The Cult Is Dead: The Alt-Right and Black Metal

After Charlottesville I would love to think, even for the second, that the end has begun for twenty-first century Fascism. I’d like to think that after an attempted mass murder, teenage boys whose critical faculties have been destroyed by South Park, who make up the bulk of what we call the Alt-Right, would desert. No such luck. The Alt-Right is an identity first, a political project a very distant second, and identities don’t go down easy.

Even if this isn’t the beginning of the end, there’s historical precedent that suggests that it may be the end of the beginning in another group of angry, sad, young, white men who took nerd culture and nationalism far too seriously: The Norwegian Black Metal scene centered around the Helvete record store in Oslo, a group of musicians and hangers-on who sometimes, perhaps ironically, referred to themselves as the ‘Black Circle.’

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The Silver Age of Television

It’s hard to really get excited about shows as brilliant as American Gods and The Handmaid’s Tale. Both are impeccably designed, beautifully shot and brought to life by incredibly talented actors. The former hews closer to the Gonzo end of prestige TV; the violence is more comic than tragic, the nudity is frequent, the camera corkscrews through scenes as if to say ‘this is television, it’s artificial, and I can do what the fuck I want.’ The latter’s violence is more tragic than comic, the nudity is less frequent (but has to be there, because we’re grown-ups after all) and the camera stays still, standing in awe of Elizabeth Moss’s performance.

It’s possible to watch both without feeling anything in particular, and come Monday morning neither are topics of discussion around the figurative water cooler, where we once pondered Lost before realising, embarrassed, that we’d been had.

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