Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Notes on Review of AMERICAN HISTORY X(dir. Tony Kaye) by Trevor Lynch in Counter-Currents — Art vs Propaganda — Art as Conceit vs Art as Conviction


Director Tony Kaye’s anti-skinhead morality tale American History X (1998) is proof that propaganda is far from an exact science. Just as Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket caused a surge in Marine recruitment, American History X actually increases audience sympathies with neo-Nazi skinheads, despite its best efforts to present them as hateful hypocrites and losers.

Art or entertainment takes on a life of its own. Especially in cinema, the visceral elements often override the cautionary tale. This is no less true of art as of propaganda. Martin Scorsese's GOODFELLAS is a work of art, so revealing about the world of Italian-American hoodlums, but the riveting style and wall-to-wall music make it a thrilling experience. Tommy(Joe Pesci), though clearly a loathsome psychopath, is colorful and entertaining. Even as we reject Henry Hill's worldview about 'wiseguys' who live it up and the suckers who work 9 to 5, we can't help reveling in the sheer audacity of the criminal world. John Boorman critiqued this aspect of the film and made a corrective with b/w THE GENERAL that features relatively dour Irish goons. Art can make the 'bad guys' sympathetic or even 'cool'. Entertainment even more so. Audiences LOVED to hate the Terminator(a 'bad boy' as a well as a bad guy), who was made into the 'good guy' in the sequel. Hannibal Lecter the sociopathic killer is admired for his taste & class(unlike the crude and gross 'Buffalo Bill') and superhuman brilliance(which makes him to humans what humans are to sheep).
DOWNFALL is a work of art, and it features the Nazis facing doom as all-too-human characters not without qualities of honor and courage.

The audience has a dual attitude toward the Bad Guys. On the one hand, the audience roots for the Good against the Bad. The Good represent the viewers' superego. And yet, they are fascinated by the Bad because it represents their Id, their repressed darker nature. So, fiction narratives serve as a kind of psycho-therapy where the audience is allowed to indulge in their dark fantasies(via the bad guys) but have them snuffed out by the forces of light(the good guys). Have the cake and eat it too. Alfred Hitchcock understood this aspect of art/entertainment, especially in STRANGERS ON A TRAIN where the villain is detestable but also irresistible in his unrestrained egotism. He will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
It poses a question as to the true nature of the Good. Is it an innate glow within every soul allowed to radiate or simply a matter of repressing the darkness in every heart? Some believe men are innately good but corrupted by society, whereas others believe men are innately bad(or beastly or animal) and, therefore, what we call 'goodness' is really a matter of repressing and regulating the worse devils of our nature — keeping the birds in the cage because, otherwise, the scenario in Hitchcock's THE BIRDS. Judaism and Christianity say man is tainted with the Original Sin, and goodness is a constant struggle in devotion to the Torah(Judaism) or acceptance of Jesus as the final arbiter and savior.

At any rate, it's misguided to see AMERICAN HISTORY X as failed propaganda. It's better to see it as failed art. If Tony Kaye simply wanted to make a piece of propaganda, he could have gone the route of Alan Parker with MISSISSIPPI BURNING or made something like FRIED GREEN TOMATOES where blacks are aglow with sanctity whereas Southern Whites are mostly semi-neanderthal rednecks. So easy to do. Or, consider all those anti-Muslim movies where Arabs are little more than screaming terrorists who blow things up along with themselves. Making a propaganda about the evils of skinheads would have been the easiest project, especially as even most members of the White Right consider skinheads to be demented morons. (Are skinheads even around any more?) Tony Kaye certainly fancied himself as something more than an entertainer or propagandist. He wanted to rise above the business of advertising(that made his name) and be renowned as an ARTIST, and art has to seek and reveal the truth. Art is simply more demanding than entertainment or propaganda.

Entertainment is usually about sticking to the tried-and-true formula that pleases the audience. Propaganda is about pushing a certain dogma, agenda, or worldview regardless of truth. It's more about faith or interests. Catholic Church pushes pro-Catholic propaganda, corporations push advertising(commercial propaganda) to make profits(though, of late, the PC 'woke' types use ads to push the idolatry of globo-homo and ideology of diversity regardless of their commercial value). In contrast, art calls for an inner struggle. It's like there are two meanings to Jihad. One is a physical war against the infidel. It is Islam as war propaganda. But there is another meaning, a wrestling with one's own soul and conscience to arrive at the higher/deeper truth. A writer or filmmaker working as propagandist merely needs to push his favored agenda/ideology or that of his employer. He's either an activist or hired hand. His main objective is to win the game than to know the truth.

