“Dollhouse”

I wanted to write a longer, or at least more coherent review of the first couple of episodes of Joss Whedon’s new show, Dollhouse, but fuckin’ midterms. I’ve put some thoughts down here for the meantime. I’m afraid they’re probably indecipherable to anyone who hasn’t seen the show. I do bad exposition after staring at essays for seven hours at a go. Anyway:

A.) This premise is even more defective than I thought it would be.

B.) It’s more refreshing than I can say to see fiction that rebukes the doctrine of free will on broadcast television.

C.) Everyone is so thin. Like, unhealthy thin. And the wardrobe is so tiny you can’t ignore it.

D.) Items F and G contains spoilers.Read G first, which explains the rather convoluted premise. The correct sequence to read items is B, D, G, F, A, C, E.

E.) I really don’t see it lasting a season. There’s definitely potential; but if it’s not utilized, it would be a mercy killing. I worry that Whedon wouldn’t be given another show if this fails than actually seeing this show off the air. If it didn’t have Whedon’s name on it, I never would have mustered an interest in the first place. After watching the first three episodes I probably woudn’t be compelled either. But the first couple of episodes of Buffy sucked (no pun intended), as did the first three and a half seasons of Angel (discounting one arc of the second season).

Continue reading

I am very ill

It’s been years since I’ve been mad enough to consider the death penalty for any crime; it seems too awesome a power to concede to any state, any conglomerate, any person. Our powers of judgment being so feeble, so ignorant, so given to erring on the side of prejudice and passion, it is hubris to condemn another moral actor to a sentence irrevocable. Now this comes out, and I entertain an inhuman fancy for a moment:

Nobody knows depravity like Elie Wiesel knows depravity.

And does he ever see it in Bernie Madoff.

Wiesel, whose charitable foundation was wiped out by Madoff, has until now mostly kept quiet about the alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme. But today, the Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize recipient spoke passionately about his betrayal by Madoff, whom he referred to variously as “a crook, a thief, a scoundrel,” as well as a “swindler” and “evil.”

Wiesel acknowledged that in addition to having lost his foundation’s assets, he lost his personal wealth to Madoff. “All of a sudden, everything we have done in forty years–literally, my books, my lectures, my university salary, everything—was gone,” he said during a panel discussion hosted by Condé Nast Portfolio.

His foundation, the Elie Wiesel Foundaton for Humanity, lost substantially all of its $15.2 million in assets to Madoff; including his personal investments, total losses may be as high as $37 million. “We gave him everything, we thought he was God, we trusted everything in his hands,” Wiesel said.

My first inclination was to assume anyone who defrauds Holocaust survivors and genocide interventionalists must have a piece missing;  Psychiatrist Stanton Samenow suggests Narcissistic Personality Disorder might make Maddoff’s conscience inaccessible to him. But assuming a pathology is a reflexive effort to brand this evil as “other,” something not human like us, something we ourselves are not only too good to undertake, but incapable of ever doing so. That life were so easy.

Today’s ponderation

Does it confuse you as much as it confuses me when your Catholic friends give up sex for lent or even consider giving it up?

In regards to:

non-married friends: Aren’t you supposed to be abstaining anyway? tsk tsk

married friends: Do you know nothing of church tradition? BABIES. MUST. MAKE. BABIES. Plus, there is no pleasure in sex. Duh.

I hate gloating, 2nd edition

The Republican Party continues its devolution into an unfunny SNL parody of itself. I disdain sarcasm; there really is no better way to describe it. At the CPA Conference in Washington today, Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-MN) said to GOP chairman Michael Steele:

You be da man! You be da man!

Remember back during the primaries when Republicans accused PrObama voters of constructing an imaginary black friend? I don’t think we’ll be hearing that anymore.

Oil and water

Though I found it fascinating, I was kind of reluctant to post this story on the prevalenceof gay participation in fascist parties. In the end, I thought it would be better for LGBTple and Allies to read and discuss it here rather than that other “warrior” themed Marquette-community blog, whose custodian is given to unfair and sweeping generalizations, and use of the majestic plural.

