Category Archive 'Anders Behring Breivik'

20 Feb 2013

Dalrymple (Harumph!) Reviews Zadie Smith

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Theodore Dalrymple/Zadie Smith

Old fogey, white male Theodore Dalrymple reviewing hip, young black chick Zadie Smith’s new novel, NW (as in North West London, specifically, apparently, NW6, Kilburn, once a working-class Irish neighborhood, now a lower-class varied multicultural district) promises an entertaining clash of values and perspectives.

According to Dalrymple, the celebration of the glorious diversity of it all —

Sweet stink of the hookah, couscous, kebab, exhaust fumes of a bus deadlock. . . . Polish paper, Turkish paper, Arabic, Irish, French, Russian, Spanish, News of the World. Unlock your (stolen) phone, buy a battery pack, a lighter pack, a perfume pack, sunglasses, three for a fiver, a life-size porcelain tiger, gold taps. . . . TV cable, computer cable, audiovisual cables, I give you good price, good price. Leaflets, call abroad 4 less, learn English, eyebrow wax, Falun Gong, have you accepted Jesus as your personal call plan? . . . A hundred and one ways to take cover: the complete black tent, the facial grid, back of the head, Louis Vuitton–stamped, Gucci-stamped, yellow lace, attached to sunglasses, hardly on at all, striped, candy pink; paired with tracksuits, skin-tight jeans, summer dresses, blouses, vests, gypsy skirts, flares. . . . Security lights, security gates, security walls, security trees, Tudor, Modernist, postwar, prewar, stone pineapples, stone lions, stone eagles. Face east and dream of Regent’s Park, of St. John’s Wood. The Arabs, the Israelis, the Russians, the Americans: here united by the furnished penthouse, the private clinic. If we pay enough, if we squint, Kilburn need not exist. Free meals. English as a second language. Here is the school where they stabbed the headmaster. Here is the Islamic Center of England opposite the Queen’s Arms. Walk down the middle of this, you referee, you!

— is tempered by the story of two black sisters, Keisha and Cheryl Blake. The former studies hard and becomes a wealthy and successful lawyer, the latter becomes an unwed mother living on the dole.

Keisha (who’s changed her name to Natalie) is unhappy, finding she has traded her life for a career and living only to work, while worrying about having relinquished her identity, her “authenticity.” Her sister Cheryl rejects her offers of assistance (and implicitly her familial connection and authority) preferring “independence” based upon state support.

All of which understandably lights Dalrymple’s fuse.

Natalie may not feel authentic, but this [fictional situation] certainly does. It illustrates how completely the state has smashed up family solidarity. Cheryl and the rest of Natalie’s impoverished family neither look for nor need Natalie’s help, though she is becoming a wealthy woman; they look to the state to provide. At one point, when Natalie criticizes the public housing where Cheryl lives, her sister responds, “If I wanted to get out of here I’d get another place off the council before I come to you.” For Cheryl, independence means being independent of people close to her and dependent on a bureaucratic apparatus. Nothing could be more socially atomizing, more promotional of the raging egotism exemplified in the [1995 murder of a Roman Catholic headmaster who tried to stop an interracial gang beating].

Dalrymple also has a few harsh words to say about Natalie’s class neuroses.

Natalie’s unease about her authenticity, with its undertow of guilt about her success, seems to me plausibly and truly delineated. The fact that she should feel this guilt means that she has thoroughly absorbed an egalitarian ideology, for there can be only one reason why to rise in a meritocratic society by your own efforts should occasion guilt. That reason is that one feels that everyone ought to be equal—equal in outcome—whatever one does or does not do. Though she has risen by her own merits, though what sixties radicals called “the system” has put no formal obstacles in her path, though her sister’s manacles are all mind-forg’d, Natalie cannot believe that she deserves her good fortune or that her newfound wealth is evidence of social justice rather than its opposite.

Dalrymple considers the kind of multiculturalism that Zadie Smith reflexively tries to celebrate as a social and cultural disaster featuring little mutual benefit, but rather the addle-pated surrender of Western civilization to barbarism on the basis of left-wing sentimentality and bad ideas. According to Dalrymple, Zadie Smith’s NW really offers

a bleak assessment of multicultural society, which ends not in cross-fertilization, as in fusion cooking, but in paranoia as a way of life, mutual incomprehension, egotism, and solipsism. A day-to-day tolerance of one another’s existence is an insufficient basis for an attractive or even a productive society. Something more is needed.

Interestingly, Dalrymple compares Smith’s community of fashion perspective to that of Catholic, anti-modernist French author Richard Millet, who recently published Éloge littéraire d’Anders Breivik [A Literary Elegy on Anders Breivik], who killed 77 promising young leftists at a Labor summer camp, as a kind of personal protest against the multicultural remodeling of Norway. Millet said that, though he did not approve of Breivik’s crimes, his opinion was that “Norway got what it deserved.”

I am quite interested in reading that essay, which is available, I find, only in French (via Amazon UK) in a collection of three essays titled Langue Fantôme. I have ordered a copy.

Hat tip to Bird Dog.

29 Jul 2011

Try This Headline

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Ann Coulter proposes a different headline for today’s Breivik-guilt-by-association story: New York Times Reader Kills Dozens in Norway

27 Jul 2011

Blogging Today at The Conservatory

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Students at Yale and Harvard don’t get single rooms as nice as the rooms at Norway’s maximum security Halden Prison

Norwegian Justice and Anders Breivik

25 Jul 2011

Breivik Was Fjordman?

