We Stand on Guard : Water! Giant Robots! Occupied Canada! (A review)

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Image Source

I can’t remember the last time I’ve done a book article that wasn’t about my own, and I don’t think I’ve ever done a single book review, but there’s a first time for everything, right?

Plot

We Stand on Guard is a six-issue series published from July – December 2015, and is now compiled in a single graphic novel. It’s the culmination of writing by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Steve Skroce, and coloring by Matt Hollingsworth. The story begins in 2112 in Ottawa, Ontario. After the White House is destroyed the United States invades Canada for revenge and…freshwater? I wouldn’t necessarily call this “SPOILERS!!1!1” since it’s a predictable scenario. By the 22nd century, the United States has run out of freshwater and decided to invade the Great White North and uses the attack as justification for invasion.

The story follows Amber, a child when the invasion happens, and is surviving in the Northwest Territories in 2124 when she comes upon a band of Canadian resistance fighters called, “the Two-Four.” Most of the story takes place in, and around, their underground base near Great Slave Lake. There is also another plot involving one of the resistance members being taken prisoner by the occupying Americans.

That’s all I’ll really say about the plot to avoid any significant spoilers.

Social/Political Commentary

The premise of the story is one part the Iraq War, and another part War Plan Red, a military war plan created by the U.S. military in the late ‘20s and early ‘30s for a possible war with the British Empire, and the focus of military action would have been Canada. War Plan Red is actually referenced in We Stand on Guard, but more as a historical precedent than as the actual operation used in the novel.

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War Plan Red Image Source

We Stand on Guard seems like it was trying to make a point about the United States’ behavior in the places it has occupied, specifically Iraq. There are detention camps, special forces, psychological torture, and guerrilla warfare. Basically, it turns Canada into Iraq.

Canadaraq?

Iranada?

Caraqada?

Anyway…

It doesn’t shy away from making the occupation forces out to be typical bad guys, and the resistance fighters to be the typical good guys, and while it’s an interesting concept it ignores the possibility for a deeper and more thoughtful dialogue. Now, someone might think, “But Adam, it’s a comic book! It doesn’t have to be nuanced!”

To that I say, Watchman, V for Vendetta, The White Donkey, and Maus. Just because it’s a graphic novel doesn’t mean it has to be mindless.

What it does well, though, is showing what happens to an occupied and brutalized populace, and makes them more approachable by stripping away anything foreign or unfamiliar. The Canadians look like Americans, behave like Americans, talk like Americans, which brings the idea of occupied/occupier closer to home (figuratively and literally).

Characters

The problem is that I didn’t feel anything for these characters, at least nothing that made me feel too invested. All the characters look like they had been models before the war, and there’s one scene where you get a butt shot in a shower of the main character, and she looks oddly healthy for living in the Northwest Territories. Of course, there’s the obligatory, “grizzled old man,” because it can’t be a war story without that. Aside from that, all the characters are pretty similar. One dies? Okay. A bad thing happened to another character in the past? Fair enough. Part of this is because there are multiple plot-lines, and it never feels like you spend too much time with one character. This would have done better as either a longer series, or a longer graphic novel, because at least then there would be a better chance to connect with the characters. Oddly enough, the one character I liked the most was a side character, and I didn’t feel too much about Amber. She’s a generic protagonist. On the one hand, it’s disappointing that a female protagonist is so blah, but on the other hand it’s strangely satisfying that her gender didn’t have to be a focal point. So that’s cool.

Visual

Since it is a graphic novel, it would be good to talk about the visual aspect. Look, I don’t know much about drawing, and I sure as hell can’t do it myself, so take the next part with a grain of salt. I thought visually, it was satisfying to look at, but nothing that made me take pause and marvel at its originality. It’s good comic book art, what else is there to say? One part of the visual aspect that I can’t decide if I liked, or not, were the moments of violence. It definitely affirms that it’s a war story and tries to be honest about the brutality of war, but at the same time it feels like it was done for the sake of being “mature” and “edgy.”

Writing

Circling back to the writing aspect, it’s an action story, and a pretty uniform one at that. Outgunned underdogs get their hands on some enemy tech, there is a climactic battle, and all is right with the world. The end felt so incredibly rushed that I looked to see if there is a sequel The dialogue follows this formula, and I feel like it was created with, “Mad Libs: Action Movie Edition.” Exposition, banter, lightly seasoned with choice expletives (to remind you this is a mature graphic novel), makes it run together and not really give any of the characters their own voice. There is also one character, a Quebecois fellow, who speaks exclusively in French Canadian, and there is no translation given. I pretty much skimmed his lines, saw if I recognized any words, and pretty well figured out what he’d said based on context. The strange thing is he plays a significant part at the end of the story that made me scratch my head and wonder if they had felt it necessary to shoehorn in a significant part for the First Nations/Quebecois guy.

