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Norwegian Karl Ove Knausgaard, author of six volumes of autobiographical musings entitled My Struggle, is likely the most celebrated literary writer of the current decade.

He’s a leading light of the Hapless White Guy literary genre perhaps founded by the late David Foster Wallace. Knausgaard looks like Michel Houellebecq as played by Brad Pitt.

I’m not going to read a million words by him about his mundane daily life, but in smaller doses, he’s pretty funny.

Like Houellebecq, Knausgaard is increasingly becoming an explicitly rightist writer due to his ineradicable white guyness as the rest of the world is encouraged to hate white guys.

From The New Republic:

The World Beyond Knausgaard

The author of “My Struggle” on political correctness, the weight of history, and why he named his book after Hitler’s memoir

By RYU SPAETH
September 25, 2018

… There are quite a lot of things Knausgaard doesn’t like. He makes his disdain for the political-media establishment in Sweden abundantly clear in the pages of Book Six. He rails against it for being ossified in its political correctness, hypocritical in its brand of cosmopolitan bourgeois liberalism, blind in its inability to recognize how personal identity is deeply rooted in gender, tradition, nationality. He is wary of the flattening effect that globalization—or more precisely Americanization—can have on discrete national traditions. He singles out Japan (like Norway and Sweden, a tightly-knit, homogenous society) as precisely the kind of peculiar place that should remain peculiar—that should remain distinctly Japanese, unadulterated by foreign influences. “In this wide perspective, I was against immigration, against multiculturalism, against notions of sameness of nearly every kind,” he writes.

In the book, he characterizes the Swedish elite’s political correctness as an insane abstraction divorced from reality:

It was this same ideology, hostile to all difference that could not accept categories of male and female, he and she. Since han and hun are denotative of gender, it was suggested a new pronoun, hen, be used to cover both. The ideal human being was a gender-neutral hen whose foremost task in life was to avoid oppressing any religion or culture by preferring their own.

This can (and probably will) be read as reactionary, a holdout against attempts to accommodate the rights of non-binary people. But it can also be understood as part of a suspicion of all political ideologies. “What you want as a writer is complexity,” he told me. “And politics is the opposite.” Ideologies color our perception of the world, determining what is ugly and beautiful, what is moral and immoral. For Knausgaard the problem is this: How can anyone express the truth and not just unwittingly reiterate through every act and word the predominant worldview? …

At one point toward the end of our conversation Knausgaard leaned over and sheepishly said, “You asked what my politics were and for some reason I couldn’t reply to that.” He went on to insist that he is a bog-standard democratic socialist, that there is nothing to the “rumor” that he is “on the right,” that he is, above all, a committed environmentalist. But he maintained that rigid political ideologies, in Sweden and elsewhere, have made us blind to the humanity of other people.

We talked about a recent visit to the United States, where he was picked up in a car driven by a Donald Trump supporter. When he told the car’s owners, he was shocked by their response: “‘Do you want us to fire him?’ It was like they were so appalled by the fact that he was saying these things. And that was crazy, too, to think that firing him would be legitimate.” For Knausgaard, the spread of nativist populism was less alarming than the idea that the others might reject and distance themselves from these views—an unexpected stance for a writer who has completed a vast study of Nazism. The case of the Trump-supporting driver was, for him, a free speech issue. “I’m very pro-openness when it comes to these things,” he said.

When we discussed Sweden’s forthcoming elections, in which nearly a quarter of voters were expected to vote for the anti-immigration party, Knausgaard said that, despite what the media might suggest, it doesn’t mean that one in four Swedes were racist. (The far-right Sweden Democrats ended up winning 18 percent of the vote, a blow to the establishment parties but not enough to unseat them.) He noted that he himself had been accused by a prominent Swedish academic of being a fascist for daring to challenge Sweden’s culture of political correctness. And he said he knew writers who were ostracized and had lost friends because of their unpopular opinions, which goes against one of his core beliefs: that “people must be able to say whatever they want to say, especially writers.”

It is notable that Knausgaard is drawn to these disparate figures: the would-be artist, the voter who is persecuted for troublesome beliefs, the writer who is silenced. It perhaps exposes the limit of a political outlook that is otherwise so admirably grounded in the world of lived experience, since it is easier to empathize with those who are closest at hand. …

 
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  1. autobiographical musings entitled My Struggle,

    Might want to think about that title, as translated into German it is “Mein Kampf”.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    Good catch, be the first to report the new Hamsun to Irv Rubin!
    , @Lagertha
    He did that on purpose! You have to read all 6 books to eventually, get the humor of why. He reminds me of all the HS boys I had a crush on in Scandinavia AND the USA. Crabby, cynical, prone to do careless things like smoking & drinking, disdaining hypocrisy and political correctness before we even knew the term; genuinely humane and flawed, but also, very, very funny, intelligent and sensitive. The kind of guys you wanna have a beer with, stay up too late - because, they like beer.
    , @kimchilover
    That has to be on purpose.
    , @MikeatMikedotMike
    Did you even read the first sentence of the linked article?:

    "The author of “My Struggle” on political correctness, the weight of history, and why he named his book after Hitler’s memoir"
    , @The Alarmist
    My Struggle is much more compelling than My Picture-Perfect Instagram Life.
  2. Another WASP, who was the last WASP on the Supreme Court, comes out to say Kavanaugh is too much of an Irish lout to be on the Supreme Court:

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
    I'm wary of Judge Kavanaugh's Bushian background, but I still support his nomination. Being an Irish American lout with a rosacea bloom, I'd like to see an Irish American lout with a rosacea bloom on the Supreme Court.
    , @dvorak
    On Justice Stevens, Pat Buchanan lays out the astounding, enraging history of the modern court:

    [O]f 15 justices Republican Presidents have named since World War II, five — Warren, Brennan, Blackmun, Stevens and Souter — became liberal activists. Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor, both Reagan choices, became swing justices and voted with the court’s liberals on critical social issues.

    Democratic presidents have done far better by their constituents.

    Of seven justices named by LBJ, Clinton and Obama, every one — Thurgood Marshall, Arthur Goldberg, Abe Fortas, Ruth Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor — turned out to be predictably and consistently liberal.
     
    Look how long it took to break the hegemony of the left!

    Having felt the foul breath of the cultural marxist left on his neck and in his family's face, the new justice will overturn Roe completely, I now believe.
  3. Gee, he still sounds awfully tentative. Does he really want to risk the disapproval of the Goodswedes?

    Mighty inspiring individualism there, I’d say.

  4. “Knausgaard looks like Michel Houellebecq as played by Brad Pitt.”

    LOL, that was awesome.

    • Agree: slumber_j
  5. “…a holdout against attempts to accommodate the rights of non-binary people….’

    I am a non-binary person and I demand my rights.

    I am a base-10 person. You cannot expect me to convert to binary at this late stage any more than you can expect me to learn Finnish.

  6. @Jonathan Mason

    autobiographical musings entitled My Struggle,
     
    Might want to think about that title, as translated into German it is "Mein Kampf".

    Good catch, be the first to report the new Hamsun to Irv Rubin!

  7. That genre was founded by Donald Barthelme as a sort of ironized urban(e) shadow twin of Ernest Hemingway. His “Critique de la Vie Quotidienne” was the “Cat Person” of the ’70s. I doubt I have to tell you how much more interesting than “Cat Person” it is.

    The genre was, to put it kindly, made indistinguishable from parody by David Foster Wallace.

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    David Forster Wallace was ill. Severely so.
    If you have experience with severely ill psychos (I do), you see - while reading Infinite Jest, and even more so while reading the Pale Kingthat he is struggling with his mental state all the time. Once you have detected this pattern, it just isn't fun anymore at all, what he writes (mostly he is too fucking indirect - not really on the point).

    "If you see a cat trapped inside a washing machine, don't (DON'T) set up a recording studio there - just open the drawer." ( Robert Christgau in his maybe most famous ever (at least in my mind, that is) annihilation of an actual record).
  8. @Jonathan Mason

    autobiographical musings entitled My Struggle,
     
    Might want to think about that title, as translated into German it is "Mein Kampf".

    He did that on purpose! You have to read all 6 books to eventually, get the humor of why. He reminds me of all the HS boys I had a crush on in Scandinavia AND the USA. Crabby, cynical, prone to do careless things like smoking & drinking, disdaining hypocrisy and political correctness before we even knew the term; genuinely humane and flawed, but also, very, very funny, intelligent and sensitive. The kind of guys you wanna have a beer with, stay up too late – because, they like beer.

    • Replies: @Bies Podkrakowski
    Heartiste was right.
    , @duncsbaby
    I probably won't read any of his books but am willing to bring a 30-pack of Busch Lite to a meet-up of iStevers at Lagertha's place.
    , @Peter Akuleyev
    The kind of guys you wanna have a beer with, stay up too late – because, they like beer.