So, if Tony Kaye merely wanted to make a piece of anti-white propaganda, it would have been easy. But Kaye most certainly wanted to work in the mode of an artist, and this pushed him to probe deeper and look further; he chose to consider angles he could easily have avoided as a mere propagandist. It's like Oliver Stone's egotism as an artist has fueled some remarkable works or, at least, remarkable moments. He was never an admirer of Richard Nixon, but he produced an empathetic portrait of the man that only an artist could have delivered. Stone has pro-black sympathies but was artist enough to show the ugly side of black behavior in PLATOON and especially in BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY where the VA hospital run by blacks is a hell hole. He came to sympathize with the communists in the Vietnam War, but he showed how the Viet Cong could also be brutal and atrocious in HEAVEN AND EARTH.
Oliver Stone is perfectly capable of being a propagandist, as with the insane JFK, a work so over-the-top and contradictory — a paranoid fantasy made with Capraesque earnestness — that it amounted to little more than tabloid-cinema. Sometimes, Stone couldn't make up his mind whether he was an entertainer/sensationalist or artist/investigator. This was especially true of WALL STREET, supposedly a condemnation of Greed but, to any honest observer, a celebration of unfettered egotism. Who cares about Martin Sheen's wooden symbol of the Honest Working Man when Gordon Gekko steals the show from beginning to end? A work about financial fraud that comes closer to art is Scorsese's THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, though its over-the-top comical tone results in something closer to Animal House + Stock Market. Unlike GOODFELLAS that perfectly set the knob between the alluring and the appalling, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET mostly works as an amusement park for vice. (Also, it is dishonest in de-emphasizing the Jewish aspect of the gang of thieves, indeed far more egregious than the pimp not being black in TAXI DRIVER. It just goes to show, even those committed to art must tiptoe around certain matters in any given order with its sacred cows and taboos. It's been said many artistic-inclined Chinese film-makers chose to make works about the hinterland or non-Han ethnicities due to fewer taboos associated with such subjects. HORSE THIEF is a prime example.) A CLOCKWORK ORANGE is another film where the sheer visceral elements overwhelm the theme. For many viewers, Alex was more like a rock star than lowlife punk, and not surprisingly, Mick Jagger was considered for the role.

Now, the cult of the artist spans from conviction to conceit. Because the artist gets more respect than there mere entertainer or propagandist, many in the business strive to be one, if only for vanity-sake. There's more money in entertainment, but your average film-maker would rather be a Kubrick(or even a Tarantino) than a Michael Bay. Ambition says, it's all about the 'motherfuc*ing money', but vanity says it's about respect, and artists(or at least 'auteurs' like Hitchcock) own the veneration.

No wonder Woody Allen and Steven Spielberg aspired to make 'serious' works as well. Allen wanted to be more than a clown or comic. And for all his movie-making magic as entertainer, Spielberg wanted to be the next David Lean(though some would question Lean's credentials as an artist). But then, is the desire to be an artist a matter of virtue or a matter of vanity? Art comes naturally to some people. Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni were no fakers. Scorsese was born to be an artist. Even as a young man devoted to Catholicism, he wanted more than the official dogma. He had to find his own truth and meaning about God and goodness through through the Mean Streets of life. In contrast, Spielberg was a born entertainer. From a young age, he loved fantasy and escapism, and this accounts as to why even his serious works go only so far. Even when Spielberg dons adult glasses, his heart beats with the rhythms of a child. SCHINDLER'S LIST and SAVING PRIVATE RYAN are artful in their brutal depiction of history but almost childlike in their moralism and sentimentality. It's like watching MR. SCHINDLER GOES TO WASHINGTON and SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS FIGHT THE NAZIS. The violence in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN is powerfully authentic and infinitely more brutal than anything featured in the works of John Ford or Sam Fuller, but the emotions are from Norman Rockwell and the Muppet Movie.

There are some people with genuine artistic souls but have an allergy to honesty, or openness. David Mamet is such an artist. He is obsessed with Jewishness but worried about giving the game away with too candid an approach. David Cronenberg is in equal parts natural entertainer and natural artist, but his artistic side shares the same neurosis as Mamet's. He too is obsessively Jewish-centrist but worried that goyim might get the 'wrong idea' if he shows too much. And yet, they turned this limitation into an advantage. They ply their art as games in which the audience must actively participate. Thus, their films are more engaging and provocative. Also, there is plausible deniability as the truth is pieced together by the audience. Mamet and Cronenberg can say the audience came to such-and-such conclusion on their own. In a way, Mamet and Cronenberg are less dishonest than cryptic. Instead of telling lies, they play hide-and-seek, also true to a lesser extent with Stanley Kubrick, especially with THE SHINING. Indeed, one might argue that it is this very hide-and-seek game of clues-about-Jews that make their works more rewarding.

