What is Antifa?, you may ask. A terrorist organization, according to Donald Trump. Any activity carried out by an extremist at any protest anywhere is committed by Antifa. Homeless people caught between a sit-in and the police? Antifa. Property damage caused by rebellious teens? Antifa. The Occupy movement? Antifa. Self-identified Nazis running over people with cars and spray-painting swastikas on tombstones? Somehow also Antifa. Solar flares? You guessed it. They know when you’re sleeping; they know when you’re awake. They know if you’re part of the international neoliberal cabal, so be afraid, be very afraid.
In reality, Antifa mostly remains an idea marked by the desire to dismantle Fascism while wearing a face bandanna. But despite its new terrorist label, three months into an epidemic that has required most of us to wear a bandanna on our face, Fascism seems alive and well. But if you can’t bring yourself to tell your paranoid uncle that his favorite bogeyman isn’t monitoring his every move, here are some tips to keep him from the truth about Antifa a little while longer.
1. Have your uncle write a letter to Antifa.
This cherished household exercise is a great way for uncles to express their hopes and worries about Antifa directly to them. Standard letters to Antifa usually include a bit of information about the sender, followed by a list of what they hope the leftist militant faction won’t do to them personally. A sample:
My name is Richard. My friends call me Dick. I am 72 years old.
I live in Wyoming. I’m writing to ask that you not come here and set my car on fire. We don’t want Communism here! I have five guns. Please don’t come.
Make a show of sending the letter to Antifa by addressing the envelope to:
Coastal Elite City
2. Leave a snack out for Antifa.
Explain that they might not destroy as much of his property if they are properly sated. Favorite Antifa snacks include dehydrated seaweed, any soy-based meat substitute, and a packed bong. After your uncle has gone to bed, sprinkle the seaweed all over the living room and tip the bong over on the couch so everything is left smelling like weed. Finish off the display by keying his car. This way, your uncle will know that Antifa has visited and left a modicum of damage, but he’ll be comforted knowing he’s been checked off their list.
Favorite Antifa snacks include dehydrated seaweed, any soy-based meat substitute, and a packed bong.
3. Blast Rage Against the Machine or Democracy Now! from a speaker outside the house after your uncle has gone to bed.
Really, any crunchy independent radio or aggressive-sounding music expressing anger against “the Man” will do. Just make sure it’s loud enough to rouse your uncle into a panic just as he’s drifting off to sleep. You’ll know it worked when you see his loaded Glock on the bedside table!
4. Leave evidence around the house of Antifa’s having visited after your uncle has gone to bed.
Spray-painted anarchist symbols, dirty tents, and burning trash bins can all be thrown into the mix to get the message across: Yes, Uncle Dick, there is an Antifa, and they were here last night spreading socialism and performing abortions with your taxes. You can count on him sending out a chain e-mail warning family members to invest in security cameras.
When is it time to tell your uncle that Antifa isn’t real? When he begins to cobble together actual facts gathered from reliable news sources, he’s probably ready to handle the truth that Antifa is a mostly over-exaggerated concept pushed by groups that rely on his fear. But once your uncle figures out the truth, be sure to remind him that some uncles still believe in Antifa and use it to cling to outdated beliefs, and that he shouldn’t ruin that for them.
Sarah Hutto is a comedy writer whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, Reductress, The Washington Post, and The New York Times