Clown World

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Clown World or Heil Honkler is an alt-right propaganda meme. The "Honkler" image first appeared on 4chan in February 2019.[1] Clown World and Honkler are part of the alt-right effort to obfuscate racism and hate with seemingly innocuous memes.

White nationalist usage[edit]

They will adopt our child, and post Honkler on social media under mainstream memes already in circulation. There will come a time when we must take him back. … Whether of the HONK or not, we must perpetuate this meme to show the world our ideas.

The alt-right uses memes as an online radicalization tool. One of the best known icons is Pepe the Frog, a meme co-opted by 4chan in 2008. Honkler resembles Pepe, but in a clown outfit. Like Pepe, Honkler also has racist connotations and is explicitly alt-right, often used by neo-Nazis.

"Clown world" was a phrase used in the subculture from about 2015 - that the US was a "clown country" because it didn't actually murder everyone who wasn't white. The phrase started being heavily promoted on The Right Stuff's podcast "The Daily Shoah" in 2017[2]

The "Honkler" meme originated on 4chan board /pol/ in February 2019 in a thread titled "Operation Honk".[3] Referred to as Honk Honk or Honkler, it quickly gained popularity across the internet in far-right groups, where Honkler imagery portrays antisemitic, homophobic, transphobic, and racist tropes.[4]

Honkler is the main figure of the clown world, though other alt-right imagery is also drawn over by clown features, including images of Adolf Hitler and shock imagery.

The far-right even dress up as clowns for protests, e.g. several Proud Boys at Patriot Prayer's attempted anti-abortion rally in Albany in May 2019.[5]

Association with black pill nihilism[edit]

Honkler has become associated with the so called "black pill", a form of absurdist nihilism in which reality itself is portrayed as a cosmic joke.[6]