Then, there are fakers posing as artists, and Aaron Sorkin really takes the cake. He has talent, a knack for elevated hackwork. But Sorkin's 'art' is all surface and no substance. His talent is for dressing up propaganda with the look of 'truth', rather like those people who turn plastic into items on the menu. It looks like food but is for the eyes, not the stomach. SOCIAL NETWORK has the look of a serious work about Mark Zuckerberg but is nothing but an apologia for Jewish Power. MARGIN CALL and THE BIG SHORT are similarly phony baloney, 'serious' works for unserious people. Upon closer inspection, they are essentially Jews blaming everyone else for the mess in which they played a prominent role.

On the evidence of AMERICAN HISTORY X, Kaye doesn't seem the out-and-out faker like the Sorkins of the world. Sorkin is actually worse than a honest propagandist who, at the very least, doesn't hide what he's doing. Sorkin, a tribal propagandist in artist's clothing, is a real slimeball who doesn't even have the conceit of an artist. Sorkin operates like Neil Simon in pretense of being another Mamet. He's just a con-man. In contrast, Kaye, though clearly lacking the true conviction of an artist(like Scorsese, Shohei Imamura, Jan Troell, Emir Kusturica, etc.), at the minimum exhibited the conceit of an artist, and that conceit drags him to uncomfortable truths in AMERICAN HISTORY X. Glorifying himself as an artist than mere entertainer or propagandist, Kaye didn't want to fall back on tired PC cliches about 'racism' and skinheads. (Also, it was clever as self-promotion because an overly simplistic movie would have been less controversial, thus less a topic of discussion.) Kaye wanted to show that he at least tried to understand, even empathize. As an artist, he felt an obligation to see the world through eyes of those he loathes. After all, there is good in everyone, and the world isn't made up of angels and demons.

Furthermore, he might have felt that the film would be more convincing and moving if it showed a character struggling to break out of his comfort zone. After all, it's natural for a man in a desert to look for water. He wants to find an oasis. Derek(Edward Norton) feels at home with his skinhead neo-nazi crew. There is a sense of place, a sense of belonging. In a way, they are more his family than his mother is. And yet, Derek must rise above that to attain a higher grace. It's like the final segment of THE LAST TEMPATION OF CHRIST. Jesus on the cross is in a hell of pain and suffering. An 'angel' arrives and offers him respite and relief. Jesus doesn't have to suffer and sacrifice himself for mankind that taunts and jeers at him. He can be a normal Jew with wife and family with a sense of belonging. And yet, at the end, Jesus rejects all that and seeks pain on the cross.
Likewise, for AMERICAN HISTORY X to make sense, one must consider its neo-spiritual element. It is a quasi-christian tale told by a Jew. Derek becomes like a christ-figure who must rise above family and race to stand for the higher truth. Now, why would a Jew do that? Was Kaye the Jew encouraging the deracinating aspect of Christianity on whites? Or, is there a hidden/repressed element within the Jew who dreams for the messiah that can bring an end to the tribal conflicts that have marked Jewish existence from the beginning.
In a way, the white vs black tensions in the L.A. of the film could be a reflection of the Jewish vs Arab/Palestinian conflicts in the Middle East. Many Jews, like neo-nazi skinheads, are totally tribal and territorial. They are Jewzis, and they see the world in terms of us-versus-them and take pride in that. But there is also a side of Jewishness that is deeply troubled by this seemingly never-ending conflict stemming from Jewishness's us-vs-them worldview. Despite all their wealth and power, Jews are outnumbered, and for how long can they carry on with these tribal wars and dirty tricks? On the one hand, Jews hate Jesus as the great traitor. But on the other hand, Jews can't help feeling that they missed the one great opportunity where Jews and Gentiles could have become one people through salvation offered by Jesus. (The second opportunity was with communism that sought to erase distinctions between Jews and gentiles, as among the classes, but in the end, capitalism won out, and rich Jews chose Zionism uber alles.) In a way, the neo-nazi skinheads in the movie represent the worst nightmare of the Jews, but in another way, they could be metaphors for Jews, the much vilified and hated minority. Indeed, Derek sounds more like a white Zionist than a white nazi at times.

