Dark Shadows

Not rated yet!
Director
Tim Burton
Runtime
1 h 53 min
Release Date
8 May 2012
Genres
Comedy, Fantasy
Overview
Vampire Barnabas Collins is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate and family have fallen into ruin.
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  • Why Dark Shadows Sucks

    [1]3,548 words

    I was a very small child when the Dark Shadows serial was first airing on ABC at 4:00pm Monday through Friday. Some of my most vivid early memories are associated with it. Dark Shadows was originally conceived as a Gothic romance. Premiering on June 27, 1966, it centered on Victoria Winters, a young woman who takes the job of governess to the young scion of the wealthy Collins family, who reside in the spooky Collinwood mansion in spooky Collinsport, Maine. (Victoria was played by Alexandra Moltke, actually Countess Cornelia Alexandra Moltke, herself the scion of an aristocratic Swedish family. She later gained notoriety as the mistress of Claus von Bülow.)

    The series floundered in the ratings for 209 episodes, until in desperation producer Dan Curtis decided to try something outrageous by the standards of daytime TV. Hunting for treasure, local loser Willie Loomis, finds a secret room inside the Collins family vault and unwittingly releases vampire Barnabas Collins. The earlier episodes had featured supernatural elements, but nothing as radical as this.

    To appreciate part of the reason why Dark Shadows made such a big cultural impact in the mid to late ’60s, one has to keep in mind that it was, after all, a daytime soap. These programs were designed primarily for stay-at-home moms and were sponsored by companies like Proctor and Gamble (who make soap, in case you don’t know – hence, “soap opera”). They dealt with family problems and love affairs. Scenes took place at the breakfast table or in the living room and were mostly heart-to-heart chats (the kind that woman like to have). Someone was always pouring someone else a cup of coffee. It was all very familiar, comforting terrain, albeit glamorized by perfect hair, makeup, and teeth. Female viewers identified with the characters and their problems. To add to the realism, soaps were shot on videotape, which always has a more immediate, direct quality to it (unlike the glossiness of film).

    And into this homey, lace curtain and checked table cloth terrain, into this world of “Will Brad ever ask Janet to . . . ?” came the undead Barnabas Collins, crawling out of his moldering crypt, bent on sucking the life out of perky local waitress Maggie Evans (Kathryn Leigh Scott) and turning her into his vampire bride. Suddenly soap operas were scary.

    And although people laugh at Dark Shadows today (for reasons I’ll turn to in a moment) it was often genuinely creepy. The fact that Barnabas had been injected into that mundane afternoon world that female viewers so closely identified with made the program feel unaccountably weird. It almost felt like these events were really happening; like the uncanny and horrific really had suddenly pierced the sunny veil of suburban placidity. And the fact that it was videotaped, with a minimal budget added to the weird quality of “realness” that the whole thing had. (As any horror film fan can attest, low budgets often enhance creepiness.)

    [2]

    A classic image of Frid as Barnabas

    But Barnabas was no ordinary vampire, he was a tragic figure. In the first few Barnabas episodes, viewers were left in suspense, wondering if he really is a vampire (or one of those “fake” vampires that you sometimes see on TV; like the haunted house that turns out, at the end of the hour, to be not really haunted after all). In one memorable scene at the close of one episode, he walks into Maggie’s bedroom as she sleeps and proceeds to grin wide, revealing . . . a set of perfectly ordinary teeth. But audience members – at least some of them – were sure they had seen fangs. And so viewers were left in suspense over the weekend: were there fangs in Barnabas’s mouth, or not? The mystery was resolved on Monday when, at the beginning of that day’s episode, the scene was reshot. This time when Barnabas opened his mouth no one could fail to perceive that he was sporting a set of very realistic vampire fangs. And it was clear that he was up to no good.

    But as the writers developed the Barnabas storyline, it emerged that he was a tortured soul, and anything but a simple villain. Back in the 1790s he had spurned the affections of a glamorous witch named Angelique. Her vengeance consisted in killing Barnabas’s beloved fiancé Josette and turning him into a vampire. When Barnabas’s grief-stricken father discovered his son’s terrible fate, he sealed him in an iron coffin, wrapped it in chains, and hid it in the secret room in the family crypt. And so Barnabas lay in that coffin, mad with blood lust, until released by Willie Loomis in 1967. The reason Barnabas goes after Maggie, by the way, is that he believes she is the reincarnation of his dead Josette. Horrified by his condition, Barnabas allows Dr. Julia Hoffman (Grayson Hall, wife of series writer Sam Hall) to experiment on him in the hopes of curing his vampirism.

    In short, it was all terribly tragic and romantic – and imaginative and engrossing. Barnabas was the first “tragic” vampire: before Blacula (yes, Blacula was a tragic vampire), Interview with the Vampire, the Coppola Dracula film, Angel, the Twilight [3] films, and True Blood. (Did I miss one?) In 1973 Dan Curtis made a TV movie version of Dracula starring Jack Palance in the title role. Both Curtis and writer Richard Matheson felt that Stoker’s character was one-dimensional; a thorough villain whose motives were often inexplicable. And so Curtis dipped back into the well of Dark Shadows and came up with an anguished Dracula obsessed with the woman he sees as the reincarnation of his long-dead wife. If this Dracula sounds very familiar, it’s because Francis Ford Coppola stole the idea for his 1992 film Bram Stoker’s Dracula (no, there is nothing like this in Stoker’s novel!). And, if you’ve noticed, virtually all the vampires since then have been troubled, reluctant, and vulnerable. But it all started with Barnabas Collins.

    In any case, to return to the 1960s: Dark Shadows became a major ratings hit – and Jonathan Frid, the actor who played Barnabas, became an unlikely heartthrob. Frid was 43 when he joined the cast, and not conventionally handsome. But there was something fascinating about both his physical appearance as Barnabas, and his performance – something that appealed to women (especially older women, I think).

    As Barnabas, Frid could be alternately sinister and affecting. He was often undeniably stiff, but that actually helped because Barnabas was conceived as very much a gentleman of the 1790s: gallant, courtly, and flawlessly polite. Undoubtedly, this was one of the major aspects of the character that appealed to women. He was not a man of the present. He was a man out of a better, more genuine age. He really loved Josette (pass box of Kleenex, please). He was masterful. He could put women under his power. And he knew how to deal with ruffians like Willie. He knew what honor meant – and what it means to make a vow. And he really . . . sniff . . . loved Josette. (Trevor Lynch has given us a very perceptive analysis of why vampire stories appeal to women in his review [4] of the first Twilight film.) When Jonathan Frid made personal appearances he was inevitably mobbed by screaming and weeping female fans. The Barnabas cult of the late 1960s had a kind of creepy, necrophile quality to it. But then again, this was the era when Tiny Tim was a sex symbol.

    Of course, Dark Shadows was not just a hit with housewives and their still-single, bespectacled older sisters. Go online and read around and you’ll find countless people a little older than me talking about how they “ran home from school every day” to watch Dark Shadows. (Ironically, this was one of the reasons the series was cancelled when its ratings begin to slip: kids didn’t make the buying decisions in households – not then anyway. And so Dark Shadows became less attractive to advertisers.) The response to the juvenile fans of the series came in the form of lunch boxes, posters, model kits, board games, coloring books, jigsaw puzzles, and comic books. Paperback Library published thirty-two (yes, thirty-two) novels based on the series, penned by Marilyn Ross (actually, Dan Ross – Marilyn was his wife’s name).

    This is where I come in. My mother only let me watch Dark Shadows now and then, because she thought it was too scary for a small child (and she was right: I still get chills when I remember the episode where the face of the evil Angelique appeared in the fireplace, laughing maniacally). What I knew about it I got mainly by word of mouth and by reading the comic book published  by Gold Key. (Those Dark Shadows comic books, by the way, were published until 1976: five years after the series was cancelled.) But – like Johnny Depp – I became utterly fascinated with Barnabas Collins.

    [5]

    The Barnabas “Vampire Van” model kit my mother threw away

    I longed to own Barnabas’s wolf’s head walking stick. I even combed my hair like Barnabas. I would roam through the neighborhood at dusk (something you could do in the early ’70s), watch the neighbors eat dinner through their dining room windows, and try to put them under my hypnotic spell. I owned a Barnabas model kit (“Barnabas’s Vampire Van”) which was sort of a hearse with Barnabas inside. One day it disappeared from my room. My mother told me she had accidentally broken it while dusting. I learned much later she had thrown it away – concerned at the effect such a macabre toy might have on my young mind. Needless to say, this did no good, and I just got weirder and weirder. She was shutting the garage door after the hearse had already gone.

    It was in the 1980s, I believe, that I got to finally sit down and really watch a lot of Dark Shadows, because that’s when it came to our area in syndication. I was disappointed, because it seemed really bad. The actors flubbed their lines a lot, parts of sets would fall over, props would malfunction, and you could see the shadow of the boom (the microphone that hangs over the soundstage) practically all the time. (This is how the series earned the industry nickname “Mic Shadows.”) But I had to admit that the story was great. It crossed my mind that somebody ought to take that story and do it over again – but this time rehearse the actors a little and spend more money on sets and take a little more care with the lighting.

    Producer Dan Curtis, it turns out, was thinking the same thing. In 1970 he made the feature film House of Dark Shadows, featuring the original cast. It was Curtis’s first major credit as director and holds up quite well today. The film followed the basic Barnabas Collins story (only in the end he gets staked!) and demonstrated the great potential of the Dark Shadows saga – when accompanied by rehearsals, a bigger budget, and better lighting. (This film was followed, unfortunately, by a very weak sequel called Night of Dark Shadows, which should be avoided at all costs.)

    In 1991 Curtis brought Dark Shadows back to television as a big-budget prime time series on NBC. The cast was entirely new—and terrific. Ben Cross played Barnabas Collins and the great horror actress Barbara Steele played Dr. Hoffman. The writers again followed the basic storyline of the original serial, right down to the sequence of events wherein Victoria travels back in time to the 1790s so that we can see how Barnabas becomes a vampire. It was an excellent series, and demonstrated once more that whatever the faults of the soap opera may have been, at its core was a timelessly classic romantic tale. Alas, the series was pre-empted so many times by coverage of Operation Desert Storm that it lost its audience, and was cancelled after one season.

    But Curtis did not give up! In 2004 he filmed a Dark Shadows pilot for the WB network, with Alec Newman as Barnabas, but it was not picked up. And two years later Curtis died of a brain tumor. Dark Shadows fandom was far from dead, however. Fans have kept the memory of the series alive, luring the surviving cast back to Dark Shadows conventions (yes, it’s big enough for conventions), and even persuading them to appear in newly-penned Dark Shadows audio plays. I suppose I have to admit that I’m a fan (in case you haven’t already figured that out). And so I was delighted when I heard that Tim Burton was making a $150 million feature film version starring Johnny Depp.

    It didn’t bother me that Burton was the director, as I’ve enjoyed several of his films (especially Ed Wood). I thought he would bring an interesting, quirky approach to the material – and I had heard that both he and Johnny Depp were fans. The news reports about the film bothered me slightly. Almost every single one described the original series as “campy,” which is simply not accurate. Yes, Dark Shadows is often unintentionally funny: when the actors flub their lines or fake trees fall over, etc. But “camp” is something from which we derive a kind of delicious ironic enjoyment because it’s unoriginal, naïve, or in bad taste (and the greater the pretensions of the makers, the funnier it is).

    Camp can be produced unintentionally or intentionally. Ed Wood’s films are campy because he thought they were good, while in fact they are terrible. By contrast, the Batman TV series of the 1960s was deliberately campy. But Dark Shadows doesn’t fall into either category. It’s actually quite original and it features, as I’ve said, a clever, imaginative, and absorbing plotline. And it was always in good taste. To paraphrase what Brigitte Bardot once said about sex, when Dark Shadows is good it’s really good, and when it’s bad it’s still pretty good. So good, in fact, that one overlooks the flubbed lines and mic shadows.

    [6]

    Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins — scary

    So it bothered me slightly when I heard that the film promised to be a “campy” reinvention of the “campy” series. However, I often enjoy deliberate camp, so I was prepared to accept Burton’s film. Once I saw the trailer, in fact, I was prepared to love it. It seemed riotously funny, imaginative, and visually arresting. And so last Thursday I queued up and saw the film in a cinema in Manhattan. I deliberately avoided seeing it on its opening day, as I assumed cinemas would be packed . I assumed wrong, however, as Dark Shadows has done disappointing business so far. When I saw it there were only about 15 people in the cinema with me – though admittedly it was four o’clock on a Thursday afternoon.

    I was disappointed that the film did not open with Robert Cobert’s classic theme (re-used in the 1991 series), but my disappointment quickly turned to delight. As others have pointed out, Burton has done a masterful job of re-creating 1972: the year in which the film is set (the original series ended in 1971). Right down to lava lamps, door beads, bean bag chairs, and Donovan. The film re-tells the basic story of Barnabas – how he becomes a vampire (in flashback), how he returns to Collinsport, his love for Josette, his occult war with Angelique – though a great deal has been truncated and otherwise altered. And it is uproariously funny. I literally laughed so hard parts of me hurt – though I often seemed to be the only one in the theatre getting the humor.

    Indeed, the humor is this film’s greatest asset. And its greatest flaw.

    Although I have to say that I enjoyed this film, by the time I was about thirty minutes away from its conclusion it began to give me a kind of empty feeling. It was funny, but it wasn’t amounting to anything. There was no suspense. I never felt afraid, or awed, or moved. And, most importantly, I didn’t care about anyone. I didn’t care about Barnabas or his family (portrayed in this film as dysfunctional, unlikeable weirdoes), or his love for the new Josette. The last fifteen minutes of the film turned into a depressingly predictable, over-the-top special effects fest, and I was glad when it was over. I have no plans to see it again. I laughed, but it meant nothing to me.

    In short, Dark Shadows has gotten the predictable postmodern treatment. The original series was deadly serious (as was the 1991 remake). There was nothing ironic about it. Barnabas Collins was not a figure of fun; he was a tragic hero, for whom we felt sympathy, admiration – and who sometimes genuinely frightened us. And the story of his undying love for Josette was genuinely moving. In the Tim Burton film, all of this is treated with ironic distance. Barnabas becomes an Edward Scissorhandish oddball who thinks little people live inside the TV set, and that the M in the McDonalds sign stands for “Mephistopheles.”

    [7]

    Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins — not scary

    Barnabas’s belief that Victoria Winters is the reincarnated Josette is handled in a kind of a smirky, ironic, offhand manner. It’s as if Burton and screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith are so convinced the audience will find this plot element all-too-familiar they do not even attempt to handle it in a fresh, dramatic, or interesting manner. If you blink you’ll miss the scene where Barnabas “recognizes” Victoria as Josette. And the actress who plays Victoria (Bella Heathcote) has that flat, bland, unrefined quality that so many young actresses have today.

    The rest of the cast is interesting, but they have little to do. The one who probably comes off the best is Eva Green as Angelique (Green was the girl in the Bond film Casino Royale – the recent one). Burton’s girlfriend Helena Bonham Carter plays Dr. Hoffman, and both the actress and the character are wasted in this film. In the original series, it was clear that Dr. Hoffman loved Barnabas, while he did not return her feelings. In the film version, this translates into Dr. Hoffman getting on her knees and giving Barnabas a blowjob.

    Quite a lot happens in Dark Shadows. There are actually several subplots going simultaneously, but none of them is developed or resolved adequately. In the last ten minutes of the film we discover that little Carolyn Collins is actually a werewolf. This is thrown in apparently because . . . well, apparently because they wanted to throw in a werewolf (the original series featured one, though he was Quentin Collins).

    Jonathan Frid and three of the original cast members from the series appear in the film, briefly seen as guests at a ball Barnabas organizes (with Alice Cooper as musical entertainment – one of the film’s funnier sequences). This was apparently included for the Dark Shadows fans, and in a sense so that the original cast could be seen as giving their imprimatur to the film. Frid died at the age of 87 a little less than a month before the premiere of Dark Shadows on May 11th. A number of writers have suggested that it is good thing he didn’t live to see this film. I can’t disagree with them.

    I wouldn’t brand this film as a “travesty” of the original series, because it’s clear that Burton and Depp had their hearts in the right place. It is meant to be a kind of affectionate parody. The problem is that Burton simply was not up to the task of dealing with this story. It’s a case of a very modern, ironic, postmodern director attempting to translate to the screen a story brimming with very unmodern romance, and genuine horror. The characters in Dark Shadows (the series, that is), really felt things. They felt true passion, obsession, and terror. They were open to the possibility of true love. They felt the weight of history, and the presence of the uncanny. I don’t think Tim Burton has ever felt any of those things.

    In the end, as I rode home on the subway, the chief thought on my mind was: what a wasted opportunity. Dark Shadows is such a wonderful story – probably the best vampire story of all. And vampires are really hot right now. Had Burton (or, preferably, a different director) made this film totally straight – no camp, just real horror and romance – they could have launched another Twilight series (only much better) and made a bajillion dollars. But reviews of this film have been bad, and the box office has been very disappointing. There will almost certainly be no sequel, no new television series. Hollywood will conclude that there’s no money in Dark Shadows. For years, fans hoped to see the story that had so fascinated them translated to the big screen and finally given the treatment it deserves. But Tim Burton has buried Dark Shadows for all time. It’s as good as stuffed in a coffin, wrapped with chains, and sealed in the Curtis family crypt.

    Like Barnabas Collins himself, Dark Shadows now truly belongs to the past.

     

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • I Wake Up Screaming: My Top Ten Halloween Horror Flick Picks
    (”Dark Shadows” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]2,284 words

    It’s not clear why human beings enjoy being frightened. Indeed, in most circumstances we don’t. I find nothing particularly “thrilling,” for example, about the frightening threat posed by mass non-white migration into the lands of my ancestors. Nor do I enjoy how I feel when I’m the only white person on the J train at midnight. But I thoroughly enjoy the imaginary threats posed by ghosts, witches, and vampires. There’s a lot to be said here about the human fascination with the uncanny, and what it reveals about us. Is it, for example, cold water thrown in the face of modernity? If we are “built” to respond to the uncanny, then doesn’t that suggest that there may be more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your flat-souled, deflationary, modern materialism?

    Perhaps someday I’ll write about this (I’ve already said something about it here [2]). The purpose of the present essay, however, is merely to offer you some possibilities for exploring the uncanny this Halloween, through the awesome power of cinema. My top ten list of horror films was not easy to compile. I had to eliminate quite a few films I like in order to get it down to ten. Those that did not make the list include The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971), The Exorcist (1973), and The Sentinel (1977).

    I should also mention that in order for something to count as a “horror film” in my book it must not just be “scary,” it must contain some element of the “supernatural” (either clearly present, or somehow implied). By the way, since Halloween is almost upon us I should mention that I believe all of these films are available for immediate viewing: they can be streamed on Amazon or YouTube. So here they are, in no particular order:

    1. The Innocents (1961; dir. Jack Clayton). This glorious black-and-white adaptation of Henry James’s Turn of the Screw may be the finest ghost movie ever made. It concerns a governess (played by Deborah Kerr) who assumes care of two children, a brother and sister, who may or may not be possessed by the spirits of two dead servants. The “may or may not” here is crucial, as James’s story never really establishes whether the possession is real or imagined by the governess. Nevertheless, the scenes of ghostly visitation – when the spirits of the dead servants appear – are genuinely artful and chilling [3]. The great Peter Wyngarde is particularly effective as the male ghost. Screenplay by Truman Capote.
    2. Nosferatu (1922; dir. F. W. Murnau). The first film adaptation of Dracula is certainly one of the creepiest. It is also in all probability the most frightening film of the silent era. Famously, Murnau and company made the film without permission from the estate of Bram Stoker. When Stoker’s widow sued, all copies of Nosferatu were ordered destroyed. Thankfully, some survived. What makes this film so chilling is the presence of Max Schreck as “Count Orlock” (Dracula). Tall and gaunt with long, claw-like fingernails and rat ears [4], Schreck is the vampire I would least like to buy real estate in my neighborhood. (What was that thing about Dracula wanting to buy up old, broken-down properties in London? Was he planning to flip them or something?) The primitive, jerky quality of this film only adds to the horror, somehow. Avoid at all costs Shadow of the Vampire (2000), a lame, pretentious film about the making of this film. But do check out Werner Herzog’s remake – Nosferatu (1979) [5] – which is quite faithful to the original, and just as artful in its way.
    3. The Shining (1980; dir. Stanley Kubrick). According to legend, Kubrick was looking to make a commercial horror film, so his secretary went out and bought him a stack of recent horror novels he might adapt. Sitting outside his office she heard a “bang!” periodically as Kubrick got fed up with the trash he was reading and tossed it at the wall across from his desk. One day she noticed it had been a long time since Stanley had gone “bang!” He had found Stephen King’s The Shining. Whatever one thinks of this novel as source material, or of how faithful Kubrick’s adaptation is (who the hell cares?), this film is undeniably one of the scariest ever made. It has the dubious distinction of featuring the most frightening scene I personally have ever encountered in cinema [6], and one which literally causes me to pull the covers over my head on returning from midnight visits to the john. And don’t miss The Simpsons parody [7] (“That’s odd. Usually the blood gets off at the second floor”).
    4. Kuroneko (or Yabu no Naka no Kuroneko, “A Black Cat in a Bamboo Grove,” 1968; dir. Kaneto Shindo). This is the best Japanese film you have never seen. It begins when two women are raped and killed by samurai, who then set their little house on fire to conceal the evidence. A black cat is later seen scratching around the charred ruins, licking the blood from the bodies of the two women. Soon, word travels far and wide that two ghosts are plaguing the land, killing samurai after luring them to a magical house in a bamboo grove that appears only at night. Finally, a young man is hired to try and destroy the two ghosts. He allows himself to be lured to the mysterious house — only to discover that the ghosts are his wife and mother. Revealing even this much will not spoil this truly magical film. It is genuinely eerie, and often hauntingly beautiful. Superb black and white cinematography with some interesting trick photography, and other simple but effective tricks. Watch the trailer here [8].
    5. House of Dark Shadows (1970; dir. Dan Curtis). This is a big screen adaptation of the cult-classic Dark Shadows daytime serial, featuring the original cast and shot while the serial was still being broadcast on ABC. If you like the TV show you will love this movie — and if you think the show was creaky and campy and bad you will be pleasantly surprised by it. It is fast-paced, stylish, spooky, and violent. Curtis (in his directorial debut) makes the absolute most of a small budget, which (as so often happens in low-budget horror) adds to the film’s creepy realism. The plot is essentially a re-telling of the introduction of the Barnabas Collins character and his attempt to mold governess Maggie Evans into the reincarnation of his dead fiancée, Josette. This time Barnabas is much more of an outright villain than the brooding romantic he was in the series. With time for rehearsals, the cast shows what it was really capable of [9]: nobody flubs a line, or knocks over a fake tree. And no boom mics are seen at all. Please hang some garlic and wear a cross to keep away the godawful Tim Burton remake (reviewed by me here [10]).
    6. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992; dir. Francis Ford Coppola). People either love this one or hate it. I loved it and saw it in the theater five times. It is by far the most artistically interesting Dracula film since Nosferatu. Sure it’s self-indulgent and over-the-top. But it’s also rich with detail, and has style to spare. It’s genuinely frightening and, in places, genuinely moving. Plus, Gary Oldman’s performance as Dracula is impressive (he affects an authentic Rumanian accent). Unfortunately, however, not all the casting was so successful. In an apparent nod to Brat Pack followers, Coppola casts Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker and Winona Ryder as Mina. Both are weak, and Reeves’s British accent is probably the worst in cinema history [11] (far more cringeworthy than Dick van Dyke’s much-maligned cockney accent in Mary Poppins). Incidentally, purists rightly point out that despite the title this film is often untrue to Stoker’s novel. For example, the love angle, wherein Dracula thinks Mina is the reincarnation of his dead wife, was actually licensed from producer Dan Curtis, who used it in — you guessed it — Dark Shadows (see above). Curtis later used the same plotline in his own stylish adaptation of Dracula [12] (1974), starring Jack Palance. Before that, the same gimmick had been ripped off in Blacula [13] (1972). Yes, there really was a film called Blacula. And it has one genuinely scary scene [14] (be patient).
    7. The Witch: A New England Folktale (2015; dir. Robert Eggers). This was recommended to me by a neo-pagan friend, who (I believe) thinks the witches in the film are kind of cool. They are anything but. This film depicts the Christian perception of witches with chilling faithfulness: the plot contains many details drawn directly from witch-trial testimony. And, let me tell you: ten minutes into this film I was feeling uncomfortable that I was watching it alone in my dark, empty apartment. Twenty minutes into it I had already formed the impression that it was one of the most disturbing films I had ever seen (the music, by Mark Korven, helps quite a lot to establish a genuinely oppressive mood). One single scene appears to be (mildly) inspired by that scene in The Shining I cannot bear to watch. Aside from that, it is remarkably original. And the performances, especially by the youngest actors, are excellent [15]. Audiences were divided over The Witch (actually written as The VVitch), with some thrilled and creeped out by it (as I was), others complaining it was “too slow.” Don’t listen to this latter group, whose tastes have been corrupted by high-speed Hollywood trash. If you want to see a recent horror film that may one day be considered a great film, see The Witch — but don’t see it alone.
    8. Rosemary’s Baby (1968; dir. Roman Polanski). Yes, you don’t need to remind me: Polanski is a colossal perv. But even colossal pervs can make great films, and Rosemary’s Baby is not just a great horror film, but a great film. As everyone knows by now, the plot concerns a young married woman (Mia Farrow) who is tricked into carrying the devil’s child. One of the remarkable things about this film is how Polanski manages to make it suspenseful and frightening even though everyone in the audience knows exactly what’s going to happen (the novel on which it was based was a bestseller at the time). This is one of those films that you will get something new out of every time you see it. Polanski manages to imbue scenes with a simple, detailed realism (the ticking of a clock, a Kleenex gently blown by an AC unit, etc.) which makes the disturbing events of the film all the more nightmarish. There is also subtle humor in Rosemary’s Baby [16], which one often doesn’t notice at first because the film is just so damned creepy. Polanski cleverly cast a number of character actors as the members of the coven — actors who were very familiar to American audiences from TV sitcoms, among other things. This somehow seems only to magnify the horror of the eventual revelation. Pervert or not, Polanski is here teaching a master class in filmmaking.
    9. The Hour of the Wolf (1968; dir. Ingmar Bergman). This one doesn’t make it into most lists of horror films. That’s probably because horror films are supposed to be titillating trash, and Bergman is an “auteur director.” But Bergman himself — who loved all manner of films — wasn’t anywhere near as pretentious as his fans and interpreters. Hour of the Wolf follows the story of an artist (Max von Sydow — naturally) and his wife (Liv Ullman — naturally) living on a remote island. It seems that the artist is gradually losing his mind: he keeps seeing strange and terrifying creatures, which Bergman clearly models on figures from Hieronymus Bosch paintings. It all seems like an obvious case of madness — until his wife starts seeing the creatures as well. And that’s just the beginning. Is Max mad? Are the creatures real? It’s up to you. Most of Bergman’s films qualify as “creepy,” but this is the only one that has scenes that are genuinely frightening [17]. By the way, Bergman himself believed in the supernatural: he often spoke in interviews of his belief in “other realities.”
    10. The Birds (1963; dir. Alfred Hitchcock). This one also doesn’t often make it onto lists of horror. The plot concerns a series of inexplicable attacks by huge flocks of birds on a remote, Northern California town called Bodega Bay. At the center of these attacks is the beautiful Tippi Hedren (Hitchcock’s “discovery”). One cannot help but make the correlation: before Tippi arrived in town, there were no bird attacks. As one hysterical townsperson puts it, her eyes lit by a kookaloris [18], “They say this all started when you got here!” Is Tippi somehow causing the attacks? And if it’s not her, what is it? Hitchcock offers us no explanation — probably the most notorious thing about the film. In doing so — or not doing so — he seems to be holding up a giant middle finger to modernity: not everything is explicable; there are mysteries. And when we least expect it, nature — or whatever is behind nature — is going to squash us like the bugs that we are. The Birds is like the horror film Heidegger would have made. Admittedly, some of the special effects look very dated now — though they still work surprisingly well in some scenes. And Hitchcock did use a lot of real birds: in shooting one scene he spent a week hurling birds at Tippi [19] until the actress basically had a nervous breakdown. This is a brilliant and unforgettable film. I love it so much I made a pilgrimage, years ago, to the actual town of Bodega Bay to visit the locations where the film was shot.