Anyway, self-described “left-wing” gay British journalist Johann Hari examine’s Europe’s “weird, disproportionate overlap between homosexuality and fascism”:

Jorg Haider blasted Austria’s cosy post-Nazi politics to rubble in 2000 when his neo-fascist ‘Freedom Party’ won a quarter of the vote and joined the country’s government as a coalition partner. Several facts always cropped up in the international press coverage: his square jaw, his muscled torso, his SS-supporting father, his rabid anti-Semitism, his hatred of immigrants, his description of Auschwitz and Dachau as “punishment centres”. A few newspapers mentioned that he is always surrounded by fit, fanatical young men. A handful went further and pointed out that several of these young men are openly gay. Then one left-wing German paper broke the story everybody else was hinting at. They alleged Haider is gay.

Rumours of an Indian waiter with “intimate details” of Haider’s body broke into the press. The Freedom Party’s general manager Gerald Miscka quickly quit, amid accusations that he was Haider’s lover. Haider’s close gay friend Walter Kohler – who has been photographed showing off a holstered pistol while Haider chuckled – declared his opposition to outing politicians. Haider – who was married and has two children – kept quiet while his functionaries denied the rumours. The revelation that he died after leaving a gay bar suggests these rumours were true.
On and on it goes. If you inter-railed across Europe, only stopping with gay fascists, there aren’t many sights you’d miss. France’s leading post-war fascist was Edouard Pfieffer, who was not batting for the straight side. Germany’s leading neo-Nazi all through the eighties was called Michael Kuhnen; he died of AIDS in 1991 a few years after coming out. Martin Lee, author of a study of European fascism, explains, “For Kuhnen, there was something supermacho about being a Nazi, as well as being a homosexual, both of which enforced his sense of living on the edge, of belonging to an elite that was destined to make an impact. He told a West German journalist that homosexuals were ‘especially well-suited for our task, because they do not want ties to wife, children and family…'”

And this Gaystapo has an icon to revere, an alternative Fuhrer to worship: the lost gay fascist leader Ernst Rohm. Along with Adolf Hitler, Rohm was the founding father of Nazism. Born to conservative Bavarian civil servants in 1887, Ernst Rohm’s life began – in his view – in the “heroic” trenches of the First World War. Like so many of the generation who formed the Nazi Party, he was nurtured by and obsessed with the homoerotic myth of the trenches – heroic, beautiful boys prepared to die for their brothers and their country.

He emerged from the war with a bullet-scarred face and a reverence for war. As he put it in his autobiography, “Since I am an immature and wicked man, war and unrest appeal to me more than the good bourgeois order.” After being disbanded, he tried half-heartedly to get a foothold in civilian life, but he saw it as alien, bourgeois, boring. He had no political beliefs, only prejudices – particularly hatred of Jews. Historian Joachim Fest describes Rohm’s generation of alienated, demobbed young men humiliated by defeat as “agents of a permanent revolution without any revolutionary idea of the future, only a wish to eternalize the values of the trenches.”

It was Rohm who first spotted the potential of a soap-box ranter called Adolf Hitler. He saw him as the demagogue he needed to mobilize support for his plan to overthrow democracy and establish a “soldier’s state” where the army ruled untrammelled. He introduced the young fascist to local politicians and military leaders; they knew him for many years as “Rohm’s boy.” Gay historian Frank Rector notes, “Hitler was, to a substantial extent, Rohm’s protégé.” Rohm integrated Hitler into his underground movement to overthrow the Weimar Republic.

Rohm’s blatant, out homosexuality seems bizarre now, given the gay genocide that was to follow. He talked openly about his fondness for gay bars and Turkish baths, and was known for his virility. He believed that gay people were superior to straights, and saw homosexuality as a key principle of his proposed Brave New Fascist Order. As historian Louis Snyder explains, Rohm “projected a social order in which homosexuality would be regarded as a human behaviour pattern of high repute… He flaunted his homosexuality in public and insisted his cronies do the same. He believed straight people weren’t as adept at bullying and aggression as homosexuals, so homosexuality was given a high premium in the SA.” They promoted an aggressive, hypermasculine form of homosexuality, condemning “hysterical women of both sexes”, in reference to feminine gay men.