Another thing. AMERICAN HISTORY X offered a convenient way for Jews to express their own angers and doubts about blacks. Because of the political/symbolic alliance between Jews and blacks, most Jews toned down their real feelings about black problems. But many Jews have known all along about the blacks. Howard Stern, the Id of the Jewish Community, spoke of how black thugs attacked Jews. From the 1960s to the early 90s, many Jews were victimized by black crime or just plain loutish behavior. Crown Heights mayhem was fresh in the memory of Jews when the movie was made. And the L.A. riots dampened the mood of the new decade. In the 90s, Al Sharpton was still strutting around and howling about 'diamond merchants', and Louis Farrakhan had his Million Man March. Also, many Jews felt blacks were ingrates, and of course, many blacks felt exploited by rich Jews.

But because of the political alliance, Jews couldn't express their anger about blacks as Jews. So, why not make a movie like AMERICAN HISTORY X that offers a no-holds-barred depiction of blacks as the thugs, louts, hoodlums, and punks that they be? But as the movie is about white skinheads vs blacks, these possibly 'racist' views would be white than Jewish even though Jews shared many of the same fears and loathing about blacks. It's like how Jews used Archie Bunker on ALL IN THE FAMLILY. On the one hand, Bunker was a simple-minded bigot, but then, he also said what was on the minds of older Jews in regards to the boomer generation and the 'shvartzes'. But since goy Bunker said it, Jewish prejudices were laundered as 'white goy' bigotry. This way, Jews could have the cake and eat it too. Air their very Jewish grievances but through goy figures who took the blame. Just like 'privatize the profits, socialize the losses', 'spew Jewish rage, blame goy hate'.

Another black figure who pissed off Jews in the 90s was Spike Lee. While many Jewish critics highly praised DO THE RIGHT THING, others were troubled by such an incendiary film set in a city that seemed to be on the edge. Though DTRT doesn't have Jews, it threatened New York(aka Jew York) with riots and mayhem in the name of black rage. (Black and Jewish relations reached a nadir with Mayor Ed Koch's brazen remarks about black criminals as 'animals'. And there was the matter of Bernie Goetz in the mid-80s and the Central Park assault-rape in 1989, the same year DTRT was released.) No wonder Hollywood went with DRIVING MISS DAISY than DTRT for the Oscars in 1989. Spike Lee didn't improve matters with Jews when he praised Louis Farrakhan and featured Jews as swindlers in MO' BETTER BLUES. In the early 90s, NY Jews had enough of blacks and went with Rudy Giuliani than David Dinkins, the first black mayor of NY.
Indeed, there was a reason why Jewish Power favored globo-homo over black interests over the years. Even the presidency of Obama proved a bigger (ba)boon for the 'gay' community. If anything, Jews cleverly used Obama to mute the black community. With a Negro as president, many blacks thought they were winning when all Obama ever did was bend over to Jews and homos and pushed for more mass immigration. At any rate, as long as Obama was the candidate, black vote was overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party, and Jews need not worry. But many black voters stayed home in 2016, and furthermore, Donald Trump was gaining black vote with his anti-immigration-stance and his swagger as the 'first ni**a president'. It was out of this desperation that Jews in 2020 favored BLM over globo-homo to keep blacks reliably on the Democratic side. Another reason why Jews revived black identity politics was out of fear of white populism triggered by Trump and the internet. For Jews, 'America First' and its railings against 'globalism' were code words for 'white people need to break free of Jewish control', and so, Jews decided to ramp up hysteria about 'white supremacism' to suppress white identity and interests. And what better way to attack White Pride than by using the Negro Card because the Narrative have long featured blacks as saintly victims of slavery & Jim Crow and as the Idolatry-Industry have celebrated blacks as top athletes & rappers? But this is now, and things were different then, when AMERICAN HISTORY X was made, a time when many Jews were worried far more about blacks than about whites, most of whom seemed rather restive and apathetic.

