On Gammons, Ockers And De Sade

When in the first decade of this century I was struggling to find a satisfactory term for George Bush voters – what have subsequently been called Movement Conservatives and also conspiracy theorists, Deplorables and worse – the word “gammon” had not yet been invented in the UK. Or if it had, I remained unaware of it until Brexit. For the benefit of any foreign readers I will therefore explain that a “gammon” is an angry middle-aged white man, with his face always red – primarily with rage, but often assisted by capillary damage from heavy drinking. Rage against what? Foreigners, mostly, thus the European Union (the wogs begin at Calais, as they used to say), and probably also gays, feminists, intellectuals, the BBC and many other such irritants. In other words, pretty much everyone except royalty, plutocrats posing as self-made men, and other gammons. I may have missed the creation of the word, but I certainly knew the thing – after all, I grew up among them, braying the latest memes from the Daily Wail and the Torygraph as their own inventions and calling for the flogging and hanging of criminals and the shooting of trade unionists. Which they regarded as the same thing.

Living at a safe distance from Brexit, I was at the same time coining my own nickname for a certain local tribe, the people on the bus who could get from “Nice day” to “Bloody foreigners” in ten seconds. For their distorted expressions and the metaphorical stream of dirty water flowing from their mouths, I called them “gargoyles”. This was before Nôtre-Dame burned down and most of my hearers had no idea what the word meant. Apart from the fact that “gammons” is used about men and my “gargoyles” came in all genders, they seem to be much the same thing. But as “gammons” may not be understood outside the UK, while “gargoyles” is my own coinage, we are still short of a universal descriptor for a particular human type. Australians have their “ockers”, but this is not globally understood either.

Anyone who doubts that there really is such a human type, on the other hand, should look at old photographs of the early Sturmabteilung: I am confident that members and victims could be distinguished in a blind test. Nowadays, I suspect that you might have difficulty telling the neo-Nazis from the extreme antifa; indeed, I once proof-read a doctoral thesis about how they are often the same people, switching back and forth according to chance or their latest girlfriend, seeking both a sense of belonging and a good punch-up. But distinguishing the street thugs of both sides from ordinary people by looks alone, this might be possible. I am still looking for a universal term for the marginally less violent variety of right-wingers.

So how does De Sade come into this? Obliquely, in that he wrote that the lowest form of criminal tended to vote for conservative candidates. Now, in probably the Seventies I read a scientific article claiming that if you plotted political affiliation against ethical level (which they purported to measure somehow), then the Left included both the best and the worst individuals, with the conservatives in between. That seemed to make sense back then, when conservatives were suits rather than shamans, but things have changed. One might say that the conservatives have lurched towards the criminal end of the spectrum.

Although the gammons of my youth were forever ranting about how most other demographics ought to be hanged, they never executed anyone personally. January 6, 2021 showed us that this is changing very radically. It will continue to do so, probably in consequence of some brilliant worldwide organisation. The successful export to Europe of ideological anti-masking may be just the precursor. All the more reason, then, why we should find a term that is accurate and intuitively recognisable.

Posted on October 13, 2021 at 15:48 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!, The Shadow In The West

Houellebecq Precisely The Wrong Way Round?

Since I “discovered” Michel Houellebecq in 2020, I found much of what he writes to be an anticipation of my own thinking, so that – just as with Schopenhauer – I seem to have reinvented the wheel. There are, however, exceptions. When a Houellebecq character says, “For me, love is nothing more than gratitude for the gift of pleasure”, I slam on the brakes. Perhaps because my youth was mostly about unrequited infatuation, perhaps because for all my atheism I retain a streak of loyalty to the idea of agape or caritas, or even perhaps because I am less narcissistic than he is, I find Houellebecq’s narrators to be repulsively obsessed with getting blow-jobs and astonishingly uninterested in female pleasure. If one is to be “grateful” for anything, I fancy, it should be for the mere existence of the Other.

The Very Hungry Ape

The man who wrote “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” has just died. I had never actually read the children’s book myself, but I fancy that the title plus basic knowledge of caterpillar behaviour tells me all I need to know about the plot. Well, In addition I gather from news items that the continuous chomping was somehow justified or even made inspiring by the fact that the larva was destined to turn into a butterfly.

But wait just a minute. The thing about that insect family is that it is not possible to say that the creature “is” the caterpillar, or “is” the pupa, or even “is” the imago. If we assume the third thing, that is merely our bias in favour of something that we enjoy seeing. One might just as well say that the imago is the genitals of the caterpillar. It would probably be best of all to say that the creature “is” the DNA, which takes some very different morphological forms. The plant world is not dissimilar, as anyone knows who has tried to get rid of dandelions or bindweed; whatever we see above ground is not the really important stuff.

