Friday, 22 September 2017

MACHINERIES OF JOY? NEVER MIX YOUR METAPHORS…


Your government, yesterday. You are pictured
held in the gentleman's right hand.





This time is out of joint.

Shakespeare, Hamlet



Welcome to the machine.

Pink Floyd





There is a definite scent of decadence in the air, don’t you feel? A sense of end times, a whiff of Weimar, a rotting Roman ambience, but of Rome at the end, over-extended and tired, sleazy and rotten with a type of imperial syphilis. What route led the West to its current moral malaise, its vulgarity and sleaze, and the celebration of those ‘qualities’?

Decadence is nowadays defined as decay and cultural erosion, a falling away of standards or norms, and for the worse. But it is also the privative of ‘cadence’, a musical term. A closing series of notes, or an inflection of the voice, ‘cadence’ denotes something definite; harmony.

Without waxing rhapsodical, harmony does not simply apply to music. Look at its mathematical expression in Pythagoras, via Plato. There is a sense of rightness, ratio, proportion and a mutual reliance between component elements that expresses, or partly expresses, the idea of harmony. Rightness, proportion, mutual reliance. Not, any of them, words which might be appropriately used concerning the state of the planet as it rolls around its orbit today.

Harmony, as expressed in the ancient world, is also mathematics, and this is where the problems begin. I have long said that the hubristic fault line running through Socialism is not, or not only, naivety, emotiveness or rootless anger and class war. Rather, it is the belief that life as lived by the mass of people is an equation, or a power drill, or a piece of solid state electronics, or a robot, or – and this is the most recent ruling metaphor – a computer. That is, the problems of society – any society – can be remedied by a species of engineering. Tinker with human beings as they exist en masse, and all things shall be well.

The phrase ‘social engineering’ is, of course, familiar to all. But it does not spring from nowhere. One of the key insights observed by the much-maligned, late French philosopher Jacques Derrida is that ruling metaphors, metaphors which come to dictate structures and systems and even history, bring their own structure and system of operation along with them. The guiding metaphor is, if you like, bound by the limits of its conceptual operation, and thus bound to affect that which it itself affects in a certain and structurally pre-determined way.

The guiding metaphor of the Left has long been the machine. The Left is historically obsessed with the notion that man can be perfected, can be made or re-made, created and maintainable as an engine. Look at the Soviet program to build the perfect citizen, look at Stalin – whose name, a nickname, means ‘man of steel’ – and even at Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Shelley’s maiden name was Godwin, and she was the daughter of William Godwin, one of the earliest and most fervent Socialists and obsessed with the perfectibility of man. In her daughter’s novel, a scientist actually creates a man from scratch.

And it is this slavish adherence to a perfectible model of man, guided and directed by the machine metaphor, which explains the Left’s rooted antipathy to the notion that it is genetic make-up that largely schools personality and action rather than environment. Environment can be engineered. It requires vast sums of money to do so – which keeps the necessity for high taxation a Socialist shibboleth – and it can be utilised to show the beneficence, or apparent beneficence, of the Left.

Genetics cannot – yet – be engineered in a mass social context. The denial of genetic facticity is the prime mover of the Socialist belief in egalitarianism. DNA is an apparatus closed to the tinkerers of the Left. Only society is an accessible machine.

How does this come to explain the vulgarity, the sheer sleazy decadence of the modern West? I suspect it is because genetic differences are censored and muted, disallowed as irrelevant when placed against the myth of egalitarianism. If a genetic meritocracy is banned, and people are allowed by direct governmental and ideological tampering to act as they wish, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men will not be able to put society together again. Go against nature, and she will come looking for you.

Ancient Greek society flourished because of an innate sense of place. The Greeks, of course, knew nothing of DNA – although Parmenides was prescient about genetics – but they knew that nature had provided not only the raw material of reality, but also a natural order to be followed.

The modern West, run as it is by the Left, has completed its great march against this natural order, and deviation is all that can follow. This is why civilization – such as it is – is hyper-sexualised, why vulgarity is worshipped as art, why inferior cultures have been allowed to impose their values – such as they are – on superior cultures. The alternative to the machine metaphor is the organic, and organic societies, those which follow nature’s innate order, are preferable to the machinistic engineering the Left demands.

The West will never again be civilized in my lifetime. We are in a period of reverse social evolution. Enlightenment reason, faulty as it may be (see John Ralston Saul’s Voltaire’s Bastards on this) has been dethroned by emotivism and a sense of radical subjective entitlement. This replacement, coupled with the deliberate dismantling of worthwhile educational curricula and method, leads to a generation of children in adult bodies, children who know nothing of cultural value, dignity, humility, pride and shame, and comportment.
1936
2017


Don’t trust the tinkerers, the engineers, the bricoleurs, the regulators and calibrators and technocrats. Trust to organic structures, and strive to live your life away from the machine metaphor. You will be surprised how much Keatsian beauty and truth lie behind and beneath the gleaming chrome of the Socialist lie.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

YELPING AT THE FLAG: INDEPENDENCE DAY IN COSTA RICA


Three colours. Red, white and blue





It’s Independence Day

All over town.



Bruce Springsteen, Independence Day





Winds of the world give answer!

They are whimpering to and fro.

And what should they know of England

Who only England know?

The poor little street-bred people

That vapour and fume and brag,

They are lifting their heads in the stillness

To yelp at the English flag!



