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"Serotonin:" My Review of Houellebecq's New Novel
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Note: Not precisely a portrait of Michel Houellebecq

From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:

French reactionary writer Michel Houellebecq became world-famous on Jan. 7, 2015, when a caricature of him appeared on the cover of Charlie Hebdo to promote his new novel Submission about the future Islamification of France just as Muslim terrorists slaughtered the magazine’s staff.

That attack marked the opening of the two-year stretch in which the end of history ended: Merkel’s Mistake, Brexit, and Trump.

Submission, in which a Houellebecqian antihero adapts to the new order in Europe by converting to Islam and taking three brides, turned out to be terrific, perhaps the most memorable novel of the now-ending decade, which will likely go down in history as the era when much of the top talent moved to the right (or, alternatively, most of the mediocrities moved to the left).

Michel Houellebecq and Iggy Pop

Read the whole thing there.

I saw Iggy Pop opening for the Pretenders in, I believe, 1987. My fiance had been under the impression that Iggy Pop was not a real person but was instead a cartoon character, such as Zippy the Pinhead.

But he’s real and put on a good show. The most memorable moment was Iggy pogoing maniacally thru his last number (presumably “Lust for Life“). We happened to have seats where we could see see the nearly 40 year old Mr. Pop exit the stage down the tunnel to his dressing room. The moment he reached a position where 99% of the audience couldn’t see him, he stopped jumping and sauntered casually away.

“Now, that’s professionalism!” we enthused.

 
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  1. Merkel’s Mistake

    Mistake. Such a trivial, harmless-sounding word.

    A little alliteration isn’t a bad thing, but disaster seems more accurate.

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Mr McKenna

    I prefer 'Bumrush'.*

    Good old American word that sums it up entirely.

    *In the modern, derived sense of an organised gang of bums busting 'door security' and rushing in to claim the goodies.

    Replies: @Hippopotamusdrome

    , @jon
    @Mr McKenna

    Angela's Apocalypse?

    , @El Dato
    @Mr McKenna

    Misaster: "A mistake, but also a disaster"


    He flees to the last hotel in Paris that allows smoking. (Houellebecq’s fundamental complaint is basically: What’s the world coming to when a Frenchman can’t smoke in a Parisian hotel?) There, nothing much happens other than he reminisces over old girlfriends and, in a characteristically French touch, stops showering.
     
    Except for the lack of showering, this sounds like a Murakami novel.
    , @Hypnotoad666
    @Mr McKenna

    Merkel's malpractice?
    Merkel's mess up?
    Merkel's misadventure?

    Replies: @Charon

    , @MikeatMikedotMike
    @Mr McKenna

    Merkel's War.

    , @European-American
    @Mr McKenna

    "Merkel's Mistake" is a bit of a litote.

    A similar usage might be "Bush's Bumble" for Iraq.

    Libya could be "Hillary's Hiccup".

    https://www.wordnik.com/words/litotes

    , @Yawrate
    @Mr McKenna

    Merkel's Miscarriage

    , @Molly Coddle
    @Mr McKenna

    Merkel's Maelstrom?

    , @Old Palo Altan
    @Mr McKenna

    I always call her Mad Miss Merkle, so I think Merkle's Madness will do very well.

  2. I learned the phrase “Hitchcock blonde.”

  3. Merkelypse Now

    • LOL: jon
  4. Er, Steve, just glanced at your Takimag article and you say:

    Houellebecq recently married a Japanese woman whom I hope can take a joke

    But according to the internet his spouse is the rather un-Japanese sounding Qianyum Lysis Li. Hope this isn`t a case of “they all look the same”?

    By the way, in that good old UK comedy Dad`s Army (by the BBC!) set in WW2 there`s the following dialogue (or something like it.)

    Sergeant Wilson : I can`t tell the difference between the Poles – they all look the same.

    Captain Mainwaring : (angrily). Don`t be ridiculous, Wilson. (pause) That`s the Chinese.

    One would imagine such a dialogue would lead to a lengthy prison sentence these days.

    • LOL: jim jones
    • Replies: @Change that Matters
    @auld alliance

    She's Chinese.

    , @The Last Real Calvinist
    @auld alliance

    If Houellebecq's wife is named Quianyum Li, she's almost certainly Chinese.

    And if that's the case, then it's not likely she would very much offended by a slam against a Japanese character.

    You might want to update that section of the essay, Steve.

    Replies: @anonymous coward, @Jim Don Bob

    , @Anon
    @auld alliance

    Steve probably meant "recently married an Asian woman." The point still holds. The wife would wonder how much of a roman a clef the novel is.

    Replies: @SFG, @Jack D

    , @YetAnotherAnon
    @auld alliance

    The Major in Fawlty Towers had a similar misunderstanding with a lady who he took to a cricket Test Match.

    https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2013/jan/23/fawlty-towers-isnt-racist-major-gowen-is

    Is this the last unexpurgated use of the n-word in the Guardian?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s4BqzHEK6o


    (I think Merkel's Million Muslim Men Misjudgement is better.)

  5. the dilapidated author

    I look at him and think ‘disheveled’, but ‘dilapidated’ is better. He really looks far gone, like a walking stuffed mummy about to come loose at the seams and crumble into dust.

    • Replies: @Alden
    @Anonymous

    Standard middle aged alcoholic wrinkles and bags under the eyes. They all look like that.

    , @jpp
    @Anonymous

    I honestly fail to comprehend the repugnant impressions which Houllebecq's looks are so engendering. I personally find the recent Houllebecq to be rather handsome and submit in good faith that his wrinkled countenance makes him appear battleworn in such a way that makes him seem dashing, one might even say a touch swashbuckling. Indeed, his profile merits comparisons with later photographs of Baudelaire.

    Replies: @Anonymouse

  6. Iggy Pop’s homely brother- that is hilarious.

    • Replies: @Anno
    @oddsbodkins

    With a bit of Phil Spector and late Serge Gainbourg thrown in.

  7. @auld alliance
    Er, Steve, just glanced at your Takimag article and you say:

    Houellebecq recently married a Japanese woman whom I hope can take a joke
     
    But according to the internet his spouse is the rather un-Japanese sounding Qianyum Lysis Li. Hope this isn`t a case of "they all look the same"?

    By the way, in that good old UK comedy Dad`s Army (by the BBC!) set in WW2 there`s the following dialogue (or something like it.)

    Sergeant Wilson : I can`t tell the difference between the Poles - they all look the same.

    Captain Mainwaring : (angrily). Don`t be ridiculous, Wilson. (pause) That`s the Chinese.

    One would imagine such a dialogue would lead to a lengthy prison sentence these days.

    Replies: @Change that Matters, @The Last Real Calvinist, @Anon, @YetAnotherAnon

    She’s Chinese.

  8. I got the book coming based on YOUR recommendation, Steve. Thanks. I’ll read your full review later on.

  9. > Houellebecq recently married a Japanese woman whom I hope can take a joke

    His wife, Qianyum Lysis Li, is Chinese, from Shanghai. They met while she was writing a thesis on him at the Sorbonne. Judging from her (now deleted) Instagram account, she’s been having a ball.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BoBso07h5wF/

    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Houellebecq#Biographie

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @European-American

    Houellebecq, you lucky old fart, knocking the bottom out of that Chinese beauty. Life doesn’t get any better than that.

  10. Anonymous[382] • Disclaimer says:

    The truth is that there has only been one beneficiary of the globalist (Economist) push for ‘free trade’ that has dominated geo politics these past few decades or so. The beneficiary is, of course, China, and by Jove how has it benefitted!

    The other truth is that despite the wild claims of the globalist (Economist) that ‘free trade enriches us all!’, during the same period of exponential Chinese economic growth – which, in truth, can be described as the most remarkable achievement in this planet’s recorded history –
    The nations of the ‘old’ EU, especially France, have mired in the most moribund economic stagnation.
    Eventually, these truths have filtered down to wiser heads – and heresies against the almighty Pontifical pompous Economist line – the creed uttered by the west’s Deep State three times before breakfast – are starting to be voiced.

    But, alas, it’s too late. Later this century, the EU will descend to global economic irrelevance, with a per capita income no higher than the global average. And mostly non European by population too. The Economist rot has gone so deep that recovery is well nigh now impossible, for a whole host of reasons.

  11. @auld alliance
    Er, Steve, just glanced at your Takimag article and you say:

    Houellebecq recently married a Japanese woman whom I hope can take a joke
     
    But according to the internet his spouse is the rather un-Japanese sounding Qianyum Lysis Li. Hope this isn`t a case of "they all look the same"?

    By the way, in that good old UK comedy Dad`s Army (by the BBC!) set in WW2 there`s the following dialogue (or something like it.)

    Sergeant Wilson : I can`t tell the difference between the Poles - they all look the same.

    Captain Mainwaring : (angrily). Don`t be ridiculous, Wilson. (pause) That`s the Chinese.

    One would imagine such a dialogue would lead to a lengthy prison sentence these days.

    Replies: @Change that Matters, @The Last Real Calvinist, @Anon, @YetAnotherAnon

    If Houellebecq’s wife is named Quianyum Li, she’s almost certainly Chinese.

    And if that’s the case, then it’s not likely she would very much offended by a slam against a Japanese character.

    You might want to update that section of the essay, Steve.

    • Replies: @anonymous coward
    @The Last Real Calvinist


    Quianyum
     
    Those letters don't make sense in any Chinese dialect.

    Replies: @European-American, @The Last Real Calvinist

    , @Jim Don Bob
    @The Last Real Calvinist

    If Houellebecq’s wife can take a joke, she'd be the first one in history.

  12. @Mr McKenna

    Merkel’s Mistake
     
    Mistake. Such a trivial, harmless-sounding word.

    A little alliteration isn't a bad thing, but disaster seems more accurate.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @jon, @El Dato, @Hypnotoad666, @MikeatMikedotMike, @European-American, @Yawrate, @Molly Coddle, @Old Palo Altan

    I prefer ‘Bumrush’.*

    Good old American word that sums it up entirely.

    *In the modern, derived sense of an organised gang of bums busting ‘door security’ and rushing in to claim the goodies.

    • Replies: @Hippopotamusdrome
    @Anonymous

    I prefer ‘Bumrush’.*

     

    Agree

    Norwegian politician who was raped by Somali asylum seeker says he felt GUILTY after attacker was deported

    A Norwegian politician who was raped in his own home by a Somali asylum seeker says he feels guilty his attacker has been deported.

    Karsten Nordal Hauken said his life fell into ruin after the assault but felt responsible that the perpetrator would possibly face an uncertain future in his native country.

    The rapist was deported to Africa after serving four-and-a-half years behind bars in Norway.

     

    Oh... bumrush. Never mind.
  13. @The Last Real Calvinist
    @auld alliance

    If Houellebecq's wife is named Quianyum Li, she's almost certainly Chinese.

    And if that's the case, then it's not likely she would very much offended by a slam against a Japanese character.

    You might want to update that section of the essay, Steve.

    Replies: @anonymous coward, @Jim Don Bob

    Quianyum

    Those letters don’t make sense in any Chinese dialect.

    • Replies: @European-American
    @anonymous coward

    You’re right, it’s Qianyun.

    The incorrect spelling could conceivably be a joke by the lady herself...
    https://www.google.com/search?q=Qianyun+Lysis+Li&tbm=isch

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    , @The Last Real Calvinist
    @anonymous coward


    Quianyum

    Those letters don’t make sense in any Chinese dialect.
     

    I believe they do.

    Quianyum is a romanization of the two syllables of her given name in Mandarin, although it should be Qian not Quian. Her full Chinese name therefore should be Li Qian Yum.

    Replies: @Known Fact

  14. As a boy in Brittany back on the 80s, my family had fresh milk delivered to our apartment in glass bottles. When it arrived, I would get a spoon and eat the cream off the top before pouring myself a glass. You could taste and smell the fresh hay the cows had eaten perhaps just the day before.

    These days, I buy homogenized milk in plastic jugs at the grocery store. It’s decent stuff – we still have Dutch dairymen up here in Whatcom County – but it really doesn’t compare. The feed and freshness make up a big part of the difference, but there are also the intangibles.

