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Adolf Eichmann, literary critic

So you will be complicit in the destruction of an entire people, yet a dirty book is where you draw the line—how ironic. The point is liberal: the problem is that the Hitlerites were too uptight; if they would just relax, just give in to the desire for sex and food, then the holocaust would never have happened and everything would be fine today. Why don’t you just relax and let people enjoy things? Just have a punk IPA, watch the latest Marvel film—chill out. No need to be uptight about it…

You have been programmed to think that Lolita is sacred because it is art—true art. So the Hitlerites were philistines, you see—they could never appreciate Oscar Wilde and Vladimir Nabokov, being sexually repressed. So, in fact, hedonistic enjoyment and artistic excellence go together—and, in a way, everyone is an artist (the aspiration for the English occultist Austin Osman Spare) and every man and woman a star (per Aleister Crowley). Yet you think this is so because there was a massive psyop connected to the way censorship was relaxed in the West in the 1960s—it is tied up to books like Lady Chatterley’s Lover, to The Tropic of Capricorn, and to Lolita. You see, real art features sexual transgression and heavy violence—there is no innocence in art. In fact, it is the way it is not innocent that makes it art—to transgress is adult.

Actually, Lolita is Nabokov’s fantasy—straight up. Lolita’s luscious lazy lips locate a lozenge—as Nabokov would put it, alliteratively—and they do so because it makes Nabokov hard. The nymphette is in his earliest works; and, worse, Nabokov had this “Jimmy Savile” attitude—you know how Savile would say, “I hate children, can’t stand them,” well Nabokov had the same cold-sour act with little girls, “I loathe children, I don’t particularly have anything to do with little girls—I don’t understand them at all.” This feigned hatred or indifference belies obsession. The truth is most people are satisfied with the front. You see it in sexually awkward teenagers who cannot get what they really want: “Girls? I don’t have any time for that, I’m too busy studying—learning ancient Greek, working on getting into Oxford.” Obsessed. Yet people buy it, “He says he’s studying too hard and girls are a waste of time.”

I doubt Nabokov ever acted on the urge, but the point stands that Lolita is an aesthetic exploration into his fantasy—actually, it is a preparation to do the actual deed, you need to psych yourself up to do it. Earlier, I noted that Dr. Who is a child molester’s fantasy: the charming man who “kidnaps” children in his box and introduces them to a wonderful alternative reality (sex)—and nobody can touch him, he is beyond all authority. It must make child molesters feel acute desire—so acute you can almost see the air shimmer before you, just like when you vividly imagined being invisible as a child and then came back to reality and realised it could never, never be.

Lolita explores a more plausible fantasy: you live with a dowdy mother and her daughter as a lodger; the mother is an ugly foolish cow who hopes you might marry her—her daughter, however, is luscious and her sweet little dampness keeps you there. Then, one day—oh happy day!—the old cow is killed in an automobile accident and (oh tragedy, oh happy days) you become sweet little Lo’s guardian because she has no other relatives in the world; so now you can enjoy her to your heart’s content, little white bobby sox and all…

Lolita might be beautifully written but it is still, put another way, about a dirty old man who wants to fuck a twelve-year-old girl who has no other adult in the world to protect her—in the process, he ruins her so that she is abducted by another paedo and ends up tumbled from middle-class safety to lumpenprole poverty as an embittered little whore. It sounds less wonderful when stripped down and without a-llit-er-a-tion. Indeed, Lolita was originally put out by Girodias, a French pornographer who was used to launder more “literary” works—Lawrence, Joyce, Miller, Nabokov, Burroughs etc. Girodias was a crook who flitched his authors’ royalties, yet that was not the point—he helped get “serious literature” into print (sinisterly, see picture below).

The contention is that serious literature—art—can be about any topic: the point is Wildean, life is art—and art has no morals. Therefore, no censorship—and every man and every woman an artist, so everyone can just do whatever they like. This view, in Wilde’s time, was called decadence—and it literally is decadence. You see, it is really an excuse for hedonism and selfishness, not art. We can see this is so because if we took Wilde and Nietzsche seriously (contemporaries with similar views, something was in the air) then surely Hitlerism itself, a very aesthetic movement (Hugo Boss), cannot be judged: Hitler was just an artist “expressing himself” in an aesthetic way, just like Nabokov’s novel has no moral—it is just art, and art has no morality and needs no justification…

