The Cult of Hope by H.L. Mencken


As today’s the birthday of the Sage of Baltimore, optimism becomes an increasingly alien concept for me, and I saw a passing mention to this piece in Michael Rose’s Infernalia (which I plan to review in the next week or two), enjoy Mencken’s meditations on the absurdity of hope.


The Cult of Hope

by H.L. Mencken

From Prejudices: Second Series, 1920, pp. 211-218

Of all the sentimental errors that reign and rage in this incomparable Republic, the worst is that which confuses the function of criticism, whether aesthetic, political or social, with the function of reform. Almost invariably it takes the form of a protest: “The fellow condemns without offering anything better. Why tear down without building up?” So snivel the sweet ones: so wags the national tongue. The messianic delusion becomes a sort of universal murrain. It is impossible to get an audience for an idea that is not “constructive”—i.e., that is not glib, and uplifting, and full of hope, and hence capable of tickling the emotions by leaping the intermediate barrier of intelligence.

In this protest and demand, of course, there is nothing but the babbling of men who mistake their feelings for thoughts. The truth is that criticism, if it were confined to the proposing of alternative schemes, would quickly cease to have any force or utility at all, for in the overwhelming majority of instances no alternative scheme of any intelligibility is imaginable, and the whole object of the critical process is to demonstrate it. The poet, if the victim is a poet, is simply one as bare of gifts as a herring is of fur: no conceivable suggestion will ever make him write actual poetry. And the plan of reform, in politics, sociology or what not, is simply beyond the pale of reason; no change in it or improvement of it will ever make it achieve the impossible. Here, precisely, is what is the matter with most of the notions that go floating about the country, particularly in the field of governmental reform. The trouble with them is not only that they won’t and don’t work; the trouble with them, more importantly, is that the thing they propose to accomplish is intrinsically, or at all events most probably, beyond accomplishment. That is to say, the problem they are ostensibly designed to solve is a problem that is insoluble. To tackle them with a proof of that insolubility, or even with a colorable argument of it, is sound criticism; to tackle them with another solution that is quite as bad, or even worse, is to pick the pocket of one knocked down by an automobile.

Unluckily, it is difficult for the American mind to grasp the concept of insolubility. Thousands of poor dolts keep on trying to square the circle; other thousands keep pegging away at perpetual motion. The number of persons so afflicted is far greater than the records of the Patent Office show, for beyond the circle of frankly insane enterprise there lie circles of more and more plausible enterprise, and finally we come to a circle which embraces the great majority of human beings. These are the optimists and chronic hopers of the world, the believers in men, ideas and things. It is the settled habit of such folk to give ear to whatever is comforting; it is their settled faith that whatever is desirable will come to pass. A caressing confidence—but one, unfortunately, that is not borne out by human experience. The fact is that some of the things that men and women have desired most ardently for thousands of years are not nearer realization today than they were in the time of Rameses, and that there is not the slightest reason for believing that they will lose their coyness on any near tomorrow. Plans for hurrying them on have been tried since the beginning; plans for forcing them overnight are in copious and antagonistic operation today; and yet they continue to hold off and elude us, and the chances are that they will keep on holding off and eluding us until the angels get tired of the show, and the whole earth is set off like a gigantic bomb, or drowned, like a sick cat, between two buckets.

Turn, for example, to the sex problem. There is no half-baked ecclesiastic, bawling in his galvanized-iron temple on a suburban lot, who doesn’t know precisely how it ought to be dealt with. There is no fantoddish old suffragette, sworn to get her revenge on man, who hasn’t a sovereign remedy for it. There is not a shyster of a district attorney, ambitious for higher office, who doesn’t offer to dispose of it in a few weeks, given only enough help from the city editors. And yet, by the same token, there is not a man who has honestly studied it and pondered it, bringing sound information to the business, and understanding of its inner difficulties and a clean and analytical mind, who doesn’t believe and hasn’t stated publicly that it is intrinsically and eternally insoluble. For example, Havelock Ellis. His remedy is simply a denial of all remedies. He admits that the disease is bad, but he shows that the medicine is infinitely worse, and so he proposes going back to the plain disease, and advocates bearing it with philosophy, as we bear colds in the head, marriage, the noises of the city, bad cooking and the certainty of death. Man is inherently vile—but he is never so vile as when he is trying to disguise and deny his vileness. No prostitute was ever so costly to a community as a prowling and obscene vice crusader, or as the dubious legislator or prosecuting officer who jumps at such swine pipe.

