– Noah Millman argues that Submission is not satire but Houellebecq’s personal fantasy of arranged polygamous marriage. But why can’t it be both at the same time? Top writers do more than one thing at once. Houellebecq has devoted many years to developing an image of himself as a distressing person. A novel explaining that he’s the kind of opportunist who would collaborate with a Muslim takeover is not exactly good PR for a Muslim takeover.
– Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld argues that Houellebecq’s hero has a point.
– Aaron MacLean in the Washington Free Beacon: “At Least It’s an Ethos.”
– In the New York Times, Norwegian novelist Karl Ove Knausgaard offers a characteristically long review of Submission. Knausgaard, the author of a six-volume autobiography entitled My Struggle, is one of the leading lights, along with Houellebecq and the late David Foster Wallace, of the Hapless White Guy genre in recent literary fiction that has served as a sort of covert White Male Pride movement.
The late John Updike was blithely unconcerned that many of the more literary members of Official Victim Groups feel oppressed by the fact that white men continue to make up a wildly disproportionate fraction of the most talented writers. Updike’s combination of overwhelming talent and well-adjusted Middle Americanness was particularly enraging to the rising powers.
The new generation, in contrast, has been acutely aware of being hated for who they are, with varying impacts: defiance in the case of Houellebecq, conflictedness and depression in the case of poor Wallace.
Update: From The Local:
Knausgård savages the ‘Cyclops’ Swedes
Published: 20 May 2015 15:25 GMT+02:00
Norwegian literary star Karl Ove Knausgård has launched an extraordinary attack on the Swedes, damning them as a race of narrow-minded “Cyclops” who cannot tolerate ambiguity, have no understanding of literature, and are “full of hate and fear”.
The bitter 3,000 word rant, published in the Dagens Nyheter newspaper, is a response to an article in the same paper by the feminist Ebba Witt-Brattström, which described Knausgård’s first novel ‘Out of the World’, just now translated into Swedish, as a type of “literary paedophilia”.
But it also mercilessly tears apart what Knausgård sees as Swedes’ black and white approach to race, immigration, gender, and sex, lampooning the nation’s tendency to repress complex or difficult ideas, and its fear of moral uncertainty.
“The reason there’s so much hate among the Cyclops and so much terror I believe is simple,” he writes. “The Cyclops don’t want to know about that part of reality which isn’t how they think it should be.”
Knausgård has now lived in Sweden for some 13 years, moving to Stockholm in 2002 when he began a relationship with the Swedish poet Linda Boström, after which they moved first to Malmö, and then to a village in the Skåne countryside.
But he does not appear to have learnt to love his adopted countrymen.
In his article, he attacks Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven for describing the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats as a “neo-fascist party”.
“Everyone knows it isn’t true, but that doesn’t matter because if they think differently on such a sensitive question, they must be fascists,” he argues.
“The Cyclops believe that their picture of reality is the same for everyone, and if there’s anywhere which doesn’t agree, like for example their neighbours Denmark, they get angry with the Danes.”
Within hours of Knaugård’s article being published, Jonas Gardell, a Swedish comic novelist and high profile cultural figure, had attacked him in Expressen newspaper for “suddenly and without warning defending the Sweden Democrats”.
He complained that Knausgård had called the Sweden Democrats a ”legitimate” party, and mocked Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven for calling them neo-fascists.
It’s clear that Knausgård doesn’t approve of the Swedish consensus on immigration, but he is perhaps at his most offensive when he gets onto the Swedes’ relationship with literature.
My impression is that as political correctness increasingly clamps down on free expression, more of the creative talent is showing up on the right. It’s hard to tell for sure because it can be a career killer for these guys to be too explicit, but that seems like the trend.