June 6, 2016


The (((echo))), explained (Matthew Yglesias June 6, 2016, Vox)

If you read Twitter recently, you'll have noted that a wide range of figures have changed their Twitter names to incorporate a series of parenthesis. The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, for example, is now (((goldberg))) and we've also got Center for American Progress President (((Neera Tanden))) and Politico finance writer (((Ben White))). Even the internet satire account formerly known as Fake Jeff Jarvis has gotten in on the game, referring to itself as Prof. (((tronc))) combining the parenthesis fad with a joke about the publisher of the Chicago Tribune and the LA Times renaming itself tronc.

These renamings are themselves a response to an exciting new trend on the alt-right, a mostly online movement of mostly white nationalists who've gained new prominence largely thanks to Donald Trump's campaign. They've taken to identifying Jewish individuals and what they see as Jewish-controlled institutions by surrounding their names with parenthesis -- a typographical convention known as an echo. An alt-right article or tweet, for example, might refer to this as a (((Vox))) explainer written by Matt (((Yglesias))) to signify that its author is Jewish despite a not-very-Jewish name and also that Vox, like many American media establishments, features a number of Jewish writers and editors that is disproportionately high relative to Jews' presence in the overall American population.

The echo's popularity online signifies both the alarming increase in vocal and visible anti-Semitism associated with the Trump campaign and also, in a practical sense, its limits. The echo is spreading so widely as a self-ascription both because Jews themselves are adopting it as a gesture of defiance and reappropriation, and because non-Jews are adopting it as a gesture of solidarity designed to undermine the implicit threat.

Posted by at June 6, 2016 3:12 PM