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637. Revolution (XIV)

When the travel writer and fabulist Bruce Chatwin was born, the nurse who first held him announced: “He’s too beautiful to live.” Chatwin, as if to exemplify my previous points about Norman superiority, came from a solid middle-class family but he could trace his birth back to a Norman who appeared in the Bayeux Tapestry. Chatwin went on to be prominent in the art world and as a travel writer, with his blue eyes and blond hair he was held to be remarkable (inevitable Norman domination)—a beautiful boy, especially for homosexuals; and, sure enough, he died from Aids at 48—too beautiful to live.

So what the nurse said was prophecy…or was it a curse? In magical thought it is both, since everything is connected and sequential time is suspended cause-and-effect relations do not apply; to me it feels more like a prophecy, just as when I was born the doctor said: “He’s going to be tall.” And I am. Of course, the masculine mind might have its rational heuristics to make those inferences; perhaps you can tell a baby’s prospective height from its finger dimensions at birth—or perhaps the doctor said that to every new mother he saw, just to butter them up and brighten their day. Bedside manner and all that…

Still, for me, the nurse’s pronouncement feels like prophecy. With Chatwin’s name there were intimations as to his destiny to be a nomadic wanderer: the name derives from the Anglo-Saxon “Chettewynde”, “winding path” or “spiral ascent”. You might object that none of Chatwin’s ancestors had moved much beyond Birmingham, yet that is not the point—you could say that Chatwin was the first to examine the etymology and then to realise the latent potential in his name.

To play with the name further, the “Chette” is said to derive from “Catta”—from “cat”, and the cat is the creature that wanders by itself. The cat is the heretic: the Cathars—or Cat-hars—in Provence were said to kiss a cat’s anus in their initiatory rites (though perhaps that is just a Catholic libel). They were the ketzers—heretics or “cats” in German—who walked by themselves; the troubadours wandered the highways and byways with their songs, just as Chatwin wandered the globe—keen to live by Werner’s Herzog injunction that to travel in any way other than by foot is sin. Those who gno walk like cats and range where they will—they are the jongleurs, the tumblers; the first to tread their way was Lucifer when he tumbled from Heaven…

By the way, this way—the way of the troubadour—is what Nietzsche meant by “the gay science”: the term refers to the troubadour’s pure and chaste love for his lady—hence, under our reign of filth, “gay” has to be made to be about anal sex between men. It is deliberate: the goal is to destroy “the gay science”, since this science is connected to the Grail; and the Grail lies at the heart of the West—cats are clean.

Not only do we live with prophecies, we also get what we want—what we really want. This is the ultimate responsibility, more than turning up to work on time or paying our bills—we get our true desire. Oscar Wilde, when a child, day-dreamed that he would be in a scandalous court case “Regina vs. Wilde”—and he got it; he got three trials, in fact, since the jury could not convict him in his first trial for sexual corruption—he could have fled abroad, he refused (because he really wanted the trials and conviction). Psychoanalysts would say this was an unresolved trauma that unconsciously guided him to seek his own destruction. Those who speak for ultimate responsibility would say this was what Wilde really willed and that his other activities were just the bridge to this conclusion—and that most lives are covered in wrapping paper, exoteric activity, that facilitates the true and intended destination through concealment.


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