A Battlefield 4 Achievement and Autism Made Me A Nazi (UPDATE)
It was a November evening in 2014. I had used the internet handle TopGearNY or some variant of it for a lot of things since 2004. And you know what? It was starting to get a little bit boring. Plus it didn’t look aesthetically appealing and it felt awkward to tell people that my Twitter @ was “TopGearNY” in meatspace. I puzzled over what would be a good solid handle to switch over my internet accounts to. I had recently become invested in social justice after being a shitlord most of my life and I wanted to shed some of the baggage of the old ID. I was also huge into Battlefield 4. I noticed this one achievement, pictured above, while cruising through my stats on Battlelog.
It had a really nice ring to it. And I’m part Swedish, but mostly Irish (later I’d find out also Basque but that’s neither here nor there). So I liked this particular turn of phrase, something Steel. And I’m Irish. Irish Steel… ehhh. The Irish are Celtic people. Celtic Steel. Yes, that sounds nice.
I am autistic. There’s a lot of baggage that goes with that label but what pertains most to this current situation is that I am not able to naturally intuit the responses to anything I say or affix myself with on the fly. I am able to socially interact just fine by doing what I personally call “autism database cross-reference”. Through my two decades plus of being autistic I have built up a vast collection of colloquialisms, contexts, turns of phrase, sentences, and carefully mentally cataloged every single one so that I can put up some reasonable facsimile of functioning by cross-referencing what I plan to say with the context in which I am saying it and determining the potential reaction based off of that. It’s not perfect. Sometimes I blow a read, or forget to consider a particular context, and end up coming off as a total asshole.
I change my Twitter handle to CelticSteelNY. Nobody cares… For a couple of months. Then a lot of tl;dr things happen, and out of these things comes a particularly well-respected person in Twitter social justice circles calling me “Celtic Nazi Steel” in response to something I did that they didn’t like. I initially laughed it off. It was made of whole cloth, anybody could read my timeline and see that I clearly wasn’t a Nazi. It’d go away.
It didn’t go away. Instead, the accusations only intensified and grew more and more in number, resulting in the total dissolution of my online support network to a fraction of what it was. Multiple reasons were floated to complete intercontinental reaches to justify accusing me of white supremacy and Neo-Nazi sympathies.
One such reason was that I called the constant repetition of these accusations a “Big Lie” propaganda technique, where a falsehood is constantly repeated ad nauseum until it becomes a generally accepted fact regardless of its truthiness. My using of this phrase to call me a Nazi was justified because the specific term “Big Lie” was coined by Hitler. No specific incidents of my promoting white supremacy, just I used a phrase that was once used by Hitler.
Another such reason was that I was not sure that the use of witch imagery for Halloween and by trans women was cultural appropriation of the Wiccan religion. That… I can’t even tell you, reader. You’ll have to figure that one on your own.
But the one accusation that’s really stuck is that the handle “CelticSteelNY” sounds “Nazi-ish”. This particular accusation is currently being used to justify a doxing attempt on me to expose alleged ties to “white supremacy” that, quite frankly, the people perpetrating this attempt are already 100% convinced exist and cannot be persuaded otherwise by any sort of logic.
They have become convinced that there is no possible explanation for the handle “CelticSteelNY” except for white supremacy, because it “sounds” Nazi-ish and returns a couple of results on Google search. And I do mean a COUPLE.
It has not escaped my attention that the term Celtic Steel does have some black metal/neopagan connotations, though. But these didn’t cross my “autism database” reads because, quite frankly, it’s still a pan-galactic hyperspace jump to make that connection. The Celtic peoples were regarded as sub-Aryan by the Nazis and, to be quite blunt, I don’t feel like I, as an Irish person, should have to take any guff because racist people attempt to co-opt my cultural heritage in an effort to boost their own whiteness. There is nothing inherently racist in being aware of and proud in one’s heritage with a people whose arc of history vastly differs from that of traditionally white Europe.
It is absolutely ludicrous that I should have to spell this out for you, but here we are:
I am not a Nazi, nor a white supremacist. I fully admit to possibly having racially problematic thought processes or ingrained biases which I take utmost care to suss out and rectify once I become aware of them. But don’t we all? Furthermore, isn’t that very concept, of realizing one can be problematic but we fix it when we stumble on it a bedrock of social justice? I digress, though.
These ever-shifting accusations about my alleged ties to white supremacy based on my chosen handle are, I believe and many around me agree, a specific form of gaslighting tailored towards preying on my inability to naturally infer connotation to what I’m saying and how I present it. As soon as I clue in to one reading that proves beyond a doubt that I am a Nazi and debunk it, it immediately shifts towards another one, creating even more paranoia and stress on me as I now must struggle to catalog this new context and situation for my “autism database”.
It may be that this attempt at doxing me has been the last straw for many previously silent to now speak in my defense, to add their voices to a chorus bluntly refuting this narrative bubbling up from the recesses of garbage-tier social justice, but I wanted to put everything down in writing, almost as much for my own peace of mind and sorting my own thoughts as for explaining to those of you at home how we reached this point.
Azathoth bless us all.
UPDATE: I reached out to contact Liam Hogan, on twitter as @Limerick1914 and a historian regarding slavery, as well as an ace debunker of “Irish slavery” and other white supremacist revisionist history, to ask him if in all his research he had ever come across “Celtic Steel” as a dogwhistle term among white supremacists. His answer was:
Further private conversation in DMs reaffirmed that he has genuinely never heard of a single instance of Celtic Steel being invoked as a term of white supremacy, and has little idea where the concept could have come from. With his permission I’ve added this context to the post in order to further illustrate how far of a reach this current campaign against me is.