Once Aryan Skynet Goes Live It Doesn't Matter Who Pulled The Switch
Not counting high school and college reading assignments of several of William Shakespeare’s plays, I could probably count the books of poetry I’ve read with the digits on one of my hands. I made an exception this week, though, and broke with my usual routine of mundane and informational counter-Semitic prose to read Brandon Adamson’s Beatnik Fascism. I’ve owned this book for a while, but don’t usually feel sufficiently tranquil for literary appreciation, so it took me a while to get around to it.
What is “beatnik fascism”? “Just as the beats didn’t conform to the post world war II societal workforce uniformity and ‘square’ culture of the 1950s and 60s, it seems that young racialists and other thought criminals now find themselves […] cast as the unassimilated actors in the politically correct, multicultural, global capitalist theatrics of today,” Adamson writes in his introduction. “We find ourselves keeping our true opinions to ourselves at the office while maintaining secret identities online for sharing our darkest views. We live almost completely isolated in society and detached from popular culture […]”
The “beatnik fascist”, then, is not necessarily a partisan of some interwar iteration of continental nationalism, but one whose dogged capacity for pattern recognition and revulsion at the globalist, pantsuited status quo necessitate the subterranean life of the societal outcast – and beatnik fascists like Brandon Adamson, who recognize the anti-racists for the hateful, unimaginative squares they always were, would have it no other way. Adorning the cover of the book is a stylized pagoda circled after the manner of the party flag of the British Union of Fascists – but referencing, too, the far-out philosophical interests of the historical Beats.
“The Antiquated Formula”, as the first poem in the book, establishes imagery and themes that persist throughout Beatnik Fascism. Both nostalgic and futuristic, the aesthetic has certain affinities with Fashwave artwork in its combination of the classical and the high-tech, but Adamson’s sensibility is more casual, more conversational, and probably takes itself less seriously. “If only I could have brought the defenders of the city [i.e., Rome] / some laser guns or something, / perhaps they might have staved off the attack and / held out a little longer,” the poet muses. The intersection of antiquity with the futuristic appears again in “Teenage Armband”, with swords pitted against “enemy AI”; in “The Holdouts” with its “centurions and bards” sharing the page with a liquid supercomputer; and again in “Moving Along”, with Adamson’s retrofuturist Rome of the imagination juxtaposed with the soulless ugliness of the current year: “Just as there are many ways to die / whether by stray laser in a battle for civilization / or attrition via the legions of cubicles, / there’s more than one way for the self to live on when / the body is gone.”
Death, too, is a recurring consideration in Beatnik Fascism, and inspires some of Adamson’s more Faustian ruminations. In the bizarre “A Shoulder Too Cryonic”, the poet imagines awakening a millennium hence, after a cryogenically frozen sleep. “Dying is just another way to conform,” he sneers, and death personified is nothing but an “old square”. The Faustian fire is present, as well, in “Matchbook Club”, in which “Everyone of us […] / is a match” and “It’s up to us to light the torch and / be pyromaniacs for a while before / we can pass it on.” Afterward, “Our ashes will become moon dust,” he writes in “Dust on the Moon”, as beatnik fascists and futurists “will strive to build lunar cities.”
The moon preoccupies Adamson in a wistful but also an inspiring way, as his vision of maximum white flight. “Forever the explorers,” he writes in “The False Twins”, “we keep one eye fixed on the night sky / while looking over our shoulder / with the other.” “Demoralized, the finally aware remnants / flee to far off enclaves / rumored to exist,” he elaborates in “Waiting for the Tram”, “dreaming not just of monorails on the moon or / hourly trams running through the icy caverns of Barsoom / but those which track to a future, / that makes room for their own.” Adamson refuses to content himself with just being a regular white guy who happens to live on the moon, however. As a futurist and transhumanist, he advocates a radical break with tradition, looking toward a “new biological identity” in “Mirror on the Moon”. Like the historical Beats – or, perhaps more pertinently, the Italian futurists – the beatnik fascist needs to “go”: “Have to keep moving, quickly toward something / away from something else” as he puts it in “Dilation”. In “Ascending Order”, one of the last and very best poems in the book, he even proclaims an eccentric interest in “bionic sexuality / and cryonic longevity”.