Nationalism

Now, the one part of this whole novel that mildly irritated me was that it felt like it was trying to be a piece of “Canadian Exceptionalism” much like American media is drenched in “American Exceptionalism.” Obviously it’s not terrible to be proud of your heritage, but it also seemed like it was stooping to a level of mindless nationalism. Part of me hopes that it’s subtle satire aimed at American readers like myself. There were also two lines that stuck out to me that made me consciously roll my eyes. One of the characters, descended from Syrian refugees, mentions how Canada brought in way more refugees than the United States did. It’s a fair point, but the context it’s used in felt like the writer was doing it to say, “Take that America!” The other line is a character talking about Canadian heroes, and one of the names mentioned is that of the Trudeaus, meaning Pierre and Justin. Pierre did a lot of good for Canada, and Justin seems like a good leader (especially in comparison to our own…), but elevating him to the status of hero? He appears to be a good man, and a pretty conventional Western leader, but hero? Who knows what will happen, but talk about the cart before the horse. I get that the dark satire of Starship Troopers (the movie) inspired this, but it felt like it forgot that it was trying to be tongue-in-cheek.

Conclusion

I saw this at a local bookstore, noticed the cover, and thought, “Huh, this looks interesting.” But the cellophane wrapping prevented me from flipping through and seeing if I wanted to sink money into a book that I’ll read in one sitting, and possibly never read again. As luck would have it, the local library had a copy in circulation, and I’ll be honest, I’m glad I didn’t spend money on it. It read like a watered down version of The Man in the High Castle, and instead of making you sympathize with, but question the “good guys,” and make the “bad guys” out to be human too, it just turned it into a juvenile, black-and-white morality, action story.

That is not to say I’m upset that I read it.

The problem is not that it’s terrible, but it’s a book I read once and will probably never read again. I can appreciate the work that goes into a graphic novel, or any writing for that matter, but We Stand on Guard is just too generic to warrant spending money on it. Maybe I’m just being cynical and someone else would find the premise extremely shocking and inventive, but ultimately it felt like a darker, grittier reboot of Canadian Bacon.

Worth a read if you can find it at a library and have an hour or two to kill.

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to leave a comment.

Thanks for reading.

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The Dogs of War

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Over one hundred years ago, America gets involved in the First World War. Now, America directly intervenes against the Assad regime in the Syrian Civil War. Like Twain said, “History doesn’t repeat, it rhymes.”

Sixty missiles rain down out of the sky like flaming arrows shot by an ancient army. They find their mark, 20 Syrian jets at an airbase, reducing them to twisted, charred metal and craters. This is done in response to the televised images of a horror show possibly created by a dying regime. Never mind the doubletalk about the president supporting the mindless slaughter of civilians on the campaign trail and now calling for blood to save Syrian babies. It’s all just politics, bub, now Johnny get your gun and register with your local draft board. I find it awfully funny that we get up in arms about Assad using chemical weapons, but back in ’88 Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurds at Halabja and we blamed Iran. I guess being friends with a superpower has its perks.

Speaking of which…

Predictably, Putin has condemned our attack on Syria, and our useful allies have locked step. Trudeau is applauding Trump, and Trump’s base turned on a dime. Now in certain cryptofascist circles it’s fashionable to call for the complete and utter annihilation of the Assad regime. We are sliding into another war, sleepwalking into one, on the pretense of eliminating a morally bankrupt despot and saving an oppressed people from a life of toil and torment. Strange memories of 2003 tonight…

Look, I have no doubts that Assad carried out the gas attack on his people, and it’s the disgusting flailing of a regime that has a tenuous grip on reality and its country. It would be nobler for Assad to come to the table and agree to divide Syria along more practical lines rather than maintain the borders created a century ago by two disappeared Empires. Now Russia is trying to keep their vassal state on the Mediterranean, and it seems like the Trump administration is keen on creating a US-allied pact to counter Iran; Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, why not add Syria to the list? Afghanistan is in shambles, and Pakistan can always be kept in line with India.