Posted in Culture, Moral Panic, Philosophy, Politics, Sex, Texts of Interest | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MRDArous Aphorisms: Pleading the Fifth

2015-05-27 21.41.35

  • Creation: the act of killing something that does not exist.
  • Abstraction is an idyllic and immersive place to live….which is why it’s probably better off just visited from time to time.
  • Morality: the figleaf on the crotch of desire.
  • “Plausible deniability” is another term for “passive aggression”.
  • “Happily ever after” is the glorification of the freeze frame.
  • Show me a moralist and I’ll show you a lady (or gentleman) that doth protest too much.
  • Self-flagellation: The solipsist screaming “KONY 2012!”
  • With “the School of Hard Knocks” touted as an academy of esteem, one could be forgiven for thinking hardship the hallmark of privilege.
  • Prestige can be an ideal refuge in which to pine for pleasure.
  • In this world, self-interest in another person’s well-being is the closest thing to an Ideal Platonic “pure” motive…but fuck Plato!
  • The desire for time travel is the desire for parricide.
  • In the land of Weltanschauungen lives a species of resignation commonly misidentified as “realism”.
  • Passover: A great bedtime story for kids with vegetarian parents.
  • For some, “freedom” and “civilization” amount to nothing more than the degrees of distance between any given set of laws and the guns enforcing them.
  • To breathe is to be biased, but then, so is suicide.
  • Eternal pregnancy and stillbirth: both ever more tragic when the foetuses aren’t flesh and blood.
  • “Common sense”: Oxymoron extraordinaire!
  • Conceiving of oneself as a hard-edged “seeker of truth” serves as its own seductive romance.
  • “Ruler”, “king”, “dictator”, “dominus”, “emperor”, “president”: all mere descriptors for the most exalted of slaves.
  • Propriety doth make liars of us all.
  • Never underestimate the human propensity to fail to count beyond two.
  • “No enemies to the Right”: a splendid slogan to soften souls up for a Long Knives scenario.
  • My definition of Hell: A world where one’s only options consist of being either predator or prey.
  • “Many a true word is uttered in jest”, making “just kidding” and its variants the least trustworthy phrases in the English language.


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MRDAing My Medusa: Pushing Past Perfectionist Petrification


Regular readers of this blog (all five of you) will have noticed that there’s been fuck-all activity chez MRDA for the past month or three. Part of that comes from being wrapped up in entanglements elsewhere, of both the fun and not-so-fun kind; some of them even managed to straddle both camps. Another inhibiting factor has been a certain ennui in regard to the current of events flowing through the newsfeeds. There’s only so much one can sit and opine about one encroachment of civil liberties after another, and things seemed to be getting kinda monomaniacal in this here hellish abode.

Yet another inhibiting factor? The same one which, during a decent spell, keeps my Infernal input at about a dozen posts a year; in the words of someone unnear-but-dear to me, “perfectionism can be paralytic”. As such, I found myself passing up many an opportunity to opine, even within the somewhat narrow scope of this blog, lest I choose the “wrong” words, arguments, sources, moment, to express the thoughts running through my brainfield.

Paradoxically, I’ve come to think of my will-to-perfectionism as a massive, crippling flaw, holding me back from many an advancement.

Thus, in an attempt to rectify the flaw, I’m gonna make a point of posting here more frequently – on a wider range of topics. As well as the usual MRDA take on current (and not-so-current) events in the sociopolitical sphere, I’ll make a point of throwing some more philosophical, personal, and pensive pieces into the mix to keep things from ossifying into the one-track. Hell, I’ll toss in a few long-overdue reviews here ‘n’ there…and maybe even garnish things off with a few creative conniptions of my own.

In other words, for those of you who’ve been reading my ramblings from the ol’ LJ days, the Infernal renaissance will combine the scope and (hopefully) frequency of the Conniption era (minus the lapses into emo bullshit) with the high scribing standards of the current WordPress/Inferno era…though dialled down a notch to avoid perfectionist petrification.

Time for me to gore the Gorgon and bring Hell out of hibernation.


