Pop Culture is Important

In a satirical blog  about pop culture, I recently presented two sets of photographs: one of ageing mainstream musicians, whom I described as the past, and another of young underground musicians, whom I described as the future. Using a standard tabloid technique, I mischievously chose unflattering images for the first set of musicians, and proceeded to dismiss the latter as a freak show as well as a negative cultural influence. Unfortunately, some interpreted this (rather superficially) as simply a derogation of Elton John, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Bono, and Bob Geldof's looks and musical talent, ignoring the fact that the title of the blog referred explicitly to culture, and the blog itself made no mention of music.

My original aim had been to do a series, where I juxtaposed representatives of the egalitarian against representatives of the inegalitarian camp, taken from the fields of philosophy, politics, journalism, art, literature, psychology, anthropology, and more, always accompanied by a few satirical comments at the enemy's expense. There is no doubt that there was an element of playground malice in this exercise. Yet, the latter had a serious purpose: the enemy routinely engages in self-serving, derogatory, and cartoonish misrepresentations of the intellectuals, artists, and scientists whom they do not like, whom they would like to keep beyond the pale, and whom they would like the apolitical and the miseducated to avoid and dismiss in advance. The message I wanted to convey was that we know how to do it too, and are quite prepared to give them a taste of their own medicine (in fact, in December last year I wrote an article  for The Occidental Observer where I did some post-imperial deconstructing, in response to the White-bashing discourse that permeates the field of postcolonial studies). I think this is important because one of the reasons European descended peoples have come to find themselves in retreat, on the losing side of every significant battle in the cultural war for the better part of a century now, is that the Left has not been met with an effective response - in fact, even so-called "conservatives", who were supposed to have been on the side of European man, have proven - at best - craven, weak, flaccid, myopic, selfishly motivated, and far too willing to compromise, pull back, surrender, and apologise in order to avoid trouble.

By an effective response I do not mean necessarily always serious, logical, or intellectually profound: the enemy has long understood that people are less persuaded by reason than by irrational, or pre-rational factors like status, fear, and romance, or pragmatic ones like money and individual self-preservation. We only need to look at the Frankfurt School's work during the 1930s to 1960s, particularly on the subject of mass culture, to realize that the Left has been preoccupied with the pre-rational mechanisms of persuasion, belief, and perception for a long time. If the liberal media has been singularly effective in the perpetuation of Leftist ideologies, it is not because they have presented the liberal case more seriously, more logically, or in a more intellectually profound manner, but, rather, because they have done so through humor, emotion, and stereotypes. Most ordinary people are too preoccupied with their own lives, their hobbies, and their immediate interests, too busy trying to survive, and too uneducated, to have the time or the ability to analyze all the arguments, check all the data, and critically interpret both before making a decision on an important issue. Many people do not have an opinion one way or the other, and simply mimic the opinions of those around them with whom they wish to identify. Most people simply look to be confirmed in their own prejudices. It is far easier and always reassuring.

The Left has attacked the interests of European descended peoples on practically every front - legal, social, cultural, political, historical, economic, demographic, scientific, academic -; but an important battleground in this ideological war has been popular culture. Some would argue that this has been their key battleground, along with education. One area of popular culture I know something about, but which is seldom examined from this side of the political equation, is music. Popular music has played an important role in popularizing liberal ideas among the young since the 1960s. Accordingly, the industry is peculiarly liberal, and music channels like MTV have been for quite some time the tip of the spear in the liberal charge against traditional Western culture and values. And did not Bob Geldof's Live8  concerts of 2005 - that guilt-mongering parade of guilt-ridden self-indulgent celebrities and fabulously rich Rock and Pop stars - constitute the largest media event in history? Hence, why I have highlighted on various occasions the existence of discursively non-conforming genres within contemporary popular music. Said genres may or may not be everyone's cup of tea, but that is a separate issue and not relevant here. My highlighting them is not an effort to express feelings of superiority on the basis of musical tastes: it is an effort to advertise the existence of growing spaces within popular culture where discursively non-conforming artistic production and consumption is taking place in the contemporary West among the younger demographic. That they exist is, to my mind, a positive sign, and one that may augur well for the future.

I am not oblivious to the fact that genres like Black Metal may be problematic for a subset of the demographic that falls under the umbrella of "alternative Right". However, I am aware that, outside this subset, there are many who do sympathize with the values and sensibilities - spiritual and aesthetic - that define and permeate associated, derived, contiguous, or compatible musical forms, like Viking Metal, Folk Metal, Neo-Folk, Folk Noir, and Martial Industrial. Implicitly or explicitly, these forms tend fundamentally to reject the tenets of liberalism, embracing, instead the elitist, traditionalist, neo-pagan tendency in European culture and thought - the tendency that prefers Evola, Nietzsche, Schmitt, Spengler, and Jünger to the egalitarian and materialist Freudo-Marxist scholastics. (This is not to say that some musicians within these genres may not hold liberal attitudes or be entirely apolitical.) Granted, some artists can be silly and shocking at times, but this can be found in abundance elsewhere in popular culture: their primary purpose is entertainment and escape through a Romantic heightening of emotion, not dry intellectual analysis. All the same - or, rather, because of this - their power must not be underestimated, as a political tract might be read once, if at all, but a good album will be heard a thousand times. 

Perhaps more importantly, music tends not to operate in isolation: often it involves an entire worldview and lifestyle, associated with a subculture that fits into a wider constellation of broadly compatible subcultures, united by a golden thread of common underlying assumptions and sensibilities. Thus, for example, many fans of the abovementioned genres are also interested in European paganism, battle re-enactment, and Right wing politics, even while not all pagans, battle re-enactors, and Right wing activists are interested in the abovementioned genres. This offers, in a way that panders to the innate human need for belonging and self-esteem, fertile ground for the growth of dissident subcultures, both in size and number, as well as a grassroots basis for the gradual displacement of our present mainstream cultural establishment. Absent military means, this displacement is a pre-requisite for the eventual achievement of political change.

It must be remembered that the Left did not achieve its political supremacy in the West through violent revolution, like the Bolsheviks in Russia, but, rather, through incremental cultural and institutional change over a period decades. They subjected Western culture to radical critiques, which were often neither benign nor fair, and campaigned for change along liberal lines, one issue at a time. Because many of them were involved in the media, they also  mastered popular culture, and offered, promoted, and cultivated "progressive" options to a rebellious, miseducated, and politically-agitated youth, the most talented among whom contributed to the creation of new waves of popular art. Many of our establishment politicians were influenced, if not part of, the liberal subculture of the 1960s and early 1970s. At least two notable cases were/are also musicians. How many otherwise ordinary folk have had their general outlook, their attitudes, and their opinions molded through the subtle process of repeated, long-term exposure to liberal ideas encoded in music and other forms of popular culture, where there is often pressure to conform to subcultural norms? 

Algerian-born French economist Jacques Attali, once advisor to the former socialist French president François Mitterrand, argued in Noise: The Political Economy of Music that music has the capacity (as expressed by Fredric Jameson) "to anticipate historical developments, to foreshadow new social formations in a prophetic and annunciatory way" and that "the music of today stands both as a promise of a new, liberating mode of production, and as the menace of a dystopian possibility which is that mode of production's baleful mirror image." If this is so, then, whatever might be thought - from an aesthetic point of view - of the types of music I have previously discussed, there is good reason to note that they give expression to a sensibility, a worldview, a spirituality that is well in tune with the views expressed in this and similar websites and forums. It is in this sense, and in the context of an increasingly discredited liberal establishment, that I speak of certain artists representing the past, and others (maybe) representing the future.