Do you remember when we used to go and dance at those punk rock shows/it feels so…long ago/do you remember that night when that skinhead threatened me with my life/ you should have realized right then…that something…something went quite right/we were just teenagers, looking for a scene/based upon simplistic notions of equality/oh ain’t it a fucker when you discover fuck when you discover that it’s all based upon slightly altered versions of the same old crap. —The Casual Terrorist
Nine Theses/Nine Lives
1. When did the Enlightenment die? 2. What I really mean is, When did the Enlightenment die for the left? 3. (And I don’t mean the so-called “White Jacobin” left, the left of white terror, which takes as a pseudo-Leninist occasion the alt-right mainstreaming of Foucault and the Thule Society to declare themselves the sole bearers of the torch of the Sokal Affair: though naturally there’s always a bridge, a hallucinogenic path, between fascism and the Enlightenment, and that bridge could be called John Locke or Jorge Luis Borges, Vilfredo Pareto or Peter Thiel’s hemophilia). 4. Of course there’s such a thing as human nature: it’s Peter Thiel screaming “faggot” from a rooftop at Stanford in the Clintonian nineties, for the sake of free speech, and Milo mocking “trannies” during his Pierre Menardian version of Visconti’s Night of the Long Knives, at the very same moment that Thiel develops the biotechnology to establish Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s interstellar patriarchal death-states: death-states floating like a fetus’s eyeball in amniotic space and in polyandrous semen. When we went to beat up Nazis in Berkeley a month after the Milo event, the alt-lite “Proud Boys” had pulled out as had the true-believing fascist skinheads (drinking in their amnesiac asylum in the nearby bars like the Missouri Lounge, as they habitually do), and all that was left at first were morbidly obese generic Trump supporters being screamed at about a soda tax by Berkeley liberals and then afterwards there were violent altercations that were obscured, or were carnivalized, by the political and sartorial androgyny of the anarcho-capitalists, who, at the end of the day, have read neither Foucault nor Spinoza, and certainly not Althusser, and probably, to be honest, not even Rothbard. 6. I agree, naturally, with the Black surrealist tradition and the Italian autonomist tradition that the Enlightenment wasn’t stillborn, but was death-on-arrival. 7. Though of course to agree with a tradition is not only to betray the tradition (tradición, traición, etc.) but to betray the present, which cries out for the abolition of all traditions, including the Marxist tradition, especially the Marxist tradition. 8. We’ve only, just now, begun to encounter Marx, for the first time (of course we don’t have time to read Marx: we especially don’t have time to read the apocryphal biographies in which he rapes his maid in London). 9. In the same way that we’re finally beginning to make out the absolute absence of the last trace of an anti-Hegelian shipwreck in Mallarmé’s ocean-void…
It’s possible that the Enlightenment died, for the left I mean, as Pablo Larraín filmed it in Post Mortem, with the shocking blown-away skull of Allende on a gurney in a morgue. Surrounded by the Pinochetist army, the doctors and technicians who loved Allende or at least were loyal to the project of the Unidad Popular government can’t or won’t validate the autopsy. Only the pure freak, the Fassbinderian fetishist (the aging apprentice)—played by the inimitable, the polymorphously perverse depressive Alfredo Castro, steps up. And why not? He’s in love with an anorexic ungainly cabaret model whose phenotypic or agalmic demimonde beauty is particular to a transhistorical epoch of Chilean sexuality (from Neruda to de Rokha, from the Opus Dei cryptohomosexuals to the hygienic Popular Frontists who wanted to purge Chile of all superstitions, including superstitions against incest and against the privatization of pensions).
Allende, that man of the radical Enlightenment, whose dead body is an absolute taboo in Chilean society but whose recovered glasses (one lens at least) can become an element of kitsch and preserved in a museum or marketed in gentrified art spaces. As they misportray him, he was either/both a dreamy utopian intellectual out of Darkness at Noon or A Brave New World–harmless or given towards murderous fanaticism—or a Woody Allen character, a kind of misled tourist attraction, who woke up in an orgone box called communism one day and didn’t know what he was doing and just wanted to fuck and make jokes.