    But it helps if they are also funny, intelligent and sensitive. Sometimes a guy who likes beer is just a sullen alcoholic.
    , @Dieter Kief
    ahh - they like beer - and your handle fits in nicely: LAGERtha - no? - Yes!

    Cheers! - (I just had an Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu Pilsner from the Black Forest - one of the best there (and everywhere (about a third of the Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu output now goes to China - and is consumed there for 15 Dollars/1/2 l bottle, as brewery reps told me).
    , @Lagertha
    Go find a bar that knows your name. And report back here. Autumn is coming...beers at terraces are reproached by autumn weather.
    , @Lagertha
    I never demonize alcohol or food. I never measure my intake....why would you? Do we really want to live in a world that examines, every day, what we eat & day?!?

    I failed 5 minutes ago (:) )...I had a pear Martini.
  9. @Jonathan Mason

    autobiographical musings entitled My Struggle,
     
    Might want to think about that title, as translated into German it is "Mein Kampf".

    That has to be on purpose.

    • Replies: @Ola
    Of course. The Swedish and Norwegian title of Knausgård's book is "Min Kamp", the exact same title as the Swedish translations of Mein Kampf (except the last one, which has an untranslated title).
  10. https://www.henrywilliamson.co.uk/

    Williamson’s early novels are superb. But as the story moves into WWI , it gets ground down in the minutiae of war. He makes ordinary life more compelling than epic violence. They would make an excellent TV series like the Forsyte Saga.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    Ah, but he loved Hitler you see.

    Can't have people wondering about that.
  11. @Jonathan Mason

    autobiographical musings entitled My Struggle,
     
    Might want to think about that title, as translated into German it is "Mein Kampf".

    Did you even read the first sentence of the linked article?:

    “The author of “My Struggle” on political correctness, the weight of history, and why he named his book after Hitler’s memoir”

    • Replies: @anonymous
    Hey, ease up -- he's posted ten comments so far today!
  12. “He’s a leading light of the Hapless White Guy literary genre perhaps founded by the late David Foster Wallace. Knausgaard looks like Michel Houellebecq as played by Brad Pitt.

    I’m not going to read a million pages by him about his mundane daily life, but in small doses, he’s pretty funny.

    Like Houellebecq, Knausgaard is increasingly becoming an explicitly rightist writer due to his ineradicable white guyness as the rest of the world is encouraged to hate white guys.”

    So he’s like Pewdiepie.

    • Replies: @Altai
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W72gwNcOzag
  13. Michel Houellebecq as played by Brad Pitt

    A young Mickey Rourke.

    He did play a writer in BARFLY.

  14. @kimchilover
    That has to be on purpose.

    Of course. The Swedish and Norwegian title of Knausgård’s book is “Min Kamp“, the exact same title as the Swedish translations of Mein Kampf (except the last one, which has an untranslated title).

  15. My take on the first volume of My Struggle:

    • Replies: @Anon
    Maybe his books explain why Sweden got that way.

    When a nation becomes too nice, clean, efficient, and 'boring' -- where 'struggle' amounts to some guy scribbling about a box of kleenex -- , people subconsciously want to create conditions for a Real Struggle that brings forth Crisis.

    At least Lutherans had God. With Knaugy, there's the devotion and immersion to his 'vision', but there doesn't seem to be any higher meaning than 'I ate breakfast today'.

    Also, why does he spend so much time navel-gazing when he should go viking and lead a patriotic Viking horde? Naval than navel.

    , @Maus
    My sentiments exactly. It was just too. damn. long. I repented and read the second volume some months later. I wanted to like this guy, but it's too much of a slog.
    I thought the same thing about David Foster Wallace's "The Pale King." Death did not improve my opinion of him, and I will not be reading "Infinite Jest."
    If you want gritty Scando realism, read Jo Nesbo. His antihero protagonist Harry Hole is the ultimate cis hetero white male badass.
  16. @MikeatMikedotMike
    Did you even read the first sentence of the linked article?:

    "The author of “My Struggle” on political correctness, the weight of history, and why he named his book after Hitler’s memoir"

    Hey, ease up — he’s posted ten comments so far today!

  17. Overton Window’s relentless shift to the left has left many older liberals on the right of most political issues. It hasn’t made them saner or wiser though.

    • Agree: byrresheim
    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
    That's why I have to give mad props to James Howard Kunstler. He's a liberal from an older generation, but he hasn't hesitated to call out Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the whole Democratic Party apparatus. It takes a lot of courage and honesty to go against one's own deeply ingrained partisan politics and call it like it is.

    I don't always agree with him, but JHK is a good man. I wish Ron would consider featuring him here.
  18. Anon[121] • Disclaimer says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    My take on the first volume of My Struggle:

    https://twitter.com/dpinsen/status/892964753903149056

    Maybe his books explain why Sweden got that way.

    When a nation becomes too nice, clean, efficient, and ‘boring’ — where ‘struggle’ amounts to some guy scribbling about a box of kleenex — , people subconsciously want to create conditions for a Real Struggle that brings forth Crisis.

    At least Lutherans had God. With Knaugy, there’s the devotion and immersion to his ‘vision’, but there doesn’t seem to be any higher meaning than ‘I ate breakfast today’.

    Also, why does he spend so much time navel-gazing when he should go viking and lead a patriotic Viking horde? Naval than navel.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    He's Norwegian, though I think his wife is Swedish and he lived in Sweden during volume one. In the NYT piece Steve linked to, Knausgaard retraces the path of the Vikings in North America, and he spends some hilarious paragraphs about stopping up the toilet in his hotel in Newfoundland.
  19. Has Knausgaard ever written about golf course design? Asking for a friend.

  20. Some real struggle here. Immigration should be called Invasion-Replacement.

    • Agree: ben tillman
    • Replies: @Alden
    Urban proverb

    The trouble with public transportation is.....the public.
  21. @BB753
    Overton Window's relentless shift to the left has left many older liberals on the right of most political issues. It hasn't made them saner or wiser though.

    That’s why I have to give mad props to James Howard Kunstler. He’s a liberal from an older generation, but he hasn’t hesitated to call out Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the whole Democratic Party apparatus. It takes a lot of courage and honesty to go against one’s own deeply ingrained partisan politics and call it like it is.

    I don’t always agree with him, but JHK is a good man. I wish Ron would consider featuring him here.

    • Agree: Digital Samizdat
    • Replies: @MarcB.

    It takes a lot of courage and honesty to go against one’s own deeply ingrained partisan politics and call it like it is.
     
    I noticed this trend in the mid-1990's as Cultural Leftism transitioned from fringe campus Foucault acolyte to the political class. Trumpsim has given liberals a chance to see the true face leftism, and some are drawing a line in the sand. Policies requiring intellectual contortions to agree with while placing you and your people at a disadvantage have a limited shelf life for any thinking person who has not yet been assimilated or bought off.
  22. True dat.

    If I don’t get called a Nazi on a given day, it’s a sure sign I haven’t had a political discussion.

    My half-life under the real Nazis would have been in the order of weeks.

    But then again, the Politkorrekters are the grandchildren of the real Nazis, so all that has changed are the slurs and a relative lack of political violence in western societies.

    I’m happy for that.

    • Replies: @Haxo Angmark
    you can always spot the cucks:

    "the Democrats are the real racists"

    ".....McCarthyism...."

    "Politkorrekters are the real Nazis"

    etc.
    , @AKAHorace
    To call the people that insult you for being a Nazi, a Nazi themselves is an insult to Nazis.

    Many Nazis fought for an evil cause when they knew that this cause was lost. Not good, but they are on a higher moral level than those who are fanatical and intolerant for whichever cause looks as if it is winning.
  23. @Dave Pinsen
    My take on the first volume of My Struggle:

    https://twitter.com/dpinsen/status/892964753903149056

    My sentiments exactly. It was just too. damn. long. I repented and read the second volume some months later. I wanted to like this guy, but it’s too much of a slog.
    I thought the same thing about David Foster Wallace’s “The Pale King.” Death did not improve my opinion of him, and I will not be reading “Infinite Jest.”
    If you want gritty Scando realism, read Jo Nesbo. His antihero protagonist Harry Hole is the ultimate cis hetero white male badass.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    The NYT piece Steve linked to (and I linked to in my tweet) where he retraces the Vikings' possible path across North America is hilarious. Knausgaard's review of Houellebecq's Submission is great too.

