Sub Mille #2
Karl Marx, Sasquatch, Poetry, and Such
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The Six Million Dollar Man battled communism in its most atavistic form.
Commentary on work by
Welcome to Sub Mille, the Substack Review that highlights some of the best work from creators with under 1,000 subscribers. Issue #2 is a bit longer than #1, and features both some returning names and a number of new ones. I’ve tried to give fiction more of its due this time around, and some poets who deserve a spotlight. We’ll begin where we did last time, with some controversy.
Sparks Fly Over Marx Guy
I recently restacked an essay by Constantin Von Hoffeister entitled “Marx from the Right,” wherein Hoffmeister laid out the seemingly counterintuitive case that Marx’s sociological and economic critiques had some echoes in contemporary and later rightist thought. He notes in particular the Marxist influence on the ideas of Alain de Benoist, for example- “Marx’s disdain for the alienating and dehumanizing facets of capitalism parallels de Benoist’s critique of liberal individualism.” In my restack I noted my agreement with this framing of Marx, briefly mentioning that, in my view, Marx and Nietzsche should best be looked to for their diagnoses rather than their prescriptions.
I had expected that I might be called out by some Nietzscheans for my conflating of their sage with Marx, which perhaps caused me to overlook the possibility that any defense of Marx, in and of itself, would be suspect to some. Along those lines, The Brothers Krynn commented the following:
Marx was a monster, he should have snuffed out for prescribing what he did. All the woes of the 20th century could be laid at his feet.
This is perhaps a bit hyperbolic but not wholly wrong, and I should address it. In the first place, I did note that I agreed with the diagnosis rather than the prescription. Liberal individualism and capitalism were (and are) an engine of tremendous creative force, but also unsettling and alienating such that chaos and destruction would be the necessary result to an escalating degree to the extent they were adopted. Like Nietzsche’s death of god, the forces at work in the 19th century eradicated the old certainties and modes of life. Nietzsche saw it, Marx saw it, the Pope saw it. Blaming Marx for everything is like blaming the oncologist for cancer.
Thanks to the work of the folks (man) at the criminally undersubscribed Jünger Translation Project, we can read that Jünger, in that sense, agreed. Jünger, reviewing the book Revolution um Karl Marx by Richard Bie, notes that Marx was largely correct in his description of the alienated state of the worker, and through the spread of his ideology helped created the conditions for a reinvigoration of nationalism; as he noted: “[o]nly in a truly living state can work also be alive.” This was in 1929, and, while one would be tempted to say that ‘national socialism’ was something of a flameout, the New Deal state and postwar Europe were in many ways a validation of the more benign aspects of that vision, until it was swallowed by neoliberal globalization.
But the main point made by The Brothers Krynn is, I think, quite valid in one very important sense. Marx was an awful human being on a personal level and his prescription, merciless revolution on class enemies, is monstrous and wholly evil. The avowed Marxist is a hostis humani generis; in the aggregate they represent a malignant threat to any community that harbors them. Like all cancers, they mutate, and so can be difficult to classify at times. One can know them by their progression- do they spread to new areas, destroy healthy growth and leave decay and death in their wake? If so, one’s community probably has some variety of Marxism, and treatment is in order, up to and including surgical excision [in Minecraft].
One should, however, know one’s enemy, and I encourage all rightists (and everyone else) to read up on Marx and his ideas. Read the primary sources and read Paul Gottfried. And do check out The Brother’s Krynn’s latest work for some insight into their own thinking. My view is that of Gunnery Sergeant John Baslione, depicted here motivating his charges to take their Japanese enemy seriously.
The Revolution Stumbles On
Graham Cunningham, “Deconstructing Deconstructivism;” Apollo’s Lyre, “Solving the Anti-Life Equation (Second Permutation);” Neoliberal Feudalism, “The era of empty, secular mass consumption is over” Emilia, (007) The end of startup theater;” River Page, “Florida has High Speed Rail and California Never Will;” L. P. Koch, “A Cry from the Wilderness;” Rachel Haywire, “How Civilizations Rise and Fall - A Hipster Analysis;”
Marxism represents in its purest form the revolutionary ideal of the Enlightenment, the Promethean-Luciferian idea that pride and rebellion are mankind’s true fullness, rather than the humility and obedience prescribed by Christian tradition. The problem is, as Tolkien (and numerous astute commenters on The Rings of Power trailers) noted, evil has no real power to create, only to re-arrange. While this is true of all human art to an extent (what Tolkien called “subcreation”) the further one is removed from the divine order, the less one is able to participate in and communicate beauty. Art becomes, in the end, anti- or rather, ante- beauty, something instead of, or in the place of, beauty- an attack upon it, a dismemberment without the capacity to rearrange. In other words, it becomes deconstruction.