A handful of the poems in Beatnik Fascism are concerned with (mostly disappointing) experiences with women, but the most obsessive involvement, the love-hate relationship, which coolly consumes Adamson throughout, is his engagement with technology. At times it is an antagonistic force, as with the “enemy AI” of “Teenage Armband”; “the orbiting satellites” that “tighten their control” in “The Iron Turtlenik”; or a “system” that is “electronically rigged” in “Breaking the Cycle”. Elsewhere – and this is where Adamson finds himself in his aesthetic element – the technology is a means to power, escape, immortality, or the realization of some other dream. In an access of Linderism, he imagines “Bug Spray for Pesky Birthrates”, and my personal favorite is hate as a “force field” from “Break the Glass!” “Even a video or audio recording of ourselves is a / technological form of protest and / a poor man’s method of self-preservation”. At stake throughout the book is who uses technology, and for what ends, good, bad, boring, or “way out”.
For the powers that be in creepy Cubesville – the world created by incorporated squares – technology is only a means of enforcing oppressive decorum, conformity, and mind control. The beatnik fascist, by contrast, seeks after the “offbeat chords” that “are a code for deprogramming” in “The Iron Turtlenik”. The globalist horror show of the status quo will be instantly recognizable to any reader of the current year: “Row after row of youthful humans spending the / best years of their lives / staring intently at flat screens from within / loosely paneled hodgepodges of modular boxes, / stuffing bit after bit of crunchy processed food into their fat faces,” he deadpans in “The Streets of Cubesville”. Then, too, there are the “garbage filled streets, / the foreign owned mini mart on the corner” in “Waiting for the Tram”. “Further down the road,” hauntingly, there are “crowded swap meets with hordes of riff raff / exchanging tokens for tiny jars of expired baby food” and “Obese extended families of twelve / sauntering through outlet stores / gleefully purchasing cheap Chinese junk” in the garbage-glutted globalist marketplace.
To participate in consumerism is to be drafted into the wrong army, to fight the wrong war, to become “an unwitting soldier / in some vapid millennial CEO’s / revolutionary social media app war,” he explains in “Avoiding the Draft”. Instead, Adamson champions the “Ascending Order”: “Synchronized goose steps, / jackboots locked in search of kicks” and “pushing through the boundaries / of genetic experiments” and other forbidden feats of the promethean. “We didn’t want war, / but they brought the swords,” he writes in “Living Folklore”, “and pointed them toward / our open hearts.”
If I have a major criticism of Beatnik Fascism, it is that Adamson has opted in some of his pieces to sacrifice the poetic on an altar of accessibility. “We’re whites and are routinely hated for it,” he pronounces bathetically in the otherwise exciting “Break the Glass!” “Bug Spray for Pesky Birthrates”, too, feels more like an essay with the sentences merely broken up and arranged along the left side of the page instead of a genuine poem. “Teenage Armband” is also long on the gripe and short on the poetic in its depiction of a lone figure persecuted “for thinking differently, / for noticing patterns of behavior and / seeing things accurately, / for refusing to apologize for being himself and / for continuing to resist / the ongoing indoctrination / he must submit to.” Even bad poems by Brandon Adamson – and I consider “Taking Aim”, for instance, to be pretty bad – can contain interesting ideas or clever turns of phrase: “We’ve got some time left to kill / while we shop / and a couple of thrill pills / left to pop / We’re gonna feed the world / our darkest thoughts.”
If a literary history of the Alt-Right is ever written, the work of Brandon Adamson will surely merit a chapter in it, with at least a paragraph or two – or eleven, as I have written – devoted to Beatnik Fascism. It constitutes a significant document of the Alt-Right experience, with Adamson expressing not only his alienation from the greedy, disgusting pit of tedious evil defining the bounds of acceptable discourse – but also his alienation from his fellow racialist outsiders. “The Swinging Nationalist” is the most direct statement of this frustration of the man who feels himself an exile even among his fellow exiles: “Everyone around me is as crazy / as I must seem to them.” He finds no identity in “‘everything’s a false flag’ conspiracy theorists, / radical traditionalists and / little house on the praireactionaries, / hyper capitalists,” not to mention “the sexually prudish, / Christians, / philistines, / homophobes, / kebab apologists,” and the rest. Adamson is his own man, and as literature goes, that – as Stuart Smalley might put it – is okay.