Category Archives: Literature

UPDATED (3/12): About ‘Sea Changes,’ A Magnificent Immigration Novel (And The Mercer ‘MeToo’ Moment)

Britain, Culture, English, Ethics, Europe, Ilana Mercer, IMMIGRATION, Intellectualism, Literature

My friend, British author Derek Turner, will have to forgive me. This discursive post, my second about his superb novel, Sea Changes (here’s the first), begins with … me. I guess women are having a reckoning of sorts. Mine is quite a bit different. But I, too, have had a “Me Too” moment, albeit intellectual, not sexual (true traditionalists consider the latter a private matter).

Part of an ancient “Me Too” aphorism by the great Rabbi Hillel says this:

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?

So, here I go.

Over the 20 years in which I’ve out-written most weekly columnists of my philosophical stripe, only a handful of individuals on the Old Right have publicly expressed respect for- and intellectual honesty about my work. Mr. Turner, the gentleman under review, for one. Another is a younger newcomer, the wonderful Jack Kerwick, a man with a moral compass. Still another is Ron Unz, the first publisher (other than the ever fearless WND) on the hard right to feature my weekly column, without any censure or reservation, as any intellectually honest publisher would. (Some of the old chaps won’t even follow me on Twitter, or pretend I don’t exist. Shame. Poor things. Reality bites.) The last, for now, is Tom DiLorenzo, a friend forever. Bill Scott, crusader against police brutality, is a gem of a friend, too.

Check the comments on the Unz Review. The same readers who prostrate themselves to the male writers (fluffy, wordy waffling from the old boys, notwithstanding) hate on Mercer, who happens to be the only featured female columnist on the Unz Review. As I surmised, this is Small Man syndrome.

Bring it.

Yes, the Mercer column is outré, but its quality, philosophical consistency and powers of prediction ought to have secured it a regular slot, given its fiercely anti-war stance, on prominent libertarian and paleoconservative sites.

On the bright side, the attitude to my work over 20 years from these quarters has been the best proof of its quality. In this context, I am reminded of another gifted Brit (Derek Turner is English), comedian Alexei Sayle. When asked what he does when he watches a really talented, young satirist performing, Sayle replied with brutal self-deprecation: “I go back stage and tell him he’ll never make it.”

On the other hand, the German Right doesn’t seem to have an intellectual-honesty issue when it comes to my work. They have generally sought me out (the Mercer column was a regular on Junge Freiheit). And in a justly glowing review of Derek’s book, Sea Changes, an Alt-Right reviewer says this:

“Ilana Mercer, author of a book on Trump and renowned conservative intellectual, praised Sea Changes for its analysis of the prospects for the West and the necessity of defence.”

The German writer quotes a section of my fabulous advance praise. I excerpt the rest, because amidst billowing verbiage from others, I believe I succinctly captured the novel’s essence best (alas, the Mercer blurb, predictably, didn’t make it onto Amazon):

“Well written, meticulously researched and thought out, Sea Changes, Derek Turner’s first novel, succeeds mightily in bringing to life the prototypical players in the Western tragedy that is mass migration. The reader becomes intimately au fait with the many, oft-unwitting actors in this doomed stand-off: small-town conservative folks vs. progressive city slickers; salt-of-the-earth countrymen against smug, self-satisfied left-liberals. Ever present are the ruthless traffickers in human misery: both media and smugglers. Like it or not, the dice are loaded. In this epic battle, the scrappy scofflaws and their stakeholders triumph; the locals lose.”

Back to the German reviewer:

“What Jean Raspail started with Camp of the Saints and Michel Houellebecq continued with Submission has now been carried forward. The latest novel to hit the German market borrows from both of these books and carries them forward. Sea Changes by Derek Turner is now available for purchase. The novel provides an overview of events and inside them the story of the long, slow suicide of a European nation. Whether England, France or Germany, the situation is the same. The problem is ‘refugees’ and their quite understandable search for a better life. The theme of the book is how a truly arrogant elite ignore reality because it is obsessed by ‘diversity’ and ‘tolerance’. The novel shows the reality of the unchallenged multiculturalist establishment. ….”

[SNIP]

Another aspect about Derek’s book that I liked a lot (it went unnoticed by other “male” reviewers): Sea Changes is manly in that Derek packed it with details about masonry, weaponry and history. The book is technically dense. I like that. Other nerds will enjoy that aspect, too.

Sea Changes by Derek Turner is available on Amazon.

UPDATE (3/12): Lookie here. I found Mercer male hounding from 2006: “How Sexist Are Libertarian Men?

Jennifer Rubin Is A Rubbishy Writer

Bush, Conservatism, English, Literature, Neoconservatism

This New York Review of Books reviewer suggests that the tedious neoconservative, Jennifer Rubin, made prominent for her banality, is reminiscent of the late Molly Ivins, who was an old-school, acerbic, liberal columnist.

Rubbish.

Ivins coined memorable monikers for George Bush such as “Shrub” and “Dubya.”

Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol was a neoconservative writer, organizer, and theorist for a quarter-century, at the barricades on controversies from health care reform to the Iraq War (he was also the most important promoter of Sarah Palin, who embodied Trumpism before Trump became Trump). Now he regularly issues withering tweets about Trump and is a fixture on the liberal-leaning MSNBC. The foreign policy writer Max Boot was a vocal and at times strident champion of the Bush Doctrine. These days he’s a ferocious and shrewd critic of the president. Washington Post blogger-columnist Jennifer Rubin was, among prominent conservative pundits, probably Mitt Romney’s most aggressive defender in 2012 and aside from that was known for her hard-line foreign policy views, particularly on matters relating to Israel. Now, her columns often read as if they could have been written by the late Molly Ivins. (Two recent Rubin headlines: “Trump Retreats on Iran, and He Will Need to Do So Again”; “The Enablers of the Racist President Are Back at It.”)

David Frum is also a much better writer than Israel Firster, Ms. Rubin.

MORE.

George Orwell’s “1984” And The “Must Topple” List

America, Communism, Free Speech, History, Left-Liberalism, Literature, States' Rights

FROM George Orwell’s “1984”: “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day-by-day and minute-by-minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

Must topple” is courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.

UPDATE (8/27): Rod Dreher’s Dreadful Writing At The American Conservative

Conservatism, English, Literature, States' Rights

How many first-person references can you count in this Rod Dreher bit of tedium? “I think.” “I believe.” “I’m not.” “Call me sentimental.” “My grandmother …”

Opinion differs about how often to use the first person pronoun in various genres of writing. But its overuse in opinion writing is a cardinal sin.

You may abuse “I” when the passive-form alternative is too clumsy. Or, when the writer has earned the right to, because of his relevance to the story. (There is no good reason for Dreher to insert himself in practically every other sentence here.)

To get a sense of how bad someone’s writing is count the number of times he deploys the Imperial “I” on the page. Dreher is very bad indeed. He is like a dripping tap. Half of this diarrhetic post could have been cut.

A good editor would have removed superfluous phrases like, “It’s strange, actually.” There are many like it: the aforementioned “call me sentimental” and “It seems to me.”

The American Conservative’s attitude to editing is decidedly un-conservative.

There are some redeeming observations in “Duty, Dishonor, & The South,” but they’re lost in the wishy-washy meandering narrative of a poor writer.

UPDATE (8/27): Noonan is bad (always has been), but not as awful as Dreher. She’s effective in her messy emotionalism. He’s not.