    So, there you have it, comrades. Have a happy, cinematic Halloween . . . but don’t say I didn’t warn you . . .

     

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • I Will Not Become My Father
    (”Dark Shadows” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]4,811 words

    When my father died last month, we had not spoken since Christmas. A few terse emails were exchanged, but that was it. You see, over Christmas dinner my father had revealed that he was contributing money to the SPLC. This didn’t exactly sit well with me. What do you say to your closest relative when he announces that he is financially supporting your worst, most loathsome enemies?

    I tried saying exactly that. I tried explaining that the SPLC is a racket that has smeared friends of mine, and would gladly attempt to destroy me (if they figured out who I really am). But my attempts were half-hearted, as I knew there was little chance I would change my father’s mind. There was also no chance of my not taking the whole matter personally – since my father was fully aware of my views, and of the company I keep. So mostly I spent the rest of our Christmas dinner (at a Thai restaurant, of all places) staring silently at my massaman curry.

    Yes, my father turned into a liberal in his old age – a very unlikely liberal. Born in the South in the 1930s, an Eagle Scout, a graduate of a prestigious military academy, and a retired career military officer, my father didn’t exactly fit the profile of the typical Democratic voter. And, indeed, he voted Republican for much of his life. But in his last few years things started to go radically wrong. He began parroting the talking points of talking heads: “Russia hacked the election!” he told me at Thanksgiving in 2016. He despised Trump (partly, he said, because of his hair). He admired figures like Rachel Maddow and Stephen Colbert. He received junk mail from Chuck Schumer and Doctors Without Borders. And so on. Christ, it was bad. And baffling.

    I returned home after what I came to think of as the SPLC Christmas with a great deal of anger, and the vague imperative that I needed to somehow find a way to deal with this if we were going to continue to have a relationship. But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I had little desire to see my father again. The donations to Morris Dees felt like the final straw. I knew I would have to somehow overcome that, and I had enough self-awareness to realize that my anger actually had roots that went very deep. I caught myself taking pleasure in an imagined conversation in which I told him that next year I would be spending Christmas elsewhere. And just a few days after confiding all this to a close friend, I got a call in the middle of the night informing me that my father’s neighbors had found him dead in his unlocked house.

    Yes, I’m just superstitious and guilty enough to think that this was my punishment. I had allowed politics to come between us, and had dithered about finding some way to repair our relationship. Now I would never get the chance. His neighbors informed me he had been going through a weeks-long period of deterioration, leading up to his death. My father had told me nothing about this; he had not alerted me that anything was wrong. The Bad Thoughts were thus inevitable: in response to my coldness, he had given up hope. Feeling himself now totally alone, he had allowed himself to die. Blah, blah, blah. When I first heard of his death I immediately worried that it had been suicide, partly because that was the death his own father had chosen. I was relieved when I found out that the cause was a heart attack. And my more reasonable side stepped in after a while to remind me of my father’s mean streak, which co-existed (especially in his last years) with a folksy, mellow benevolence that was sometimes real and sometimes merely a mask. I thus considered the possibility that he had kept me in the dark about his deterioration and imminent death as a last act of spite. It was a slim possibility, but you’d think it halfway plausible if you had known him.

    The truth is that while the political stuff was bad, our relationship had frayed for other reasons as well. You see, in the last years of his life my father became a hoarder of truly epic proportions. A hoarder worthy of his own reality show. A hoarder of an unusual and perversely fascinating type. And I was inclined to think that the shift in his views to the loony Left was only one part of a general mental decline. It took four weeks of my life to completely sort through all of his possessions, working sun up to sun down. And the more I uncovered, the more it became apparent to me that my father was – to put the matter as delicately as possible – not entirely sound. Functional, but . . .

    As I mentioned, my father had had a distinguished military career, during which he was the very model of neatness, organization, and efficiency. Being the son of such a man was no fun. My father was typical of many military dads in that he brought his work home with him. And as his assignments became more important, and his responsibilities greater, he became prone to venting his frustrations at home. There was abuse, some physical but mostly emotional. For the bulk of my childhood and adolescence, I felt no warmth for my father. And I loathed the military. I spent the first seventeen years of my life in that environment, and found it all gray-drab and joyless. It was only years later that I realized it had had any positive effect on me at all.

    The military has a funny way of encouraging men in thinking that once they’re done with it they never have to live up to any standards again. The father of one of my best friends likes to say, when bidden to exercise by his doctors, “I swore when I left the Marine Corps I would never exercise again!” “I’ve done my bit,” is the philosophy of a lot of these men, and once they retire they often turn to lives devoted, in some fashion or other, to a benign self-centered self-indulgence. Had my parents stayed married, my father might have been spared this fate, but my mother divorced him several years after he retired, unable any longer to endure his volatility and uncommunicativeness. It was after my mother died, and he no longer had to pay her a fat monthly alimony check, that my father began his steep decline.

    In a rare moment of frankness, and self-reflection, my father once told me that the divorce had severely depressed him. He began dealing with this by cultivating various hobbies, some of which were revivals of interests he had had as a boy, and then given up. On one level, this showed some real psychological insight on his part: he was consciously dealing with depression and loneliness by reconnecting with things that had made him happy in the past. For example, he was fascinated by old postcards. So, with great earnestness, he began collecting them, and, for a while, this was his obsession. When my father chose to cultivate some interest, he didn’t do things halfway. In the end, thousands of dollars were spent on postcards, all of which were carefully placed in protective, plastic sleeves in large binders – and all carefully cataloged in endless lists he kept on his computer.

    Making lists was one of my father’s specialties. I had long thought that he had learned this in the military, but it became clear to me over time that it was somehow a part of his makeup, for which the military had simply found a good use. Thus, the desk he kept in his living room was literally covered in stacks of lists. And not just of the postcard collection. For example, there were stacks of steno pads filled with hundreds of usernames and passwords. He never used a password twice. Security’s got to be tight! All of them were randomly generated strings of characters, and all got changed periodically. It was like he thought he was guarding the launch codes to the Doomsday Machine [2].

    Once all the postcards had been duly filed and cataloged, they were placed in carefully labeled banker’s boxes (my father had beautifully legible, draftsman’s handwriting). And then they were deposited in storage units and never seen again. Eventually he acquired six such units, all of which became packed to the gills with his collections. He was paying more a month for those units than he was paying on his mortgage. Mind you, he had only rented the units as a matter of necessity, once his house had become completely filled. And when I say “completely filled,” I mean that all available space was occupied either with furniture or with stacks of various kinds, including stacks of boxes. His spare bedroom was so jam packed it was impossible to walk in the door. The basement was entirely filled. And his bedroom looked entirely filled, until one realized that the bed was surrounded by boxes, as if he had built himself a fort.

    Once my father tired of the postcards, he graduated to other hobbies. For example, he collected model planes and ships. So many, in fact, that they filled around one hundred and fifty boxes, occupying two storage units. Other collections were intrinsically less impressive. He went through a period in the ’90s when he was videotaping everything on television that interested him. Four VCRs were set up to record all day long. He quickly accumulated more than he had time to watch. And so the tapes were carefully packed into carefully labeled bankers boxes (all alphabetized by title: “A-B, “B-C,” etc.) and whisked off to the storage units, where they remained unplayed, until I threw them all out.

    Some of the items in the units were covered with close to an inch of dust, in some cases packed with newspapers dating back to the 1970s. In fact, there was so much dust that a friend who volunteered to help me sort through them had a severe allergic reaction and had to quit. In all honesty, I was content to go through the units alone, as I had high hopes I might find an epic porn collection. I imagined my father as another Ralph Whittington, the celebrated “King of Porn [3].” Sadly, I found that he had put a lot less effort into this area. Still, what he had (all DVDs and VHS tapes) was carefully inventoried in long lists: name of film, names of performers, number of scenes, etc. (These lists were the first things to go into the trash once I had access to his place.)

    When the storage units were entirely filled, my father at some point apparently faced a crisis: his mess kept growing, but he had nowhere to put it. He must have ruled out the possibility of renting a seventh unit, because he started stacking boxes outdoors, behind the house. He had a neighbor help him cover them with a water-proof tarp. What items of importance did I find in those boxes? Mostly old mail and obsolete electronic equipment. Without any irony, the boxes of old mail were labeled “To Be Sorted and Culled.” It was this discovery, more than anything else, that forced me to confront the issue of my father’s sanity. What kind of process led to this man thinking “I just have no alternative but to stack all that old mail behind the house and get somebody to help me cover it up so it’ll be safe . . .”? Was there any moment at which he considered that it might be better to just throw it away? Apparently not. And what kind of “friend” would help him cover that mess in a tarp, and carefully tie it up with inscrutable nautical knots?

    In the end it took four days and just as many crews to completely empty his house and the units. This is not counting the day I transported a truck full of his stuff back to my place. I kept quite a few mementos of his military career, and all family-related items (including photos, some of which dated back to the 1890s). The collections, all except the lonely, unwanted VHS tapes, were sold to dealers. And the rest was simply hauled away as trash. This included the centerpiece of the sad, strange world my father had created: an old, stained recliner of indeterminate color. Never was I so happy to see a piece of furniture sitting on the curb.

    Once everything was gone, another layer of the mess was exposed – and, it seemed, another layer of my father’s madness. I had known for several years that he had a mouse problem. I would see the traps when I visited him, and sometimes watch as he baited them with peanut butter. On one occasion I actually saw a mouse: a little gray blur in my peripheral vision, darting around a piece of furniture. My father explained that it was a general problem in the neighborhood, and that he had it under control. This turned out to be far from true. For when all the debris was removed, there were mouse droppings literally everywhere – even behind the pots on the kitchen counter. Crumbs had fallen beneath an old toaster, unmoved for years, and the mice had dined on them and left their poop there. Underneath one cabinet were the remains of several candy bars. The mice had apparently spirited some fallen candy away and eaten it under the cabinet, again leaving their feces behind as a sort of calling card. Several banker’s boxes had been invaded by mice, and some of the old mail had been shredded to form nests.

    I had no idea of the extent of the filth until the place was emptied. Despite the egregious clutter, everything seemed “clean” to me whenever I would visit. His house had an antiseptic, hotel-like smell to it. And my father himself was always well groomed and neatly dressed. In my mind, the mouse poop quickly became emblematic of what disturbed me most about the whole situation. Here was a person who, on the surface, was a model of organization, efficiency, planning, and dutifulness. But beneath the surface he was a mess.

    There were other things as well – little things, that seemed in retrospect like more pieces of the puzzle. For instance, there were his neurotic driving habits. He had a morbid fixation that people standing on street corners were going to run out in front of his car and be hit. So he would stop and wave at them to cross – often well before they were ready to, much to their consternation. And when stop lights turned yellow he would SLAM on the brakes, for fear he might be caught by a traffic camera and sent a ticket. Several times when I was with him he was almost hit from behind by cars following a little too closely.

    This was all evidence of “OCD,” a psychologist of my acquaintance has suggested. And he had more to say. Upon hearing a description of my father’s collecting and listing, and his walls covered in nothing but pictures of machines (planes, helicopters, ships), my friend was ready to locate him somewhere on the “autism spectrum.” That made a lot of sense to me. But what about the hoarding? What about the irrational retention of old mail, VHS tapes, old clothes, electric fans, obsolete electronic equipment, post-it notes, rubber bands, markers, file folders, etc.? An anxiety disorder was the suggestion. When he contemplated throwing something away, he experienced anxiety: “But what if I need this?”

    And anxiety could also explain his political views. He had lived all his life with the idealistic smarm about our land of “all races, creeds, and colors” – drummed into him from wartime propaganda, the Boy Scouts, and the military. But I suspected he was well aware that all of that was unraveling, and that “diversity” had shown itself to be a curse and not a blessing. A lot of old people reach a point where they need to believe that everything is going to go on just the same way after they die, and that all will be well. What my father saw with his own eyes in today’s America, and what I relentlessly reported to him, must have been terrifying. In talking to him about my own beliefs, I assumed he was honest and open. Big mistake. And if I had it all to do over again, I would have let him slumber peacefully.

    In the end, my father reacted to his repressed horror at what America had become by digging in his heels, and adopting a radical version of American civic nationalism. He was very much like a religious man beset by doubts who reacts by going full fundamentalist. Indeed, it might actually have helped if he’d had a genuine religion to turn to – like his brother, who in his old age became a lay preacher. But my father was sort of a flat-souled skeptic who reflexively blamed “religion” for the world’s problems. The only thing in his will that went beyond standard boilerplate was a request that no religious service should be held at his gravesite. He couldn’t strive upward so he strove outward, filling more and more space with things he couldn’t take with him. Appropriately, there was a Scrooge-like aspect to my father as well. He spent thousands of dollars each month on storage units, toys, and clothes (did I mention the huge wardrobe stored in boxes, much of it still in plastic wrappers?). Yet he drove around town looking for the cheapest gas prices and insisted on doing his own taxes. If only he had been visited by Marley’s ghost and the rest of the crew.

    As an explanation for the hoarding, an “anxiety disorder” sounds tame enough, until you concretize it and remember that he was putting a tarp over boxes of old catalogs and VCRs because he “might need them.” This was just deranged. And there’s no way around this. I’d like to find a way, because this was my own father. His loss and its aftermath were difficult on multiple levels. First, there was the intense resentment at having to clean up this irresponsible mess. This was a reaction I knew in advance I would have, and that I’m sure he knew I would have. But somehow that wasn’t enough of a motivator for him to do something, even a little something, about the shambles his living situation had become. However, my resentment alternated with pity. I would go from cursing him as I tripped over stacks of catalogs, to intoning, with a sigh, “my poor father” as I uncovered yet another sad, strange list. How could someone who was once so shipshape and squared away have been reduced to this? There was no getting around what a sad end it was.

    And he knew it. In the days and weeks following his death just about every friend and neighbor I spoke with reported that he would never let them into his house. I even found out that he had had a girlfriend for a while, but she broke things off because he would not let her into his place. I found a letter he had written to her on his computer and made the mistake of reading it. The letter began, “Dear Evelyn, I’m very sorry about my behavior at the Cheesecake Factory the other night, but I was never very good at talking about my feelings . . .” Instantly, I could reconstruct the whole scene in my mind, based on his relationship with my own mother. Poor Evelyn had pressed him a bit on some emotional matter and, feeling threatened, he had lost control of himself, blown up at her, and felt miserable about it later. It was just the sort of thing that had ruined his marriage. He was aware of that, and felt tremendous guilt over it – all of which came out when my mother was dying, years after the divorce.

    So why couldn’t he have avoided doing it again? Why couldn’t he control himself? Why did he have to fall into the same mechanical pattern, like one of the machines that fascinated him? The truth is that he was probably wondering the same thing. And sifting through the wreckage of my father’s life made me think long and hard about the issue of my own freedom of will. My father doesn’t seem to have been able to help being who he was. Over and over again, as I vacuumed up the mouse poop, I asked myself whether I was headed for the same fate. One evening I had a nightmare that I had finished at my father’s and returned to my own apartment, only to find it intolerably dim. I acquired a sack full of light-bulbs and as I installed them and switched them on, I saw to my horror that my own place was filled with boxes and trash, and crawling with rats.

    Like most of us on the Right, I’m a great believer in the explanatory power of genetics. And while I wouldn’t call myself a strict genetic determinist, I do believe that a great deal about us that we imagine we choose is actually genetically fixed. But now this theory struck a bit too close to home. I began feeling like the main character in H. P. Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” who is horrified to discover that he is actually descended from the “fish people” he abhors, but then gradually feels himself identifying with them, becoming one with them: “Some frightful influence, I felt, was seeking gradually to drag me out of the sane world of wholesome life into unnamable abysses of blackness and alienage; and the process told heavily on me.” Am I headed for hoarding, and listing, and pretending I don’t notice the mouse poop? Is this the abyss of blackness and alienage that awaits me? Or will my fate be still more cromulent?

    As I drove a truck full of my father’s things, all in labeled banker’s boxes, back to my place I began to wonder if I wasn’t inviting “the cursed hoard” into my life. Should I have thrown more of the old dragon’s stuff away? No, I thought, I only kept what I had to: items of value, sentimental or otherwise. Of course, I immediately realized that this was exactly the sort of thing my father told himself. I began to develop an irrational aversion to the stuff, feeling I had to keep it but not wanting to touch it; washing my hands every so often, after handling the boxes. It was probably the mouse poop association. And would I even have room for the stuff in my place? (It turned out I did.) A “helpful” friend suggested I simply rent a storage unit. “But that’s how it begins!” I shouted in response, horrified at the suggestion. I made a vow then and there that I would never acquire so much stuff that I needed to “store” it. I re-read D. H. Lawrence’s short story “Things [4].” And, yes, I heard Tyler Durden in my head: “The things you own, end up owning you [5].”

    This was one of the lessons I have taken away from the whole experience. In many ways, my parents were both very fine individuals, and on the whole I received a much better upbringing than most people. I have to credit them – especially my mother – with much of what I’d like to think of as my “good points.” But, at the same time, they were damnably difficult and flawed people. In addition to all the good examples my parents gave me, they also did me a great service in providing examples of how I did not want to be. Many was the time I would react to something they said or did by thinking, “Gee, this is not how I want to turn out.” And my father’s final legacy to me was the most disturbing and effective cautionary tale I could ever have received.

    Yes, I do believe that genetics shapes who we are. In certain ways, genetics determines us outright, and without wiggle room. In other ways, it merely inclines us in certain directions. I do see the seeds of my father’s madness in me: the OCD, the Asperger’s, the irrational anxieties. But the significant difference between me and my father seems to be just that I see these things. Yes, I imagine he had moments of self-awareness too. In fact, I know he did. When I first discovered the extent of my father’s hoard, while he was still alive, I was appalled and blurted out “You’re crazy!” “Probably, yes,” he responded, sheepishly. But such moments of clarity didn’t seem to amount to anything.

    Now and then, I see myself trending in the same directions as my father, whenever, for example, I hesitate before throwing old mail away. But now I’ve seen where it could all lead. And while genetics is a powerful influence, so is will. I believe in the power of will, and in the power of consciousness. In other words, I believe that if we can see our habits and our tendencies, we’ve already achieved a certain distance from them. And that distance allows us to resist. I know several people who have no willpower at all – who are often well aware of their problems, but powerless to do anything about them. I’m not that kind of person. I have a strong will, and I do not shrink from self-criticism (quite the contrary, in fact).

    However, the lessons here don’t reduce simply to an imperative to avoid hoarding and listing through sheer force of will. Another aspect to my father’s decline is one I have not heretofore remarked on, but which may now be obvious to my readers: the utter triviality of his concerns. His decline was not all an issue of unchecked accumulation. It also had to do with the completely trivial nature of his interests and preoccupations. My psychologist friend told me, “As people age, their worlds shrink.” I’ll say. By the end, my father had been positively miniaturized – like Stephen Boyd in Fantastic Voyage [6]. A life devoted to accumulating postcards and toys, keeping careful lists, and tucking them all out of sight where they couldn’t even be enjoyed.

    By contrast, I’ve devoted my life to things that matter – and I don’t see that changing in my old age. My father had a meaningful life at one time, but, as I’ve said, that all went out the window when he left the military and decided to devote himself to acquisitiveness. I suppose there’s something poetically appropriate about that: after years of safeguarding the pursuit of “the American Dream,” perhaps he just decided to start living it. By contrast, what makes my life meaningful is doing what I can to save my race and my culture – and I would go so far as to say that there is nothing more important than the cause I have chosen. What makes my life meaningful are precisely the commitments that, unfortunately, so frightened and scandalized my father. (“I think you’re sick!” he shouted at me once. Oh, the irony . . . )

    In the end, this redeems whatever mess I leave behind. My heirs (both of them comrades in the Movement) might be left with a few stacks of old mail, but as they toss it into trash bags they will say, “Yes, but he helped save the white race.” They may not know what to do with my collection of Dark Shadows memorabilia, but as they list it on eBay they will say, “Yes, but he wrote for Counter-Currents.” Indeed, when moving the furniture they might even find some mouse droppings (though I doubt this). But as they vacuum it up they will say, “Yes, but after all, he wrote The Importance of James Bond & Other Essays [7] and Heidegger in Chicago [8]. And he wrote even more important stuff under other pen names . . . .”

    In the end, it doesn’t matter if we make a big mess, so long as we do it in the name of something big. So long as we believe in something important, and fight for something that matters – and keep on doing that, until the end. So long as we stay big, and don’t shrink. But I’m going to manage to do this without making a mess that burdens my heirs. My father’s final years cannot have been particularly happy. I hope he rests in peace. But as God is my witness, I will not become him.

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Evola’s Other Club: Mitch Horowitz & the Self-Made Mystic
    (”Dark Shadows” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]7,841 words

    Mitch Horowitz
    The Miracle Club: How Thoughts Become Reality
    Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions, 2018

    “I don’t want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me. . . . When you decide to be something, you can be it. That’s what they don’t tell you in the church.”[1] [2]

    The latest meme promulgated by the Dissident Right, which seems to be driving the Ctrl-Left and its media mouthpieces even more crazy than they were by Pepe the Frog, is the NPC [3] (Non-Player Character). And why shouldn’t it? It’s funny because it’s true. But it’s also more common than the 4Chan crowd might think.