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Anders Behring Breivik in the uniform, and wearing the medals and insignia, of a Knight Justiciar of the “Knights Templar Europe.”

The left is, not surprisingly, having a field day recriminating with conservatives for our new association with terrorism.

A number of left-wing sources are pointing out with great pleasure that Anders Behring Breivik in his Manifesto quoted several prominent conservative blogs associated with criticism of Islam and of Islamic immigration to Europe, including Gates of Vienna, Atlas Shrugs (Pam Geller), and most particularly the Fjordman blog (which closed down operations in 2005).

Leftwing JoeBlow delivered a bombshell, quoting sources reporting that Breivik actually is the much-admired Fjordman.

Norwegian bloggers are reporting that Breivik is the author of a blog called Fjordman and that he’s guest blogged for Atlas Shrugs, Jihad Watch and Gates of Vienna “for years.” As Breivik, he publicly praised one of her posts. Elise Hendrick has translated a passage from Realisten which confirms that Fjordman and Breivik are one and the same:

    According to his own statements, Anders Behring Breivik previously operated the blog ‘Fjordman’, and later wrote for many years under the pseudonym Fjordman for the anti-Muslim and Zionist blogs Gates of Vienna and Jihad Watch

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Fjordman a terrorist bomber and child-killer? That would be pretty embarrassing to conservatives, especially to the owners of blogs who linked (like me), or who even hosted, his postings!

Pretty to think so, if you are a leftist, but happily for us, not so.

Fjordman answered attacks, on Gates of Vienna, today, assuring readers that he is not Anders Behring Breivik. He never met Anders Behring Breivik. And he does not support terrorism.

Hat tip to Stephen Frankel.

25 Jul 2011

Norway Terrorist Seems More Crazy Than Conservative

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Anders Behring Breivik

The New York Times provides some details on the Norway mass murderer.

When Anders Behring Breivik was not plotting mass murder and fine-tuning the bomb he detonated here last week, he was busy playing video games and blogging, listening to Euro pop and watching episodes of “True Blood” — except on Sunday nights, when he usually dined with his mother. …

For years, Mr. Breivik, who is 32, participated in debates in Internet forums on the dangers of Islam and immigration. It is not clear at what point he decided that violence was the solution to the ills he believed were tearing European civilization asunder. Before the attacks that he has admitted mounting on government buildings and a children’s summer camp on Friday, he was careful never to telegraph his intentions.

“He didn’t say anything you could remember,” said Stig Fjellskaalnes, who knew Mr. Breivik when he was a member of Norway’s conservative Progress Party in the early 2000s. “He’s one of the crowd, if you know what I mean. You forget him.” …

With the 1,500-page manifesto, which he said took three years to complete, Mr. Breivik endeavored to find common cause with xenophobic right-wing groups around the world, particularly in the United States. He quoted extensively from the anti-Islam writings of American bloggers, and cut and pasted a whole section of the manifesto written by Theodore J. Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber, into his own, replacing “leftism” with “multiculturalism” as the object of aspersion. …

He attended the elite high school where the country’s current king, Harald V, and his son once studied. Former classmates remembered him as quiet but intelligent, with a small rebellious streak: he was a prolific graffiti artist. …

To earn money for the attacks, he wrote that he had started a company that earned him millions. Neighbors cast doubt on this claim, however, saying that they thought he had inherited some money from relatives.

As he went about gathering six tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and turning aspirin powder into pure acetylsalicylic acid for his bomb, he led an active life online, railing against Muslims and Marxists in debate forums.

He once approached Hans Rustad, the editor of a popular conservative Website called Document.no, with a proposal to create a pan-European movement modeled on Tea Party groups in the United States.

When not surfing conservative blogs, Mr. Breivik was fighting virtual demons, ogres and other fantastical creatures in online role-playing games. He was a regular in talk forums for players of “World of Warcraft,” using a busty female as his avatar and the handle Conservatism.

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Mark Steyn was annoyed to find himself quoted in Breivik’s manifesto and points out some of the illogic of the commentariat’s reaction.

It is unclear how seriously this “manifesto” should be taken. Parts of it simply cut and paste chunks of the last big killer “manifesto” by Ted Kaczynski, with the occasional [insert-your-cause-here] word substitute replacing the Unabomber’s obsessions with Breivik’s. This would seem an odd technique to use for a sincerely meant political statement. The entire document is strangely anglocentric – in among the citations of NR and The Washington Times, there’s not a lot about Norway.

Nevertheless, Breivik’s manifesto seems to be determining the narrative in the anglophone media. The opening sentence from USA Today:

    Islamophobia has reached a mass murder level in Norway as the confessed killer claims he sought to combat encroachment by Muslims into his country and Europe.

So, if a blonde blue-eyed Aryan Scandinavian kills dozens of other blonde blue-eyed Aryan Scandinavians, that’s now an “Islamophobic” mass murder? As far as we know, not a single Muslim was among the victims. Islamophobia seems an eccentric perspective to apply to this atrocity, and comes close to making the actual dead mere bit players in their own murder. Yet the Associated Press is on board:

    Security Beefed Up At UK Mosques After Norway Massacre.

But again: No mosque was targeted in Norway. A member of the country’s second political party gunned down members of its first. But, in the merest evolution of post-9/11 syndrome, Muslims are now the preferred victims even in a story in which they are entirely absent.


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