Pulp Fascism: Right Wing Themes in Comics, Graphic Novels, and Popular Literature
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Jonathan Bowden was a paradox: on the one hand, he was an avowed elitist and aesthetic modernist, yet on the other hand, he relished such forms of popular entertainment as comics, graphic novels, pulps, and even Punch and Judy shows, which not only appeal to the masses but also offer a refuge for pre- and anti-modern aesthetic tastes and tendencies.
Bowden was drawn to popular culture because it was rife with Nietzschean and Right-wing themes: heroic vitalism, Faustian adventurism, anti-egalitarianism, biological determinism, racial consciousness, biologically-based (and traditional) notions of the differences and proper relations of the sexes, etc.
Pulp Fascism collects Jonathan Bowden’s principal statements on Right-wing themes in popular culture drawn from his essays, lectures, and interviews. These high-brow analyses of low-brow culture reveal just how deep and serious shallow entertainment can be.
About Pulp Fascism:
“Jonathan Bowden said that greatness lies in the mind and in the fist. Nietzsche combined both forms in the image of the warrior poet. For Bowden it was the image of the cultured thug. I give you Jonathan Bowden: cultured thug.”
—Greg Johnson, from the Foreword
“Jonathan Bowden was uniquely gifted as a cultural critic and revisionist, willing to explore the obscure areas of high and low culture, and apply ideas from the former to the analysis of the later, starting always from the supposition that inequality is a moral good. Bowden’s texts are dense and rich with reference and insight, yet remain entertaining and replete with humor.”
“Many men give speeches; Jonathan Bowden gave orations. To experience one of Bowden’s performances must have been something like hearing Maria Callas in her prime or witnessing one of Mussolini’s call to arms from a Roman balcony.
“As an intellectual, Jonathan was a Renaissance man, or perhaps a bundle of contradictions: his novels and paintings were of Joycean complexity, and yet, in his orations and non-fiction writings, he was able to cut to the essence of a philosophy or political development in a way that was immediately understandable and, indeed, useful for nationalists.
“Pulp Fascism could be called Bowden’s ‘unfinished symphony’– his attempt (not quite realized) to reveal the radical, ambivalent, and, in some cases, shockingly traditionalist undercurrents in pop culture.
“That which envelops our lives is taken for granted . . . and thus rarely properly analyzed and understood. Bowden brings new life to those characters and comic-book worlds we too often dismiss as child’s play.”
“What’s so important about comic books? As someone who has also written about comics, I answer thus: comic books are, like it or not, part of our modern popular culture, and we ignore that culture at our peril. For a very long time now, the Left has been practicing ‘deconstruction’ on our beliefs, our ideals, our traditions, our worldview, undermining the foundation upon which a people survive and thrive. It is high time that the New Right practices some deconstruction of its own. But Jonathan Bowden goes beyond negative criticism; indeed, a considerable portion of this volume is positive commentary on more healthy expressions to be found in comics, graphic novels, and fantasy literature – almost always in those works produced by racially European creators.”
Jonathan Bowden, April 12, 1962–March 29, 2012, was a British novelist, playwright, essayist, painter, actor, and orator, and a leading thinker and spokesman of the British New Right.
sergeant-major and says, “What do you think about that? We’re taking too many prisoners.” Because what the officer has told him in a very English and a very British way is to shoot German soldiers and to shoot German prisoners and to shoot them in ditches. What else does it mean? “You’re slowing the advance! You’re taking too many prisoners! You’re not soft on these people, are you, Mosley? Speed the advance of your column!” That’s what he’s saying, but it’s not written down. It’s not given as a
dint of contrast) is an anarchist. Yet anarchism and fascism are tied together by virtue of their dialectical inversions of one another. Scratch Nietzsche and you move to Stirner (in the center of this spectrum); scratch Stirner and you end up with the individualistic element in Bakunin, for example. You can also go back along the spectrum as well. Another consideration arises: the notion of the anarcho-fascist or Right-wing anarchist (a combination of Batman and the Joker). This would include a
War comics, and these sorts of thing. They were done by D. C. Thomson, which is the biggest comics manufacturer in Britain, up in Dundee. These comics were very unusual because they allowed extremely racialist and nationalist attitudes, but the enemies were always Germans and they were always Japanese. Indeed, long after the passing of the Race Act in the late 1960s and its follow-up which was more codified and definitive and legally binding in the 1970s, statements about Germans and Japanese
downtrodden, etc. Another factor which Burgess cleverly makes use of is the introduction of communist words, phrases, and tags (gobbets of agitprop and so forth) in order to tease out and make more real the lingo of his various Youthies or violent adolescent pups. Yet having said all of this, the real point of Burgess’ short and linguistically-charged work was an attack on the way in which Alex and his droogs (pals) are reoriented or forced into well-adjusted behavior by the “system.” Much of
Jünger, a Right-wing critique of National Socialism, which is very much a fictionalization of the Conservative Revolution. Superficially speaking, The Sound of His Horn is critical of fox-hunting and hunting in general, but this only occurs within the perspective of rural piety and a hunting fraternity of a highly conservative bent. In this novella the Germans are the winners of the Second World War which they have rechristened The War of German Rights. One presumes that this Sarban’s allusion