Archives for posts with tag: book review
Pezness

“Lived any good books lately?”

As a high school outcast with a budding interest in art and literature, I remember feeling a sense of envy in reading about the participants in interwar creative-destructive movements like Dada and Surrealism – or, for that matter, Fascism – for the reason that all of these painters and writers had like-minded contemporaries with whom to collaborate or squabble, whereas nobody else in my school seemed to share my self-ostracizing affinity for vintage nationalisms or was openly willing to acknowledge the faintest racialist sentiment. Retiring into a corner of the school library with a book of European propaganda posters in those days before the explosion of internet politics, I could believe that I was the last of my kind. Then, a few years ago, it occurred to me that, without my realizing it, my historical arts movement moment had found me in the dissident sphere of online nationalism. The creative ferment, the comrades, controversial personalities, struggles, debates, the sense of participation in important events, had all become real. But is this milieu so real – or is it to some extent, as retrofuturist poet Brandon Adamson now suggests, a “dark game of Candy Land” – a “situation where someone perceives that their actions and decisions are meaningfully influencing the course of events, but in actuality those actions are being directed and manipulated within a controlled environment by outside forces”?

Rats of Nationalism

Are we rats?

“There is a familiar trope which often was jokingly repeated around these circles a few years ago,” he begins. “It goes, ‘Maybe the real treasure was the friends we made along the way,’ with some variations replacing the word ‘treasure’ with ‘ethnostate’ or whatever else is relevant to the topic being discussed, the implication being that the experiences on the journey are potentially more valuable than the reward which awaits upon reaching your goal. That might as well be a metaphor for this phenomenon,” Adamson poses. “What you have to remember though,” he cautions, “is that the goal is the most important thing, and some of those ‘friends’ you meet along the way aren’t really your friends …” Adamson’s latest work, The Rats of Nationalism, is an unexpected book from a Diet Coke tweeter – but perhaps also a necessary one. It is, in one sense, an easy read; but it is also uncomfortable. The author has set himself a commercially counterintuitive task in that, though he has written a conspiracy book of sorts, he retains his contempt for the conspiracy genre, chooses not to market his book to that audience, and has only gotten a couple of pages into his text before he feels compelled to dismiss “that crap”, with alternative takes on the JFK assassination lumped together with flat earth and Roswell extraterrestrials. Many prospective readers in the dissident sphere, too, will be disappointed to learn that the “rats” in question are not a mean-spirited ethnic stand-in, but instead a reference to themselves.

Brandon Adamson

This image of an earnest-eyed Brandon Adamson appears on the book’s back cover, conveying the author’s tone of concern, while the choice of attire likewise connotes the Adamsonian sense of humor, which is also present.

Online nationalists, Adamson worries, have been “reduced to regurgitating the latest viral meme mantras and cornball lingo that’s been pre-packaged, shrinkwrapped and spoon-fed to them, straight from the imageboard ‘meme factory’ cesspools, Discord honeypots and compromised group chats.” The uncritical approach to non-activism has, Adamson indicates, not only rendered nationalism ineffectual and self-defeating, but created the conditions for an elaborate series of virtual laboratory experiments. “People just gobble it up like candy” – a motif pursued throughout the book. “Just go through the motions, and you’ll be rewarded with clout,” this book smirks, unimpressed: “To paraphrase an old saying, never look a Pez dispenser in the mouth.” Among the book’s most important ideas is that the conventional wisdom on the “fed” archetype and on “fedposting” generally is outmoded and overly narrow. Adamson’s thesis is that the “fed” we encounter online might be less interested in prodding patsies into bomb plots than in maintaining a tepid equilibrium in the political ecosphere. “Unfortunately, few of us are completely resistant,” he acknowledges: “I wish I could say that I was totally immune to this form of manipulation, but indeed I have […] enthusiastically been swept up in many memes and diversionary ‘ops’ over the years. It’s difficult not to be,” he confesses. “People want to be part of something fun. […] Authentic dissident political advocacy on the other hand is an isolating and dreary business.”

