Pizza is a pretty adaptable food. It takes a ridiculously wide variety of toppings, is enjoyed by practically everyone, and can reasonably be eaten at any time of the day. But a Twitter user with some apparently strange dietary predilections may have recently taken the meal to its limit. “Pizza + Milk = a great combination,” wrote “IsaiahDaGawdd,” adding a few tongues-out emojis along with a photo of a slice of pepperoni pizza being dipped in a tall glass of milk. Dipping pizza in milk: Yuck, right? I have not tried this unusual combination, so I cannot comment on its deliciousness. But I can imagine that I would find it deeply repulsive, given that I prefer my pizza well-done and crispy, not wet and soggy and engorged with milk.
Now, this is just one random Twitter guy, so we shouldn’t read too deeply into his preferences. But the disgusted feedback on Twitter and a recent blog post from a Huffington Post editor—unsubtly headlined “Stop Eating Pizza And Milk Together, They Are An Unholy Union”—suggests that it isn’t widely popular.
I can’t help but feel, though, as if we are being trolled, given milk’s role in another semi-viral internet trend that turned out to be not much of a real-life trend at all. It all started when the rapper Paperboy Prince got into an argument, streamed live on Shia LaBeouf’s “He Will Not Divide Us,” outside the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, with a 4chan user. Paperboy Prince was saying that milk is a “symbol that represents hate speech,” based on a 4chan thread discussing “lactose tolerance” in Europe as “a sign of white genetic fortitude and identity,” as Mark Hay recounts in this useful analysis.
As if to validate Paperboy Prince’s esoteric remark, a group of shirtless white nationalist protesters later appeared belligerently chugging milk, broadcast on LaBeouf’s webcam. Soon after that, Mic reporter Jack Smith IV wrote an article whose headline boldly proclaimed, “Milk is the new, creamy symbol of white racial purity in Donald Trump's America.”
It simply isn’t true. I have personally spoken to a few prominent alt-right figures who find this milk meme somewhat ridiculous but are happy to indulge in its propagation because it makes people confused and angry. “Mic's article is the equivalent of saying that Trump supporters call themselves ‘deplorables’ or that Clinton supporters claimed ‘nasty woman’ as a label,” writes the journalist Will Sommer, whose weekly newsletter, Right Richter, decodes the far-right media spectrum, “without pointing out that they got the idea from the other side in the first place.”
Which is to say, don’t take the white nationalist milk meme or the pizza and milk combination too seriously. Perhaps you’re being played.