Still reading The Wake. This tale of the Norman conquest, told from the point of view of a English man, in an invented language that is readable but looks a bit like Old English, the "shadow tongue", this tale makes me uneasy for all the nationalism it invokes, a kind of new-pagan ecofascism, too much Blut & Boden for my liking. As a perpetual foreigner, I question every mentioning of the "true" nationals, the "original" people, their "special" relationship with the land. If we learned anything from history, it should be that even if the first monkey that climbed down from a tree and walked, even if that first human had stayed right there on that first piece of land, and their descendants had stayed there as well, making them the most original of the most true natives forever—I still don't believe in a special relationship that cannot be gained in a few years of living somewhere, in a special property inherited from parents to children, in any sense of "belonging". There are the things we do, the things we say, but the special connection to the land, a special property of the blood, this is one of the ingredients of fascism. Remember the essay on Urfascism. When you don't have anything, when you can't do anything, when you don't know anything, at least you were born in a country and therefore it must be all to you. Fuck this.
Kingsnorth: The Wake
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- Welcome to yet another of the odd vagaries in the human search for "meaning" in life and for a way to be considered something other than a temporary blip in a vast universe.Sep 8, 2017
- Those seem to be the only things worth writing about. Those who believe we are nothing but a temporary blip in vast universe have nothing else to say after all. Like a smiling, silent Buddha, they offer no companionship, solace, love, help, or anything that makes life bearable. It is the ultimate disengagement, a silent passing of all, a nirvana that is nothingness, and I think we can do better. Down with Cthulhu!Sep 8, 2017
- They have nothing else to say? Or nothing else that you are willing to listen to? I have met people who understand human life to be utterly insignificant in the grand scheme of things, who expertly offer companionship, solace, love, assistance, wonder and beauty. Likewise, I have met people who understand humanity to be the most (or the second most) important things in the cosmos whom I know better than to turn to for affirmation even in the most dire of circumstances.
But perhaps more importantly to this discussion, if companionship, solace, love and help are so necessary, then what is wrong with seeking those in a special relationship to a give place, even if that comes with expecting others to seek it in other, faraway, places? The Anglo-Saxon huscarl who understands themselves to be a true national with a special relationship to the British Isles, and expects the Normans to go back to France is simply of the opinion that their invasion was long enough ago that stealing a patch of ground from those there before them allows them to make life bearable by engaging with it.
I might dispute their reasoning with them, but in the end, it does no good to begrudge the starving the bread they've stolen if I don't own the responsibility of feeding them.Sep 8, 2017
- Well Britain is an island of mongrels (which explains the easy mutability of the language). Mostly invaders and refugees from Germany, Denmark, France, and Spain (although they kicked the original Irish Gaels into Scotland), intermarrying with the existing people, and then regretting moving to such a dreary wet land beyond the edge of what was widely considered to be civilisation. Even the Britons known to the Romans were successor state(s) to previous peoples.
Then again, England was heavily built on the myth of the Saxons kicking the Danes out of the country. Which admittedly only lasted 20 years before William came a-conquering - so one could see the potential for a certain degree of festering resentment. Even though it was really the second-most-peaceful invasion of England, all things considered.
But a national identity only really came about with the defeat of the Spanish Armada and idea that England could in fact become a naval power. Although xenophobia only really took hold with the French revolution (before then to the common folk it really just meant a new master to pay the taxes to).Sep 8, 2017
- On the other hand understanding that the land is not what you are used to can be of great assistance in preventing ecological disasters. Too many invaders retain their arrogance and their own way of doing things, which may not be appropriate for the place they find themselves.Sep 8, 2017
- I liked The Golden Warrior but now I'm trying to remember if it had this sort of bent. It's been a number of years since I read it.Sep 8, 2017
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