Rudyard Kipling, The English Flag





On September 15, 1821, after the final Spanish defeat in the Mexican War of Independence, Guatemala declared the whole of Central America independent. So it was that Costa Rica – officially The Republic of Costa Rica – threw off the imperial Spanish shackles it had worn since the 16th century without a shot being fired or a sword drawn.

El día de la independencia is a very special day here in Costa Rica, and the small town by the Pacific in which I have washed up is famed for its annual parade. So it was that at 9am on Friday last I made my way from my shack in the rain forest to watch proceedings down in the streets.

The whole place was decked in flags. I had been watching the preparations all week, noting flags billowing from cars and motorbikes, national dress for little girls prominent in the clothes-shop displays, and massed drumming coming from the school, which is twinned with a school in South Korea. The South Korean flag, with its I Ching hexagrams and Yin and Yang centerpiece, flies proudly on the roof beside the red, white and blue of the simple, banded Costa Rican flag.

Red, white and blue. As an Englishman, the coincidence was not lost on me. You do still see mass flag-wavings in England, although they are at state-approved functions such as the Queen’s birthday and often employ a degree of cynicism. Politicians, or rather their advisers, steeped in public relations and its attendant chicanery, believe that it’s okay to let the plebs wave that bloody rag once in a while because, you know, it keeps us in with the Mail readers, much as we despise them. Tony Blair’s PR people, also known as his colleagues, made sure every kiddie had a little Union Flag – it’s only called the Union Jack when flown at sea - the day he was elected British Prime Minister for the first time. Optics, I believe they call it, in some circles.

The flags that flew here were state-supported, alright, but in a very different way. They were supported by the state because the state loves its own country. Never before had I felt so keenly the sheer, nihilistic hatred that the British elites have for the notion of sovereignty, nationhood, country, flag and people. Never before had I felt so sharply the sheer hatred that British politicians have, not for Great Britain, but for England.

The Costa Rican flag itself was adopted in 1906, after a few predecessors which looked a lot like Argentina’s famous sky-blue-and-white flag. Costa Rica’s inaugural First Lady, Pacífica Fernández Oreamuno, designed the current flag in 1848, and based its design on the French tricolor.

Costa Rica’s revolution was rather more bloodless than that of France, but the revolutionary impulse lives in the colours and banding. The current Costa Rican flag, officially, has been adapted to include the country’s coat of arms. This is genuinely ironic - in that it says one thing and means another - as Costa Rica, since 1948, has had no standing army. Think of all the diversity training and gender awareness seminars that has saved the country.

The coat of arms features, instead of martial symbolism, the three local volcanoes and seven stars to represent the seven provinces of Costa Rica, as well as a ship. Costa Rica’s east coast was said to have been one of Columbus’ first ports of call on his first voyage to the Americas. Costa Rica would be the kind of country that would celebrate that idea while, in the USA, angry students are looking to tear down Columbus’s statue. Third world versus first. I know where I stand.

On Friday, I stood in the street and watched the parade pass before me.

And I had never seen so many flags. The parade was seemingly endless. Many of the groups and musicians who passed were children, some very small, decked out in their national colours. An acquaintance had told me that it was amusing to see the adults trying to corral the little ones as they wandered off hither and thither. Thus, it amused me to see the rope boundaries with which the adults kept the toddlers from dispersing. I saw the toothy, skinny little girl who so loves my dogs and always stops to pet them. She was in a majorette uniform and playing an instrument that looked like a cross between a Brazilian guera and a cheese-grater.

After an hour or so watching the parade, I became acutely aware of something. I was crying. Now, I am a bit of a big girl’s blouse, I will be the first to admit, and will cry at the drop of a hat. I finished a biography of a favourite poet once while on a train and made a spectacle of myself when I reached his inevitable death. On the other hand, I cried at Wembley when Arsenal were pick-pocketed 2-3 by Luton Town in the 1988 League Cup final, at which I was present, the year after The Gunners had beaten Liverpool in the ‘Charlie Nicholas’ final. I was at that too, crying with joy.

But this was different. Why, I wondered as I quickly donned dark glasses, was I starting to blub now? I’m not Costa Rican. It was a day of great joy and dancing, smiles on all faces, children and carnival. And there I was acting like a great big, moustachioed baby. Then I got it.

Thousands of people waving their red, white and blue national flag while marching slowly through the streets. Martial drumming. National costume. An outpouring of joy and happiness surrounding the celebration of the creation of a sovereign nation.

In Britain, these people would be called fascists.

Thousands of people marching through a Surrey town – which is a decent comparison with the town I am in - some in uniform, banging drums, decked in the colours of their nation and waving flags as far as the eye could see. Every single head in the editorial offices of The Guardian, The BBC, and The Independent would simultaneously explode. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, James O’Brien, Giles Coren, Polly Toynbee, Madeleine Bunting and the rest of the prat pack would vomit thousands of words stating that Britain had gone back to Oswald Mosley, that Islamophobia had come to Surrey – a very white area, you know – that white supremacy had reared its ugly head.

The sadness that I felt was born of the joy I could see around me at the very notion that Costa Rica was and is a sovereign state, with borders and national costume and indigenous people and a love of flag and country.

Then I noticed something else.

Again, transposing this parade to England, and our fictional – and they will remain fictional – Union Flag-waving, uniformed, fervently nationalistic little drummer boys, there would have been hundreds and hundreds of police officers present. That would not, in actual fact, be because of any threat posed by the marchers themselves. It would have been due to the fact that one side of the street would have been ranked with jeering, spitting, screaming Muslims holding up placards which, had they been wielded by British nationalists, mutatis mutandis, would have led to imprisonment, and the other side by wild-eyed Antifa hurling abuse, as well as bottles of urine and packets of faeces, as has been recent practice at these events in Europe and the USA. Arrests would have been made, but disproportionately of those sporting anti-Muslim T-shirts rather than Antifa or violent SJWs.