Marxism was (is) an actual philosophy, with its own metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. The failure of all three to manifest themselves on revolutionary schedule meant that subsequent generations of leftists are left coping with a legacy of fail. This means advancing various types of cope. Even normies are familiar with the “it’s never really been tried” line, but others, following the deviationist Frankfurt school and others, have responding by developing an all-encompassing critique of human life itself premised on the notion that nothing can really be known and all ideas are expressions of power relationships. This is what I mean by ante-philosophy, not against, but instead of philosophy.
Graham Cunningham discusses the implications of this way of thinking (for lack of a better term) in architecture in particular. The salient characteristic of deconstruction is that it is wholly derivative on actual art, which is to say, attempts to render something beautiful using human skill. One would not know it was art were one not aware that there was something else of which it was a pastiche, a mockery, or an attack. One thinks of the feminist Medusa Holding the Head of Perseus, ante-art based on ante-myth, a monster triumphant over a civilizing hero, cast in resin because the artist lacked the ability to work in bronze, a technology mastered by actual artists five millennia ago. Along those lines we find the second installment of “The Anti-Life Equation” of Apollo’s Lyre. One of the big controversies in rightist spaces is how to define the relationship between Marxism, successor ideologies like Critical Theory, various permutations of liberalism, and that vague thing called ‘woke.’ Apollo’s Lyre posits an ‘anti-life’ worldview characterized by a seemingly paradoxical combination of identity politics and credentialism. Identity in this framing being immutable like the Marxist idea of class, and credentials being in theory open to anyone under managerial meritocracy, how does one square the circle? Key, I think, is that both Marxism and progressivism (the direct ancestor of neoliberalism) came about in an age of quantification and abstraction. Identity, like merit, is a thing that can be categorized and measured; its the significance of each that creates problems for our current elite; they need both to mean something at the same time, even when they manifestly conflict. A great piece- see also James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State and Michael Ryan, Marxism and Deconstruction full disclosure, this author has not yet completed the latter book).
In the future, the Red Caesar will stable his horse in this place. That horse will develop a self-harm disorder.
Neoliberal Feudalism and Emilia each offer interesting variations of the same theme, that the actual successful revolution of the 20th century, the Managerial Revolution, is running out of steam, as the managers have largely lost the ability to provide the goodies that make their control bearable. Neoliberal Feudalism points out that the ‘prosperity’ of the last half-century or so was fueled by low interest rates and debt, made possible by American domination of world politics and economics, the liberal world order we are currently seeing drone-struck to pieces in Ukraine. Emilia offers a more targeted critique along the same lines (Neoliberal Feudalism’s, not the drone strike) with her piece on “startup theater” a thirst for celebrity manifesting as a desire to be known as a bold and brilliant founder, a Steve Jobs cosplay played out as much in social as corporate media. This too is only possible with easy money and a credulous public; a reality show that began in 2008 and currently stars Elizabeth Holmes and Sam Bankman-Fried. Of note as well is a piece by River Page on why high speed rail is possible in Florida and not California. The difference, it seems, is not the relative ability of each state government to accomplish the task, but their willingness to do so, and to take heat from activists and naysayers. One system’s managers retain a vestige of the confidence of yesteryear, and can get things done; the other poses and postures like the days of old, but like an obese Harley Quinn at Dragoncon, simply won’t put in the work to pull off the look.
So I don’t get accused of misogyny. Come on bro, one curl-ONE!
L. P. Koch, in his latest, offers a plea for the kind of transcendence that makes true art, and a functioning society, possible. I almost chose to categorize it with the poetry section, as its form defies the conventions of the essay, and it is both didactic and exhortative. While I am not especially fond of the Transcendentalists, I think that some of their themes, executed well, can be interesting and appealing, and I would say that is definitely the case here; the author has a kinship to the best of Emerson and Thoreau, despite an overall tone I would say is comfortably rightist, and indeed, futurist. Check it out. And when discussing futurism and prescriptive efforts at societal improvement, who else to turn to but Rachel Haywire, author of “How Civilizations Rise and Fall.” Here she explores the famous ‘Factory’ of Andy Warhol and its implications as an incubator of new trends in art and culture. There are, I think, two ways to look at Warhol. He was in one sense a modern artist of the deconstructionist type that has been a bane on the creative world, with a movement around him pursuing the same end. Indeed, as Haywire notes, one of his disciples attempted to deconstruct Warhol in a literal sense by shooting him (I always found it amusing that in her milieu the tiny, homosexual Warhol was the embodiment of patriarchal masculinity). But one can also look at Warhol in a meta-sense, as a deconstructor of deconstruction, a man who took art-as-crap and made crap-as-art out of it. Warhol was privately a deeply religious man, attending mass regularly and volunteering for work with the homeless; his art sales paid for a nephew to study for the priesthood. He was also anything but lazy; the Factory was not a metaphor, but a real studio powered by Warhol’s intense energy. Perhaps the future will be something like that, rightist art emerging in the spaces the systems leaves open for those who move with hidden subtlety in its midst; this seems to be the tenor not only of this piece, but much of Haywire’s recent work. Give it a read.