Still, this is a dangerous gambit considering Russia’s role in the Syrian Civil War. I’d like to think that Putin is savvy, and would be willing to send Assad up shit creek nary a paddle in sight if he can keep a port at Damascus. Nevertheless, I could see Putin rallying his own idiots around the flagpole to fight the United States head on in Syria. Enough time has passed that the memories of World War II have been relegated to aging veterans warehoused in retirement facilities, or grainy footage aired on the History Channel late at night. The dogs of war are champing at the bit and the powers-that-be need a useful crisis to reaffirm the glory of their respective nations. Can’t have the working classes realize that they have more in common with each other than their leaders, no sir, why that would be bad for the bottom line! Ye gads! I don’t want to feed the narrative that World War III and The End are near, but a major war is imminent, and I’m afraid that Trump is too baffled and enamored with the idea of being a War President to avoid it.

A luta continua, the struggle continues.

Like what you read? My debut novel, In the Land of God is available on Amazon and Createspace as an eBook and paperback.

Feel free to follow me here, or on Twitter, and leave a comment below; start a dialogue.

Writing Update: Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters; eBook Giveaway; Print Discount

Writing Update: Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters; eBook Giveaway; Print Discount

In the Land of God is FREE on Kindle from March 14-18. 50% off with discount code on the Createspace store. Check below for details!

Update! As of tonight, In the Land of God has risen to the #11 spot in “Literary Sagas” under the “Top 100 Free” eBooks on Kindle, and #38 in the “Historical Fiction” category under “Top 100 Free.”

You know that saying about plans, and mice, and men and how they often don’t go exactly as planned?

Well if you don’t, I’m in a little situation like that. Not, “my challenged friend killed my employer’s son’s wife” situation, but something that made me say, “Dammit, me!”

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Image Source

First the good news!

This past Wednesday I met with one of the people in charge at the Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters. For those of you not from the Grand Rapids area (or if you are from the area and don’t know what that is), it is a place for writers to work and sell their work. I’ll be making In the Land of God available through them as well as the usual channels, and in due time it will be available on  their online store and at their location in downtown Grand Rapids. I’ll make sure to keep you all posted when that happens.

Speaking of availability, back to the bad news.

Last week, I mentioned that I would be doing a promotional deal for In the Land of God, and…

It didn’t happen.

Mea culpa.

To make it up to everyone, I will be running two separate promos.

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The eBook version of In the Land of God will be FREE from March 14 – March 18.

You can go to Amazon and download it for FREE from tomorrow through Saturday.

(The other promotion is for the print version.)

Go to the Createspace store and enter the following code for 50% off the list price.

2KGQ6Z4D

(Expires March 31)

Feel free to follow me here, or click on the Twitter logo up top to follow me there. You can also “like” In the Land of God on Facebook.

Also, feel free to leave a comment below, and if you pick up a copy of In the Land of God, reviews are always welcomed.

Thanks for reading.

A luta continua!

 

 

Laker News Interview about In the Land of God & Upcoming Deals

Below, you can watch the interview I did with Kyle Bindas from GVTV Laker News about In the Land of God. If you want to check out more of their work you can find them at that Facebook page, and on their YouTube channel.

The interview begins at 2:18.

In other news, for many of you who are still in college it’s spring break season. On Monday, keep your eyes peeled for a promo I’ll be launching in celebration of spring break for In the Land of God.

In the Land of God is available on Amazon as an eBook and paperback.

 

Michigan Voting: By the Numbers

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Michigan ballot for 2014 election (Image Source)

There’s a saying that goes something like this: “If you didn’t vote, then you don’t get to complain.” Setting aside the undemocratic implications, there is a kernel of truth in that statement, if you don’t like the way things are, then why didn’t you vote?

Around presidential elections, we tend to zoom way out and focus on the nation as a whole, and it makes sense. What about at a more local level, though? In the days following a presidential election there is talk of voter turnout, and in the immediate aftermath there’s talk about approval and disapproval ratings. How do those numbers stack up for Michiganders and their view of Governor Rick Snyder?

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Secretary of State Voting Statistics (Image Source)

The numbers (after the year) from left to right express the number of actual voters, the number of registered voters, the size of the voting-age population, and finally the percent of people that turned out to vote in those elections. The lowest voter turnout for Michigan was the 1990 election at 15.1 percent, and the next lowest was in 2014 at 17.4 percent for the reelection for Governor Rick Snyder.