As I say, police numbers would have been in the hundreds, many of them looking intimidating, like something from a dystopian science fiction comic-strip. As I walked around the patchwork labyrinth of the town, trying to send-guess where the procession would appear next, watching the puppet devils and witches and skeletons, ordinary people in extraordinary papier mâché heads, listening to the chiming xylophonics of the pretty lyra, I counted the police officers I saw in half an hour.

I saw five.

Then I understood.

The reason I wish to stay here is that I now hate my own country, hate what it has let itself become. Here, the Costa Rican people love Costa Rica, and that is the end of the argument. They would just laugh at people such as Owen Jones, Deborah Orr, Lily Allen, J K Rowling, Bob Geldof, Jon Snow, and all the other varied puppets who are paid to hate England.

I have moved from a country which loathes and despises itself to a country which celebrates and enjoys itself. I have moved from a country in which all Muslims have to shout is ‘Jump!’ and the government – of any party – whimpers, ‘How high?’, to one in which 0.01% of the country is Muslim – none here, it pleases me to note – and, when they ask for a mosque or some consideration concerning halal, are politely but firmly told to go away. I have moved from a country in which the historical flag is being slowly banned to one where it is worn openly and as a badge of pride and honour.

So, don’t cry for me, Costa Rica. But you made me shed a tear.

Friday, 15 September 2017

PART AND PARCEL: ANOTHER DAY IN TRAUMAVILLE

Damn! I had to miss diversity training for this


The most frightening image from the Parsons Green tube bombing, for me, is the one above. I suspect a lot of policemen love the opportunity to strut around in their Judge Dredd outfits, bellowing orders at terrified passengers, as they did in pubs during the London Bridge Muslim attack, which Diane Abbott referred to as an ‘incident’. I also suspect that the copper pictured above is not thinking politically correct thoughts although, to ensure his continued employment, he must give voice to them, probably on a daily basis.
The elites love terrorism, of course, which is one of the several reasons they adore Islam. Unstable personalities fed at the teat of an insane book about an insane man, fed from arsehole to beak with grievances, and then let loose on what used to be England. Traumaville relies on fear, its very being given structure by the secret thought every commuter has that she might end her tube journey dead or severely injured because of people invited into an already overfull city by malevolent politicians for whom the amygdala – the seat of conscience – is just something that happened to other people.
Islam’s man on the inside in London, mayor Sadiq Khan, has issued the usual mewling statement. Interestingly, he mentions ‘an evil and cowardly individual’. How does he know the bomber acted alone? I am convinced Khan is part of the chain of command which enables Islamic terrorism in London. He should watch his words. He also famously called terrorism ‘part and parcel’ of living in a major city. Sure. Like Budapest or Warsaw or San José or Tokyo, where there are no Muslims and thus no threat of terrorism.
And now the usual round of warnings will begin. They will not, however, be warnings against Islamisation or terrorism as such, but warnings against Islamophobia. The Guardian will run some feature by someone with an exotic-sounding name saying, essentially, don’t let’s be beastly to the Muslims. Brand Islam is protected by the British government, and the governments of a Europe Britain will never be allowed to leave, far more strongly than those imperialist, patriarchal, fuddy-duddy old notions such as Enlightenment rationality, freedom of expression, national identity and other fading embers.
As the British government endeavours to build a country at war with itself – slavishly copying the USA as ever – and stokes the flames of what should already be a civil war, one wonders what it is all for. Do the British despise themselves over empire in the same way that Germans have a self-loathing because of the Holocaust? It certainly seems that way.
Whatever the reason, the result is Traumaville, where everyone should be afraid but not too afraid, and if the pub becomes a bit too risky and makes you too nervous, there is always staying in with Netflix and the telly and video games and oriental cuisine from the supermarket.
Welcome to Traumaville. Be not too afraid.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

BLACK AND WHITE, UNITE AND FIGHT! PREFERABLY WITH ONE ANOTHER




 But I thought you said we were all equal



Racism. If you live in the Anglophone world, you will be keenly aware that there is no greater evil. The racist used to be – in a world where lexical definition once existed unmolested – a person who believed that there were differences between races which served to differentiate them in a way other than skin colour and physical characteristics. There was a time when, if told you that you were about to meet a Swede, a Nigerian, and a Tibetan, you would have been allowed to assume that this trio would probably exhibit different personality types.

Nowadays, a curious thing has taken place. You are no longer legitimately permitted to make the assumption of our ingenu. It still exists, of course. Our three chums above will still be very different. Tibet is not Sweden and Sweden is not Nigeria. Do shout out if reality becomes too troublesome for you. But it is not the reality which interests the Leftist anti-racist. She is far more interested in the expression of that reality, and the strict censorship and policing of that reality.

Of course different nationalities, different races, have different traits, natures and abilities. It is one of the few things, in my modest opinion, that make many people in any way interesting. Although the elites would like it if all humans were identikit clones, believing the same things and enjoying the same things and failing to think in exactly the same way, but there is stalwart reality which, as Philip K Dick reminds us, is that stratum of the world which does not go away just because you stop believing in it.

