That so many were gulled into believing such self-evidently ludicrous pronouncements points to the degradation of political discourse on the internet which Elfwick sought to deride.
In November 2016, the Guardian published a comment piece in which the anonymous writer described how he was radicalised into the ‘alt-right’. It started when he watched a few ostensibly harmless videos by the American liberal Sam Harris.
From there, he graduated to material of an anti-SJW (Social Justice Warrior) and anti-feminist disposition, before eventually becoming a fan of the dreaded Milo Yiannopoulos.
As the writer dramatically put it: ‘The indoctrination was complete.’
Soon after, a well-known Twitter troll called Godfrey Elfwick claimed to be the author. It made complete sense, even though it wasn’t true. Elfwick was a brilliant caricature of the excesses of the liberal-left. He, or rather xe, identified as a ‘genderqueer Muslim atheist’ who was ‘born white in the #WrongSkin’.
His ‘transblack’ status began as a satire of Rachel Dolezal, the US civil-rights activist who was born to white parents but identifies as black. ‘I have light skin’, he tweeted, ‘yet I know in my heart I am black and act accordingly’. Elfwick’s #WrongSkin hashtag soon began to trend worldwide on Twitter, fooling many in the process.
I ran two posts on Godfrey at N.O. and from comments, it was clear that not everyone saw through the ruse:
Plus “he” was not a “he” in the last incarnation:
Lisa Graves, the satirist behind the most recent incarnation of Elfwick, was reported to Twitter for using an expletive during an exchange on her personal account with another user.
The complainant additionally made the demonstrably false claim that Elfwick was an ‘alt-right account’ engaged in ‘targeted harassment’.
Before long, all of Graves’ accounts had been subject to a blanket ban. Given Twitter’s curiously draconian response to such groundless accusations, it is hardly surprising that many are assuming that the punishment is politically motivated.
Now, sadly, Godfrey has well and truly gone, killed off by Twitter and other such humourless tossers – Lisa Graves has had enough of the abuse.
I’m somehow hopeful that some day, someone may revive him in some small corner of the blogo-twittersphere.