January 17th, 2007


Intellectual Cosplay

Guilt by association is the fun party game for right-wing conservatives of all ages. Anyone can play: if you express any reservations over the rightness of the Iraq War, you are as unserious a thinker as the guys who waggle around giant Bush puppets at anti-globalization rallies, stink of patchouli and spell America with three Ks. If you think the government should help poor people with education or health care, you have the blood of Stalin's slaughtered millions on your hands. If you chance to express some sympathy for the viewpoints of exploited and beleaguered Arabs, you are the moral equivalent of Jew-beheading terrorists. If you are now or have ever been a social liberal, you might as well have brought down the Twin Towers with your own hand and eye. And if you notice disturbing parallels between the treatment of Palestinians today and the treatment of blacks under apartheid, you are a virulent anti-Semite, even if you are a former President of the United States.

Happily, this cuts both ways, and we of the loony left get to while away the lonely hours before our beloved jihadi brethren arrive to decapitate us in front of their cell-phone cameras by playing the guilt-by-association game ourselves. And, since conservatives tend to be bigger joiners than liberals do (something about phony titles, uniforms and chanting slogans really appeals to them, I dunno), they conveniently congregate in quivering, darkie-spooked lumps at places like Town Hall and Pajamas Media, where it's easy for us to tar them with our wide brushes. Thus, by the rules defined for us by the pundit elite, the presence of even the most reasonable, thoughful conservatives on the latter site puts them in league with delusional martyr wannabes, incoherent drunks, egomaniacal blowhards, hatemongering racists, and whatever the hell Michelle Malkin is.

Still, nothing -- not Ben Shapiro, not John Podhoretz, not the Star Wars fantasia of James Lileks, not even übergeek Jonah Goldberg, prepared me for the depths of lameitude which now and forever taints Pajamas Media simply by existing. While I was researching Pajamas Media member sites for a piece I'm writing tonight for the Ludic Log, I came across Gates of Vienna, an "Islamophobic and proud" warblog that, like many of its sort, ceaselessly advocates unquartered war with the vile Mahometan horde, but unlike many of its sort, seems to be owned and operated by a couple who write the thing while on leave from portraying minor nobles at an Old Dominion Ren Faire. Going by the SCA-inspired monikers of "Baron Bodissey" and his goodly wyfe "Dymphna", these two pips exhibit a thrilling blend of virulent anti-Arabism common to these quarters, combined with a woozy neo-white-supremacist Nordic nostalgia rarely seen outside of Scandinavian black metal.

Let's take a look at a recent entry, typical and yet somehow exceptional, entitled The Twelfth Viking. After some gimlet-eyed Euro-history about how the brave Charles Martel "contained" the "Islamic virus" in Spain (keeping it "out of the heart of Western Europe", where it might cause palpitations in the hearts of fair-skinned maidens of virtue true), der Baron schools us all in the mysterious Saracen-killin' power of "Holger the Dane", a phantasmal Viking who let the blood of many a dusky Turk in those brave and lofty days. He does this by the highly informative method of personally translating a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale from the original Danish (pardon me, "the tongue of the Vikings"), so that we can all be morally improved by seeing ligatured dipthongs on our computer screens. This section of the mid-level D&D module concludes with the following high-larious conjuration:

"Now, if even a trace of the blood of the Men of the North runs in your veins, or if you have lived long enough among them to have acquired some of their spirit, the hair on the back of your neck will rise when you read these words, and you will say, 'Yes! This is the hero, the man who will defend us during the troubles that are surely coming.'"

While we're waiting for Conan to arrive, Baron Blitzkrieg treats us to some poetry by Ted Hughes, who he admires for his Yorkshire origins. Yorkshiremen, you see, are possessed of "the blood of the Danes" which runs "thick in the veins" (hey, that rhymes! and Ted Hughes was a poet! just like Baron Zemo!), and are possessed of that unfailing signifier of moral purity, "natural blond hair". (Hughes himself was a brunet, but why quibble?) Channeling Dave Sim, Baron Blood interprets Hughes' "Gog" poem as some sort of antifeminist tirade about "the lifelong and ultimately futile efforts of Everyman to escape from the softness and weakness of his mother and establish his own manhood without being sucked in and corrupted by the softness and weakness of his wife". Will those uncreative female voids ever stop destroying us?

Finally, Baron Mordo winds up with the real meat of his article: someday, an imaginary Viking -- presumably a Barbarian of at least 12th level with maximum hit points and a +4 vorpal blade -- will be conjured forth by the collective will of white people, and he will behead the seemingly unstoppable tarrasque of radical Islamism.

Forget the Twelfth Imam. We’ve got our own dude sitting on the bench. Call him the Twelfth Viking. He’s suited up, ready to join the contest as soon as he’s required. The Men of the North form the core of the Counterjihad. They are already in action, clearing the back alleys of Anbar Province, riding point in Kabul, and forming up in self-organized groups to defend our borders with Mexico.

Yikes! Nothing in there, surprisingly, about wizards or elves or goblins, but one might be forgiven for thinking that this gaming table is whites only. But, as inevitably happens when a crazy right-winger (even one who seems like he makes a lot of dragon fan art) says something scarily racist, there's the "it's not about race" qualifier:

As I’ve said before, it’s not race that’s the issue here, it’s culture. The culture of the Danes, the Norsemen, the English, and the Celts. The culture of the hardy and self-reliant Men of the North, always ready to defend their ancient liberties with a ferocity that their enemies can scarcely imagine.

See, it's not about race! It's about culture! Specifically, the culture of a bunch of northlanders who all happen to be white! And are ready to lop the limbs off of savage hordes of filthy invaders from the southlands, who all happen to be not so white!

To wrap up this delightful crazy Warbloggers of Gor item, Baron von Raschke concludes with a wet little mash note to the character he stayed up all night rolling:

Holger Danske is the man who best represents us. He’ll be there in the hour of our greatest need. The Twelfth Viking — I can see his eyelids fluttering even now…