But ‘racism’ has fallen foul of the reallocation of semantic meaning which has become such a virus this century. It no longer means the recognition that Ashkenazi Jews have the highest mean IQ in the world. It no longer means the fact that black men run faster than white men because of the narrowness of their pelvic girdles and the concomitantly greater efficiency of lines of force. It no longer means that the country that evolutionary biologists and geneticists investigate when they want an example of the purest DNA on the planet is Iceland. No. It means that someone white voiced doubts about immigration, or objected to the behaviour of urban blacks, or stated that perhaps the Confederate South in the USA can keep its monuments because morality changes over time and the ethical standards of the present day may not legitimately be applied to the past.

Of course, ‘racism’ is in danger of being superceded as the ultimate sin by ‘white supremacy’, as the real target of the post-modern Left comes into focus between the cross-hairs. But it will have had a sensational run. Here is a short list of the features of contemporary racism:

·        Only whites can be racist. As the Left irritably reiterates, as though explaining the properties of a triangle for the twentieth time to a particularly stupid student, blacks lack power, and only those with power can be racist. They neglect to tackle the fact that, as the USA undergoes increasing and steady Detroitisation, blacks are gaining a great deal of power. Will they soon be allowed to be racists too, or is racism like a golf club in the Hamptons?

·        All whites are racist. This is, of course, the Biblical doctrine of original sin, re-branded and colour-coded so that it can be easily located in the morality dime-store in which the Leftist shops.

·        Many things, objects, gestures, events and so on, are racist. Milk, the ‘okay’ sign made by circling the thumb and index finger, hurricanes, Christmas, sombreros (if worn by white people); the list is already a long one, and ‘Liberals’ – another word which has changed markedly in meaning – are always looking to add more.

·        Racism is not confined to white adults, but can begin in the cradle. There have already been incidents in the UK of very young children being interviewed by the police for making racist remarks in the playground. The playground.

·        A charge of racism is now a rather dangerous thing, if you have any aspirations to earning a living, particularly in the public sector. Years ago, I used to scoff at the ubiquitous phrase ‘for fear of being called racist’ which appeared in so many stories featuring authorities too sheepish to act on ethnic crime. Now, a public accusation of racism in Europe will remain with you like a swarm of bees. And should you refuse to allow your child to go on a visit to a mosque, their name will forever be tainted with the odour of racism.

And the reason this quasi-religious inquisition has been allowed to coalesce, as I have consistently pointed out, is that while the Left run the West de facto, and base their success largely on a demonisation of any white person foolish enough to be critical of non-whites, they are utterly uninterested in non-whites per se. The Left uses blacks to impose ideology every bit as much as slave owners – who still exist in the moneyed and largely Arabic-owned enclaves of London such as Kensington and Chelsea every much as they did in the plantations of Louisiana – to do their job for them. Then, it was picking cotton. Now, it is enabling Orwellian thought control and a fascistic conformity.

Finally, this witch-finding has been instrumental in creating the dissident and Alt. Right. If a group of people are called ‘racist’ long and unanswerably enough, one can hardly be surprise if they accept the appellation and begin being racist together. Of course, there are blowhards such as Andrew Anglin, of the currently unavailable Daily Stormer, whose constant use of ‘kikes’, ‘niggers’, ‘shitskins’, and a whole colourful lexicon makes one weary. But a lot of other people – myself included - became interested in such topics as comparative IQ, race-norming, affirmative action and so on partly because the Left seemed so determined to place a cordon sanitaire around those topics.

As a guiding principle, the more the Left screams and cries and accuses concerning one of its various -isms and -phobias, the more likely investigation into those areas is to yield fruit to the patient observer. And now, if you will excuse me, I have some racism to attend to.

Friday, 8 September 2017

A BUTCHER’S SLAUGHTERHOUSE: COULD JACOB REES-MOGG SAVE THE WORLD?


Yes, actually. I do trust a man in a hat like that.




A trait I imagine I share with many people is an almost pathological inability to remember people’s names while at the same time being unable to forget a face once seen. So it was when I saw a televised appearance by Sir Keir Starmer, KCB, PC, QC.

In passing, every time I see the appellation ‘QC’, I am reminded of a Morecambe and Wise sketch which, like so much comedy I grew up with in the 1970s, would not only be unwriteable and unperformable now, but could possibly lead to jail time. Eric and Ern are discussing a rather well-heeled gentleman they have met.



Ern: Who is he?

Eric: He’s a QC.

Ern: A QC? What does that mean?

Eric: Queer as a coot. He can’t help it.



But I digress.

Starmer was one party in an interview conducted by Jon Snow – and we’ll read more about this little man later – which also included Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is winning a sort of online plebiscite as the future leader of the Tory party. We will look at the interview in a short while. It yields much in the way of semiotics concerning politics and the media in the UK. But I could not take my eyes off Starmer. Unable to resist, I Googled the fellow, and all became as clear as an unmuddied lake.

We were at school together. Starmer is almost exactly 18 months younger than me. I would undoubtedly have seen him in the playground, and he would have been aware of me, as I was a colourful character in my halcyon days. I would never have bullied him, my job at school being the time-honoured one of making the bullies laugh. The foremost bully in my year is now, or at least was ten years ago, a high-ranking officer on the police force in Bristol. It amuses me to recall how, on our trips on the old school bus to play rugby in London, he would point out of the window and invite us all, we happy few, to play ‘count the Paki’. Happy days. Where were we?