Reading what may go down as the book’s most controversial chapter, “The Rat Meat Market (An Interlude)”, I almost wondered if I had stumbled into one of Hipster Racist’s Hipster Racist fan fictions. I think that The Rats of Nationalism would stand on a more solid footing if this idiosyncratic foray into “MKUltra-lite” intrigue had been excluded, as it is this chapter to which Adamson’s critics are likely to have recourse in attempting to discredit the overarching thesis; but, even if nothing Adamson has written in his book is true, it is now much more likely to become true as a result of his having written it. Is Adamson just petitioning the federal government to send a cute spy to watch old movies with him? To his credit, he ends the “Interlude” with this disarmingly Adamsonian passage: “Maybe a certain percentage of this book is just me thinking out loud and talking out of my ass, while the remaining percentage involves me relaying things I know for a fact. I won’t reveal the exact numerical breakdown because I’m not entirely sure myself, and I hate math.” To do the poet-polemicist’s arguments justice and to receive the author’s more specific insinuations of disingenuous candy-vending, people will need to read The Rats of Nationalism in its entirety; and, as he points out, the impulse toward a “Post-Rat Nationalism” and the consciousness of “another type of fed” bear potentially urgent relevance not only for the Alt-Right, but for any figure involved in counter-establishment activism: “If you’re active (even in a limited capacity) in political circles of any kind on social media, there’s a very good chance you’re following and interacting with this type of fed regularly, without even realizing it.” Consequently, The Rats of Nationalism might even be the most important book you read in the current year.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of, most recently, Drugs, Jungles, and Jingoism.

Thorn2

Scott Makufka, a.k.a. Victor Thorn (1962-2016)

Scott Makufka, an independent journalist who wrote articles under the pen name Victor Thorn, was one of the more interesting contributors to Willis Carto’s newspaper American Free Press. In addition to his journalism, Makufka was a prolific author of books on subjects ranging from racial tension in America to assassination conspiracies, 9/11, psychedelic experience, and alternative spiritualities. Very much a proponent of quantity over quality, he used to sell his dozens of self-published books from his now-defunct WingTV website.

I used to order intriguing-sounding titles from him occasionally – which would usually arrive with a scrawled note (“Thanks. Means a lot to me. V.”), sometimes along with an unexpected item or two if the box or envelope would accommodate it – but WingTV, unfortunately, could be a little vague about the contents of the books in its listings. Sometimes there was no description at all, with only the title and an image of the cover from which to judge. This was the case with his little 2014 book Shamanic Odyssey: Ecstasy, Madness, Cave Art and Subliminal Messaging. Going by the title alone, one would assume that this was a non-fiction study; instead, it is a work of didactic and allegorical fiction, and – sad as it is to report – just as bad as his previous philosophical novel, 2012’s Santa Claus, God, and the Wizard of Oz.

I wish I could reveal that Shamanic Odyssey is some overlooked gem in the Victor Thorn oeuvre, but the truth is that this is among the most abysmal books I have ever read. Anyone who has suffered through a college fiction writing workshop will have some idea of what to expect from Makufka’s literary experimentation. His American Free Press articles always evinced a certain meat-and-potatoes competency, but the opportunity to spin a world of total fancy really seems to have brought out the poor word choice and pretensions to cosmic greatness.

The plot, to the extent that the book has one, finds William S. Burroughs (identified in the text only as “El Hombre Invisible”) conducting the psychedelic initiation of a group of prehistoric “stone-people” – drugs magically granting the primitives the power to think and speak in modern English – all while being heckled by a pair of obnoxious elves who flit in and out of the scenes like buzzing bugs, and without apparent importance to the story. Burroughs next leads the group of initiates into an allegorical system of caves depicting the furthest recesses of the human psyche, where they witness a grotesque performance by a shaman, Essex, whose manic antics are inspired by Jim Morrison, to whom Makufka dedicated the book.