Tony Kaye and Spike Lee have one thing in common. The vain desire to be acknowledged as artists(or at least personal 'auteurs'), but when push came to shove, it was more conceit than conviction. DO THE RIGHT THING, for example, has the look and feel of reality but is full of BS on many levels. One scene has every group badmouthing every other group, but in reality, despite all the differences and distrusts among diverse groups, the overwhelming racial tension in NY or any big city is white vs black, brown vs black, yellow vs black, Jewish vs black, Arabs vs black, Hindus vs black, and etc. Even Jews and Arabs get along more peacefully in NY than do Jews with blacks or Arabs with blacks.
As with AMERICAN HISTORY X's empathetic treatment of Derek and skinheads, DTRT shows the human side of the Italian-American pizzeria owner and his sons(though it seems calculated than curious). They are not portrayed as simpleminded goombas or knee-jerk 'racists' and have their own rationales. So, their seemingly jaundiced views aren't entirely without reason, and Lee does show just enough of stupid black behavior to justify the prejudice. But when push comes to shove, Lee is a black tribalist first-and-foremost and sides with Buggin' Out and Radio Raheem when they are clearly the instigators of all that goes wrong. Buggin' Out's complaint that the walls of the pizzeria have pictures of Italian-Americans but no blacks makes about as much sense as a white guy complaining that a black man's rib or chicken joint has pictures of famous black bluesmen and sports stars. And yet, Lee in his interview thinks Buggin' Out has a point, which goes to show the kermitty-the-frog-lookalike-mofo is a real idiot. Lee is no Martin Scorsese. Though Italian-American with a deep feeling for his heritage and community, Scorsese cuts no slack for his kind, nor does he round up the narrative with some pat 'message'. Tony Kaye and Spike Lee do understand what it means to an artist, but it never carries over from conceit to conviction. As such, even as so many gritty details in DTRH and AHX ring true, the over-arching narratives and messages are unconvincing.

Derek is highly intelligent and articulate. He is also a natural leader. With Cameron’s help, he builds up a serious and well-organized skinhead gang.

It's possible that an intelligent man of some talent could be drawn to a movement of such idiocy. People naturally gravitate toward community, and if the only white-conscious one happens to be extreme, what choice is there? Also, it's easy to tower over idiots, which makes Derek's natural leadership qualities even more compelling.
Still, more interesting would be a story about a white-conscious community that isn't extreme or deranged. It's like what Aldous Huxley said in BRAVE NEW WORLD REVISITED: The satire in BRAVE NEW WORLD offered only two extremes, savage authenticity and bogus artificiality with nothing in between. Likewise, movies about white identity tend to offer only two possibilities: 'Anti-racism' and radical racism, as if there's nothing in between. But the example of David Duke shows how white people can overcome this. Duke joined the KKK and dabbled in Neo-Nazism as a young man because he found nothing white-and-proud out there, but he later formulated a new movement of white identity/interests that paved a course generally free of Neo-Nazis and the KKK. And the saner elements of the Alt Right also represented this path. There are also Jared Taylor and Kevin MacDonald. And yet, in the popular imagination, if you aren't a self-loathing white 'gulliberal' who waves BLM and sucks up to Jews, you must be a 'white supremacist', a KKK, a neo-nazi! And AMERICAN HISTORY X, despite its somewhat humanizing portrait of skinheads, falls into the same trap. There is no in-between option, no rational course that balances white identity/interests with respect for other groups. Rather, white identity must be synonymous with racial extremism.
It's like serving a menu where the soup comes icy cold or boiling hot but never warm. Goldilocks option is denied to whites. Unless whites are total self-loathing maggots, aka 'gulliberals' or 'cuckservatives', they are total 'white supremacists'. Sadly, many on the Dissident Right have internalized this dynamics and feel they must go 14/88 to be authentic as proud white folks when, if anything, they've fallen into the Jewish Trap of either/or for whites.

Derek refers to Murray as a “Kabbala-reading motherfucker” and reveals a huge swastika tattoo which he says means “not welcome.”

I wonder if the scene was alluding to the dinner in THE HEARTBREAK KID where the Jewish guy talks about honesty of the cauliflower. It's a powerful scene, and the hurt in Elliott Gould's character is convincing enough. He could be a nice guy, but Derek, so consumed with a race-war worldview, can only see him as The Jew, the enemy. Chances are the man never read the Kabbalah and happens to be a milquetoast secular Jew. And yet, there's a certain truth to Derek's attitude as well. Even though he, his mother, and the Jewish guy all share in the generic Americanism, there is a vast gulf at the deeper level, especially because Jews do have roots whereas most whites don't. Derek seeks to reconnect with roots but sadly connects with poisoned ones. To his mother, the Jewish guy is just another date. And on some level, he is just that, an American who happens to be Jewish.
And yet, even regular Jews are somehow different in their deeper sense of heritage and loyalty, in their stronger sense of grievance. So, in some ways, Derek knows the Jew better than the Jew knows himself. Derek knows that, when push comes to shove, even regular all-American Jews are Jews first and American second. And yet, Derek isn't fully honest about his feelings because, apart from the real animus, there is a certain envy. After all, if whites had a similar sense of roots and heritage, they would not have lost to the Jews. When Jews came to America, they remained Jews first, Americans second; they kept with their deep loyalty. When white Europeans came to America, they became Americans first, Europeans second(or none at all). Jews didn't abandon their Old World ties, white Americans did. But then, European betrayal goes back to the adoption of Christianity. For a Jew to be Jewish means to preserve heritage, memory, identity, and loyalty. For a European to be Christian meant thje rejection of indigenous cultures in favor of a cult of a Jew as Messiah. Furthermore, to be Christian means a white Christian must regard a black Christian, brown Christian, and yellow Christian as more his brother than a white pagan is. Thus, Christianity was the first Americanism that made Europeans reject their own for something Other.