    Houllebecq specializes in intimacy and alienation. Food is closely tied to intimacy, and dairy among cultivated foods most of all.

  15. @auld alliance
    Er, Steve, just glanced at your Takimag article and you say:

    Houellebecq recently married a Japanese woman whom I hope can take a joke
     
    But according to the internet his spouse is the rather un-Japanese sounding Qianyum Lysis Li. Hope this isn`t a case of "they all look the same"?

    By the way, in that good old UK comedy Dad`s Army (by the BBC!) set in WW2 there`s the following dialogue (or something like it.)

    Sergeant Wilson : I can`t tell the difference between the Poles - they all look the same.

    Captain Mainwaring : (angrily). Don`t be ridiculous, Wilson. (pause) That`s the Chinese.

    One would imagine such a dialogue would lead to a lengthy prison sentence these days.

    Replies: @Change that Matters, @The Last Real Calvinist, @Anon, @YetAnotherAnon

    Steve probably meant “recently married an Asian woman.” The point still holds. The wife would wonder how much of a roman a clef the novel is.

    • Replies: @SFG
    @Anon

    If she's Chinese, a dig against the Japanese would probably please her.

    As with many pairs of neighbors across the world, they don't get along. One of the funniest things about reading the history of other parts of the world (to me) is learning how many groups of people you previously couldn't tell apart really hate each other.

    Replies: @European-American

    , @Jack D
    @Anon


    The wife would wonder how much of a roman a clef the novel is.
     
    If it concerns the cheating part, I don't think she would have a problem with it.

    According to the Times of London:

    His wife has since [their marriage] published a series of intimate photographs of the writer on her Instagram account, including one of him naked in bed with, apparently, herself and another woman.
     
    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/michel-houellebecq-heralds-frances-doom-in-gilets-jaunes-novel-88mg9vhkx

    The Times review is worth reading.

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian

  16. @Mr McKenna

    Merkel’s Mistake
     
    Mistake. Such a trivial, harmless-sounding word.

    A little alliteration isn't a bad thing, but disaster seems more accurate.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @jon, @El Dato, @Hypnotoad666, @MikeatMikedotMike, @European-American, @Yawrate, @Molly Coddle, @Old Palo Altan

    Angela’s Apocalypse?

  17. @oddsbodkins
    Iggy Pop's homely brother- that is hilarious.

    Replies: @Anno

    With a bit of Phil Spector and late Serge Gainbourg thrown in.

  18. OT (the new order in Europe)

    Current Iraqi defense minister registered as a refugee under a false identity in Sweden, where he still receives various forms of welfare (‘verschiedene Sozialhilfen’) — that’s weird, right? — it’s hard to tell anymore.

    Apparently he went to Sweden in 2009; since then he’s been on welfare — they gave him Swedish citizenship in 2015.

    Aufgedeckt wurde der Skandal durch aufmerksame Bürger, die im Fernsehen ihren schwedischen Nachbarn erkannten. Unter dem Vorwand einer Gedächtnisstörung kassierte er sogar Arbeitslosengeld.

    Neighbors in Sweden recognized him (their Swedish neighbor = ‘schwedischen Nachbarn’) on TV — claiming to be disabled by psychological problems, he’s been getting money in lieu of working (Arbeitslosengeld) for years.

    https://twitter.com/Hartes_Geld/status/1199372440171896832

    • Replies: @eah
    @eah

    OT (the new order in Europe)

    Oh nein! -- head of BAMF (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge) says millions of migrants are at risk of living permanently in poverty ('dauerhaft in Armut leben') -- in articles like this you will never see one word of concern about, or sympathy for, Europeans, in this case Germans, who must work and pay tax to support/subsidize these migrants, including in their old age, since they don't contribute to the pension system.

    Related: Rente: BDI-Chef Grillo hält Rente mit 85 für denkbar -- Pensions: Head of the BDI (Bundesverbandes der Deutschen Industrie) says waiting until 85 to get a pension is imaginable.

    https://twitter.com/Netzdenunziant/status/1199637316739973120

  19. But I didn’t, and I probably couldn’t have done;… I was a modern man, and for me, like for all of my contemporaries, a woman’s professional career was something that had to be respected above all else….

    That’s indeed one of the central sentences in Serotonine – and explains where the title comes from: From Jordan Petersons famous lobster-example, which shows, that our emotional and sexual and hierarchical roots are directly related to the hundred million years old lobsters: Their sex-life and their emotional life too depends a lot on – – – serotonin. Peterson is, just like Houellebecq, but more explicitly so, pro family over career choice for women at a certain age.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1sk0BJH9Qo  

    As for the farmers: Houellbecq now favors the Swiss model, which is even more expensive than the EU model and focuses on really small farms (ca. 50 cows, or 300 pigs/ per farm). The Swiss meat or salad or cabbage or wheat produced this way – supported by the Swiss direct democracy, which Houellebecq favors now explicitly, is very expensive, but the Swiss like it like that way (as do I). – And this Swiss model would not work without borders and protectionism. So this protectionism is the defense of a “life form” (historian Arno Borst).

    • Agree: European-American
  20. Most good, and some great fiction, had been topical. But I don’t think that any significant work of fiction had come out in past 40-50 years, dealing honestly, or even brutally, with big questions of visceral racial animus, modern national identity, effects of female promiscuity & family collapse (divorce), Internet, moronization in education, 3rd world mass immigration in white lands, corruption of white & European political classes, failure of nerve of Western peoples & individuals, alienation of children from parents, racial & religious ghettoization, drug abuse in a wider society, lack of purpose in a secular world,….

    Contemporary issues had been dealt with in important works authored by Dickens, Turgenev, Trollope, Zola, Norris, Dreiser, Sinclair, Dos Passos, Doeblin, Asturias, Updike, … or weaker novels of Harper Lee or Boell. Interestingly enough, no truly great novel- and I mean truly- had been written about WW 1 & WW 2 (Juenger may be the exception, while I’m not sure about Grossman’s epic novel); while Stalin’s period was covered adequately in fiction. With regard to past 40 – 50 years of the Western world- not much.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Bardon Kaldian

    I read part of Norman Mailer's 1948 WWII in the Pacific novel "The Naked and the Dead" and it was impressive for having been written by a 25 year old.

    I'd argue that the rabbit novel "Watership Down" is a WWII novel.

    "A Farewell to Arms" is a first rate WWI novel. I haven't read "All Quiet on the Western Front" since high school, but it was good.

    Personally, I'm a counter-contrarian who is increasingly inclined toward views like "Hemingway was a good writer."

    Replies: @Redneck farmer, @utu, @NickG

    , @Old Prude
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Once an Eagle is an absorbing novel, spanning both World Wars. A Soldier of the Great War, starts poorly, but takes off and absorbs the reader in the First World War. I finished it and immediately started it over and read it a second time.

    Interestingly, the protagonists in both novels lose their sons in the Second World War.

    I recommend A Country Such as This, as a fine novel of Vietnam. As far as a novel that covers our rapid slide from the eighties to our current mess: Do we really need to read about it? We are living it.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    , @peterike
    @Bardon Kaldian


    But I don’t think that any significant work of fiction had come out in past 40-50 years, dealing honestly, or even brutally, with big questions of visceral racial animus, modern national identity, effects of female promiscuity & family collapse (divorce), Internet, moronization in education, 3rd world mass immigration in white lands, corruption of white & European political classes, failure of nerve of Western peoples & individuals, alienation of children from parents, racial & religious ghettoization, drug abuse in a wider society, lack of purpose in a secular world,….

     

    Someone may have written such a book. But no major publisher would ever release it, so you haven't heard of it.

    A bit like Derek Turner's "Sea Changes," which is not a great book, but it's a good book on a forbidden topic, so no mainstream publisher will touch it, even though it's better fiction than 90% of the slop they print.

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian

    , @Carol
    @Bardon Kaldian

    You keep saying "had been"...until when?

    Are there modern Zolas or Dickens or Trollopes writing now? Those guys were prolific, timely, and impossible to ignore.

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian

    , @Old Palo Altan
    @Bardon Kaldian

    How about Waugh's war trilogy?

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian, @Alden

    , @Jpp
    @Bardon Kaldian

    The works of Delillo, most notably White Noise and Underworld, have always been highly topical, not to mention witty and highly lyrical too. I quite enjoyed his relatively recent Zero K, which I regard as a contemporary and also germane to the present masterpiece. One might mention Murakami as well, and much else. I invite you to enter the twenty first century.

  21. @anonymous coward
    @The Last Real Calvinist


    Quianyum
     
    Those letters don't make sense in any Chinese dialect.

    Replies: @European-American, @The Last Real Calvinist

    You’re right, it’s Qianyun.

    The incorrect spelling could conceivably be a joke by the lady herself…
    https://www.google.com/search?q=Qianyun+Lysis+Li&tbm=isch

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @European-American

    Hopefully, anybody who marries M. Houellebecq has a good sense of humor.

  22. @anonymous coward
    @The Last Real Calvinist


    Quianyum
     
    Those letters don't make sense in any Chinese dialect.

    Replies: @European-American, @The Last Real Calvinist

    Quianyum

    Those letters don’t make sense in any Chinese dialect.

    I believe they do.

    Quianyum is a romanization of the two syllables of her given name in Mandarin, although it should be Qian not Quian. Her full Chinese name therefore should be Li Qian Yum.

    • Replies: @Known Fact
    @The Last Real Calvinist

    Any relation to the goddess Kwan Yin?

  23. Merkel’s Mistake

    What makes you think it was a mistake?

    • Agree: schnellandine
  24. @European-American
    @anonymous coward

    You’re right, it’s Qianyun.

    The incorrect spelling could conceivably be a joke by the lady herself...
    https://www.google.com/search?q=Qianyun+Lysis+Li&tbm=isch

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Hopefully, anybody who marries M. Houellebecq has a good sense of humor.

  25. @Bardon Kaldian
    Most good, and some great fiction, had been topical. But I don't think that any significant work of fiction had come out in past 40-50 years, dealing honestly, or even brutally, with big questions of visceral racial animus, modern national identity, effects of female promiscuity & family collapse (divorce), Internet, moronization in education, 3rd world mass immigration in white lands, corruption of white & European political classes, failure of nerve of Western peoples & individuals, alienation of children from parents, racial & religious ghettoization, drug abuse in a wider society, lack of purpose in a secular world,....

    Contemporary issues had been dealt with in important works authored by Dickens, Turgenev, Trollope, Zola, Norris, Dreiser, Sinclair, Dos Passos, Doeblin, Asturias, Updike, ... or weaker novels of Harper Lee or Boell. Interestingly enough, no truly great novel- and I mean truly- had been written about WW 1 & WW 2 (Juenger may be the exception, while I'm not sure about Grossman's epic novel); while Stalin's period was covered adequately in fiction. With regard to past 40 - 50 years of the Western world- not much.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Old Prude, @peterike, @Carol, @Old Palo Altan, @Jpp

    I read part of Norman Mailer’s 1948 WWII in the Pacific novel “The Naked and the Dead” and it was impressive for having been written by a 25 year old.

    I’d argue that the rabbit novel “Watership Down” is a WWII novel.

    “A Farewell to Arms” is a first rate WWI novel. I haven’t read “All Quiet on the Western Front” since high school, but it was good.

    Personally, I’m a counter-contrarian who is increasingly inclined toward views like “Hemingway was a good writer.”

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
    @Steve Sailer

    It's funny how none of Hemingway's critics can't write as well as he can.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @anon

    , @utu
    @Steve Sailer

    What about James Jones trilogy: From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line, Whistle? It gave us two great films.

    , @NickG
    @Steve Sailer


    Personally, I’m a counter-contrarian who is increasingly inclined toward views like “Hemingway was a good writer.”
     
    Noticer of note and meta contrarian.
  26. So far, I’ve found nothing but disinformation on Houellebecq. Wasn’t the Asian wife from a book? Dead ending us into the collectivist east seems creepy but could’ve been the propagandistic purpose of his output all along. And those poor Muslims totally misjudged this Houellebecq guy, it seems. I’m so glad I never wasted a moment on one of his anti-West diatribes. Was his grandmother a communist for real?