To put that in perspective, only 17.4 percent of Michigan’s voting population turned out to vote, and of those Snyder won by 50.9 percent of the vote.

This means that in 2014, roughly 8.86 percent of the state decided who would lead the state. That would be like one person in a group of ten deciding who is going to lead the group.

According to a poll conducted by The Detroit News, 54 percent of those polled disapproved of Snyder’s leadership as governor (as of 2016). In all fairness, this is in the wake of the Flint water crisis, in a time when people across the state would generally not view Snyder through a positive lens.

This signifies a larger problem with the Michigan, and by default American, voting system.

According to a  2012 report from the Pew Research Center, 51 million eligible voters weren’t registered to vote. To put that in perspective, that’s about 16 percent of the country’s current population not participating in the democratic process. The issues that lead to low voter turnout are multifaceted

Basically, the problems are that Americans aren’t automatically registered when they turn 18 years old, it takes time to register and vote, and voting is neither a federal holiday or mandatory. In short, voting is hard in the United States and the case isn’t different for Michigan. This could be remedied at the state level through legislation.

For example, Michigan is not one of not one of the 34 states that allows no excuse early voting. This basically means that a voter can cast a ballot earlier than election day without needing a valid excuse. It’s a simple measure that helps people avoid trying to work in voting on a Tuesday.

Two states that are strong examples of voter empowerment are Oregon and North Dakota. Oregon only allows mail-in votes, and automatically registers people to vote. In the case of North Dakota, citizens are allowed to vote early and do not have to register before they vote. If they can prove that they are a citizen of that state on election day, then they are eligible to vote.

One of the arguments against more relaxed voting laws is that it could allow for a surge in voter fraud, however, there have only been only 35 credible fraudulent votes in the United States between 2000 and 2014. To help put that in perspective, even if all those fraudulent votes happened in Michigan in 2014, that would come to about .003 percent of the participating voters. If that was a group of ten people, that would be about .03 percent of a person.

In other words, a negligible fear and not a reason to make voting more difficult than it already is.

It’s impossible to say if Michigan will change its voting laws to be more like North Dakota or Oregon, however, with a new governor in 2018 and ostensibly a new government, Michiganders might see voting reform take place and in turn form a better relationship with their government.

Writing Update – 2/24/2017 (New purchases & interviews, and New projects)

First off, I want to thank recent (and semi-recent) purchasers of In the Land of God. I also want to thank whomever left the recent five-star review on Amazon. I don’t know what is more affirming, seeing a new sale (hurray, people were willing to pay for my work!) or seeing a positive review of something I wrote (hurray, strangers don’t think my work sucks!)

I also want to thank Grand Valley TV for a chance to be interviewed by Kyle Bindas (which should be ready to watch in the near future), and the Grand Valley State University Book Club for the chance to speak at their meeting on the 16th. I honestly can’t decide whether the speaking event was exciting, or nerve-wracking. Maybe a little bit of both? Exciting-wracking? Nerve-exciting? I don’t know. You’d think a writer would be better at concision and precision.

Anyway…

Now that the Oscar-style thank you speech is out of the way, on to new business.

For those of you that don’t know, I wrote a post a while back about my next novel and an upcoming anthology of horror stories. To elaborate, the next novel that I’m working on (sort of) is a tragic romance set during a future global conflict. It is set over the course of a summer and consists of three, interconnected plot lines. One plot focuses on a soldier caught up in the war, a priest who is confronted with the reality of his nationalism, and a young couple fresh out of high school grappling with the harshness of their coming-of-age. I’m sure it sounds all very pretentious and gloomy, but hey, it’s a story I’ve been kicking around in my head since high school and I figure there’s no time like the present to write it.

The other project, the anthology of horror stories, will come from myself and the cover artist for In the Land of God, Micah Chapin. To give an idea of what it will be like, the plan is to have stories that range from Weird Fiction (a la H.P. Lovecraft sans overt racism), to existentialist horror, to apocalyptic horror reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s. I’ve written a few of the stories, and truth be told I haven’t talked with Micah about that project in a minute, but there’s more headway with that project than with the second novel.

Part of it is good old procrastination, and part of it is just…life getting in the way. Wrapping up my college career, work, and just living tend to be pretty big obstacles to getting writing done (not that I would trade any of them for more time to write. Although a Faustian deal for better time management skills would be alright. I kid.)

