Sunday, April 8, 2018
A Response to David Yorkshire’s Review of ZARDOZ by John Boorman
ZARDOZ: Natural Order against the Left by David Yorkshire: https://www.counter-currents.com/2018/04/zardoz-natural-order-against-the-left/
"John Boorman's films are implicitly white, as they address themes that pertain to people of White European descent, whether historical, philosophical or mythical."
Not necessarily. Boorman made HELL IN THE PACIFIC that is about cooperation between Japanese soldier and American soldier. He also made EMERALD FOREST that romanticizes the jungle natives of the Amazon as living in unity with nature. If anything, that movie is most damning of incursions of white civilization into the natural order. Boorman made a movie about Burma in BEYOND RANGOON. He also made a movie where a white woman romances a black man. So, he's not this explicitly pro-white director you make him out to be... even though his themes and treatment would be politically incorrect for many today.
"for the film is a biting satire directed at creamy bourgeois Leftists."
The Order in ZARDOZ is highly conservative, exclusive, and hierarchical. It has a clear division between civilization and barbarism. It was established on a shining ideal of eternity and wisdom, but all that power and privilege has created a society of dogmatism, consensus, asexuality, and/or jaded apathy. The people of the Order have had it so good that they can't value what they have.
Also, they fail to understand the true danger posed by the barbarians because their Order has been impenetrable and impermeable as far as they can remember. They have no reason to regard barbarians as any kind of threat.
And yet, precisely because the Order is so crystalline and immaculate in its conception and design, there is a fear of the slightest alteration or revision. It can only exist as a utopia, a perfectionist order that cannot tolerate deviance from the rule. Perfection is unnatural, therefore fragile, and must be guarded with iron resolve, like the inner mechanics of a Swiss watch. Everything must adhere to the programming.
Originally, the Order was created to expand freedom and potentiality by prolonging life into virtual eternity. But thus elevated into near-god-hood, the main priority of the Eternals came to be self-preservation, and that meant the suppression or termination of anything that threatened the basis of their exalted existence.
So, to say that the Order is just 'leftist' or 'bourgeois' misses the point. Now, it may have elements of what we might call 'leftist' by today's standards. But the Order is really about hierarchy and total exclusion. In its cult of reason and science, it be construed as 'leftist'. In the equality of men and women in the Order, it could be seen as 'leftist' too.
But then,there is no need for manliness because the Order is so secure. Also, as people are immortal, there is no need for sex and love. People are supposed to devote their energies to contemplation and leisure. But all such things have become boring without the cycles of life and without challenges to the Order.
So, it's glib to say ZARDOZ is an anti-leftist tract. It is essentially a call for reconnection with nature, the stuff of life. The World of ZARDOZ fails for the same reason the world of CAMELOT does in EXCALIBUR does. Too much success and power have led to complacency and lazy gossip and battle of egos and vanity. It is only when Arthur drinks from the Grail that he realizes he must be one with the land, with nature and the people.
Boorman isn't anti-civilization or anti-Christian(with its linear view of history), but he fears that civilization and abstract ideas can fatally sever man from nature and its cycles of birth and rebirth. Only with death and rebirth is life revitalized. Prolonging life may overcome death but could lead to boredom, enervation, and dissipation. Even decadence and degeneration. To counter decline and resignation, one may insist on the strict regimen of devotion and discipline, but this could lead to the rigid dogmatism of the Middle Ages or traditional Jewish culture that revolved around almost incestuous obsession with Ancient texts.
But more often than not, too much prosperity and security leads to a deadly combination of complacency and compassion. A carefree naivete that has forgotten the warning of 'Do not feed the animals'. Having been secure and prosperous for so long, they've come to take their well-being for granted and assume it will be painless and joyous to welcome the world with open arms. They see themselves as white jesuses taking care of lambs from around the world. They are innocent spoiled brats getting high on their own delusional virtue. They are blind to the delusion because they've had it so good for so long. They lack the experience of survival & hardship and have forgotten the lessons of their ancestors who had to struggle against great odds to secure the land and build a civilization.
And this is what has happened to Sweden. Too much ease and good life led to ZARDOZ-like conditions where overly well-fed and bored white folks welcome invasion simply because it is 'virtuous' and vibrant, the stuff of life lacking in well-ordered Sweden.
"Ostensibly, the Eternals are all at peace, free from violence and death, and forever young. Their society is democratic and imposes equality on all. (Men's) impotence has led to women becoming leaders along feminist lines in spite of the ostensible commitment to equality."
The world of Vortex is NOT democratic. It is elitist. It is equal only in the sense that Spartan Warriors were equal with one another or aristocrats are equal among themselves. But, in fact, Spartan elites lorded over the helots. And aristocrats lorded over the serfs. So, the Eternals are NOT democratic. They are equal only among themselves, an elite breed of sci-fi aristocrats.
