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Weaponising blandness: how khaki chinos and Taylor Swift became symbols of the alt-right

From their chinos-and-polo-shirt uniform to the "okay" emoji, America's so-called alt-right are weaponising the everyday

By Philip Seargeant  

From khaki chinos to Taylor Swift, the alt-right have co-opted everyday things as their symbols.

The photographs showed a flock of white men wearing polo shirts and well-ironed khakis, brandishing tiki torches. They became one of the enduring images from the far-right demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia last month, when the so-called ‘alt-right’ marched on a university campus.

Every movement needs its iconography, of course. And as the events in Charlottesville illustrated, symbols—be they flags or statues—can act as powerful surrogates for political views. But while traditional symbols such as…

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