Posted in Personal, Philosophy, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Furore Road!! Women Enter, One Man(osphere) Leaves


When something I rather like gets compared to something that arouses my animus, it’ll grab my attention, if nowt else. Last Wednesday served as a perfect example of this, what with me coming eyeball-to screen with the most outlandish of opinions on the latest chapter in the Mad Max mythos:

Post apocalyptic feminism, lol. I won’t be seeing the new Mad Max, or at least not paying for it.

I scoffed at the statement (scribbled by one who shall remain unidentified), with its knee-jerk, ideologically-driven dismissal of a film yet unseen by its writer; at the same time, I  wondered what the fuck had inspired such an asinine reaction (not to mention the scribe’s assertion that the supposed “subordinate status” of the pudenda gender made the concept of wasteland warrior wenches – feminist or otherwise — a categorical impossibility).

My question found a likely answer later in the day when I encountered a piece by one Aaron Clarey on the manospherian (yet non-MRA) mouthpiece Return of Kings. Retitling the upcoming movie “Mad Max: Feminist Road” for the purpose of his rallying call, Clarey made much of the promotional prominence given to the character of Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron, and her apparent loquaciousness in relation to the eponymous hero.

Charlize Theron kept showing up a lot in the trailers, while Tom Hardy (Mad Max) seemed to have cameo appearances. Charlize Theron sure talked a lot during the trailers, while I don’t think I’ve heard one line from Tom Hardy. And finally, Charlize Theron’s character barked orders to Mad Max.

Nobody barks orders to Mad Max.

Now, as a firm fan of this franchise, I must admit to sharing Clarey’s concerns about the prominence given to a non-eponymous character; all the review summaries I’ve glimpsed mention the chief focus being on Furiosa at the expense of our antihero, describing the film as “female-driven” on that account. News of the ostensible star of the show being shoehorned into a support role does put something of a dampener on my anticipation, but I guess I’ll find out in a few hours how much it matters.

That said, it really doesn’t sound like Clarey’s actually watched a Mad Max flick in his life nor paid sufficient attention if he has (what with him referring to the Aussie franchise as “a piece of American culture”). It doesn’t take a diehard aficionado to grok the taciturn nature of Max, what with him fitting the (typically masculine) strong, silent mould and all; in the iconic and seminal sequel, he utters a whopping total of sixteen lines, despite being very much the central focus. As for Max being a character no one barks orders at, I suppose that holds true, provided one forgets that he starts the series as an officer of the law under the command of a leather-daddy police chief (with a distinctly girly-sounding name), pretty much goes along with the settler community patriarch’s plan in the sequel (assisted by a – *gasp* – Warrior Woman), and finds himself complying with the wishes of not one but two women across the running time of Thunderdome.

Clarey finds himself on firmer ground when he cites the involvement of feminist playwright Eve Ensler, of Vagina Monologues fame, in the film’s consultation stages. With a sunken heart, I clicked on the link to the TIME Magazine article cited in Clarey’s piece only to find…anything but an advocacy of special-pleading victimologist misandry (but wouldn’t that make for a great villain troupe in a later installment, Miller?). Sure, Ensler pushes the myth of endemic sex trafficking, sees a woman falling in love as “surrendering her power”, and pulls that obnoxious femorrhoid tactic of claiming anyone with a good word to say about double-Xers as part of her tribe; she even has the audacity to claim the sight of sisters doin’ it for themselves to be such an unprecedented and objectionable trope as to need “sneak[ing] in[to]” the narrative. Still, when it comes down to the purported “feminism” in Fury Road, Ensler’s ejaculations reveal it to be nowt more obnoxious than…fighting for freedom from actual oppression and predation — perish the thought!

As established in previous installments of the series, “rape culture” exists as everything but a cute misnomer in the Wasteland: no need or time to stretch the definition of rape when the local marauders yearn to stretch the dimensions of your slit. As such, the premise of women fighting to escape a warlord looking to use them as brood mares for his hordes fails to elicit my indignation. Far from “blur[ring] the lines between masculinity and femininity”, as Clarey claims, Fury Road sounds painfully, acutely aware of the gender divide.

In short, the film sounds closer to Savage Streets than Baise-Moi in terms of its gender relations policy: make ‘em eat lead only if they (try to) make you give head. Personally, I say “yay(-yay-yahoo)” to that!