Also, women do not rule the Vortex. Since the realm is asexual, men and women are almost the same. The women in ZARDOZ are not interested in the sisterhood or women's issues. They only identify as Vortexians.
Feminism is about women forming a sisterhood against the men. There is no such politics in ZARDOZ. Rather, female aristos in ZARDOZ work with male aristos to maintain the exclusive hierarchical order. They are more like princesses working with princes against the serfs. They are not about the Sisterhood.
"'Penic erection is one of the many unsolved evolutionary mysteries surrounding sexuality.'... The speech is a look at sexuality straight out of 1970s feminist pamphlets, with the only difference being a smugness in victory, dressed up as concern for the wellbeing of both women and men."
Actually, Boorman's point goes deeper than a critique of feminism. Boorman senses in higher spirituality, Christianity especially, the denial and repression of natural sexual drives. This goes back to the Old Testament. In Eden, Adam and Eve were nearly equal. But there was the Original Sin, and man and woman had to struggle in the world of Nature that was seen as FALLEN. And the divide between man and woman grew wide after the Fall.
In Eden, it had been peace and harmony for Adam and Eve. God provided everything. Adam didn't have to be a hunter-warrior. Eve didn't have to do women's chores. But after the Fall, Adam had to be tough and manly to hunt and procure food. And with all creatures at war with each other, Adam had to defend himself and Eve from other animals. And Eve had to be womanly and do women's things.
Christianity offered a Way out of such Fallen State. Men and women would deny the pleasures and fears of the flesh and redeem their souls to enter Heaven to be with God for all eternity. Thus, Christianity is anti-nature. It sees nature as fallen and sinful. It views human nature as a baggage of vices: lust, gluttony, greed, vanity, etc.
In EXCALIBUR, Merlin mourns that One God comes to drive out the many. Paganism is fading and nature grows silent.
Another danger is an Order becomes obsessed with more order. And this was true of Victorian England where sex was taboo as a subject. Also, the rise of effeminate style among men long predated feminism. It began within the aristocracy itself. Initially, aristocrats were warriors, tough and hardy. But as they accrued so much wealth and privilege, they got fanciful and had homos devise feathers, dress, jewelry, and etc. for them. Look at Tim Roth's character in ROB ROY. French aristocrats wore fancy wigs, used perfume, and powdered their faces.
As for feminism, it's a confused self-defeating ideology. There has been a strain of feminism that was anti-sex. But there was also another strain that emphasized little more than sex. Today's feminists are confused. They go on and on about "Don't grab my pussy" but they publicize their pussies for all too see. PUSSY-ism is new feminism. They are into slut pride and damsel-in-distress both. Also, feminists demand total happiness for women. But happiness for women comes from sexually surrendering to big tough alpha males. So, even as feminists castrate men, they also demand men with mega-dongs to hump them. As a result, we have the funny spectacle of white women castrating white men but burning with jungle fever for black mandingos who act like shameless savages. This is why feminism is self-defeating. The women in ZARDOZ are not like this. They are neo-victorian in their total denial of sexuality.
"Yet this has created anything but an idyll, with particularly the men wishing for death, as Arthur Freyn, acting as the chorus to a theatrical play, states he longs for at the beginning of the film. This introduction, however, is one of the unsatisfactory elements of the film, as it rather gives the game away, Freyn himself exposing that the film is a morality play, who he is and what the film is about. It is unnecessary and an insult to the viewer's intelligence."
No, most men don't wish for death in the Vortex. They are perfectly happy. Frayn and Friend are rare exceptions who secretly conspire against the system. But then, May the female also ends up helping Zed because a part of her also feels that the system is fatally flawed in some ways. She kept Zed alive because a part of her sympathized with him, longed for him. (Later, it becomes apparent that all the Eternals have a hidden death wish as they come to welcome the deliverance of death. But not having experienced violence for eons, they panic and run when the horror ensues. They thought it would be fun, liberating,and innocuous. It is actually brutal and ugly.)
Frayn's intro doesn't make ZARDOZ a morality play but a philosophical theorem. Frayn is not preachy or judgmental. He's a magician, a trickster, an artist. He wants to have fun toying with people. He wants to play god as puppeteer. He is the Merlin-like figure... though with only the semblance of wisdom. He'd been given the job of using the Stone godhead to fool the barbarian dummies. He had a great run messing with the yokels, and he later decides to pull a stunt on Eternals themselves.
He is not primarily motivated by morality but by creativity and artistry. The whole experiment is like a philosophical parlor game for him, and he cooks up a scheme with Friend(who is more serious). He has no idea how things will really turn out. Indeed, he dies brutally like the rest. His experiment finally engulfs him in the horror as well. The master puppeteer, the man-who-would-be-god, is reduced to a pig-for-the-slaughter for the butchers. Frayn is rendered as helpless as Ned Beatty in DELIVERANCE.