    • Replies: @Jack D
    @miss marple

    Miss Marple, you ain't much of a detective. You seem to have gotten every single thing wrong. You're right about one thing though - it's a good thing that you stayed away from his books - we wouldn't want to confuse your brain with knowledge. Ignorance is bliss.

    Replies: @miss marple

  27. @Mr McKenna

    Merkel’s Mistake
     
    Mistake. Such a trivial, harmless-sounding word.

    A little alliteration isn't a bad thing, but disaster seems more accurate.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @jon, @El Dato, @Hypnotoad666, @MikeatMikedotMike, @European-American, @Yawrate, @Molly Coddle, @Old Palo Altan

    Misaster: “A mistake, but also a disaster”

    He flees to the last hotel in Paris that allows smoking. (Houellebecq’s fundamental complaint is basically: What’s the world coming to when a Frenchman can’t smoke in a Parisian hotel?) There, nothing much happens other than he reminisces over old girlfriends and, in a characteristically French touch, stops showering.

    Except for the lack of showering, this sounds like a Murakami novel.

  28. True, Mailer’s first (and best) novel was about WW II; so was Irwing Shaw’s pretty good novel “The Young Lions” & Nicholas Monsarrat’s novel about sea warfare, as well as Heller’s masterwork, which is atypical, as is Vonnegut’s. But there is not a great novel on the chief European war, German- Soviet, only a few rather good ones (Konstantin Simonov, Wolgang Ott (which is about U-Boots) etc.; Grass’ most famous novel is not about war itself). For instance, during the Siege of Leningrad died from 2.5 to 4.2 million soldiers & civilians, and there is no adequate work about it.

    As for WW I, Hemingway is good, although of lesser worth than Barbusse’s “Under Fire”. Also, most English-language WW I novels have a love story by default, which is somehow bizarre.

    Be as it may, much more quality fiction had been written about the Napoleonic wars (Thackeray, Stendhal, Balzac, Hugo, Tolstoy, Hardy, ..) than about both world wars. And of course, Hemingway was a good writer; Faulkner was great.

    • Replies: @Dtbb
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Not a novel, but "The Forgotten Soldier" was a good book in my opinion.

    , @anon
    @Bardon Kaldian

    But there is not a great novel on the chief European war, German- Soviet, only a few rather good ones...

    The Cross of Iron is rather good. It was written from the German point of view, and was made into a tolerable movie by Sam Pekinpah. Well, tolerable if you can watch Pekinpah movies. The book and movie are from the late 1960's early 1970's.

    The Forgotten Soldier by one Guy Sajer is purported to be autobiographical, published around 1971. However in recent years there have been questions raised about the book and author, leading to some claims that it's a composite of other people's stories. I would rather re-read that book than slog through Hemingway's text about the Spanish civil war.

    Not on the Eastern front, Spike Milligan wrote a fine series of books about his role in Hitler's downfall. But most people would not regard his work as anything remotely resembling a great novel. Too clever by half, not to mention funny.

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian, @Bardon Kaldian

  29. @Steve Sailer
    @Bardon Kaldian

    I read part of Norman Mailer's 1948 WWII in the Pacific novel "The Naked and the Dead" and it was impressive for having been written by a 25 year old.

    I'd argue that the rabbit novel "Watership Down" is a WWII novel.

    "A Farewell to Arms" is a first rate WWI novel. I haven't read "All Quiet on the Western Front" since high school, but it was good.

    Personally, I'm a counter-contrarian who is increasingly inclined toward views like "Hemingway was a good writer."

    Replies: @Redneck farmer, @utu, @NickG

    It’s funny how none of Hemingway’s critics can’t write as well as he can.

    • Agree: Old Prude
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Redneck farmer


    It’s funny how none of Hemingway’s critics can’t write as well as he can.
     
    They aren't polydactylic. (Like Tiny.)

    https://cdn0.wideopenpets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Cat-Pic-Hairy-Truman_731_600_100.jpg


    Let's take your statement out for a test drive:


    It’s funny how none of Cher's critics can’t sing as well as she can.

    It’s funny how none of Crumb's critics can’t draw as well as he can.

    It’s funny how none of Custer's critics can’t lead as well as he could.

    It’s funny how none of Dave Kingman's critics can’t play as well as he could.

    It’s funny how none of Nancy Pelosi's critics can’t legislate as well as she can.

    Replies: @schnellandine

    , @anon
    @Redneck farmer

    Charles Bukowski?

  30. I read part of Norman Mailer’s 1948 WWII in the Pacific novel “The Naked and the Dead” and it was impressive for having been written by a 25 year old.

    I must re-read that. I read it when I was about 20 – in the 1980s, I must confess – and it really opened my eyes about America (I`m British.)

    I do remember the Mexican Martinez from Texas, who, when someone said to him “You`re from Texas, that`s a great state, you should be proud,” wondered “what the tall men with the cold eyes would say if he said he was a Texan.”

    Ah, those were the days!

  31. @Bardon Kaldian
    Most good, and some great fiction, had been topical. But I don't think that any significant work of fiction had come out in past 40-50 years, dealing honestly, or even brutally, with big questions of visceral racial animus, modern national identity, effects of female promiscuity & family collapse (divorce), Internet, moronization in education, 3rd world mass immigration in white lands, corruption of white & European political classes, failure of nerve of Western peoples & individuals, alienation of children from parents, racial & religious ghettoization, drug abuse in a wider society, lack of purpose in a secular world,....

    Contemporary issues had been dealt with in important works authored by Dickens, Turgenev, Trollope, Zola, Norris, Dreiser, Sinclair, Dos Passos, Doeblin, Asturias, Updike, ... or weaker novels of Harper Lee or Boell. Interestingly enough, no truly great novel- and I mean truly- had been written about WW 1 & WW 2 (Juenger may be the exception, while I'm not sure about Grossman's epic novel); while Stalin's period was covered adequately in fiction. With regard to past 40 - 50 years of the Western world- not much.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Old Prude, @peterike, @Carol, @Old Palo Altan, @Jpp

    Once an Eagle is an absorbing novel, spanning both World Wars. A Soldier of the Great War, starts poorly, but takes off and absorbs the reader in the First World War. I finished it and immediately started it over and read it a second time.

    Interestingly, the protagonists in both novels lose their sons in the Second World War.

    I recommend A Country Such as This, as a fine novel of Vietnam. As far as a novel that covers our rapid slide from the eighties to our current mess: Do we really need to read about it? We are living it.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Old Prude

    A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin has some amazing set pieces. It would make a spectacular movie but it would cost about $250 million to film.

  32. Big LMM called Mr. James Jewell Osterberg “the world’s finest human being”, despite his continuing to eat like a human being as opposed to a ruminant.

  33. @Bardon Kaldian
    True, Mailer's first (and best) novel was about WW II; so was Irwing Shaw's pretty good novel "The Young Lions" & Nicholas Monsarrat's novel about sea warfare, as well as Heller's masterwork, which is atypical, as is Vonnegut's. But there is not a great novel on the chief European war, German- Soviet, only a few rather good ones (Konstantin Simonov, Wolgang Ott (which is about U-Boots) etc.; Grass' most famous novel is not about war itself). For instance, during the Siege of Leningrad died from 2.5 to 4.2 million soldiers & civilians, and there is no adequate work about it.

    As for WW I, Hemingway is good, although of lesser worth than Barbusse's "Under Fire". Also, most English-language WW I novels have a love story by default, which is somehow bizarre.

    Be as it may, much more quality fiction had been written about the Napoleonic wars (Thackeray, Stendhal, Balzac, Hugo, Tolstoy, Hardy, ..) than about both world wars. And of course, Hemingway was a good writer; Faulkner was great.

    Replies: @Dtbb, @anon

    Not a novel, but “The Forgotten Soldier” was a good book in my opinion.

  34. @Anonymous
    @Mr McKenna

    I prefer 'Bumrush'.*

    Good old American word that sums it up entirely.

    *In the modern, derived sense of an organised gang of bums busting 'door security' and rushing in to claim the goodies.

    Replies: @Hippopotamusdrome

    I prefer ‘Bumrush’.*

    Agree

    Norwegian politician who was raped by Somali asylum seeker says he felt GUILTY after attacker was deported

    [MORE]

    A Norwegian politician who was raped in his own home by a Somali asylum seeker says he feels guilty his attacker has been deported.

    Karsten Nordal Hauken said his life fell into ruin after the assault but felt responsible that the perpetrator would possibly face an uncertain future in his native country.

    The rapist was deported to Africa after serving four-and-a-half years behind bars in Norway.

    Oh… bumrush. Never mind.

  35. All grumpy white reactionary males should marry East Asian women. Indo-Chinese is good too.

    Asian women look like women all the way until menopause and even sometimes into grannyhood.

    White women, let’s be honest, start looking like dudes in drag even before they turn 30, and by the time they’re 45, the Germanic ones look like Rod Steward, and the Slavic ones look like Boris Yeltsin.

    Which is fine, if you’re OK, once you reach middle age, with either*:
    1) Banging Boris Yeltsin in drag for the rest of your life
    2) Cheating on your wife with younger women
    3) Not having a sex life

    But you want actual robust sex life with someone who looks like a woman until the end of the road–then it’s Asian women.

    Plus, they’re also deeply reactionary, yet smart.
    _____
    *I’m not mentioning the “system cheat” of marrying a woman of any ethnicity 20-30 years your junior, which fixes lots of things, since by the time they go lumpy and wrinkly you’ll be mostly out of it, but means you gotta wait until you’re middle aged before settling down, which is not for everyone…

  36. I would like to see fiction written from far-right, nationalist & racialist angle, something along the lines of Céline.

    Fiction writers from, say, 1750 to 1950 had courage & talent (some were even geniuses). Now, they don’t have either.

  37. @eah
    OT (the new order in Europe)

    Current Iraqi defense minister registered as a refugee under a false identity in Sweden, where he still receives various forms of welfare ('verschiedene Sozialhilfen') -- that's weird, right? -- it's hard to tell anymore.

    Apparently he went to Sweden in 2009; since then he's been on welfare -- they gave him Swedish citizenship in 2015.

    Aufgedeckt wurde der Skandal durch aufmerksame Bürger, die im Fernsehen ihren schwedischen Nachbarn erkannten. Unter dem Vorwand einer Gedächtnisstörung kassierte er sogar Arbeitslosengeld.

    Neighbors in Sweden recognized him (their Swedish neighbor = 'schwedischen Nachbarn') on TV -- claiming to be disabled by psychological problems, he's been getting money in lieu of working (Arbeitslosengeld) for years.

    https://twitter.com/Hartes_Geld/status/1199372440171896832

    Replies: @eah

    OT (the new order in Europe)

    Oh nein! — head of BAMF (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge) says millions of migrants are at risk of living permanently in poverty (‘dauerhaft in Armut leben’) — in articles like this you will never see one word of concern about, or sympathy for, Europeans, in this case Germans, who must work and pay tax to support/subsidize these migrants, including in their old age, since they don’t contribute to the pension system.

    Related: Rente: BDI-Chef Grillo hält Rente mit 85 für denkbar — Pensions: Head of the BDI (Bundesverbandes der Deutschen Industrie) says waiting until 85 to get a pension is imaginable.

  38. @Steve Sailer
    @Bardon Kaldian

    I read part of Norman Mailer's 1948 WWII in the Pacific novel "The Naked and the Dead" and it was impressive for having been written by a 25 year old.

    I'd argue that the rabbit novel "Watership Down" is a WWII novel.

    "A Farewell to Arms" is a first rate WWI novel. I haven't read "All Quiet on the Western Front" since high school, but it was good.

    Personally, I'm a counter-contrarian who is increasingly inclined toward views like "Hemingway was a good writer."

    Replies: @Redneck farmer, @utu, @NickG

    What about James Jones trilogy: From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line, Whistle? It gave us two great films.

  39. @Mr McKenna

    Merkel’s Mistake
     
    Mistake. Such a trivial, harmless-sounding word.

