How the West Won the Great Hashtag War of 2014

Ben Shapiro is a Senior Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. He is the author of the new book "The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against the Obama Administration" (Threshold Editions).


MichelleObamaBringBackOurGirlsThis week, a picture emerged of Islamist terror group Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau holding a machine gun in one hand and a piece of paper in the other. On that paper was scrawled: “#WeSurrender.”

Thus came to an end the Great Hashtag War of 2014.

Led by the bravery of First Lady Michelle Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Democratic women of the United States Senate, the West tweeted Boko Haram into submission. When Obama released the H-bomb of twitter — a sad duck-faced picture of herself in an empty room holding a sign reading #BringBackOurGirls — total victory was achieved: 276 Nigerian girls who had been kidnapped and converted to Islam avoided sale into sex slavery, and the 150 Nigerians murdered by Boko Haram just last week suddenly sprang back to life.

No wonder the Obama State Department has saluted the Power of Hashtag. If only we’d discovered it earlier, we could have saved tens of millions of lives. If the French had only utilized the #MaginotLine instead of the Maginot Line, the Nazi jackboots never would have clip-clopped along the Champs-Elysees.

Now, there were those who argued that hashtagging by world leaders was not merely useless but counterproductive. They argued that hashtag foreign policy projected a sense of Western impotence combined with an overweening sense of unearned moral superiority that comes from sounding off in public. They said that when a former secretary of state neglected to label Boko Haram a terrorist group during her tenure, but tweeted out #BringBackOurGirls, that demonstrated the pathetic weakness of the Obama administration.

They opined that it was one thing for powerless people in Nigeria to push a hashtag campaign in an attempt to prompt action from authorities, but quite another for the authorities themselves to ignore action in favor of hashtagging.

But that missed the point: Awareness was raised. People in authority demonstrated their outrage at kidnapping and sex slavery. Not enough to actually do anything useful, of course, but enough to publicly express that outrage. And now that we all know their feelings on the subject, we can go home happy.

As it turns out, the proper solution to a plea for help is to amplify that plea rather than to help. By doing so, awareness is raised, consciousness is increased, chakras are released. The Power of Hashtag reigns supreme.

The best news of all: You were there. You were part of the Hastag War. We will be thankful for that years from now, when we’re sitting by the fireplace with our grandchildren on our knees, and they ask us what we did in the great Hashtag Wars, we won’t have to cough, shift them to the other knee, and say, “Well, I tweeted about Solange and Jay-Z.”

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  • barbarajoanne

    # Hats off to Shapiro!

    • DB1954

      Go Ben go!

  • UCSPanther

    Since when has “liking” something on facebook changed anything in the world?

    It is the lazy man’s way of pretending to do something about it. The way I see it, the “Kony 2012″ circus was an predecessor to this episode.

  • Paul Weston

    Brilliant. Chamberlain once waved a piece of paper around in front of cameras. Peace In Our Time, it said…… what is wrong with the “liberal” left?

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Are you the same Paul Weston who was arrested for reading the words of Winston Churchill (the greatest Man of the 20th Century)?

  • Douglas J. Bender

    Mr. Shapiro, you beat me to it. I was just about ready to post some comment on some thread somewhere, mocking Michelle Obama’s “#BringBackOurGirls” attack upon Boko Haram, using very much the same sorts of ideas (but not as detailed or devastating, unfortunately) that you did (especially the part about telling our grandchildren about how we lived through these momentous moments). Curse you for being quicker than me. :-)

  • DaCoachK

    Typical Left-Wing-Kook policy: feelings over anything of substance. Rush said it best–it takes no courage to be a liberal; all one has to do is care. These hashtag fools will show their concern, raise awareness and move onto the next great crisis they can solve with an ink pen, piece of paper and twitter.

    • Joel Cairo

      Rush wasn’t totally correct. What you need to do is pretend to care. Taking meaningless actions isn’t real caring; it is a caricature and nothing more.

  • Hard Little Machine

    #itstheleasticoulddo

  • deehra

    I can’t escape the notion that Michelle heard the last click of the camera, threw the sign in the corner, and rushed off to a meeting with her travel agent.

    • Recondobilly

      I would love to see all of the out takes that were deleted before they picked the one that more looks like someone just took away her chocolate mousse .

      • Chavi Beck

        Hey just a second there. Did you say *chocolate* mousse? You’re clearly a raaaaacist.

        • rxpc

          Hmm, yes, Chocolate Mousse is a hair styling aid for women of color.

  • sendtheclunkerbacktochicago

    When is Ben Shapiro going to sit down with Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his lead investigator Lt. Mike Zullo and discuss the mounds of evidence they have discovered in their 3 year criminal investigation of this Fraud in Chief? Do your damn job so the American people can discover how they have been rolled over by all of the media and Congress and those guilty of the crimes and fraud.

    • Rob Hobart

      Never. This is a site for grown-ups, not conspiracy cranks.

  • LoJoFo

    There it is, in a nutshell: If you have the proper FEELINGS (never mind what you DO–good or bad), you can be in the clique; it you have improper feelings (never mind what you do), you are “banned for life.” I choose to be banned. Always have, always will.