Perhaps the biggest reason those projects have gotten neglected is because I just banged out the rough draft of something I’ve never done before, and no, it is not fan fiction. After being inspired by Hamilton (it’s so damn good) and current events, I decided to try my hand at writing a play. Why a play? Well, why not? That’s not much of an explanation, though. Here’s a better one. I want my writing to have a cinematic feel, I think cinematic writing is easier for modern audiences to digest. That’s not a dig, the reality is we live in an extremely visual society, and we have for the better part of a hundred years. Why not make your writing accessible for your audience? Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t take a paragraph or two to wax philosophic, but the majority of the story should create a vivid film in a reader’s head. Plus, if I’m being honest, it’s more fun to write that way. Where were we? Oh, right, writing a play. Anyway, my takeaway from the rough draft is that it’s a completely different animal. The formatting is different, the conventions are different, even the process of getting the final product in the open is a different beast. I self-published In the Land of God not only because of principle, but because it was feasible to self-publish. You can’t really self-publish a play. I mean, you totally can, but the real name of the game is getting the play produced. That’s easier said than done, and it means either throwing my hat into the ring for a contest, or finding a theatre willing to produce the play. The other difference is that getting a play produced is different than getting a novel published. Sure, a novel relies on a lot of moving parts (an editor, possibly an agent, a publishing platform, people to get the novel into the hands of readers, readers in general), but a play, right out of the starting gate requires more people to make it a reality. It sounds like I’m pulling a 180 in terms of my philosophy, but in all honesty it doesn’t feel that way. I still love the independence of writing, but I also realize that it’s a different situation because it’s a different genre. Apples and oranges, spaghetti and pizza.

Anyway…

My point is, I wrote a play, and it feels pretty good to have done something and done it so quickly. It still needs work, and it needs to be expanded (it’s only about 61 pages long at the time of my writing this), but it feels like I have something. Part of me wants to embark on writing a musical, but at the same time I feel like a toddler that took his first steps and got so excited he signed up for a marathon.

If you have any comments, leave ‘em below, and you can follow me on Twitter by clicking the link up top. Also, if you have any tips when it comes to getting a play produced, feel free to leave them below (trust me, any help is greatly appreciated).

Thanks for reading.

A luta continua

In the Land of God is available on Amazon as an eBook and paperback.

 

The Fascists Next Door

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Richard Spencer (Image Source)
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Milo Yiannopoulos (Image source)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard Spencer looks like a mild-mannered sort, and he sounds like a mild-mannered sort. In an alternate reality, he would be a bank manager, a realtor, or work some other inoffensive white-collar job. He’s actually the current president of the innocuous-sounding National Policy Institute based in Arlington, Virginia. Its motto is, “For our people, our culture, our future.” He is also the executive director of Washington Summit Publishers.

Sounds innocent, right? Maybe nationalistic, but not exactly dangerous.

Except the NPI is a white supremacist and white nationalist organization, and Washington Summit Publishers is a white supremacist publisher that produces and distributes books about race, eugenics, and white nationalism. A cursory glance at the websites of these organizations makes them seem reputable, based in honest academia, but it’s a stylish mask worn by hate.

Spencer himself is a white nationalist, and one of his better-known beliefs is that of, “peaceful ethnic cleansing” to allow for the creation of a white homeland. Allow that to sink in, when has there ever been a “peaceful ethnic cleansing?” A cursory glance at this list shows that in all recorded history there has never been a “peaceful ethnic cleansing.” The very idea is at best naïve, and at worst implying a campaign of coercion and intimidation that forces the targeted groups to leave the area (which isn’t peaceful).

For those of you who may not recognize the name, he’s the guy who got clocked in the head on inauguration day just before he proudly displayed his Rare Pepe pin.

Or maybe you know him as the guy who who threw a victory rally on the night of Trump’s election, where he finished his speech with a sieg heil and the words, “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!” But don’t worry, he went on to defend the gesture as, ironic.

Make no mistake: Richard Spencer is dangerous. Not only because of his rhetoric, but because of how he portrays himself.

We’re used to a certain image of white supremacists and far-right extremists. They carry barely-legal firearms, wear field jackets from surplus Army stores or wife-beaters, shave their heads, and speak in double-negatives. Their bases of operations are remote hideouts in the woods and comprised of ramshackle cabins. Richard Spencer doesn’t fit the bill, and that makes him seem like the guy next door. Never mind the fact this guy quotes Nazi propaganda and is a raging anti-Semite; the important thing is he looks and sounds like a normal guy. Then again, the same could be said for Trump. He looks like an aging businessman, and talks like a racist uncle after a few too many on Thanksgiving. Harmless, right?