This belief in the superiority of homosexuality had a strong German tradition that grew up at the turn of the twentieth century around Adolf Brand, publisher of the country’s first gay magazine. You could call it ‘Queer as Volk’: they preached that gay men were the foundation of all nation-states and represented an elite, warrior caste that should rule. They venerated the ancient warrior cults of Sparta, Thebes and Athens.

Rohm often referred to the ancient Greek tradition of sending gay solider couples into battle, because they were believed to be the most ferocious fighters. The famous pass of Thermopylae, for example was held by 300 soldiers – who consisted of 150 gay couples…

Rohm is venerated on the Homo-Nazi sites that have bred on the internet like germs in a wound. They have names like Gays Against Semitism (with the charming acronym GAS), and the Aryan Resistance Corps (ARC). Their Rohmite philosophy is simple: while white men are superior to other races, gay men are “the masters of the Master Race”. They alone are endowed with the “capacity for pure male bonding” and the “superior intellect” that is needed for “a fascist revolution.” The ARC even organises holiday “get-togethers” for its members where “you can relax amongst the company of our fellow white brothers.”

So it’s fairly easy to establish that gay people are not inoculated from fascism. They have often been at its heart. This begs the bigger question: why? How did gay people – so often victims of oppression and hate – become integral to the most hateful and evil political movement of all? Is it just an extreme form of self-harm, the political equivalent to the gay kids who slash their own arms to ribbons out of self-hate?

I decided to track down some gay fascists and ask them directly. Wyatt Powers, director of the ARC, says, “I always knew in my heart racist and gay were both morally right. I don’t see any conflict between them. It’s only the Jew-owned gay press that tries to convince us that racialism is the same thing as homophobia. You can be an extreme nationalist and gay without any contradiction at all.”

One comment board on a gay racist website goes even further into racist lunacy. One gay man from Ohio says, “Even if you are gay and white, or retarded and white, YOU ARE WHITE, BOTTOM LINE! Instead of letting the white race go extinct because of worthless races such as the Africans or Mexicans popping out literally millions of babies a day, we have to fight this fucked up shit they are doing. They are raping our country.” It’s true that racism and homophobia do not necessarily overlap – but as Rabbi Bernard Melchman explains, “Homophobia and anti-Semitism are so often part of the same disease.” Racists are usually homophobic. Even after reading all their web rantings, I didn’t feel any closer to understanding why so many gay men ally themselves with people who will almost always turn on them in the end, just as the Nazis did.

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has a sensitive and intriguing explanation. “There are many reasons for this kind of thing,” he says. “Some of them are in denial. They are going for hyper-masculinity, the most extreme possible way of being a man. It’s a way of ostentatiously rejecting the perceived effeminacy of the homosexual ‘Other’. These troubled men have a simple belief in their minds: ‘Straight men are tough. Queers are weak. Therefore if I’m tough I can’t be queer.’ It’s a desperate way of proving their manhood.”

‘Searchlight’ magazine – the bible of the British anti-fascist movement, with moles in every major far-right organisation – offers an alternative explanation. “Generally condemned by a society that continues to be largely hostile to gays, some men may find refuge and a new power status in the far right,” one of their writers has explained. “Through adherence to the politics espoused by fascist groups, a new identity emerges – one where they aren’t outcasts, because they are White Men, superior to everyone else. They render the gay part of their identity invisible – or reject the socially less acceptable parts, like being feminine – while vaunting what they see as superior.” 