    My problem with Knausgaard is basically that he writes about his life, and his life isn't really that interesting. Maybe if he moved to a more interesting place he'd have more material.
    , @Inquiring Mind
    The ultimate cis hetero white male Scandinavian badass ur-geek, "backroom guy" who actually wrote the original Turbo Pascal hawked by illegal-immigrant (from France!) entrepreneur Philippe Kahn, has to be Anders Hejlsberg

    Gotta admire that mixture of Silicon Valley techno babble, surfer dude, with Danish pitch inflections:

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=anders+hejlsberg&view=detail&mid=DE70FE8A362AEAC24C92DE70FE8A362AEAC24C92&FORM=VIRE

    If Linus Torvald is the Luke Skywalker-who-went-all-SJW-in-the-recent-sequels of software, Anders Hejlsberg is the unapologic Darth Vader, who had crossed over to the Dark Side, which in the software world is Microsoft.

    As long as we still have dudes like Anders at work, Western Civilization, or at least its technological underpinnings, is safe for now.

  24. @byrresheim
    True dat.

    If I don't get called a Nazi on a given day, it's a sure sign I haven't had a political discussion.

    My half-life under the real Nazis would have been in the order of weeks.

    But then again, the Politkorrekters are the grandchildren of the real Nazis, so all that has changed are the slurs and a relative lack of political violence in western societies.

    I'm happy for that.

    you can always spot the cucks:

    “the Democrats are the real racists”

    “…..McCarthyism….”

    “Politkorrekters are the real Nazis”

    etc.

    • Replies: @Tyrion 2
    They seem pretty racist to me.

    “They know the optics of 11 white men questioning Dr. Ford ... will be so harmful and so damaging to the GOP.” -- Areva Martin, CNN legal analyst

    “They understand that you have all of these white men who would be questioning this woman ... the optics of it would look terrible.” -- Gloria Borger, CNN chief political analyst

    “Women across this nation should be outraged at what these white men senators are doing to this woman.” -- Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif.

    “There has been some discussion of the GOP senators who happened to all be ... white men.” -- Jim Sciutto, CNN correspondent

    “What troubles me is now there are ... they’re all white men.” -- Jennifer Granholm, former governor of Michigan, on CNN

    ”You’re seeing on display a metaphor for what this party is, which is basically ignorant white men.” -- “Morning Joe” contributor Donny Deutsch

    “All these white men ... stumbling all over themselves asking her, you know, aggressive and obnoxious questions.” -- Asha Rangappa, CNN analyst

    “What are those -- that collection of old white men going to do?” -- Cynthia Alksne, MSNBC contributor

    “If she testifies in front of the Judiciary Committee, where 11 members are white men ...” -- Susan Del Percio, Republican political strategist, on MSNBC

    “Once again, it will be all white men on the Republican side of the Judiciary Committee.” -- CNN anchor Poppy Harlow

    “The optics for Republicans are going to be really tricky ... You’ve got all white men on the Republican side here ...” -- Julie Pace, Washington bureau chief for The Associated Press, on CNN

    “The Republicans, it happens to be 11 white men still on that side.” -- CNN host John Berman

    “The Republicans, it is 11 white men, talk to me about how you think the tone inside this hearing on Monday will be perceived?" -- Berman, a few minutes later




    “On the Republican side, all 11 are white men.” -- Berman, again, same show, several minutes later

    “What hasn’t changed is the number of white men questioning, certainly, on the Republican side.” -- Dana Bash, CNN chief political correspondent

    “The Republican side on the Senate Judiciary Committee is all white men ...” -- Irin Carmon, senior correspondent for New York Magazine, on MSNBC

    “Only this crowd of clueless old white guys ...” -- The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin on Twitter
  25. @Maus
    My sentiments exactly. It was just too. damn. long. I repented and read the second volume some months later. I wanted to like this guy, but it's too much of a slog.
    I thought the same thing about David Foster Wallace's "The Pale King." Death did not improve my opinion of him, and I will not be reading "Infinite Jest."
    If you want gritty Scando realism, read Jo Nesbo. His antihero protagonist Harry Hole is the ultimate cis hetero white male badass.

    The NYT piece Steve linked to (and I linked to in my tweet) where he retraces the Vikings’ possible path across North America is hilarious. Knausgaard’s review of Houellebecq’s Submission is great too.

    My problem with Knausgaard is basically that he writes about his life, and his life isn’t really that interesting. Maybe if he moved to a more interesting place he’d have more material.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    I agree, but oddly enough, I found his commentary on Hitler to be very interesting, not least because he focused on how normal he was when he was young.

    Above all, I agree with him that WWI made Hitler Hitler, not Vienna. You don't understand how utterly cataclysmic that was, how that really just fatally wounded "old" Europe, you can't understand how the vision of the Nazis (or the Bolsheviks, for that matter) could become reality. Hell, the horrible geopolitical results of the hatred Wilson and American progressives had for the Hapsburg dynasty alone deserves its own post, if only because of the eery psychological similarities to modern liberals.

    One interesting equivalent would be the terrible Great War between Byzantium and the Sassanids: that shut the door on classical antiquity like WWI did the bourgeois age. And in the vacuum that the war and plague left arose a certain Arab mystery man calling on people to worship the one true God of Abraham... with his followers, many of them former Roman and Persian clients and hired guns, establishing a new empire. Byzantium would survive, but fundamentally altered, far more medieval and disconnected from the Roman legacy. Persia wouldn't-which had very interesting consequences for the development of Islam.

  26. @Anon
    Maybe his books explain why Sweden got that way.

    When a nation becomes too nice, clean, efficient, and 'boring' -- where 'struggle' amounts to some guy scribbling about a box of kleenex -- , people subconsciously want to create conditions for a Real Struggle that brings forth Crisis.

    At least Lutherans had God. With Knaugy, there's the devotion and immersion to his 'vision', but there doesn't seem to be any higher meaning than 'I ate breakfast today'.

    Also, why does he spend so much time navel-gazing when he should go viking and lead a patriotic Viking horde? Naval than navel.

    He’s Norwegian, though I think his wife is Swedish and he lived in Sweden during volume one. In the NYT piece Steve linked to, Knausgaard retraces the path of the Vikings in North America, and he spends some hilarious paragraphs about stopping up the toilet in his hotel in Newfoundland.

  27. @Jonathan Mason

    autobiographical musings entitled My Struggle,
     
    Might want to think about that title, as translated into German it is "Mein Kampf".

    My Struggle is much more compelling than My Picture-Perfect Instagram Life.

  28. @Dave Pinsen
    The NYT piece Steve linked to (and I linked to in my tweet) where he retraces the Vikings' possible path across North America is hilarious. Knausgaard's review of Houellebecq's Submission is great too.

    My problem with Knausgaard is basically that he writes about his life, and his life isn't really that interesting. Maybe if he moved to a more interesting place he'd have more material.

    I agree, but oddly enough, I found his commentary on Hitler to be very interesting, not least because he focused on how normal he was when he was young.

    Above all, I agree with him that WWI made Hitler Hitler, not Vienna. You don’t understand how utterly cataclysmic that was, how that really just fatally wounded “old” Europe, you can’t understand how the vision of the Nazis (or the Bolsheviks, for that matter) could become reality. Hell, the horrible geopolitical results of the hatred Wilson and American progressives had for the Hapsburg dynasty alone deserves its own post, if only because of the eery psychological similarities to modern liberals.

    One interesting equivalent would be the terrible Great War between Byzantium and the Sassanids: that shut the door on classical antiquity like WWI did the bourgeois age. And in the vacuum that the war and plague left arose a certain Arab mystery man calling on people to worship the one true God of Abraham… with his followers, many of them former Roman and Persian clients and hired guns, establishing a new empire. Byzantium would survive, but fundamentally altered, far more medieval and disconnected from the Roman legacy. Persia wouldn’t-which had very interesting consequences for the development of Islam.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    I don’t remember the Hitler stuff from volume 1 of My Struggle - did he write it elsewhere?

    It is something to consider when you hear European colonization blamed for 3rd world countries’ backwardness - Europe did far more damage to itself in the world wars than it did to anyone else in centuries of colonialism, and yet it was prosperous again soon after.
    , @Peter Akuleyev
    Wilson is probably History's Greatest Villain. Still, it is a stretch to say Hitler was "normal" before WWI. I'm curious to read Knausgaard on that. The best book I have ever read on the subject - "Hitler's Vienna" by Brigitte Hamann- depicts young Adolf as kind of a weird Wagner and art obsessed loner prone to breaking out in ex tempore monologues. She makes him sound Aspergery. But it is also true that he was not particularly anti-Semitic, by the standards of 1900s Vienna, and interacted with Jews regularly. The guy who actually went around hawking Hitler's watercolors to tourists seems to have been Jewish. Hitler was too lazy or too embarrassed to sell his work himself.
  29. @byrresheim
    True dat.