(In a footnote from Heriberto Yépez’s The Empire of Neomemory—a footnote which is an adumbration of a book that one doesn’t have the debased secular time nor the debased secular ethics to write, which is why footnotes exist, in spite of David Foster Wallace’s apotheosis of the footnote as a kind of ironic pedantry or pedantic theodicy, a glossolalia, in the Reaganite margins—there’s a tantalizing suggestion that Allende himself has been Woody Allenized, within the pataphysics or the “telephysics” of of the U.S. imperialist propaganda system, that Allende has become a Woody Allende, half alienated priapic-clown and half Freudian slip (Freudian psy-li-op), rememorialized at the same time by CIA agents who sadistically-hypnotically confess his disavowed killing and by the good elder-comprador Ariel Dorfman, who makes the dead Allende a kind of half-dead Hillary Clinton, as if it’s all even now, because the Russians interfered in our elections and you got that vulgar KGB operative and Back To the Future character, Donald Biff Trump.)
Which is only to say that Woody Allen, as Yepez says, specialized in the implantation of false or warring images, memory info-wars: from the re-writing of the U.S. takeover of North Africa to the endless lucubrations over his child molestation, pitting Woody, ultimately, against Nicholas Kristof, that other, more dour rewriter of history and of the gringo salvation of uncivilized Third World whores, with unpredictable, hilarious consequences (lol Iraq, lol Appalachia, but bourgeois-sentimentally).
Victor Farias v. Miguel Serrano
In order to understand this artificial question of the Enlightenment (with its vast record of deaths) versus the Counter-Enlightenment (with its equally vast and coextensive record of Pure Death (Aestheticized Death)), one only needs to look at two Chilean intellectual renegades, the ones who, due to character debility or climatological contingency, couldn’t cut it: Victor Farías and Miguel Serrano.
Joseph Roth, bilious and dying, was at a used book sale in Santiago in the year 2013 when he came across El Dia Decisivo by the respected professor of military geography A. Pinochet U. and two books by an author called Victor Farías: Salvador Allende: Antisemitismo y eutanasia and Salvador Allende: El fin de un mito. Where had he heard the name Victor Farías before? Wasn’t he that jerkoff, that frotteuristic fetishist, that intellectual mercenary who started the tedious Heidegger culture wars, the guy who wrote a book called Heidegger and Nazism which like all so-called controversial books cock-fighted idiots against each other: the roosters of positivism (hardcore Anglo-fascist or neo-pedantic positivist leftist) and the roosters of so-called postmodernism, or the roosters aligned with David Horowitz and the roosters who satellited Horwitz in the same way that Horowitz stalks former Black Panthers and other New Left septuagenarians at their seminars or their talks in independent bookstores.
Roth bought all three books.
Then he read more about Farías and learned the following things: First, that he was Chilean. Second, that he had left the country after the coup, during which he became disillusioned with the DDR and with the sad caricature of the exile life under actually existing socialism. Third, that he wrote the same book over and over again by selecting a sacred cow and, in a torturous but ultimately primitive vivisection that resembled the blasphemous practices of Dr. Moreau, by flaying and dissecting his subject and fusing it with the organs and hides of National Socialism.
Roth wasn’t sure where he could get a copy of Farias’ two volume Los Nazis en Chile, but he assumed it posited the existence of a Gnostic German cult practicing black masses at the craters of the volcanoes of Lake Llanquihue, their screams miscegenating with the screams of the dead Mapuche Indians whom the Germans had been brought to southern Chile to displace and ultimately exterminate, or to suppress a post-Bolshevik insurrection (or maybe it had something to do with that Hollywood-magical place, Emma Watson’s human rights playground, Colonia Dignidad).
Sometimes I read fascist authors. I’m not talking about quasi- or crypto- or neo-fascist authors. I’m talking about the real thing.