Pictured above: Two alpha males
To Do List- Education
Space Romancer, “A Drought of Letters;” William Hunter Duncan, “I Thought I Might Substitute Teach;” Sharine Borslien, “Substitute Teaching;” Prince Hasdeu, “Advice for Someone Who’s Going to War - Mircea Eliade;”
So what to do knowing all that? Well, one might begin by returning to the fundamentals. Space Romancer say to read. He elaborates on that theme by correlating societal decline with a similar drop in literacy, but if you have made it this far through Sub Mille, you are already part of the solution in that regard. So definitely read it, and be sure to pass it on to someone you know along with his advice. And if your friends need to know where the best undiscovered literary gems are, direct them here.
To get people started on that journey, some Substackers are attempting to get into education. William Hunter Duncan and Sharine Borslien both attempted substitute teaching in the public school system, the latter in California, the former in Minnesota, which is basically California, but colder. Duncan didn’t make it past the white male algorithm weed-out, while Borslien had a far more harrowing experience with the instantiation of every educator’s favorite law, IDEA. The Individuals with Disabilities Act is the educational equivalent of modern art, a destructive act of transgression against all traditional meaning and values. It stipulates as a matter of law that all children should be in the least restrictive environment possible, even when their presence would amount to a de-facto restriction on the learning of the peers. Read both accounts, and remember- avoid public schools at all costs.
Please don’t photoshop this. Also, ‘differentiation’ is a buzz word that is 100% diagnostically certain for confirming idiocy when used in earnest.
Should you choose to enter the field, you may profit from reading Prince Hasdeu at the Mioretic Space. I’m not sure if the work is original, the work of the actual Prince Hasdeu, or something quoted by Eliade, but the sentiments are profound. A man going to war is a man prepared to sacrifice; just as a priest is a type of Christ re-enacting his sacrificial death, so too does a soldier sacrifice his own blood, and so too must he be pure. Do not think I am being trite in comparing teaching to being a soldier or a priest- the war is very real, and very spiritual. Do read the whole piece.
To Do List- Practical Stuff
Kent Peterson writes one of the most stylistically interesting Substack newsletters, a typewriter-font sheet given the appearance of having been mimeographed, an aesthetic Guillaume Faye called Archeofuturism. In his latest installment, Peterson writes of his challenges navigating the roadways on his bike- presumably also Archeofuturistic- while avoiding the open doors of BMWs, which are, apparently, the vehicle of choice for those who prefer to drive with their heads firmly inserted in their own rectums. His advice and mine- don’t be that sort of person. What sort of person should you be? Alexander Hellene has the answer- Tim Wakefield. I do not follow professional sports and did not know the name, or the sad news that Wakefield, a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, had recently passed away at a young age from cancer. With all the negativity associated with professional sports conceptually and in its execution, it is good to have such an honorable counterexample, a hard-working and self-effacing man who made himself beloved in his adopted community. Be that sort of person and people will love you even if you are a drug dealer or a politician. Also, build things. Jake, in his latest, gives some great practical advice. I was a leatherworker for a long time but have fallen out of practice. I can relate to the need to create with my hands and I do hope to get back into it. Perhaps when the pressures of work and family let up I’ll be able to do so.
Slices of Life
Scherezade “Texas Roadhouse;” Anne Kadet, “Only in NYC: A Home for Retired Playground Animals”
Scherezade is one of the most personally interesting writers I’ve discovered on Substack. This may in part be due to how her life parallels my own; her work deals with her efforts to combine the life of the mind with waiting tables, which consumed my youth. In other words, I relate. Her piece “Texas Roadhouse” depicts this duality of life in a particularly compelling way- the hopeful days spent in classes, the nights of slow torment at the hands of a neoliberal economy wrenching every ounce of emotional labor out of those people still able to feign pleasantness. It seems she is not especially active on Substack; perhaps if some of you send some subscriptions her way, she might be inclined to offer more of her heartfelt and compelling commentary.
See this documentary for insight.