    As Mitch Horowitz says at the beginning of The Miracle Club, “the basic sense of human identity,” at least since Shakespeare expressed it in Macbeth, has been pretty much indistinguishable from the NPC:

    Each of us “plays his part,” living, serving, struggling, until “mere oblivion.” We sometimes bring a ripple of change to our surroundings. . . . But overall, we remain bound to a familiar pattern.

    Just one modern idea[2] [4] has “suggested that we are not ‘merely players,’ but also possess a creative agency”: thoughts are causative. As Neville Goddard, whom Horowitz considers the greatest figure of this alternative school of thought, says:

    It is my belief that all men can change the course of their lives. By our imagination, by our affirmations, we can change our world, we can change our future. I have always preached that if we strive passionately to embody a new and higher concept of ourselves, then all things will be at our service. Most men are totally unaware of the creative power of imagination and invariably bow before the dictates of “facts” and accepts life on the basis of the world without. But when you discover this creative power within yourself, you will boldly assert the supremacy of imagination and put all things in subjection to it.[3] [5]

    This is the uniquely American thought-phenomenon called “New Thought” (how American a name!), which should be regarded, as I’ve argued in a number of essays, [4] [6] as our homegrown Hermeticism, native Neoplatonism, and two-fisted Traditionalism.[5] [7]

    Yet for almost a century now, New Thought has been the punchline and punching bag of everyone from learned scholars and hard-nosed scientists, to journalists looking for a feature full of cheap laughs.[6] [8] As religious scholar Jeffrey J. Kripal says in his blurb for Horowitz’s book:

    The American lineage of mind metaphysics, or positive thinking, takes a beating from both the religious right and the intellectual left, who seem to share in little other than this fear and loathing of the possibility that we might actually be able to imagine ourselves into other realities, histories, and humanities.

    Indeed, not only the “religious” Right; concurrent with the NPC meme, another frequently-encountered theme among the “Alt Right” of late is the disparagement of “magical thinking,” presented as something unique to the Left,[7] [9] despite the election of Donald J. Trump, a devotee of Normal Vincent Peale’s “Positive Thinking.”[8] [10] One is tempted to respond in the Trump persona: “I’m the billionaire president, and you’re not. You’re fired!”

    At least one cause – or effect? – of this mockery has been that New Thought hasn’t been seriously studied since William James (who both studied and practiced what he called “the religion of healthy-edness”) died in 1910; and, as a consequence, New Thought itself hasn’t intellectually developed. [9] [11]

    Comes now Mitch Horowitz[10] [12] to move the discussion of this very American stream of thought onto that very American methodological ground of proof by experience. In short, try it!

    By this strategy, Horowitz first reaches back to evoke the original Miracle Club, a gathering of esoteric experimenters who banded together in New York City back in 1875, when their President received a mysterious letter reading, “Don’t give up thy club. TRY.” And in the end, he will propose that the reader join him in a new, informal miracle club.

    But “club” also suggests, to me at least, Baron Julius Evola, who ran his own series of magical clubs, UR and KRUR, back in the 1920s.[11] [13] Moreover, after disbanding these groups, he founded a periodical titled La Torre (The Tower); in his autobiography, he notes that:

    Backlash followed – and not because of the doctrinal or cultural content of the magazine (which, given its elevated standard, was largely ignored by Fascists), but on account of one rubric entitled ‘The Bow and the Club’ (‘L’arco e la clava’: where the bow strikes at a distance, the club does so only within range of one’s hands).[12] [14]

    Without pressing the analogy too far, I would suggest that Horowitz has set himself a similar task: to deal with the far (skeptics and scientific materialists) and the near (the all-too-frequently naïve and even childish proponents of “The Secret” or “The Law of Attraction”)[13] [15] to arrive at a true, rectified picture of New Thought: “For all its shortcomings, and for all its being disparaged by critics as a dogma of wishful delusion, New Thought, in its essentials, is true – and can be tested in your experience.”

    First, some terminological matters:

    Some colleagues have cautioned me that terms like positive thinking seem old-fashioned and musty; the phrase puts off younger or more sophisticated readers. But the “power of positive thinking,” to use the title phrase of Peale’s 1952 book, has so fully entered the public mind that most people have an immediate association with it. It is plain. For that reason I have continued to use Peale’s phraseology, musty or not.

    I am also wary of jettisoning old terms, such as ESP, New Age, and occult, simply because they have taken on critical baggage, and one hopes to arrive at something more “respectable.”

    Here, too, the note is Evolian; the latter had no hesitation to use the term “magic,” despite its modern “show business” connotations; not even, like Crowley, adding a “k”.

    As another, even more important preliminary, Horowitz is quick to emphasize that he writes as a participant-observer. While acknowledging the need for some level of objectivity, he rightly points out that we are quite used to, for instance, histories of Mormonism written by Mormons, or accounts of the Inquisition, say, written by Roman Catholics. And if we are to prove a method by experience – otherwise, in what sense are we being empirical? – then we must have these experiences. “The perspective of the critics requires leavening by experience. But experience will not touch the staunchest among them simply because they avoid participation in ideas.”

    Even worse than professionally skeptical scientists are the half-baked journalists. Some, like Tom Wolfe, will express some sympathy with these ideas in private, but for public consumption fear it to be too infra dig to do their reputation any good. Others, like Lewis Lapham – who went all the way to India to hang out with the Beatles and the Maharishi, and even got a mantra, but couldn’t be bothered, then or in the ensuing fifty years, to actually try meditation – seem to exhibit what René Guénon considered to be a typical “Western mental distortion”: to prefer the theory of knowledge to knowledge itself.[14] [16]

    As a participant-observer, Horowitz starts, appropriately enough, with himself. At some point those journalists, or TV producers, or academics, will ask him: “You don’t believe this stuff, do you?” Yes, he does:

    I believe that thinking, in a directed, highly focused, and emotively charged manner, expands our capacity to perceive and concretize events, and relates us to a nontactile field of existence that surpasses ordinarily perceived boundaries of time and thought.

    Or, even more concretely:

    Your mind is a creative agency, and the thoughts with which you impress it contribute to the actualized events of your existence.

    This is less a doctrine than a “line of experimentation” that he invites the reader to join in with. In any event, New Thought has been very good for Mitch Horowitz. In fact, despite being the son of a bankrupt Long Island attorney, he’s now a millionaire! Ordinarily, I wouldn’t bring up such personal matters, but he talks about it himself, quite openly and out of the gate. It’s actually a legitimate part of his participant/observer model.

    And why not talk about money and success? One of the most basic, and laziest criticisms, of New Thought has been to deplore it as “materialistic.” Horowitz is having none of that. Although he believes in “labor unions, moderately redistributive tax policies, and personal thrift,” he also knows that we live in a material world, and we need money to obtain power, and thus to be able to actualize our basic desires.

    Horowitz deplores the “recycle[d] ideas from the Vedic and Buddhist traditions,” such as “nonattachment” or “transcendence,” which have been “cherry-picked from religious structures that were . . . highly stratified and hierarchical” and which “would have regarded social mobility almost as unlikely as space travel.”[15] [17]

    This ersatz “Easternism” . . . has not provided Westerners with a satisfying response to materialism because it often seeks to divert the individual from the very direction in which he may find meaning, which is toward the compass point of achievement.

    My conviction is that the true nature of life is to be generative. I believe that in order to be happy, human beings must exercise their fullest range of abilities – including the exertions of outer achievement.

    I believe that the simplest and most resounding truth on the question of the inner life and attainment appears in the dictum of Christ: “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and render unto God what is God’s.”

    I do not view nonattachment as a workable goal for those of us raised in the West, and elsewhere, today. Rather, I believe that the ethical pursuit of achievement holds greater depth, and summons more from within our inner natures, than we may realize.

    Although Horowitz seems to assume this is a function of the modern, globalized world (“the West and elsewhere, today”), I would suggest that this is actually true of something uniquely, essentially, and timelessly Western: what Spengler, and others after him, have called Faustian Man.[16] [18] And this is another point of contact with the work of Evola, who argued that both original Buddhism and Taoism were essentially Aryan paths to personal power.[17] [19]

    Horowitz himself sees a connection with Nietzsche and . . . Ayn Rand.

    New Thought at its best and most infectious celebrates the primacy of the individual. Seen in a certain light, the mystical teacher Neville Goddard, the New Thought figure whom I most admire, was a kind of spiritualized objectivist. Or perhaps I could say that Ayn Rand, the founder of philosophical Objectivism, and an ardent atheist, was a secularized Neville.

    How can this be?

    The motivated person must select among the possibilities and circumstances of reality.[18] [20] In their view, the individual is solely responsible, ultimately, for what he does with his choices. Rand saw this selection as the exercise of personal will and rational judgment; Neville saw it as vested in the creative instrumentalities of your imagination. But both espoused the same principle: the world that you occupy is your own obligation.[19] [21]

    Speaking of obligation, having “promised you a philosophy of results,” Horowitz feels obligated to provide early on “two vital, inner steps to opening yourself to money.” The first – I’ll let you read the book to find the second – could have come from Howard Roark himself:

    You must know exactly what you want to accomplish, and you must feel it passionately, even obsessively. You must be willing to turn aside everything and everyone who doesn’t contribute to your realization for that aim. . . . If that strikes you as ruthless or extreme, it is because you do not yet possess, or are not yet honest about, your definite aim. When you find it, it will be like finding breath itself.

    As Neville insisted, your desires are clues given to you by God, to guide your actions in life, and should be followed without guilt, modesty, or shame. And they can be realized, precisely because they accord with the will of God, the greatest power in the universe, who is ultimately “your own wonderful human imagination.”[20] [22]

    In a key chapter, “The Centrality of Neville Goddard,” Horowitz expands on his earlier precis of New Thought, presenting a three-step method, based on Neville’s many books and lectures:

    First, clarify a sincere and deeply felt desire. Second, enter a state of relaxed immobility, bordering on sleep. Third, enact a mental scene that contains the assumption and feeling of your wish fulfilled. Run the little drama over and over in your mind until you experience a sense of fulfillment. Then resume your life. Evidence of your achievement will unfold at the right moment in your outer experience.

    As I’ve noted before, this is exactly the method that Evola espoused in his magickal writings; first, create an image of the desired state, then:

    In order for any image to act in the way I am talking about, it must be loved. It must be assumed in a great, inner calm and then warmed up, almost nourished, with sweetness, without bringing the will or any effort into play, and much less without expectations.[21] [23] The Hermeticists called this agent “sweet fire,” “fire that does not burn,” and even “fire of the lamp” since it really has an enlightening effect on the images.[22] [24]

    Although in contexts such as this one here at Counter-Currents, I’ve been calling attention to how Traditional the method is, Horowitz is right to emphasize how profoundly American it is. Deriving in the first instance from Emerson, it is indeed, as Horowitz says, “applied Transcendentalism.”

    In fact, it is clearly a manifestation of what Camille Paglia has called “The North American [Literary] Tradition.” Paglia argues that the confrontation of Romanticism with North American Protestantism “achieved a new fusion of ideas – a sensory pragmatism or engagement with concrete experience, rooted in the body, and at the same time a visionary celebration of artistic metaspace – that is, the fictive realm of art, fantasy and belief projected by great poetry and prefiguring our own cyberspace.”[23] [25]

    This uniquely American “synthesis of the pragmatic and the visionary,” from Emerson to James, continues, I would say, in Neville’s method, which crucially combines both physical relaxation (the body) and visionary intensity (mind and will); [24] [26] conversely, Horowitz notes that most New Age practitioners of “the law of attraction,” “the Secret,” and so on fail because they seem to think they can rely on thought and wishing alone.

    We saw how Horowitz disparages the “ersatz Hinduism” derived from socially stagnant societies, and Paglia notes that American democracy and capitalism “enhanced individualism and promoted social mobility.” So at first glance it may seem somewhat ironic that he devotes two chapters to Neville, born in Barbados, and James Allen (author of the New Thought classic As a Man Thinketh), an Englishman. Yet their stories are almost archetypically American.

    Neville, like so many before him, emigrated from Barbados to New York to make his fortune.[25] [27] Though the Great Depression caused his Broadway career to flame out, his career as a “metaphysical lecturer” led to a certain amount of prosperity (to judge from his teaching stories, he and his small family seem to have lived one of those Nick and Nora Charles lifestyles, moving from one swanky hotel or apartment house to another), while his extended clan in Barbados used the same methods to expand a grocery store into the food services conglomerate Goddard Enterprises, still the largest multinational headquartered in the Caribbean. [26] [28]

    It was James Allen’s father who emigrated to New York, but with less success, being murdered and robbed two days after arrival; as a result, young Allen had to leave school to support the family. He married, lived quietly, produced more than one book a year, and died from tuberculosis at the age of forty-seven.

    Allen’s story is compelling not because he became rich – he didn’t, monetarily, at least – but for the way it brings together Horowitz’s other themes of power, self-effort, and testing by experience.

    The noblest aspects of human nature emerge when the individual is striving toward something. When the thing striven for is attained, however, such as a comfortable and prosperous old age, the human mind often redirects its attention onto the smallest and most fleeting details of quotidian life.

    James Allen, by contrast, was compelled to struggle most of his life. But that struggle never deformed him. The decisive factor in his life . . . was that he saw life’s upward hill not as a path toward comfort but toward refinement.

    One is reminded of Colin Wilson’s frequent observation, that those born well-off tend to develop a lazy and pessimistic view of life, while those who need to constantly struggle acquire an optimistic attitude; positive thinking, indeed. Allen’s wife’s description of her husband also reminds us of Wilson’s concept of existential philosophizing;

    He never wrote theories, or for the sake of writing; but he wrote when he had a message, and it became a message only when he had lived it out in his own life, and knew that it was good. Thus he wrote facts, which he had proven by practice.

    As I said above, Horowitz devotes much attention to critiquing the intellectually stagnant, naïve, and, sometimes, dishonest forms of New Thought today, as well as the unfair attacks of the sciencey folks; he also marshals fascinating evidence that mainstream, not even “cutting edge,” science provides ways to understand how and why New Thought – Neville’s method in particular – works.

    Most quantum physicists wouldn’t be caught dead/alive as Schrodinger’s cat dealing with the theories of Neville. But there is an elegant intersection of possibility between his theology and the quantum theorizing of Schrodinger and Everett.

    Everett’s concept of multiple worlds and outcomes could be the key to why thoughts are causative, or, put differently, why reality bends to the vantage point of the observer.

    It’s not so much that our thinking and perspective make things happen, but that we choose from among things that already exist in potential – like the superposition of a particle in a wave state.

    If thoughts register data, then a shift in the use of the sensory tool of thought – like a physicist deciding whether to take a measurement and the perspective from which it is taken – determines or alters what data is experienced. Based upon how your thoughts and feeling states are used, they expose you to different, and coexisting, phenomena.

    Neville argued that everything you see and experience, including others, is the product of your own individual dream of reality. Through a combination of emotional conviction and mental images, he taught, you imagine your world into being – and all people and events are rooted in you, as you are ultimately rooted in God, or an Over-Mind. When you awaken to your true self, Neville argued, you will know yourself to be a slumbering branch of the Creator clothed in human form and at the helm of infinite possibilities. We all have this experience within our own dreams of reality.

    As noted in my review [29] of one of Horowitz’s previous books,[27] [30] I find this sort of thing intriguing, but not necessarily entirely compelling – and Horowitz doesn’t insist he has all the right answers, anyway; as always, your mileage may vary.[28] [31]

    New to me, and more intriguing, are examples he draws from biology and medicine: he concludes that “we are living through a period of new findings in placebo research, ranging from placebo surgeries to myriad studies liking positive expectancy to a strengthened immunological response, as well as widely accepted findings in the nascent field of neuroplasticity, in which redirected thoughts are seen to alter brain biology.”

    Perhaps more important are his attempts to tease out some consistency and plausibility in the claims of New Thought practitioners and what passes for theorists among them.

    One of his most important contributions is emphasizing one reason why it doesn’t always appear to work: most New Thinkers not only seem content to just vaguely hope for the best, they also seem to believe that thought is the only power at work.

    If I posit a connection between the individual and some kind of higher capacity of the mind, that does not mean that only “one thing” – a law of mentation – is going on in your life. Lots of events, whether biological, mechanical, or metaphysical, can be simultaneously occurring. We live under many laws and forces, of which the impact of the mind is one.

    The law of gravity is ever operative, but it is mitigated by other laws, such as mass. The experience of gravity radically differs on the moon, Earth, and Jupiter. So it is with the mind: surrounding events and realities matter.[29] [32]

    I would suggest – and hope to develop in a future essay – that even if, as Neville insists, we are “all imagination,” and that imagination is God, that there are levels of power or accomplishment here as with other cosmic forces or natural talents;[30] [33] it may be possible to train one’s imagination, as an athlete or dancer (like Neville, remember) trains their body, to attain greater mastery, but there are limits. As Horowitz says:

    Contrary to many purveyors of spiritual self-help, I reject the notion that we can become anything we dream of. Not all desires are realistic. . . . Your age, training, and education matter – as do geography, finances, and time. These are not to be seen as barriers – but they are serious considerations.

    “There are surprises,” he adds – as he says elsewhere, there have been notably short basketball stars – but don’t bet on it.[31] [34]

    Understanding the hand you’ve been dealt is all part of the preliminary step of finding one’s true aim; and this in itself may be the most valuable part of the practice of positive thought:

    Positive-mind philosophy places a demand on us, one that we may think we’ve risen to but have never really tried. And that is: To come to an understanding of precisely what we want. When we organize our thoughts in a certain way – with a fearless maturity and honesty – we may be surprised to discover our true desires.

    The need to recognize that we work within cosmic limits is complementary to Horowitz’s ethical meditations. All this talk of Rand and Nietzsche might make some readers (though not many on this site, perhaps) a little uneasy. And isn’t actually existing New Thought a part of the whole “Social Gospel” wing of Progressivism?

    Is there a dichotomy between Neville’s radical individualism and the communal vision of [for example, early twentieth-century socialist and New Thought guru Wallace D.] Wattles? Not for me. . . . Not only do opposites attract, but paradoxes complete.

    Neville’s vision of individual excellence, and Wattles’ ideal of community enrichment are inextricably bound because New Thought – unlike secular Objectivism and varying forms of ceremonial magick or Thelemic philosophy – functions along the lines of Scriptural ethics. New Thought . . . promulgates a radically karmic ethos, in which the thoughts and actions enacted toward others simultaneously play out toward the self; doing unto others is doing unto self – the part and the whole are inseparable.

    Must a seeker choose between a nice car and “awareness”? Must I choose between Wallace D. Wattles and Neville? Both were bold, beautiful, and right in many ways; both had a vision of ultimate freedom – of the creative individual determining rather than bending to circumstance.

    If Horowitz sees Neville as not that different from free-marketeer Rand or socialist Wattles, perhaps that’s because he hearkens back to an earlier kind of Progressive thought, also part of Paglia’s North American tradition rather than the Frankfurt School of pessimistic European thinkers she deplores. This kind of Leftism preached action (Reform! Progress!) rather than passive nursing of grievances and demands for special privileges and reparations; the Left that used to sing “Don’t mourn, organize [35]!” rather than “Born this way [36].”

    This contrast is manifested here in a blistering, several-page critique of modern Progressive Barbara Ehernreich’s critique of positive thinking, which “stems from laziness of research . . . willful neglect of facts for the sake of scoring a witty point,” and a shallow, entirely secondhand approach to its intellectual history.[32] [37]

    Her sloppiness stems from her elitism, which he contrasts with her former co-chair of the Democratic Socialists of American, Michael Harrington (who died in 1989):

    You cannot love a country in any authentic sense when you offhandedly disparage – and make no effort to take full measure of – an outlook embraced by varied millions of Americans, of all backgrounds and classes.[33] [38]

    In my review of Horowitz’s edition of Neville’s At Your Command, I noted that it appeared at a synchronous moment – Election Day – and provided a useful guide to understanding Trump’s meme mastery as the key to his victory.[34] [39] I’ve argued that Positive Thinking ultimately gave America Trump. If the Left actually want to avoid another Trump, they will need to engage in the kind of self-analysis Horowitz advises here – what do they, or rather the voters, really want? – and move back to Harrington’s kind of working-class solidarity. As Spencer J. Quinn has argued on this site [40]:

    Carlson sees a civil war on the horizon and argues that the Left and Left-leaning members of the Right are the ones who are primarily responsible. They are also the reason why we got Donald Trump in 2016. If the Left wishes to not have populist nationalists like Trump in the White House, then they’d better clean up their acts and start catering to the needs of the majority.[35] [41]

    Just as Horowitz’s edition of At Your Command arrived on Election Day, so Horowitz’s latest comes at a propitious time, just as the Dissident Right has created a new meme, the NPC. “Offhandedly disparage” does indeed suggest the literally mindless sloganeering of the Left’s minions.[36] [42] Horowitz’s discussion would lead us to think it is hardly confined to the Left, however; it is a result of eschewing the supposedly lazy and self-indulgent world of Positive Thinking for the “hard-headed” philosophy of materialism.

    But as Horowitz shows, it is Positive Thinking – Blake’s “mental strife” – that requires work, while as Kathleen Raine said of Blake’s war against Locke and Newton:

    The Big Brother of materialist philosophy must of necessity become a tyrant because he compels humanity (in Yeats’ words) to become passive before a mechanized nature.[37] [43]

    Identity politics is pure passivity: their constituents want benefits. It is only “dreamers” like Neville or Horowitz who want to work.[38] [44]

    With all this talk of integrity and right action, it’s no surprise that Horowitz eventually gets around to offering some life coaching, which, given the reversal of causality postulated by quantum mechanics,[39] [45] he presents as advice for the past you. It bears being quoted in extenso, since it’s pretty good in itself, and also seems like the sort of thing our own Jef Costello, or even Jack Donovan, but probably not Jordan Peterson, might offer as well:

    Immediately disassociate from destructive people and forces, if not physically then ethically – and watch for the moment when you can do so physically.

    Use every means to improve your mental acuity. Every sacrifice of empty leisure or escapism for study, industry, and growth is a fee paid to personal freedom.

    Train the body. Grow physically strong. Reduce consumption. You will be strengthened throughout your being.

    Seek no one’s approval through humor, servility, or theatrics. Be alone if necessary. But do not compromise with low company.

    At the earliest possible point, learn meditation (i.e., Transcendental Meditation), yoga, and martial arts (select good teachers).

    Go your own way – literally. Walk/bike and don’t ride the bus or in a car, except when necessary. Do so in all weather: rain, snow, etc. Be independent physically and you will be independent in other ways.

    Learn-study-rehearse. Pursue excellence. Or else leave something alone. Go to the limit in something or do not approach it.

    Starve yourself of the compulsion to derive your sense of wellbeing from your perception of what others think of you. Do this as an alcoholic avoids a drink or an addict a needle. It will be agonizing at first, since you may have no other perception of self; but this, finally, is the sole means of experiencing Self.

    At the end, he issues a challenge to the presumably now buff and fully intellectually-prepped reader: a specific practice that will allow you to join your will to his and whoever else has the courage to take it up. As we’ve seen throughout, from the title on, there are echoes of Evola here; for the aim of UR and KRUR was also the creation of such “magical chains.”[40] [46]

    There are some arguable points in Horowitz’s exploration of Positive Thinking, and even some missteps. As an example of the latter, several pages devoted to Senator Cory Booker as an exemplar of positive thought will likely produce a different impression after his buffoonish performance at the recent Kavanaugh hearings, as well as more recent allegations [47]; perhaps he exemplifies Horowitz’s sound advice about taking an honest inventory of your strengths and limits before formulating a goal.

    On the other hand, Jef Costello will be pleased to find Jonathan Frid’s landing the role of Barnabas Collins on Dark Shadows adduced as an example of perseverance in pursuit of one’s true goal.

    Horowitz also distances himself from many New Thought figures by demurring from the idea that the human imagination is God, tout court; he finds room for a personal God, and even insists on the efficacy of icons, medallions, and so forth. Horowitz even goes so far as to endorse William James’ notion of a deity created or supported by our prayers. One recalls how Jason Jorjani handles the same material – parapsychology and the gods – with the suggestion that these so-called “gods” are higher, but not necessarily “divine,” powers, or even extraterrestrials, ruthlessly exploiting us.[41] [48]

    By contrast, Neville, for example, always insisted that “God is your own wonderful human imagination,” and heaped scorn on those who not only worship an external deity, but focus their attentions on “little medals and statues.”

    Here again, Evola has preceded us; Evola, in fact, explains the differences between the “dry” and “wet” paths by considering their use of images. The pupil first constructs an image of his ideal Self, concentrating all his thoughts and will on it. In the wet path, the duality remains, the Self is worshipped from afar; while in the dry path, one attempts to gradually achieve unity, to become the Self.[42] [49]

    Perhaps most importantly, one might also ask whether the example of quantum superposition (in layman’s terms, the observer determining the observed), adduced to explain the possibility of “changing the future,” as Neville would say, contradicts or makes questionable the value of Horowitz’s participant/observer model?