    If I don't get called a Nazi on a given day, it's a sure sign I haven't had a political discussion.

    My half-life under the real Nazis would have been in the order of weeks.

    But then again, the Politkorrekters are the grandchildren of the real Nazis, so all that has changed are the slurs and a relative lack of political violence in western societies.

    I'm happy for that.

    To call the people that insult you for being a Nazi, a Nazi themselves is an insult to Nazis.

    Many Nazis fought for an evil cause when they knew that this cause was lost. Not good, but they are on a higher moral level than those who are fanatical and intolerant for whichever cause looks as if it is winning.

  30. @nebulafox
    I agree, but oddly enough, I found his commentary on Hitler to be very interesting, not least because he focused on how normal he was when he was young.

    Above all, I agree with him that WWI made Hitler Hitler, not Vienna. You don't understand how utterly cataclysmic that was, how that really just fatally wounded "old" Europe, you can't understand how the vision of the Nazis (or the Bolsheviks, for that matter) could become reality. Hell, the horrible geopolitical results of the hatred Wilson and American progressives had for the Hapsburg dynasty alone deserves its own post, if only because of the eery psychological similarities to modern liberals.

    One interesting equivalent would be the terrible Great War between Byzantium and the Sassanids: that shut the door on classical antiquity like WWI did the bourgeois age. And in the vacuum that the war and plague left arose a certain Arab mystery man calling on people to worship the one true God of Abraham... with his followers, many of them former Roman and Persian clients and hired guns, establishing a new empire. Byzantium would survive, but fundamentally altered, far more medieval and disconnected from the Roman legacy. Persia wouldn't-which had very interesting consequences for the development of Islam.

    I don’t remember the Hitler stuff from volume 1 of My Struggle – did he write it elsewhere?

    It is something to consider when you hear European colonization blamed for 3rd world countries’ backwardness – Europe did far more damage to itself in the world wars than it did to anyone else in centuries of colonialism, and yet it was prosperous again soon after.

    • Replies: @Big Bill
    The book itself had nothing to do with the "H-man". But the "H-man" used the "M-title" for his book way back in 1925.

    Ove knew that the "M-title" would be triggering (particularly to "J-people" who acutely remember the "H-event") but he used it anyway.

    New rule: Don't use the "M-title" anymore.
    , @Harry Baldwin
    Excellent debating point about Europe and the wars.
  31. @Lagertha
    He did that on purpose! You have to read all 6 books to eventually, get the humor of why. He reminds me of all the HS boys I had a crush on in Scandinavia AND the USA. Crabby, cynical, prone to do careless things like smoking & drinking, disdaining hypocrisy and political correctness before we even knew the term; genuinely humane and flawed, but also, very, very funny, intelligent and sensitive. The kind of guys you wanna have a beer with, stay up too late - because, they like beer.

    Heartiste was right.

  32. “The ideal human being was a gender-neutral hen whose foremost task in life was to avoid oppressing any religion or culture by preferring their own.”

    Not going to read him but that deserves to go on some poster.

  33. @MikeatMikedotMike
    "He’s a leading light of the Hapless White Guy literary genre perhaps founded by the late David Foster Wallace. Knausgaard looks like Michel Houellebecq as played by Brad Pitt.

    I’m not going to read a million pages by him about his mundane daily life, but in small doses, he’s pretty funny.

    Like Houellebecq, Knausgaard is increasingly becoming an explicitly rightist writer due to his ineradicable white guyness as the rest of the world is encouraged to hate white guys."

    So he's like Pewdiepie.

  34. @Haxo Angmark
    you can always spot the cucks:

    "the Democrats are the real racists"

    ".....McCarthyism...."

    "Politkorrekters are the real Nazis"

    etc.

    They seem pretty racist to me.

    “They know the optics of 11 white men questioning Dr. Ford … will be so harmful and so damaging to the GOP.” — Areva Martin, CNN legal analyst

    “They understand that you have all of these white men who would be questioning this woman … the optics of it would look terrible.” — Gloria Borger, CNN chief political analyst

    “Women across this nation should be outraged at what these white men senators are doing to this woman.” — Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif.

    “There has been some discussion of the GOP senators who happened to all be … white men.” — Jim Sciutto, CNN correspondent

    “What troubles me is now there are … they’re all white men.” — Jennifer Granholm, former governor of Michigan, on CNN

    ”You’re seeing on display a metaphor for what this party is, which is basically ignorant white men.” — “Morning Joe” contributor Donny Deutsch

    “All these white men … stumbling all over themselves asking her, you know, aggressive and obnoxious questions.” — Asha Rangappa, CNN analyst

    “What are those — that collection of old white men going to do?” — Cynthia Alksne, MSNBC contributor

    “If she testifies in front of the Judiciary Committee, where 11 members are white men …” — Susan Del Percio, Republican political strategist, on MSNBC

    “Once again, it will be all white men on the Republican side of the Judiciary Committee.” — CNN anchor Poppy Harlow

    “The optics for Republicans are going to be really tricky … You’ve got all white men on the Republican side here …” — Julie Pace, Washington bureau chief for The Associated Press, on CNN

    “The Republicans, it happens to be 11 white men still on that side.” — CNN host John Berman

    “The Republicans, it is 11 white men, talk to me about how you think the tone inside this hearing on Monday will be perceived?” — Berman, a few minutes later

    “On the Republican side, all 11 are white men.” — Berman, again, same show, several minutes later

    “What hasn’t changed is the number of white men questioning, certainly, on the Republican side.” — Dana Bash, CNN chief political correspondent

    “The Republican side on the Senate Judiciary Committee is all white men …” — Irin Carmon, senior correspondent for New York Magazine, on MSNBC

    “Only this crowd of clueless old white guys …” — The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin on Twitter

  35. Kavanaugh should say this attack on him is based upon Irish Stereotypes of over-drinking!

    He should have thrown out the victim card in his defense!

    Darn, that would have been awesome!

  36. Knausgaard!? You’re killing me, Steve. I’d never heard of the guy. I thought I was kind of lit-crit cool when I put Robert Musil on my reading list a long time. Maybe I’ll get around to Musil, y’know, some day.

    I read D. F. Wallace’s essays, some of them, and, in a fit of post hoc retconning I recall thinking this guy’s writing from a very weak “life position”. I tried poking my way into Infinite Jest, but it just wasn’t clicking for me, although I’m sure I’m missing something.

    Hapless White Guy as a literary genre? I’d never heard of it, but, yeah, I’ll go with it. Maybe literary agents and publishers can encourage the idea. There may be some genuine possibilities in stories of whomped-upon White dudes, strangers in their own countries.

    • Replies: @Desiderius

    I tried poking my way into Infinite Jest, but it just wasn’t clicking for me, although I’m sure I’m missing something.
     
    I heard Pemulis was Blasey-Ford’s getaway driver.
  37. @Lagertha
    He did that on purpose! You have to read all 6 books to eventually, get the humor of why. He reminds me of all the HS boys I had a crush on in Scandinavia AND the USA. Crabby, cynical, prone to do careless things like smoking & drinking, disdaining hypocrisy and political correctness before we even knew the term; genuinely humane and flawed, but also, very, very funny, intelligent and sensitive. The kind of guys you wanna have a beer with, stay up too late - because, they like beer.

    I probably won’t read any of his books but am willing to bring a 30-pack of Busch Lite to a meet-up of iStevers at Lagertha’s place.

    • Replies: @Lagertha
    hahaahaaa! You're gonna need to get better beer!

    https://youtu.be/oKxsW8DKJQQ

    Well, it's a shame not to all party together, have some beers, but we will remain anonymous until the end of our days. I don't know why I suddenly want to listen (want y'all to listen to this, hahaa) to this oldie from my HS days:
    https://youtu.be/STugQ0X1Nol

  38. Steve notes Knausgaard, Houellebecq, and David Foster Wallace as working the Hapless White Guy genre.

    I think Linh Dinh, published here, ought to join them. His Postcards essays sketch the unhappy lives of baffled-by-it-all Americans, the disposables, as well as anyone I’ve read.

    A “one day in the life” novel, patterned very generally on Solzhenitsyn’s book, might be a good way of portraying a Hapless White Guy, say a young accountant, as he makes his way through a travesty of onetime American values and manners.

  39. @Dave Pinsen
    I don’t remember the Hitler stuff from volume 1 of My Struggle - did he write it elsewhere?

    It is something to consider when you hear European colonization blamed for 3rd world countries’ backwardness - Europe did far more damage to itself in the world wars than it did to anyone else in centuries of colonialism, and yet it was prosperous again soon after.

    The book itself had nothing to do with the “H-man”. But the “H-man” used the “M-title” for his book way back in 1925.

