Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Communication and Rhetorical Studies
Antichrist, Conspiracy Discourse, Digital Culture, Remix
Communication | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Speech and Rhetorical Studies
This thesis examines how people compare the president to the Antichrist online, specifically during the Trump administration. Looking at digital Antichrist comparisons as distinct communicative practices, I argue that the digital affordances and logics that allow for the rapid spread of ideas online work synergistically with the historical weight of the Antichrist as a concept, helping the comparisons to spread further and faster than they could have through other mediums while simultaneously being more impactful than other digitally-spread content due to the wealth of sources, both within religion and pop culture, which can be drawn on. In examining a Twitter trend that compared Donald Trump to The Omen's Antichrist, Damien Thorn, I argue that the Antichrist was used as an apt metaphor for violence connected to religion and politics, which was then able to expand the idea of Trump as the Antichrist to other moments of Trump's presidency through contamination and remix practices. From there, I look at a digital conspiracy archive that details a variety of different ways that Donald Trump could be connected to the Antichrist, where the structure of the archive allows visitors to gravitate toward the elements that are most useful to them, all of which is more effective due to the invisible presence of information about the Antichrist that has infiltrated cultural awareness. Whether public or hidden, these case studies demonstrate how well an ancient political idea continues to thrive within the digital landscape.
Bojarski, Meagan, "Antichrist in the Oval Office: the Rhetoric of 'antichrist' in Online Discourse Surrounding Donald Trump" (2021). Theses - ALL. 586.