    In the end, how are we to evaluate Horowitz’s project? Positive Thinking turns out to be not at all like the airy-fairy, feel-good notions peddled by Oprah and Co.[43] [50] It’s about the hard work of analyzing your own self to find out what it is you truly want, the honesty of admitting what that deepest desire is (power, money, success, fame, glamour), and the integrity and commitment to concentrate on it to the exclusion of anything else.

    Going back to my reference to Colin Wilson’s notion of existential philosophy – that is, a philosophy developed and tested in one’s real life – we can add something Kathleen Raine said about Blake, Neville’s favorite writer (other than the author of the Bible):

    He understood that ideas, like passions, cannot otherwise exist than in men; and for Blake the final test of any philosophy is the kind of human beings it produces.[44] [51]

    So take the challenge, join the Miracle Club, and see what you can make of yourself – and thus, what you can make of your world. It might even be, as David Lynch suggests on the cover, “solid gold.”[45] [52]

    Notes

    [1] [53] Frank Costello, The Departed [54](Martin Scorsese, 2006).

    [2] [55] Mitch Horowitz, One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life (New York: Crown, 2014).

    [3] [56] What appears to be a linked series of quotations from the back cover of a collection of his lectures entitled Be What You Wish (Floyd, Va.: Sublime Books, 2015).

    [4] [57] These essays, published variously in Aristokratia and on Counter-Currents, are now collected in Magick for Housewives: Essays on Alt-Gurus [58] (Melbourne, Victoria: Manticore, 2018).

    [5] [59] Which is not to say that important contributions haven’t come from furriners, such as Emile Coué (remembered for his mantra, “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better”) and the Englishmen James Allen (to whom Horowitz devotes a chapter) and Arnold Bennett.

    [6] [60] Even Adlai Stevenson got into the act. When running for president in 1956, Peale said that Stevenson was unfit because he was divorced; Stevenson famously quipped, “I find Saint Paul appealing and Saint Peale appalling.” In 1960, Peale called Kennedy unfit, as a Catholic, and Stevenson responded thus: “America was not built by wishful thinking. It was built by realists, and it will not be saved by guess work and self-deception. It will only be saved by hard work and facing the facts.” Says the guy who lost. Twice. See the section on “Peale and Stevenson” on Wikipedia [61].

    [7] [62] For example, Ramzpaul, here [63].

    [8] [64] Did positive thinking help elect Trump? See my Kindle single, Trump: The Art of the Meme [65] (Amazon, 2016).

    [9] [66] One might compare the situation of institutions and disciplines dominated by the PC mentality – bereft of any need to actually defend their ideas, the academic Left has intellectually degenerated to a point where its ideas are preposterous, and its spokesmen incapable of mounting a defense, anyway.

    [10] [67] “Mitch Horowitz is a PEN Award-winning historian, longtime publishing executive, and a leading New Thought commentator with bylines in The New York TimesTimePoliticoSalon, and The Wall Street Journal and media appearances on Dateline NBCCBS Sunday MorningAll Things Considered, and Coast to Coast AM. He is the author of several books, including Occult America and One Simple Idea. He lives in New York City.”—Publisher’s note.

    [11] [68] Reprinted in three volumes several decades later; the first volume has been translated as Introduction to Magic: Rituals and Practical Techniques for the Magus (Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions, 2001), and the second volume is due out next year. Inner Traditions also happens to publish The Miracle Club.

    [12] [69]The Path of Cinnabar: An Intellectual Autobiography; translated by Sergio Knipe (London: Artkos Media, 2009), p. 107.

    [13] [70] “I want to strike at the blithe, sometimes childish tone that pervades much of its culture. . . . Services at many New Thought-oriented churches are a cross between pep rallies and preschool birthday parties, with attendant exhortations from the pulpit: ‘Isn’t this the most fun ever?’” Camille Paglia describes “New Age” as “all-accepting and undemanding, suspending guilt and judgement. It offers a psychology without conflict and a subjective ethics without challenge or moral responsibility.” See “The Mighty River of Classics: Tradition and Innovation in Modern Education,” reprinted in Provocations: Collected Essays (New York: Pantheon, 2018).

    [14] [71] “It is truly strange that proof is demanded concerning the possibility of a kind of knowledge instead of searching for it and verifying it for one’s self by undertaking the work necessary for its acquisition. For those who possess this knowledge, what interest can there be in all this discussion? Substituting a ‘theory of knowledge’ for knowledge itself is perhaps the greatest admission of impotence in modern philosophy.” “Oriental Metaphysics [72],” from Tomorrow, Vol. 12, No. 1. (Winter 1964) (the journal later continued as Studies in Comparative Religion).

    [15] [73] Unless, of course, the Ancient Astronaut theorists are right about vimanas [74].

    [16] [75] See Collin Cleary, “What is Odinism?, Part III: The Odinic & the Faustian [76],” and Ricardo Duchesne, “Oswald Spengler & the Faustian Soul of the West [77].”

    [17] [78] See Julius Evola, The Doctrine of Awakening: The Attainment of Self-Mastery According to the Earliest Buddhist Texts (London: Luzac &  Co., 1951; Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions, 1995) and Julius Evola, The Yoga of Power: Tantra, Shakti, and the Secret Way, trans. Guido Stucco (Rochester, Vt. Inner Traditions, 1992); as well as his “Spiritual Virility in Buddhism [79]” and “What Tantrism Means to Modern Western Civilization [80],” included in Julius Evola, East and West [81] (San Francisco: Counter-Currents Publishing, 2018).

    [18] [82] As we’ll see, this is not just an offhand remark; both Neville and quantum mechanics postulate a four-dimensional, serial universe in which the future is determined only by the choice of the observer in the present.

    [19] [83] For example, Horowitz notes the importance of the New Thought principle, that you tend to become what you think about, dwell on, hate, or envy; we might compare this to the classic scene where Toohey asks Roark, “What do you think of me?” and Roark replies, “But I don’t think of you.”

    [20] [84] “God’s a champ,” as Dr. Hannibal Lecter says, adding that, “It feels good because God has power. If one does what God does enough times, one will become as God is” (Red Dragon, aka Manhunter). Conversely, it doesn’t work for “manifesting” trivial desires, or parlor tricks to satisfy skeptics, like King Herod: “Prove to me that you’re no fool / Walk across my swimming pool” (Jesus Christ Superstar). As Alan Watts said, the Westerner thinks that if you say, I am God, then you should be able to “prove it” by doing random, meaningless things like make lightning strike. But if you are God, what you want to do is exactly what’s happening now all around yourself and within yourself; you’ve simply chosen to get out of your own way.

    [21] [85] No expectations, because, as Neville would say, you assume that what you wish for already exists; he calls this “thinking from the end.”

    [22] [86] “Commentary on the Opus Magicum,” in Evola, Introduction to Magic , op. cit., p. 57. Dr. Lechter’s protégé, The Tooth Fairy, a kind of perverted New Thinker, comes to mind: an investigator, Buffalo Bill, muses over one of his tell-tale moths, “Somebody grew this guy. Fed him honey and nightshade, kept him warm. Somebody loved him.” Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1990).

    [23] [87]The North American intellectual tradition [88]; Paglia: To hell with European philosophers: The breakthroughs of non-European thinkers are the 1960s’ greatest legacy,” Salon.com, March 4, 2000; reprinted in Provocations: Collected Essays.

    [24] [89] Paglia cites the “exploration of the body [which] inspired the revolutionary choreography of Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham” [see “Isadora Duncan: Pagan Priestess of Dance [90]”] and “the Stanislavskian ‘Method’ of Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio” as examples of “the primacy of the body in the North American intellectual tradition.” Neville was initially both a dancer and an actor on Broadway, and although Duncan would likely have hated his act, Horowitz and others believe his physical training suggested, and added, his ability to attain states of deep relaxation. Horowitz also explicitly mentions “method” acting as an analogy to Neville’s own “method.”

    [25] [91] On the basis of the same itinerary, today’s SJWs claim Alexander Hamilton as an immigrant of color and the hero of the hip-hip hit Hamilton [92]; in realty, of course, he was not only white but an elitist. Neville’s “English background and elegant bearing” might lead one to think him another toff, but Horowitz notes that Neville, unlike the historic Hamilton, thought that “privilege did not belong to the rich but to the truly imaginative,” in the manner of Jefferson’s natural aristocracy (thought the latter certainly opposed unlimited immigration [92]). In one of his visions, Neville heard the words, “Down with the blue bloods!”

    [26] [93] Drafted in late 1942, Neville used his methods to obtain an honorable discharge by early 1943, so as to perform “necessary war-related work” – metaphysical lectures in Greenwich Village – as well as automatic American citizenship. Horowitz has done considerable legwork to verify such stories.

    [27] [94]Lord Kek Commands: A Look at the Origins of Meme Magic [29],” now reprinted in Magick for Housewives, op. cit.; see also Trump: The Art of the Meme, op. cit.

    [28] [95] For an equally recent book-length treatment, see Dean Radin’s Real Magic: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science, and a Guide to the Secret Power of the Universe (New York: Harmony, 2018); Radin figures in a couple of Horowitz’s anecdotes.

    [29] [96] “The bird attained whatever grace its shape possesses not as a result of the mere desire for flight, but because it had to fly in air, against gravitation.” T. E. Hulme, quoted by Colin Wilson in The Age of Defeat (1959; London: Aristea Press, 2018). Though no friend of what he calls “magical thinking,” the ZMan makes a similar point [97] when he attributes the fanaticism of the Left to the loss of the “leash” or “governor” of Christianity, which put limits on the zeal with which one could pursue heavenly perfection.

    [30] [98] As Jesus says, in one of Neville’s favorite quotes, “I and the Father are one; yet the Father is greater than me.” Kathleen Raine says that for Blake (Neville’s favorite source outside the Bible), “All spaces and places are in reality created by the one universal imagination which in every individual being varies the ratio at will.” Kathleen Raine, Blake and the New Age (New York: Routledge, 2011), p. 172.

    [31] [99] Despite the medical evidence of efficacy of what Horowitz calls “hopeful expectancy,” he calls this a “complement” to recognized medical treatment; if a belief deters you from seeking treatment, it is not a hope, but “a delusion.” He also firmly condemns New Thought theorists and practitioners who, when their methods fail, try to save their theories by “blaming the victim” for lack of faith.

    [32] [100] “How can the leading critic of positive-mind mechanics evidently not have read . . . the very philosopher who made the movement possible to begin with? If a freshman quoted Emerson from secondary sources in a term paper I’d have questions for that student.”

    [33] [101] Ehrenreich’s elitist disdain is of a piece with Obama’s “bitter clingers to God and guns,” Hillary’s disparagement of half the electorate as “a basket of deplorables,” the general media attitude to positive-thinking Trump, and indeed just about any media treatment of the Dissident Right. “Progressive politics is now [1995!] too often merely empty rhetoric, divorced from the everyday life of the people for whom liberals claim to speak.” Camille Paglia, “Language and the Left,” The Advocate, March 7, 1995; reprinted in Provocations, op. cit.

    [34] [102]Lord Kek Commands: A Look at the Origins of Meme Magic [29].”

    [35] [103] Spencer J. Quinn, “Tucker Carlson’s Ship of Fools [40].”

    [36] [104] In Herman Wouk’s The Caine Mutiny (New York: Dell, 1951), Lieutenant Keefer calls Captain Queeg “a Freudian playground,” mentioning his manner of conversing “in second phrases and slogans: ‘I kid you not’.”

    [37] [105] Op. cit., pp. 157-158. Jason Jorjani gives a similar analysis of eighteenth-century materialism, arguing that De Sade can be understood as articulating the logical result of the “claustrophobia of the Cartesian ego” trapped in a mechanical universe; see his Prometheus and Atlas (London: Arktos Media, 2016), Introduction, loc. 189-196 (quote at loc. 2201).

    [38] [106] “Who the hell is in charge? A bunch of accountants trying to make a dollar into a dollar ten? I want to work. I want to build something of my own. How do you not understand that? You did it yourself forty years ago.” Don Draper to Bert Cooper, Mad Men S03E13, “Shut the Door, Have a Seat.”

    [39] [107] “This chap is called Feynman, Richard Feynman, Professor Feynman at Cal. Tech. He is considered one of the world’s greatest physicists. . . . He wrote a paper which came out in 1949. It was printed in what is known as The Science Newsletter and he was describing the behavior of a little particle which is produced by atomic disintegration. It is named today by our scientists as the positron. He wrote of the positron that ‘it starts from where it hasn’t been and speeds to where it was but an instant ago; arriving there it is bounced so hard its time sense is reversed, and it returns to where it hasn’t been.’” Neville, “On the Law [108],” February 19, 1965.

    [40] [109] “[There] is an interesting and enigmatic account in the last chapter of the third volume [of Magic, still untranslated] entitled ‘”La Grande Orma”: la scena e le quinte’ (The ‘Great Trail’: The Stage and the Wings), signed by a mysterious ‘Ekatlos.’ In it the author strives to point out the traces of a long-perpetuated, ancient initiatic chain in the very bosom of the land around Rome, and its attempt, however futile, to exert a rectifying influence within the sphere of the Fas­cist movement during the first years in which it took power. In regard to this, Evola himself wrote that the aim of the ‘chain’ of the UR Group, aside from ‘awakening a higher force that might serve to help the singular work of every individual,’ was also to act ‘on the type of psychic body that begged for creation, and by evocation to connect it with a genuine influence from above,’ so that ‘one may perhaps have the possi­bility of working behind the scenes in order to ultimately exert an effect on the prevailing forces in the general environment.’ Although this attempt did not meet with its hoped-for success . . .” Introduction to Magic, op. cit., Preface by Retano Del Ponte. For a critique by The Archdruid, and my response, see “Battle of the Magicians: Baron Evola between the Dancer & the Druid [110],” reprinted in Magick for Housewives, op. cit.

    [41] [111] Jorjani, op. cit.

    [42] [112] “You must generate – first by imagining and then by realizing it – a superior principle confronting everything you usually are (e.g., an instinctive life, thoughts, feelings) [This is the bondage of experiences]. This principle must be able to control, contemplate, and measure what you are, in a clear knowledge, moment by moment. There will be two of you: yourself standing before ‘the other.’ All in all, the work consists of a ‘reversal’: you have to turn the ‘other’ into ‘me’ and the ‘me’ into ‘the other.’

    “Then, in contrast to the mystical, or Christian, path, where the Other remains Other, and the Self remains in the feminine position of need and desire . . . In the magical, dry, or solar way, you will create a duality in your being not in an unconscious and passive manner (as the mystic does), but consciously and willingly; you will shift directly on the higher part and identify yourself with that superior and subsistent principle, whereas the mystic tends to identify with his lower part, in a relationship of need and of abandonment.

    “Slowly but gradually, you will strengthen this ‘other’ (which is yourself) and create for it a supremacy, until it knows how to dominate all the powers of the natural part and master them totally. Then, the entire being, ready and compliant, reaffirms itself, digests and lets itself be digested, leaving nothing behind.” Julius Evola, Introduction to Magic, op. cit., pp. 88-91. The process of lovingly “cultivating” the Other as part of the process of initiation is referenced in The Silence of the Lambs, by the aforementioned Buffalo Bill. I consider this process of imaginal magic in the context of two Hollywood films in my essay “Of Costner, Corpses, and Conception: Mother’s Day Meditations on The Untouchables and The Big Chill,” here [113] and reprinted in my collection The Homo and the Negro [114] (San Francisco: Counter-Currents Publishing, 2012; 2nd, Embiggened Edition, 2017).

    [43] [115] One “expert” interviewed for Rhonda Byrne’s Oprah-approved video The Secret [116] says that one day, checks just started arriving in the mail, golly gee!

    [44] [117] Kathleen Raine, op. cit., p. 156.

    [45] [118] Lynch also says: “Dear Twitter Friends, Please check out my interview with Mitch Horowitz on @RadioInterfaith [119].” Or take a look at the transcript here [120]. We learn that “every morning since 1973, he has gotten up. . . closed his eyes . . . slowed down his breathing . . . and ‘gone fishing’ in the ocean he calls the ‘unified field,’ using Transcendental Meditation.”

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    (Review Source)
  • Why I Live in the Past
    (”Dark Shadows” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]2,110 words

    I don’t like the present very much. So I live in the past.

    Just about everything about this day and age depresses and angers me. The ignorance, the lies, the vulgarity, the hypocrisy, the bad manners. The witless movies aimed at those with IQs of 85 and under. “Diversity.” Feminism. Having to press “1” to hear the menu in English. Having to hear a menu at all. TSA (the last time I flew they removed the cheese from my backpack and X-rayed it separately). The relentless focus on money and “practicality.” The inescapable ugliness of this concrete, advertisement bedecked wasteland (which most ordinary people don’t even notice anymore). The brass, shrill, F-word besprinkled speech of today’s slatternly young women. The use of “disrespect” as a verb. And I could go on.

    One way I deal with all of this is by means of a kind of dark, detached, withering humor – which I direct at things from my throne high atop Mount Olympus. When I get together with like-minded friends we spend most of our time observing others and rubbishing them. The other way I deal with the rot of the day is by entering into the past. For me, the past is like another world I can escape to. There are many doorways back into the past. Reading history is one of them, of course.

    Another – perhaps my favorite way – is old movies. I like watching films from the ’40s, ’50s, and even the ’60s — just because everyone dresses so much better in those films than they do today. (This is a large part of the secret to the success of Mad Men.) Everything I know about how to dress I learned from watching Hitchcock films (and James Bond). I like corny old movies, and I like them on principle. This is because I feel that the ability to enjoy them and be moved by them is a mark of purity and simple virtue. That most of us are unable to watch such films today without laughing is a mark of our corruption. Yes, I even watch silent films. To me they are to the cinema what Greek drama is to theater.

    People seem more real in old movies. Men are men and women are women. They have real emotions and let them out, without having to go through an ideological screening process. They seem closer to nature – even when they are shown living in urban environments. I get the same feeling when I look at very old photographs – such as the family photos we still have from the 19th century. As everybody always notices in these old pictures, the people aren’t smiling. They have a harder, tougher quality. But what always fascinates me is the eyes. They have a faraway look, like every single one of them is a bit touched (as they say in the South). You feel like you can see history on those eyes. And a connection to something that we’ve lost. It’s like they were all hooked up to the great pitiless, primal life-generator, whereas we are mere bloodless simulacra.

    I like films from the past and films about the past – especially the distant past. Films set in the ’40s or ’50s do display a nice contrast to today, and make me feel wistful. But if you’re clever you can perceive the rot beginning to set in, even back then. You can recognize the patterns of decay; the things that just kept on getting worse until we got saddled with today. (And, of course, these things will keep on getting worse.) Which is why I love films that take me back a few centuries – so long as there’s some credibility to them. And so long as they don’t fall into the “When things were rotten” mold. Reading a history of Rome is a way to enter into the past. But a film like Quo Vadis?, for all its flaws, makes that past come alive.

    I also like films that are preoccupied with the past. A good example would be the very appropriately-named Out of the Past (1947) with Robert Mitchum. This is one of my favorite films, and it is the best film noir of them all.

    But let’s not forget television shows. A few months ago I reviewed [2] the misguided Tim Burton Dark Shadows film, and it became an excuse for me to reminisce about the original TV series. And my own review then prompted me to start watching Dark Shadows on Netflix – and getting hooked on it all over again. Dark Shadows starts off as the story of Victoria Winters, a young woman who grew up in an orphanage with no knowledge of her parents at all. She goes to work as governess for the aristocratic Collins family in Maine, a clan with a rich past. A woman without a past goes to work for a family that things about almost nothing other than the past.

    Inevitably, Victoria becomes obsessed by the Collins family history and fantasizes about being one of them. Late in the show’s first year the main character then becomes a figure literally of the past: Barnabas Collins, a 200-year-old vampire obsessed with his own past and with reliving his great romance with long-dead Josette. At a certain point, Victoria is transported back in time to the 1790s, where the ancestors of the present-day Collins family are played by the same set of actors. (This storyline lasted for many weeks, and these are considered Dark Shadows’ “classic” episodes.)

    This series was very accurately described as a “Gothic romance,” and preoccupation with the past – old mansions and abbeys, family curses, hauntings, etc. – is a staple of Gothic fiction. Why? And why is Gothic fiction “Gothic”? What is it about the northern European soul that causes it to be so moved by dark and stormy nights, secret passages, and old family secrets? Other peoples value the past, and preserve tradition, but somehow with us it’s different. The past is an uncanny thing for us. It really is like a different world, that sometimes has the capacity to cross over into this one.

    In a sense, the past is more real than the present. It is more real because it is complete. My life is ongoing. I have no idea where it will lead, or what it will be defined by. In this sense, it is indefinite. A single act, a single spoken or written sentence can define an entire life and give it meaning. Think of any historical figure. Always in their story there is some major deed or event that defines the whole life. Reading their story – knowing where their life is headed – we understand everything before the event as leading up to it, as preparing the way. If the historical figure survives this event, we understand everything after it as its result – or as anticlimax.

    Historical lives are therefore like works of fiction. We only recognize that there’s a plot once the life is over. Then we see it in terms of acts and story arcs. Fictional characters are “larger than life.” They seem more real to us. Sherlock Holmes is far more real to me than my UPS man, and I know far more about him. But the same is true of historical figures. (I’m almost tempted to ask, given how fascinating the past is, who needs fiction when we have history?)  Our lives, as we are living them, are like stories that keep going and going, making us wonder if there really is a point to it all. What’s the plot? Or is there a plot at all? This is the same thing as wondering if there’s any meaning or purpose to our lives.

    But it is only once a life is over that we can truly know what its meaning and purpose was. Every completed life is like a completed story, and, like fiction, has much to teach us. This is true even of seemingly insignificant lives. The lives of great men are like classic, sprawling novels (or epic poems). The lives of little men are like short stories (or, in the case of very little men, limericks).

    This perspective has taught me a great deal about how life should be led. Essentially, you really have to choose whether you want to be the author of your own story – your own life – or let circumstances (or fate) do the authoring for you. I have learned to adopt the perspective of a third party looking over my life and assessing it, discerning the patterns in it, seeing where it seems to be headed. I have learned that I must keep squarely in mind that every choice, every action on my part is irrevocable. All form part of my past – instantly, as soon as the choice is made or the action undertaken. All form part of the story that is my life. At every step, I must ask of my decisions and my actions whether I want this to be part of that story. I am, in a sense, actively seeking to create the past – at least where I am concerned.

    Certainly, part of my concern is with what will be said about me after I am gone – with how I will be remembered. This will be dismissed as narcissism. However, as my readers know I owned (and defended) the narcissist label [3] some time ago. In fact, I don’t think that my concern with my pastness is any different from that of my barbarian ancestors, who lived lives they hoped might be set down in sagas and sung about. Perhaps it is this that sets us apart from other people, where history and the past is concerned. We are the people who do not just remember the past, but seek to create a past for ourselves.

    Or, at least, that’s how we used to be. But Americans and (increasingly) Europeans are shockingly ignorant of history. It is to the future that we moderns now consistently orient ourselves. But the future is indefinite. It offers us no guidance. Only the past is definite; only in the past do we find lessons (really, myths) to live by. The result for our people today is that they are as indefinite as their future: devoid of a center, wishy-washy, changeable, malleable.

    Fundamentally, the conflict between Left and Right is the conflict between the future focus and the past focus. Conservatives (real conservatives) are not seeking to go back, which is impossible. They are seeking to go forward, looking to the past for guidance. Finding in the past some evidence for unchangeable human truths. But the Left (and the phony “neo-cons”) go forward blindly, sure in the belief that the past has nothing to reveal because there are no unchangeable human truths.

    As a movement, the New Right seeks to move forward by looking to the past and learning from it. This is the essence of what some of us call Traditionalism. But some of us are haunted by the thought that our efforts are in vain; that the forces arrayed against us are too strong. Perhaps all the reading, writing, activism, poverty, and self-denial are for naught.

    To such people, I recommend living in the past as I do. And I ask them to imagine that, after death, they could look upon their completed life and take in the whole story. Or to imagine that their life belongs to another, whose biography they happen to be perusing. At a certain point in the story, the life of the New Rightist comes to a crucial juncture: to give in to the doubts and give up; to “get a real job,” and join the mainstream. Or to continue the fight and have faith – even if, in fact, it leads to naught. Which is the story that is more admirable? Which sort of man would you be more proud to be? Which is the sort of man that makes history? Only one answer is possible here. The detached focus one needs to see one’s life this way is difficult to maintain. Still more difficult, however, is to exercise the will and compel yourself to take those actions that you know will make your life the proud story of a great man.

    To save the future, we must look to the past – and act. In doing so, we create a glorious past for ourselves. A past that will, I promise you, be the stuff of new sagas. Think about this, when the doubt begins to nag.