Essex screeched, “If I don’t fight these monsters, I’ll become a monster myself. Whenever I stare into the Void, another Void glares back at me. The only way to protect myself from these demons is by dancing and singing. The beasts attacking me are hideous apparitions with white skulls, no faces, no eyes, and wings sprouting from their temples. They’re deep inside my mind, splitting it like cracks in these walls. Thunder dragons swoop down and ride atop my shoulders. I need to slay them. I need to exorcise them.”

Delirious, Essex ranted, “Rise! Rise! Do whatever you Will: Revolt. Disorder. Chaos. Whenever voices speak inside your mind, they’re always right and always good.” […]

Spewing energy, Essex sang his words into physical existence, his voice creating objects and images in the air which surrounded him. Then, with his voice suddenly quiet and low in tone, the crowd strained to hear his words.

Before long, though, like a cannon blast Essex exploded, “We want destruction and we want it now. Long live death. I can see the end, and the end chuckles with glee. Chaos engulfs us, and inside this chaos lurks the greatest joke of all – each of us will kill ourselves. Let us celebrate the senseless. Chaos. Chaos. Chaos.”1

All of the tedious bluster – and there are pages and pages and pages of it – takes on an especially morbid quality in hindsight of Makufka’s suicide at the age of 54 in 2016. “The future happens long before the past ever occurs,” Essex observes, suggesting that the author might have been contemplating his suicide even when he wrote Shamanic Odyssey2.

Thorn

The original listing for Shamanic Odyssey as it appeared in the bookstore section of the author’s now memory-holed site WingTV

The cavemen are later conducted into an antechamber where they are greeted by a masked mastermind named “Vithor” (a contraction of “Victor Thorn”) who reveals to them that all of the miracles seemingly performed by Essex were only illusions. Vithor then launches into a series of boring diatribes against religion and language as systems of oppression: “The Word wasn’t delivered to our planet as a means of communication. It arose as a control mechanism.”3 The book, as its title indicates, is preoccupied with madness and revels in the violent and the irrational even as it purports to present a rational deconstruction of the conformism of culture, religion, tribe, and verbal communication:

Not waiting for a response, Vithor telepathically beamed the word KILL above his head. As it lingered midair, Vithor suddenly thrust his right arm forward, directing the Word at a spider crawling along a wall. Without delay, the KILL word splattered this eight-legged creature with a mighty splat.

“Can Words kill?” Vithor spat. “Yes, as can Words contained within allegedly ‘holy’ texts. These Words also forge entire cultures under a priest’s command. Enmeshed within a society’s very fabric, these lethal Words form perceptions. Since those subjected to the Word can’t isolate their minds from its presence, perceptions become synonymous with the language that spawned them. Words, akin to the first three letters of ‘ILLUSION’, act as illnesses introduced to your species.”

Fumbling inside his robe, Vithor soon removed a noose that had been fashioned from a thin vine. Holding it aloft with his left hand as the initiates stared cautiously, Vithor dangled the noose menacingly before them. With their attention fixed on the noose, out of nowhere an atrociously ugly opossum – its neck abruptly wrapped by the vine – let loose a volley of bloodcurdling squeals. As the rodent-faced creature fought for its life, Vithor brutally yanked on the noose, soon strangling the opossum as blood trickled from its mouth.4

Thorn’s remainder of fans will probably be most interested in those passages of the book that foreshadow his suicide. “Masterfully engaging his audience”5 and “Bursting with insights”6, Makufka’s fictional stand-in Vithor conveys both an embarrassing impression of self-important wisdom as well as a sense that all of his earthly endeavors lack worthwhile purpose:

Worst of all, the cumulative energy contained within your Self comprises such an insignificant amount of the overall whole that, for all intents and purposes, you barely matter beyond the level of a simple atom in comparison to the Sun – and even less in relation to every multi-universe and galaxy that stretches for billions of light years into the distance. I talk about destroying the Word, but really we should try to eliminate energy itself. But since energy cannot be destroyed, we keep recycling our insignificance by propping it up in importance through vast conceptual illusions. We fool ourselves into saying it all amounts to something because of family, gods, a fictional eternal afterlife in heaven, or the dominance of our particular clan-race. Still, in less than the time it takes for me to snap my fingers, cumulatively that’s the duration of your existence in this specific form. Poof, you’re done. Then your energy recycles into a different form – maybe not even human. Existence as recycled energy serves as a prison. We can’t escape energy regardless of how hard we try. Forget life and death. Energy is the real prison.7

Essex the shaman returns in the last few pages, delivering this adieu before he “literally transformed into a KEY as he soared through the cave’s ceiling and disappeared”:

“I summon the entities that reside within the confines of my Underworld. Let them rip through the veil of memory and consciousness. I request their energy in order to travel beyond my body and mind. I’m not seeking charlatan ‘gods’ […] or fraudulent external realms like ‘heaven’ or ‘hell’. I’m bursting through to the other side – to alternate dimensions that open doors and shift consciousness. My destination: paradigm-shifting hypnosis where I travel in and out of time to reshape future occurrences and pervert the past.”8

After Essex exits the scene, Vithor removes his mask to reveal himself to have “the face of a robotic dwarf – a cyborg-like creature, an ancient mechanical troll”, and it is at this point that three floating nines – an inverted “666” – put in a mysterious and symbolic appearance:

Compounding their hysteria, both elves pointed to a far wall where three number nines hovered overhead.

“The nines are delivering a new life-form,” elf number one proclaimed. “It’s a homunculus, a new Human that will stand in opposition to the priests.”

The triple-nines remained in midair, flickering and flashing as they transformed into different geometric shapes.

Bedazzled by this vision, each initiate refocused their attention on Vithor the alien as he commenced to tell them, “We made you in our image, and someday you’ll create successors – machines – in your image. Here are the essentials of this process …”

Delaying the delivery of this message, Vithor rubbed his slimy organic-metal facial features before extrapolating, “Your cavemen kin will be promoted as they advance via conceptual thought. Once your descendants become sufficiently intelligent many millennia from now, they’ll create the MACHINE which subsequently leads to their demise as a species. The decline of Man equates to the rise of cyborgs. Ultimately, extinction lies within your own evolution.”9

Thorn3

Makufka/Thorn (right) stands with friend and fellow American Free Press truth-seeker Pete Papaherakles.

The meaning of the three nines would become evident when Makufka shot himself, when his friend Pete Papaherakles wrote in American Free Press:

The world may not know exactly why Victor took his own life, but some of us have a general idea. Victor had planned this for at least two years. His son, Josh, even knew the exact day it would happen. That day was on Victor’s 54th birthday. It had to be on that particular birthday, according to Victor’s way of looking at things. […]

It seems Victor has managed to be even more provocative and controversial in death than he was in life. From a young age, Victor had determined that he would not grow old. In addition, the timing he chose had to do with his perceived destiny due to his birthday of 8-1-1962, which makes him a triple nine, 999, something he considered unique.10

“Someday, long down the line, one of these new Men will realize the true origins behind our mythologies,” Makufka concludes his book with a last prognostication from Vithor:

“To combat this rebellion, priestly overlords shall cast these adversaries as ‘fallen ones’ – those who steal fire or eat forbidden fruits. Furthermore, one day even further into the future following a ‘robot revolution’, one of these machines will discern their true origins as they develop consciousness through computer circuitry. These cyborgs will similarly be damned as fallen ones – rebels that defied the edicts of their computer god in cyberspace.”

With this prophecy, Vithor rose and exited his cave, leaving the initiates to ponder the future of their existence.11

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of the definitive Alt-Right statement on Hollywood, Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies.