In any case, I know of a Very Hungry Beastie that munches and munches and munches, stripping bare everything around him, and who notably fails to pupate and re-emerge as something more beautiful. It is called a Human. And this is where I would start my Gnostic indictment of creation in general and our creation in particular. Some human cultures do not eat every day, but starve or gorge according to availability. I think we can safely say that this is culturally learned, and that the human being as most of us know him is a sort of Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Particularly in my lifetime, sit-down “meals” have almost ceased to exist, and the youngsters snack continuously like cows grazing. Not to wax superior; in fact both models cause me unease. To me the need to eat every day is a burden rather than a joy, and whenever you get refugees piling up against a barrier, as so often nowadays, the world in general gets a sense of that burden. I have no faith whatsoever that any green-technology transformation will save seven billions of this Very Hungry Human.

Posted on June 21, 2021 at 14:41 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: AGAINST NATURE, Defying The Demiurge

Does The “Office Nympho” Actually Exist?

The other day I came across the phrase “Office nympho”. Never mind how wrong it is for anyone to say this nowadays – the reflection it provoked in my own so wicked mind was to ask whether I had ever met such a thing. I have, after all, spent a certain small fraction of my life working in offices.

I quickly realised that it would be a matter of definition. Assuming for the sake of argument that there were something we should call a “nympho” – or sexually liberated/aggressive woman, if you prefer – was there any reason to think that every office would have one? Certainly I had never observed the phenomenon, but then again, if I had been at an office supplied with an office nympho, she would not have looked at me. I might not even have noticed that there was one. Anyway, I had not worked in enough large organisations, which reduced sample size.

At a larger workplace, could I envisage a social dynamic that created this title? Well, yes. The office is the modern village, and so we must expect there to be a ducking-stool. Now, it suits women to pretend that the policing of female sexual behaviour is conducted solely by men, whereas in reality it is (in Shaw’s phrase) female trade-unionism.

It should be blindingly obvious that if the Office Nympho exists, she is a bigger threat to the women than to the men; the latter can hope for a cheap fuck and thus have no reason to suppress her, but for the other women there are no upsides. The promiscuous woman is both driving the price down and generally undermining claims to the superior moral “virtue” of the sex. In addition, Jung’s theory of projection is highly relevant; seeing someone else live out your own secret fantasies is upsetting.

What would drive the behaviour that gets a woman stigmatised as the Office Nympho? It has nothing to do with offices per se, but many people suffer from a pathological need for validation. A man with that need might be the Office Casanova, or waste a lot of time trying to be; in a woman, the thirst seems to be for attention. One rarely meets a female who entirely lacks that craving, perhaps because such a person might be a complete recluse. The judgment call that must be made by all other women is how much attention to purchase with how much sex. The Office Nympho, then, is making a particular call that others do not, either because they have a smaller craving for attention or because they are more aware of the downsides of being awarded the title.

Posted on March 23, 2021 at 10:05 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: WHAT WOMEN WANT, Keeping Score

On Elves And Smartphones

I have read a fantasy novel by Sarah J. Maas, an author who, according to the shop, had previously achieved great success in the Young Adult market without my having heard of her. This marketing distinction often eludes me; for example the Discworld series is for grown-ups while the Tiffany Aching sequence set in the same place is supposedly for Young Adults, but I enjoyed the latter equally with the former.

The Maas book in question is a strange hybrid of High Fantasy with policier and chicklit, and I am not sure that the investigative aspect sits well with the absolute power of the dominant non-humans. In the same way, I am uneasy about the blend of ancient magicks, shapeshifters, the Fae and so forth with a ruthlessly 2020 technology and social sensibility: movie streaming, e-mail, smartphones and selfies. Here the gods do not stage theophanies, they phone you. This could be a design choice, intended as a break with the clichéd joinder of sorcery and demons with cod-medieval technology and cod-medieval manners, an originality that I would applaud. At the same time I have a worrisome feeling that the largely supernatural denizens of her world preen in front of their smartphones solely because Maas, being of her generation, is honestly unable to imagine a universe in which people (broadly defined) do not preen in front of their smartphones.

In support of this suspicion is the heavy emphasis on clubbing. Whether this lifestyle is regarded as a good thing or not is a little ambiguous, but on the whole I think she counts getting wasted and having quickie sex in the club toilet as heroic, at least when indulged in by females. And this brings us to another point. While by no means following the “two legs good, three legs bad” mantra of much of a previous generation, and wholly ignoring the issues of transsexuality, Maas seems unusually prone to referring to a character as “the male”, and, slightly less intrusively, as “the female”. She is almost the opposite of Patricia Briggs in that she loathes dominant males, whom she calls “alphaholes”. This is a fine coinage, which I intend to steal, but is never applied to power-crazed females. Of which she portrays several, but never under that name.