Anne Kadet tells the interesting story of a playground for retired playground animals. Ostensibly this is a kind of modernist art installation, but it strikes me as much deeper than that. While there is nothing overtly political about it, I find the space to be an especially (but no doubt inadvertently) pointed example of the kind of reverence we should give to the things that shape our youth and our world more generally. If you read my piece “Vaporworld,” you’ll recall I advance the concept of the ‘lonely place,’ a space once shaped by and shaping human energy, now dormant and forlorn. I think these places are indeed charged with a kind of presence that our ancestors would have felt, but to which we are largely numb to and oblivious , what Blake called “weight and age, age and weight.” Perhaps by once more giving these spaces their due, we can recover something of that enchantment necessary for transcendence and wholeness, so lost in this age.
Jonathan Delp, “Stomp Robs a Cloudbrew Beer Truck;” Obsidian Blackbird, “Operation Get All the Magic Powers Back and Re-Enter the Spirit World!;” Jessica Maison, “Barghest”
Johnathan Delp has an interesting fiction series featuring a Sasquatch named Stomp. Stomp is not especially law-abiding, which is perhaps par for the course for a species with no laws, and in the current outing, Stomp is robbing a beer truck- hijinks ensue. Obsidian Blackbird returns with another of his tales of Post-Grunge life, stories with a vaguely Gen-X vibe and undercurrents of the macabre, very much along the lines of 80s horror through the lens of a kind of 90s self-awareness. This outing is characteristic, evoking the New Age late 80s with a 90s paranoia- short and worth the ride. Jessica Maison writes of the barghest, a monster that evoked vague memories in me of some past mention. At last I remembered- a barghest featured as one of the antagonists in an R. A. Salvatore Drizzt Do’Urden novel. If you are unfamiliar, the storyline takes place in the Dungeons and Dragons Forgotten Realms setting; I was a huge fan as a teenager. Maison’s work is totally original and worth reading in its own right, but I think it is interesting how much one minor footnote of a monster can be mined for creative content. It makes one wonder how Hollywood and such can be so derivative with so much underused content out there.
Russian Diary, “Silentum by Fyodor Tyutchev;” Peregrinus, “Poetry and History- Thomas Wyatt;” Ishmael Wallace, “Castallia 225;” Ars Poetica, “poetry pocket: dinosaurs smelled magnolias, dalton day”
Russian Diary offers not his own poem, but one by Russian national treasure Fyodor Tyutchev, translated by Nabokov. The Diarist’s contribution is his commentary; he plays the hierophant, revealing the mysteries of the Russian soul by way of Tyutchev’s “Silentum.” Interestingly, along the lines of L. P. Koch mentioned earlier, the poem evokes the finer shades of Transcendentalism, enough to be comprehensible to the Western mind, while remaining distinctly and uniquely a vision of the Slavic borderworld with the East and its sensibilities. In a similar vein, Peregrinus offers Thomas Wyatt and an accompanying essay. Wyatt was an important innovator in English poetry, helping to introduce the sonnet so famously associated with Shakespeare. For those of you with an interest in the history of poetry, as I have, Peregrinus is definitely worth a deep-dive.
Ishmael Wallace is a great example of a Substack-native poet, something I expect to see more of as the platform grows. Largely free verse, the flow of his poem is punctuated with references to other works, with links, and music. It would be impossible in a book, but the piece comes into its own as an online work of art. It is a great example of the kind of fusion possible between traditional notions of poetry and new mediums. Along similar lines, Ars Poetica gives us “poetry pocket: dinosaurs smelled magnolias, dalton day,” which also makes wide use of the possibilities inherent in Substack not merely as a platform, but as a medium. The poem brings up the interesting fact that magnolia trees existed in the time of the dinosaurs. To my mind, this means that the best way to read it is accompanied by songs from the underutilized micro-genre of Dinosynth.
Now you know this is a thing
The following are some other digests you should know about.
Terry Freedman links to a number of great Substacks. The New Right Poast technically has over 1,000 subs, but since I didn’t mention that esteemed publication previously, I thought I would give it its due. Also check out the back catalogue of John Carter’s roundup and his newsletter generally- he’s also big now, but go there and make him biggerer.
Also, Gabe Hudson posted a note which became a substantial thread of discussions on the issue of having a low sub count. What it amounts to are a lot of people with not a lot of subscribers who could certainly benefit from a look. While I have not vetted the entire thread, and space precludes commenting on all of them, do check them out. I’m sure there are a lot of gems, and I know I’ll be returning to some of those names in the future.
The Honor Roll
The following are Substacks with under 1,000 subscribers that I read regularly, but for whatever reason I was not able to squeeze in this week. Please check them out.AND
And many others. If I forgot you, my sincerest apologies. Shout me out in the comments and I will make the correction.
ADDENDUM: Recommended by(check him out as well)