The people who make the case in this way do not really believe it themselves. On the one hand, they will say, “We must publish Lolita because art has no moral aspect, it just exists and is beautiful and justifies itself that way—just like beautiful Oscar Wilde,” yet when forced to defend amoral artistic creations they say, “Of course, Lolita is a deeply moral book because, at the end, poor Lo is ruined by that nasty old lecher Humbert Humbert—so Nabokov has shown us how wicked it is for old men to corrupt little girls.” You can’t have it both ways, the autist in me screams…You cannot say “art needs no moral justification” and say that Lawrence and Burroughs and Miller and Nabokov are deep moralists—and you cannot turn round and condemn Hitler for burning their works or works like them since that was his “amoral panther-like artistic expression” too. Well, the fact is that the people who make this case are decadent—they adhere to Tom Lehrer’s dictum “dirty books are fun” and “when correctly viewed, everything is lewd”; and they will say whatever they want to get their way.

Arendt wants us to think, “It’s ironic that Eichmann would facilitate the murder of millions of human beings but turn his nose up, morally, at one very artistically and beautifully expressed book.” Well, you know, this assumes a certain perspective. Eichmann would say, really: “I participated in a regime that burned books like Lolita because I did not want to live in a world where child rape is celebrated by our poets—where the lower is celebrated as the higher. I want to protect innocence and love, not pure sexual gratification unleashed on children.” So Eichmann is only inconsistent if you accept Lolita is a brilliant art work and not just high-class child pornography. Take away that assumption, and the case collapses—Eichmann rejected the book because he had a sound moral orientation; hell, even Nabokov nearly burnt the book himself (his wife rescued the manuscript from the fire). Do you really want to live in this kind of society? Jimmy Savile society, Nabokov society…

Further, if you look into how censorship was unravelled in the West, you find an awful lot—by no means all, but a lot—of people involved in it were Jewish lawyers, intellectuals, and writers (along with homosexuals). So, from Eichmann’s perspective, he facilitated those murderous acts so that he would live in a society where it was not normal for child pornography to be esteemed and celebrated as high art. So to dangle that novel before him as a “moral point” is not very strong at all. Eichmann, from the grave: “So, look what your society has turned into: Aids, pornography, collapsed families, children twerking for drag queens—”. For sure, it is well-expressed child pornography; yet, if you are consistent in your aesthetic sensibility, you must admit the SS were natty dressers—therefore, it was fine…oh.

Arendt is a woman, so she is not really the best person to test this case. As a woman, she was a terrible little snob and got into trouble with the Jews because she was so snobby she sort of suggested that the Eastern Jews, being a bit raggedy and not speaking good German and not having read Kant, sort of were “asking for it” from the Hitlerites (if only they would bathe more). Similarly, she is prepared to be frightfully judgemental with regards to Eichmann because he misunderstood Kant (just like those Eastern Jews—i-ronee) and once worked as a vacuum cleaner salesman (almost as bad as being a guard at Auschwitz, for girls); yet when it comes to her former love Heidegger, he, being a big-brained nibba, gets all sorts of excuses for his conduct and Hitlerite sympathies (unrepentant) because, you know, he is so smart. This is not consistent (see picture below).

The whole rise of the “dirty books are fun” phenomenon came from the top. For example, William S. Burroughs, a man who was literally demonically possessed (by his own admission, with the possession dated to at least when he shot his wife to death), was basically a nobody junkie living off his trust fund in Algeria. His highly violent and pornographic works—in fact magical works, since he was well-versed in magic—were boosted when, out of nowhere, the unpublished Burroughs was plonked down in a high-class literary event at the prestigious Edinburgh Festival. Among other published writers, such as the stellar Norman Mailer, he was the show’s star. Yet he had not published anything…

It all happened because some English aristocrat pulled strings to make it happen—and that is the whole story behind the dirty books boom. You see some forces—not just the Jews—wanted to make porno and all sorts of other things legal. Yet to do that they had to whack down the censorship laws. The way they did it was with high-quality works like Lady Chatterley, Lolita, and so on which were used as a bridgehead in the courts under the pretence “art is amoral and sacred”—and it was true, the work was high quality.

I do not deny the work is high quality, but so what—I could commit a high-quality murder, but that has nothing to do with whether murder is right or wrong (although the same people who wanted to smash censorship laws also liked to defend serial killers on the grounds the act is somehow beautiful in itself). After the high-quality material had punched a hole in society’s defences, anything went—and that was always the goal anyhow. To read Lolita may not be a hedonistic rush, but Lolita Sluts III is quite hedonistic. It was always a pretence as far as art went, for the Hitlerites never had the same consideration; and, in fact, though they had a Nietzschean edge they were actually moral in their orientation—and they only seem evil if you think “good” means “permit anything” with no discernment (every man and woman a star).


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