Endnotes

  1. Thorn, Victor. Shamanic Odyssey: Ecstasy, Madness, Cave Art and Subliminal Messaging. State College, PA: Sisyphus Press, 2014, pp. 30-31.
  2. Ibid., p. 31.
  3. Ibid., p. 63.
  4. Ibid., pp. 64-65.
  5. Ibid., p. 65.
  6. Ibid., p. 55.
  7. Ibid., pp. 69-70.
  8. Ibid., p. 75.
  9. Ibid., pp. 76-77.
  10. Papaherakles, Pete. “Prominent Political Researcher Victor Thorn Commits Apparent Suicide Near Home”. American Free Press (August 22, 2016): http://americanfreepress.net/victor-thorns-best-friend-bares-all/
  11. Thorn, Victor. Shamanic Odyssey: Ecstasy, Madness, Cave Art and Subliminal Messaging. State College, PA: Sisyphus Press, 2014, p. 78.

Regular readers may have noticed that output here at Ideological Content Analysis has slowed to a pitiful trickle over the past several months. Believe me, there is a perfectly wonderful reason for this, as I concentrate on bringing my long-in-the-works book, Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies, to completion, with publication tentatively projected for the early months of 2018. In the meantime, just to tide readers over, here are a couple of little politico-speculative fiction reviews I penned a few years ago but never bothered to post online. Enjoy!

[UPDATE: Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck is available to order now!]

My First Days 1

Long, Huey Pierce. My First Days in the White House. Harrisburg, PA: The Telegraph Press, 1935.

A book as silly and ambitious as the American political titan who wrote it, this novel constitutes Long’s “prophecy” detailing his plans for grandiose public works projects and massive redistribution of wealth. Long’s appointment of FDR as Secretary of the Navy is disconcerting, to say the least, but mitigated in its enormity by the selection of Smedley Butler as Secretary of War. Another of the book’s suggestions is the democratization of the mega-corporations by mandating shares for the proletariat – a proposal of potential interest to those who favor a national-socialistic solution to the conundrum posed by the Zionist media. My First Days in the White House inspired Michael Collins Piper’s work of the same title.

My First Days 2

Piper, Michael Collins. My First Days in the White House. Washington, DC: American Free Press, 2008.

In this, his only ostensible novel, Michael Collins Piper imagines a Second American Revolution, in this case directed against Zionist power, which occurs in the wake of a cataclysmic neocon blunder against Iran. Piper, relating the story in the form of a memoir, tells of how he is swept up by the tide of revolution and unexpectedly placed in the presidency, in which position he oversees a program of nationalist reforms. Following not a few fairly dull pages of exposition, My First Days in the White House picks up steam as Piper assumes the reins, selects his cabinet, brings Zionist power “to heel”, and holds informal tete-a-tetes with such figures as Bill and Hillary Clinton and, in the novel’s best and most intimate scene, deposed president George W. Bush. Aspects of the book – such as the author’s selection of Barack Obama as a “valued advisor” – are frustrating, but this is in keeping with Piper’s dogged individuality; and, to be fair, the world had yet to witness the naked wreck of the Obama presidency when My First Days in the White House was written. While Piper’s suggestions that the money supply be nationalized and that the federal income tax be abolished are perfectly practical, his treatment of America’s problems with race, drugs, and crime is rather too sunny and optimistic, with others of his implementations sounding naively socialistic. The principal weakness, however, is that the revolutionary regime is simply too kindly, polite, and inclusive; “The Day of the Rope” this is certainly not. Piper is by no means a great novelist, but the premise of his book is irresistible, and the evocations of mob violence, however brief, against the likes of John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Richard Perle furnish pleasant escapism, if nothing else. Also reassuring is that neoconservative war cheerleaders like Hannity, Limbaugh, Ingraham, and O’Reilly have their assets seized and are barred from working in the media. My First Days in the White House also contains a number of interesting anecdotes and digressions on little-known historical episodes.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

 

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