Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Far-Right "article worth a read" shock!

In a previous post, I highlighted James Hamilton's take on the psychology of pseudo-lefties(summary; it gets you laid more often - in theory).

But what about writers of all stripes that appeal to something fetishistic in their readers? Julie Burchill, for instance? Some of her arguments are obvious twaddle (I doubt if even she'd deny this after a dry weekend), but some of them aren't. And the sweep of her rhetoric is fabulous.

I don't know about you, but after reading Shelley's Mask of Anarchy or Orwell's 'Lion and the Unicorn', I usually feel a bit giddy. A bit compromised as well. As a devout aetheist and a citizen of the world, I struggle to get through the second verse of 'Jerusalem' without choking up. A writer capable of flourishes such as these could sneak in an argument for almost anything. Michel Houellebecq is another one whose argumentative prose is often thrilling - and perverse in more ways than one.

There is something sexy about bold prose. I was talking to a friend about the way fetishistic properties of Nazi uniforms and he repeated the observation about people rarely having fantasies about a Liberal Democrat. Then I stumbled across this while Googling something innocuous (er... "agnostic materialism" if you must know....). It's a copy of a book-review - by a far-right American writer (O'Meara) of a book by a far-right Frenchman (Faye) The website in question is called Stormfront. It's yer full-blooded Fascism so give it a miss if you're easily riled.

Connoisseurs of James Ellroy's pessimism will enjoy it though. It reads like one of his fantasies. It's a cataclysmic portrayal of European urban life - crime, immigration and culture - and how it fits in to a wider geo-political picture in which the US, duped by 'Zionists' have threatened Europe by drawing on attempted Islamic annexation of our continent.

With a anti-racist establishment run by Zionists (again), white Europe will become - like America - culturally incoherent and unable to resist the eventual inevitable showdown with China.

Dig it's casual use of terms like 'lebenstraum' and it's deft dismissal of the US as "not a nation in the European sense, but simply une symbiose étatico-entrepreneuriale." It repeatedly introduces terms like "cataclysm" and "rebirth." Elsewhere, it's casual asides that demonstrate the difference between Fascism and the rest of the body politic: Phrases like this (on high-crime areas in Europe):

"....such zones, whose deteriorating conditions politically correct public officials persist in describing in socioeconomic rather than biocultural terms..."

And what about this?

"For like every great struggle affecting human’s natural selection, war privileges the elemental and the vital. With it, the subtleties and distractions that sophists and simulators have used to misdirect Europeans cannot but cease to count, as will those minor differences that have historically divided them.

Then, as "money and pleasure" cede to the imperatives of "blood and soil," only the traditions, the way of life, and the genetic principles defining them as a people will matter."

Most of it manages to maintain a pseudo-academic tone that makes it all the more thrilling to read. But in the final paras, the geo-political analysis blended with (remarkably) the only overt racial slur in the whole piece:

"The situation the white race finds itself in today may therefore be unconditionally bleak, but in that hour when everything risks being lost, Faye believes a final opportunity for renaissance will present itself.

In this vein, he predicts that the dominant musical theme of the twenty-first century will be neither an orchestral ode to joy nor the doggerel of an urban savage, but rather a solemn military march based on ancient hymns. Europeans on both sides of the Atlantic, he advises, would do well to keep step with its strong, marked rhythm."

It's thrilling stuff. It's got echoes of cyberpunk - pseudo-science mixed with dystopian landscapes. It recalls the lurid 'hate sheets' depicted in Ellroys 'The Cold Six Thousand'. If anything, it's more compelling because of it's faux-sophistication. It's author is less interested in making a point than in acting out. It's tone is more narcissistic than it is Fascistic.

There are also a few cheap points that could be made about the similarities between the subjectivity and reductionism of this perspective and the pseudo-left's insistence that all problems are rooted in the nexus of the American model of capitalism, the Christian right, the geopolitics of oil, Zionism, and the corruption therein.

But I'll leave that kind of thing to Harry, Norm and the Popinjays.

On the other hand, it also puts a lot of the backlash against multiculturalism in perspective. I don't think I'm alone in worrying about the way that (my) secularism is being invoked to undermine a cultural project that is still largely a remarkable success. When you read a Nazi trashing it in similar terms, it gives pause for thought.

1 comment:

brockway said...

So it's not what you write but the way that you write it that counts?

Maybe this explains why so many people are disengaged from the political process - they just can't find a good narrative to latch onto. Certainly most political literature suffers from being excrutiatingly dull. I used to buy the Morning Star when I was a teenager but was always secretly disappointed by its tedious prose and depressing lack of any 'let's storm the barricades' rhetoric. And I well remember the guilty thrill of getting my mitts on a copy of Mein Kampf only to find myself struggling to stay awake whilst reading it. Where's the snappy dialogue Adolf?

Personally I think the most intoxicating form of political prose has always been the slogan. Its brevity and simplicity give it a natural advantage over manifestos and political tracts. The Clash, who fetishized political iconography, understood this as well as anyone. Why drone on about geopolitics when you can just have Brigate Rosse and a sten-gun emblazoned on your tee-shirt? Or 'fight the power' or 'rage against the machine' or 'never trust a hippy'...

Faye's book sounds like archetypal apocalypse literature to me. Firstly 'imagine the disaster'; then use the notion of an impending catastrophe to create a tense time running out dynamic (much utilized in thrillers); and finally deliver your apocalypse. Admittedly O'Meara relates this with much relish and gusto. He like Faye, I'm sure, must be aware that apocalyptic nightmares make for a more compelling read than placid utopian visions. But I do wonder if the book actually lives up to the review.