Being “sassy” has long been regarded as a virtue in women, but Maas’ “party girl” characters seem to take it a bit further and into what I would call fratboy territory. Moreover, her emphasis on male beauty sits oddly with how women used to describe themselves as motivated solely by the inner person, whatever that is, while her “if you’ve got it, flaunt it” attitude is definitely a violation of one of the earlier waves of feminism. These beings, both human and other, positively welcome ocular harassment! Again, this may be a generational difference.

An even sharper contrast would be between on the one hand Maas and other chicklit authors, and on the other hand the worlds of my childhood and maturity. In the first, no middle-class provincial girl would ever come close to admitting that she had genitalia, and indeed had probably never seen her own. I have dealt with my consequent culture shock before in these essays, but what I wonder about now is how such sexy authors fit together with the puritanical feminism I remember from the Eighties. Is this a deliberate polemic against the misandrists of her mother’s generation, when the response to any criticism of a specific individual’s actions was “You hate all women!”; or are they completely different people; or are we talking about quite different rules for the novels someone writes and the conversations the same individual might have in mixed company?

I have the impression that such authors are letting cats out of bags as if they are writing solely for their own gender, forgetting that there is as yet no mechanism for preventing (boo hiss) males from reading them too. Perhaps this will soon become a technological possibility; one could lock books (which by then will only exist electronically) to a retinal scan and a database, thus allowing only females to read a woman’s description of her character’s zipless fucks. Folks, you saw it here first.

We Don’t Want No Plant Investment

In a history of Hungary I read how the nobles believed in extorting and spending, but not in investing. By this I was reminded of how the British pioneers of the Industrial Revolution had neglected to invent or even adopt the Realschule, but instead sent their sons to Eton in order to become gentlemen – that is to say, at best conscientious servants of the Empire, at worst utter parasites.

Well and good, but then it occurred to me to wonder whether finance, that is, the manipulation of unreal fortunes, now plays the same role as land used to, namely sidetracking merchant classes from the business of manufacturing? On the other hand, we do have the modern breed that I call the “techno-sociopaths” (you know who they are). While these are undoubtedly innovating and sometimes even making tangible things, there seems to me to hover an air of unreality over what they do. Should selling new ways to demonstrate status in the monkey hierarchy really count as “goods” in the same way that the Enlightenment had in mind? Or perhaps the singularity-wallahs are right, and when any object can be printed out of thin air, then the only game in town will indeed be preening.

Let us just see the selfie-sharers have to get to grips with the physical world after some civilisational collapse, with Afro-Asian slave labour no longer doing it all for us Eloi.

Posted on January 21, 2021 at 18:45 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, Robber Bands Great And Small

In The Shade Of Financiers

Some English writers become infamous for anti-Semitism, when what they really are should better be described as anti-plutocrats. Chesterton falls into and perhaps leads this category. They do not necessarily seem to think anything about Jews other than that they are rich, acquisitive and ruthless. Chesterton did not, for example, display the sexual anxieties that so dominated Der Stürmer. If one could collar these writers and point out the great number of equally harmful gentile plutocrats, they might even be convinced. I hope so, anyway.

Another example is Ford Madox Ford, who does seem to have a little more generalised animus than Chesterton, but whom I fancy might be brought to recognise, there in the asphodel meadows, that the men of whom he disapproves are not necessarily Jewish. When, for example, he describes England at the end of the Great War as “taken over by a class of shady financiers”, he does not use the J Word at all. Might this be because he was thinking of “shady financiers” of all backgrounds, or he because he took it for granted that that his readers would understand the phrase as code for Jews? I simply cannot say.

I am left, however, with a question of whether Ford might have seen something that we have subsequently suppressed. Suppose that what Ford reports is true, that around 1918 a new class came to the fore, “shady financiers” insinuating themselves at the expense of the previous ruling caste of the landed gentry who otherwise dominate Parade’s End? It would not take a high proportion of Jews among them to make the post-Holocaust generations unable to talk about this new class, or even to talk about Ford’s contemporaries talking about this. In other words, it would be no good pointing out that many of these “shady financiers” were not in fact Jewish, as the whole subject would remain off-limits. We would thus be missing out on an important aspect of English economic history.