The left-wing Chilean poet Bolaño (to the left on a Myers-Briggs October Revolution quiz of the miristas, who were both the object of his mimetic desire and of his ultimate messianic vengeance, as opposed to the secular, the prosaic hatred he bore for the apparatchiks of the Chilean Communist Party, who were for him nothing more and nothing less than Lemebel’s frou-frou exile miscegenated with the Marta Harnecker epigones who always gave him Hegelian headaches, or Voltairean headaches (for Bolaño, as you can see in Nocturno de Chile, Harnecker herself was a kind of snitch-ethnographer who gave battle plans to the semi-educated autodidactic generals in Pinochet’s government, but as you can also see in Estrella distante, everyone who bought her book in Chile became a kind of saturnine prophet, a corpulent uninspired failed poet who wrote a kind of Althusserian poetics in the margins, anticipating not only their own deaths-to-come but the avant-garde poetry of death that would flare out in the pseudo-apocalyptic smoke of an airplane and in the orgy-homicides of twin sister communist poets who were too given towards fucking, towards life, to understand that “Death Is Chile”).
Pedro Lemebel: who was Bolaño’s hermaphroditic twin, who gave a Chilean-dystopian urban-mother birth to him, as opposed to Virilio’s parthenogenetic citizen birth, the birth of the classical-fascist citizen.
A second time, a second birth, a second father. The kind of second birth, or after-birth, Bolaño writes about in the short story “The Prefiguration of Lalo Cura.” In this story about a quasi-autistic German pornographer with a soft spot for a) Latin American whores/migrant workers b) predatory narco-trafficking Latin American capitalists with a taste for at (the small-time, entrepreneurial ancestors of the 1980s) c) the vast solitude of the Latin American continent, Octavio Paz’s continent and Octavio Paz’s solitude, more or less. But instead of the humanist-CIA man’s bourgeois solitude one finds the dreamlike, translucent-tearful, pre or post-ejaculatory solitude of a lone, massive cock, in its eternal refractory period, dribbling crystal tears, like one of those found extraterrestrial objects that always pseudo-mysteriously show up in Andean countries so that the left-wing dissidents of Minutemen can show up to recover them (the Minutemen, always searching after the lost petrified-mythological cock buried in the desert or the cordillera, as if a gun or a novel written by Yuri Herrera could summon them into existence in a phantasmagoric land that could never belong to them).
Joyce/Beckett in Latin America was at least as important as Marx and Freud in Latin America. Tens of thousands of young idealists died in Latin America in the seventies and eighties (and before and after) on the cross of Marx and Freud, but also or more so on the cross of Joyce/Beckett (which is only to say that Irish, like Indian, revolutionaries always fought on the side of the incipient Mexican Revolution, the dead but vibrating Mexican Revolution). Though, naturally, they were the same cross. Stephen Dedalus also kept his fetal eyes open in the intrauterine dark as he was fucked by a mysterious vibration, by an ugly guy with a medium-sized cock at best who wasn’t his father and whom the Alliance for Progress-trained cops wanted to take out of commission, because he gave people the creeps, because he wasn’t the true ecclesiastical fiction of a father.
Bolaño’s boxer father: his boxer father whom he memorialized as an antidote against Nerudian pseudo-proletarian grandiloquence, against assimilation and against losing your bearings in the bourgeois cosmos (it’s necessary to keep whoring and drinking, and to keep Allende’s photo in your house, but don’t forget where you came from, when to disappear a femicidal pimp or to punch a schizo-suicidal party official in the mouth). But also his father who gave birth to a second family, one of whom is Bolaño’s half-brother, a chubby-faced sanguine local panista: they were pleasantly surprised to learn after the fact that their long-lost prodigal had in fact returned to Mexico, though he’d died, to the hearth of the NAFTA-ized Mexican publishing industry)…
Bolaño once wrote a book whose theme was that fascist authors in the dreary corners, sewers, and cesspools of the imperial periphery are petty-bourgeois madmen whose guilt is also innocence, is also surrealism, is also a kind of critique and also a kind of cartography of the lost possibilities of evil (since true evil in Latin America always arrives with a blunt liberal facticity, even when its murdering positivists, like Pinochet, wear fascist disguises that nonetheless fail to hide the fattening contours of their derivative, comprador faces). The lost possibilities of evil, incidentally, are nothing but the obverse side of the lost possibilities of the good, which is to say the lost possibilities of revolution (sex, strange encounters, the final and absolute murder of the bourgeoisie, its bad poetry and its worse prose). I’m not talking about a red-brown alliance, obviously, the permanent petty-bourgeois fantasy of an impossible reconciliation between the classes. I’m talking strictly about literature, where class war also exists, but as if through the eyes of a person suffering from vertigo or from Cotard’s delusion, because the fundamental, perhaps even the essential class war in literature is twofold, having not only to do with the class war that takes place in reality but also the class war that takes place between failure and success, or between the writers whose words become surplus value and the writers who can’t even reproduce the conditions of their own revolting existence.