Reading the Clarey-on call for a boycott to stave off a mushroom-cloud menocide of cinematic proportions, I think back to similarly pathetic pleas by various other special interest groups, be they white identitarians shunning Machete and Thor for supposed endorsements of cultural and racial “genocide”; black identitarians protesting an art exhibit for its purported “white colonial supremacy”; antifa agitators picketing “problematic” performers; or (most appropriately) shrews trying to moan mammaries off Page 3. Whichever way you wanna slice or special plead it, all these fucking factions exemplify the Procrustean paw of politics, clawing away at all aesthetic appreciation beyond prescribed perimeters. I suppose it adds up to their idea of a fun night out.

Still, whilst Clarey and co exhort my fellow Y-chromosome-carriers to join hands with them in sobling solidarity, I’ll be at the local cineplex, checking out this new addition to a much-loved universe. If Fury Road represents a cinematic decline, I for one intend to enjoy it.

UPDATE (Same day, hours later): After finally watching the film (which I thoroughly recommend), I must say that rumours of Furiosa’s prominence at the expense of Max have been considerably exaggerated; the latter gets more than enough screentime, focus, plot relevance, and badass moments to warrant having his name front ‘n’ centre in that title. The other characters certainly flap their gums a lot more, though I struggle to remember an instance of Furiosa “barking orders” at our protagonist. In the tradition of the Alien and Terminator series of film’s, Fury Road shows that one can put strong and capable females in prominent roles without going all feminist with it, making the gee-whiz reactions by feminists laughably baffling, and Clarey’s RoK article ever the more fucking retarded. The film also does an aesthetically pleasing job of depicting the pitfalls of male disposability – not bad at all for a “feminist” flick.

To reiterate: Get a fucking grip, or a room, gendersphere – I don’t care which.


Posted in Culture, Entertainment, Gender Issues, Moral Panic, Movies, Politics, Racial Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

MRDArous Aphorisms: Go Fo(u)rth!

Picture 211

  • Too often, folk who exhort you to “broaden your horizons” simply wish for you to narrow them to a rut of their choosing.
  • The laugh track: a confession of insecurity, if not abject contempt for both audience and material.
  • Pride: the psychological prophylactic.
  • To the oversocialised, all else appears autistic.
  • The “edgiest” explanation isn’t necessarily the most accurate.
  • Holding Eris at bay just gives her apples full sway.
  • Regardless of form, communication amounts to arrogance.
  • “Unprecedented” is not a synonym for “impossible”.
  • Mansplaining: Feminist for “logic”.
  • If you advocate male infant circumcision on the rationale that “he won’t remember”, what logical objection could you possibly have to “newborn porn”?
  • To be apart from the world whilst being a part of it – this I call mastery!
  • The romance of “the people”, of the beleaguered “masses yearning to breathe free”, is a fine thing to believe…provided you stay the fuck away from reality!
  • One person’s inconsequential annoyance is another’s existential nightmare.
  • Too often, an appeal to “loyalty” is a veiled way of saying “Betray yourself!”
  • Sometimes, the bottle can be a bridge to honesty with the self.
  • Whenever I hear talk of a “movement” these days, I can’t help but prefix it with “bowel”.
  • “Inner”? “Philosophical”? “Long-term”? Anything but the pomp and charade of “higher” values!
  • Innuendo: description and example.
  • “Separation of church and state” is often the bureaucrat’s way of saying: “Thou shalt have no other Gods before Me!”
  • The Internet, where the polarities of intellect reside and collide.
  • Troll maxim: “Every day is April Fool’s Day”
  • Strength or weakness: which of the two is father to your compassion?
  • They’ll scold you for “running away from your problems”, but what if your problems stem from the fact that you won’t?
  • Traditionalism: A euphemism for necrocracy.
  • Limitation: the heart of identity.
  • All things are halal to me.
  • If it ain’t my problem, why do I need to be “part of the solution”?
  • Following one’s interests > following “one’s” interest group(s).
  • The outsider, exception, anomaly, suffers more for his commonalities with the general run of humanity than he does for his points of divergence.
  • Pessimism: Another prophylactic to dull the disease of disappointment .
  • At the masquerade ball, ambition often finds itself mistaken for that thing called “humility”.
  • Sometimes, I can’t help but think that “read between the lines” is coded speech for “insert bias here” or “make shit up”.
  • “You’re shameless!” = ” How dare you not have a weakness I can exploit!”
  • Borg cube audition: “I’m just saying what everyone else is thinking.”
  • The Devil can cite Scripture for his purpose”… just as I cite him for my own.
  • “I did it for a higher cause!” = “Diplomatic immunity!”
  • If sin is so ugly, why are so many attracted to it?
  • Whenever someone preaches “unity” amongst bitterly fragmented parties, I always wonder who they want the “united” to beat up on, instead.
  • When you consider the canvas, the use of the phrase “line in the sand” to signal firmness sounds kinda ironic.
  • I wonder: Will the SJWs of transhumanist times bemoan their “oppression” by “the Circuitry”?
  • We live under a climate where one’s very existence stands to be weaponised, whether as bullet or bull’s-eye or both.
  • The urge to create and the urge to destroy: sometimes the two don’t stand apart.