This is why E. Michael Jones and people like Nick Fuentes are foolish to cling to Christianity as the source of Western identity and pride. While a proud white person can be Christian, Christianity must be treated as one's personal ideology than core identity. It's a matter of creed, not breed. Jewishness in contrast is creed wedded to breed. E. Michael Jones faults the Jewish Revolutionary Spirit, and Kevin MacDonald finds problems with the Jewish Culture of Critique, but the problem is less that Jews have them than that goyim lack them, or at least they lack them as their own. Without revolutionary spirit, there is stagnation. Without the culture of critique, there is only dogma and conformism. The problem for the white race isn't the Revolutionary Spirit and Culture of Critique per se but that they've outsourced them to Jews.
Furthermore, is it even true that Jews are somehow unique in this revolutionary spirit? Didn't the Christian West try to revolutionize the whole world by spreading the Gospel to every corner of the planet? If Christianity is anti-revolutionary, why didn't it leave other peoples and cultures alone? Why introduce the Faith into non-Christian lands and try to turn the culture and values upside down? Long before Jews became communists and other kinds of radicals, Christianity in the West and then across the Non-West spread spiritual and social revolutions of far-reaching consequence. Furthermore, perhaps the revolutionary spirit owes more to certain factors in Northern Europe that made both Christians and Jews more bold, restless, aggressive, and impatient. After all, most Christian orders in North Africa and Near East were ultra-conservative and stagnant. And most Jews in the Middle East were hardly like the firebrands Karl Marx and Leon Trotsky. The real revolutionary spirit took off in Western Europe, especially in Northern Italy, France, Germany, and southern Britain.

Since the purpose of this film is to warn us against Derek’s ideas, one wonders what director Kaye and screenwriter David McKenna were thinking.

Yes and no. The film isn't merely an indictment of white 'racist' extremism but of the social conditions that make it fester and grow. To the film's credit, it doesn't shy away from the harsh realities that drive white kids into forming their own gangs. While the message is against white 'racism', it has the courage to admit that hatred doesn't exist in a vacuum. In a world of black and brown tribalism, whites have no choice but to band together, though whites in the film do it in a self-destructive way, though not as much as the fellas in ROMPER STOMPER.
Trevor Lynch is being disingenuous in pretending that Kaye set out to make a simpleminded anti-white and 'anti-racist' propaganda and only accidentally stumbled on some inconvenient truths. No, Kaye set out to make an 'anti-racist' work of art, but the truths dredged up by artistic commitment didn't sit well with the favored narrative. This has long been a problem with scholars who are at once committed to truth and ideology. David Puttnam who wrote BOWLING ALONE set out to gather facts in support of Diversity but arrived at the opposite conclusion, which was painful for him. He was scholar enough to admit his thesis was disproven but ideologue enough to have written another book expressing the hope that Diversity could somehow work. But then, as reality never fully jibes with any single worldview or ideology, there is always bound to be some degree of conflict between what one believes and what one sees(if he has any interest in the truth).

Thus, AMERICAN HISTORY X is partly right, partly wrong. It's true that far-right neo-nazi types of movements in the West have been toxic, useless, and self-destructive. And yet, the film falters in posing only two possibilities: Far-right extremism and wishful hope in the Dream. But why should it be so? It's like there is a middle course between militarism and pacifism, and one doesn't have to be a total hawk or a total dove. In a way, this whole left-vs-right discourse has poisoned the blood politics. The great promise of fascism was the left and right could be fused together constructively, and the early successes of National Socialism were a testament to that. But Adolf Hitler's radical racism destroyed the future.

However, if they are going to present Derek as fearsomely intelligent, then they need to match him with a more capable opponent, and they don’t. This means that Derek Vinyard can win any fair debate, which matters to some movie watchers.