Bolaño can be read as an author who probed the failure, for whatever reason or for innumerable reasons, of the establishment of Cedric Robinson’s Black surrealist tradition in (non-black, or anti-black) Latin America. Though naturally there are Black Bolaños, who scribble in the margins of Bolaño’s books in the same way that Bolaño scribbled and aggressively masturbated in the margins of the French poetic tradition, the Gringo-beatnik tradition, the Russian tradition of the left Social Revolutionaries and the right-Zamyatin proto-fascists, the French poetic tradition that he recovered in west Africa, dying of liver failure and vanguardism, of the ultimate disappointment of a man stranded between the Third World and a European visa he could almost certainly never get again, in the midst of France’s neo-colonialist gunboat diplomacy.
In Neruda, Bolaño rightfully sees the naive, lugubrious imbibing of a false Marxism (and an even falser, an even more poetically illiterate Hegelianism, and of course the most abject Stalinism, the kind of Stalinism that makes every leftist, not necessarily ashamed, but confused about how Stalin ever became a graphomaniac). But also in Vallejo, whom he sincerely loved, he also sniffed out a continuation of a kind of Marxist-aesthetic Whiggish history. In Vallejo he saw the specter of the party boss, the Stalinist or the schizophrenic. In one of his early exile novels, Monsieur Pain, Vallejo can only be redeemed as a prone, an aphasic almost-corpse: victimized by neo-fascist magic and by the Stalinist-medical establishment, hiccuping an inarticulate vision of loss, or a flatulent loss of vision.
In his romantic hate-letter or bulletin board against Neruda (and against his mother, who read him Neruda in a kind of Stockholm syndrome repetition of her rapist’s mutterings: in order to recover his mother), B compares Neruda to a tyrannical phantom on the level of Hitler and Stalin who stalks his adolescent, Chilean-Mexican brain. But at the very least Neruda gestures at his ignorance and his inarticulateness and finally smiles, “as if he was telling me that all communication is impossible but that, nevertheless, it’s necessary to try.”
Even in Nazi Literature in the Americas, the Haitian Nazi-surrealist has a better mastery of genres, of the Caliban-Ariel “dialectic,” and of pseudonymous polymorphousness, than do his white or mestizo fascist litterateur lost brothers.
It’s also worth pointing out that, exactly as Bolaño intended and prophesied (since he came, ultimately, from a prophetic tradition), Nazi Literature in the Americas became a kind of irony-bro Ur-text of the esoteric, the black pilled, alt-right. Particularly of the ultrareactionary homofuturist pornographer BronzeAgePerv (steppe barbarian, nudist body builder, etc.), who is nothing but an onanistic paralipomenon, a forgotten haggadic commentary (if the Haggadah had been written by a well-read serial killer suffering from extremely pathological sexual issues), on the life of an Aryan-homosexual Bolaño who never existed.
If BronzeAgePerv weren’t just a Twitter gay porn bot-account, one would have to take his vitalist prophecies (which are really just the extension of capital’s deterritorializing irrationalism to a disavowed sodomic conclusion, to Pasolini’s Salo) extremely seriously. If Steve Bannon didn’t jerk off to BronzeAgePerv twice every night, before polluting Trump’s executive orders with his own psychosexual losing fatalism, one would have to take the ideas of Julius Evola and of Tom of Finland very seriously.
But in fact BronzeAgePerv has read way more French theory than even the CIA did in their heyday, and has probably read more Lenin than the soi-disant Leninist Bannon.
Which leads me to believe that BronzeAgePerv is a semi-literate psychopath–with strange, stomach-churning, but abstract tastes—living somewhere in the Boston suburbs (the son of a stereotypically alcoholic Irish-American cop who repeatedly molested him) with a prematurely, steroidally shrunken dick, which, to his credit, he strokes and embraces: a hard dick is beta, is no pill.