School. Yes. The institution in question was Reigate Grammar School, couched in the leafy glades of Surrey’s stockbroker belt. Sir Keir neglected to mention his attendance at a grammar school in Who’s Who?, undoubtedly an oversight on his part. But, like your humble writer, he passed the 11-plus examination, as it was called, and gained entry to RGS. I scored, incidentally, 99% on both papers, giving me an average of, um, well, it got me in. Never mind about averages and so on. I would love to know what Sir Keir attained, although I am not pulling intellectual rank. Our lives, after all, have been somewhat divergent. Sir Keir is a noted human rights lawyer and prominent member of the Labour Party and, while I do have a doctorate, I also quite frankly play guitar for a meager living in various modest Costa Rican restaurants.

Sir Keir, incidentally, is not the only notable name to be somewhat shy of his Reigatian past. The popular musical artiste Fatboy Slim attended the same school as Sir Keir and I. Thinking about it, I think the two could have been in the same year, one or maybe two below mine. Mr. Slim was also, prior to his enormous success welding together old songs in the manner of a cut ‘n’ shut car salesman hybridising two dodgy motors, a somewhat different cove than his public persona would indicate. He claims to be called ‘Norman Cook’, and I once caught him talking in a sort of flat-cap, whippet-owning Northern accent which would have surprised his family. His real name is Quentin Cook. I kissed his sister Lois once. She was tall and willowy and a first-rate kisser who looked as though she had strayed from between the pages of a Virginia Woolf novel. Again, I am wandering from the path. And look where that got Dante.

My reason for bringing you here today was actually to speak of Rees-Mogg. After Trump, Britain is in dire need of a politician who represents a glitch in the hitherto flawless programming of the globalist, progressivist, Pansy Left. (© George Orwell).

Trump and Rees-Mogg could scarcely be more different. I apologise to my non-British readership, but comparing the two would be like comparing Arthur Mullard with Kenneth Williams. Trump is like a 1970s British wrestler in a suit, Rees-Mogg like Bertie Wooster with Jeeves’s brain.

I will not indulge in ‘post-Wikipedia’ deceit about Rees-Mogg. I was dimly aware of him, and have since researched him. Now you can too. As Rebecca Bynum, my sometime editor at the New English Review, drily remarked to me when I asked her if I needed to explain who the Miliband brothers were for the benefit of a largely north American audience, that is what Google is for.

What I will focus on is an interview, a few months old now, held by Jon Snow against the imposing – and probably green-screened – backdrop of Westminster, the supposed mother of all parliaments. The interview can be found here, and you may wish to view it first, before proceeding to my pithy and almost certainly accurate observations on same. I will wait here. *Hums a popular tune*. Ah. So there you are.

Well. The semiotics of which I spoke are apparent from the off. Snow – a genuinely odious man who epitomises the BBC – treats Starmer much as a well-off passenger on a 1930s cruise liner would treat a charming young lady, leaning on the rail and chatting easily like some extra-louche David Niven, and even kicking off with a witless jibe about the 1922 Committee. Of course, when it comes to Rees-Mogg, Snow folds his arms like a Yarmouth fishwife in a gale, and proceeds to be fucking rude. Fucking rude. The situation is exacerbated when Mogg points out the meaning of the word ‘shambles’, which Snow has used to describe the government of Theresa May. This is televisual gold, and endeared me to Rees-Moog immensely. Watch, if you will, from 4:09. You will find ample reward if, as I do, you despise the pompous Leftist charlatans at the BBC.

A United Kingdom whose House of Commons, on a Wednesday afternoon, hosted Jacob Rees-Mogg as Prime Minister, holding question time, and faced off by Ann-Marie Waters as leader of her Maj’s opposition is an England to which I would return. I suspect this to be as likely as my being handed the captaincy of the English cricket team, or being invited to play bass for The Who in place of the late, great John Entwistle. But I was wrong about Trump and I was wrong about Brexit. Let us hope my run of form continues.








Wednesday, 6 September 2017

VIVA VENEZUELA! OR NOT, AS THE CASE MAY BE.


Venezuela, yesterday. "Hi guys! How do you like your dog?"




There is a new addition to the menu in Café Venezuela. Reports are surfacing claiming that the residents of that benighted country are now eating street dogs, and are also turning their culinary attention to the animals in Caracas Zoo.

Fans of Venezuela, and its Socialist economic policies, include Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott, John McDonnell, Owen Jones and Bernie Sanders. This really ought to tell you all you need to know about the country and its parlous situation.

Nicolás Maduro, the latest corrupt incompetent to attempt to helm this failed state, took over when Hugo Chávez died, and has done nothing to reverse the disastrous Socialist policies of his predecessor. The Venezuelan tech company running the necessary software to effect and monitor upcoming elections have suggested that the incumbent capo is more interested in rigging the result than the fact that his kin are stealing peccaries and buffalo from the zoo to butcher and eat.

When will the hipster Left realise that Socialism is a bad idea in a bad world? Like everything the Left touches, Venezuela has become complex, corrupt, failed and unrealistic. Maduro is currently offering $5 million to the victims of Hurricane Harvey in a bid to make himself look good in the eyes of the rabble mentioned above. And his countrymen are eating dogs in the street.

A good friend of mine and I had a hoot a couple of years ago on the Kent coast. I took a video of him on the beach as he inscribed a legend in the sand;

SOCIALISM IS WRONG

We had some laughs, I can tell you. I still laugh today, re-watching this video. But it is laughter in the dark. Socialism is a repulsive dogma largely because, as Margaret Thatcher famously said, its problem lies in the fact that eventually you run out of other people’s money. Winston Churchill, the national hero the Left loves to hate, presumably because he had the nerve to defeat someone who was actively killing Jews, had this to say about Socialism;

‘Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of misery’.