Edward Norton seems to be very smart(though also overly eccentric), but is Derek really fearsomely intelligent? Or does he seem highly intelligent in contrast to the morons he hangs with? Even a hill seems pretty high in the plains. Derek is certainly far above average in IQ, but he doesn't seem to be a genius. And if indeed he was truly smart, he would have seen through the problems of Neo-Nazism on his own. Derek is smart but not smart enough to avoid falling into his own traps of ideological fanaticism and dogmatism. In becoming so hardline based on his rage, he creates his own stupidity instead of advancing an alternative and superior ideology and worldview that rejects both naive Liberalism(& spineless 'conservatism') and far-right nuttery that attracts losers and ne'er-do-wells.
In a way, he seems drawn to the skinhead world because he wants dominance, and it's easy to be a lion among hyenas. If you want to serve, you seek out the superior. If you want to lead, you seek out the inferior. Being the all-too-rare smart 'white nationalist' has gotten to his ego. But worst of all, he doesn't just adopt an extreme ideology but an extremely demented lifestyle of ugliness and degeneracy. In this, the skinheads weren't much different from Antifa, a bunch of druggies and degenerates.

Brooks(Sweeney_ has made a career reading lines in his resonant, well-modulated black man’s voice. But he doesn’t come off as particularly intelligent. Derek’s father Dennis dismisses Sweeney’s pontificating as “nigger bullshit,” impressive only to the witless and gullible. When Sweeney actually argues against Derek, it turns out that dad was right. Sweeney’s arguments are terrible.

Negro Sweeney may be a silly-ass jiver, but what makes a teacher special isn't necessarily his beliefs but his willingness to engage his students, encourage discussion, and provoke argument. So, the reason why Derek is impressed by Sweeney may have less to do with the Negro's brilliance(real or not) but his willingness to at least have a conversation with the 'enemy' that calls him a 'ni**er' behind his back. Today, so many Negroes want the 'conversation' to be monologues. Sweeney, at the very least, is willing to listen to 'racists'.

But Derek is a bit abrasive and autistic about “principles.” The Aryans tire of Derek’s preaching, so one day, their leader forcibly sodomizes him in the shower. This leads Derek to change his whole worldview. But that is just dumb and out of character. Derek keeps getting himself into trouble because he is a stickler for principles.

It's not just about principles but about authority. Prior to his prison term, Derek was always the alpha, and others looked up to him. Being part of the skinhead gang wasn't just about 'principles' but the pride of princehood. Derek spoke, others listened. He gave orders, others followed. They were his disciples. He felt he had the White Pride movement in the palm of his hand. No one among his peers dared to give him lip. He was the head wolf within the pack.
In prison, he continues to see himself as the natural leader, and other whites should look up to him. But he realizes that guys in prison are harder, tougher, older. They are seasoned veterans of thuggery and criminality. If Derek went to prison for over-zealous behavior while foiling a crime, other 'Aryans' are probably there for brazen criminal acts. Derek was a leader of boys and girls on the outside, but he's faced with real men inside the prison. And when he begins to look down on the 'Aryans' as unworthy of his attention, others feel offended and put him in his place. He is ironically made the 'bitch' by fellow whites.

But nothing that has happened challenges his basic principles. Lamont proves only that every group has likable outliers... As for the Aryans: they are not supposed to sell drugs and rape one another. But is it realistic to expect sterling characters in prison? Besides, when people betray their principles, couldn’t that be because the people are bad, not the principles?

All very true, but we have to remember that Derek is an extremist with hardcore view of the races. It all depends on one's starting point. Reality allows for outliers and variances, but Derek developed a fanatical view of the world where whites are his brothers and non-whites are his enemies, pure and simple. Derek began to reject Political Correctness because he came to notice reality for what it was — lots of blacks are scum, and white people have grievances too — , but then he went far beyond noticing reality by creating his own fantastic worldview based on the iron laws of race. He didn't go from social naivete to principled commitment to reality but to a rather delusional iron law of the Aryans vs everyone else, especially the Jews and blacks. And for that reason, it is plausible that he is disillusioned by the behavior of the 'Aryans' in prison and grateful for the Nice Negro. Derek got to hating blacks so much that he was unwilling to admit that not all Negroes are insane bunners.
Also, Lamont, buffoonish as he is, shows that decency isn't really about learning, intelligence, or highfalutin stuff; it's about people connecting on the level of openness and friendship. So, it's not really about 'basketball and pussy' but about being honest and forthright. It's like Zorba the Greek isn't a learned man but wise in instinct. Of course, contra Zorba's argument, it's much easier to see the good-or-bad in a man when peoples have their own nations. It's true that Greeks shouldn't hate all Turks, and vice versa, but it's good for Greeks to have Greece and good for Turks to have Turkey. Nationalism(minus imperialism) is the best means by which people can judge others by their character than skin color or ethnicity. After all, a Greek in Greece feels secure and need not worry about extinction of his people, culture, and land. Greeks and Turks once butchered one another because of the insecurities and anxieties created by the Ottoman Empire.

