American journal of cultural studies – whose editorial collective includes such luminaries as Fredric Jameson and Andrew Ross – [would] publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors' ideological preconceptions".
Wikipedia: Sokal Affair Found by Mike Harman
89
In 2011, Elam established the vigilante doxxing site Register-Her.com, which publishes the personal information of women the site claims ‘have caused significant harm to innocent individuals either by the direct action of crimes like rape, assault, child molestation and murder, or by the false accusation of crimes against others.’ This vigilante strategy became widespread on both sides of the culture wars and will always entail serious real-world consequences like harassment and stalking, the loss of reputation, work and relationships. While the list included women who have been sent to prison for various crimes, it also included others who were acquitted and lists female rape victims whose court cases didn’t result in a full conviction as a ‘false accuser’.
In 2011, Elam established the site Register-Her.com, which publishes the personal information of women the site claims “have caused significant harm to innocent individuals either by the direct action of crimes like rape, assault, child molestation and murder, or by the false accusation of crimes against others.” While the list includes women who have been sent to prison for various crimes, it also includes others who were acquitted, and some whose "crime" is expressing an opinion that MRA's don't like. It also lists any rape victim whose court case results in anything but a full conviction and sentencing as a “false accuser”.
RationalWiki: Paul Elam Found by Charles Davis
90
Chateau Heartiste is an MRA and PUA blog run by James C. Weidmann (aka ‘Roissy in DC’), which mixes evolutionary psychology, anti-feminism and white advocacy. In the blog he argues that women’s economic freedom is leading to civilizational collapse. He believes white civilization is being destroyed by miscegenation, immigration and low white female birth rates owing to feminism. This decline can only be undone, he thinks, by deporting minorities and restoring patriarchy.

Chateau Heartiste is an MRA/PUA blog run by a guy named James C. Weidmann, formerly known as "Roissy" or "Roissy in D.C." One of the sneeriest and most vicious websites of its ilk, arguably even nastier than its compatriot Roosh V, and written in a bombastic, overheated ramble, Roissy's speciality seems to be evolutionary psychological woo. He rants at length about how women having careers, not marrying at age 13, and not looking like airbrushed supermodels[25] is a violation of evolutionary principles, and how women's economic freedom leaves the majority of men with no means of attracting or attaining sex from them, thus leaving them with no incentive to work, thus leading to the collapse of civilizations.

Roissy also, in recent years, has become a White Nationalist. He says he opposes the movement, but only because it is not sexist enough for him. Otherwise, his talking points are the same. He does not even try to hide his racism: He believes "white civilization" is getting destroyed as sensible people "will stop at nothing to swamp flyover white country with battalions of uruk-hai" (in a curious echo of a group of weird English supremacists). The only solution to the terrible prospect of Whites becoming a minority is, according to Roissy, to forcefully deport all minorities..

Rational Wiki: Manosphere, Chateau Heartiste
95
Rodger also left behind a lengthy autobiographical manuscript, titled My Twisted World. He described his sexual frustration, his hatred of women who kept thwarting his desire to have sexual relationships with them… and his contempt for interracial couples.
Rodger e-mailed a lengthy autobiographical manuscript… titled “My Twisted World”….. In it, he described his… frustration over not being able to find a girlfriend, his hatred of women, his contempt for racial minorities and interracial couples.
Wikipedia: 2014 Isla Vista killings
95
The rampage ended when police found him dead in his car with a gunshot wound to the head. Rodger had uploaded a final video to YouTube, titled ‘Elliot Rodger’s Retribution’. In it, he described his desire to punish women for rejecting him.
The rampage ended when….. Police found him dead in the car with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Before driving to the sorority house, Rodger uploaded to YouTube a video titled “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution”…. He explained that he wanted to punish women for rejecting him.
Wikipedia: 2014 Isla Vista killings
96

He mentions a ‘War on Women’:

The Second Phase will take place on the Day of Retribution itself, just before the climactic massacre… My War on Women… I will attack the very girls who represent everything I hate in the female gender: The hottest sorority of UCSB.

The manifesto specifically mentions a “War on Women”….:

The Second Phase will take place on the Day of Retribution itself, just before the climactic massacre. … My War on Women. … I will attack the very girls who represent everything I hate in the female gender: The hottest sorority of UCSB.

