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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
It Came from Something Awful

It Came from Something Awful

How a Toxic Troll Army Accidentally Memed Donald Trump into Office

Dale Beran

All Points Books

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An insider's history of the website at the end of the world, which burst into politics and memed Donald Trump into the White House.

The internet has transformed the ways we think and act, and by consequence, our politics. The most impactful recent political movements on the far left and right started with massive online collectives of teenagers. Strangely, both movements began on the same website: an anime imageboard called 4chan.org. It Came from Something Awful is the fascinating and bizarre story of 4chan and its profound effect on youth counterculture.

Dale Beran has observed the website's shifting activities and interests since the beginning. 4chan is a microcosm of the internet itself—simultaneously at the vanguard of contemporary culture, politics, comedy and language, and a new low for all of the above. It was the original meme machine, mostly frequented by socially awkward and disenfranchised young men in search of a place to be alone together.

During the recession of the late 2000’s, the memes became political. 4chan was the online hub of a leftist hacker collective known as Anonymous and a prominent supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement. But within a few short years, the site’s ideology spun on its axis; it became the birthplace and breeding ground of the alt-right. In It Came from Something Awful, Beran uses his insider’s knowledge and natural storytelling ability to chronicle 4chan's strange journey from creating rage-comics to inciting riots to—according to … More…

An insider's history of the website at the end of the world, which burst into politics and memed Donald Trump into the White House.

The internet has transformed the ways we think and act, and by consequence, our politics. The most impactful recent political movements on the far left and right started with massive online collectives of teenagers. Strangely, both movements began on the same website: an anime imageboard called 4chan.org. It Came from Something Awful is the fascinating and bizarre story of 4chan and its profound effect on youth counterculture.

Dale Beran has observed the website's shifting activities and interests since the beginning. 4chan is a microcosm of the internet itself—simultaneously at the vanguard of contemporary culture, politics, comedy and language, and a new low for all of the above. It was the original meme machine, mostly frequented by socially awkward and disenfranchised young men in search of a place to be alone together.

During the recession of the late 2000’s, the memes became political. 4chan was the online hub of a leftist hacker collective known as Anonymous and a prominent supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement. But within a few short years, the site’s ideology spun on its axis; it became the birthplace and breeding ground of the alt-right. In It Came from Something Awful, Beran uses his insider’s knowledge and natural storytelling ability to chronicle 4chan's strange journey from creating rage-comics to inciting riots to—according to some—memeing Donald Trump into the White House.

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Countering Counterculture


Well, whatever, nevermind.

—Kurt Cobain

When I was young, I assumed the way the American landscape was changing around me was somehow temporary. The buildings, after all, looked...

Praise for It Came from Something Awful

“I’d be tempted to call Dale Beran a wizard of prose, able to turn the dredges of the internet into a riveting, sparkling narrative—except, in the world of this book, a ‘wizard’ is a lifelong virgin. Instead, I'll say that not since Hunter Thompson got his ass kicked by the Hells Angels has a writer turned a subculture so confoundingly foul into a book so fine.” —Baynard Woods, syndicated columnist, author of Coffin Point

"Beran recounts 4chan.net's history as a social media platform for disaffected, socially awkward, deliberately offensive white man-boys steeped in nihilistic trolling and jokey memes like the now-infamous Pepe the Frog. 4chan’s mutating ethos, he contends, married the victim culture of its self-labeled low-status 'beta males' to the alt-right’s prescription of white nationalism, patriarchy, and fascist power politics as a salve for the grievances of dispossessed men, culminating in a half-sincere, half-cynical embrace of Donald Trump." —Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

Dale Beran

DALE BERAN is a writer and artist whose work has been published in McSweeney’s, Quartz, The Huffington Post, The Daily Dot, The Nib, and The Baltimore City Paper. His recent article on Medium, 4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump, became a sensation that was shared and recommended by JK Rowling and Marc Maron, among many others. He has a BA in classics from Bard and a JD from Fordham. He lives in Baltimore.

image of Dale Berano
Sonya Norko

Dale Beran

Medium