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Saved by Adolfo

In englishPosted by Øystein Fri, July 29, 2011 19:25:02
I love violent movies, violent computer games, violent music. Dead Prez is a racist hip hop group that I've listened to with a great deal of pleasure. Kool G Raps misogynistic lyrics were a great source of laughs - until his ex-wife released an autobiography. All these things are fun and games until they reach reality, somehow. I fear that they cannot be defended. Yes, they can - the line goes between real-life violence and not violence, but we all have a responsibility for the climate we make with our art and our words. I can pretend that my extremely, extremely violent comics are not part of a cultural discourse where the violence must be more and more shocking to bring with it the pleasure of the new, but it is a lie. I can do like Mark Millar and say "sex should be in the home and not in the comics, violence should be in the comics and not it the home." But to me, it is more like alcohol: We KNOW it has unhealthy effects on society. One out of ten end up having problems with alcohol (this statistic was just made up). Yet we find it worth having alcohol. And to have free speech, one needs to allow for fiction. So where is the line between violent fiction and violent ideas posted in a blog? Should it be forbidden to talk about certain things?

My last post was not fully formed - but it was about that.

I read more after writing it, of course. I usually don't spend all my time on The Psychology of Evil, but our country just all turned into wannabe experts on that topic. All of us who have the time. One commenter said somewhere: The existence of nazi newspapers, Der Stürmer and Vőlkische Beobachter, didn't lead to LESS hatred against jews. Good point. And as if more and more people had accepted that argument, in an optimism-inducing turn of events, new voices in Frp now demands "another way of using language". Even better point. I truly, truly hope this will be the outcome. Keeping an Frp, but changing the Them and Us way of thinking - turning it into "people" and "people". Whatever I wanted to say in my last post, "defending the right to be racist and hateful", was about balancing a knife's edge: I want all societies to allow dissidence, I don't want the label "hatespeech" to be used out of its place to oppress anyone. But REAL hatespeech must be met. Constantly. With patience and reason. It can be the constant little "stabs" at Muhammed as a "pedophile mass murderer". As if Lot in the Bible didn't sleep with his daughters, or Jahveh didn't kill men, women and children in the flood, in Sodom and Gomorrah and so on. The little constant stabs at islam, as if it's more evil in its roots than any other religion, can come shaped like anonymous postings on the internet, can be a grotesque sight - but it has value, as it allows peoples opinions to come out where they can be met with arguments.

And it's about terms: When one is silently allowed to talk about "islam" as if it is ONE thing, the premises of the discussion are flawed. Is christianity "one" thing? There must be a room for discussing islam and all its aspects, but being constantly enraged about it would be like always reminding all christians about the murders done by the inquisition.

When one repeatedly meets - and creates - violent language, it shapes thoughts. It would be truly naive not to admit that. Talking about "a bullet to Krekar", or talking in the same way about specific right-wing politicians ... from now on, one must be kept responsible for one's words, as words are obviously not just words anymore. Article about the murderousness of language - in swedish, here.

Another point: When we meet arguments that "dissent" from humanism, one cannot convince one's opponent unless one uses arguments that use other foundations than humanism in itself. Because some people lack ... well, mirror neurons in their brain.

It is stigmatizing and, you know, hate-mongering, but we must have an open mind to the very, very real possibility that some people base their political views on a clinic psychopathy. There are people who genuinely want to do good in all parties. But I think, after finishing the book of Behring (more or less) that one core weakness of it is that it considers all people to be motivated by evil thoughts. Cynicism. Self-righteousness. Fear. Opportunism. He sees altruism as selfishness, as it raises one's status in the social network. And this is not even a very rare thought.

As such, it is an ideology that values "powerful" above "good", and this line of thought is so profundly strange to us as modern scandinavians. But one must be able to see the other side's set of core values, even the absurd ones.

The former post was written while I was in the middle of the terrorist's book. His frustration over not being heard made sense for a while. But as I've now finished the book, it has become clearer that his frustrations were something he worshipped, something he allowed himself to have, so he should be able to do something that put him apart from the world. I don't know if it's worth writing anymore about that single person.