Socialism clearly does not work. Venezuela, instead of being some fashionable prop for ignorant political chancers such as the revolting cretin Abbott – who could still be the UK’s Home Secretary – should be a dire warning to the world. Chavez even went so far, in 2008, as to expel Human Rights Watch at the same time he was arming and indoctrinating Venezuelan street gangs, thus forming his own insane militia. This is equivalent to telling a soccer referee he can have the day off from the big game, and simultaneously giving all the players guns.

Owen Jones – a queer we would all like to see sailing from a high Iranian rooftop – has been a long-time cheerleader for this disastrous regime, indicating that the Left don’t actually care about real people, merely their public profile as it stands with readers of The Guardian. Now, though, he has gone a little schtum on the subject. He was an election observer in 2012, along with the odious Abbott, who preferred a paid-for trip to South America to the NHS meeting she was scheduled to attend. Venezuela, and Chavez, belched Abbott, showed that ‘another way is possible’. Well, she got that right.

Hugo Chavez idolised Castro and called Kim Jong-Il a ‘comrade’. Despite his crackdown on trade unions, NGOs and social democratic parties, the Left in the UK continued to bill and coo over this insane regime. I desperately hope that Labour come to power in the UK. Should this happen, I urge my British chums to start looking at which cut from a dog is the most toothsome and nutritious.


Tuesday, 5 September 2017

IGNOBLE MYTHS: THE PROFESSION THAT DARES NOT SPEAK ITS NAME


Larvatus prodeo - I advance wearing my mask (Nietzsche)




“It meant that there was a dual reality in British politics – the reality of what actually happened, and the reality of what was reported. By a classic postmodern inversion, the real became false and the false became true.”

Peter Oborne, The Triumph of the Political Class



“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?”

Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland



“You’re the man who squats

Behind the man

Who works the soft machine.”

Mick Jagger, Memo from Turner





Across the world, an interesting profession exists for which there is not really a name, at least not one any dare speak. The job with which these co-workers are tasked is to take raw material and turn it into something else. It sounds quite appealing and fulfilling, doesn’t it? An artisanal, useful occupation like working with a loom or being a chef or a carpenter. And it is appealing, and extravagantly rewarded, for the particular personality type drawn to this profession that dare not speak its name. But it is not productive, not in any real sense, unless you consider the manufacturing of falsehoods, evasions, distractions, inaccurate denials, false statistics, spurious accusations and outright lies to be representative of production, at least, the production of anything worthwhile.

These people are, of course, the fabricators of reality. Their job is not uniform. Some are dedicated to the task as a professional requirement, some are tangentially connected to the falsification of facts. The second category of deceivers are to be found in the media and the ‘entertainment’ industry, but it is the first category, the dedicated professionals, that concerns us here.

In the United Kingdom – a baffling title nowadays – the government employs, using taxpayers’ money, gentlemen and gentlewomen known colloquially as ‘spin doctors’. It’s rather a clever construction. A doctor is a benison, a thorough-going good thing. A doctor is there to help you, to improve your health and cure your ills. It rather takes the heat off the ‘spin’ part of the epithet. It’s a little like when a famous breed of dog was re-named in Britain back in the 1970s. ‘Alsatian’ sounded bleak and remote. ‘German Shepherd’ held far more appeal. If you ignore the Deutsche half of the name, whoever read a book in which a shepherd was the serial killer or fraudster or basic bad guy? The Bible excepted.

The job description for the profession that dare not speak its name is simple and as follows.

1.  Obey your masters.

2.  Change facts, news stories, opinion pieces, advertising, TV drama, and any other medium or message that might affect the behavior of the electorate and is within reach of your arm. Continue this until you are in accordance with requirement 1. (See above).

3.  Use any means at your disposal to effect requirement 2. (See above).

I know. I rather cribbed that from Asimov’s famous trilogy, beginning with I, Robot. A great title, in passing.

Spin doctors, then. Also known as ‘Special Advisers’ or ‘SpAds’, to use the snot-nosed adolescent text speech that passes for much of contemporary political discourse. Their job is to process facts, events that have occurred in the world, and make them palatable for a general public already distracted by other ephemeral concerns, like a kitten chasing a flashlight beam across a linoleum floor.
I am fascinated by one possibility among many. Do any of them ever think, shall we just tell the plebs the truth and have the rest of the week off? Does it not play on their consciences to be the author of lies? Or is conscience, for these creators of illusions, a vestigial concern, like and appendix or coccyx?

There is, of course, a long tradition of a ruling elite keeping the truth from the great unwashed. The ordinary people. The real people. As my mum says; “You know. People like me”. The seminal scene is Plato’s Republic, with its ‘noble myth’ or ‘noble lie’. Of course, there has been endless wrangling over translation, but the necessary or noble falsehood is made explicit by Plato;

‘[I]t looks as though our rulers will have to make considerable use of falsehood and deception for the benefit of those they rule.’ [459c, Stephanus numbering system].

The problem, of course, lies in the notion of nobility. Give a ruling elite, anywhere in history, the idea that it is acting spuriously from noble motives, and the route to a reign of terror is clear and unobstructed.

But there is no nobility to be found among the modern web of malevolent technocrats. Their concern is an amalgam of power, self-importance and, the irreducible kernel of the Leftist Progressive, control. And controlling reality by controlling information is, as Orwell makes clear, the ultimate aim of this cadre of trickster gods. There is but one fly in their murky ointment; dissent.