Posted in Aphorisms, MRDArous Aphorisms, Personal, Philosophy, Quotes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Cumberbatch “Coloured” Conundrum


Oh, how the mighty fall! Turns out that after years of being lauded as both an actor by the press and a heartthrob by his adoring fangirls, Benedict Cumberbatch finally let slip his fine-shined shoes, revealing the pus-packed warts of prejudice on his feet. I of course refer to his recent Stateside appearance on the Tavis Smiley show, where the Sherlock star gave the audience, and the world, a taste of the the white supremacy burning in his blackened heart, reviving a term of address long since confined to the cobwebs of history:

“I think as far as coloured actors go, it gets really different in the UK, and a lot of my friends have had more opportunities here [in the US] than in the UK, and that’s something that needs to change,” Cumberbatch said on PBS talk show Tavis Smiley.

“Something’s gone wrong, we’re not representative enough in our culture of different races and that really does need to step up a pace.”

The Independent, 26th January 2015

What a flagrant display of bare-faced, hate-soaked bigotry on Cumberbatch’s part, harking back to the days of Antebellum slavery and Jim Crow, wanting to see blackfolk restricted to beasts of burden for the whims of the white man….

Oh, wait…that’s not it! Not even close.

Try telling that, however, to the Tavis-viewing Twitterati, many of whom signalled their epic umbrage via their social medium of choice; in their minds, Cumberbatch’s use of the term “coloured” triggered a whole host of associations unconnected with the full context of his words. It didn’t take long for the special interest machine on this side of the pond to pick up his racial faux-pas and run with it. Show Racism the Red Card, the UK’s leading anti-racism charity, appreciated the basic gist of the actor’s argument, yet saw fit to take him to task for his “[in]appropriate” and “outdated” turn of phrase.

As eyeroll-eliciting as their speech-policing proved, it paled in comparison to the fuss kicked up by certain media columnists. In the Independent’s online op-ed section, one Yemisi Adegoke made the rather histrionic claim that “calling black people ‘coloured’ removes part of their humanity”, associating the word’s use with the dark days of white supremacy:

The word “coloured” was used in the 1960s and 70s, as it was considered a polite way to address people of colour compared to alternatives. For some it serves as an uncomfortable reminder of a time when racism was commonplace.

In the US context, the word has even stronger negative connotations. It takes us back to a time of segregation where “coloureds” were allocated separate schools, drinking fountains and entrances under the premise of being “separate but equal.” While the races were separate they certainly weren’t equal. Facilities were of much lower quality for African Americans who were regarded as and treated like second-class citizens.

The word “coloured” is offensive because it removes an element of humanity from people. Ribena is coloured, walls are coloured, people may be of colour but they are not coloured. It also harks back to the racist notion that being white is the default state and everyone else is “other,” an aberration from the norm.

In so far as Adegoke singles out the use of “coloured(s)” as noun rather than adjective, I actually think she’s onto something; unwittingly or otherwise, semi-casual references to “(the) coloureds”, or, in more modern parlance, “(the) blacks”, have a certain alienating effect on my ears, overplaying the difference between the demographic and all others at the expense of the internal diversity amongst its members. I notice this choice of wording being employed by right-on, identitipolitik-endorsing progressives as well as old-fashioned racists, reactionaries, and those simply set in their ways. Surprisingly, one of the best critiques of this linguistic subsumption comes from none other than neoreactionary icon Nick Land; in his Dark Enlightenment magnum opus, he identifies a glaring (and grating) example of term discrepancy in John Derbyshire’s notorious Takimag article, ‘The Talk: Nonblack Version’:

Yet even to a reasonably sympathetic, or scrupulously obnoxious, reading, Derbyshire’s article provides grounds for criticism. For instance, and from the beginning, it is notable that the racial reciprocal of “nonblack Americans” is ‘black Americans’, not “American blacks” (the term Derbyshire selects). This reversal of word order, switching nouns and adjectives, quickly settles into a pattern. Does it matter that Derbyshire requests the extension of civility to any “individual black” (rather than to ‘black individuals’)? It certainly makes a difference. To say that someone is ‘black’ is to say something about them, but to say that someone is ‘a black’ is to say who they are. The effect is subtly, yet distinctly, menacing, and Derbyshire is too well-trained, algebraically, to be excused from noticing it. After all, ‘John Derbyshire is a white’ sounds equally off, as does any analogous formulation, submerging the individual in the genus, to be retrieved as a mere instance, or example.

That said, Cumberbatch’s unwitting foray into speechcrime hardly stoops to this “subtly, yet distinctly, menacing” level; whatever historical associations his adjectival use calls to mind, the context clearly negates any malicious or dubious intent, making the accusation of “removing [black peoples’] humanity” all the more baffling.

I also find the distinction between “coloured person” and “person of colour” to be little more than a semantic squabble; to quote another Independent Voice, that of Matthew Norman: “It all seems a bit People’s Front of Judea/ Judean People’s Front to me”.  As such, I find it disappointing to read Bim Adewunmi (previously given honourable mention here for challenging Dianne Abbot’s racial granfaloonery) defend its significance with an “argument” that amounts to one big, fat genetic fallacy.

Note the difference, please. “Coloured” is not equivalent to “people of colour”.

A few people have piped up to ask what the difference between “coloured” and “people of colour” is. Here’s one Twitter user’s eloquent and succinct explanation:

screenshot-mrda wordpress com 2015-02-20 19-05-29

Truly, this is not difficult to grasp.

Maybe Adewunmi and Brulee might wanna tell that to the NAACP: clearly, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People failed to get the memo (which might explain their adherence to the adage that the only good “nigger” is a dead “nigger”).

All that aside, doesn’t the automatic equation of “coloured” with “black” signal a certain racial solipsism on the parts of Adegoke, Adewunmi, and the Tavis tweeters? Perhaps Cumberbatch used “coloured” as a catch-all for non-white actors (and actresses) in general, rather than any particular demographic thereof. Assuming the state of play resembles a chequerboard does something of a disservice to those not named for its tones. One could well make the argument that Cumberbatch exercised more racial sensitivity than his critics, not less.

Whichever of the two one might prefer, both “coloured person” and “person of colour” strike me as retardedly redundant terms to describe nonwhite folk, what with every fucker under the sun being some shade of something; with that in mind, it would hardly break my heart to see both terms fall into disuse with the passage of time. In the meantime, I see no need for the type of knee-jerk, context-ignorant speech-policing which only serves to degrade discourse on matters relevant to the people altmodischly addressed. To quote black British actor David Oyelowo: “To attack him for a term, as opposed to what he was actually saying, I think is very disingenuous and is indicative of the age we live in where people are looking for sound bites as opposed to substance.”


Posted in America, Entertainment, News, Racial Issues, The UK, TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Halal & Hypocrisy XII: Vive la Dissonance!


On the 7th of January, three Islamic gunmen stormed the offices of left-wing satirical mag Charlie Hebdo, killing eleven staff members in the ensuing bullet shower. The magazine had previously made an international name for itself by printing the Mohammed cartoons of 2006, and continuing to satirise Islam on its pages after being firebombed in 2011. Prior to all that, the magazine had secured a decades-old niche as France’s answer to Private Eye.


The following Sunday, a legion of “leaders” came together in Paris to express their solidarity with those slain. Key figures from fifty of the world’s nations joined a substantial number of Parisians, taking to the streets to declare their fealty to the principle of free speech. Je suis Charlie, nous sommes le monde, and all that.

How I wish I’d been there amongst them – to spit on their fucking faces.

As things stand, I’ll settle for the next-best option: kindling the Inferno.