     

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    (Review Source)
  • Counter-Currents/North American New Right Newsletter: May 2012
    (”Dark Shadows” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]1,042 words

    Dear Friends of Counter-Currents,

    On June 11, Counter-Currents will celebrate our second anniversary of going online. We are also launching a major fundraising drive this month.

    May was another lively month for Counter-Currents. Thank you for making that possible.

    1. Our Readership and Web Traffic

    If you visited our website in May, you were just one of 56,323 unique visitors. These visitors paid us 111,533 visits, our highest number ever. The pages you viewed were among the 400,243 pages viewed in last month.

     

    Month Unique Visitors Number of Visits Pages Viewed “Hits” Bandwidth
    June 2010 6,145 10,328 70,732 200,824 6.08 GB
    July 2010 9,387 17,329 119,254 348,172 10.01 GB
    August 2010 12,174 22,348 93,379 333,614 10.17 GB
    September 2010 17,063 34,510 147,051 580,550 16.39 GB
    October 2010 17,848 35,921 140,365 611,367 17.93 GB
    November 2010 26,054 48,336 171,833 915,553 26.39 GB
    December 2010 26,161 50,975 192,905 1,101,829 27.79 GB
    January 2011 28,583 60,005 198,249 1,736,067 34.06 GB
    February 2011 29,737 61,519 213,121 2,081,558 40.13 GB
    March 2011 29,768 62,077 220,053 2,485,001 52.21 GB
    April 2011 20,091 58,037 223,291 2,729,449 54.65 GB
    May 2011 36,596 78,103 274,841 1,334,472 47.59 GB
    June 2011 28,629 57,920 264,928 1,004,128 22.78 GB
    July 2011 30,186 66,093 416,309 1,952,047 71.23 GB
    August 2011 40,002 81,012 502,282 2,083,593 53.18 GB
    September 2011 45,427 88,782 422,902 481,909 11.67 GB
    October 2011 45,590 90,444 337,137 468,197 17.78 GB
    November 2011 44,445 88,824 330,664 339,521 14.22 GB
    December 2011 49,845 97,223 337,881 344,210 13.65 GB
    January 2012 56,633 107,644 408,373 433,736 21.38 GB
    February 2012 53,345 99,607 376,288 411,915 14.43 GB
    March 2012 55,572 106,029 441,170 475,719 16.36 GB
    April 2012 56,772 110,029 421,446 428,678 16.08 GB
    May 2012 56,323 111,533 400,243 404,483 15.70 GB

     

    As you can see, our traffic has remained pretty much plateaued since January. This has been our pattern: growth spurts, followed by a few months plateaued.

    2. Our Blog

    In May, we added 78 posts to the website, for a total of 1,752 posts since going online on June 11, 2010. We also added over 1,000 new comments.

    3. May’s Top Twenty Articles (with date of publication and number of reads)

    Our number one essay, Daniel Michaels on Stalin’s plan to conquer Europe, has been a perennial favorite since we first published it in April of 2011. Two other perennial favorites, Irmin Vinson on Hitler and Gregory Hood on Scarface, were in our top 10 yet again.

    Gregory Hood and Jef Costello each had three top 20 pieces, Jack Donovan and Greg Johnson each had two.

    Alex Stark’s first CC article made the top ten. It is the first, we hope, of many.

    Eight of our top 20 articles are about movies and television: Gregory Hood on Scarface, The Avengers, and The Last Samurai, Jef Costello on Dark Shadows, Fight Club, and Breaking Bad, Trevor Lynch on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (which has been in the top ten for 6 months now), and John Morgan on God Bless America. Since Hollywood and the television industry are the primary media of anti-white propaganda, racially conscious analyses of movies and TV are highly effective at drawing traffic and combating enemy propaganda. (See Trevor Lynch, “Why I Write [22].”)

    Two of our top ten articles were on comics and graphic novels: Christopher Pankhurst on “Civil War and The Big Lie” and Ted Sallis on “Marvel Comics, Ethnicity, and Race” (in German translation).

    4. Where Our Readers Are: The top 20 Countries

    Our web statistics program gives us a country-by-country breakdown of our readership. Here are the top 20 countries:

    1. United States
    2. Great Britain
    3. Canada
    4. Germany
    5. Sweden
    6. Australia
    7. China
    8. The Netherlands
    9. France
    10. Portugal
    11. Finland
    12. Japan
    13. Brazil
    14. Norway
    15. Spain
    16. Italy
    17. Poland
    18. Switzerland
    19. Russian Federation
    20. India

    5. Where Our Readers Are: The Top 20 Cities

    1. London
    2. New York City
    3. San Francisco
    4. Sydney
    5. Melbourne
    6. Stockholm
    7. Chicago
    8. Houston
    9. Lisbon
    10. Toronto
    11. Los Angeles
    12. Dublin
    13. Berlin
    14. Philadelphia
    15. Seattle
    16. Washington, D.C.
    17. Mexico City
    18. Vancouver, B.C.
    19. Montreal
    20. Athens

    Eight of our top 20 cities are in the United States. Four are on the West Coast of North America: San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Vancouver, B.C.. Three are in Canada: Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Two are in Australia: Melbourne and Sydney. Eight of them are national capitals: Washington, D.C., London, Berlin, Stockholm, Lisbon, Mexico City, Athens, and Dublin.

    6. Upcoming Book Projects

    These are the titles that are at one stage or another in the editorial process. Beyond the first three titles, these are in only the roughest chronological order.

    11. Savitri Devi, Forever & Ever (June)
    12. Greg Johnson, ed., North American New Right, vol. 1 (June)

    Forever and Ever and North American New Right have been delayed from May 30 to June 20 publication dates, NANR because of problems with the proofs, Forever and Ever because of issues with the cover/dust jacket.

    13. Kerry Bolton, Artists of the Right: Resisting Decadence, ed. Greg Johnson (June)
    14. Trevor Lynch, Trevor Lynch’s White Nationalist Guide to the Movies (June)
    15. Juleigh Howard-Hobson, “I do not belong to the Baader-Meinhof group” and Other Poems (June)
    16. James J. O’Meara, The Homo and the Negro: Masculinist Meditations on Literature, Politics, and Popular Culture (June or July)
    17. William Joyce, Twilight Over England, with an Introduction by Greg Johnson
    18. Francis Parker Yockey, The World in Flames and Other Essays, ed. Kerry Bolton
    19. Saint-Loup, Hitler or Juda? A Second Nuremberg Tribunal
    20. Derek Hawthorne, Above the Clouds: Arnold Fanck, Leni Riefesnstahl, and the Metaphysics of Sex (on the German mountain films)
    21. Collin Cleary, L’appel aux dieux (French translation of Summoning the Gods)

    Counter-Currents has now taken over the Savitri Devi Archive’s Centennial Edition of Savitri Devi’s Works. The next volumes will be a new edition of And Time Rolls On, followed by The Lightning in the Sun. Other longer term projects include Anthony M. Ludovici’s Confessions of an Anti-Feminist: The Autobiography of Anthony M. Ludovici, ed. John V. Day, Julius Evola’s East and West: Essays in Comparative Philosophy, a new edition of Brooks Adams’ The Law of Civilization and Decay with an Introduction by Greg Johnson, and a collection of Alain de Benoist’s essays on Ernst Jünger.

    * * *

    Once again, I want to thank our writers, donors, and proofreaders; our webmaster/Managing Editor; and above all, you, our readers for being part of a growing intellectual and spiritual community.

    Greg Johnson
    Editor-in-Chief
    Counter-Currents Publishing Ltd.
    & North American New Right

     

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • A Greater Gift than Fight Club? Chuck Palahniuk’s Adjustment Day
    (”Dark Shadows” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]5,323 words

    Chuck Palahniuk
    Adjustment Day: A Novel
    New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2018

    The characters and plot of Chuck Palahniuk’s new novel Adjustment Day are thoroughly grounded in the politics of the New Right.

    Here you will find withering parodies of feminism, “diversity,” and political correctness, savage criticisms of liberal journalism, nods to Asatru and Jack Donovan and “men going their own way,” uproarious sendups of Afrocentrism and fussy gay totalitarianism, and even an argument for the white ethnostate. As we will see, however, Palahniuk’s own perspective on all this is hard to pin down.

    Research for Adjustment Day seems to have involved Palahniuk logging countless hours reading hate online. And one does not just have to infer this from the text. In an interview with Joe Rogan, Palahniuk sheepishly admits [2] that he regularly reads The Daily Stormer. (And since Palahniuk is obviously a smart guy, he must read this Website as well.) He admits elsewhere to reading Jim Goad and Jack Donovan. All of these admissions are made, of course, with the usual caveats: “shocking,” “horrifying,” “transgressive,” and so on. Adjustment Day features a character named “Gavyn Baker McInnes,” and there are references to Lester Maddox, Lothrop Stoddard, Paula Deen, and Richard Spencer. This is pretty damned significant for a bestselling author – but, again, it doesn’t mean that Palahniuk has embraced the Right.

    Regardless of his perspective, the Left today recognizes that even discussing the ideas of the New Right at all is dangerous. This is because our ideas are so reasonable and so attractive. Thus, the reviews of Adjustment Day – so far – have been curiously free of politically correct shaming and finger-wagging. It is as if journalists don’t want to alert readers to the political content of the novel, aware that many of them will make a beeline for anything that gets denounced as un-PC. They are dimly aware that the tide is turning – that they are sitting on a powder keg. And so they’d rather not spark a debate about Adjustment Day; they’d rather it simply sank without a trace. “Acres of boredom and dull prose,” says The Guardian. “Stumbles in its delivery . . . a thin story,” says Publishers Weekly.

    The truth is that Adjustment Day is Chuck Palahniuk’s finest novel since Fight Club. The prose, far from being “dull,” sparkles with wit and vividness. Like his other work, Adjustment Day is by turns brilliantly imaginative and self-indulgently quirky and “transgressive.” The novel features a multitude of characters and subplots. Palahniuk repeatedly shifts between these, telling their stories in segments, in short vignettes that sometimes occupy less than a page. The novel also shifts back and forth through time. Some of these vignettes are brilliant and often extremely funny, but the scattered narrative structure is sometimes confusing. When Adjustment Day is good, however, it’s really good. This is, by my count, Palahniuk’s twentieth novel, and it shows: here is a writer at his peak. Purely as a piece of literature, it is a better novel than Fight Club.

    It is also, in a real sense, the “sequel” to Fight Club that fans of that book have been awaiting for more than two decades. To be sure, Palahniuk did produce an official sequel, a graphic novel titled Fight Club 2. But Adjustment Day is, in significant ways, the real follow-up – and Palahniuk has acknowledged this. In an interview [3] he states:

    This book, Adjustment Day, is to Fight Club what Atlas Shrugged is to The Fountainhead. The earlier book demonstrates the growth and empowerment of an individual. The latter book depicts what happens when a passel of those like-minded individuals join forces.

    Now, to expand upon the parallel a bit, Rand’s The Fountainhead presents an ethics, a portrait of an ideal man and the various imperfect and sometimes downright defective people who react to him. Atlas Shrugged represents the political expression of the ethos of The Fountainhead. Thus, it would seem that Adjustment Day is the ethos of Tyler Durden writ large: Project Mayhem blossomed into full-scale revolution. Indeed, in one highly amusing passage, the Tyler Durdenesque sage Talbott Reynolds explains to his young protégé that “Adjustment Day [an actual event depicted in the novel, as we shall see] was about men joining forces.”

    Walter had looked up from his typing. “So this is like Fight Club?”

    His new old man had shaken his head. He’d asked “Are you referring to the novel?”

    “What novel?” had asked Walter.

    This is a funny and self-effacing nod by Palahniuk to the fact that the film of Fight Club has eclipsed the book in the public imagination. The passage continues:

    “Hardly.” He’d said, “Fight Club was about empowering each man through a series of exercises. . . . Fight Club taught each man that he had capacity beyond his greatest concept of himself. Then, it set each man free to fulfill his destiny: to build a house, to write a book, to paint a self-portrait.”

    Walter could recall that much from the film. . . .

    Adjustment Day, Talbott had explained, was to be a model for how men could form an army in order to attain permanent high status. . . . “What men want,” he’d said, “is a structure for communion.” (p. 157)

    So, who is Talbot Reynolds? A man who dictates a book called Adjustment Day, which offers a blueprint for revolution. Palahniuk describes the book as blue-black, with the author’s name and the title embossed in gold lettering. (If one removes the dust jacket from Palahniuk’s book one will find exactly this, with “Talbott Reynolds” in place of “Chuck Palahniuk.”) Across the US, the book finds its way into the hands of countless disaffected young men – the same men Tyler Durden described as “the middle children of history,” and, significantly, as “the quiet young men who listen until it’s time to decide.” Talbott also has a Website created known simply as “The List.” On it ,you can post the name of any person you think humanity would be better off without. If no one else votes for that name, it disappears from the site in a few days. But if a name gets enough votes, that man or woman’s days are numbered. Of course, no one except Talbott’s minions is aware of this – everyone else thinks The List is a sick joke. But when Adjustment Day comes, no one is laughing. On Adjustment Day, Talbott’s men go into action, eliminating the undesirables.

    The targets are primarily politicians, academics, and journalists. This gives Palahniuk an opportunity to engage in some vicious satire directed at those three groups. In one of the novel’s most memorable scenes, a corrupt Senator jogs past an enormous ditch dug in front of the Capitol, not realizing that it is intended as a mass grave for the ruling elite. Sure enough, a day later ,Talbott’s followers open fire on Congress, killing everyone except for the few needed to drag the bodies into the ditch and cover them with quicklime.

    Journalists are mass-murdered as well. Journalists who had “convinced themselves that no absolute truths existed. This new untruth they propagated as the new truth. . . . Their goal now was to shape people’s minds and warp information to that purpose” (p. 89). Talbott demands that as proof of a kill, each victim’s left ear must be sliced off and retained. And so the ears of the dead journalists are taken: “Ears smeared with pink makeup and powdered with talc. Ears with tiny transmitters still plugged into them” (p. 104).

    But it is Palahniuk’s parodies of academics that are the most delicious. There is the odious Dr. Brolly, with his pigtail and his “This is What a Feminist Looks Like” T-shirt – assassinated in his office while rereading Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. Then there is Dr. Ramantha Steiger-DeSoto (why do feminists always have names like this?), who tells one student that it is his duty “as a pan-gendered individual” to volunteer for the coming war in the Middle East (something that is prevented by massacring the politicians on Adjustment Day; p. 84). In another scene, Dr. Steiger-DeSoto mourns a grad student who was killed “only days shy of completing his doctoral thesis on gender fluidity . . . just because he made some undergrads read bell hooks!” (p. 196). Palahniuk tells us that the Humanities majors “demanded vengeance.” “Generations had been taught the worst brands of social engineering; they’d been drilled and tested until these institutional lies had replaced any rational thinking of their own” (p. 46). And: “By far the most hate went to teachers and professors who’d been exposed for teaching students what to think in place of how to think” (p. 78).

    The result of Adjustment Day is that the nation’s ruling elite is completely eradicated and replaced by a new aristocracy: the men of the revolution, the men who pulled the triggers. However, the United States as such ceases to exist, for part of Talbott’s plan is the creation of separate, autonomous ethnostates (!). Talbott declares:

    Each group must inhabit a homeland where it constitutes the norm. Otherwise either self-destroying self-hatred or other-attacking self-aggrandizing occurs. Drinking, drugs, and toxic sexual behaviors arise when cultures are compelled to share public space. No culture should be held to the expectations and subjected to the withering gaze of another. (p. 87)

    Now, admittedly I am quite biased, but this is such a reasonable statement I am strongly inclined to think that Palahniuk believes it. Especially given that he repeats it word for word on page 147. But there’s more from Talbott:

    It’s living among heterosexuals that makes the homosexual feel abnormal. Only among whites do blacks feel inadequate. And only among homosexuals and blacks do whites feel threatened and guilty. No group should be blighted by the intellectual expectations and the moral yardstick of another. (p. 90)

    And:

    Just as the genders are separated in most athletic competitions so should the cultures be removed each from the others so that one culture might not always dominate. (p. 147)

    And one more (I simply can’t resist):

    Cultures developed over millennia in relative isolation, in climates and conditions that prompted each to create its own imagery and rituals, all of these are being displaced by the global standard. To preserve the integrity of each, the cultures must be allotted living space away from the influence of other cultures. (p. 149)

    This all sounds good. Where do I sign on? Where do I find this Talbott guy? But again, a question looms: is Palahniuk signed on? Perhaps we will find some clue in his portrayal of the different ethnostates established after Adjustment Day.

    Three groups are not allowed a homeland in North America: Asians are shipped back to Asia, Latinos self-deport to south of the border, and Jews are whisked off to Israel in jets (no kidding). Just three ethnostates are established: Blacktopia (in the southeast), Gaysia (California), and Caucasia (the rest of the former US). (No, I’m still not kidding – and why “Gaysia” is an “ethnostate” is a topic to which I’ll return.) Interracial couples are forced to break up, emigrate to Canada, or hide in Gaysia, passing themselves off as gay. Reviewers have expressed dissatisfaction with the second half of the novel, which is largely devoted to the goings-on in the three states. But much of it is brilliant satire.

    Palahniuk’s portrayal of Blacktopia is the most absurdly funny and over-the-top part of the novel. At one point, he describes Blacktopia as a kind of “Martin Luther Kingdom.” The main black character of the novel, Jamal (one of the trigger men of Adjustment Day), leaves for Blacktopia with the words ,“It’s been an interesting experiment, but it’s over” (meaning, white people and black people living together; p. 138). What he finds in Blacktopia is a futuristic paradise, a veritable Eden that practically springs up overnight due to brilliant, industrious blacks with (literally) magical powers.

    You see, it was never the case that blacks were “lazy,” they had just been “on a labor strike since 1600” (p. 189). The shuffling, incoherent mumbling and baggy pants had all been an elaborate disguise designed to keep the white man from “discovering the immense wisdom and power blacks had long concealed. Whites had imbued the fictional character of the so-called magic negro with psychic talents and spiritual abilities that hinted at the immense gifts blacks actually held in check” (pp. 200-201). These include the ability to levitate objects. Using this power, Blacktopia launches its own space program, levitating gigantic pyramids to the moon. Thus proving that the Egypytians (who were black, after all, just as Afrocentrists promised us) had used the pyramids as spacecraft, a possibility never glimpsed by white dullards.

    Using the power of “Muse-O-Metrix,” blacks harness their innate talent for vocal harmony to literally corporealize the gigantic buildings that dot the Blacktopian landscape. Finally freed from white expectations, blacks even invent an inexhaustible food source which they use, among other things, to feed and pacify the great beasts they transplant from Africa. “Fully satiated on immortal meat,” Palahniuk writes, “the lions did in fact lie down with the lambs. Black technology had created Heaven on Earth” (p. 253).

    Now, if you read this strange and wonderful book, you will see, if it isn’t already obvious, that this is no case of advanced liberal delusion. Mr. Palahniuk’s tongue is wedged firmly in cheek. One dull-witted reviewer (for The Guardian) has described Blacktopia as bearing “an uncomfortably close resemblance” to “Wakanda” in the film Black Panther. Of course, this completely misses that part of what Palahniuk is doing is parodying Wakanda. It is entirely possible, in fact, that the reviewer doesn’t get the humor in Palahniuk’s description of Blacktopia at all.

    What Palahniuk is really doing, of course, is parodying white liberal delusions about infinite black possibilities, as well as black Afrocentrist “we wuz kangz” fantasies. Blacktopia is so funny because it is ridiculous to imagine blacks doing any of these things. Needless to say, most of what Palahniuk describes would be impossible for any race to achieve, but to cast blacks as the achievers is so deliciously funny it’s almost cruel. But what could the critics say in response? If they revealed that they suspect Palahniuk is being absurd, it would signal that they may harbor a dangerously realistic assessment of black potentialities. “Oh, do you really think it’s absurd that blacks could do these things?”

    It is Palahniuk’s account of Jamal’s time in Blacktopia that actually gives us one of the more touching subplots of the novel – one that is also extremely funny. The creation of the three ethnostates, of course, involves the relocation of millions of people. Those forced to relocate to their assigned ethnostate are compensated by being given property equivalent to what they are relinquishing. Whites living in Blacktopia must relocate to Caucasia. But Miss Josephine is one old Southern belle who will have none of it. She refuses to leave her old manse, which has been in the family for generations, so she hides in the attic. Her loyal, and long-suffering, black servants keep her secret and bring her food each day.

    Then, Jamal shows up. He has been given Miss Josephine’s property. Jamal inquires about the door leading to the attic, only to be told that the key is lost and that nothing is up there, anyway. At night, however, he hears movement and a toilet flushing from far up in the house. Eventually, Miss Josephine tires of hiding, and so, with the help of her loyal maid Arabella, she gives herself a frizzy perm, puts on blackface, and shows up as an old black man named “Barnabas.” (One wonders if this is some kind of perverse nod to Dark Shadows.) She is, of course, an absurd spectacle, and struts about, reeking of cocoa butter, doing an exaggerated Stepin Fetchit routine, uttering lines like “Lawdy . . . dat Mizz Josafeen nevah permissioned may tah enter no pah-lor!” (p. 213). Jamal and “the Barnabas creature” (as Palahniuk consistently refers to him/her) form an unusual, affecting bond – even though he almost immediately perceives that Barnabas must be the missing Miss Josephine in disguise. When Josephine attempts suicide by setting the house on fire, it is Jamal who saves her. One hopes this is not offered by Palahniuk as some sort of critique of the idea of racial separation. Needless to say, the races can show compassion for each other, but that doesn’t mean they belong together.

    Caucasia is another matter entirely. Palahniuk has a number of perceptive things to say about whites throughout the novel. For instance:

    It’s only the white man who clings to his guilt. Guilt for Adam’s fall. Guilt for Christ’s sacrifice and for black African slavery. It was clear to Jamal that for whites their guilt constituted a uniquely white form of boasting. Their breast beating was a humblebrag always saying: We did this! We thwarted God in the Garden! We killed his son! We white people will do with other races and natural resources as we see fit! Showing off disguised as mea culpa. For the white man, his guilt was his biggest badge of accomplishment. Only whites killed the planet with global warming so only whites could save it. Their boasting never let up. (p. 140)

    It is quite true, as a number of authors on the Right have observed, that underneath white guilt is a fundamental conviction of white omnipotence. And Palahniuk comes close to getting that underneath white guilt is also white supremacism: It’s entirely our fault that blacks are the way they are (since apparently only we have agency), but if we just atone for our racism and give them a helping hand (or two or three or four), they’ll overcome their lowly state and become just like us – visiting national forests, going to the opera, donating organs, watching TED talks, attending PTA meetings, and raising their own children. One of the great ironies of the current political wars is that it is really liberals who are white supremacists, implicitly holding other races to the standard of whiteness. Meanwhile, it is White Nationalists who actually respect diversity, not expecting one race to behave like another, and arguing for the one thing that would preserve racial and cultural diversity: separation. If Talbott Reynolds speaks for Chuck Palahniuk at all, it is pretty easy to see where his sympathies lie in this dispute.

    Caucasia, as Palahniuk envisions it, is a kind of demented Renaissance Fair ruled by LARPing lords who have declared a moratorium on progress and learning, decreeing that it’s time for the white race to focus on procreation. To that end, they keep harems of formerly “liberated” women, forced to work in the fields and to wear those hats with candles on them that are Swedish or something (“it’s the law,” one woman explains to another; p. 186). Worship of the Norse gods has been revived (naturally), and restaurants serve dishes like the “Klan Burger” and the “Eva Braun mac ’n’ cheese.” There is, of course, supposed to be a method to all this madness. One of the characters muses:

    To look at white men these days, something vital had been bred out of them. How had those men, the Vikings and the Norse, men who’d sailed their long boats up the Rhine, the Volga, the Dnieper, and Danube to burn and pillage and turn most of a continent blond and blue-eyed, how had they disappeared so completely? He suspected that for most white men, it was pride enough to not be black and queer. That was reason plenty for separate homelands. It would force men, all men, to earn a reason to feel superior. (p. 181)

    The social structure of Caucasia is intended to re-create those blond, blue-eyed berserkers, but it is silly and anti-intellectual. Frankly, I’d rather live in Blacktopia and ride around on flying carpets.

    Things are no more hospitable in Gaysia. In theory, it sounds good: “The homosexual will always be an engine of wealth production because he does not suffer the expense of raising his own children,” Talbott declares in his book. “Thus the industry of the adult homosexual may accumulate while the industry of heterosexuals is siphoned away for childrearing costs.” The homosexual may devote his time instead to “improving his skill set” (p. 130). It reads like something out of Jack Donovan’s Androphilia (with which Palahniuk is undoubtedly familiar). There is just one obvious problem with an entire society of homosexuals: it doesn’t reproduce, and is therefore destined to wither and die. To avoid this fate, Gaysia has an arrangement with Caucasia and Blacktopia: if children born there reach eighteen and decide they are gay, they may emigrate to Gayasia. There is just one catch: Gaysia must provide heterosexual children in exchange.