    Ove knew that the “M-title” would be triggering (particularly to “J-people” who acutely remember the “H-event”) but he used it anyway.

    New rule: Don’t use the “M-title” anymore.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    I search engined That Phrase looking for a specific reference and was flooded with irrelevant results, because everybody uses it all the time, especially leftists, and nobody holds leftists to account. Hitler comparison is a congruence test.
  40. “Norwegian Karl Ove Knausgaard, author of six volumes of autobiographical musings entitled My Struggle, is likely the most celebrated literary writer of the current decade.

    According to Who/Whom? Could it be an Alt-Right fixation with authors who have a Faustian bargain complex?

    “Like Houellebecq, Knausgaard is increasingly becoming an explicitly rightist writer due to his ineradicable white guyness as the rest of the world is encouraged to hate white guys.”

    That would not be entirely accurate.

    Knausgaard provides insight regarding the Far Right’s traction in recruiting new acolytes. “I see parallels with the 1930s but also differences. There is a feeling we have no control over the future — the climate, cloning, the gap between rich and poor getting bigger. That’s a dangerous place to be in. You think things just happen because it is possible to change it, but it requires a lot of people acting together and that is almost impossible…There’s such a division between them [identity politics and Far Right politics] and it’s filled with hatred. Like with the trans debate — that’s turned into some political thing which is just symbolic and basically without value.”

    “This is a constant question for me, a constant struggle for me, exactly this subject [for me to write about Nazism in the last book]. [So he relates how he felt after the massacre by Anders Breivik by stating] “It’s a very small country, very egalitarian and people know each other and so on. And it was a complete shock. I can’t really understand the reaction now, after so many things have happened later, but I was just crying. I was watching TV and crying and it was like my whole life was involved in it, and I felt such a strong belonging to Norway, to being Norwegian.”

    As far as how he views himself politically, “I find it hard to do that. Look, I think the welfare state is such a great invention, and it’s dissolving now and I think that’s terrible. Everybody should go to the same type of school, no matter where they come from, and that’s just a principle in society which I think is right. And in those terms I would be on the left, very much on the left. But then there are those other things, the things we have been talking about. And that makes this a bit more confusing for me.”

    • Replies: @GU
    “Look, I think the welfare state is such a great invention, and it’s dissolving now and I think that’s terrible. Everybody should go to the same type of school, no matter where they come from, and that’s just a principle in society which I think is right.”

    A fine sentiment when 95%+ of the population are ethnic Norwegians who largely adhere to a Lutheran-Scandinavian lifestyle and culture.

    There are other groups where large fractions of the population just aren’t fit for or interested in much schooling. And when you add in anti-school cultural biases, it’s even worse.

    Knausgaard is basically saying “life was pretty great in Norway and Sweden before globalization and mass immigration.” I can relate.
    , @SunBakedSuburb
    " ... Faustian bargain complex?"

    That's rich coming from the cisgendered liberal crowd that supports the Soros-Clinton cult in their ongoing chaos and division operation in this country. Does NPR whisper in the background as you write your little missives?
    , @Dieter Kief
    Faustian bargain complex? Huh?

    If anything, it's the old opposition between the raw and the cooked (Lévy-Strauss) - resurfacing in an ultimately secularised context, where the individual feels unprotected by the state, as soon as things get really existential - like a dying, stinking, nasty old father, full of anger, resentment and shit, say; and here you are - the divorced man - without the traditional shelter of a caring women by your side - doing these kinds of things, traditionally (that's what's new in the Knausgaard setting - and what is hardly ever noticed, and what therefore is interesting in itself : - : It looks as if the sheer intensity of Knausgaards novels makes it hard for the critics to catch up with what these books are really about. - That is nothing super-special, but it might indicate, that on the emotional side at least, these novels are quite powerful indeed.

    Knausgaard himself reached these outer existential boundaries of the life of the divorced family-man in the modern social state; and thus he realized: When the going gets TOUGH, existentially, you could try and duck and cover under the big and smelling blanket of the social security net in - Norway, but it would not feel right. Therefore he decides to go through all these daily smelling and demoralizing miseries himself: HIS STRUGGLE - his own, true, private detection, how much he existentially (=really) owes to a shpere, which is usually alien to a man - what is especially hard, because men, therefore, have no training and no collective experience in these fields of honor .

    So you're stuck. You have no one left to blame and you realize, just how hard life can be, and that there indeed is a side to it, which at least borders to the wild: To fighting, to shit, blood, despair, dirt, despair, chaos... - and, you know: Hitler did away with the shelter and shield of religion, he indeed installed what Georg Lukacs - from a different perspective indeed, saw quite clearly too, and called: Metaphysical rooflessness.

    See - in that hindsight, totalitarian systems are indeed: Same Same But Different - and in this case, the difference hardly matters.

    So: The title of My Struggle is no postmodern "apercu", but leads the reader to the heart of the matter (=these books).

  41. Anon[339] • Disclaimer says:

    The linked Knausgaard American travelogue vaguely reminded me of the Bill Bryson book where, after a couple of decades living in England with an English wife, he does an American cross country road trip by himself, looking at the country as a bit of a Rip van Winkle. I remember laughing out loud every page or two. I wonder if it would pass the PC test today. I remember a section where he describes Iowa girls as similar to emergency water landing rafts. They are lovely until about 25, and then pssffuuut!, they inflate all of a sudden to enormous proportions.

    Later, in the age of YouTube, I discovered that Bryson has acquired a weird English accent and is an advocate for hedge row preservation.

  42. @Maus
    My sentiments exactly. It was just too. damn. long. I repented and read the second volume some months later. I wanted to like this guy, but it's too much of a slog.
    I thought the same thing about David Foster Wallace's "The Pale King." Death did not improve my opinion of him, and I will not be reading "Infinite Jest."
    If you want gritty Scando realism, read Jo Nesbo. His antihero protagonist Harry Hole is the ultimate cis hetero white male badass.

    The ultimate cis hetero white male Scandinavian badass ur-geek, “backroom guy” who actually wrote the original Turbo Pascal hawked by illegal-immigrant (from France!) entrepreneur Philippe Kahn, has to be Anders Hejlsberg

    Gotta admire that mixture of Silicon Valley techno babble, surfer dude, with Danish pitch inflections:

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=anders+hejlsberg&view=detail&mid=DE70FE8A362AEAC24C92DE70FE8A362AEAC24C92&FORM=VIRE

    If Linus Torvald is the Luke Skywalker-who-went-all-SJW-in-the-recent-sequels of software, Anders Hejlsberg is the unapologic Darth Vader, who had crossed over to the Dark Side, which in the software world is Microsoft.

    As long as we still have dudes like Anders at work, Western Civilization, or at least its technological underpinnings, is safe for now.

  43. @Dave Pinsen
    I don’t remember the Hitler stuff from volume 1 of My Struggle - did he write it elsewhere?

    It is something to consider when you hear European colonization blamed for 3rd world countries’ backwardness - Europe did far more damage to itself in the world wars than it did to anyone else in centuries of colonialism, and yet it was prosperous again soon after.

    Excellent debating point about Europe and the wars.

  44. Knausgaard looks like Michel Houellebecq as played by Brad Pitt.

    Which reminds me, a film version of Submission would be a wonderful thing.

  45. He noted that he himself had been accused by a prominent Swedish academic of being a fascist for daring to challenge Sweden’s culture of political correctness. And he said he knew writers who were ostracized and had lost friends because of their unpopular opinions . . . .

    More likely it was due to their popular opinions.

  46. @Intelligent Dasein
    That's why I have to give mad props to James Howard Kunstler. He's a liberal from an older generation, but he hasn't hesitated to call out Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the whole Democratic Party apparatus. It takes a lot of courage and honesty to go against one's own deeply ingrained partisan politics and call it like it is.

    I don't always agree with him, but JHK is a good man. I wish Ron would consider featuring him here.

    It takes a lot of courage and honesty to go against one’s own deeply ingrained partisan politics and call it like it is.

    I noticed this trend in the mid-1990’s as Cultural Leftism transitioned from fringe campus Foucault acolyte to the political class. Trumpsim has given liberals a chance to see the true face leftism, and some are drawing a line in the sand. Policies requiring intellectual contortions to agree with while placing you and your people at a disadvantage have a limited shelf life for any thinking person who has not yet been assimilated or bought off.

  47. @Corvinus
    "Norwegian Karl Ove Knausgaard, author of six volumes of autobiographical musings entitled My Struggle, is likely the most celebrated literary writer of the current decade.

    According to Who/Whom? Could it be an Alt-Right fixation with authors who have a Faustian bargain complex?

    "Like Houellebecq, Knausgaard is increasingly becoming an explicitly rightist writer due to his ineradicable white guyness as the rest of the world is encouraged to hate white guys."

