As an instrument for delivering publicity, terrorism clearly works. Or at least it did last week, when the hitherto obscure term “incel” went viral after Alek Minassian drove a truck into a crowd of pedestrians in downtown Toronto. Mr. Minassian, just before carrying out his attack, wrote a post on Facebook in which he proclaimed the arrival of an “incel rebellion.” Standing for “involuntarily celibate,” the term is used as a badge of honor among a fringe online subculture of misogynists who say they hate women for depriving them of sex. So now we know.
Dr Simon Cottee is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Kent and a Contributing Writer to The Atlantic.