    The result is that Gaysia, whose government is a police state (no surprise there – probably dressed in smart, Hugo Boss uniforms), launches a mandatory reproduction drive. Men are so busy all day donating sperm they don’t have any energy left for circuit parties. And lesbians, who mostly can’t bear the idea of having that “thing growing inside them” (as Ellen DeGeneres once put it), are forced to part their legs and receive a squirt from the old turkey baster. “Thank you for your service,” they are repeatedly told. In short, Gaysia becomes the very opposite of Gaytopia. Gaysia does have its share of straight breeders – many of them (as mentioned earlier) interracial couples passing as gay. But there are terrible penalties for those who are found out. One character begs another, a secret hetero, to avoid “flaunting” his heterosexuality for fear he will be “bashed” (p. 235). Heteros have to meet clandestinely for sex, often in the video booths of seedy sex shops. Gosh. Talk about your irony. Well, at least Gaysia has ambitious plans to colonize Mars.

    Now, Caucasia and Gaysia are very obviously dystopias, while Blacktopia is a paradise – a ridiculous and impossible one. This strongly suggests that while Palahniuk might think that the idea of the ethnostate is reasonable, he may be very skeptical about how it would play out in practice. It is possible – though I hope this is wrong – that Palahniuk intends us to see that separating these groups is folly, for they need each other.

    It is certainly true that homosexuals need heterosexuals, if only to produce more homosexuals. And heterosexuals need homosexuals because so much of culture is a product of men freed from the burden of supporting wives and children. The most distinctive feature of Caucasia is its lack of culture – its crass anti-intellectualism, its ideological conformity, and its tacky clothes. To say nothing of its grindingly dull emphasis on procreation. The men of Caucasia become what black men really would be, if left entirely to their own devices: puffed up warring potentates competing to see who can accumulate the most concubines and bling. To borrow a trope from James O’Meara, once they banish the homos, white men start acting like Negroes. The very idea of separating off gays into an “ethostate” of their own makes no sense, of course, because they are not an ethnicity. Though gays posture as if they are a people and a community unto themselves, the truth is that the only thing that unites them is hedonism.

    One of the most astute points made by Jack Donovan in Androphilia is that the Left has essentially turned “gay” into a race. And in the process, it has thrown together gay men and lesbians as one “people,” despite the fact that in reality they despise each other and have virtually nothing in common. As Donovan asks, “Why should I identify more closely with a lesbian folk singer than with [straight] men my age who share my interests?” It seems unlikely that Palahniuk, who is no doubt familiar with Donovan’s argument, has fallen into the error of thinking of gays as a “people.” It is more likely that we are intended to see that the separation of people by sexuality is wrongheaded.

    The truth is that racial and ethnic identification overrides “sexual preference.” White gays have more in common with straight whites in Caucasia than they do with black gays in Gaysia. And though the presence of gays may grate on the white heterosexuals of Caucasia, the fact is that those gays are their brothers, uncles, cousins, children, and even sometimes fathers. Truly, white gays belong in Caucasia, and black gays in Blacktopia. I believe that Palahniuk’s portrait of the Gaysian dystopia may be a crafty way of undermining the chimerical notion of a “gay community,” and that he is in basic agreement with Donovan’s position.

    Turning to Palahniuk’s portrayal of Blacktopia, it hardly seems to suggest, on the surface at least, that blacks need whites. After all, in Palahniuk’s account, the blacks, once freed of the yoke of the white gaze, return to Eden – and their society, in contrast to the other two, is spectacularly successful. Of course, the real truth is that if blacks were to secede, they would create anything but “Heaven on Earth.” So perhaps this is Palahniuk’s way of arguing, through a kind of reductio ad absurdum, that blacks really do need whites and would descend into chaos and savagery without them, as they have in every post-colonial state. Of course, there may be something else going on here – something diabolical. A great way to get a divorce from blacks would be to fill their heads with all sorts of nonsense about the Wakandan glories that will arise once blacks completely emancipate themselves from us. It’s hard to imagine many blacks reading Adjustment Day and getting all the humor of Palahniuk’s portrayal of Blacktopia.

    This leaves us with the question of whether whites need blacks – and the answer to that, of course, is an obvious no. There is nothing blacks contribute to white societies that we couldn’t do without, or do ourselves. And we could certainly do without the great burden placed on our societies by black crime, urban blight, affirmative action, the dumbing down of education, and the trillions spent on public assistance. Unfortunately, Palahniuk does seem to make a kind of half-hearted attempt to argue that whites need blacks:

    It felt as if the white race had lost its way. It no longer had blacks and queers to feel superior to so a key source of its pride was gone. Whites had been like a wealthy family who performed an ongoing pageant of morality and ingenuity to impress a household of idiot and degenerate servants. In the absence of queers and blacks, Charlie and his fellow whites had lost their motivation to live superior lives. Without underlings to dazzle, the white ethno state seemed to be floundering. (p. 190)

    In an otherwise brilliant book, this is, I am sorry to say, a very dumb argument. Most of the greatest achievements of white nations were accomplished centuries before non-whites were ever admitted into our midst. The idea that we wrote the Nicomachean Ethics, landed a man on the moon, cured polio, composed Der Ring des Nibelungen, and painted the Mona Lisa all to “dazzle” our inferiors is a theory that is so silly it is unworthy of further comment. Of course, it may not be Palahniuk’s own position: it is presented as the thoughts of “Charlie.” Palahniuk also seems (just possibly) to be falling into the error of so many critics of the New Right: thinking that the white ethnostate is some kind of ideal, as yet untried, that may present all sorts of unintended bad consequences. But this somehow manages to overlook the thousands of years of recorded history in which whites lived in almost entirely homogeneous, successful white ethnostates – and, again, accomplished so very much.

    Charlie muses further:

    In the neat, orderly world of the white ethnostate, what did the future hold? The white race had met its every challenge. Could they make the grass greener? Make the trains run more exactly on schedule? (p. 191)

    Here, Palahniuk addresses a question that is often raised by advocates of the white ethnostate: once we win, and whites are alone again at last, what then? Well, let us consider just one example. When Stanley Kubrick made 2001, it was actually reasonable to suppose that, at the rate things were going, in thirty years we would be settling the Moon and building huge, rotating Howard Johnsons suspended in space. The Space Shuttle seemed the means to get there. But haven’t you noticed how all this just got quietly dropped? Well, dear reader, without vast numbers of non-whites on our welfare rolls sucking up trillions of our dollars, we might be able to dream once more about the final frontier. And this is just a single example. Left alone at last, freed of the white man’s burden, presumably we would keep on doing what white men have always done – exploring, inquiring, discovering, creating, conquering (though – please, dear God – not colonizing).

    At least, this is the hopeful scenario. On the other hand, there is always the specter of the Last Man. And this is really what Palahniuk is talking about. Making the grass greener and the trains run more exactly on schedule are the aims of a people whose concerns have to do exclusively with consumerism and comfort and surface appearance. But isn’t this who we have become? The White Nationalists who wonder “once we win, what then?” are recognizing that even if we achieve the white ethnostate, it is not acceptable that our current debased form of life continue. The presence of non-whites in our midst, and the ideology that supports it, is only one of our problems, though it is a very great one. “Ethnic cleansing” is not enough – what is necessary is a total cultural revolution. Palahniuk – and Charlie – get this. Caucasia is groping, ineptly and laughably, to make it happen. There are no easy solutions here.

    As you will realize from the foregoing, figuring out what Palahiuk’s own position is in Adjustment Day is a thorny problem. Much of what he says (or has others say) is entirely reasonable, and some of what he depicts is attractive and desirable. But does he think that?

    This was the same problem we faced with Fight Club: does Tyler Durden speak for his creator? Palahniuk wants it this way. He wants us to wonder. His stance is ambiguous and cagey. And who can blame him?

    Several years ago, I wrote a huge essay [4] on the meaning of Fight Club (anyone who read the entire thing deserves a medal). I argued that it is impossible not to read the book and the film as essentially fascist, Traditionalist, and anarcho-primitivist. And, of course, I’m for all of that. But Palahniuk gives himself enough wiggle room that he has mostly escaped charges of thoughtcrime. Fight Club contains enough literary ambiguity that soy-eating fans of the novel are able to argue, halfway convincingly, that it is really against all the things that it makes so very, very, very attractive.

    Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what Palahniuk’s own beliefs are; what matters is what we take away from his work. Fight Club has inspired countless individuals on the political Right – and Chuck Palahniuk doesn’t seem overly eager to run those people off. Indeed, they seem like the target audience of Adjustment Day. And this is food for thought. Given how many of us on the Right were inspired by Fight Club and how we interpreted it, Palahniuk has got to be aware of exactly how this novel will be received by many, and the thoughts (and, indeed, the actions) it will inspire. Palahniuk is not one of us – but he’s no enemy, either.

    No, he’s not one of us. And I have no desire to (falsely) claim him. He’s a great talent, and seems like a good guy, so I don’t want to make trouble for him. I am strangely convinced, however, that although Palahniuk is not one of us, he would nonetheless sit down and have a beer with us. When you think about it, that’s actually a big deal.

    Things are changing. Fast. Adjustment Day is coming.

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Looking for Pop
    (”Dark Shadows” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    3,353 words [1]

    Jef Costello
    The Importance of James Bond & Other Essays [2]
    San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2017

    “Where was that stooped and mealy-colored old man I used to call Poppa when the merry-go-round broke down?”[1]

    “This guy can’t possibly live up to the song they wrote about him… probably just an accountant named Wallace.”[2]

    Hearing that Counter-Currents was publishing a collection of Jef Costello’s essays for the Website, one’s reaction is rather like James Bond’s when he wakes up on Goldfinger’s plane bound for Kentucky:

    James Bond: Who are you?

    Pussy Galore: My name is Pussy Galore.

    James Bond: I must be dreaming.

    Costello is one of Counter-Currents’ most popular writers, and indeed one suspects he has a small, deeply disturbed following[3] that only shows up when he’s on tap. For many, this book will simply be an automatic, must-have purchase.

    Costello articulates the profound dis-ease that most of us live with in modern society, in the much-vaunted modernity; and displays a ruthless honesty in uncovering and rooting out the ways all of us, including himself, try to evade or ignore our dis-ease in the pursuit of just getting through the day.

    “Take it easy, Mr. Bond.”

    First up in this collection, appropriately, is Cmr James Bond himself, in a trio of essays that take up the first quarter of the book.  Costello has the long-time fan’s mastery of the arcana of the Bond Universe, but also the rarer skill to convey the excitement of fandom (from Latin fanaticus, “mad, enthusiastic, inspired by a god”; deeply disturbed, indeed).

    This is simply the best study of Bond since Kingsley Amis’ trailblazing James Bond Dossier [3].[4] Like Amis, Costello effectively counters the accusations of “sex, sadism and snobbery” (in the words of Paul Johnson’s infamous review); and while Amis necessarily dealt with the books and the first two films, Costello takes us all the way up to SPECTRE [4] (2015).

    But what is all this intense scrutiny in service of? What, then, is the importance of James Bond? I think Joel Hodgson of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame actually put it best:

    Bond movies really represented the adult world, you know; drinking cocktails and being a secret agent and having your skills highly valued and having beautiful women being interested in you, were all things you felt were something I have to look forward to, this is what’s waiting for me at the end of my childhood.[5]

    Joel may not come to your mind – nor, I suspect, Costello’s either – as a child of Bond,[6] but surely almost everyone of a certain age has come under the influence of 007, particularly on the subject that “interests” – more like torments – Costello: how to be a real grown up; specifically, a real man in the modern age.

    James Bond is a modern hero, a hero for the modern age. [But] in a special sense: Bond is a hero in spite of modernity; an anti-modern hero who manages to triumph over—and, indeed, harness—the very forces that turn most modern men into soulless, gelded appendages to their desktop PCs. This is why Bond is important, and this is why we’ve worshipped at the cinematic altar of Bond for half a century. We long to be as free as he is.

    Thus the Bond movies are an index of how the idea of being a man has changed, or how being a man has become more difficult, or problematic.

    Costello utilizes several memes from the Traditionalist philosopher Julius Evola to unpack the significance of Bond. Bond exemplifies spiritual virility:

    Bond’s pleasure is greater than that of other men—but paradoxically he is free of desire in a way most men are not. His constant brushes with death have given him a unique perspective: he is keenly aware of the impermanence of things, and of what matters and what does not. Bond enjoys food, drink, and sex so much precisely because of their unimportance. Other men, who have never faced death, place too much importance on these things and—again, paradoxically—are less able to enjoy them.[7]

    Bond also demonstrates how to ride the tiger of modern society:

    Bond has managed to be an employee, a part of a vast organization, without being spiritually reduced by it.[8] Bond does not lie awake at night worrying about office politics. Bond does not suck up to the boss. Bond does not get ulcers. It’s been made very clear to Bond that he is quite expendable—as it’s made very clear to all the ordinary folks working corporate jobs! —but somehow he’s found a way to ride this tiger.

    An important aspect of this is Bond’s ambiguous and distrustful relationship with the technology that modernity forces upon us.

    Bond regards the real business of spying as a matter of physical stamina and mental agility. He is contemptuous of the idea that what he does could be done better by—or even with—machines. However, time and again Bond gets himself out of tight spots with one of Q’s gadgets. And so he does make a kind of uneasy peace with technology. But again and again when the time comes for Bond to really save the day, he does so with his own wits and guts. In other words, the films wind up siding with Bond and declaring that technology—and technē—is not the answer.

    All of which makes Bond suitable as a form of modern mythology: “All the traditional mythic elements are present in Bond, only they have been rather straightforwardly modernized.”[9] And this is the key to the significance of Bond: like the young Costello, we long to see “the present mythologized.”[10] Bond’s adventures are neither “long long ago” nor “in a galaxy far far away.”  These “grand conflicts between good and evil, with extraordinary heroes doing extraordinary things, [are] set in the here-and-now.”[11]

    And that mythology is pagan: Bond never asks what Jesus would do, nor is he afflicted with postmodern doubt; “Bond is beyond good and evil—but only in the sense that he’s beyond Christian (or liberal) moralizing.” He exacts personal vengeance, is a racialist, and a nationalist. In short, everything we moderns have been taught to hate and fear.

    Costello details the ways the Bond franchise has fought, and sometimes surrendered, to modernity, and finds much to appreciate in the latest Craig incarnation, where Bond seems closer to our own existential perplexity.

    Nor does Costello ignore the purely mythological, or symbolic, content of the films, giving us a bravura analysis of Skyfall [5], demonstrating how it “contains philosophical and psychological depth of a kind I never expected to find in this series.”

    “No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.”

    Like a true fan, Costello also delves into the shadowy world of the Bond spoof and the Bond wannabes, bringing out the contrasting messages of the Matt Helm and Derek Flint series, which fail to live up to the Bond model, but don’t – and ultimately can’t even – care;

    It’s discipline, order, duty, and iron will (the villains) . . . against hedonism, debauchery, and selfish abandon (the hero).

    The freedom of Matt Helm is mere license. He’s out to make the world safe not for democracy and individual rights, but for boozing and boinking and sleeping till noon. That’s the American Dream, and he is living it.[12]

    The American versions of Bond jettison all that is noble about the character and turn him into a grinning lothario, a self-involved hedonist, a perpetual adolescent, a vulgar operator always on the make. And please keep squarely in mind that this was done so that American audiences would have a character they could more easily identify with and root for. The American soul is rotten to the core.[13]

    Television fitfully attempted to cash in as well with The Man from U.N.C.L.E. [6], a ‘60s TV series now largely forgotten – even by the makers of the 2015 movie – that was, as Costello points out, a serious rival to the Bond movies.[14]  Here again Costello excels in not only conveying huge chunks of information with ease and clarity, but also kindling some of his own enthusiasm in the reader.

    Costello locates the specific difference between Helm and Flint in their respective levels of sophistication, while each shares a very American disdain for “fascist” organization and a preference for individualism. With U.N.C.L.E., we see the flip side: North Americans (Costello reveals that Solo was, as one says today, “secretly Canadian,” which was news to me) and Russians (sidekick Illya) are the narrow-lapelled Organizational Men who serve as executives of UN-style “international order.”[15]

    Frontloading the collection with all this Bondiana could be dangerous; one might think that Costello has already taken his best shot. Still, the quality of these is such that the reader is eager to hear Costello on any number of related items of popular culture.

    “On examination, there appears to be little definite sign of deterioration.”

    The Bond films are a kind of Golden Age (da da da daaaa!) of Manhood, and, as someone observed, since America went directly from barbarism to decadence, the world seems to have gone directly to the Kali Yuga.  The sophistication of the Bond films was no longer enough, and darker, more ambivalent “heroes” were needed.[16] The landmarks in this new era are the film Fight Club [7], and the epic TV series Breaking Bad [8].

    Costello gives a literally enlightening account of the enduring popularity and importance  of both by viewing them through the lens of Jack Donovan’s distinction between being a “good” man and being good at being a man.  Along the way he usefully disposes of the “homoerotic” disparagement of Fight Club by its liberal critics; author Palahniuk may be a homosexual himself but his work hardly promotes – indeed, directly attacks – the modern consumerist “gay” identity.

    Costello is less successful with Breaking Bad than with Fight Club in arguing that its apparent nihilism is covertly a kind of spiritual or hermetic path. It is here, however, that one wonders whether Costello has lost the plot. Figures like Walt or Jack (in Fight Club) may be products of our cultural decline, but are they answers or more like symptoms?

    Isn’t Walt, the bald drug lord alias “Heisenberg,” really more Blofeld than Bond?[17] More Marcellus Wallace than Jules?[18]

    It seems the world is divided into those who find wisdom in Breaking Bad, and those who find it in its AMC stablemate, Mad Men [9]. Set in the classic Bond time period, filled with iconic clothes, cars, and other examples of the “Fleming effect,” even ending a season with Nancy Sinatra’s so appropriate “You Only Live Twice,” I would argue that Don Draper – the secret identity of Dick Whitman – vs. Madison Avenue bureaucracy is more relevant to the theme of “riding the tiger” than cooking meth, and suggest there are more valuable suggestions about how boys become men in the Männerbund-building episode “Shut the Door, Have a Seat [10]”[19] than in the whole run of Breaking Bad[20] or Fight Club.[21]

    “It seemed to Bond that there was an extra small cleft of worry between the frosty, damnably clear, grey eyes.”

    As the Dark Age continues, filmmakers can no longer even recreate beloved classics, capable of only such “campy” homages like the film versions of Dark Shadows and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. that Costello gleefully eviscerates here. Even worse are the “original” productions: egalitarian, scatological dreck like The King’s Speech; don’t worry about life, just relax and loosen up, baby!

    Finally, Costello’s visit to an “art” gallery reveals the truth of Spengler’s assertion that the West could no longer create great Art; and as he encounters the Met’s infamous new version of The Ring [11], featuring “The Machine,” we reach the end Spengler had warned of: “Technics has taken over.”

    In this period of what the alchemist would call “the silence after the clamor,”[22] Costello is – like us, his readers and fans – left alone in “Dystopia Now!”, forced to “Live in the Past,” and haunted by the giant phallus of the Vermont Teddy Bear. Here Costello achieves a certain kind of bitterly won, postmodern heroism, the persona that has earned him that following.

    One criticism might be that this remains very much a book of essays rather than a unified work. Although they are grouped in a general sort of way by subject – Bond movies, Bond ripoffs, TV shows, etc. – which I’ve tried to spell out a bit more here into a kind of thematic arc, the essays themselves are presented as originally published. This does preserve the colloquial voice that is very much a part of Costello’s style – he’ll wonder how he’ll feel about a movie that hasn’t appeared yet, or the next season of a TV series, and the next essay reveals the answer, as he reviews the movie or series a couple years later; but one still wishes, for example, that instead of preserving his hesitation about analyzing a series that hadn’t ended yet and promising to write again at a later date, with the new essay following, he had simply revised and expanded the original essay itself. There’s also a certain amount of repetition, originally needed when material about the origins of Blofeld, for example, had to be recounted in a later discussion of fascist fashion, that could have been consolidated as well.

    Next time, however, Costello might set himself an even more challenging task: writing a dull essay. Everything here just gleams with wit, intelligence, and above all the unmistakable signs of being a part of a struggle to discover and achieve what it is to be a man.

     

    Notes

    1. A sarcastic question tossed up when Major Danby makes the mistake of asking for questions at a briefing in Catch-22 [12].

    2. Crow T. Robot comments on the over-the-top title theme to the Bond ripoff, Operation Kid Brother [13], MST3k, Episode 508. I take “Wallace” to be a reference to the heroic runt character in Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables [14]; for more on Wallace and De Palma’s version of the ancient Männerbund, see this review [15].

    3. Nick’s (William Hurt) description of his radio talk show career in The Big Chill [16] (Lawrence Kasdan, 1983). See also “I have a small, deeply disturbed following” by Daniel W. Drener, Foreign Policy, January 3, 2005: “Occasionally I think, ‘Exactly what did I post that made some reader decide to purchase these  [17]items [18] via my website?’ Unfortunately, most of the time I fret about what I posted to trigger this purchase [19]. The horror, the horror.”

    4. London: Cape, 1965; out of print, and not directly related to the James Bond Dossier Website (but see here [20]).

    5. Introduction to Operation Kid Brother on the MST3k, Vol. XXV [21] DVD release.

    6. Arguably, Deep 13 [22], although technically a sub-basement of Gizmonic Institute, was a kind of “steel-framed rocket base concealed inside an inactive volcano” so loved by Bond villains, among whom TV’s Frank, with his platinum hair and spit curl, might be numbered.

    7. “He never quite got around to the traditional facial antic of curling his lip at all the works of man but he wouldn’t surprise us if he did.” Amis, op. cit., p. 36.

    8. “Bond is hardly the wandering outlaw of this own dark mind, as Byron and his [Byronic hero] were able to afford to be. M’s dark mind is the one that counts and members of the 00 section go where it decides they shall go.” Amis, loc. cit.

    9. Ironically, Costello fails to connect this with Fleming’s much-parodied habit of minutely branding all of Bond’s accoutrements, from socks to marmalade. While correct that there are elements of snobbery, consumerism, and post-war ration fatigue, Costello ignores their contribution to what Amis called “the Fleming effect,” the unique verisimilitude that makes Bond an identifiable fantasy figure rather than just another genre protagonist.

    10. “Mr. Fleming has brought off the unlikely feat of enclosing this wildly romantic, almost narcissistic and (one would have thought) hopelessly out of date persona inside the shellac of a secret agent, and so making it plausible, mentally actable and, to all appearance, contemporary.” Amis, loc. cit.

    11. Costello points out that when the “old” myths were created, they didn’t seem old, but of the present day. The mistake of Tolkien and others, of crafting self-consciously old tales, reminds me of a critic of the Brideshead Revisited [23] TV serial, who pointed out how all the books shown were noticeably old – because after all, it takes place long ago – even though back then the books would have been quite new. I constantly notice this now, in movies and TV shows, how eighteenth-century aristos apparently went out of their way to fill their libraries with old, moldering volumes. It might be useful to compare Costello’s point to Lovecraft’s contempt for twentieth-century authors still trying to give us chills with tired, old props like werewolves and vampires that we now know aren’t real. Lovecraft eventually pioneered a new form of weird tale, more like science fiction, and Costello notes that modern myths “substitute science fiction for the supernatural. (There seems to be some kind of cultural or literary necessity to this.)”

    12. As Watchmen [24]’s Comedian says, “What happened to the American dream? It came true! You’re looking at it!” See Trevor Lynch [25] on the Watchmen book and movie.

    13. In this, the Helm/Flint series prefigures the more recent “slobs vs. snobs” genre. Interestingly, the first in this genre, Animal House [26] (John Landis, 1978), is nostalgically set in prime Bond times, and features a  “hero,” animalistically named Otter, who apes the Bond/Helm lifestyle, complete with a frat house room outfitted like a Helm/Flynt bachelor pad.

    14. In the style of the day, various two-part TV episodes were released theatrically in Europe and rivaled the Bond box office.

    15. Here one must question Costello’s dismissal of Robert Vaughn as “hardly physically imposing” . . . Felton wanted to present what he called “a new kind of hero,” and essentially this amounted to short and scrawny. Vaughn was about 5’9”. In fact, Vaughn was a force to be reckoned with. His debut was in the role of  military school bully Jocko de Paris in Calder Willingham’s End as a Man [27], a role created on stage by Ben Gazarra, and later in the film, The Strange One [28] (Jack Garfein, 1957; see the review here [29]); the Los Angeles Times described his performance as “glittering evil.” In Bullitt [30](Peter Yates, 1968) he also made a believable antagonist for Steve McQueen, a man so macho he could look cool in a turtleneck. And in real life, Vaughn and Ben Gazarra (again!) escaped from behind the Iron Curtain when a film production was overtaken by the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia. Compared to Sean Connery, Connery is, well, Neil Connery. See Robert Vaughn, A Fortunate Life [31] (New York: Dunne, 2008).