For over 70 years, fascism and anything like it has been forced underground. When it popped up in the wild, it existed like a domesticated animal that had gone feral. Now? Now it’s back wearing a suit and tie, and it speaks like a politician. It makes nationalism, racism, isolationism, and authoritarianism not only seem palatable, but downright rational.

Another example of this is Milo Yiannopoulos, a senior editor for Breitbart News (the de facto press of the alt-right and Steve Bannon’s old employer before he joined Trump’s court). At first glance, he’s a metropolitan, sassy, ideologue that seems more content with disturbing sensibilities than upending democracy. He’s a shock jock, that claims he’s for the freedom of speech. The problem there is that Yiannopoulos hides behind such a powerful idea, the idea of free speech. By asserting that he is for free speech, anyone who is against him must also be against free speech. It makes it easy to disregard him, or see him as right-wing troll that’s trying to make a point.

Here’s the problem with simply ignoring Spencer’s attitude regarding minorities and his resurrection of Nazism, here’s the problem with writing off Yiannopoulos as a “right-wing troll”: it normalizes their actions. It numbs people to the reality that a person, like Spencer, can spew hateful vitriol without consequence. Should he be shot? No. Should he be imprisoned? Also, no. Should he be shouted down and forced back to whatever xenophobic hole he crawled out of? Absolutely.

It’s irresponsible to approach this kind of insanity with handwringing and the trotting out of, “Well, everyone has an opinion.” Yes, and people who had similar opinions produced some of the worst atrocities in human history. It doesn’t mean Spencer should face prosecution, but it shouldn’t be treated as acceptable or normal for this kind of dialogue to exist.

So, what’s the proper action?

On the one hand, if it’s ignored it can grow in the background like a vicious cancer left untreated. On the other hand, if it’s ignored, it can’t reach a larger audience and gain power.

Or, are Spencer and Yiannopoulos treated as man-children seeking attention, or are they treated as legitimate threats to democracy and progress? Again, it’s a catch-22: if they’re mocked they can gather power behind the scenes, but if they’re ridiculed it could strip them of their power.

On a slightly more philosophical note, how did Spencer and Yiannopoulos get to this position? Spencer isn’t an uneducated man, he received a bachelor’s degree in English literature and music from the University of Virginia, and a master’s in the humanities from the University of Chicago. He studied at the Vienna International Summer University, and spent time at Duke University studying modern European intellectual history for a doctorate degree. That’s a far cry from the denizens of backwoods Nazi hamlets. It would be folly to try and psychoanalyze him, but you still have to wonder how someone like him becomes a raving proponent for one of the worst political ideologies in human history. Maybe after getting dumped from The American Conservative he got radicalized at Taki’s Magazine? Based on this profile done by Mother Jones it seems Spencer misread Friedrich Nietzsche and got drawn in by a white nationalist/supremacist at the University of Chicago. It doesn’t really explain why he fell in with that sordid crowd, but it gives some more clues. What about Yiannopoulos? He didn’t graduate from college, but he still attended college. He’s not uneducated. Maybe it’s ignorance, or maybe it’s simple, animalistic fear of the unknown? That doesn’t paint the full picture, though, because they’re just two guys spouting off about far-right politics.

So, how did we get here? How did America look at people like Spencer, or at Yiannopoulos and decide that they were at least acceptable? Some would argue it began on September 11th, but that’s an all too simple conclusion. Certain parts of fascism have always existed in the American DNA, like a defective hereditary gene just waiting for the right moment to surface; anti-intellectualism, big business in bed with government, and persistent militarism are just some of the pre-cancerous symptoms. It’s the ultimate dark side of a capitalist democracy, waiting to rear its ugly head when the people start to believe the game is rigged against them. Still, Americans don’t have short memories, we’re just naïve sometimes. Groups like the Ku Klux Klan, or the American Nazi Party wouldn’t find traction with a larger audience. They’re too brash, too despised, and almost too comical to be taken seriously. What about young, clean-cut demagogues like Richard Spencer and Milo Yiannopoulos? Sure, they’re saying some pretty awful stuff, and it’s a little disconcerting, but look at how they’re dressed, and listen to how they talk, why, they could be the guy next door…

Adam’s debut novel, In the Land of God, is available on Amazon as both a paperback and an eBook.