    A little alliteration isn't a bad thing, but disaster seems more accurate.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @jon, @El Dato, @Hypnotoad666, @MikeatMikedotMike, @European-American, @Yawrate, @Molly Coddle, @Old Palo Altan

    Merkel’s malpractice?
    Merkel’s mess up?
    Merkel’s misadventure?

    • Replies: @Charon
    @Hypnotoad666

    Merkel's Malevolence

    Replies: @ricpic

  40. @Mr McKenna

    Merkel’s Mistake
     
    Mistake. Such a trivial, harmless-sounding word.

    A little alliteration isn't a bad thing, but disaster seems more accurate.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @jon, @El Dato, @Hypnotoad666, @MikeatMikedotMike, @European-American, @Yawrate, @Molly Coddle, @Old Palo Altan

    Merkel’s War.

  41. @Anon
    @auld alliance

    Steve probably meant "recently married an Asian woman." The point still holds. The wife would wonder how much of a roman a clef the novel is.

    Replies: @SFG, @Jack D

    If she’s Chinese, a dig against the Japanese would probably please her.

    As with many pairs of neighbors across the world, they don’t get along. One of the funniest things about reading the history of other parts of the world (to me) is learning how many groups of people you previously couldn’t tell apart really hate each other.

    • Agree: jim jones
    • Replies: @European-American
    @SFG

    > If she’s Chinese, a dig against the Japanese would probably please her

    Come on, people aren't that simplistic.

    In other news:

    A video of a Japanese young man named Koichi Kuwabara promoting peace on a Beijing downtown street has gone viral online.
    Koichi stood on the street with arms open, eyes covered by a head band with a smiley face on it, expecting Chinese passers-by to hug him.

    https://archive.shine.cn/viral/win/For-Peace-With-China-Japanese-Man-Offers-Free-Hugs-In-Beijing/shdaily.shtml

  42. The man had a lot of vision (nobody was talking about incels in 1994 when Extension of the Domain of the Struggle, known here as Whatever, came out).

    But you say this was the decade when ‘the talent moved to the right’. I can’t think of anyone else, though. Bronze Age Pervert? We’ve heard anti-PC criticisms from Bret Easton Ellis and Lionel Shriver, but they don’t seem all that productive lately. (Maybe you have some fun recommendations? 😉 )

  43. You read all of it and your reading is spot on. I read it in French realized it offered no solace to this reader, skipped through it and quit before the end. He writes in a colorless style, on purpose of course, and borrows the name brand naming shtick of James Bond novels. As his technology is outdated it is a bore. He carries on about the fact that his favorit model of sneaker will not be for sale next year. Enlless pages of how he is too chicken-shit to throw himself out the window of his high rise apartment is where I stopped reading it.

    Soumission on the other hand, is not to be missed, cover to cover. In an interview he said his favorite line was where the hero’s girlfriend Miriam and her family move to Israel and he says “Il n’y a pas d’Israel pour moi.” I was very impressed by that line as a reader before I saw the interview. He says the plot really required that the hero reject the relationship rather than Miriam. But the line was too good not to be used. The interview is at

    Also for Houellebeck fans not to be missed is the movie L’enlevement de Michel Houellebeck with English subtitles.It is dead-pan hilarious in some scenes as when MH is giving instructions to a contractor about the color of the new kitchen floor in a high-rise apartment just before he is kidnapped. MH plays himself. He explains that his witty style of chain-smoking is due to an accident to his hand.

  44. According to Mediamass, Houellebecq is the highest-paid author in the world.
    In the last 12 months he pulled in $82 million.

    His net worth is estimated at s245 million, incl. restaurants, lucrative
    endorsement deals with CoverGirl cosmetics, top-selling perfume, etc.

  45. A female cousin of one of my friends was Iggy Pop’s girlfriend at one time. She went on a tour with him along with David Bowie who was playing keyboards. Iggy and Bowie were good friends. She said the first thing Iggy did when he hit a new town was look for a local drug dealer and the first thing Bowie did was look for a local pretty black girl. Iggy loved drugs and Bowie loved pretty black women.

    • Replies: @Ron Mexico
    @Mark G.

    "She said the first thing Iggy did when he hit a new town was look for a local drug dealer and the first thing Bowie did was look for a local pretty black girl."
    I am sure Iggy had a much easier time scoring than Bowie did.

  46. @Mr McKenna

    Merkel’s Mistake
     
    Mistake. Such a trivial, harmless-sounding word.

    A little alliteration isn't a bad thing, but disaster seems more accurate.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @jon, @El Dato, @Hypnotoad666, @MikeatMikedotMike, @European-American, @Yawrate, @Molly Coddle, @Old Palo Altan

    “Merkel’s Mistake” is a bit of a litote.

    A similar usage might be “Bush’s Bumble” for Iraq.

    Libya could be “Hillary’s Hiccup”.

    https://www.wordnik.com/words/litotes

  47. In the most exciting chapter of Serotonin, the dairy farmers block the highways and fight the police in a premonition of the Yellow Vests movement that began in rural France between the time Houellebecq submitted his manuscript and its publication.

    Bold mine, and I’d say not really: French farmers have been blocking highways and battling police for a long, long time.

    • Replies: @a reader
    @slumber_j


    French farmers have been blocking highways and battling police for a long, long time.
     
    Like ...today !
  48. @SFG
    @Anon

    If she's Chinese, a dig against the Japanese would probably please her.

    As with many pairs of neighbors across the world, they don't get along. One of the funniest things about reading the history of other parts of the world (to me) is learning how many groups of people you previously couldn't tell apart really hate each other.

    Replies: @European-American

    > If she’s Chinese, a dig against the Japanese would probably please her

    Come on, people aren’t that simplistic.

    In other news:

    A video of a Japanese young man named Koichi Kuwabara promoting peace on a Beijing downtown street has gone viral online.
    Koichi stood on the street with arms open, eyes covered by a head band with a smiley face on it, expecting Chinese passers-by to hug him.

    https://archive.shine.cn/viral/win/For-Peace-With-China-Japanese-Man-Offers-Free-Hugs-In-Beijing/shdaily.shtml

  49. An interviewer — female — once wrote that unlike most celebrities, the real-life Houellebecq actually looks better than his photographs. I believe she went so far as to use the word “handsome.”

    Of course, we know about how a man’s status affects his appearance in a woman’s eyes.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    @black sea

    It's good that he looks better than he photographs because it's hard to imagine looking worse unless he was dead:

    https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/frederic-beigbeder-michel-houellebecq-his-wife-qianyum-news-photo/1157062089

    Replies: @black sea

  50. @Mr McKenna

    Merkel’s Mistake
     
    Mistake. Such a trivial, harmless-sounding word.

    A little alliteration isn't a bad thing, but disaster seems more accurate.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @jon, @El Dato, @Hypnotoad666, @MikeatMikedotMike, @European-American, @Yawrate, @Molly Coddle, @Old Palo Altan

    Merkel’s Miscarriage

  51. @Anon
    @auld alliance

    Steve probably meant "recently married an Asian woman." The point still holds. The wife would wonder how much of a roman a clef the novel is.

    Replies: @SFG, @Jack D

    The wife would wonder how much of a roman a clef the novel is.

    If it concerns the cheating part, I don’t think she would have a problem with it.

    According to the Times of London:

    His wife has since [their marriage] published a series of intimate photographs of the writer on her Instagram account, including one of him naked in bed with, apparently, herself and another woman.

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/michel-houellebecq-heralds-frances-doom-in-gilets-jaunes-novel-88mg9vhkx

    The Times review is worth reading.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    @Jack D

    That's the French way. Sartre was as decrepit as anyone, but according to Paul Johnson ("Intellectuals")


    His biographer Annie Cohen-Solal says that he often drank a quart of wine over two-hour lunches at Lipp, the Coupole, Balzar or other favourite haunts, and she calculates that his daily intake of stimulants at this time included two packets of cigarettes, several pipes of black tobacco, a quart of alcohol (chiefly wine, vodka, whisky and beer), 200 milligrams of amphetamines, fifteen grams of aspirin, several grams of barbiturates, plus coffee and tea.
     

    His private life remained sexually varied and his time was shared out among his harem. His holidays were spent as follows: three weeks with Arlette at the house they jointly owned in the South of France; two weeks with Wanda, usually in Italy; several weeks on a Greek island with Hélène; then a month with de Beauvoir, usually in Rome. In Paris he often moved between the various apartments of his women. His last years were brutally described by de Beauvoir in her little book, Adieux: A Farewell to Sartre: his incontinence, his drunkenness, made possible by girls slipping him bottles of whisky, the struggle for power over what was left of his mind. It must have been a relief to them all when he died, in Broussais Hospital, on 15 April 1980. In 1965 he had secretly adopted Arlette as his daughter. So she inherited everything, including his literary property, and presided over the posthumous publication of his manuscripts. For de Beauvoir it was the final betrayal: the ‘centre’ eclipsed by one of the ‘peripheries’. She survived him five years, a Queen Mother of the French intellectual left. But there were no children, no heirs.

     

  52. I finally read Submission earlier this year and was quite impressed. I wish I knew French to read it in the original.

    Houellebecq is very good at finding and expressing current issue, even slightly ahead of the time. So many times means it is not luck.

    Protectionism is necessary and successful. Protectionism to protect democracy is a fascinating concept. In America we would need to break up large AG companies first and then break up large farm businesses. It is rent-seeking all the way down right now, so protectionism in this manner really would just strengthen oligarchs.

  53. @black sea
    An interviewer -- female -- once wrote that unlike most celebrities, the real-life Houellebecq actually looks better than his photographs. I believe she went so far as to use the word "handsome."

    Of course, we know about how a man's status affects his appearance in a woman's eyes.

    Replies: @Jack D

    It’s good that he looks better than he photographs because it’s hard to imagine looking worse unless he was dead:

    https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/frederic-beigbeder-michel-houellebecq-his-wife-qianyum-news-photo/1157062089

    • LOL: Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @black sea
    @Jack D


    In most of his publicity portraits, Houellebecq looks revolting. But in the flesh he is rather elegant, even handsome. (With most writers and their publicity photos, it’s precisely the other way around.)

     

    The interview I was referring to:

    https://www.ft.com/content/651b5c58-3120-11e6-ad39-3fee5ffe5b5b

    The interviewer, it turns out, is male.

    Replies: @Bill B.

  54. @miss marple
    So far, I've found nothing but disinformation on Houellebecq. Wasn't the Asian wife from a book? Dead ending us into the collectivist east seems creepy but could've been the propagandistic purpose of his output all along. And those poor Muslims totally misjudged this Houellebecq guy, it seems. I'm so glad I never wasted a moment on one of his anti-West diatribes. Was his grandmother a communist for real?

    Replies: @Jack D

    Miss Marple, you ain’t much of a detective. You seem to have gotten every single thing wrong. You’re right about one thing though – it’s a good thing that you stayed away from his books – we wouldn’t want to confuse your brain with knowledge. Ignorance is bliss.

    • Replies: @miss marple
    @Jack D

    You are also a dead end.

  55. @Hypnotoad666
    @Mr McKenna

    Merkel's malpractice?
    Merkel's mess up?
    Merkel's misadventure?

    Replies: @Charon

    Merkel’s Malevolence

    • Replies: @ricpic
    @Charon

    Hits the mark perfectly.

  56. @Jack D
    @Anon


    The wife would wonder how much of a roman a clef the novel is.
     
    If it concerns the cheating part, I don't think she would have a problem with it.

    According to the Times of London:

    His wife has since [their marriage] published a series of intimate photographs of the writer on her Instagram account, including one of him naked in bed with, apparently, herself and another woman.
     
    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/michel-houellebecq-heralds-frances-doom-in-gilets-jaunes-novel-88mg9vhkx

    The Times review is worth reading.

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian

    That’s the French way. Sartre was as decrepit as anyone, but according to Paul Johnson (“Intellectuals”)

    His biographer Annie Cohen-Solal says that he often drank a quart of wine over two-hour lunches at Lipp, the Coupole, Balzar or other favourite haunts, and she calculates that his daily intake of stimulants at this time included two packets of cigarettes, several pipes of black tobacco, a quart of alcohol (chiefly wine, vodka, whisky and beer), 200 milligrams of amphetamines, fifteen grams of aspirin, several grams of barbiturates, plus coffee and tea.