    16.  As Judi Dench (“M” herself!) observes in The Chronicles of Riddick [32], “In normal times, evil would be fought by good.  But in times like these, well, it should be fought by another kind of evil.”

    17. “You asked me if I was in the meth business or the money business. Neither. I’m in the empire business.” Breaking Bad, Season 5, Episode 6. To which it’s Jesse who gives the traditional Bond answer: “Is a meth empire really something to be proud of?”

    18. See Trevor Lynch’s review [33] of Pulp Fiction.

    19. How many times has M said, “Sit down, 007”? Matthew Zoller Seitz says the episode “has the feel of a heist flick” and dubs it Draper’s 11, which connects it to Costello’s world of ‘60s male bonding films; see the recap reprinted in Mad Men Carousel: The Complete Critical Companion [34] (New York: Abrams, 2015).

    20. There’s even some crime: the partners raid the Sterling Cooper offices (which evoke the same mid-century, stainless steel motif as Blofeld’s lairs) late at night over the weekend, taking everything pertaining to the accounts they need for their new firm, as well as their office furniture and personal belongings. Of course, blowing up bank buildings and building a meth empire are more exciting . . . to some. But Seitz and other reviewers have compared the episode to such manly classics as Ocean’s Eleven [35] and The Seven Samurai [36].

    21. Although Lane Pryce and Pete Campbell do get in an epic fistfight.

    22. See Michael A. Hoffman II’s Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare [37], whose analysis of the occult cryptocracy likely has more than a few connections to Fleming and the “intelligence community.”

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Wilmot Robertson & the Oppressed Majority
    (”Dark Shadows” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]2,155 words

    Today is the 11th anniversary of the death of Wilmot Robertson (April 16, 1915–July 8, 2005), author of The Dispossessed Majority (originally published 1972; several revisions over the next two decades) and publisher/editor of Instauration magazine, a print-only monthly that flourished from 1975 to 2000. For many people now middle-aged or beyond, these were their first, or most eye-opening, introduction to intellectual racialism.

    Robertson was not, and did not try to be, an innovative thinker. He was not a philosopher, a scientist, or a politician; he founded no schools of thought or activist cadres, nor did he seek to. Robertson was in fact famously discreet, to the point to being secretive. “Wilmot Robertson” was a pseudonym that he used for forty years. It shielded his privacy so well that during his lifetime only family and a handful of associates knew his real name, which was Humphrey Ireland.

    Robertson/Ireland was essentially a popularizer. As one might expect of a former advertising executive, he had enormous ability when it came to coining phrases and disseminating ideas. He could take difficult, elusive concepts and encapsulate them into pithy phrases that endured. The best example is the book title itself, “The Dispossessed Majority,” which states both the problem and its root cause: white Americans of North European origin created a nation and had it gradually, cunningly taken from them by others. But there are other Robertson phrases still current today, such as “The Aesthetic Prop,” and “The White Ethno-State.”

    Thanks to The Dispossessed Majority and Instauration, the legacy of Robertson is all around us today in the Internet Age. The two main strands of nationalist and Alt-Right expression we see in the blogosphere — serious racial and demographic discussion on the one hand (The Occidental Observer, American Renaissance, Vdare, and others); full-on aggressive mockery on the other (name your favorites here) — might be considered direct descendants, respectively, of The Dispossessed Majority and the blog-like, often satirical Instauration. 

    [2]Even the our rather low-cult craze for “memes” finds antecedents in Robertson. For many issues in the 1980s, Robertson decorated pages 3 and 4 of Instauration with cartoons of a gloriously afro’d “ghetto” youth with a big boombox on his shoulder, and a smug, shifty-looking Jewish man in a cardigan. Willie and Marv, they were called. (For someone of Robertson’s vintage, the names were obvious takeoffs on Bill Mauldin’s WW2 dogfaces, Willie and Joe. This of course went over many readers’ heads.)

    Months went by, years went by, afros went out of style, bell-bottoms and platform shoes went out of style (actually they were out of style before the series even began). But Willie and Marv never changed. Only the captions varied.

    Finally Robertson retired Willie and Marv. Reportedly this was because they were thought to detract from the publication’s gravitas. But it might also be that former ad-man Robertson intuited that these faded, never-changing cartoons might be just a little too emblematic of Instauration’s letters column, where the cartoons appeared.

    [3]There was a lot of pent-up anger in Instauration readers, who had a lot to say and couldn’t announce it anywhere else. The mailbags were always full at Instauration. Repetitious, autistic whinging filled up much of the letters column. Month after month the readers bang-bang-banged away at the same old hobby-horses, taking obvious joy in scribbling slurs and invective. Many of them addressed the editor with a conniving familiarity, as though to say, “I hate the same people you do!” Knowing references were dropped about The Aesthetic Prop and Majority Renegades. Complaints about Jews. The Zionist Lobby. Sicilians. (Sure, why not?) Then, for good measure, something about the Irish. (The editor had Rileys and Bradys in his mother’s tree and made a running joke of printing inscrutable anti-Hibernian slurs from correspondents.) Robertson could have filled entire issues with Letters to the Editor, but usually kept this section to about three pages, sampling only a splenetic paragraph or two of the best ones.

    He printed these extracts semi-anonymously, listing the first three digits of your ZIP Code in lieu of signature. This let canny readers know right away whether a correspondent was writing from a Den of Iniquity (100: NYC; 200: DC), or perhaps God’s Country (597, or something like that).

    [4]“The Safety Valve,” Robertson titled this section. As with Willie and Marv, he was mildly surprised when he discovered that some readers didn’t catch the reference. So he nicely explained. A safety valve is where you let off steam pressure — you know, so the boiler doesn’t explode!

    Thanks to the magic of the World Wide Web, the full quarter-century of Instauration is now online in several places, and you can scroll through acres of correspondents’ wit and snarls. You may find it all bears close comparison to your daily dose of social media. Something like Frog Twitter. Only more prolix. And no frogs.

    “The Safety Valve” was Instauration‘s mudroom, where you scraped off the dreck and made yourself presentable. Once past it, you found high- and mid-cult writings on a vast range of subjects.

    [5]The poltroonishness of sell-out politicians (both Newt Gingrich and Lee Atwater were honored with covers as “Majority Renegade of the Year”). Deep dissections of Nietzsche and T. B. Macaulay. Appreciations of “majority” light composers (Percy Grainger, who was Australian; Cole Porter, a notoriously homosexual but high-class Yale man, who with walking-stick and white tie beat the boys of Tin Pan Alley and Broadway at their own game). A nod to at least one popular novelist (Tom Wolfe, whose Bonfire of the Vanities conjured up for the boondocks everything they ever imagined about corrupt, multiracial “Zoo City”).

    There was even a mock “social column” to snort about the recent doings of Wall Street shylocks and Park Avenue swells, written by someone signing himself Cholly Bilderberger. Once again there was some explaining to do from the editorial office. Most readers didn’t know about the “Cholly Knickerbocker” column that ran in the New York Journal-American, back when society lad Humphrey Ireland was growing up in Garden City and Lake Placid, NY. Oh well . . .

      *   *   *

    The Dispossessed Majority was of course a very different animal from Instauration. No cartoons, livid correspondence, music appreciation, or Cholly Bilderberger, but a thoroughly sober, readable brief of 600 pages on the decline of the American “Majority” and the major forces in its dispossession. There is no call-to-arms here, no proposed solution in a white ethno-state (that would come later, in Robertson’s 1992 book of that title).

    There is very little in fact, about “where we’re going”: Robertson, depressingly, viewed the endgame as residing many decades in the future. TDM is a foundational book about where we’ve been and how we got here. Robertson constructs his stonework masterfully, discreetly. Some people balk at his vague term “majority,” but that choice is merely indicative of Robertson’s carefulness. As it happens, there is no other word. “White” will not do, and WASP can’t work for several obvious reasons (not least of which is its inherent offensiveness).

    TDM was originally copyrighted 1972, but went through many printings and several substantive revisions over the next 15 or 20 years. (The version you can read online appears to be a late revision but bears no date.) Having consumed the first edition soon after publication, I’ve always found (or imagined I found) the revisions to be more diffuse, less hard-hitting than the original. Much of the revision work was merely to update political commentary, and this may be a key to why I found the later versions weaker.

    The original was written in the 1960s and early 70s. The civic turmoil from the LBJ era had given it a polemical thrust that was difficult to emulate after the complacent glow of the Reagan years. During the 1980s the main political gripes on the Right were about national-security issues, particularly the metastasizing influence of the Israel Lobby and its subversion of American nationalism through the suddenly ubiquitous “neo-conservative” pundits and policy-makers. These problems, as grave as they were insidious (they permeate Instauration from the 1980s onward) could not, or at least did not, have the concrete immediacy of race riots and forced integration. As for issues of illegal aliens and nonwhite immigration, they were on the table, but not widely regarded as a national crisis. Peter Brimelow’s Alien Nation would not be published till 1995.

    Many of the revisions to TDM‘s political critique, therefore, are merely updates to the original’s Nixon-era references. But there are some pleasant exceptions. In the original TDM, Eugene McCarthy is called “the eccentric Irish-Scandinavian Senator from Minnesota” (to distinguish him from Wisconsin’s Joe). Twenty years later, that “eccentric” becomes “erudite.” For Eugene McCarthy had become an outspoken opponent of nonwhite immigration, denouncing the very 1965 Act he had helped to pass. Sen. McCarthy not only produced a book decrying the effects of the 1965 Act (A Colony of the World, 1992), he later provided the foreword to Brimelow’s aforementioned Alien Nation.The national discourse was shifting, however reluctantly; and Wilmot Robertson surely deserved some small share of the credit.

     *   *   *

    [6]

    Master J. Humphrey Ireland, 1922

    As noted up top, Robertson was quite close-mouthed and cagey about his background and private life. The cover blurb for TDM offers only the vaguest sort of personal description — a native Pennsylvanian of Colonial stock. I have found no photographs of him, other than a smudgy copy of a passport photo taken in 1922 when he was a towhead of seven, traveling to Europe with mother and brother.

    It is easily established that Humphrey Ireland grew up in Main Line Philadelphia and Long Island, that he attended the Northwood School in Lake Placid (class of 1932) where he was a top student; after which he entered Yale College (class of 1936) but did not graduate, instead going to Europe for a while.

    [7]

    Humphrey Ireland endorses the media buy. (Broadcasting magazine, 1949.)

    There are records of his sailings in the 20s and 30s, and advertisements and directory listings that show him working as an advertising account executive in Boston and New York in the 30s and 40s. Other than that, he pretty much disappears from publicly searchable records.

    Wilmot Robertson finally emerged in the mid-1960s, as a contributor to Willis Carto’s new periodical, Western Destiny (1964-66). For the rest of his life, the years of The Dispossessed Majority, Instauration, and his other writings, stayed mostly in the remote fastness of western North Carolina, hard by the Great Smoky Mountains.

    Wilmot Robertson/Humphrey Ireland chose his hard-earned obscurity, and he had his reasons. Young Humphrey grew up in a highly visible family of means, the sort of people whose sailings and dinner-dances were regularly noted in the society columns. A brief description makes them sound like the raw material for the 1930s “madcap heiress” film comedies.

    It was front-page news in 1914 when his parents — Mr. G. Sumner Ireland (aviator and heir) and Miss Dorothy Humphrey (daughter of a society doyenne) — eloped. A few years later Dorothy’s high-spirited younger sister Adele did the same, running off with a dashing one-armed diplomat and former officer of the “Roumanian” army, Gen. Teiusanu (said to have led a bayonet charge after losing both his arm and his ammunition at the Battle of Jiu in 1916). The thrilling story of their whirlwind romance was chronicled at length in the society pages of the Washington Times, 1918-1919. (Young Humphrey visited the Teiusanus in Bucharest during his 1922 trip to Europe.)

    Adele died young, but not before producing a daughter who became an actress under the name Cavada Humphrey. Cavada toured international with her husband in Private Lives, had a supporting role in the film Thoroughly Modern Millie, and was a recurring character in the 1960s horror-soap, Dark Shadows.

    [8]

    Motor Boating ad, 1930

    Humphrey’s father, George Sumner Ireland, was perhaps the most interesting and dynamic member of the family. An adman-turned-airplane-designer, during the 1920s he developed several lines of small aircraft (the Ireland Comet, the Ireland Meteor, the Ireland Neptune, etc.).

    His crowning achievement was a compact seaplane, the 2-to-5-seat Ireland Amphibion(™), widely promoted in motorboat and aviation magazines as an economical craft for commuter routes and business use.

    Other companies were developing similar lines at the time, during the late-1920s boom in private aviation, including Curtiss, Cessna, and Sikorsky. Those firms survive today in one form or another, but the dream of the personal “flying boat” took a nosedive in the Depression and never recovered.

    Neither did Ireland Aircraft. G. Sumner Ireland prospered again, but as a fixed-base-operator at private airfields, not as a manufacturer.

    Humphrey had a younger brother, George Sumner Ireland, Jr., and evidently envied him his name. Humphrey’s own first name at birth had been John, but he ditched that and for a while styled himself as Sumner Humphrey Ireland. This enthusiasm soon faded, around the time the Ireland Amphibion passed from view. At prep school and university he was simply Humphrey Ireland.

    As for the source of the name Wilmot Robertson, that is a mystery. There are no Wilmots or Robertsons in the Humphrey or Ireland family trees.

     

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • The Importance of James Bond
    (”Dark Shadows” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    Jef Costello [1]

    The Importance of James Bond & Other Essays
    Ed. Greg Johnson
    San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2017

    Hardcover: $35 

    Quantity:  

    Paperback: $20 

    Quantity:  

    Release Date: June 1, 2017

    The Importance of James Bond collects Jef Costello’s critical writings on movies, television, literature, opera, conceptual and performance art, and even advertising. Costello is at his best in bringing out Traditionalist, New Right, and masculinist themes in such works as the James Bond movies, Fight Club, and Breaking Bad. He offers sensitive readings of the classics of dystopian fiction, explores fascistic themes in spy spoofs from the 1960s and little-known American movies from the Great Depression, and hilariously demolishes pretentiousness, cynicism, and vulgarity wherever he finds them. The Importance of James Bond is a treasury of wit and insight that establishes Jef Costello as one of the leading cultural critics of the New Right.

    CONTENTS

    Foreword

    1. The Importance of James Bond
    2. Skyfall
    3. The Cat is Back!
    4. Fight Club as Holy Writ
    5. Breaking Bad: A Celebration
    6. Adieu, Breaking Bad
    7. Better Call Saul!
    8. The Flash in the Pan: Fascism & Fascist Insignia in the Spy Spoofs of the 1960s
    9. The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: A Cautionary Tale
    10. Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
    11. Gangway for a Führer: Proto-Fascist Cinema of the Great Depression
    12. Disingenuous Genius: A Tribute to Leni Riefenstahl
    13. Why Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows Sucks
    14. The King’s Speech is C-C-Crap
    15. Rage Against the Machine: A Very American Ring Cycle
    16. Dystopia is Now!
    17. Tito Perdue’s Lee
    18. The Vermont Teddy Bear is a Giant Phallus
    19. Bi-Coastal Adventures in Modern Art
    20. Why I Live in the Past

    Index (print editions only)

    About the Author

    Praise for The Importance of James Bond:

    “Jef Costello is not just an outstandingly great New Right critic he is simply an outstandingly great critic. The Importance of James Bond will help you to look at popular culture with the monocled gaze of a detached higher being. But in the process you will find yourself laughing out loud at his sharp wit and scouring through Netflix for TV shows and movies that you never knew were so essential. This remarkable collection of essays will quickly become the go-to pop-cultural manual for groovy Radical Traditionalists everywhere.”

    —Christopher Pankhurst, author of Numinous Machines

    “Just before the ‘Alt Right’ was something every know-nothing had an opinion about, underground writers like Jef Costello at Counter-Currents were making commentary on popular culture that was truly alternative. Costello’s presentation of Fight Club as ‘holy writ’ is a revelation that brilliantly explains how a movie put dreams in the heads of sleepwalking men that were good enough to wake up and live for: ‘We are all Jack and “Tyler” is not “somebody else.” He is the higher part of ourselves.’ As Costello mentions in that piece, it doesn’t necessarily matter what writers or Hollywood or certainly the actors involved intend, or say they intend, to communicate with a film. Virile characters like Bond and Durden take on a life of their own in the minds of men whose entire existences seem like copies of copies, and remind them who they really want to be, and how they really want to live. Costello’s work articulates what most only feel.”

    —Jack Donovan, author of Becoming a Barbarian

    “Jef Costello has the long-time fan’s mastery of the arcana of the Bond Universe but also the rarer skill to convey both the personal excitement and social significance of pop fandom (from fanaticism, ultimately a religious frenzy). Pop culture tells us who we are and where we came from, and Costello shows us the future we can make from it.”

    —James J. O’Meara, author of Green Nazis in Space!

    Quotes from The Importance of James Bond:

    “James Bond is a hero for the modern age. Actually, this claim has often been made. But I mean it in a special sense: Bond is a hero in spite of modernity; an anti-modern hero who manages to triumph over—and, indeed, harness—the very forces that turn most modern men into soulless, gelded appendages to their desktop PCs. This is why Bond is important, and this is why we’ve worshipped at the cinematic altar of Bond for half a century. We long to be as free as he is. As Julius Evola might have put it, Bond is spiritually virile. He is a self-contained, self-actualized man who appears to be a self-indulgent hedonist, but is in fact fundamentally detached from the pleasures and distractions that obsess and enthrall most men. This is the real meaning of the Bond family motto ‘The World is not Enough.’ The things of this world, which would be too much for most men to handle, are not enough for James Bond. He is greater than they are, thus he can ‘use them’ without being corrupted by them.”

    —from “The Importance of James Bond”

    “All religions have been “created” by men, and I have a pet theory that all religions are just covert ways in which men worship themselves. I don’t mean that Tom, Dick, and Harry are worshiping Tom, Dick, and Harry. I mean that they’re worshiping what they could be and calling that God. There’s a reason why God is He and Him and His. And Our Father (or All Father). And it’s the same reason why ‘virtue’ comes from ‘vir-‘, an Indo-European root that means ‘manly’ (we get ‘virile’ from this too). And have you ever seen a lingam? God, Allah, Shiva, Buddha, Mithras, whatever, are not just guys, they’re guyness. Tyler Durden is being honest with his men when he says ‘You are the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.’ Jesus was a guy too, but Tyler could beat the shit out of him.”

    —from “Fight Club as Holy Writ”

    About the Author

    Jef Costello is the penname of a high-functioning bipolar narcissist with a touch of Asperger’s who resides in a palatial, book-lined apartment in an unfashionable area of New York City. His many essays and reviews have appeared online at North American New Right, the webzine of Counter-Currents Publishing (www.counter-currents.com). He is the author of the novel Heidegger in Chicago: A Comedy of Errors (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2015). His writings have been translated into French, German, Russian, and Swedish.

    Hardcover: $35 

    Quantity:  

    Paperback: $20 

    Quantity:  

    Release Date: June 1, 2017

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Why I Write
    (”Dark Shadows” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]2,702 words

    Since I was a small child I have felt that I had to devote my life to something tremendously important. This is it. You are looking at it.

    My life now easily divides into “before Counter-Currents” and “after.” Before Counter-Currents I held most of the views I do now, but had virtually no idea what to do about them. I attended various Right-wing conferences, and made Right-wing friends, and attended meet-eat-and-retreat Right-wing dinners. We all talked about the need to “do something,” but aside from a very small number of us (men like Jared Taylor, for instance, who I first met sixteen years ago) nobody had any idea what to “do.” Meanwhile, I was very busily pursuing success in my chosen profession – one which genuinely seemed important to me at one time, but over the years has come to seem more and more like a corrupt racket. I needed to keep my real name and identity under wraps in Right-wing circles (and still do — though perhaps not for much longer).

    About seven years ago I realized I had achieved my basic professional goals; what people in my line of work define as “success.” But suddenly it seemed pointless and hollow. I felt like I was waking up from a long sleep. What on earth was that “important” thing I thought I was going to accomplish? I no longer had any clear idea. Had I ever had a clear idea? And, of course, I asked myself “what now?” I was in my mid-forties. And then my mother died, reminding me of my own mortality. As she lay dying, my attention had been divided between her suffering and the politics of my profession, in which I was embroiled at the time. It was shameful. I had become the sort of person that, when I started, I thought I would never be. And I knew my time was running out.

    It was during this period that Greg Johnson and Mike Polignano, who I had known for many years, founded Counter-Currents. I had a standing invitation to write for the webzine. But it took me awhile. I had reservations about what I saw as the ephemeral nature of online publication. Plus, I needed to find an authorial voice. It was in September of 2010 that I contributed my first essay to Counter-Currents — though I used a different nom de plume. I got a certain satisfaction from seeing my essay instantly “in print” — and even greater satisfaction when Greg told me the number of people who had clicked on my essay and (presumably) read it.

    Finally, I felt that I was doing the elusive something.

    But it was not until February of 2011 that I would really find my voice and that yours truly, Jef Costello, would be born. My earlier essays had been detached and philosophical, and had all the pep and humor of Julius Evola (which is to say, no pep and humor at all). At the beginning of 2011, however, I felt the desire to reach readers on a much more personal level, and to be freed from the constraints of “serious writing.” I began to reflect on the personal difficulties that being a heretic have caused me — specifically, my frequent depression at the state of the world, my alienation, and my recurring fears that maybe, one of these days, I’m just going to lose my goddamned mind. The result was “I Am All Right (A Cry For Help) [2].”

    I signed this essay “Jef Costello.” The name comes from a French film of the late ’60s called Le Samourai [3]. Alain Delon plays “Jef Costello,” a hired killer depicted as living a solitary and ascetic lifestyle. Just exactly what drives him to be a hitman is unclear, but the odd thing is that he seems to approach it with the same self-denying devotion with which a monk might devote himself to prayer. Something about the loneliness and isolation of this character must have appealed to me — the way in which he voluntarily stood apart from all others. On an impulse, I picked his name. The essay and the choice of pen name were one of those fortuitous events that sometimes happen in life, when things just seem to magically come together in the right way to help us produce something of value. Later on, it felt fateful and mysterious, and I no longer have a very clear memory of writing the essay or choosing the name. I wish Jef had a better origin story, but there it is.

    I followed this up with other, similarly personal essays such as “How I Found My Mission in Life [4],” “The View from Hippie Hill [5],” “Against Happiness [6],” and “My Real Life [7].” I found that these essays struck a chord with readers, especially men. I was articulating the feelings of many who think the way that we do, who face every day the enormity of our predicament: the very real possibility that our people and our culture will cease to exist, the sheer perversity of our enemies, the cowardice of so many “friends,” and the enervation produced by the culture’s constant parade of stupidity, ignorance, and vulgarity. I wrote with a bitter kind of humor and irreverence (some time later I realized that a major influence on my style was, oddly enough, D. H. Lawrence: see his essay on Walt Whitman [8]). Often in my essays, however, the humor would fall away after a few paragraphs and the piece would end with a crescendo of passion and earnest sincerity. Sometimes I must have laid it on a bit thick, because readers would respond with comments like “hang in there, Jef!” They must have pictured me writing these things from a ledge somewhere.

    I supplemented these essays with lighter commentary pieces, such as “In Defense of Royalty [9],” “The King’s Speech is C-C-C-Crap [10],” and “Aryan Cows? [11]” Beginning with “Dystopia is Now! [12]” I graduated to writing more substantial pieces. This one surveyed four literary dystopias — 1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, and Atlas Shrugged — and argued that we are now living in them. All that talk about “the age of anxiety” that people used to trot out in the ’50s and ’60s and even into the ’70s has fallen away, because the majority no longer have a basis for comparison: dystopia is all they’ve ever known. At the beginning of 2012 I produced probably my most ambitious essay of all: “Fight Club as Holy Writ [13],” an eleven-thousand-word analysis of my favorite film. Again, this touched a chord with a lot of readers — and, again, they were mainly guys.

    By this point I was hooked on writing for Counter-Currents like it was a drug. If I went without writing anything for a while I would start feeling guilty, and my life would feel emptier. I would go back to that “what the hell is this all about?” feeling. When I produced a new piece and triumphantly emailed it to Greg, my soul would feel cleansed. I had done my part — again — for Western civilization: I had given moral support to somebody whose commitment was wavering, I had helped one of our comrades to understand himself and the world a bit better, I had red-pilled a normie who had stumbled upon my writing through an innocent Google search for Fight Club, etc. When I would wake up the next morning and see that my piece had been posted, I would feel intense pride and satisfaction. And I would go a little easier on myself, for a few days at least, basking in the glow of my new essay. Inevitably, my ego got involved. I would carefully watch how many Facebook shares each essay got. “It’s got 80 shares and climbing!” I would announce to Greg on the phone, as if he didn’t know this already. By contrast, if a piece I’d put a lot into got only a few shares, I would be crushed. (Author’s Message: share this and all my other pieces very, very widely or you will put me back on the ledge.)