    That would not be entirely accurate.

    Knausgaard provides insight regarding the Far Right's traction in recruiting new acolytes. “I see parallels with the 1930s but also differences. There is a feeling we have no control over the future — the climate, cloning, the gap between rich and poor getting bigger. That’s a dangerous place to be in. You think things just happen because it is possible to change it, but it requires a lot of people acting together and that is almost impossible...There’s such a division between them [identity politics and Far Right politics] and it’s filled with hatred. Like with the trans debate — that’s turned into some political thing which is just symbolic and basically without value.”

    "This is a constant question for me, a constant struggle for me, exactly this subject [for me to write about Nazism in the last book]. [So he relates how he felt after the massacre by Anders Breivik by stating] "It’s a very small country, very egalitarian and people know each other and so on. And it was a complete shock. I can’t really understand the reaction now, after so many things have happened later, but I was just crying. I was watching TV and crying and it was like my whole life was involved in it, and I felt such a strong belonging to Norway, to being Norwegian.”

    As far as how he views himself politically, “I find it hard to do that. Look, I think the welfare state is such a great invention, and it’s dissolving now and I think that’s terrible. Everybody should go to the same type of school, no matter where they come from, and that’s just a principle in society which I think is right. And in those terms I would be on the left, very much on the left. But then there are those other things, the things we have been talking about. And that makes this a bit more confusing for me.”

    “Look, I think the welfare state is such a great invention, and it’s dissolving now and I think that’s terrible. Everybody should go to the same type of school, no matter where they come from, and that’s just a principle in society which I think is right.”

    A fine sentiment when 95%+ of the population are ethnic Norwegians who largely adhere to a Lutheran-Scandinavian lifestyle and culture.

    There are other groups where large fractions of the population just aren’t fit for or interested in much schooling. And when you add in anti-school cultural biases, it’s even worse.

    Knausgaard is basically saying “life was pretty great in Norway and Sweden before globalization and mass immigration.” I can relate.

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    "A fine sentiment when 95%+ of the population are ethnic Norwegians who largely adhere to a Lutheran-Scandinavian lifestyle and culture."

    Except they are (gasp) socialists.

    "There are other groups where large fractions of the population just aren’t fit for or interested in much schooling."

    Perhaps not.

    https://ec.europa.eu/epale/en/blog/migrant-education-new-trends-norwegian-approach

    "Knausgaard is basically saying “life was pretty great in Norway and Sweden before globalization and mass immigration.”

    Maybe. Then again, maybe not.

  48. @Lagertha
    He did that on purpose! You have to read all 6 books to eventually, get the humor of why. He reminds me of all the HS boys I had a crush on in Scandinavia AND the USA. Crabby, cynical, prone to do careless things like smoking & drinking, disdaining hypocrisy and political correctness before we even knew the term; genuinely humane and flawed, but also, very, very funny, intelligent and sensitive. The kind of guys you wanna have a beer with, stay up too late - because, they like beer.

    The kind of guys you wanna have a beer with, stay up too late – because, they like beer.

    But it helps if they are also funny, intelligent and sensitive. Sometimes a guy who likes beer is just a sullen alcoholic.

  49. @nebulafox
    I agree, but oddly enough, I found his commentary on Hitler to be very interesting, not least because he focused on how normal he was when he was young.

    Above all, I agree with him that WWI made Hitler Hitler, not Vienna. You don't understand how utterly cataclysmic that was, how that really just fatally wounded "old" Europe, you can't understand how the vision of the Nazis (or the Bolsheviks, for that matter) could become reality. Hell, the horrible geopolitical results of the hatred Wilson and American progressives had for the Hapsburg dynasty alone deserves its own post, if only because of the eery psychological similarities to modern liberals.

    One interesting equivalent would be the terrible Great War between Byzantium and the Sassanids: that shut the door on classical antiquity like WWI did the bourgeois age. And in the vacuum that the war and plague left arose a certain Arab mystery man calling on people to worship the one true God of Abraham... with his followers, many of them former Roman and Persian clients and hired guns, establishing a new empire. Byzantium would survive, but fundamentally altered, far more medieval and disconnected from the Roman legacy. Persia wouldn't-which had very interesting consequences for the development of Islam.

    Wilson is probably History’s Greatest Villain. Still, it is a stretch to say Hitler was “normal” before WWI. I’m curious to read Knausgaard on that. The best book I have ever read on the subject – “Hitler’s Vienna” by Brigitte Hamann- depicts young Adolf as kind of a weird Wagner and art obsessed loner prone to breaking out in ex tempore monologues. She makes him sound Aspergery. But it is also true that he was not particularly anti-Semitic, by the standards of 1900s Vienna, and interacted with Jews regularly. The guy who actually went around hawking Hitler’s watercolors to tourists seems to have been Jewish. Hitler was too lazy or too embarrassed to sell his work himself.

  50. @Anonymous
    Another WASP, who was the last WASP on the Supreme Court, comes out to say Kavanaugh is too much of an Irish lout to be on the Supreme Court:

    https://twitter.com/Acosta/status/1047959517869346817

    I’m wary of Judge Kavanaugh’s Bushian background, but I still support his nomination. Being an Irish American lout with a rosacea bloom, I’d like to see an Irish American lout with a rosacea bloom on the Supreme Court.

  51. In Sailer we have a very smart critic who writes engagingly and at length about the fiction of Tom Wolfe and Evelyn Waugh (and lots of Hollywood dross), but can’t be bothered to read Anna Karenina, David Foster Wallace, or Knausgaard.

    Perhaps the lack of interest in the latter two is because they are younger; how could a writer five or ten years his junior be worth the time required for an 1100-page postmodern epic or 3600-page memoir?

    In the My Struggle books you get all the ordinary details of Knausgaard’s life, from embarrassing episodes that make you cringe and to successes that make you envious. He chronicles his life with an honesty, humility, and intelligence that make it hard to put the books down even though nothing extraordinary happens.

    Knausgaard outed himself as a wrongthinker in book two, which is about his move to Stockholm in the early 2000s, when he wins over his second wife, Linda Bostrom (the daughter of a Swedish television actress) and starts a family. On a break from caring for their infant daughter, he reads Dostoevsky, and comments that in the 19th century, people took seriously the question of whether life was meaningful, while in the modern West liberals treat the question as sophomoric, something only teenagers care about. He attributes this to the great liberal cause of equality, which is all-encompassing and gives progressives great moral energy.

  52. @Corvinus
    "Norwegian Karl Ove Knausgaard, author of six volumes of autobiographical musings entitled My Struggle, is likely the most celebrated literary writer of the current decade.

    According to Who/Whom? Could it be an Alt-Right fixation with authors who have a Faustian bargain complex?

    "Like Houellebecq, Knausgaard is increasingly becoming an explicitly rightist writer due to his ineradicable white guyness as the rest of the world is encouraged to hate white guys."

    That would not be entirely accurate.

    Knausgaard provides insight regarding the Far Right's traction in recruiting new acolytes. “I see parallels with the 1930s but also differences. There is a feeling we have no control over the future — the climate, cloning, the gap between rich and poor getting bigger. That’s a dangerous place to be in. You think things just happen because it is possible to change it, but it requires a lot of people acting together and that is almost impossible...There’s such a division between them [identity politics and Far Right politics] and it’s filled with hatred. Like with the trans debate — that’s turned into some political thing which is just symbolic and basically without value.”

    "This is a constant question for me, a constant struggle for me, exactly this subject [for me to write about Nazism in the last book]. [So he relates how he felt after the massacre by Anders Breivik by stating] "It’s a very small country, very egalitarian and people know each other and so on. And it was a complete shock. I can’t really understand the reaction now, after so many things have happened later, but I was just crying. I was watching TV and crying and it was like my whole life was involved in it, and I felt such a strong belonging to Norway, to being Norwegian.”

    As far as how he views himself politically, “I find it hard to do that. Look, I think the welfare state is such a great invention, and it’s dissolving now and I think that’s terrible. Everybody should go to the same type of school, no matter where they come from, and that’s just a principle in society which I think is right. And in those terms I would be on the left, very much on the left. But then there are those other things, the things we have been talking about. And that makes this a bit more confusing for me.”

    ” … Faustian bargain complex?”

    That’s rich coming from the cisgendered liberal crowd that supports the Soros-Clinton cult in their ongoing chaos and division operation in this country. Does NPR whisper in the background as you write your little missives?

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    "That’s rich coming from the cisgendered liberal crowd that supports the Soros-Clinton cult in their ongoing chaos and division operation in this country."

    No cult. And this "ongoing chaos and division operation" is compliments of radicals on the left and on the right. The normies, aka the "mushy middle", are quite mindful. You?

