Monday, June 25, 2018

Bad blood?

I've been rereading Forgotten Fatherland, Ben McIntyre's account of his journey up Paraguay's torpid, circuitous rivers in search of the pigmentopia that Nietzsche's fascist sister founded in the 1880s. McIntyre's book travels through unhealthy ideas, as well as malarial jungle.
Nueva Germany was intended to purify Europe by transplanting the continent's finest Aryan specimens to a site isolated from the menaces of Judaism, socialism, & atheism. Peasants from Saxony followed Nietzsche & her husband Bernhard Forster upriver from Asuncion.
By the time McIntrye arrived in the 1980s, Nueva Germany was a series of shrinking clearings in the jungle the colonists had planned to fell. The polemics of termites & rats had collapsed the pillars of Nietzsche's mansion. Bored chickens slept on the colony's main road. After a century, the results of Nietzsche's experiment in eugenics were written on Nueva Germany's inhabitants. They had fair hair & blue eyes, but also slack jaws, drool-speckled chins, permanent squints. Spurning Paraguayan partners, generations of Aryans had married cousins. 

It's hard to read about Nueva Germany & not think of Puhoi, the valley north of Auckland where German-speaking Bohemians settled in 1863. Puhoi's decaying pub is full of frayed photographs of Bohemian dancers, bagpipers, violinists, priests who prayed to a guttural god.
Puhoi's settlers intermarried. They were reluctant to take partners from nearby Protestant communities, but felt superior to Irish, Dalmatian, Maori Catholics. Today Puhoi is attracting new settlers: commuters, lifestyle blockers. Some mutter about inbred locals.
Allan Titford, the far right activist serving a long prison sentence for rape & racially motivated arson, is the scion of an old Puhoi family. Bad blood?


Blogger Richard said...

It's a pity Nietzsche's sister gave the philosophy of her brother Frederick Neitzsche a bad name. Nietzsche had some interesting ideas. His Thus Sprach Zarathrustra I read as a teenager and found it inspiring. He inspired Richard Strauss to write and opera and Mahler. There was a discussion of it on the Concert Program I think last year by Ryan (I forget his other name), He also did one on dreams. A dream inspired Stravinksy's 'Rite of Spring' and Stockhaussen's 'Helicopter Quartet' and other works. Ryan whose second name escapes me aslo developed a way of being aware he was in a dream.

I myself hate dreams and only rarely does anything affect me from dreams. (Some phrases have come to me as I have started to fall asleep though).

But that looks an interesting book. The Nazi theories were all quite wrong.

I am not sure though that 'inbreeding' is a problem in a genetic sense. Perhaps also the environment is problematic. Inbreeding in a small community is I suppose but it depends how big the Moravian community was in Puhoi.

I read through a small booklet I found on the founding of Puhoi which was interesting. The language that they spoke was not or is not now quite consonant with modern day equivalents. The book was a bit limited though with it concentrating on the Church as the centre of things.

Apparently there are some misconceptions. I like 'Deliverance', the movie based on teh poet Dickey's book, but the boy who is in the "dueling banjos" later was never paid. There is a book I think called White Trash which uncovers some of the myths.
But I haven't read it.

There is also the fictional 'The Boys of Brazil".

I hear some strange ideas. An acquaintance, who originates from Yugoslavia, is convinced of the huge influence everywhere of the Slavic peoples and also of the danger of the Askenhazy Jews who start all the wars etc He also has his father discovering the bones of white men in Winstone's quarry, and a Maori throwing himself into a crusher there as his forefathers had killed them and they were now emerging and "pointing" at him. My son joined in with his views about the Rothschilds causing everything. I tried to moot that Hitler etc had developed many of those ideas and that some Jews such as Wittgenstein refused their inheritance money, that I wasn't in a 'brotherhood of English people'.

But racism and anti-Semitism is rampant in Europe and has been and probably will remain so for a long long time if not forever.

Can Titford be blamed on his bad blood? I think he would have absorbed ethno-centric ideas. White supremacy has a long history. I agree with Sven Lindqvist of 'Terra Nullius' and 'Exterminate all the Brutes' that it all led to the British (and other Imperialist powers) wanting 'Lebensraum' as much as the Nazis.

But for my son who doesn't understand the subtleties of history the conspiracy simplifications make it easier to deal in certainties.

To have a deep or intuitive understanding of history is beyond most people and most remain centred in the view that their country or ethnic group is most important. This is reflected even in soccer games and the Olympics, the ANZAC nonsense and much else. Nationalism or patriotism are diseases of these times and probably will remain thus.

Good post.

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