Tuesday, November 29, 2011

History Starts at Home

Good God. From Spengler to Niall Ferguson, white men have been predicting the fall of their race almost as well as they have predicted that the children of half-dead old racists need ideas on what to get their dads for Christmas.

Were I IOZ, I might go for the bull's eye and explode the entire fucking illusion. What West? Who--or rather what--is dying? I see babies being born, I see buildings still standing, except when the Western market wisely calls for their maintenance funding to be cut. And what history? People know the history that makes enough sense for them. They know myths and just-so stories and they know NFL campaigns year-to-year. If that's not Zinn, it's Zinnian. It's the people's history, all they care to recall.

Of course, I flip through these books at the store and I've come to be able to predict the plot. Did Rome--I mean real Rome--tell itself it was Carthage all the fucking time? In any case, we're like late Rome, and the 1950s were like the Marian Republic, only we're like Carthage, too, weak inside and out! What a twist! (Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, only white, head of a faculty department, and even clumsier.)

What weirds me out is--my brain pulling Nietzsche's statement from the air... "Where races are mixed, there is the source of great cultures..." --and elsewhere, his discussion of the identity conflicts this engenders, writing this a century before most social reformers caught up!

Anyway, I read about "the West" falling and I don't know if that's something to mourn or fear. Perhaps there is nothing more Occidental than clinging to my Eastern roots.

But if white men are, as many of them have done for the last, oh, forever, seeking literary and philosophical Viagra to boost their tired, vigorless lives, then I can't help but be comforted by history. What is white in my family is predominantly barbaric, and guess what? Germans and Berbers and island Celts survived the fall of Rome. Civilization got traded around and retained in many places. And though I look at the politics of my Oriental homelands with revulsion and embarrassment, fuck it. I'm part of a millennia-old civilization there too. If the West falls, the West will be reborn, I'm sure of it. And the fact is that civilization, with all its evil and also its libraries and roads and shit, has been grown world-fucking-wide, and only an autist or celebrated public intellectual could be confused by that.

Fuck, the rest of the world could tell the West was on its knees as of World War Two. Some of us just got so wrapped up in the victory and the triumphal retelling that we forgot to observe that entire "civilized" nations went fucking bone-gnawing insane (though they'd been crazy all along, had one cared to notice). How is that not as telling about the Western soul as storming Omaha Beach and heroically raping Korean women?

And as far as whether we're going to miss our history, like I said--the would-be rememberers have a right to their ignorance, should they choose it. And I've met enough poor people to know that they will know or they will not. And when they know, they're usually pretty wrong, too. But the telling is the thing. And whether you're a southern black matriarch telling your children about things you remember*, or reading to them out of some fucking awful book by someone you read about in National Review, or if you're just looking on Wikipedia with the kids for information about where their ancestors and the ancestors of their friends came from, then you're doing some work at least. My kids get told about Ireland and Scotland and Denmark and how Mommy's peoples came over and how Daddy's came over and who the hell the Turks are and the Germans and why the Vikings in The Secret of Kells aren't like the real Vikings, but close enough for your poor little dark age Irish ancestors, and so on and so on.

* Which is the alternate name for History, of course.

It doesn't feel like saving a civilization, because it isn't. It's making one up day after day, which is what civilization is. You don't see slime molds bitching about how cells were so much stronger a couple of weeks ago, and that is because they are inferior and haven't really developed the ability to watch their lives tick away while bitching about subsequent generations' failure to know what they have failed, multiple times, to teach.

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