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Blind Boy Apollo
and the All-White Astronauts

New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)

Tuesday, June 24

lunatic fringe

I was heading over to see Don yesterday. Don is my therapist. I've been seeing him for seven or eight years now, and in the middle of that, for some while, it was seven days a week. Back then, I was eating Ativan and thinking a lot about what it would be like to hit a concrete bridge abutment at 100 miles per hour. Seat belt or no seat belt? Which would be better? Thanks to Don (and with a little help from my friends – feel free to take a bow), I never found out.

Don did the full course at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, which is where perfectly normal Americans sometimes go to learn how to be anal-retentive Swiss burghers ("comfortable or complacent members of the middle class") with a strong proclivity for the psycho-spiritual. Sehr gemütlich und etwas ZPOOKY!

Miraculously, Don wasn't infected with that peculiar disease. Lately, we've been talking about my writer's block with respect to what you're reading right here right now. It was supposed to come together into a book long before now. But I despair of that. Is it relevant? Is it too arcane? Too obvious? Too erudite? Too boring? Too goddam complicated to jam into a couple-three hundred pages?

Ah well. Fuck it.

We also often talk about Carl Jung, in the same register in which I've written about him here (see e.g. The Jung-Eliade School). I often send him stuff about Jung, like these two clips just last week. The first is from the pre-WWII TIME magazine issue of November 9, 1936 (may require subscription).
"There are two kinds of dictators – the chieftain type and the medicine man type. Hitler is the latter. He is a medium. German policy is not made; it is revealed through Hitler. He is the mouthpiece of the gods as of old."
The next is also from TIME, a couple years later: May 8, 1939.
Adolf Hitler, said Dr. Jung, "belongs in the category of the truly mystic medicine man..."

So, as the first sentence above says: I was heading over to see Don yesterday. I had on the local Classic Rock station. And this song comes on. If you're reading this on the web, it's the song you're hearing now (unless you chickened out and dumped the volume, in which case, you're doing it wrong).

I'd heard it before, but not often. And now I was really tuning in. Damn! This is a great song! I had no idea what the lyrics were saying. All I could glean and force myself to remember was the phrase "in the twilight's last gleaming." When I woke up this morning, the first thing I did was to Google that. It took a while, but I finally discovered that the song is Lunatic Fringe by a Canadian band that was called Red Rider.
The Wikipedia page on the album says...
"Lunatic Fringe", the band's most famous song, is about what composer Tom Cochrane saw as an alarming rise of anti-Semitism in the 1970s, and was inspired by a book he read about Raoul Wallenberg.
This Wallenberg bio page adds...
During the spring of 1944 the world had awoken and realized what Hitler's "final solution to the Jewish problem" meant. In May 1944 the first authentic eye witness report reached the western world of what happened in the extermination camp Auschwitz. It came from two Jews who managed to escape the German gas chambers.

'cause you gottta blame someone
for your own confusion
but we're on guard this time
against your final solution

Well, that was an optimistic reading in 1981 when the song hit the charts. Since then, the lunatic fringe, far from diminishing, has accumulated huge power, in both the obvious political sense and in the far more subtle cultural dimension. Sadly, the lunatic fringe is not only alive and well, it has cloaked itself with an aura -- so to speak -- of respectability. And as ever: an on-going attempt at spiritual seriousness. Political fascism and this kind of bogus spirituality have been strongly linked for at least the last two hundred years. Look for this linkage to get even more painfully obvious as we "progress."