Locating the other in an online world: trolling Islam in 'American sniper'
Ready, Tyler James
MetadataShow full item record
As the online realm continues to become more important in the United States, questions of identity become increasingly difficult to parse, while still remaining at the forefront of US political discussions. In seeking to understand how identity construction is intertwined with a text's online circulation, I've focused on Clint Eastwood's American Sniper as an act of online trolling. In looking at articles written about the film, along with comments accompanying both the film and articles, I've found a pattern which centers on deeply-held orientalist beliefs about the Middle East. Additionally, the online circulation of these texts reveals a strawman-styled othering process in which rhetors, ranging from Eastwood himself to anonymous online contributors, define themselves not by what they believe, but by what they are not. Ultimately, this analysis exposes the paradoxical element of rhizomatic communities: in an online world, where there is often no discernable connection to a static, geographic place, users create their identities by denigrating perceived 'other' ideologies. Instead of focusing on what makes them (in this case) American, users condemn the opposing political side, and then attribute all the remaining positive qualities to themselves.