    His private life remained sexually varied and his time was shared out among his harem. His holidays were spent as follows: three weeks with Arlette at the house they jointly owned in the South of France; two weeks with Wanda, usually in Italy; several weeks on a Greek island with Hélène; then a month with de Beauvoir, usually in Rome. In Paris he often moved between the various apartments of his women. His last years were brutally described by de Beauvoir in her little book, Adieux: A Farewell to Sartre: his incontinence, his drunkenness, made possible by girls slipping him bottles of whisky, the struggle for power over what was left of his mind. It must have been a relief to them all when he died, in Broussais Hospital, on 15 April 1980. In 1965 he had secretly adopted Arlette as his daughter. So she inherited everything, including his literary property, and presided over the posthumous publication of his manuscripts. For de Beauvoir it was the final betrayal: the ‘centre’ eclipsed by one of the ‘peripheries’. She survived him five years, a Queen Mother of the French intellectual left. But there were no children, no heirs.

  57. @Jack D
    @black sea

    It's good that he looks better than he photographs because it's hard to imagine looking worse unless he was dead:

    https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/frederic-beigbeder-michel-houellebecq-his-wife-qianyum-news-photo/1157062089

    Replies: @black sea

    In most of his publicity portraits, Houellebecq looks revolting. But in the flesh he is rather elegant, even handsome. (With most writers and their publicity photos, it’s precisely the other way around.)

    The interview I was referring to:

    https://www.ft.com/content/651b5c58-3120-11e6-ad39-3fee5ffe5b5b

    The interviewer, it turns out, is male.

    • Agree: European-American
    • Replies: @Bill B.
    @black sea

    He looks ok here, talking nicely about Tocqueville.

    But that was a few years ago. I know a French writer who has been extraordinarily successful with women despite being a heavy smoker who takes no exercise outside of the bedroom. Time eventually catches up with even French lotharios and he has lately started complaining that he can’t get laid in Europe.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtiJQZTqu9M

  58. @The Last Real Calvinist
    @auld alliance

    If Houellebecq's wife is named Quianyum Li, she's almost certainly Chinese.

    And if that's the case, then it's not likely she would very much offended by a slam against a Japanese character.

    You might want to update that section of the essay, Steve.

    Replies: @anonymous coward, @Jim Don Bob

    If Houellebecq’s wife can take a joke, she’d be the first one in history.

  59. @Bardon Kaldian
    Most good, and some great fiction, had been topical. But I don't think that any significant work of fiction had come out in past 40-50 years, dealing honestly, or even brutally, with big questions of visceral racial animus, modern national identity, effects of female promiscuity & family collapse (divorce), Internet, moronization in education, 3rd world mass immigration in white lands, corruption of white & European political classes, failure of nerve of Western peoples & individuals, alienation of children from parents, racial & religious ghettoization, drug abuse in a wider society, lack of purpose in a secular world,....

    Contemporary issues had been dealt with in important works authored by Dickens, Turgenev, Trollope, Zola, Norris, Dreiser, Sinclair, Dos Passos, Doeblin, Asturias, Updike, ... or weaker novels of Harper Lee or Boell. Interestingly enough, no truly great novel- and I mean truly- had been written about WW 1 & WW 2 (Juenger may be the exception, while I'm not sure about Grossman's epic novel); while Stalin's period was covered adequately in fiction. With regard to past 40 - 50 years of the Western world- not much.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Old Prude, @peterike, @Carol, @Old Palo Altan, @Jpp

    But I don’t think that any significant work of fiction had come out in past 40-50 years, dealing honestly, or even brutally, with big questions of visceral racial animus, modern national identity, effects of female promiscuity & family collapse (divorce), Internet, moronization in education, 3rd world mass immigration in white lands, corruption of white & European political classes, failure of nerve of Western peoples & individuals, alienation of children from parents, racial & religious ghettoization, drug abuse in a wider society, lack of purpose in a secular world,….

    Someone may have written such a book. But no major publisher would ever release it, so you haven’t heard of it.

    A bit like Derek Turner’s “Sea Changes,” which is not a great book, but it’s a good book on a forbidden topic, so no mainstream publisher will touch it, even though it’s better fiction than 90% of the slop they print.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    @peterike


    Someone may have written such a book. But no major publisher would ever release it, so you haven’t heard of it.
     
    https://calendarmedia.blob.core.windows.net/assets/3958197a-5b6f-4e61-a6d8-8d88db81e55f-small.jpg

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

  60. @European-American
    > Houellebecq recently married a Japanese woman whom I hope can take a joke

    His wife, Qianyum Lysis Li, is Chinese, from Shanghai. They met while she was writing a thesis on him at the Sorbonne. Judging from her (now deleted) Instagram account, she’s been having a ball.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BoBso07h5wF/

    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Houellebecq#Biographie

    Replies: @Anonymous

    Houellebecq, you lucky old fart, knocking the bottom out of that Chinese beauty. Life doesn’t get any better than that.

  61. @Jack D
    @miss marple

    Miss Marple, you ain't much of a detective. You seem to have gotten every single thing wrong. You're right about one thing though - it's a good thing that you stayed away from his books - we wouldn't want to confuse your brain with knowledge. Ignorance is bliss.

    Replies: @miss marple

    You are also a dead end.

  62. @auld alliance
    Er, Steve, just glanced at your Takimag article and you say:

    Houellebecq recently married a Japanese woman whom I hope can take a joke
     
    But according to the internet his spouse is the rather un-Japanese sounding Qianyum Lysis Li. Hope this isn`t a case of "they all look the same"?

    By the way, in that good old UK comedy Dad`s Army (by the BBC!) set in WW2 there`s the following dialogue (or something like it.)

    Sergeant Wilson : I can`t tell the difference between the Poles - they all look the same.

    Captain Mainwaring : (angrily). Don`t be ridiculous, Wilson. (pause) That`s the Chinese.

    One would imagine such a dialogue would lead to a lengthy prison sentence these days.

    Replies: @Change that Matters, @The Last Real Calvinist, @Anon, @YetAnotherAnon

    The Major in Fawlty Towers had a similar misunderstanding with a lady who he took to a cricket Test Match.

    https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2013/jan/23/fawlty-towers-isnt-racist-major-gowen-is

    Is this the last unexpurgated use of the n-word in the Guardian?

    (I think Merkel’s Million Muslim Men Misjudgement is better.)

  63. @slumber_j

    In the most exciting chapter of Serotonin, the dairy farmers block the highways and fight the police in a premonition of the Yellow Vests movement that began in rural France between the time Houellebecq submitted his manuscript and its publication.
     
    Bold mine, and I'd say not really: French farmers have been blocking highways and battling police for a long, long time.

    Replies: @a reader

    French farmers have been blocking highways and battling police for a long, long time.

    Like …today !

  64. anon[356] • Disclaimer says:
    @Bardon Kaldian
    True, Mailer's first (and best) novel was about WW II; so was Irwing Shaw's pretty good novel "The Young Lions" & Nicholas Monsarrat's novel about sea warfare, as well as Heller's masterwork, which is atypical, as is Vonnegut's. But there is not a great novel on the chief European war, German- Soviet, only a few rather good ones (Konstantin Simonov, Wolgang Ott (which is about U-Boots) etc.; Grass' most famous novel is not about war itself). For instance, during the Siege of Leningrad died from 2.5 to 4.2 million soldiers & civilians, and there is no adequate work about it.

    As for WW I, Hemingway is good, although of lesser worth than Barbusse's "Under Fire". Also, most English-language WW I novels have a love story by default, which is somehow bizarre.

    Be as it may, much more quality fiction had been written about the Napoleonic wars (Thackeray, Stendhal, Balzac, Hugo, Tolstoy, Hardy, ..) than about both world wars. And of course, Hemingway was a good writer; Faulkner was great.

    Replies: @Dtbb, @anon

    But there is not a great novel on the chief European war, German- Soviet, only a few rather good ones…

    The Cross of Iron is rather good. It was written from the German point of view, and was made into a tolerable movie by Sam Pekinpah. Well, tolerable if you can watch Pekinpah movies. The book and movie are from the late 1960’s early 1970’s.

    The Forgotten Soldier by one Guy Sajer is purported to be autobiographical, published around 1971. However in recent years there have been questions raised about the book and author, leading to some claims that it’s a composite of other people’s stories. I would rather re-read that book than slog through Hemingway’s text about the Spanish civil war.

    Not on the Eastern front, Spike Milligan wrote a fine series of books about his role in Hitler’s downfall. But most people would not regard his work as anything remotely resembling a great novel. Too clever by half, not to mention funny.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    @anon

    I've heard about The Cross of Iron, but haven't read it. I've read Vasily Grossman's epic novel Life and Fate, but I have mixed feelings about it; most critics consider it his masterpiece (I'm not sure, although it has some great passages; I prefer his short novel Everything Flows, which most readers & critics appreciate, but put it way below the epic). Also,there is a powerful German novel about Stalingrad I've read long time ago, just cannot remember the author & the title... Sholokhov's novelette The Fate of a Man is readable, but it's too tendentious.

    Actually, the best fiction on that area is Polish & Czech (Tadeusz Borowski, Jiri Menzel,..) - but these are not typical "war novels".

    , @Bardon Kaldian
    @anon


    Well, tolerable if you can watch Pekinpah movies.
     
    On the contrary, I like Peckinpah movies, most of them. I just haven't figured out what the last line in Straw Dogs means: Hoffman character says he doesn't know his way home, either. I don't get what he's trying to tell.

    Other Peckinpah's movies I like & appreciate.

    Replies: @J.Ross

  65. @Mr McKenna

    Merkel’s Mistake
     
    Mistake. Such a trivial, harmless-sounding word.

    A little alliteration isn't a bad thing, but disaster seems more accurate.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @jon, @El Dato, @Hypnotoad666, @MikeatMikedotMike, @European-American, @Yawrate, @Molly Coddle, @Old Palo Altan

    Merkel’s Maelstrom?

  66. @Bardon Kaldian
    Most good, and some great fiction, had been topical. But I don't think that any significant work of fiction had come out in past 40-50 years, dealing honestly, or even brutally, with big questions of visceral racial animus, modern national identity, effects of female promiscuity & family collapse (divorce), Internet, moronization in education, 3rd world mass immigration in white lands, corruption of white & European political classes, failure of nerve of Western peoples & individuals, alienation of children from parents, racial & religious ghettoization, drug abuse in a wider society, lack of purpose in a secular world,....

    Contemporary issues had been dealt with in important works authored by Dickens, Turgenev, Trollope, Zola, Norris, Dreiser, Sinclair, Dos Passos, Doeblin, Asturias, Updike, ... or weaker novels of Harper Lee or Boell. Interestingly enough, no truly great novel- and I mean truly- had been written about WW 1 & WW 2 (Juenger may be the exception, while I'm not sure about Grossman's epic novel); while Stalin's period was covered adequately in fiction. With regard to past 40 - 50 years of the Western world- not much.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Old Prude, @peterike, @Carol, @Old Palo Altan, @Jpp

    You keep saying “had been”…until when?

    Are there modern Zolas or Dickens or Trollopes writing now? Those guys were prolific, timely, and impossible to ignore.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    @Carol


    Are there modern Zolas or Dickens or Trollopes writing now?
     
    This is a good question. I would add that they had the most important quality- life experience, openness to a wider world & some kind of "vision". Most fiction writers now seem to me rather dry, academic, "professorial" novelists, artists with words - or, if you wish, they're reduced to the dreadful condition of teaching "creative writing".
  67. From Steve’s review:

    Back then, the French state was adamant about keeping its country folk happy. Just because foreigners could make butter cheaper, the postwar French government reasoned, didn’t mean that French dairymen shouldn’t carry on their time-honored trade in their picturesque countryside.