If the Eternals, in their eons of seclusion, lost all sense of horror, the Exterminators have practiced nothing but horror. It's like hungry wolves set free in a pasture of sheep.
It's like today's helpless Swedes and Germans as deer-in-the-headlights prey to the brutalized arrivals from Africa and the Muslim world.
Even though Frayn takes after Merlin, the difference is Merlin understood the nature of tragedy. He knew what it is like for an Order to fall. So, against all odds, he tried to help Uther and Arthur maintain the order from chaos. When Uther proves to be hopeless, Merlin bio-engineers a super-baby in the figure of Arthur. Frayn similarly engineers a superior figure in Zed, who has the warrior vitality of Exterminators and the intellect of the Eternals.
Even so, Frayn is like a child compared to the wise Merlin. Frayn has no idea of what it would be like for the Vortex to fall to barbarism. It's all just a game that he accelerates... until it finally happens, and then, panic-stricken & speechless, he is slashed with a sword while shitting bricks.
In a sick and dark way, one can argue that the Current Left is like the Friend-Frayn Nexus in their Afro-mania.
Even though the 'Left' pretends to believe that 'race is a social construct', they really feel that white race is deficient, inferior, and missing something. Consider the rise of Rock n Roll(and the fascination with blues), especially in once rigidly ordered and finely mannered England. It was as if whites with frozen souls were thawed, warmed, and heated by the burning souls of blacks. And overly rigid and hierarchical British Society was made looser and freer by black influence in music, style, and attitude. And this is why whites became so Afromaniacal. White boys turned cuckish in their worship of Negro athletes and badass warrior-thugs. And white women got jungle fever from watching all those big-donged black athletes beating up weaker and slower whites. But we know from Africa and Detroit that blackness = savagery and disorder.
In contrast, a people like the Japanese can create and maintain order. But white people are not excited by Japanese who come across as physically shrunken, weak-voiced, servile, lackluster, conformist, and timid. White people are excited by blacks with booming voices, bulging muscles, and dongs-and-butts. GET OUT is about whites wanting to be in black skin.
Japanese can build and maintain a modern society whereas blacks can't.
But blacks can make music and do athletics that excite whites... something that Japanese can't do. Japanese have higher IQ but blacks have more Iconic value or ICQ or iconic quotient.
So, the resolution at the end of ZARDOZ is now the template for leftist engineering via race-mixing. The bloodbath at the end of the movie makes us reject both the Vortex and the barbarism. Vortex was an elitist order divorced from nature, but the barbarism of raw nature is stupefyingly ugly.
So, what is the new hope? Zed and Consuela mate and create new humanity. Zed is a blend of natural barbarism and knowledge. And Consuela is a woman of knowledge who has regained her natural self.
In today's UK, this unity is seen as mixing of the black male as the ideal icon of manhood and the white female as the ideal icon of female beauty. The blending of tough black manhood and beautiful white womanhood is supposed to create a new superior race that finds the balance of nature and civilization.
And that was the appeal of Obama, the blend of black intuition and white intellect. He represented the ideal interracist template favored by the so-called Left. This 'Left' is race-ist in its own way but loathe to admit it. It doesn't see all races as equal or valuable. Rather, its ideal vision is the blending of blackness and whiteness. Blackness represents virility, rhythm, musicality, athleticism, and prowess. Whiteness represents reason, intellect, control, and organization. In ZARDOZ, Frayn created Zed as a kind of 'interracist' hybrid of Exterminators and Eternals. Zed has the body and toughness of the Exterminators but the mind and knowledge of the Eternals. In a similar vein, the current Left prizes the mulatto higher than both blacks and whites as he or she is supposed to represent the unity of black prowess and white proficiency.
It's pretty crazy, but today's LEFT is actually closer to Frayn-Friend's plot to bring down the Order and to create a new order formed by fusion of Afro-vitality and Euro-ability. They feel that this will result from the Negro penis and white vagina. In a way, Frayn is like a George-Soros-like figure who pushes Open Borders to bring down the ossified elite order. He is like the Loki character in German mythology who plays both sides -- gods and giants -- and finally helps breach the barrier that stands between the god realm and the world of giants.
Now, this isn't to say John Boorman had such in mind, or that he wanted Europe to be invaded by masses of Africans. But the satire of ZARDOZ goes far deeper than easy jabs at Leftism. It is about the problem of civilization itself. It is a timeless dilemma. We all want to create and be part of a Shining Order. But every Order, in order to perpetuate itself indefinitely, prolongs itself to the point of violating the cyclical way of nature and man. Thus, the order survives but loses in vitality.
And yet, the condition of man is always between Scylla and Charybdis. An order that lasts too long grows either apathetic or dogmatic. But then, the cyclical way is no circus. The stage of fall, even if necessary, is horrible and traumatic. We can't escape the tragedy of existence even if we wanted to.