giovedì, dicembre 08, 2011

Offended pinko sensibilities

Well, you know what, I'm just not comfortable with this place. It offends my pinko sensibilities. I'm starting to suspect two things:

1. That Nazis pretty much lifted the framework of their racial theories wholesale from here. There's something seductive about how things are arranged here, with some people locked into servile roles all their lives based on their ethnic background but not many people complaining too horribly hard - certainly no so hard that wealthier families aren't outnumbered by their male, live-in servants, nor so hard that things have changed a great deal in terms of this organization after 60 or so years of democracy. It would seem like some sort of arrangement of destiny to Europeans without a postmodern education.

I'm sure it must have had some sort of Romantic appeal to the kind of half-educated minds that could go all Nazi. I'm not calling India's prosperous Hindu classes Nazis, mind. Just that they provided a blueprint that stupid German cunts who could only read well enough to get totally the wrong idea out of Romance literature went to town with 80 or so years ago.

2. That European descendants who go all ga-ga over India are far more seduced than they'd prefer to admit to themselves by how cheap everything is, especially servile labour. Yes, it's really neat and picturesque how religion and its rituals is still such an overtly integral part of the culture here, but there is no way I'm believing a lot of those university profs and undergrads and whatnot I know that ended up on long-term yoga retreats here weren't very, VERY seduced by the way their shoes disappear and reappear spotlessly clean, or how they can always have a taxi waiting for them, or how they don't have to walk to get food, and shit like that.

You know what, it actually makes me hanker after China a bit - ugly, unseductive, unromantic China. You still have cheap domestic labour there, cheaper than seems right, but nothing like the same obvious inequalities as here, at least in Shanghai. For God's sake, I saw a fucking three year old begging on a busy cross-city avenue just now. He had to scramble to make it back to the curb when the light changed, and he almost wasn't tall enough to mount it. I mean, shit. What the fuck is seductive about the sort of culture that allows that, except that so many people here are so inescapably and eternally poor that middle-class Westerners can come here with their middle-class money and have a developing world experience that matter-of-factly offers luxuries they could never dream of at home?

5 commenti:

e.f. bartlam ha detto...

As for number one...Fascism was as intellectually sound as any of the anarchical or filthy totalitarian ideologies to come out the 20 th century....probably more so than the others actually but, the Nazis...Truly, truly, wacko. They were to Fascism what Snake Handlers are to your local Baptist Church.

As to number two...that's a subject close to my heart. At least as it concerned the E.I.C. and British armies of the 19 th century. There was a whole black market economy that thrived on scamming soldiers, officers and Westerners in general...all very funny really.

I'm still jealous...that's all.

e.f. bartlam ha detto...

I guess I should've pointed out these scams usually involved their duties as servants...they use an officers half baked ideas about caste to get five of their friends hired to do the work of one man. Snake charmering was another good one...point was that exploiting knowledge of the Other wasn't strictly for Westerners.

Dread Pirate Jessica ha detto...

1. I reckon German National Socialists were as natural a product of fascist ideology as Bolsheviks or Chinese communists were of Marxist ideology.

Probably a great deal more natural, in fact. If you let the sort of men who are interested in becoming totemic dictatorial strongmen actually become totemic dictatorial strongmen, it'd be almost shocking if they WEREN'T the sort of whack jobs who do really fucked up mentalist things like deeply internalize the more picturesque elements of the caste system of an exotic foreign country to the point they can decide there are some castes who need to be done away with altogether.

If I was a totemic dictatorial strongman, for example, I'm pretty sure I'd try to put 80% of the world's male population into battery sperm farms while the rest of us went about our business in peace, with nobody grabbing at our junk in the metro or blowing shit up. And you know what? Knowing I'd try to do that sort of mentalist shit is why I'm not trying to be a totemic dictatorial strongman.

Anyways, what's the beef with snake handlers? They look like they're having as good a time as anyone.

2. The market continues. It's been explained to me that Indians are pros at deciding who can pay what and I know I'm getting 'gouged' as such.

That's fine. It's still cheap, I've got an expense account and even if I didn't, my idea of a good time isn't nickle-and-diming people who probably make less than a 20th of my monthly income.

e.f. bartlam ha detto...

I got no problem with snake handlers, foot washers and clorox drinkers. I think they ought to be left alone to live and worship as they please...with perhaps the qualification that the paramedics aren't gonna stop working a wreck to rush over and treat your fifth copperhead bite.

One thing I admire about those folks is that live genuinely different life...a truly unmarketable sub-culture.

As for the you say, a lot what they did was utterly predictable and a natural consequence of their beliefs but, the concoction of occultism, mythology, mad science, as you point out, hackneyed romanticism and serious drug abuse...put a grotesque fancy dress on it.*

Back to India...most of the stories were hilarious and the old hands were only too ready offer up fresh soldiers up for the con. It was like a game where most played their parts readily. Kinda like you're saying...five servants in India were still cheaper than one in Britain.

I read several stories from Egypt and the Sudan but, interestingly, i never came across any involving the Bantu people (Zulu, Xhosa, Bapedi, etc) in Southern Africa.

*if you want a really weird read check out Sven Lindquist's Exterminate the's part travel, part literary criticism, part post-colonialism, a nervous breakdown, and an argument that the nazis were trying to duplicate British Imperialism on the European continent...Crazy as an outhouse rat but, definitely an interesting read.

Dread Pirate Jessica ha detto...

Hmmm, will find the Lindquist.