    This is a highly tendentious way of characterizing agribusiness interests, who were and are, both in France and in the US, a key voting and financial resource for politicians. Dairymen could carry on their time honored traditions all they wanted – no one was collectivizing their farms. The question was whether the rest of the population was going to pay for it by means of tax subsidies, artificial trade barriers and inflated rigged prices. It’s all well and good to maintain your traditional lifestyle but it’s not traditional for farmers to live as welfare leeches.

    Capitalism is all about creative destruction. Keeping a corner grocery store was a traditional occupation that was destroyed by supermarkets. Supermarkets may be on the way out to be replaced by online shopping. If you interfere with the market you end up being locked down to some obsolete business model. Imagine that the government mandated that we had to keep playing 8 track tapes in our car because that was a traditional form of musical recording.

    • Replies: @Semperluctor
    @Jack D

    Good points, but there are key differences between consumer goods which are fungible and agricultural practices which are, in essence, cultural treasures.
    Thus, whether it is VCR tapes or CDs, country x can make them cheaper and faster than you, so there’s not much point in competing. This would not be the case, of course, for non consumer products such as military equipment; countries need to subsidize those, lest they end up relying on their enemies fir spare parts.
    But, Swiss farming methods can and do survive because the country can a) afford them and b) agrees to afford them. Meaning that Switzerland can use its current account and trade surpluses (note, I am sure that Switzerland has a trade surplus, I am merely assuming that it has a current account surplus as well). Anyhow, Switzerland can afford its farming practices, and moreover, it wants to keep them as an affirmation of cultural identity.
    That’ easily affordable in an homogenous country of what, 6 or 7 million people, with a very high per capita GDP, won’t work here in the US. But, it might work in high GDP states (if any such can exist) once Federal central power evaporates around mid century. : )

    Replies: @Jack D, @Johann Ricke

    , @anon
    @Jack D

    The argument is about food quality.
    You won't get any food quality from a feedlot, but without Government intervention to protect small farmers, that's what you end up with.

  68. Oh, the background in that picture! Must be at Michel’s home. That flowery wallpaper and the mismatching but also flowery sofa. Wow. He is exactly what his author’s image suggests.

  69. @Mr McKenna

    Merkel’s Mistake
     
    Mistake. Such a trivial, harmless-sounding word.

    A little alliteration isn't a bad thing, but disaster seems more accurate.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @jon, @El Dato, @Hypnotoad666, @MikeatMikedotMike, @European-American, @Yawrate, @Molly Coddle, @Old Palo Altan

    I always call her Mad Miss Merkle, so I think Merkle’s Madness will do very well.

  70. @Bardon Kaldian
    Most good, and some great fiction, had been topical. But I don't think that any significant work of fiction had come out in past 40-50 years, dealing honestly, or even brutally, with big questions of visceral racial animus, modern national identity, effects of female promiscuity & family collapse (divorce), Internet, moronization in education, 3rd world mass immigration in white lands, corruption of white & European political classes, failure of nerve of Western peoples & individuals, alienation of children from parents, racial & religious ghettoization, drug abuse in a wider society, lack of purpose in a secular world,....

    Contemporary issues had been dealt with in important works authored by Dickens, Turgenev, Trollope, Zola, Norris, Dreiser, Sinclair, Dos Passos, Doeblin, Asturias, Updike, ... or weaker novels of Harper Lee or Boell. Interestingly enough, no truly great novel- and I mean truly- had been written about WW 1 & WW 2 (Juenger may be the exception, while I'm not sure about Grossman's epic novel); while Stalin's period was covered adequately in fiction. With regard to past 40 - 50 years of the Western world- not much.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Old Prude, @peterike, @Carol, @Old Palo Altan, @Jpp

    How about Waugh’s war trilogy?

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    @Old Palo Altan

    Well-yes.

    Replies: @Old Palo Altan

    , @Alden
    @Old Palo Altan

    Or Scott-Kerr’s Modern Europe and Brideshead by Waugh? Everything by Waugh I’d say John Lecarre’s earlier Cold War books. Especially The Honorable Schoolboy. Len Deighton too

    Updike, wimps nerds and nerd problems. Zola I hate France all French people and this is why.

    Mary McCarthy’s The Group is a great summary of the 193os young Americans, even if the protagonists are all women. There’s a great chapter about the 1930s pediatricians expert very stringent infant and toddler raising advice, all wrong. Interesting thing about eating in that book. The main characters lived all over the country, but most of the action took place in NYC which was full of restaurants.

    But everybody cooked and ate at home all the time. Amazing. No fridge or stove in the studio apartment? Shop at the corner stove every couple days and get a hot plate. Take your toddler to the playground, meet a friend and her kid and go home to her house for lunch instead of a fast food place.

    Get together with another couple don’t go to a restaurant invite them to dinner. And never take out. No palaver about gluten lactose vegans red meat sensitivities either, just cook a reasonable meal.

    Erskine Caldwell, Henry Roth, Meyer Levin especially Compulsion. And who wrote the Flashman series? A Scotch name hilarious books fall off the couch laughing. And Diary of a Wimpy Kid is highly recommended by 7-11 year olds.

    Rutherford who writes lengthy historical fiction about England. Ken Lafollette. He’s getting very PC in his old age but I guess even a giant like him has to conform. Anthony Burgess

    OMG!! Don’t forget Tolkien, especially as evil liberals don’t like him any more because his hobbits wizards and characters represent Europeans and Whites. And his tales are based on the ancient stories of the Whitest of Whites in that evil continent Europe.

    Elizabeth George and PD James are excellent and absorbing although the genre is detective stories.

  71. @Old Palo Altan
    @Bardon Kaldian

    How about Waugh's war trilogy?

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian, @Alden

    Well-yes.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Glad you agree.

  72. Iggy and Joe Sobran were close in age and grew up (inasmuch as either grew up) in the same small town. Did their paths ever cross?

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    @Reg Cæsar

    I guess Ypsilanti is small by the numbers, but it's not only big and cosmopolitan for a small town, it's attached to (and mixed with) Ann Arbor, and therefore the most prestigious university in the region. Iggy mentions going to school in Ann Arbor (perfectly practical) with the sons of auto company executives. Does that preclude Sobran, especially since Sobran stayed in Ypsilanti for school through college?

  73. @Carol
    @Bardon Kaldian

    You keep saying "had been"...until when?

    Are there modern Zolas or Dickens or Trollopes writing now? Those guys were prolific, timely, and impossible to ignore.

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian

    Are there modern Zolas or Dickens or Trollopes writing now?

    This is a good question. I would add that they had the most important quality- life experience, openness to a wider world & some kind of “vision”. Most fiction writers now seem to me rather dry, academic, “professorial” novelists, artists with words – or, if you wish, they’re reduced to the dreadful condition of teaching “creative writing”.

  74. @peterike
    @Bardon Kaldian


    But I don’t think that any significant work of fiction had come out in past 40-50 years, dealing honestly, or even brutally, with big questions of visceral racial animus, modern national identity, effects of female promiscuity & family collapse (divorce), Internet, moronization in education, 3rd world mass immigration in white lands, corruption of white & European political classes, failure of nerve of Western peoples & individuals, alienation of children from parents, racial & religious ghettoization, drug abuse in a wider society, lack of purpose in a secular world,….

     

    Someone may have written such a book. But no major publisher would ever release it, so you haven't heard of it.

    A bit like Derek Turner's "Sea Changes," which is not a great book, but it's a good book on a forbidden topic, so no mainstream publisher will touch it, even though it's better fiction than 90% of the slop they print.

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian

    Someone may have written such a book. But no major publisher would ever release it, so you haven’t heard of it.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Bardon Kaldian

    https://sailortwiftstudios.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/img_6136-1.jpg

  75. @Redneck farmer
    @Steve Sailer

    It's funny how none of Hemingway's critics can't write as well as he can.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @anon

    It’s funny how none of Hemingway’s critics can’t write as well as he can.

    They aren’t polydactylic. (Like Tiny.)

    Let’s take your statement out for a test drive:

    It’s funny how none of Cher’s critics can’t sing as well as she can.

    It’s funny how none of Crumb’s critics can’t draw as well as he can.

    It’s funny how none of Custer’s critics can’t lead as well as he could.

    It’s funny how none of Dave Kingman’s critics can’t play as well as he could.

    It’s funny how none of Nancy Pelosi’s critics can’t legislate as well as she can.

    • Replies: @schnellandine
    @Reg Cæsar


    funny how none of Cher’s critics can’t sing as well as she can. [etc.]
     
    Sloppy, RC. Damned sloppy.
  76. @Bardon Kaldian
    @peterike


    Someone may have written such a book. But no major publisher would ever release it, so you haven’t heard of it.
     
    https://calendarmedia.blob.core.windows.net/assets/3958197a-5b6f-4e61-a6d8-8d88db81e55f-small.jpg

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    • LOL: Bardon Kaldian
  77. @Charon
    @Hypnotoad666

    Merkel's Malevolence

    Replies: @ricpic

    Hits the mark perfectly.

  78. @anon
    @Bardon Kaldian

    But there is not a great novel on the chief European war, German- Soviet, only a few rather good ones...

    The Cross of Iron is rather good. It was written from the German point of view, and was made into a tolerable movie by Sam Pekinpah. Well, tolerable if you can watch Pekinpah movies. The book and movie are from the late 1960's early 1970's.

    The Forgotten Soldier by one Guy Sajer is purported to be autobiographical, published around 1971. However in recent years there have been questions raised about the book and author, leading to some claims that it's a composite of other people's stories. I would rather re-read that book than slog through Hemingway's text about the Spanish civil war.

    Not on the Eastern front, Spike Milligan wrote a fine series of books about his role in Hitler's downfall. But most people would not regard his work as anything remotely resembling a great novel. Too clever by half, not to mention funny.

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian, @Bardon Kaldian

    I’ve heard about The Cross of Iron, but haven’t read it. I’ve read Vasily Grossman’s epic novel Life and Fate, but I have mixed feelings about it; most critics consider it his masterpiece (I’m not sure, although it has some great passages; I prefer his short novel Everything Flows, which most readers & critics appreciate, but put it way below the epic). Also,there is a powerful German novel about Stalingrad I’ve read long time ago, just cannot remember the author & the title… Sholokhov’s novelette The Fate of a Man is readable, but it’s too tendentious.

    Actually, the best fiction on that area is Polish & Czech (Tadeusz Borowski, Jiri Menzel,..) – but these are not typical “war novels”.

  79. @black sea
    @Jack D


    In most of his publicity portraits, Houellebecq looks revolting. But in the flesh he is rather elegant, even handsome. (With most writers and their publicity photos, it’s precisely the other way around.)

     

    The interview I was referring to:

    https://www.ft.com/content/651b5c58-3120-11e6-ad39-3fee5ffe5b5b

    The interviewer, it turns out, is male.

    Replies: @Bill B.

    He looks ok here, talking nicely about Tocqueville.

    But that was a few years ago. I know a French writer who has been extraordinarily successful with women despite being a heavy smoker who takes no exercise outside of the bedroom. Time eventually catches up with even French lotharios and he has lately started complaining that he can’t get laid in Europe.

  80. @anon
    @Bardon Kaldian

    But there is not a great novel on the chief European war, German- Soviet, only a few rather good ones...

    The Cross of Iron is rather good. It was written from the German point of view, and was made into a tolerable movie by Sam Pekinpah. Well, tolerable if you can watch Pekinpah movies. The book and movie are from the late 1960's early 1970's.

    The Forgotten Soldier by one Guy Sajer is purported to be autobiographical, published around 1971. However in recent years there have been questions raised about the book and author, leading to some claims that it's a composite of other people's stories. I would rather re-read that book than slog through Hemingway's text about the Spanish civil war.

    Not on the Eastern front, Spike Milligan wrote a fine series of books about his role in Hitler's downfall. But most people would not regard his work as anything remotely resembling a great novel. Too clever by half, not to mention funny.

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian, @Bardon Kaldian

    Well, tolerable if you can watch Pekinpah movies.

    On the contrary, I like Peckinpah movies, most of them. I just haven’t figured out what the last line in Straw Dogs means: Hoffman character says he doesn’t know his way home, either. I don’t get what he’s trying to tell.