Wikipedia: 2014 Isla Vista killings
107
[T]he ‘Idiot Nerd Girl’ meme, which appeared around May 2010, featured a photo of a teenage girl wearing thick-rimmed glasses with the word ‘nerd’ written on the palm of her hand. The upper caption contained references to ‘geek culture’, while the bottom caption demonstrates a lack of subcultural knowledge.
Idiot Nerd Girl is an advice animal image macro series featuring a photo of a teenage girl wearing thick rimmed glasses with the word “NERD” written on the palm of her left hand. The upper caption often contains references to “geek culture” while the bottom caption demonstrates a lack of knowledge or expertise in the subject.
KnowYourMeme: Idiot Nerd Girl

Further Reading

Others mentioned plagiarism and factual errors in Kill All Normies:

Date Article Quote
Kill All Normies Review in American Renaissance by Gregory Hood

Dr. Nagle’s failure to understand the Left is matched by her failure to understand the Right, and this book is often a tedious recitation of authors she may or may not have actually read. You can almost hear the bitter scream of “educate yourself!” as Dr. Nagle clumsily tries to deconstruct ideas she is unable to grasp. It’s impossible to avoid the impression that her whimsical detours into critical theory are padding, since the book reads like it was rushed in to print and is littered with typos. (Pat Buchanan’s name is spelled two different ways in one chapter; this is especially unfortunate because the chapter is supposed to be about him.)

Kill All Normies book review on Amazon by Jeff Claringbore

But this book is a quickie book, rushed out so quickly that no one bothered to proofread it. The author doesn't even take the time to tell you the name of books that she quotes from at length. This quick-and-dirty approach might be a wise publishing decision, given how quickly online trends come and go. But this is a book after all and it's not unfair to bring to it greater expectations than one would to a magazine or an online post.

From the fairly casual style and lack of any footnotes or bibliography -- and, indeed, from her willingness to take stands -- I took her to be a journalist or freelance critic. So I was surprised to learn that she's an academic. Learning that made me wish she'd displayed some of the virtues of academic writing. For instance, she doesn't tell us anything about the research on which she bases her observations. One assumes she spent a lot of time on social media, Tumblr, and perhaps IRC channels, in reddit forums, or whatever. But she doesn't bother to share that with us. I think it matters. For instance, what do we actually know about these guys (including the assumptions that they are all guys)? Who are they and where are they? The author is Irish but an awful lot of this book is about the US. Why not address the limitations (and potentials) of this sort of limited online research?

Lindy's Reviews > Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars from 4chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-Right

I don't care if things are in perfect Chicago style, but I do care about being able to trace the transit of words and ideas across people, spaces, and contexts, and Nagle's loose and highly referential style makes it near impossible. Academia and mainstream magazines would consider it plagiarism. It might fly on Tumblr (the platform which Nagle decries as intellectualism's rock bottom).

JosephKay76 on Twitter

This reminded me Dugin exists, which reminded me of Nagle's weirdly sympathetic gloss on his politics (fig 1), which led me on a whim to Google it... It's plagiarised from Wikipedia (fig 2).

Angela Nagle's Plagiarise Any Nonsense

One consistent barrier to reading Kill All Normies is the lack of citations. If you're very lucky you get a book title and author, or "Interview in x magazine" (without a date), but that's about it. Some of the most contentious information in the book is completely lacking citations of any kind and after some investigation, it looks like this isn't just a stylistic choice.

Sloppy Sourcing Plagues ‘Kill All Normies’ Alt-Right Book

A review of the book by The Daily Beast—spurred by allegations first published on Libcom, a left-wing website highly critical of Nagle’s arguments—finds that several passages in her 120-page work are similar to entries in Wikipedia and another online encyclopedia, RationalWiki. Attribution is haphazard throughout, sometimes creating the impression that others’ research is the author’s own. This also leads the author to repeat others’ mistakes.

KILL ALL NORMIES Author Angela Nagle: Alt Right Analyzer, Socialist Darling—Plagiarist?

Moreover, it is quite unlikely that someone as Marxian as Nagle would claim that a theory developed by one of Vladimir Putin’s advisors “supersedes” Marxism in any way. But, it wouldn’t be a strange description for a Leftist if said Leftist had simply absent-mindedly copied the description from somewhere else.

5 big problems with Kill All Normies

There are multiple occasions where Kill All Normies’ treatment of sources underpins its analysis - and where doing some basic research tends to undermine that analysis. This post details five examples. Part 1 looks at the category of ‘Tumblr-liberalism’, part 2 the moral panic around campus free speech, part 3 KAN’s analysis of ‘incels’, part 4 KAN’s ‘both sides’ framing, and part 5 PTSD and campus sexual violence. Some people have also commented that it’s no use criticising bad analysis if there’s nothing better on offer, so we have also quoted (with attribution) and linked to more useful analyses where applicable.

Not My Issue: Angela Nagle and Germaine Greer

Nagles makes three claims here: that Greer had not published any comment about "transgenderism" for over fifteen years, that she claimed that "transgenderism" was "not her issue", and that the vice-chancellor of Cardiff University "pandered" to the authors of the petition. All of them are misleading.

So why is Nagle representing Greer this way?