To his credit—one should always give credit to Nazis, as Bolaño knew—BronzeAgePerv has a decent reading of Musil, even if, naturally, he prefers Young Törless, that ironic but still Theweleitian pro-mystical and pro-male fluids-in-anal-Kantian-orifices manifesto, over The Man Without Qualities.
BronzeAgePerv has probably seen but never understood Fassbinder’s Satan’s Brew, which shows his cocksucking, his truly hysterical face, and has certainly never seen Fassbinder’s Germany in Autumn, which shows the birthpangs of a future world filled with suffering, self-doubt, and a righteous cleansing of the fascist scum off the face of this earth.
This earth that, to be honest, doesn’t matter that much to us leftists, in terms of its Lebensraum, in terms of its fascist orbs and palimpsestic semi-peripheral cores and its roaming races.
There’s a reason that Pinochet and specifically Pinochet’s helicopters have been mainstreamed by the alt-right as a meme and as a hope.
As if we’re supposed to take seriously these casuistic “hypocrisy” allegations by the pedantic, the phrenological left: But what about Milton Friedman and neaw-liberalism? But what about Jaime Guzmán?, The National Review and the Francoist, dirigiste right, walking into a bar to discuss how the 16th-century Jesuits invented capitalism plus white supremacy?
I at least half-believe that BronzeAgePerv is Connor Kilpatrick’s alt account.
Fernando, an Argentine communist or at the very least Guevarist student of musical theory, told me he wanted to introduce his friend to me and R. He’s very spiritual, he said. Actually, he said espiritual. I wasn’t sure what the difference was. Why would we want to meet anyone spiritual? Did he mean spiritual in the Hegelian sense, was his friend a slightly more messianic and instinctual form of intellectual, was he a stoner, a neo-shamanist ayahuasca drug dealer, did he read Ernst Bloch, did he prefer Jodorowsky’s books to Jodorowsky’s films, was he a dribbly left-wing Christian Democrat, someone who would lecture us about liberation theology and the Pope and the necessity of joining up humbly with the Montoneros? Maybe it was a joke. But Fernando didn’t believe in or even understand jokes. He liked to laugh, heartily, uncontrollably, with screwed-up eyes and an epileptic contortion, spitting into his thick black beard. But a joke was beyond him: life to him was palpably, beautifully funny (evil to him was the absolute enemy, a kind of void of the anatomical convulsions of laughter).
Fernando came over one night with his friend, Marcos. Marcos had flowing black hair and a soul patch, and he wore black dress pants and a black collared shirt. He looked like every displaced and ascetically horny middle-class freak in Latin America (and also in non-Latin America) who wanted to look like Jodorowsky or Lynch, or like a character in one of their movies.
The conversation came around to poetry, to Marcos’ desire to be a poet. At some point the conversation forked. I talked to Fernando, R talked to Marcos. What I talked about with Fernando was Adorno, whom he’d just read for the first time at his university and defended against his classmates, who considered his (Adorno’s) opinions about music too critical (I considered them too racist). The conversation came around to what Adorno had said about the splinter in your own eye being the sharpest magnifying glass. Fernando, who always pretended to a complete ignorance, asked Marcos what he thought about the Biblical passage, and Marcos talked about philology, about neighborliness, about the fact that the original Aramaic New Testament contained the possibility for a rich man to enter heaven, since the camel shit meant unloading yourself of just enough wealth to pass through eye of “the needle” (which was actually a kind of narrow after-hours gate in Jerusalem, a kind of Mediterranean Trans-Pacific Partnership, there had been a complete surrealist failure of translation), so that in fact the Peronist dream of reconciliation was possible, it only required the rich to abandon their pomposity and the poor, too, to abandon the pomposity of their poverty.
Later, after innumerable bottles of Malbec, the topic of Miguel Serrano came up. Marcos brought him up. As Miguel Serrano said in his book, The Serpent of Paradise, etc. So finally I had someone to talk to about Miguel Serrano, about fascist and even Nazi authors.
We talked about Serrano for a half hour, at most.