    The periods in which Jef would write nothing (and would thus feel quite guilty) had various causes. Sometimes the demands of my job made it difficult to write. But then sometimes I also went through periods of depression and lack of motivation. Then there were times when I felt motivated (at least in the sense of wanting to get the guilt of not writing behind me), but had writer’s block: I just couldn’t think of a topic. I’ve learned, however, to keep my mind open to the possibility that anything can be a topic. I’ve thus written essays on modern art [14], murder [15], narcissism [16], the supernatural [17], anthropomorphism [18], and even my pet peeves [19] (I was REALLY stumped for a topic when I churned that one out, but lots of people liked it). My essay “What the Drugs Have Taught Me [20]” was an attempt to shock right-wing purity spiralers by discussing the positive effects that drugs like marijuana and LSD have had in my life. I definitely succeeded in shocking them: it’s one of my most controversial essays. I think a few were also shocked by “The Vermont Teddy Bear is a Giant Phallus [21],” which remains one of my favorite essays (and, personally, I think it may be my funniest).

    The two most important lessons I could impart to younger writers are the following. First, keep your mind completely open to different possibilities for topics. Try the following experiment: sit in a room that’s filled with as many varied and interesting objects as possible. Then, keeping your mind as receptive as you can, let your eyes scan the room and see how many topics pop into your head. Is there, say, an old picture of a beautifully-dressed woman? Write an essay on how standards of appearance have fallen (i.e., how people today dress like shit). Is there a cup of coffee in front of you? Write about how caffeine has helped white people to conquer the world and rocket to the moon. My only hard and fast rule is that I won’t write about a topic for Counter-Currents just because it interests me. In some way, it has to be relevant to the interests or concerns of our readers: race realism, Western culture, critiques of modernity, masculinism, Traditionalism, etc.

    The second lesson I would impart is this: JUST WRITE THE DAMNED ESSAY. What I mean is that once you’ve got the topic, sit down in front of the bloody computer and start cranking it out, no matter what. Don’t listen to the voice in your head that says “this sucks.” Just keep writing. You can always go back and change the first parts later. It’s very often the case that when I start an essay it feels forced and awkward at first, but then begins to “click” as I keep going. In those instances I resolve, as I’ve just said, to later “clean up” the opening bits that seemed awkward. But more than half the time I go back to the beginning of the piece, I find that I’m actually satisfied with what I’ve written. That voice that says “this sucks” is almost always a liar. You have to try the experiment of trusting me on this, or you’re never going to produce much.

    In my search for topics I have sometimes gone in the obvious direction and produced book reviews. These include Tito Perdue’s Lee [22], Jack Donovan’s A Sky Without Eagles [23], the Art of Manliness [24]book, F. Roger Devlin’s Sexual Utopia in Power [25], and Jim Goad’s The New Church Ladies [26]. I’m also a great lover of cinema (including, like James O’Meara, bad cinema) and I also have what friends have called an encyclopedic knowledge of old television shows (it’s not true, actually, I just know a fair amount, mostly about ’60s TV). Counter-Currents has allowed me to write about my passion for James Bond [27], the Bondian spy-spoofs of the ’60s [28], The Man From U.N.C.L.E. [29], Dark Shadows [30], and Breaking Bad [31].

    In 2015, like so many of us, I became passionately interested in Donald Trump. I was visiting a friend in August of that year, and had not been paying too much attention to any of the hubbub leading up to the 2016 campaign season. My friend (a faithful reader of my essays) convinced me there was something to Trump, who I had previously dismissed as a kind of nouveau riche vulgarian. In 2016 I bought a ticket on the Trump train and started writing about him — mostly, of course, in support. Unlike many of you, I have not yet given up on Trump. The man is facing incredible, unprecedented opposition. I believe it is still possible that he can make good on his promises. (Which would certainly not fix our predicament, but might slow our dissolution a bit.) I therefore stand by what I wrote in essays like “What Would Trump Do? [32],” “The Happening [33],” and “After Trump [34].”

    In 2016, Counter-Currents also published my first novel, Heidegger in Chicago [35]. It’s a picaresque tale of what happens when Martin Heidegger goes on a lecture tour in America (which he never did). The genre is, I suppose, a kind of “magical realism,” with some large dollops of Terry Southern. I originally conceived this as a “complete speech of the whole,” since it manages to reference, in one way or another, everything I have ever been interested in and, directly or indirectly, everything else. In short, it’s pretty weird. And not for all tastes.

    This year I have returned to the more personal content of my earlier work. My first essay of 2017 was “Reflections on Turning Fifty [36].” This piece was originally entitled “The Warrior’s Way: Reflections on Turning Fifty.” But some ding-a-ling contacted Greg and claimed that he had copyrighted the term “warrior’s way” (!). Rather than waste precious time and energy arguing with him and his attorney, we just shortened the title. I’m particularly proud of this year’s essays “The Myths We Live By [37]” (a thorough demolition of the myth of World War II and how it supports the myth of human equality), “Unintended Consequences: How the Left Keeps Helping Us [38],” and “How to Live as a Dissident [39]” (which, in truth, is a major, recurring theme of my work). In addition, I’ve produced some frivolities like “Trump Will Complete the System of German Idealism! [40]” and “Relax! Liberal Witches are Powerless to Harm Trump [41].”

    This essay is the 22nd piece I have written for Counter-Currents in 2017. In earlier years, as mentioned already, I have gone through slumps. In 2015 I wrote (as Jef) only six pieces; in 2014 a grand total of three. But now it seems I’ve got my mojo back, and nothing is going to stop me. I need my Counter-Currents publication “fix,” and I need to feel that I am, again, “doing something.” No matter how “funny” and frivolous some of my essays might appear, they always have a serious point. As I have already said, I am always trying to give moral support to those who think as I do, and to enlighten others. This is why I write.

    I write—exclusively—for Counter-Currents partly out of loyalty to my friend Greg and the community we have built here, and partly because I think that Counter-Currents is the most substantial and intellectually sophisticated New Right webzine in the world today. Sure, some people hate Counter-Currents, but they are intellectually and morally inferior. I’d like to invite you to get addicted to the drug of writing for Counter-Currents. Consider making this the “something” you do. It has put a great deal of meaning and purpose into my life, and it could do so for you as well. (But I know Greg would want me to advise you to consult him before you go to the trouble of writing and submitting something.)

    By my count I have now written (again, as Jef) 81 essays for Counter-Currents since 2011. And this year, Counter-Currents brought out an anthology of my writings on popular culture: The Importance of James Bond, and Other Essays [42]. Eighty-one essays is a lot, but it’s never going to be time to retire. I doubt seriously that this struggle is going to end in my lifetime. What are you doing for the struggle? What will you write for Counter-Currents?

    ...
    (Review Source)

Crosswalk1
Cross Walk



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Eccentricity Doesn't Go Far in Dark Shadows
    Movies DVD Release Date: October 2, 2012Theatrical Release Date: May 11, 2012 (2D theaters and IMAX)Rating: PG-13 (for comic horror violence, sexual content, some drug use, language and smoking)Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, RemakeRun Time: 113 min.Director: Tim BurtonActors: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Helena Bonham Carter, Jonny Lee Miller, Bella Heathcote, Chloë Grace Moretz, Gulliver McGrath, Alice Cooper While one can’t help rooting for—and thoroughly loving—a little eccentricity in the often cookie-cutter world of Hollywood, let’s just say it’s probably about time for the dynamic duo of Johnny Depp (The Rum Diary) and Tim Burton (Alice in Wonderland) to start seeing other people—professionally speaking, anyway. Like the singer/songwriter who teams up with the same, tried-and-true producer on album after album, there’s a slightly stale, all-too-comfortable feeling about the eighth collaboration between Depp and Burton in Dark Shadows. Naturally, one could probably place a little of the blame on the source material, a sudsy, supernatural-themed soap opera with a cult following than ran from 1966 to 1971, but the bulk of what’s wrong with Dark Shadows is the sneaking suspicion that you’ve already been invited to this garish costume party before. See, in Burton’s world, the story has almost always played second fiddle to the fantastical scenery, and Dark Shadows is no exception, sadly. And given that pop culture is already suffering from a severe case of vampire fatigue (brace yourselves, there’s more with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and the final installment of the Twilight franchise waiting in the wings), there needs to be a pretty compelling reason for the audience to get invested in the tale of a formerly imprisoned vampire named Barnabas Collins (Depp) who’s now charged with protecting his very kooky family. As you’ve probably guessed by now, the film’s driving narrative is about as threadbare as they come. In the film’s opening moments we discover (with a tired voiceover, no less) the details of the Collins’ family history. In better times, they were enjoying the spoils of a very successful fishing empire, which led them to build the movie’s central stage piece, an opulently beautiful home that’s now a full-on Norma Desmond level of creepy thanks to a rather disgruntled employee. After being rejected by Barnabas, who’s always been infatuated with a doe-eyed gamine named Josette (Aussie newcomer Bella Heathcote, In Time), Angelique (Eva Green, The Golden Compass), who just happens to moonlight as a witch, casts a spell that not only sends poor Josette to an early grave but turns Barnabas into a vampire. But unlike the pin-up worthy Edward Cullen who’s a strict vegetarian and sparkles in the sunlight, poor Barnabas has not only sprouted a set of nasty fingernails and unsightly fangs but is now confined to a coffin for centuries, too. In what’s a lucky break (or not, considering the fashion of the day), Barnabas is eventually resurrected, thanks to a crew of construction workers who stumble upon his grave while digging on the Collins property. Now forced to adjust to life in the 1970s, Barnabas hopes to help restore his family’s name and social status. Naturally, the bulk of Dark Shadows’ laughs result from Barnabas’s fish-out-of-water observations about the free-love era. Baffled by everything from lava lamps to frozen waffles to Karen Carpenter, the “tiny singing creature” gracing the TV screen, Depp relies on his same deadpan, arched eyebrows charm while playing the lovable oddball. Feeling even more phoned in than Depp’s performance, however, is the film’s lazy direction. When you’ve got great talent on board like Michelle Pfeiffer (New Year’s Eve), Helena Bonham Carter (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2) and a quick-witted newcomer like Chloë Grace Moretz (Hugo), what’s the point of getting them all dressed up only to give them no place to go? In Dark Shadows, all the attention to detail was apparently reserved for the film’s aesthetic quality. Considering that weird is pretty much Burton’s modus operandi, however, that’s not even all that awe-inspiring anymore. So when the camera’s done panning over every detail of a room, the script quickly segues into let’s-shock-them territory, whether it’s the random bursts of violence, a thoroughly bizarre sex scene when Barnabas eventually succumbs to Angelique’s charms, a slew of blush-worthy double entendres or the darkest parts of Dark Shadows where characters dabble in the occult to downright scary effect. From time to time, the whole we’re-just-making-it-up-as-we-go sensibility may give some movies a much-needed madcap spark, but in Dark Shadows it simply comes across as nearly two hours of unnecessary frustration, less the creation of a mad scientist than a bad idea that simply didn’t deserve the green light.CAUTIONS: Drugs/Alcohol: Social drinking and cigarette smoking, plus a group of free-spirited students are shown smoking weed.   Language/Profanity: God’s name is misused on a couple of occasions, plus a smattering of other profanity including he--, da--, bast---, and bit--. Sex/Nudity: Countless sexual innuendos, often involving crude references to the male anatomy. A woman is referred to as a “whore.” David informs everyone at the dinner table that Carolyn “touches herself” and makes loud noises while doing so. Angelique is often shown wearing very low-cut shirts and dresses, and in one scene, she opens her jacket so Barnabas gets a pretty good view of her breasts (no nudity, just a lot of cleavage). In a very bizarre love scene, Angelique and Barnabas have sex (no nudity, but the scene goes on and on for comedy’s sake, apparently). Violence: Definitely more bloody and gruesome than the Twilight franchise but not as gory as TV’s True Blood series, there’s still a pretty high body count, thanks to Barnabas’s pervasive thirst for human blood. Without giving too much of the plot away, several characters are killed in sporadic acts of off-screen violence. We also see two young women leap to their death and another character die (and thrown into the nearby muddy waters) after a blood transfusion gone wrong. Supernatural/Occult: References to hell, demons and Satan. The ghost of David’s departed mother warns the Collins’ house inhabitants of impending danger. Angelique is a witch with a very vengeful side, and it’s her curse that not only turns Barnabas into a vampire but ensures he’s buried alive for centuries. She also uses her “powers” to get whatever she wants, including the death of the woman who David really loves. SPOILER ALERT: As Angelique begins to realize that Barnabas is really, truly never going to love her, she ups the ante on the spells and basically destroys everything she can before literally cracking under the pressure.   SEE ALSO: Not Much Story to Tell in The Rum Diary googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); Christa Banister is a full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers. Based in Dallas, Texas, she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blog. For more information, including her upcoming book signings and sample chapters of her novels, check out her Website.  SEE ALSO: Tim Burton's Wild Imagination Put to Good Use in Alice in Wonderland googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-2'); }); if (gptClientWidth >= 992 && gptClientWidth <= 1000000) googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-3'); });   ]]>
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Plugged In1
Focus on the Family



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  • Dark Shadows
    ComedySci-Fi/FantasyHorrorRomance We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.Movie ReviewThere are tons of reasons to abstain from sex before marriage. Young adults who take their promise-ring vows seriously don't have to worry about venereal disease or unexpected pregnancies, for instance. They won't get caught up in all the emotional weirdness that can accompany casual hookups. And most importantly, they're following God's directives. If all that wasn't enough, abstinence also makes it less likely that you'll be turned into a vampire and locked in a coffin for the next 200 years. Alas, Barnabas Collins didn't learn that lesson. Let's harken back to the late 1700s to meet Barnabas—a handsome, fabulously rich fishing magnate who has a fling with his servant, Angelique. No big deal, right? All the rich, handsome fishing magnates are doing it. But when Barnabas meets his true love—a pretty if consumptive-looking girl named Josette—he breaks things off with Angelique. Little does he know that Angelique is, in fact, a witch. She's not a "nasty ex who might hack into an 18th-century Facebook account" sort of witch. Not a "graduated from Hogwarts with honors" sort of witch. No, Angelique's a real witch, and before you can say "Double, double, toil and trouble," she's killed Barnabas' parents, sent poor ol' Josette off Widow's Peak and turned Barnabas himself into a vampire. Then she has her undead ex-lover tossed into a coffin, chained up good and tight, and thrown it into a pit. There she hopes he'll remain, stewing for all eternity (perhaps lamenting that he should've taken his youth pastor's good advice about sex more seriously). It's 1972 when a cadre of unsuspecting construction workers accidentally releases Barnabas from his gothic prison. After getting a quick bite to eat (the construction workers), the vampire takes stock of this new world he's arisen to and quickly concludes that things have gone from bad to worse: Mephistopheles himself seems to rule the land (manifested by large, glowing McDonald's signs). His historic home is in disrepair. His distant progeny have fallen on hard times. Worst of all, Angelique is still alive and kicking—and she's devoted her long, long life to driving the Collins' fishing empire into near bankruptcy through a combination of nefarious witchcraft and savvy business acumen. Thank goodness Barnabas has finally learned his lesson. After all, Angelique took away his parents and his girlfriend and his family business and his very soul. He's had two centuries to consider his mistakes. He certainly won't fall for Angelique's womanly wiles again. Except when he does.Positive Elements"Remember, Barnabas," his father tells him, "family is the only real wealth." This may be the only real lesson Barnabas manages to internalize in his two centuries of imprisonment, so it's nice that it's an important one. Barnabas is a vampire of many faults, but he does care deeply for his family. How does this love manifest itself? Well, he swears not to kill any of 'em, for one thing—not an insignificant promise, given his bloodthirsty nature. But deeper connections form as the film wears on: He tries to restore the family's fortunes and good name (such as it is), and takes a particular interest in David Collins, a troubled young lad plagued with visions from his dead mother. He slips the boy under his ice-cold wing and becomes something of a father figure to him—a necessity, considering the fact that Roger, David's biological father, is something of a scoundrel. (Barnabas tries to get Roger to take more responsibility and become the dad David deserves, but Roger bolts instead.) When a mirrored ball nearly falls on David, Barnabas lunges to save him—even though it means diving through sunlight, which ignites his undead back and reveals his true nature to David and the rest of the Collins clan.Spiritual ContentDark Shadows is a gothic horror-comedy steeped in the occult. Barnabas calls Angelique a "succubus of Satan" and a "harlot of the Devil." And he means it. She comes by her powers through an infernal alliance, and her spells—ranging from traditional incantations to voodoo-like conjurations—call on obviously dark powers. When Barnabas mistakes an oncoming car for a demon, he hollers, "Have at me, Lucifer! My soul is prepared!" Indeed, he mistakes many technological wonders for either demonic manifestations or sorcery, and it should be noted that his own transformation into a creature of the shadow was not a willing one: Angelique turned him into the monster that he is, and he longs to be human again. He confesses that whenever he kills, "a piece of my wretched soul dies." He hopes that a transfusion of blood will purify him. Ghosts and werewolves also take part in the story—all indirectly created through Angelique's machinations. Paintings and people weep blood. Carvings come to life. Barnabas tells his would-be girlfriend Victoria that her parents (who sent her to an insane asylum when she was a child) "deserve to boil in hell's everlasting sulfur." This sentiment is espoused at one point: I guess if it makes you happy, what difference does it make what you believe? Sexual ContentAfter Barnabas escapes from his underground prison, he meets with Angelique in her modern office and, after she strips off her shirt (revealing her bra), the two engage in preternatural sex. They roll around on the floor, then slam into the walls and the ceiling, clawing and destroying almost everything in their way as they writhe and moan. At one juncture, she caresses him with four arms; at another, she licks his face with a lizard-like tongue. Barnabas also allows family psychologist Dr. Julia Hoffman to perform oral sex on him. (We see her head move down toward his waist.) There is technically no nudity in the movie, but bare-breasted carvings appear to come to life. Angelique often wears cleavage-revealing outfits. She takes off her panties (from under her skirt) and puts them on Barnabas' face as she prepares to bury him alive (again). Carolyn, a 15-year-old Collins girl, dresses and dances provocatively; Barnabas mistakes her for a "woman of the night." David says Carolyn touches herself and makes noises "like a kitten." Roger and a female coat-checker gear up for sex while David is made to guard the door. (We see them kissing.) Angelique reminds Barnabas of all the places they've made love. She forces him to press his hand on her breast and reaches down to touch his crotch. Featured music either from the '70s or a tribue to that decade includes "Go All the Way." At a party, caged girls dance for the revelers.Recommended ResourceA Chicken's Guide to Talking Turkey With Your Kids About SexKevin LemanEven the bravest parents feel timid about discussing sex with their 8- to 14-year-olds! This resource offers reassuring, humorous, real-life anecdotes along with reliable information to help you with this challenging task.Buy NowViolent ContentBarnabas, ostensibly Dark Shadows' hero, kills quite a few innocent people. Eleven die the night he's released. And we see him hit one man's head against a pipe and bite another's neck. After getting advice from a collection of hippies, he tells them, regrettably, that he'll have to kill all of them too—and he does. (We hear the victims' screams.) Later, when he learns that Julia has been using his blood in a bid to make herself immortal, he brags to her that he can drain a man of blood in around seven seconds—and plans to suck hers in five. "I am neither good nor gentle," he says before killing her, "and I do not forgive." Barnabas also grasps and lifts a man by his neck. He chomps on a woman's neck in order to "save" her life. We several times see his face and hands dripping blood. A porlonged scene shows a woman getting pumped full of shotgun shells. (We see the bullets' bloodless impact.) She's hit repeatedly by a man, her face and body gradually cracking and breaking apart into shards. Angelique undergoes a series of grotesque contortions, and she punctures her own chest to pull out an unreal-looking purple heart, which then crumbles in her hands.  Statues and carvings come to life and attack the living and undead. A werewolf bites Angelique's arm. (She throws the beast aside.) A woman is impaled on a chandelier. A ghost acts out her own death. A body—later reanimated—is dumped in the icy water. A girl is taken to an insane asylum and "treated" with shock therapy. (We see her scream in pain.) Angry citizens storm the manor Collinwood twice. People either jump or are sent off cliff faces to hit the rocks far below. (Sometimes they die, sometimes they don't.)Crude or Profane LanguageThree s-words and a variety of other profanities, including "a‑‑" (used once), "b‑‑ch" (twice), "b‑‑tard" (three times), "h‑‑‑" (four times) and "d‑‑n" (six times). We hear Jesus' name abused a couple of times. God's is misused a half-dozen or more. Crude references are made to sexual body parts.Drug and Alcohol ContentHippies pass around a marijuana joint. Carolyn, who often appears to be on something herself, asks Barnabas whether he's stoned. "They tried to stone me," he says. "It did not work." Others smoke cigarettes and drink. When Barnabas decides to throw a ball, Carolyn tells him that it must include "booze. Lots of booze." Julia pops pills.Other Negative ElementsRoger, while in the cloakroom with the female coat-checker, steals wallets and pocketbooks. Barnabas hypnotizes people as a way to force them to do his bidding. Alice Cooper's classic rock shenanigans get a plug. Angelique projectile vomits (fire-hose style) cascades of greenish goo. Barnabas drinks blood from a goblet.ConclusionDark Shadows is loosely based on ABC's 1966-71 gothic soap opera of the same name. Director Tim Burton and stars Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer were all big fans of the show, with Depp admitting that he once aspired to be Barnabas. "I think a lot of kids did," he told Entertainment Weekly. "He was super-mysterious, with that really weird hairdo and the wolf's-head cane. Good stuff." Depp brings his ever-present and off-kilter charisma to this new reimagining of Barnabas, where he's both lighter and more sympathetic than the character on TV. In theaters, he's not the sort of vampire who would manipulate women to channel his true love (as he did in the ABC version) or try to kill little David (as he also did). Rather, he's more of an eccentric favorite uncle. Setting aside for a moment all the sultry sexuality and overt occultism found here, that may be Dark Shadows' sneakiest subject: It makes it too easy to forgive the fact, as his family does, that Barnabas is quite literally a cold-blooded killer. Sure, he may have a heart, but it stopped working 200 years prior. And when a twist at the end—involving a twisted neck of course—prompts Barnabas to tell us, "My curse has finally been broken," we're supposed to be happy for him. Now, reinserting into the discussion that dark, semi-violent sexuality and outrageously casual acceptance of the occult, we find ourselves face-to-face with a pretty disturbing picture. A picture of a vampire, eternally separated from God, the old tropes tell us, who kills for sport and has sex with all the girls who aren't his true love. He left me feeling a little unnerved, quite frankly, thinking that a) damning your girlfriend for all eternity is a curious way to show your love and b) a curse doesn't stop being a curse just because you share it with someone. Pro-social ContentObjectionable ContentSummary AdvisoryPlot SummaryChristian BeliefsOther Belief SystemsAuthority RolesProfanity/ViolenceKissing/Sex/HomosexualityDiscussion TopicsAdditional Comments/NotesEpisode Reviews]]>
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Michael Medved1



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  • Dark Shadows
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Christian Toto1
Hollywood In Toto



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  • ‘Dumbo’ Delivers Spectacle, Dumbed Down Humans
    (”Dark Shadows” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    DUMBO-review danny devito

    Director Tim Burton always delivers a feast for the senses.

    Burton’s palette, from the dark purple depths of “Batman” to the gothic “Dark Shadows,” shows he has few visual peers.

    The post ‘Dumbo’ Delivers Spectacle, Dumbed Down Humans appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

    ...
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Jay Dyer1
Esoteric Hollywood



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⚠️ 𝐄𝐃𝐆𝐘 🔥 𝐂𝐎𝐍𝐓𝐄𝐍𝐓 🔥 𝐖𝐀𝐑𝐍𝐈𝐍𝐆 🔥 (𝐍𝐒𝐅𝐖?) ⚠️

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  • Laurel Canyon, the CIA Counter...
    (”Dark Shadows” is briefly mentioned in this.)


    Stream or Download Audio  The United States is a pop cultural superpower. One can debate if this is for good or for worse – but what is almost indisputable...

    ...
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Soiled Sinema1
Soiled Reviews



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⚠️ EDGY 🔥 CONTENT 🔥 WARNING 🔥 (NSFW?) ⚠️

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  • Ruby (1977)
    (”Dark Shadows” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    While the majority of experimental avant-garde auteur turned occult-inclined cult director Curtis Harrington’s films were either s...
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John Hanlon1
John Hanlon Reviews



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  • 7 Movies I Can’t Wait to See: May 2012
    (”Dark Shadows” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Over the first four months of 2012, this web moviegoers have been offered a few great films and a bunch of mediocre offerings. But now, the season of summer blockbusters is set to begin with the highly-anticipated release of The Avengers. Featuring a team of superhero...
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