Mark Meechan is not very funny. He is a "YouTube comedian", which is a bit like being a "Facebook philosopher" or a "Twitter politician". He’s also in some hot water with the Scottish judiciary system.
The 30-year-old posted a video in April, 2016 in which he taught his girlfriend’s pug, Buddha, how to do a sieg heil, raising its little paw in honour of the Führer. The pro-pogrom-pooch also responded to cries of "gas the Jews" and was filmed watching videos of Hitler speeches. It was all part of Meechan’s hilarious ploy to get Buddha to embody the least cute thing he could think of, because, he claims, his girlfriend – Suzanne Kelly, 29 – fawns over the creature and constantly talks about how sweet and lovely it is.
Now, Meechan is in court. He's being accused of perpetrating an anti-Semitic hate crime and could get up to a year in prison. In fact, he’s been in court for over a year now, the first update for his case uploaded to his YouTube channel a couple of months after the original video came out. The furore has been covered by all your favourite right-wing media guys: Alex Jones; Paul Joseph Watson; and even Canadian far-right commentator Lauren Southern, who is braving the bleak climes of North Lanarkshire to report on the perceived ridiculousness of the situation.
And, you know, it is ridiculous. It’s ridiculous for myriad reasons. Should some unfunny nerd be placed in one of the perennially overcrowded Scottish prisons for doing some meme shit? No, probably not. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that important.
Still, teaching a dog to respond to phrases like "gas the Jews" isn’t "banter", no matter how much you and your 4Chan-warped edge-lord brain would like to think it is. People are obviously upset about it. YouTube could have just deleted the video and we could have all got on with our lives. But now it’s a thing, and when something becomes a thing the opinions come out – and there’s no more grating opinion that the right-wing free-speech "can’t you take a joke?" crew.
Mark Meechan has a lot of tattoos. Among them are the W,A, S and D keys (used to control video game characters); a character from the game Limbo; the logo of EVE online, a space game; and the character No Face from Studio Ghibli film Spirited Away. In one video he sports an Adventure Time T-shirt, a show on Cartoon Network. That’s the thing about these guys – these fervent nationalists, supporters of free speech (i.e. people who want to be allowed to say the N-word and pretty much only that), anti-feminists and the rest: they’re all in arrested development.
A large aspect of the net-right’s constant prattling is their assertion that men – or, at least the notion of "men", masculinity – is dead or dying. No one wears suits any more, you don’t have Gregory Peck frowning at things, everyone’s a "soy boy". You can see it in Richard Spencer and his harem of lost boys' everyday Mad Men cosplay, complete with tumblers of bourbon or other assort brown liquors. But they do that with cartoon frogs on their shirts, worn as badges or emblazoned on flags.
Mark Meechan is another symptom of this juddering hypocrisy. His YouTube page is filled to the brim with all the same awful opinions about feminism, Trump, politics, Islam and political correctness, delivered – as ever – through the scope of a teenage boy, with gay jokes, cancer jokes and a general wilful misunderstanding and simplification of pretty much everything.
Meechan – or "Count Dankula", as he’s known – is not a dangerous criminal; he’s just a lame guy with an almost popping YouTube channel who, like all children, thinks offensive = funny 100 percent of the time. The cartoon-watching right-wing gamers of the earth should not be given so much airtime to make memes of themselves, which is the only thing they truly desire, and the only style of mucky attention that will ever sate their jejune lust for guffawing attention from other weak-armed Kek-praising snot-nosed losers.