In summer 2020, Christian Walker’s content on social media began to take a negative turn. Once, he would post photographs of himself on Instagram accompanied by endearing and inspirational captions. Now, Walker uploads various IGTV videos, Reels and screenshots of tweets from his Twitter account, all with disturbing rants and politically charged captions attached.
Pro-Trump activists have developed a method for upsetting political liberals and making statements that rile them up through manic, brash tirades that occur both online and offline. These diatribes feature the use of various controversial phrases, such as “snowflakes,” “Stop the Steal,” “Build the Wall” and plenty more. Like his Republican contemporaries, Walker’s rants contain various inflammatory statements, most of which make little to no logical sense. Popular videos on the young celebrity’s social media include not only conservative buzzwords and exclamations meant to draw in audiences, but also countless drive-thru trips to Starbucks.
During one of his Instagram tirades centered around the 2020 presidential election, Walker ended off with, “[Trump voters] will win by the end of this. Period. End of discussion. Build the wall!” While anger-inducing and perhaps frightening for viewers to see, his rant ultimately feels somewhat humorous, ending with a quick jump cut to a picture of his Starbucks order with, ironically, Doja Cat’s hip-hop hit “Like That” playing in the background.
Each of Walker’s videos presents him loudly complaining about left-wing politics while sitting in a Starbucks’s drive-thru, waiting to place his order.
Additionally, his infamous social media page spotlights screengrabs of his equally chaotic tweets. In these tweets, readers learn more about Walker’s gripes with political correctness, the Democratic Party and many public figures (e.g., Dr. Anthony Fauci and track and field athlete Gwen Berry).
Although his content is absurd and sometimes unsettling, it is also fascinating. Walker’s tirades have evolved into a staple of his Instagram page, something instantly recognizable. Essentially, he has learned how to use the internet as intended and garner attention.
Now, Walker’s emotional posts have found a new home outside of the social media platform that originally housed them. Much like other social networks, TikTok revels in public punishment and the shaming of those who violate social norms. Every day, a user posts a video onto the app that ridicules another user’s dance skills, jokes or opinions; eventually, other TikTokers join in on the humiliation.
Formerly, people on TikTok responded critically to the falsehoods Walker spread on his Instagram account. However, the masses have gradually recognized the humor and pure absurdity present in his videos. The creation of visual media focused on Walker’s enigmatic public persona is the newest form of collective shame and entertainment taking place on the media platform.
All kinds of creators have transformed his material into duets, stitches and sounds on the network. One such audio, which originated from Walker’s sit-down video mouthing off at staunch Democrats who decide to move to Republican states, has attained virality.
The sound features Walker, amid his anger, waving his arm wildly and telling liberals, “You will not bring your ghetto here! You will not bring your ghetto here!”
TikTok users went crazy for the audio clip and found it unbelievably hilarious, subsequently shaping it into a meme.
For some users, popularizing Walker’s content may provide a sense of satisfaction but not in the way you may think. Research has shown that “punishing a perceived evildoer” (read: Walker) who violates social norms releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in how individuals feel pleasure; in other words, admonishing others feels good. William Brady, a postdoctoral fellow at Yale who studies the role of morality, emotion and social identity online, explained to Greater Good Magazine why social media makes the idea of condemnation more appealing.
“Social media might make it even more rewarding than it already is,” said Brady. “Because now it’s bringing on a social-feedback element. Where not only does it feel good for you to express outrage and punish, but now all your friends are saying, ‘Hey, we approve of this, we feel good.’”
For some unfamiliar with Walker, the preoccupation with his offensive behavior was initially a source of confusion. Nevertheless, unlike previous trends targeting seemingly innocent people for their actions on the video app, this one has a universal appeal; all creators unite in their shared feelings of disdain and amusement for Walker. Similar to how the original rants functioned as entertainment, this recent movement intends to amuse all TikTok users.
Reactions to Walker’s rants can appear on anyone’s “For You” page. After viewing a handful of them, it is easy to find the comedy behind Walker’s tirades and search for the moment when he greets a drive-thru Starbucks employee with an uncharacteristically enthusiastic “Hi!”
Many of the TikToks reacting to his in-your-face Instagram videos went viral. One such response was from the user @izuhhhhhbel, who showed Walker in a Starbucks drive-thru, yelling at his watchers: “And by the way, you can take your criminal justice reform, grab and go to hell with it! How about some victim justice reform? Take your criminal justice reform, and shove it up your big, body-positive — Hi!” The girl soon gave in to the urge to laugh silently at the quick change in his behavior once he addressed the drive-thru worker. The upload has earned 179,800 likes.
Another page, @joshnewmie, jumped on the bandwagon to poke fun at Walker’s strange aversion to the LGBTQ+ community. The video, with 55,200 likes, displayed Walker speaking (with his inside voice) to his audience while in a Chick-fil-A drive-thru: “Right now, I like to go to Chick-fil-A during Pride Month just to get that Pride energy off me, make sure I’m supporting Christian businesses. Uh-huh! Yup! Yup!” The TikTok finished with a transition to the original creator covering his mouth with his hand, then pointing to his front door.
The craze has even evolved into parodies of Walker’s internet diatribes. The popular user @theebrad has become known on TikTok for his scarily accurate impersonations of the far-right influencer. On one occasion, the impersonator satirized Walker’s mockery of Americans who rely on government assistance.
“You ghetto, ghetto nasty liberals love to say, ‘ACAB! ACAB!’ Well, you know what I’m gonna start saying? ‘ALAB! All liberals are broke!’” the imitator cried. “Because you are so quick to give Daddy Joe [Biden] a blow for $1,200. How about you get a job like a proud American!”
Fads on TikTok develop rather quickly; the trend of creators taunting Walker is no exception, as users continue to discover new ways to use his work. Developing an interest in trends associated with the social media platform can often be difficult because every single one targets a different demographic and has unique and complicated origins.
However, most people can quickly understand the allure of this current trend and the background behind it. Individuals do not need to be familiar with Walker’s posts before logging onto TikTok and watching several videos to acknowledge the hilarity of his content. Nevertheless, like all movements, the momentum will soon die down.
Regardless of the fad’s potentially short life span, it has undoubtedly impacted how creators will approach comedy on the app going forward.