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Ur Fascism – Umberto Eco

Read Umberto Eco’s

Ur Fascism

essay. The New York Review of Books.

See wikipedia entry

nationalism and his cult of heroism

celebrated speed, violence, and risk

fascist cult of youth

optimism and heroism

Fascism became an all-purpose term because one can eliminate from a fascist regime one or more features, and it will still be recognizable as fascist. Take away imperialism from fascism and you still have Franco and Salazar. Take away colonialism and you still have the Balkan fascism of the Ustashes. Add to the Italian fascism a radical anti-capitalism (which never much fascinated Mussolini) and you have Ezra Pound. Add a cult of Celtic mythology and the Grail mysticism (completely alien to official fascism) and you have one of the most respected fascist gurus, Julius Evola.

The first feature of Ur-Fascism is the cult of tradition.

If you browse in the shelves that, in American bookstores, are labeled as New Age, you can find there even Saint Augustine who, as far as I know, was not a fascist. But combining Saint Augustine and Stonehenge – that is a symptom of Ur-Fascism.

Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, any previous reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation.

fear of difference

obsession with a plot,

Thus, by a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak.

Fascist governments are condemned to lose wars because they are constitutionally incapable of objectively evaluating the force of the enemy.

In every mythology the hero is an exceptional being, but in Ur-Fascist ideology, heroism is the norm. This cult of heroism is strictly linked with the cult of death. It is not by chance that a motto of the Falangists was Viva la Muerte (in English it should be translated as “Long Live Death!”).

the Ur-Fascist hero craves heroic death, advertised as the best reward for a heroic life. The Ur-Fascist hero is impatient to die. In his impatience, he more frequently sends other people to death.

All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning.

UrFascism is still around us, sometimes in plainclothes. It would be so much easier, for us, if there appeared on the world scene somebody saying, “I want to reopen Auschwitz, I want the Black Shirts to parade again in the Italian squares.” Life is not that simple. UrFascism can come back under the most innocent of disguises.

Mere Anarchy

Allen, Woody. Mere Anarchy. New York: Random House, 2007. Print.

To Err is Human–to Float, Divine

There is a fervid endorsement by someone named Pleiades MoonStar–a name that would cause no end of consternation for me if I were told at the last minute it belonged to my brain surgeon or pilot.” p. 5

“”What do you do for a living?” she inquired, oddly un-omniscient for a creature of her reputed majesty.
“Night watchman at a wax museum,” I replied, “but it’s not as fulfilling as it sounds.”” p. 9

Veerappan “was a notorious Indian brigand and dacoit. He was active for nearly 30 years in the scrub lands and forests in the states of Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.” Via Wikimedia.

Veerappan

Sam, You Made The Pants Too Fragrant

“”She’s a very handsome woman,” I quickly said.
“Well, you know, it’s all relative. I might look at the same face and see something you’d find for sale in a live-bait store.”” p. 30

To Read Demons by Dostoyevsky

This Nib for Hire

“Just give me a few sample pages to confirm my faith in your brilliance. Who knows, maybe in your hands novelization will finally come of age as an art form.” p. 40

“”Wouldn’t you rather read it yourself? That way the subtle verbal rhythms can resonate in your mind’s ear.”
“Naw, I’ll get a better feel this way. Plus I lost my reading glasses last night at Hooters. Commence,” ordered Biggs, putting his feet up on the coffee table.” p. 41

Glory Hallelujah, Sold! p. 73

“Integrity is a relative concept, best left to the penetrating minds of Jean-Paul Sartre or Hannah Arendt.” p. 77

Caution, Falling Moguls

UMLAUT Say, boys, have any of you read Gilgamesh?
(They assent enthusiastically.)
NUTMEAT The Babylonian Bible? Sure, several times, why?
UMLAUT I’m going to say one word to you: Musical. p. 86

SHEIGITZ Line changes? The blind violinist is now a Navy SEAL?
UMLAUT It gives more oomph. p. 87

NUTMEG What but? Arvide Mite was only waxing hyperbolic when he said you could make the phone book into a hit. Only an idiot or a megalomaniac would accepted the challenge. Especially the Yellow Pages. p. 89

Attention Geniuses: Cash Only

“One is a sophisticated bauble called “If You’ll Be My Puma in Yuma I’ll Be Your Stork in New York.” p 121

Above The Law, Below The Box Springs

“Before working for the Washburns, Tobias was a horse whisperer at a ranch in Texas, but she suffered a nervous breakdown when a horse whispered back.” p. 133

“Her undertaker husband, Wilbur, liked Stubbs and offered to bury him gratis if he would agree to have it done that day.” p. 136

Surprise Rocks Disney Trial p. 147

Sabon (typeface) by Jan Tschichold

Claude Garamond (French designer/publisher) 1510-1561

Jacques Sabon

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