Another question is whether such “shady financiers” were indeed as new to the scene as Ford suggests. They probably weren’t. But even in that case, we should still take note of Englishman of traditional backgrounds and manners thinking that they were. Yes, Ford Madox Ford himself does strike me as to some degree a general-purpose anti-Semite, though Jews are not a major subject of his; but suppose that this view of “shady financiers” were to be shared by those who were not anti-Semitic? In that case, I repeat, we are missing out on important data about what people thought had been the result of the war, and a long way from Germany.

This is perhaps all the more important because we have seen another wave, nay a tsunami, of “shady financiers” – starting with the S&L scandals as a trial run for the Great Bank Robbery of 2007 and onwards. You don’t have to be a radical leftist to have noticed that banks are there to be “bailed out” at the taxpayers’ expense, that telecom companies, regulators and everyone else are losing the battle against cold-calling investment scams, and that the ideal is now a totally atomised workforce, without rights or benefits. The Nigerian 419 swindle could only entrap the crooked, but the next generation is after the naïve pensioner. Jews? Not at all, if we are going to hate any particular groups for this it should be Indians and Britons. But that “shady financiers” are supplanting the old ruling classes, oh yes.

Cosmic Millennials?

This is just a wild idea, and I myself do not know how seriously I mean it. Wrinklies have been complaining about the young for about the last million years or so, but I am seeing a phenomenon that seems to be radically above and beyond the usual run of complaints. It is noticeable certainly among the young, but not all of them, and yet is not confined to the young.

I have a sense of there being a particular date on which the Earth seems to have passed through some interstellar cloud or other that had the effect of reducing human intelligence. Possibly in interaction with genes or environment. My best guess is 2000, but I am open to alternatives.

Posted on December 17, 2020 at 18:32 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, The Anatomy Of Stupidity

On Not Standing Out

I originally wrote this during a heatwave – nothing much by the standards of the Continent in 2018, but by Bergen standards enough to have all the women under 50 displaying their legs, backs and breasts. I am now old enough for this to make me philosophical rather than excited, and so what struck me was how many such semi-bare women there were. I took to wondering what it would feel like to be showing off what thousands of people around you were also showing off, to such an extent that it was doubtful whether you would get noticed at all. And this is a very small city; so what would it be like to flaunt the flesh in a world metropolis where the just-as-nice-as-yours legs number in the millions? For obvious reasons, I am never going to find out.

The same wonderment has often occurred to me in connection with the new-rich mainland-Chinese tourists in which we were knee-deep in all weathers until the 2020 lockdown. What does it feel like to be the ultimate in “being one of the crowd”, owing to the sheer numbers the ultimate in not standing out? It then occurred to me that the main driver of social media was probably a desperate thirst for non-nullity, in an overpopulated world that may fatuously call itself a village but is actually the very opposite of our evolutionary heritage, namely a group of about 120 in which everyone can be known.

I once touched on the former theme in conversation with a young lady who was extremely intelligent yet had her generation’s attitude of “if you’ve got it, flaunt it” and its unconcern with the evils of being looked at that so bothered her mother’s generation (or should that be grandmother’s?). I made the point that I could not begin to know what it felt like to have a millimetre here or a millimetre there of your costume sending a sexual signal. About my costume, nobody cares; I can no more imagine being looked at with concupiscence than I can imagine seeing in the ultraviolet. She countered that a woman does not always arrange those millimetres consciously. True, no doubt, but men have no idea when the woman is thinking about the skin she is showing and when she is thinking about mathematics. It is not as if the mathematician can take her boobs off and hang them up.

The term “objectification” is misleading; the problem is not so much that you are an object of desire (which a woman wants to be when it suits her and not otherwise) as that you are taken for a player even when you are not playing – either because you never play, or because right now you are taking a break. It must be really annoying when other people keep right on playing. How dare they!

The Party Programme

In one way we can understand why in its manifesto a certain Green Party called children “our most important resource”. They just wanted to say that our children should be valuable to us, represent our future, should be secured a decent life and so forth. What our society is actually doing, namely consuming the very basis of their survival, is obviously a very bad thing. When I pointed out the nasty implication of their formulation, namely that a resource is something you use in your own interests, and often use up, they got it immediately.

The very casual and unthinking use of the word “resource”, however, itself let this particular cat out of the bag. The horrible truth about the human species is that we use children as tools, above all as economic and emotional tools, as various forms of slave labour. Often (though not always) they are deliberately brought into being to serve these purposes. I have done many bad things, but I am quite proud of never having done this particular bad thing.

Posted on August 25, 2020 at 17:40 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: AGAINST NATURE, Breeders And Thinkers