    Other Peckinpah’s movies I like & appreciate.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Isn't the whole movie about the destruction of his home, literally, maritally, and in terms of his most fundamental assumptions about people? He is taken from being comfortable to permanently un-comfort (v.)-able, unable to relax back to what he had. So he doesn't know his way home.
    I thought The Wild Bunch works as a movie and even as a Western, but its representation of historical violence was the purest never-held-a-gun hysterical propaganda. Far from being too wild, its climax was a too-pat checkers match of karmic justice.

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian

  81. @Bardon Kaldian
    Most good, and some great fiction, had been topical. But I don't think that any significant work of fiction had come out in past 40-50 years, dealing honestly, or even brutally, with big questions of visceral racial animus, modern national identity, effects of female promiscuity & family collapse (divorce), Internet, moronization in education, 3rd world mass immigration in white lands, corruption of white & European political classes, failure of nerve of Western peoples & individuals, alienation of children from parents, racial & religious ghettoization, drug abuse in a wider society, lack of purpose in a secular world,....

    Contemporary issues had been dealt with in important works authored by Dickens, Turgenev, Trollope, Zola, Norris, Dreiser, Sinclair, Dos Passos, Doeblin, Asturias, Updike, ... or weaker novels of Harper Lee or Boell. Interestingly enough, no truly great novel- and I mean truly- had been written about WW 1 & WW 2 (Juenger may be the exception, while I'm not sure about Grossman's epic novel); while Stalin's period was covered adequately in fiction. With regard to past 40 - 50 years of the Western world- not much.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Old Prude, @peterike, @Carol, @Old Palo Altan, @Jpp

    The works of Delillo, most notably White Noise and Underworld, have always been highly topical, not to mention witty and highly lyrical too. I quite enjoyed his relatively recent Zero K, which I regard as a contemporary and also germane to the present masterpiece. One might mention Murakami as well, and much else. I invite you to enter the twenty first century.

  82. @Bardon Kaldian
    @anon


    Well, tolerable if you can watch Pekinpah movies.
     
    On the contrary, I like Peckinpah movies, most of them. I just haven't figured out what the last line in Straw Dogs means: Hoffman character says he doesn't know his way home, either. I don't get what he's trying to tell.

    Other Peckinpah's movies I like & appreciate.

    Replies: @J.Ross

    Isn’t the whole movie about the destruction of his home, literally, maritally, and in terms of his most fundamental assumptions about people? He is taken from being comfortable to permanently un-comfort (v.)-able, unable to relax back to what he had. So he doesn’t know his way home.
    I thought The Wild Bunch works as a movie and even as a Western, but its representation of historical violence was the purest never-held-a-gun hysterical propaganda. Far from being too wild, its climax was a too-pat checkers match of karmic justice.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    @J.Ross


    Isn’t the whole movie about the destruction of his home, literally, maritally, and in terms of his most fundamental assumptions about people? He is taken from being comfortable to permanently un-comfort (v.)-able, unable to relax back to what he had. So he doesn’t know his way home.
     
    Good point.

    I thought The Wild Bunch works as a movie and even as a Western, but its representation of historical violence was the purest never-held-a-gun hysterical propaganda. Far from being too wild, its climax was a too-pat checkers match of karmic justice.
     
    Well....sort of. I regard TWB to be a mythic visual tale, in some respects similar to McCarthy's novel Blood Meridian, which triumphs as a parable/meditation on diabolic violence & life as projection of a sadistic, Aztec-like God of war , but fails both in historicity & fusion of the historical & the mythic.
  83. @Reg Cæsar
    Iggy and Joe Sobran were close in age and grew up (inasmuch as either grew up) in the same small town. Did their paths ever cross?

    Replies: @J.Ross

    I guess Ypsilanti is small by the numbers, but it’s not only big and cosmopolitan for a small town, it’s attached to (and mixed with) Ann Arbor, and therefore the most prestigious university in the region. Iggy mentions going to school in Ann Arbor (perfectly practical) with the sons of auto company executives. Does that preclude Sobran, especially since Sobran stayed in Ypsilanti for school through college?

  84. @J.Ross
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Isn't the whole movie about the destruction of his home, literally, maritally, and in terms of his most fundamental assumptions about people? He is taken from being comfortable to permanently un-comfort (v.)-able, unable to relax back to what he had. So he doesn't know his way home.
    I thought The Wild Bunch works as a movie and even as a Western, but its representation of historical violence was the purest never-held-a-gun hysterical propaganda. Far from being too wild, its climax was a too-pat checkers match of karmic justice.

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian

    Isn’t the whole movie about the destruction of his home, literally, maritally, and in terms of his most fundamental assumptions about people? He is taken from being comfortable to permanently un-comfort (v.)-able, unable to relax back to what he had. So he doesn’t know his way home.

    Good point.

    I thought The Wild Bunch works as a movie and even as a Western, but its representation of historical violence was the purest never-held-a-gun hysterical propaganda. Far from being too wild, its climax was a too-pat checkers match of karmic justice.

    Well….sort of. I regard TWB to be a mythic visual tale, in some respects similar to McCarthy’s novel Blood Meridian, which triumphs as a parable/meditation on diabolic violence & life as projection of a sadistic, Aztec-like God of war , but fails both in historicity & fusion of the historical & the mythic.

  85. @Reg Cæsar
    @Redneck farmer


    It’s funny how none of Hemingway’s critics can’t write as well as he can.
     
    They aren't polydactylic. (Like Tiny.)

    https://cdn0.wideopenpets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Cat-Pic-Hairy-Truman_731_600_100.jpg


    Let's take your statement out for a test drive:


    It’s funny how none of Cher's critics can’t sing as well as she can.

    It’s funny how none of Crumb's critics can’t draw as well as he can.

    It’s funny how none of Custer's critics can’t lead as well as he could.

    It’s funny how none of Dave Kingman's critics can’t play as well as he could.

    It’s funny how none of Nancy Pelosi's critics can’t legislate as well as she can.

    Replies: @schnellandine

    funny how none of Cher’s critics can’t sing as well as she can. [etc.]

    Sloppy, RC. Damned sloppy.

  86. @Bardon Kaldian
    @Old Palo Altan

    Well-yes.

    Replies: @Old Palo Altan

    Glad you agree.

  87. @Anonymous

    the dilapidated author
     
    I look at him and think 'disheveled', but 'dilapidated' is better. He really looks far gone, like a walking stuffed mummy about to come loose at the seams and crumble into dust.

    Replies: @Alden, @jpp

    Standard middle aged alcoholic wrinkles and bags under the eyes. They all look like that.

  88. @The Last Real Calvinist
    @anonymous coward


    Quianyum

    Those letters don’t make sense in any Chinese dialect.
     

    I believe they do.

    Quianyum is a romanization of the two syllables of her given name in Mandarin, although it should be Qian not Quian. Her full Chinese name therefore should be Li Qian Yum.

    Replies: @Known Fact

    Any relation to the goddess Kwan Yin?

  89. @Old Palo Altan
    @Bardon Kaldian

    How about Waugh's war trilogy?

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian, @Alden

    Or Scott-Kerr’s Modern Europe and Brideshead by Waugh? Everything by Waugh I’d say John Lecarre’s earlier Cold War books. Especially The Honorable Schoolboy. Len Deighton too

    Updike, wimps nerds and nerd problems. Zola I hate France all French people and this is why.

    Mary McCarthy’s The Group is a great summary of the 193os young Americans, even if the protagonists are all women. There’s a great chapter about the 1930s pediatricians expert very stringent infant and toddler raising advice, all wrong. Interesting thing about eating in that book. The main characters lived all over the country, but most of the action took place in NYC which was full of restaurants.

    But everybody cooked and ate at home all the time. Amazing. No fridge or stove in the studio apartment? Shop at the corner stove every couple days and get a hot plate. Take your toddler to the playground, meet a friend and her kid and go home to her house for lunch instead of a fast food place.

    Get together with another couple don’t go to a restaurant invite them to dinner. And never take out. No palaver about gluten lactose vegans red meat sensitivities either, just cook a reasonable meal.

    Erskine Caldwell, Henry Roth, Meyer Levin especially Compulsion. And who wrote the Flashman series? A Scotch name hilarious books fall off the couch laughing. And Diary of a Wimpy Kid is highly recommended by 7-11 year olds.

    Rutherford who writes lengthy historical fiction about England. Ken Lafollette. He’s getting very PC in his old age but I guess even a giant like him has to conform. Anthony Burgess

    OMG!! Don’t forget Tolkien, especially as evil liberals don’t like him any more because his hobbits wizards and characters represent Europeans and Whites. And his tales are based on the ancient stories of the Whitest of Whites in that evil continent Europe.

    Elizabeth George and PD James are excellent and absorbing although the genre is detective stories.

  90. @Anonymous

    the dilapidated author
     
    I look at him and think 'disheveled', but 'dilapidated' is better. He really looks far gone, like a walking stuffed mummy about to come loose at the seams and crumble into dust.

    Replies: @Alden, @jpp

    I honestly fail to comprehend the repugnant impressions which Houllebecq’s looks are so engendering. I personally find the recent Houllebecq to be rather handsome and submit in good faith that his wrinkled countenance makes him appear battleworn in such a way that makes him seem dashing, one might even say a touch swashbuckling. Indeed, his profile merits comparisons with later photographs of Baudelaire.

    • Replies: @Anonymouse
    @jpp

    That's why L'enlevement de Michel Houellbeck aids in determining what he looks like, how he sees himself. As he plays himself - I don't believe he directed the movie - the viewer gets to see him as he sees himself fictionally speaking played against the public notion of his life-style.

  91. From station to station, back to Dusseldorf city
    Meet Iggy Pop
    And David Bowie

  92. @Jack D
    From Steve's review:

    Back then, the French state was adamant about keeping its country folk happy. Just because foreigners could make butter cheaper, the postwar French government reasoned, didn’t mean that French dairymen shouldn’t carry on their time-honored trade in their picturesque countryside.
     
    This is a highly tendentious way of characterizing agribusiness interests, who were and are, both in France and in the US, a key voting and financial resource for politicians. Dairymen could carry on their time honored traditions all they wanted - no one was collectivizing their farms. The question was whether the rest of the population was going to pay for it by means of tax subsidies, artificial trade barriers and inflated rigged prices. It's all well and good to maintain your traditional lifestyle but it's not traditional for farmers to live as welfare leeches.

    Capitalism is all about creative destruction. Keeping a corner grocery store was a traditional occupation that was destroyed by supermarkets. Supermarkets may be on the way out to be replaced by online shopping. If you interfere with the market you end up being locked down to some obsolete business model. Imagine that the government mandated that we had to keep playing 8 track tapes in our car because that was a traditional form of musical recording.

    Replies: @Semperluctor, @anon

    Good points, but there are key differences between consumer goods which are fungible and agricultural practices which are, in essence, cultural treasures.
    Thus, whether it is VCR tapes or CDs, country x can make them cheaper and faster than you, so there’s not much point in competing. This would not be the case, of course, for non consumer products such as military equipment; countries need to subsidize those, lest they end up relying on their enemies fir spare parts.
    But, Swiss farming methods can and do survive because the country can a) afford them and b) agrees to afford them. Meaning that Switzerland can use its current account and trade surpluses (note, I am sure that Switzerland has a trade surplus, I am merely assuming that it has a current account surplus as well). Anyhow, Switzerland can afford its farming practices, and moreover, it wants to keep them as an affirmation of cultural identity.
    That’ easily affordable in an homogenous country of what, 6 or 7 million people, with a very high per capita GDP, won’t work here in the US. But, it might work in high GDP states (if any such can exist) once Federal central power evaporates around mid century. : )

    • Replies: @Jack D
    @Semperluctor

    I'd like to get my business declared a "cultural treasure" so it is insulated from market forces. Another name for this is "rent seeking".

    , @Johann Ricke
    @Semperluctor


    Anyhow, Switzerland can afford its farming practices, and moreover, it wants to keep them as an affirmation of cultural identity.
     