It makes sense the already-marginalized would find some species of security in a marginalized movement desperate for warm bodies. The appeals makes even more sense when the movement offers a hypermasculine identity to men made to feel insecure within a gender binary. (It just goes to show how rigidly enforced gender expectations really do hurt everyone. A propensity towards destruction and xenophobia stirs in every human breast; but wars are generally declared by people with Something to Prove.) Speaking from experience–and possibly exempting Green Party politics–most people I know on the fringes of polity have been male. Think of all the libertarians you know personally. Now think about the gender breakdown. 

(Not that I’m comparing libertarians to fascists. Well, Von Mises Institute libertarians, maybeObjectivists, of course, are given to hero-worship, dogmatism, and a species of social “Darwinism” that fulfils the antisocial, heartless caricature laissez faire theorists. But Cato Institute and Reason Foundation sympathizers are imminently talk-to-able, for all their global-warming denialism.)

None of this is to say gays are somehow predisposed to illiberal politics; experience and statistics testify against this. Just because many fascists are gays doesn’t mean most gays are fascists. But these movements appear to have some aspects appealing to homosexuals. It also must be considered that Hari’s demography of fascism was in no way scientific. He mentioned the “dis-proportionality” of gays in such movements, but offers only anecdotal as evidence, and proffers no solid numbers. This sketch may be a misrepresentation of the actual state of ultra-nationalist movements.

I hope you all appreciate my restraint in not going with my original, playfully antisocial headline, “Fascism is gay.” Also:

Update: Williamson was anti-Semitic last October, too

Correspondence between bigot and Holocaust denier Richard Williamson and bigot and Holocaust denier David Irving has surfaced, in which the bishop asks the pseudo-historian for legal advice*, and arguments to defend his position. Also–no joke–they were photographed partying together during October 2008, in copyrighted photos I probably can’t reproduce here.

Two more items on the Williamson front:

i.) Williamson recently fled Argentina after shoving and waving fists at a reporter. Since the bishop was already in an airport, it was a relatively convenient fleeing.

ii.) The Warrior has run two rebuttals to last week’s lame attempt to defend Williamson. (Their website‘s been down for about a week now. For now, you’ll have to pick up a discarded copy in the library, or get one off the street tomorrow between 9 am and 4 pm.) The editor-in-chief, Remington Tonar, provides a pseudo-defense of the piece while distancing himself from it. He pointed to the paper’s disclaimer that no one but an editorial’s author is responsible for its content (though an editor could have noted the abject shoddiness of the piece and requested a rewrite). Afterwards, Tonar lobs out some red herrings about free speech, offering a defense for an arguement only he is making. No one in the Marquette community that I know of (not even a Jewish friend of mine who has advanced lukewarm support for European anti-Holocaust denial statues) has claimed The Warrior didn’t have a right to publish what they did. But the intellectual laziness of the piece has muddied debate on the issue it attempts to clarify. Historically, Holocaust denial has been inseparable from anti-Semitism. Groups who hated the Jews before the Shoah denied its occurrence immediately after they heard of it (see fig.1). A non-anti-Semitic Holocaust denier would be a black swan, a new thing under the sun that would force us to reexamine the phenomenon entirely. We’ve been forced to argue about the definition of Holocaust denial, when one [a definition] had already existed, and found universal recognition by everyone but the deniers themselves.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

*Williamson faces charges under German anti-Holocaust denial statutes. For the record, I don’t approve of the laws in place in many European nations which impose fines or prison time for public expression of disbelief in the mainstream account of the Shoah, on free speech grounds. The entire point of protecting expression is the defense of unpopular opinions, whose expression ought to have the chance at broadcast in public so they might be drowned out by critics. Wretchedness like Holocaust denial cannot be allowed to moulder in Neo-Nazi’s basements for decades with rotton Kulturkamph posters and Hitler Youth knives; let it shrivel up in the light of day.

More WW Facebook fun!

Also, while you’re over Facebook-side,  there’s this other thingee that lets you see posts from The Word Warrior right on your profile. Mark my words; inside two years new applications will allow you to attend online classes (which is actually possible and already practiced at certain colleges in Second Life) and order takeout (a possibility seriously considered by the makers of the game World of Warcraft) via Facebook–so you’ll never have to leave.