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November 20, 2018

Alt-right Gritty memes will fail to co-opt Flyers mascot as Pepe 2.0

Celebrity mascot gets pulled into a political tug-of-war only he can win

Memes Gritty
gritty flyers mascot game Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty performs during a timeout in the third period against the Florida Panthers at Wells Fargo Center. Voters showed much support for him at the Philadelphia polls in November 2018.

The general consensus in Philadelphia is that Gritty can do no wrong. He's a worthy mascot for the Flyers and a pop culture celebrity in his own right, independent of the NHL. 

He is Time's "Person of the Year," according to himself.

On top of the world, how safe is Gritty's good name from corruption? 

A month ago, as Antifa protested an appearance in Philadelphia by President Donald Trump, Gritty emerged as a symbol of the left-wing group.


The secret to the Flyers' genius is that Gritty appeals more as a symbol for adults than he does for kids. It's regrettable, but inevitable, that Gritty wound up getting politicized at all. Everybody wants a piece of him. 

You had to figure that the alt-right — whose lazy ideas all predate 1945 — would shamelessly try to fight fire with fire at some point. 

Based on the disgusting memes floating around Twitter this week, it's clear their weak offensive has begun. A bunch of Gritty memes have been captioned with tasteless comments about Jews, the Holocaust and African-Americans.

"What's the difference between a cow and the Holocaust?" one of the memes asks. "You stop milking the cow after 70 years!"

"Do you know which group is funding and carrying out the importation of millions of third-worlders into Western countries? Gritty Knows," says another. 

Many more of these racist and anti-Semitic images are flooding into a contest promoted by the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer. (We're not going to dignify that site with a link. If you want that filth in your browser history, google it yourself.)

"We need to get the Alt-Right back on the meme scene – big time. And Gritty is the ticket we’ve been waiting for," writes Daily Stormer white supremacist Andrew Anglin. "He plays the only white sport left, which is how he initially gained popularity with the Alt-Right, who view hockey as 'the purest manifestation of white supremacy.'"

Never mind that the Flyers' All-Star right wing — no pun intended — is Wayne Simmonds, a black man. 

Like hell any of Gritty's obsessive fans are about to put up with this lowlife trolling. 






Any effort to remake Gritty as a white supremacist is bound to fail. 

For one, the alt-right already ruined what once was a perfectly good character in Pepe the Frog, aligning him with President Trump and dashing otherwise great memes that could have been (I personally had two ruined — Empepenada and Pepennsylvania — and I'm still pissed about it). 

Secondly, and more importantly, Gritty is a real mascot for a non-racist organization. There never was a Pepe the Frog, but there is a real Gritty. He fights small children, not black and Jewish people. 

The Flyers may never need to play into the politics of all this. Gritty's own social media presence should be more than enough to counteract an online "community" that uses the word "normie" to describe people who don't find genocide hilarious. 

You can do whatever you want with Gritty — turn him into an Illuminati goat god, if you must — but don't think anyone is going to buy that he's a neo-Nazi mascot literally a month after he was portrayed, successfully, as the exact opposite. That's just dull and unimaginative. 

Scrub Gritty from those memes and what do you have left? An embarrassingly ignorant, insecure and pathetic worldview staring back at you. 

Gritty will never go down like Pepe. He will slip on his own ice just fine, thank you.

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