As is well known, a clandestine literature existed in the former USSR. Samizdat, as it was known, derives etymologically from roots which essentially mean ‘self-publishing’. It is not difficult to make the connection between this clandestine information flow, this underground river of banned inquiry, and the dissident internet. It is also the work of a moment to realise, as I have consistently pointed out, that the weavers of lies we have already noted have as their mission statement more than just the production of an alternative reality engineered to please their masters. As well as this constructive aspect of their Mephistophelean work, there is also a destructive side. They must eradicate dissent.

And so it is that these deceivers coalesce in the form of groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Centre and the Anti-Defamation League. They purport to hound and close down so-called ‘hate’ sites, but in actuality they, and their growing British counterparts, are doing the work of censorship governments are not keen to be seen doing themselves.

And so this is one of the mainstays in the ceaseless production of a false reality; the silencing of those who would speak the truth. Returning briefly to the Republic, I have written elsewhere about the real meaning of Plato’s myth of the cave, which I believe to be political, as opposed to the ontological reading which has passed into philosophy, such as that discipline now is. We recall, too, the escaped prisoner, the one looks at the sun and returns to tell the other prisoners, who then wish to kill him. Humankind, writes the Eliot of the Four Quartets, cannot bear very much reality.

But the one possibility that may thwart these malevolent spinners in darkness, these callous Penelopes, is that the real world will be too strong for their deceits. This is why resistance – not the pathetic anti-Trump rhetoric that goes by that name – and dissent are vital if reality, to paraphrase Dickens in Hard Times, is to take a wolfish turn.

Monday, 4 September 2017

THE PLEASURE OF THE TEXT: 2666 BY ROBERTO BOLAÑO


A beast of a book




The Pleasure of the Text (Le Plaisir du Texte)

The title of a book by Roland Barthes



Reading is pleasure and happiness to be alive or sadness to be alive and above all it’s knowledge and questions.

Roberto Bolaño, 2666



Oh, there’s more to life than books, you know.

But not much more.

Morrissey, Handsome Devil





Some of the greatest books I have ever read have been purchased, by chance, from charity shops. That would be thrift stores, for my US readership. Both of them. The readers, not the thrift stores. One of the great scenes of book-buying, for me, is Nietzsche’s purchase of Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Idea, found by chance in a bookstore. But there is no such thing as book-buying by chance. Books come to you.

From second-hand stores I bought Flashman, House of Leaves, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Graves’s Greek Myths, Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, The Magic Mountain, The Glass-Bead Game and countless others, all now firmly and happily shelved in the library of the soul. I am never happier, as those who know me well will attest, than sitting in a pub or bar with a beer in one hand and a book in the other. Incidentally, I had that translated into Latin, and it may well one day adorn my gravestone; Sextarium unum cervicias in manus, liber in alium.

In a Cat Protection League store in Purley, Surrey, England, just a few short years ago, I found Roberto Bolaño’s novel, 2666. I believe it cost me 99p. I have just finished reading it for the second time, proving to myself, once again, that the second reading of a loved book is invariably more pleasurable than the first. The economic law of diminishing marginal returns applieth not here.

Bolaño was a Chilean novelist who lived most of his life in Mexico and Spain. He lived to be 50. 2666 is a very South/Central American novel but, fortunately, magic realism waits merely in the wings, trying to get on to take on a speaking role, but never being truly allowed on to the stage.

The novel is a conceit, but so are many great novels. Tristram Shandy, House of Leaves, even Clarissa. The centre of gravity of the book is the strange and tangential relationship between an obscure German novelist and a string of brutal murders in a poor Mexican town. It is divided into five parts and, at 895 pages, is what I term a beast of a book, a term I reserve for any tome which weighs in at over 666 pages. Curiously – and I believe it remains unexplained in the novel – the infamous number 666, as it were, comprises part of the title.

For me, the appeal of 2666 is Bolaño’s sheer ability to tell a story. Not the over-arching plot, which is in any case reliant on its fragmentation for its effect. It is more the small strands of narrative, winding around, overlapping, and hiving off in one direction or another, sometimes together, sometimes alone. The literary effect could be bitty and pieced-together, but instead it is a great example of – and I think I may have coined this phrase – fractalalia, or the repetition of voices which have a tendency to splinter and regroup, splinter and regroup.

2666 is a book of mysteries, like The Magic Mountain or Underworld. The author can operate authoritatively at any level of social description, in any existential mode, and with the keenness of ear that separates the writer from the mere novelist. Bolaño also has the ability to function at any social level with conviction and an uncanny sense of having lived among the various characters which troop through the pages of this majestic book. A group of effete European literary critics, a debauched Countess, an arts journalist covering a boxing match in Mexico, Central American prostitutes; Bolaño voices them and there is no hint of dissonance, no false note.

The book would probably not find a publisher now, the string of gruesome murders of women alone would fall foul of the ‘sensitivity readers’ now being employed at least at US publishing houses to ensure ideological conformity in any new product. But 2666, like its predecessor, Bolaño’s debut, The Savage Detectives, would represent a glaring omission from your curriculum vitae if you consider yourself a serious student of 20th-century literature.

2666 was published posthumously, and Bolaño knew death was approaching. Among his notes are indications that the five sections into which the book is divided could be considered as five independent novels and could be read as such. This is heartening, as it invites re-reading – rapidly becoming one of life’s greatest pleasures for me – without tackling the whole, time-consuming as that is.