But it is interesting to realize that some people are psychopaths, almost all huge multinational companies function as psychopaths, and - in this case: Some political opinions are based on a psychopathic mindset and can feed back into more extreme coldness.

And then, as I tried to figure out how to meet those political opinions (and religious opinions) that are founded on the worst sides of the human soul, my housemate Adolfo came into the room. He looked at what I was writing. "Are you still thinking about that man? That is what he wanted. Get it out of your system. Evil is not so fascinating. It is very simple ... what do you say, banal. I find it much more fascinating why those children were gathered on Utøya."


Fill in only if you are not real





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Posted by Øystein Sat, August 13, 2011 03:17:39

Dear Traumaturgist!

Have spent the night with a colored friend, who is really worried that Norway has allowed all kinds of hateful ideas to spread - because of the illusion that "getting the trolls out in the open will make them burst." It's not like that. It's more like "getting the ebola patient into the village will make him feel better". I'm VERY upset that my friend no longer feels norwegian, after living here his whole life. He is norwegian. Anyway - so I may be harsh on you now, but listen:

I can tell by this post that you are white, male and heterosexual. That is why you don't get the point, and approach this as a literary exercise. If you were homo, you'd know about hate. If you were black, you'd know about hate. You're not. You use hate for fun, just like me. (Not as if homos don't love violent movies too, or T.O.K.-s gay-burning party music, or whatever, but at least they don't deny the paradox. You do, you think that by accepting your human nature as a selfish bastard, you are closer to some idea of truth. Well, I'm a categorizing (i.e. racist), selfish, human bastard too, and I won't accept it just because that's what nature created me to be.)

I know it's "not so simple", in literary terms. My art, my work, is full of nuances, doubt, violence, all the things that are fun in art. And it will continue to be. But when a lack of empathy is spreading as an infection in our society ... it IS simple. And artists don't have to be responsible. Not at all. That would be boring and sad. But we CAN be. And what are we really worth if we aren't?

And I could justify this with Grossman, who works with making people able to kill. But the most important question here is why this made me think that you are white, male and hetero. If you truly are able to imagine yourself gay, black, arab, whatever, you would realize what this relentless freedom to spread hate is. I know that we probably agree and that our disagreement is technical. I too love reading Houellebecq or Abo Rasul's raging rants, and I don't want American History X to be censored. But I want to say - SOMETHING - about the processes that turn an entire population to slowly, slowly to forget that other parts of the population are humans too. And this desensitizing MUST be attacked and tainted immediately. As much as I’m sick of jews screaming "antisemitism" about every little swastika (or nazi joke from the brilliant and absolutely not jew-hating Lars von Trier), it is better than the 500 years of jew hatred that came before.


Posted by traumaturgist Thu, August 11, 2011 22:22:59

As someone who shares your love for violent videogames and movies, I wanted to comment on this post, first by way of a simple example:

When I was 13 I began listening to Satanic black metal bands like Venom and Mercyful Fate (yes, I'm that old) which, predictably enough, have lyrics involving human sacrifice, rape, molestation, murder, etc. I then went on to listen to bands like Judas Priest (who stupid parents attempted to blame for their kids' suicides), Dio (whose funeral was marred by Christian protesters saying he was "burning in hell" now because he used to use the "devil's horn" gesture - which he got from his Italian grandmother who used it as protection from the evil eye!), and the Dead Kennedys (accused of the same). But for every person who commits such acts there are thousands - TENS of thousands - who don't. What about them?

So when you write that "we all have a responsibility for the climate we make with our art and our words," I have to ask - what climate is that? How can we draw such a simple connection between what WE think our art is and how it is interpreted by others?

You write: "when one repeatedly meets - and creates - violent language, it shapes thoughts. It would be truly naive not to admit that." I agree. But how do you justify making such a monolithic and unilateral connection between violent language and violent thoughts? Between the language "out there" and how we interpret concepts and ideas in our minds there are other factors to be considered. No discourse stands by itself as a unified message.