    It's a matter of national security, not cultural identity. As a landlocked country with a military much weaker than its neighbors', it needs to produce some minimum amount of foodstuffs so if war consumes the continent, and its supply lines are blockaded, it won' t run the risk of starvation. It's an expensive insurance policy, but the alternative is a choice between surrender and starvation in wartime.
  93. @Redneck farmer
    @Steve Sailer

    It's funny how none of Hemingway's critics can't write as well as he can.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @anon

    Charles Bukowski?

  94. @Jack D
    From Steve's review:

    Back then, the French state was adamant about keeping its country folk happy. Just because foreigners could make butter cheaper, the postwar French government reasoned, didn’t mean that French dairymen shouldn’t carry on their time-honored trade in their picturesque countryside.
     
    This is a highly tendentious way of characterizing agribusiness interests, who were and are, both in France and in the US, a key voting and financial resource for politicians. Dairymen could carry on their time honored traditions all they wanted - no one was collectivizing their farms. The question was whether the rest of the population was going to pay for it by means of tax subsidies, artificial trade barriers and inflated rigged prices. It's all well and good to maintain your traditional lifestyle but it's not traditional for farmers to live as welfare leeches.

    Capitalism is all about creative destruction. Keeping a corner grocery store was a traditional occupation that was destroyed by supermarkets. Supermarkets may be on the way out to be replaced by online shopping. If you interfere with the market you end up being locked down to some obsolete business model. Imagine that the government mandated that we had to keep playing 8 track tapes in our car because that was a traditional form of musical recording.

    Replies: @Semperluctor, @anon

    The argument is about food quality.
    You won’t get any food quality from a feedlot, but without Government intervention to protect small farmers, that’s what you end up with.

    • Agree: Jim Don Bob
  95. https://www.e-flux.com/journal/87/164971/the-intense-life-an-ethical-ideal/

    More and more often, triteness, neutrality, and depression are rendered with unusual force. In this case, the intense person duly acknowledges the potential value of mediocrity. Separate mediocrity from the lackluster, and triteness from the uninspired, and both can be turned into stimulating experiences. Houellebecq’s first novels provide a good example. Modernity has cherished powerful evocations of existential weariness, dull moments, low-intensity feelings, beliefs, and thoughts. Captivating accounts that probe the mystery of the ordinary life and the emotional profundity of existences—often mistakenly read surfaces reminiscent of still water—can be found in the novellas of Chekhov, Carver, or Munro. As literature advanced into zones previously cast into the darkness of democratic everyday life, everything that had proved resistant to intensity henceforth fell under its sway. Ennui, mediocrity, and provincial existence have been enlivened by a kind of aesthetic electricity, a drab flamboyance, the seeds for which were planted in Flaubert’s novels.

    https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-the-life-intense.html

    • Agree: European-American
  96. @Old Prude
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Once an Eagle is an absorbing novel, spanning both World Wars. A Soldier of the Great War, starts poorly, but takes off and absorbs the reader in the First World War. I finished it and immediately started it over and read it a second time.

    Interestingly, the protagonists in both novels lose their sons in the Second World War.

    I recommend A Country Such as This, as a fine novel of Vietnam. As far as a novel that covers our rapid slide from the eighties to our current mess: Do we really need to read about it? We are living it.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin has some amazing set pieces. It would make a spectacular movie but it would cost about $250 million to film.

  97. @Mark G.
    A female cousin of one of my friends was Iggy Pop's girlfriend at one time. She went on a tour with him along with David Bowie who was playing keyboards. Iggy and Bowie were good friends. She said the first thing Iggy did when he hit a new town was look for a local drug dealer and the first thing Bowie did was look for a local pretty black girl. Iggy loved drugs and Bowie loved pretty black women.

    Replies: @Ron Mexico

    “She said the first thing Iggy did when he hit a new town was look for a local drug dealer and the first thing Bowie did was look for a local pretty black girl.”
    I am sure Iggy had a much easier time scoring than Bowie did.

  98. > the intense person duly acknowledges the potential value of mediocrity

    Houellebecq has a 1991 prose poem on a similar topic, Rester vivant, méthode (Staying Alive, A Method).

    French excerpt below, followed by English from a lightly edited Google translation. It reads like an instruction manual for becoming the successful writer that he became. YMMV…

    ——

    D’abord, la souffrance

    […]

    Aller jusqu’au fond du gouffre de l’absence d’amour. Cultiver la haine de soi. Haine de soi, mépris des autres. Haine des autres, mépris de soi. Tout mélanger. Faire la synthèse. Dans le tumulte de la vie, être toujours perdant. L’univers comme une discothèque. Accumuler des frustrations en grand nombre. Apprendre à devenir poète; c’est désapprendre à vivre.

    Aimez votre passé, ou haïssez-le; mais qu’il reste présent à vos yeux. Vous devez acquérir une connaissance complète de vous-même. Ainsi, peu à peu, votre moi profond se détachera, glissera sous le soleil; et votre corps restera sur place; gonflé, boursouflé, irrité; mûr pour de nouvelles souffrances.
    La vie est une série de tests de destruction. Passer les premiers tests, échouer aux derniers. Rater sa vie, mais la rater de peu. Et souffrir, toujours souffrir. Vous devez apprendre à ressentir la douleur par tous vos pores. Chaque fragment de l’univers doit vous être une blessure personnelle. Pourtant, vous devez rester vivant — au moins un certain temps.

    La timidité n’est pas à dédaigner. On a pu la considérer comme la seule source de richesse intérieure; ce n’est pas faux. Effectivement, c’est dans ce moment de décalage entre la volonté et l’acte que les phénomènes mentaux intéressants commencent
    à se manifester. L’homme chez qui ce décalage est absent reste proche de l’animal. La timidité est un excellent point de départ pour un poète.

    Développez en vous un profond ressentiment à l’égard de la vie. Ce ressentiment est nécessaire à toute création artistique véritable.
    Parfois, c’est vrai, la vie vous apparaîtra simplement comme une expérience incongrue. Mais le ressentiment devra toujours rester proche, à portée de main — même si vous choisissez de ne pas l’exprimer.
    Et revenez toujours à la source, qui est la souffrance.

    Lorsque vous susciterez chez les autres un mélange de pitié effrayée et de mépris, vous saurez que vous êtes sur la bonne voie. Vous pourrez commencer à écrire.

    Michel Houellebecq, Rester vivant, méthode, p. 12.

    ——

    Lightly edited Google translation:

    ——

    Start with suffering

    […]

    Go to the bottom of the pit of the absence of love. Cultivate self-hatred. Hatred of oneself, contempt of others. Hatred of others, self-contempt. Mix everything. Make a synthesis. In the tumult of life, always be a loser. The universe as a disco. Accumulate frustrations in large numbers. Learning to become a poet means unlearning to live.

    Love your past, or hate it; but let it stay present to your eyes. You must acquire a complete knowledge of yourself. So, little by little, your deep self will come loose and slip off under the sun. Your body will remain on the spot, swollen, puffy, irritated, and ripe for new suffering.
    Life is a series of destruction tests. Pass the first tests, fail the last ones. Fail at life, but fail barely. And suffer, always suffer. You must learn to feel pain through all your pores. Every fragment of the universe must be a personal injury to you. Yet you must stay alive — at least for a while.

    Timidity is not to be disdained. It has been called the only source of inner wealth. This is not wrong. Indeed, the gap between will and action is the moment where interesting mental phenomena start to appear. The man for whom there is no such gap remains similar to an animal. Timidity is an excellent starting point for a poet.

    Develop in yourself a deep resentment towards life. This resentment is necessary to any true artistic creation.
    Sometimes, it’s true, life will simply appear to you as an incongruous experience. But resentment should always be near, within easy reach — even if you choose not to express it.
    And always come back to the source, which is suffering.

    When you arouse in others a mixture of frightened pity and contempt, you will know that you are on the right track. You can start writing.

    Michel Houellebecq, Staying Alive, A Method, excerpt.

    ——

    There’s also the 2016 movie with the same title made with Iggy Pop:

    To Stay Alive, A Method

    And also an art exhibit by Houellebecq the same year:

    Rester vivant
    https://www.palaisdetokyo.com/en/event/michel-houellebecq

    with related magazine:

  99. @jpp
    @Anonymous

    I honestly fail to comprehend the repugnant impressions which Houllebecq's looks are so engendering. I personally find the recent Houllebecq to be rather handsome and submit in good faith that his wrinkled countenance makes him appear battleworn in such a way that makes him seem dashing, one might even say a touch swashbuckling. Indeed, his profile merits comparisons with later photographs of Baudelaire.

    Replies: @Anonymouse

    That’s why L’enlevement de Michel Houellbeck aids in determining what he looks like, how he sees himself. As he plays himself – I don’t believe he directed the movie – the viewer gets to see him as he sees himself fictionally speaking played against the public notion of his life-style.

  100. @Semperluctor
    @Jack D

    Good points, but there are key differences between consumer goods which are fungible and agricultural practices which are, in essence, cultural treasures.
    Thus, whether it is VCR tapes or CDs, country x can make them cheaper and faster than you, so there’s not much point in competing. This would not be the case, of course, for non consumer products such as military equipment; countries need to subsidize those, lest they end up relying on their enemies fir spare parts.
    But, Swiss farming methods can and do survive because the country can a) afford them and b) agrees to afford them. Meaning that Switzerland can use its current account and trade surpluses (note, I am sure that Switzerland has a trade surplus, I am merely assuming that it has a current account surplus as well). Anyhow, Switzerland can afford its farming practices, and moreover, it wants to keep them as an affirmation of cultural identity.
    That’ easily affordable in an homogenous country of what, 6 or 7 million people, with a very high per capita GDP, won’t work here in the US. But, it might work in high GDP states (if any such can exist) once Federal central power evaporates around mid century. : )

    Replies: @Jack D, @Johann Ricke

    I’d like to get my business declared a “cultural treasure” so it is insulated from market forces. Another name for this is “rent seeking”.

  101. @Semperluctor
    @Jack D

    Good points, but there are key differences between consumer goods which are fungible and agricultural practices which are, in essence, cultural treasures.
    Thus, whether it is VCR tapes or CDs, country x can make them cheaper and faster than you, so there’s not much point in competing. This would not be the case, of course, for non consumer products such as military equipment; countries need to subsidize those, lest they end up relying on their enemies fir spare parts.
    But, Swiss farming methods can and do survive because the country can a) afford them and b) agrees to afford them. Meaning that Switzerland can use its current account and trade surpluses (note, I am sure that Switzerland has a trade surplus, I am merely assuming that it has a current account surplus as well). Anyhow, Switzerland can afford its farming practices, and moreover, it wants to keep them as an affirmation of cultural identity.
    That’ easily affordable in an homogenous country of what, 6 or 7 million people, with a very high per capita GDP, won’t work here in the US. But, it might work in high GDP states (if any such can exist) once Federal central power evaporates around mid century. : )

    Replies: @Jack D, @Johann Ricke

    Anyhow, Switzerland can afford its farming practices, and moreover, it wants to keep them as an affirmation of cultural identity.

    It’s a matter of national security, not cultural identity. As a landlocked country with a military much weaker than its neighbors’, it needs to produce some minimum amount of foodstuffs so if war consumes the continent, and its supply lines are blockaded, it won’ t run the risk of starvation. It’s an expensive insurance policy, but the alternative is a choice between surrender and starvation in wartime.

  102. @Steve Sailer
    @Bardon Kaldian

    I read part of Norman Mailer's 1948 WWII in the Pacific novel "The Naked and the Dead" and it was impressive for having been written by a 25 year old.

    I'd argue that the rabbit novel "Watership Down" is a WWII novel.

    "A Farewell to Arms" is a first rate WWI novel. I haven't read "All Quiet on the Western Front" since high school, but it was good.

    Personally, I'm a counter-contrarian who is increasingly inclined toward views like "Hemingway was a good writer."

    Replies: @Redneck farmer, @utu, @NickG

    Personally, I’m a counter-contrarian who is increasingly inclined toward views like “Hemingway was a good writer.”

    Noticer of note and meta contrarian.

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