    "Does NPR whisper in the background as you write your little missives?"

    That would be your wife, as she makes muffins for us in the morning. You really need to keep tabs on her whereabouts :)
  53. @Lagertha
    He did that on purpose! You have to read all 6 books to eventually, get the humor of why. He reminds me of all the HS boys I had a crush on in Scandinavia AND the USA. Crabby, cynical, prone to do careless things like smoking & drinking, disdaining hypocrisy and political correctness before we even knew the term; genuinely humane and flawed, but also, very, very funny, intelligent and sensitive. The kind of guys you wanna have a beer with, stay up too late - because, they like beer.

    ahh – they like beer – and your handle fits in nicely: LAGERtha – no? – Yes!

    Cheers! – (I just had an Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu Pilsner from the Black Forest – one of the best there (and everywhere (about a third of the Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu output now goes to China – and is consumed there for 15 Dollars/1/2 l bottle, as brewery reps told me).

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    Not one of those German brews which travels poorly then.

    When I lived in Germany I was often disappointed to discover that a beer I found particularly to my taste was unavailable anywhere more than say ten miles from where it was brewed.
    Koelsch for example, or Rauchbier in Bamberg.

    Perhaps it is simply a myth told by the locals to keep it all for themselves.
  54. Good hapless-white-guy story out of Sac, CA this morning. TV news crew sets up on campus for a piece on domestic violence, falls victim to a bit of nondomestic violence.

    The situation might of been aggravated by the Becky half of the news crew panicking at the site of an approaching gentle giant.

    https://www.sacbee.com/latest-news/article219495645.html

  55. @Hemid
    That genre was founded by Donald Barthelme as a sort of ironized urban(e) shadow twin of Ernest Hemingway. His "Critique de la Vie Quotidienne" was the "Cat Person" of the '70s. I doubt I have to tell you how much more interesting than "Cat Person" it is.

    The genre was, to put it kindly, made indistinguishable from parody by David Foster Wallace.

    David Forster Wallace was ill. Severely so.
    If you have experience with severely ill psychos (I do), you see – while reading Infinite Jest, and even more so while reading the Pale Kingthat he is struggling with his mental state all the time. Once you have detected this pattern, it just isn’t fun anymore at all, what he writes (mostly he is too fucking indirect – not really on the point).

    “If you see a cat trapped inside a washing machine, don’t (DON’T) set up a recording studio there – just open the drawer.” ( Robert Christgau in his maybe most famous ever (at least in my mind, that is) annihilation of an actual record).

  56. Fneh. I’d rather live it than read about it.

  57. @GU
    “Look, I think the welfare state is such a great invention, and it’s dissolving now and I think that’s terrible. Everybody should go to the same type of school, no matter where they come from, and that’s just a principle in society which I think is right.”

    A fine sentiment when 95%+ of the population are ethnic Norwegians who largely adhere to a Lutheran-Scandinavian lifestyle and culture.

    There are other groups where large fractions of the population just aren’t fit for or interested in much schooling. And when you add in anti-school cultural biases, it’s even worse.

    Knausgaard is basically saying “life was pretty great in Norway and Sweden before globalization and mass immigration.” I can relate.

    “A fine sentiment when 95%+ of the population are ethnic Norwegians who largely adhere to a Lutheran-Scandinavian lifestyle and culture.”

    Except they are (gasp) socialists.

    “There are other groups where large fractions of the population just aren’t fit for or interested in much schooling.”

    Perhaps not.

    https://ec.europa.eu/epale/en/blog/migrant-education-new-trends-norwegian-approach

    “Knausgaard is basically saying “life was pretty great in Norway and Sweden before globalization and mass immigration.”

    Maybe. Then again, maybe not.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Except they are (gasp) socialists.
     
    No they're not. Scandinavia has always been the most capitalistic corner of the Continent.
  58. @SunBakedSuburb
    " ... Faustian bargain complex?"

    That's rich coming from the cisgendered liberal crowd that supports the Soros-Clinton cult in their ongoing chaos and division operation in this country. Does NPR whisper in the background as you write your little missives?

    “That’s rich coming from the cisgendered liberal crowd that supports the Soros-Clinton cult in their ongoing chaos and division operation in this country.”

    No cult. And this “ongoing chaos and division operation” is compliments of radicals on the left and on the right. The normies, aka the “mushy middle”, are quite mindful. You?

    “Does NPR whisper in the background as you write your little missives?”

    That would be your wife, as she makes muffins for us in the morning. You really need to keep tabs on her whereabouts 🙂

    • Replies: @boofter
    ...and you wonder why you got picked on in high school.
    , @Charles Erwin Wilson II

    That would be your wife, as she makes muffins for us in the morning. You really need to keep tabs on her whereabouts
     
    The afterlife is going to suck for you, Corvinus.
  59. @Corvinus
    "Norwegian Karl Ove Knausgaard, author of six volumes of autobiographical musings entitled My Struggle, is likely the most celebrated literary writer of the current decade.

    According to Who/Whom? Could it be an Alt-Right fixation with authors who have a Faustian bargain complex?

    "Like Houellebecq, Knausgaard is increasingly becoming an explicitly rightist writer due to his ineradicable white guyness as the rest of the world is encouraged to hate white guys."

    That would not be entirely accurate.

    Knausgaard provides insight regarding the Far Right's traction in recruiting new acolytes. “I see parallels with the 1930s but also differences. There is a feeling we have no control over the future — the climate, cloning, the gap between rich and poor getting bigger. That’s a dangerous place to be in. You think things just happen because it is possible to change it, but it requires a lot of people acting together and that is almost impossible...There’s such a division between them [identity politics and Far Right politics] and it’s filled with hatred. Like with the trans debate — that’s turned into some political thing which is just symbolic and basically without value.”

    "This is a constant question for me, a constant struggle for me, exactly this subject [for me to write about Nazism in the last book]. [So he relates how he felt after the massacre by Anders Breivik by stating] "It’s a very small country, very egalitarian and people know each other and so on. And it was a complete shock. I can’t really understand the reaction now, after so many things have happened later, but I was just crying. I was watching TV and crying and it was like my whole life was involved in it, and I felt such a strong belonging to Norway, to being Norwegian.”

    As far as how he views himself politically, “I find it hard to do that. Look, I think the welfare state is such a great invention, and it’s dissolving now and I think that’s terrible. Everybody should go to the same type of school, no matter where they come from, and that’s just a principle in society which I think is right. And in those terms I would be on the left, very much on the left. But then there are those other things, the things we have been talking about. And that makes this a bit more confusing for me.”

    Faustian bargain complex? Huh?

    If anything, it’s the old opposition between the raw and the cooked (Lévy-Strauss) – resurfacing in an ultimately secularised context, where the individual feels unprotected by the state, as soon as things get really existential – like a dying, stinking, nasty old father, full of anger, resentment and shit, say; and here you are – the divorced man – without the traditional shelter of a caring women by your side – doing these kinds of things, traditionally (that’s what’s new in the Knausgaard setting – and what is hardly ever noticed, and what therefore is interesting in itself : – : It looks as if the sheer intensity of Knausgaards novels makes it hard for the critics to catch up with what these books are really about. – That is nothing super-special, but it might indicate, that on the emotional side at least, these novels are quite powerful indeed.

    Knausgaard himself reached these outer existential boundaries of the life of the divorced family-man in the modern social state; and thus he realized: When the going gets TOUGH, existentially, you could try and duck and cover under the big and smelling blanket of the social security net in – Norway, but it would not feel right. Therefore he decides to go through all these daily smelling and demoralizing miseries himself: HIS STRUGGLE – his own, true, private detection, how much he existentially (=really) owes to a shpere, which is usually alien to a man – what is especially hard, because men, therefore, have no training and no collective experience in these fields of honor .

    So you’re stuck. You have no one left to blame and you realize, just how hard life can be, and that there indeed is a side to it, which at least borders to the wild: To fighting, to shit, blood, despair, dirt, despair, chaos… – and, you know: Hitler did away with the shelter and shield of religion, he indeed installed what Georg Lukacs – from a different perspective indeed, saw quite clearly too, and called: Metaphysical rooflessness.

    See – in that hindsight, totalitarian systems are indeed: Same Same But Different – and in this case, the difference hardly matters.

    So: The title of My Struggle is no postmodern “apercu”, but leads the reader to the heart of the matter (=these books).

  60. It is notable that Knausgaard is drawn to these disparate figures: the would-be artist, the voter who is persecuted for troublesome beliefs, the writer who is silenced.

    Karl Ove Knausgaard = Vulgar anorak asked.

    (Ask a Brit what “anorak” is.)