Then I told Marcos to leave mi casa, that not only did I not want Nazis in my house, but I especially didn’t want New Age, Hyperborean-Patagonian, Lebensraum-worshipping Nazis (though I knew what the Israelis were actually up to there, with their military bases and plans to relocate the Palestinians and their IDF-set forest fires). Most of all, I don’t want spiritual Nazis, the worst kind of fucking Nazi, in my house. He didn’t budge from his chair. He looked at Fernando, as if something horrible had happened. I thought we were just talking, he said. I thought this was a safe space to discuss poetry, to discuss ideas, including the idea of Jewish Power, including how best to fight against the Kali Yuga, including the possibility or impossibility of astral seances with Hitler in his Antarctic sleep, the sleep of solitude, the sleep of the black sun, including the ideas of Ezra Pound. I thought we’d exiled bourgeois decorum. I thought we were poets. I said that, out of principle, Nazis were scum to me, and that though there were far worse scum than him, actual killers, actual evil, in the world, I didn’t drink with Nazis, I didn’t talk with Nazis, I killed Nazis, in fact. And Fernando looked at me with pained eyes and said, Marcos is young, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, he’s a fool, there’s a misunderstanding, you’re teaching him a good lesson.
Nothing happened. They left with a show of politeness. Later, R told me that in fact Marcos, whom she’d been talking to all night, was barely literate, barely articulate, that we were dealing with a case of idiot savant mental retardation, a pretend hipster poet, and though she never believed in dismissing the intelligence of another person, she implored me to understand that if I had in fact hurt that poor fascist idiot, Marcos, I would have later come to regret it, I would have wasted my violence, that anti-fascism had no sense these days, anyway, and that, more or less, I shouldn’t have been digging into the paranoiac texts of a Chilean Nazi in the first place.
1 For a long time in Chile the nominally center-left Concertación coalition and its posthumous pseudonyms wanted to rename the Santiago international airport after Neruda. The Chilean right, which was responsible for Neruda’s death and had always resisted his fame until it had become tolerable after the Cold War, protested vehemently (they gave idiotic reasons, as in why don’t we name a terminal after him but also one after Gabriela Mistral, for feminism’s sake?, or how dare we dishonor the legacy of some mediocre Chilean military aviator who currently lends his name to the airport?). Among the many failed or abortive projects of the second Bachelet government, the renaming initiative failed, but from the left. It turns out that at the same time that Neruda and Orwell were touring British South Asia, Neruda had confessed, in his memoirs no less, to a very brutal, classist-racist rape of a woman whose job it was to evacuate his chamber pot. The description of the rape that Neruda gives are very Nerudian: saccharine, with an aura of Stalinist aesthetics, of sexualized pity. Suddenly the floor dropped out and there seemed to be no difference between Neruda and Orwell, except that Orwell was on the wrong side of history and that he was a snitch, or that Orwell killed an elephant in public to prove his own racist fantasies and Neruda raped a menial worker in private (a privacy for which he was constantly doing publicity), based on a racial-misogynist imagination. One can learn from this example that the feminist left no longer has any patience with fucking Concertación, with the fucking misogynist Communist Party, with fucking so-called Chilean (neo-colonial) culture: and especially with left-male chauvinism. Neruda who went to talk about debt relief with the IMF praising his debt to Whitman, as if his country’s treasury owed a debt to the imperialist Whitman as opposed to Neruda owing a debt to the series of women he raped, exploited, and mined, as if the Chilean left hadn’t been infected from its beginning by its homophobia, its misogyny, its bourgeois aspirations, as if the true Latin American left hasn’t left behind these fucking assholes, these suckups, these pieces of shit. As if Neruda weren’t Orwell by another name, and not in the way that democratization theory means, but in the way that his feminist critics mean. For now the airport remains Charlie Horman’s or Dante’s airport, the one you fly into in order to abandon all hope, unless you’re connected to the Chicago School (At the very least, an upscale Burmese chain in Oakland that systematically underpays its migrant workers should rename its “George Orwell” gin drink to a “Pablo Neruda” drink, so that at the end of the day at least one can dishonestly toast tods Naxalite-Maoist liberation while one imbibes imperialist nostalgia).