One explanation: sloppy copy-pasting. It does appear that Nagle borrowed her phrasing, as Davis points out, from that article by Claire Lehman.

But I think this is more significant than careless rephrasing. Nagle brings up Greer to make a point, and only includes the context that lines up with her point. Her research was motivated towards building the narrative she had already decided on. It's slanted analysis. We can't base our understanding of the alt-right, the so-called Tumblr left, or the phenomenon of campus no-platforming on Kill All Normies when it makes mistakes like these.

Social Justice Writer Angela Nagle Plagiarized Wikipedia To Attack The Manosphere

Even if some people think that plagiarism is actually a copy-and-paste job of sentences in full, this lifting by Nagle is still about as egregious and blatant as it gets. A high school senior or college freshman would have been failed for this kind of academic fraud in an essay.

‘Kill All Citations?’ Many More Examples of Angela Nagle Lifting From Others

If that’s not enough to raise an eyebrow, consider these other examples of copying, pasting, and lightly tweaking others’ work. Wikipedia remains a popular source, with Nagle extensively copying an entry on Northwestern University Professor Laura Kipnis.

(Several examples were also identified by plagiarism software, which one can use to verify my work; I will list the number on the report in brackets before the examples it also found.)

How To Plagiarize Social Matter Without Actually Getting Caught

Before you scroll any further, I recommend you read Hubert Collins’ review linked above. In sum, he argues that Nagle’s very short book is not only wrong, but poorly written, as well. I read the book myself. He’s correct. Typos and long, awkward sentences abound. We blame the editors, but of course, we also blame her.

And now it turns out she’s a plagiarist, too. That’s nothing new, however. What’s new is the revelation she’s plagiarized us, as well, and it’s even possible she’s plagiarized us more than we are even aware of yet.

Of course, it would have helped her case to not have actually plagiarized, but again, must I repeat myself, we’re not here to condemn her for writing a shoddy, error-riddled book that merely summarizes others’ ideas while refusing to give credit where credit is due. No, this is a more constructive exercise. We’re about helping future journalists, graduate students, and authors whose real wages have stagnated or even decreased.

Publisher Response

On , Kill All Normies Zero Books published a response to the plagiarism allegations titled Our Response to Charles Davis’ Attack on Angela Nagle. It has since been deleted from the publisher's page.

In response to the recent allegation from Charles Davis at the Daily Beast, we want to make it clear that we are resolutely behind Angela Nagle and are proud to have published Kill All Normies.

Davis alleged that she committed plagiarism but his examples only demonstrate that his repeated central claim that she lifted passages and paragraphs verbatim is false. All of the arguments, ideas, and analysis in Nagle’s book are original. The absence of footnotes and academic referencing was the result of her conforming to the house style for a short work of cultural criticism, not academic research.

A few genuine cases where citation should have been used made it into the draft due to haste, not intent, while working from notes she gathered over a long period. These were innocent mistakes, unimportant to the overall analysis, which will be corrected for a revised edition of Kill All Normies that Nagle had already been working on before these allegations arose.

Most of the article is in fact bulked up with vague insinuations that fall apart on further inspection. In the sections about Chateau Heartiste and Kony2012, there were only a few scattered consecutive words in common. In the claim about the Sokal affair, the commonalities were simply mundane factual information necessary for a basic summary of the incident. In the Roosh V example, Nagle attributed his quote to him in quotation marks and there was no plagiarism, as implied.

The examples with Jordan Peterson and Claire Lehman provide no evidence of plagiarism, cut and pasting or lifting of passages either and are clearly included in a thinly veiled attempt to imply a political affinity between Nagle and those the author characterizes as ‘right wing’. The accusation that she has stolen from Andrew Hartman is false as she cites him six times in the book, including a few lines above where Davis points to. Hartman also has read and is a fan of the book. No legal definition, no serious publication, reader or writer could possibly consider examples like these to be anything close to a verbatim reproduction. So what are all of these doing in an article about her alleged plagiarism?

The truth is that the article is a non-story about sloppy citation and a smear piece of a kind that have a funny way of plaguing critics who go off-message politically. Since the publishing of what is for us an explosively best selling book, there has been an almost year-long campaign of abuse against Nagle for her analysis of online left identity politics. Frankly, it is something most of us at Zero Books haven’t witnessed up close before, with the exception of a member of our team who was the editor of the North Star when Mark Fisher published his controversial essay “Exiting the Vampire Castle”. But she claims it wasn’t until she began publicly criticising the state department line on Syria that attacks ramped up and made their way into the corporate media from an anarchist blog, in which minor errors were used to imply that Nagle was channeling the ideas of Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin, a common claim made against critics of military intervention. The fact that such a media pipeline exists and that the piece is now being used by misogynist trolls like Roosh and Vdare to further attack Nagle should give the authors of such smear campaigns pause for thought.