    From three years ago:

    Looking After the Knausgaards

  61. @Corvinus
    "A fine sentiment when 95%+ of the population are ethnic Norwegians who largely adhere to a Lutheran-Scandinavian lifestyle and culture."

    Except they are (gasp) socialists.

    "There are other groups where large fractions of the population just aren’t fit for or interested in much schooling."

    Perhaps not.

    https://ec.europa.eu/epale/en/blog/migrant-education-new-trends-norwegian-approach

    "Knausgaard is basically saying “life was pretty great in Norway and Sweden before globalization and mass immigration.”

    Maybe. Then again, maybe not.

    Except they are (gasp) socialists.

    No they’re not. Scandinavia has always been the most capitalistic corner of the Continent.

  62. Nationalized health insurance, tuition-free universities, a job guarantee, universal child care, and worker representation on corporate boards are socialist principles embraced by Scandinavian nations. Moreover, the governments of Norway and Finland own financial assets equal to 330 percent and 130 percent of each country’s respective GDP. In the U.S., the same figure is just 26 percent. In addition, state-owned enterprises (SOEs), defined as commercial enterprises in which the state has a controlling stake or large minority stake, are far more prevalent Scandinavia. In 2012, the value of Norwegian SOEs was equal to 87.9 percent of the country’s GDP. For Finland, that figure was 52.3 percent. In the US, it was not even 1 percent.

  63. @Anon
    Some real struggle here. Immigration should be called Invasion-Replacement.

    https://twitter.com/SwanOfTuonela/status/1047999645497151488

    Urban proverb

    The trouble with public transportation is…..the public.

  64. @Corvinus
    "That’s rich coming from the cisgendered liberal crowd that supports the Soros-Clinton cult in their ongoing chaos and division operation in this country."

    No cult. And this "ongoing chaos and division operation" is compliments of radicals on the left and on the right. The normies, aka the "mushy middle", are quite mindful. You?

    "Does NPR whisper in the background as you write your little missives?"

    That would be your wife, as she makes muffins for us in the morning. You really need to keep tabs on her whereabouts :)

    …and you wonder why you got picked on in high school.

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    "…and you wonder why you got picked on in high school."

    Actually, I drank beer. Lots of beer. And had fffffun.
  65. @Dieter Kief
    ahh - they like beer - and your handle fits in nicely: LAGERtha - no? - Yes!

    Cheers! - (I just had an Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu Pilsner from the Black Forest - one of the best there (and everywhere (about a third of the Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu output now goes to China - and is consumed there for 15 Dollars/1/2 l bottle, as brewery reps told me).

    Not one of those German brews which travels poorly then.

    When I lived in Germany I was often disappointed to discover that a beer I found particularly to my taste was unavailable anywhere more than say ten miles from where it was brewed.
    Koelsch for example, or Rauchbier in Bamberg.

    Perhaps it is simply a myth told by the locals to keep it all for themselves.

  66. @Anon
    https://www.henrywilliamson.co.uk/

    Williamson's early novels are superb. But as the story moves into WWI , it gets ground down in the minutiae of war. He makes ordinary life more compelling than epic violence. They would make an excellent TV series like the Forsyte Saga.

    Ah, but he loved Hitler you see.

    Can’t have people wondering about that.

  67. “worker representation on corporate boards“

    Is that a joke?

    Maybe in a high trust society I could embrace that.
    But as a worker.
    I don’t think America has ever been high trust enough for something like that to work.
    I fundamentally don’t trust that blonde Norse men have my best interests in mind. Especially blonde Norse men who look slightly ethnic, because I’m extremely white. I’m so white that I make blonde Norse me look ethnic. And they hate me for it.

  68. @Big Bill
    The book itself had nothing to do with the "H-man". But the "H-man" used the "M-title" for his book way back in 1925.

    Ove knew that the "M-title" would be triggering (particularly to "J-people" who acutely remember the "H-event") but he used it anyway.

    New rule: Don't use the "M-title" anymore.

    I search engined That Phrase looking for a specific reference and was flooded with irrelevant results, because everybody uses it all the time, especially leftists, and nobody holds leftists to account. Hitler comparison is a congruence test.

  69. @boofter
    ...and you wonder why you got picked on in high school.

    “…and you wonder why you got picked on in high school.”

    Actually, I drank beer. Lots of beer. And had fffffun.

  70. @JackOH
    Knausgaard!? You're killing me, Steve. I'd never heard of the guy. I thought I was kind of lit-crit cool when I put Robert Musil on my reading list a long time. Maybe I'll get around to Musil, y'know, some day.

    I read D. F. Wallace's essays, some of them, and, in a fit of post hoc retconning I recall thinking this guy's writing from a very weak "life position". I tried poking my way into Infinite Jest, but it just wasn't clicking for me, although I'm sure I'm missing something.

    Hapless White Guy as a literary genre? I'd never heard of it, but, yeah, I'll go with it. Maybe literary agents and publishers can encourage the idea. There may be some genuine possibilities in stories of whomped-upon White dudes, strangers in their own countries.

    I tried poking my way into Infinite Jest, but it just wasn’t clicking for me, although I’m sure I’m missing something.

    I heard Pemulis was Blasey-Ford’s getaway driver.

  71. @Anonymous
    Another WASP, who was the last WASP on the Supreme Court, comes out to say Kavanaugh is too much of an Irish lout to be on the Supreme Court:

    https://twitter.com/Acosta/status/1047959517869346817

    On Justice Stevens, Pat Buchanan lays out the astounding, enraging history of the modern court:

    [O]f 15 justices Republican Presidents have named since World War II, five — Warren, Brennan, Blackmun, Stevens and Souter — became liberal activists. Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor, both Reagan choices, became swing justices and voted with the court’s liberals on critical social issues.

    Democratic presidents have done far better by their constituents.

    Of seven justices named by LBJ, Clinton and Obama, every one — Thurgood Marshall, Arthur Goldberg, Abe Fortas, Ruth Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor — turned out to be predictably and consistently liberal.

    Look how long it took to break the hegemony of the left!

    Having felt the foul breath of the cultural marxist left on his neck and in his family’s face, the new justice will overturn Roe completely, I now believe.

  72. @duncsbaby
    I probably won't read any of his books but am willing to bring a 30-pack of Busch Lite to a meet-up of iStevers at Lagertha's place.

    hahaahaaa! You’re gonna need to get better beer!

    Well, it’s a shame not to all party together, have some beers, but we will remain anonymous until the end of our days. I don’t know why I suddenly want to listen (want y’all to listen to this, hahaa) to this oldie from my HS days:

  73. @Corvinus
    "That’s rich coming from the cisgendered liberal crowd that supports the Soros-Clinton cult in their ongoing chaos and division operation in this country."

    No cult. And this "ongoing chaos and division operation" is compliments of radicals on the left and on the right. The normies, aka the "mushy middle", are quite mindful. You?

    "Does NPR whisper in the background as you write your little missives?"

    That would be your wife, as she makes muffins for us in the morning. You really need to keep tabs on her whereabouts :)

    That would be your wife, as she makes muffins for us in the morning. You really need to keep tabs on her whereabouts

    The afterlife is going to suck for you, Corvinus.

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    "The afterlife is going to suck for you, Corvinus."

    Only God will Judge. Only He knows, not you.
  74. @Charles Erwin Wilson II

    That would be your wife, as she makes muffins for us in the morning. You really need to keep tabs on her whereabouts
     
    The afterlife is going to suck for you, Corvinus.

    “The afterlife is going to suck for you, Corvinus.”

    Only God will Judge. Only He knows, not you.

  75. @Lagertha
    He did that on purpose! You have to read all 6 books to eventually, get the humor of why. He reminds me of all the HS boys I had a crush on in Scandinavia AND the USA. Crabby, cynical, prone to do careless things like smoking & drinking, disdaining hypocrisy and political correctness before we even knew the term; genuinely humane and flawed, but also, very, very funny, intelligent and sensitive. The kind of guys you wanna have a beer with, stay up too late - because, they like beer.

    Go find a bar that knows your name. And report back here. Autumn is coming…beers at terraces are reproached by autumn weather.

  76. @Lagertha
    He did that on purpose! You have to read all 6 books to eventually, get the humor of why. He reminds me of all the HS boys I had a crush on in Scandinavia AND the USA. Crabby, cynical, prone to do careless things like smoking & drinking, disdaining hypocrisy and political correctness before we even knew the term; genuinely humane and flawed, but also, very, very funny, intelligent and sensitive. The kind of guys you wanna have a beer with, stay up too late - because, they like beer.

    I never demonize alcohol or food. I never measure my intake….why would you? Do we really want to live in a world that examines, every day, what we eat & day?!?

    I failed 5 minutes ago (:) )…I had a pear Martini.

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