French structuralist and post-structuralist philosophy gets, it seems to me, something of a raw deal from the contemporary, dissident and Alt. Right, who seem to hold Foucault, Derrida, Barthes and others responsible for much of the relativist ills that beset the West in these neo-barbarous times. But I always believed in Barthes’s insistence on the pleasure of the text, the sheer pleasure of reading. If it is pleasurable reading you seek, I hope 2666 makes its way to you.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

OUR LADY OF THE FLIES: WHY HOLLYWOOD IS FAILING



Sorry, boys. You've been voted off the island



Hollywood is rapidly becoming the home of modern entertainment, not as a result of the films it produces, but thanks to the absurdity of the reasons for making those films in the first place. It is years since I saw a new Hollywood film, and the ones I did see in London were uniformly crap. Now, they have become the bully pulpit for the Pansy Left, such as it is in Hollywood, with political correctness a priority over plot, acting, script and all those other fuddy-duddy - and probably patriarchal, racist and way too white - considerations.

Political messages have always lurked in celluloid, of course. There have been way too many university seminars devoting to ‘deconstructing’ the Western and what have you. Now, though, the messages have less to do with Communism or fascism and more to do with identity politics. The latest manifestation of this gloomy fetish comes with the announcement of a remake of Lord of the Flies, the 1963 cinematic adaptation of the 1953 novel by William Golding. My review of the book, incidentally, can be found here. The novelty of this ‘re-imagining’, to use a faddish and guffaw-worthy film term, is that it will feature an all-female cast.

There is a passing craze for re-making films with female casting, or black casting, or whatever this week’s fashion is. Personally, I await the transgender remake of The Magnificent Ambersons. But that’s just me. As always, there are several obvious points to be made.

Firstly, the perceived oppressed™ - my coinage, incidentally, as far as I aware – are in no way helped by this outbreak of tokenism. A black James Bond, paraplegic Dr Who or transgender Spiderman will not ease the supposed plight – only real in the case of paraplegics – by one iota. Leftists never actually care about the identitarian groups they use to bludgeon straight white men with. The bludgeoning is an end in and of itself, and the means are simply dispensable ciphers.

Secondly, the film will be a dismal failure made simply to score some obscure ideological point. The writers – two men, which has already outraged the feminist contingent, or should that be cuntingent? – will have to be screen-writing contortionists to make all the girls in the film seem like good people. The castaways will have to be shown outperforming men and also as moral paragons in line with the Leftist groupthink which now dominates the ‘entertainment’ industry. It will be a spectacle without dignity.

Thirdly, I suspect the film will bomb. Hollywood is already in slow decline, relying on comic-book franchises for most of its successes. Tinseltown suffers from a malaise that actually affects many Western governments in that it believes that if it produces something ideologically sound, the great unwashed will flock to see it in an orgy of virtue-signalling and tacit agreement that remaking films with all-female casts is profoundly to be desired.

I imagine it will only be a matter of time before we see The Girls from Brazil, The Woman with the Golden Arm, All the President’s Chicks and so on.








Wednesday, 23 August 2017

ALT. RIGHT, ALTAMONT

Just a shot away


Charlottesville has been called the Alt Right’s Altamont. Battles of one sort or another are often used as a metaphor for a defining moment in the life of a person, nation or movement. You can face your Waterloo, a blitz, a Dunkirk situation. But what are you facing if you face your Altamont?
Altamont, of course, marked the end of the Love Decade. Fittingly, too, as the 1960s were the years in which the seeds of the West’s present predicament were sown. But blame for the carnage at Altamont – always amplified by the white Liberal media because the most prominent of the dead was gun-wielding thug Meredith Hunter, who was a black man – has to reside at the feet of their Satanic majesties, The Rolling Stones.
If, on its publication in 1966, Mick Jagger had read Hunter S. Thompson’s book Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, he might have reconsidered his band’s ill-advised hiring of the Angels as security at Altamont. But he would have been too busy.
Charlottesville was supposed to have security too. They were called the police. What in fact happened was the reverse of Altamont. The police stood down, as they often do both in the US and across Europe and Britain, and the precise strategy behind their failure to keep the peace will have been a deep-state command to endanger, incriminate and effectively frame the Right-wing, white north Americans wanting to make their feelings known about the removal and vandalization of treasured monuments. This lack of engagement emboldens and provokes the Left into ever more violence, which is then blamed on the Right by a partisan and shameless media.
Now that the Leftist/media narrative has been grafted in place, and the truth reversed as it always is in these cases, the Charlottesville conflict is more like the Reichstag fire than Altamont. Unite the Right was always a poorly chosen escapade, acting as a red rag for the punks of Antifa and the odious Black Lives Matter. This organization, in passing, really ought to be given its full title; Black Lives Matter to White Liberals but Not to Other Blacks. But it will take more than a few protests against the removal of Confederate statues to unite the Right.
From memory, what appalled George Orwell most about his experience fighting Franco – as outlined in Homage to Catalonia – was not the poor state of the rifles, the disgusting state of the trenches, or even the plague of lice which made his life agony. What disgusted him most was the lack of unity and cohesion among supposedly allied forces. Essentially, he had wandered into a Life of Brian-style Judean People’s Front situation, and this is much where the Alt. Right finds itself now.
My advice is to allow the Leftist, liberal, progressive, open borders, feminist, Black Lives Matter, Antifa, LGBTQ, Muslim hordes to win. Once ordinary people begin to scent what a world run by these freaks will be like, statues will begin to be put back into place.
Charlottesville wasn’t Altamont for Alt. Right. It was more like the Charge of the Light Brigade. In the wrong direction.