The public outpouring following the massacre really brought forth many of the issues discussed here under the heading ‘Halal & Hypocrisy’, illuminating the marked gulf between rhetoric and reality when it comes to civil liberties in the West. Deliciously, the narrative of these nation-state notaries standing with the French for freedom fell apart under the sustained squeeze of the press, with some all-too-revealing pics exposing the limits of their solidarity.


More damningly and beautifully, one Daniel Wickham made the news for his listing of the various ways each of the figurehead’s nations violated the liberties of those in their jurisdictions, effectively making the phenomena of free-speech hypocrisy especially salient in the public consciousness. I even had to take my hat off to Anjem Choudary, opportunistic scoundrel though he may be, for his part in perforating this mendacious establishment narrative.

Following in their stead, and the most Infernal of traditions, here’s a bit more on the ways the Western governments represented at this shitshow fuck up when it comes to the principle of free expression.

As much as those running la République talked up a grand game in the face of abdullah aggression, their record on upholding their lip-serviced liberté, has proven pretty fucking abysmal. As much as Hollande preens about presiding over “a free country”, where folk get to“defend one’s ideas” sans state molestation, his words amount to a load of old couilles; as well as the headwear bans I’ve, erm, covered in previous episodes, the French citizenry find themselves subject to sanction for a variety of speechcrimes. Take movie icon Brigitte Bardot, who repeatedly found herself in the dock and out of pocket for “inciting racial hatred” via a series of impolitic opinions on immigration, particularly of the Muslim variety; most recently, she got hit with a €15,000 fine in 2008 after receiving her fifth conviction for the offence. I guess it says something when even her prosecutors tire of the tributes she pays to the Republic (and self-appointed victim lobbies) for the safeguarding of her civil liberties.

Other celebrity casualties of the Gallic gavel include Brit fashion designer John Galliano, fined €6,000 for unleashing a racist tirade at fellow restaurant diners in 2011; and the controversial comedian Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala, whose Hebrew-baiting earns him regular court convictions and performance bans from the Council of State. Not one to be dissuaded from delinquency, Dieudonné now finds himself in court on an “apology for terrorism” charge for signalling Facebook empathy with one of those behind the Paris kosher shop murders following the Charlie Hebdo attack.

In the grand scheme, however, Dieudonné’s but one of many subjected to trumped-up “terror” charges; in predictable fashion, the French state saw fit to slam the sobbing jackboot of suppression down on anyone expressing sympathy with the Muslim murderers. Within a week of the bloodshed, courts across the country had thrown the tome at those “condoning terrorism” a whopping 54 times, making the presence of France’s new Anti-Terror Act very much felt.

Even the publication at the heart of last month’s condolences failed to escape the French state’s schizophrenic approach to free expression. Back in 2006, the then-editor of Charlie Hebdo found himself forced to answer for his choice to publish three of the notorious Mohammed cartoons; brought before the gavel by the mewling of both the Paris Grand Mosque and the Union of French Islamic Organizations, Philippe Val faced a potential €22,500 fine and six-years imprisonment; that the judge saw fit to spare him from such penalties hardly excuses the possibility existing in Hollande’s “free country”. Val would not extend the same grace to ex-employee Maurice Sinet, fired in 2008 after refusing to apologise for an “anti-Semitic” column linking Jewishness to social success. The hapless cartoonist would find himself wrapped up in a court-case clusterfuck over the contentious column.

double standards

Since I’m back on the subject of “anti-Semitism”, the lazy conflation of Holocaust revisionism with Hebrew-hatred also ensures the former’s exclusion from the realm of la liberté d’expression. Introduced in 1990, the piece of special-pleading legalese known as the Gayssot Act makes it a crime to question key aspects of the official Holocaust narrative; yet even before that, prominent revisionist Robert Faurisson regularly lost dinner money to the French courts for going about his scholarly business. The years following 1990 would only see his (mis)fortunes continue, his most recent conviction and extortion taking place in 2006. When not putting the squeeze on Faurisson, l’Etat française validates the special-interest pigpiling of amusingly named revisionist websites, preventing them from being accessed on Gallic grounds.