  • Lanna

    Great article….Isn’t it amazing that the same people who claim to bring awareness to Terrorism, also represent the belief of Taqiyya…lieing to the people to gain control over their enemies!

  • CowboyUp

    Raising ‘public awareness’ (garnering publicity for them and their ’cause’) is a primary objective of terrorist groups, they want everyone talking about them. They make videos for the news bragging about their evil deeds and taunting their enemies. They’re proud of their brutality, and most of what they do is to instill revulsion, horror, and terror of them, especially in the West (dar al haarb). The msm can’t comprehend people who don’t think like us and generally play right into their hands.

  • Diddian

    “People in authority”

    Remember when authority was a characteristic of the people who led rather than merely an office (or spouse of an office) won through deceit?

  • Diddian

    Michelle parted the Read See.

  • Bandido

    We can safely say Obama made a hash of the situation. Again.

  • Recondobilly

    As usual Mr. Shapiro, a well placed shot to the gut of those who think their phones and emotional response will put out a fire. Hollywood and DC showing their emotional ineptness.

  • Douglas J. Bender

    Has no one thought that perhaps this was Michelle’s way of getting her husband to act?

    • DB1954

      Why did Michelle Obama need to do this? If she wanted something done to “bring back our girls” all she had to do was to tell her husband do it. Or she could have told Valerie Jarrett to do it, since Jarrett’s the de facto POTUS. Michelle’s the one who wears the pants in that family anyway.

      • Douglas J. Bender

        (I hope my sarcasm is not undetectable.)

  • http://madameaproko.blogspot.com/ MadameAprokoBlog

    Say what you want but Hashtags help spread the word and in this case makes the terrorist group quiver in fear and lose more credibility. #brinbackourgirls helped and its still helping. Everyone that matters now knows Nigeria has a problem and its now up to the very incompetent government to accept help.

    • DB1954

      It’s only helping the Obamas APPEAR to care. Appearances are everything to these two creeps.

    • Rob Hobart

      Um… what?
      Do you really believe a terror group in Nigeria is going to “quiver in fear” because a few spoiled Westerners typed hashtag slogans into their Twitter accounts?
      If so, you’re a complete and utter fool.

      • http://madameaproko.blogspot.com/ MadameAprokoBlog

        Well dummy, whatever issue you have with your first lady and President is non of my concern. The hastag has helped galvanize support from powerful people and for an African terrorist, the mere thought that you have the attention of people that have the technology to obliterate you at anytime of the day is enough reason to fear. Their colleagues in Pakistan can attest to this.

    • http://europa-antiqua-arca.blogspot.com/ clavdivs

      Quiver in fear? More like laugh in bemusement. It’s one thing for college students to tweet stories like this, because it’s all they can really do. It’s another for actual government officials to do it, because it shows they aren’t going to actually do anything about it. If Obama really cared, he’d send a rescue operation. Yes, it might involve someone getting hurt. But he doesn’t, so he won’t.

      • http://madameaproko.blogspot.com/ MadameAprokoBlog

        It’s not that easy man, you don’t have a Gadaffi or Sadam in every developing country. You have to deal with accusations of imperialism and there is no direct threat to US interest, except if we can bring back Bush and Blair to fabricate one.

  • http://shugartpoliticalaction.shugartmedia.com/uncommonsense/ Chris Shugart

    It stands to reason that a citizenry that believes that international events are driven by YouTube videos would believe that such events can be handled via Twitter. It’s intellectually vacant to believe that hashtag slogans can solve world conflicts.

  • DB1954

    The Obamas are turning the U.S. government into a farce. Wake me up when the Obama nightmare is over.

  • musterion

    #IGiveYouANastyTaunting

  • Eric Red

    #Hashsmokers.

  • Donald J DaCosta

    You think all those infinitely caring folk who shed a tear and hashtagged a bit of their outrage and deep sympathy for these poor girls will be put off by the likes of “little Ben Shapiro?” Let’s hope so but I have serious doubts. In their eyes they have done their duty, stated their distress over this violation of their tender sensibilities and these Boko Haram bozos should be ashamed of themselves.

    These open minded, free thinking Regressives dedicated to human rights, womens rights, religious, racial and sexual tolerance, diversity, political correctness, free speech and social “enlightenment” will not likely be reading anything written here. It doesn’t fit within their tightly knit, wrapped in a pretty ribbon of “intellectual superiority” concept of the “real” world. They are all having a shared kumbaya moment. It feels so good to share, to be envied for their obvious social and intellectual superiority. And besides, what could sir obama possibly do other than shuck and jive for the camera. He’s not that brash, Texas, loose cannon, Bush 2 who ultimately is responsible for this outrage. No…..cool elegance and “effective use” of social media is the ticket.
    Boko Haram has been seriously scolded for their bad behavior. The girls will soon shed their burkas and be released unharmed……or soon become yesterday’s news but a “welcome distraction” from this kerfuffle over Benghazi.

  • Chavi Beck

    Fantastic article. Thank you.

  • Lanna

    Anne Coulter did a good impersonation of this!

  • Bernard O’Neill

    Moreover, Boko Harem have now admitted that they are all Gay and are moving to California for shirt-lifting wedding. Shucks, meantime, in good news, just two years left until y’all get rid of the twit-er Presidency