All that said, singling out France for this free speech fuck-up seems a little unfair, what with the Teutonic territories all too eager to replicate the repression. As much as Merkel may condemn the attack on “freedom of opinion and of the press, (an attack on) a core element of our free and democratic culture”, German legislators seem more than happy to throw in their own jabs. Steeped in war guilt following their defeat in the last global Conflict Without Heroes, Deutschlanders have made a legalistic art form out of overcompensation; as such, no new edition of Hitler’s Mein Kampf has seen print since 1945, thanks to the Bavarian government sitting on the copyright; laws against spreading Nazi ideology plus the machinations of ministers make it unlikely that a new edition will see the light of German skies once the copyright expires later this year  – at least not without extensive state doctoring.

Of course, given all this historical guilt, the expected prohibition on revisionism stands firmer in Germanic countries than it does in France, with those who transgress given more than a fine for challenging the law and the narrative. Ask Germar Rudolf or Ernst Zündel, imprisoned in Germany for their perspectives and publications; or the Swiss-incarcerated Jurgen Graf; or, most infamously, the historian David Irving, thrown into an Austrian jail back in 2006 for his own historical heresies.

With similar prohibitions in Belgium, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Israel, and the Czech Republic — nations all represented in the photo-op fiasco — I suspect similar intrigues take place in those parts.

As regular Inferno readers know, whilst the UK offers a respite from the pervasiveness of criminalised inquiry in mainland Europe, it slides further and further into the shit when it comes to free speech in general. A land where folk get locked up and/or fined for poppy-burning, obnoxious rants on public transport, swearing at police, and internet trolling cannot be said to be governed by those who “stand squarely for free speech”, at least not by anyone possessed of a working brain cell. Little wonder, then, that those words fell from the gob of David “Cammy Boy” Cameron in his condemnation of the Paris attackers. “These people will never be able to take us off those values, ” he said, just weeks after his government outlawed the production of certain flavours of consensual pornography.

no spanky

The outrage at the Paris massacres makes for the perfect Trojan horse pretext to further erode what Cameron claims to preserve. No doubt the Home Secretary Theresa May, ever eager to slip her talons into the web, will use this as further justification for the “snooper’s charter” project she spent the last year talking up:

May confirmed her plan to tackle non-violent extremists: “I want to see new banning orders for extremist groups that fall short of the existing laws relating to terrorism. I want to see new civil powers to target extremists who stay within the law but still spread poisonous hatred. So both policies ‚ banning orders and extremism disruption orders ‚ will be in the next Conservative manifesto,” she said.

A Tory briefing note made clear that the banning orders, which can include denying access to the airwaves and to the net, would be targeted not just at so-called hate preachers but also those who sought to “disrupt the democratic process” and “undermine democracy”.

May said the banning orders were part of a widening of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy, saying in the past preventive measures had focused only on the “hard end of the extremism spectrum. So the Home Office will soon, for the first time, assume responsibility for a new counter-extremism strategy that goes beyond terrorism.”

She said the measures would be overseen by the Home Office and would aim to eliminate all forms of extremism‚ including neo-Nazism and Islamist extremism. In particular, it would confront the “culture of bullying and intimidation” found in schools in Birmingham: “We must not sleepwalk into separation, segregation and sectarianism,” she said.

In her speech, May said Muslims in the UK were free to exercise their right to freedom of conscience, thought and religion but must realise that living in the country came with a responsibility to respect British values. She said: “You don’t just get the freedom to live how you choose to live, you have to respect other people’s right to do so too and you have to respect British values and institutions – the rule of law, democracy, equality, free speech and respect for minorities. These are the values that make our country what it is. These are our values. There is no place for extremism here.”

The Guardian, Tuesday 30 September 2014

Yeah, Cammy Boy – Mrs May “stand[s] squarely for free speech”, doesn’t she? That excerpt doesn’t read like dissonant dicksplash coughed out by a conflicted, cuntish control freak, at all.


I could go on and on with this, citing the Netherlands muzzling paedophilia advocates, Israel’s jailing of Palestinian cartoonists, general European curtailment of Islam-bashers, and the life sentencing of a Stateside rapper for “gang conspiracy” album sales (happily overturned – thanks, Obama!), but I think I’ve more than made my point about the pitiful “freedom of expression” offered by lip-servicing Western(ised) governments. As much as folk caught in the grip of vicarious existential dread tremble before “barbarians at the gate”, it strikes me that the worst barbarians have posed as the gatekeepers for far too long.


In the words of the arresting Ann Sterzinger, “if governments are going to curtail free speech, then who are politicians to weep crocodile tears when independent operators follow their example?”


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