...it is merely a shaming tactic to liken complaints about white dispossession to blacks blaming the white man for their own failings. It might appeal to an older generation of “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” conservatives, but Derek would see through it. What matters is the question of truth. White dispossession is real. The solution is not to “try harder” in a rigged system but to change the system. Blacks who still fail in a system of objective black privilege can’t blame the system for that. They can only blame themselves.

Not quite. Sweeney is different from most Negroes who only blame whitey(with encouragement from Jews). Sweeney is saying it's not enough for blacks to blame everything on white because of 'muh history'. Blacks as individuals must examine their own behavior and ask what they've done to make the world a better or worse place. And this rule should apply to whites as well. While Derek is right about the social problems caused by blacks and non-whites, his solutions have been lousy. Adopting extremist views, turning hate into a virtue, and reducing the world into a Manicheanism hasn't done anything for him or his crew. Derek's extremism made him blind to even the good things about other races while blinding him to the failures among his own kind.

After all, Derek didn't suffer merely for his ideas. He's not a saintly martyr. He made his own life miserable by adopting a cartoonish view of the world where it all boils down to heroic skinheads vs everyone else. Blacks and Jews didn't make him get a stupid Swastika tattoo on his chest. With his smarts and ability, he could have served his race in more constructive ways, but he chose the lifestyle of a skinhead lout, and this rubs off badly on his younger brother. For all his superior intelligence and leadership qualities, he didn't try to elevate his racial comrades but descended to their level of crude thuggery. Ironically, skinheads are totally 'whigger' material.

...when Sweeney chooses to focus on his individual life rather than questions of social justice, this is not moving from the “wrong questions” to the “right questions.” ...focusing on your own life doesn’t make social problems disappear. It simply distracts you from noticing them. Individualism is just escapism. It is a form of cowardice.

I don't think Sweeney is arguing for individualism. He's not saying focusing on one's individual issues will make larger problems go away. Rather, a better world begins with yourself. So, even if one has a generally low opinion of blacks, it simply wouldn't do to act like a lout and blame the world for it. There are too many things that Derek and his mates do that are self-destructive. And this was certainly true of the Alt Right. True, Jewish Power has done everything it could to destroy white identity and interests, BUT did Richard Spencer and Co. have to indulge in drugs and alcohol and act like louts? Did they have to get together and give Hitler salutes while screaming Sieg Heil? Did Spencer have to mess up his marriage in the most spectacular way? Did Matt Heimbach have to boff his mother-in-law and beat up his father-in-law? What was that? Jerry Springer hour? Does Chris Cantwell have to be a cantaloupe-head? Hating 'ni**ers' is one thing; must so many white-nats act like 'whiggers'? Especially when Jews are out to get you and smear you as a 'white supremacist neo-nazi', how about not acting like cartoonish clowns? If Jews use the rain machine to make you wet, the last thing you want to do is break your own umbrella. But that's just what Spencer, Heimbach, and Cantwell did.

Jordan Peterson, goofy guy that he is, did have a good point about making-your-own-bed. The world has lots of problems, and they won't go away however a good person you try to be on the individual level. That said, making the world a little better has to begin with you. If the world is full of lies, you-as-individual must stop telling lies. Derek was right about the rottenness of race relations in the US, but he made things worse by not only regarding others as crude stereotypes but becoming a crude stereotype, as if to confirm the propaganda of SPLC: "Look, they are nazis!" The best way to combat Jewish supremacism is not to embrace white supremacism but to reject all forms of supremacism and call for a limited nationalism for all peoples.

The movie explains this miracle with a ridiculous deus ex machina: the spindly black buffoon Lamont somehow has enough credibility with the various prison gangs to “protect” Derek.

This is actually far more plausible than people might think. Having been around plenty of Jews and blacks, I know how they think and operate. Blacks are not only about thuggery and apelike behavior, though there's plenty of that. There's a scene in DO THE RIGHT THING where the usually unpleasant Radio Raheem has a soft spot for Mookie(played by Lee). And Mike Tyson, the lout and thug that he is, could break down in tears thinking of Cus D'Amato. So, it's possible that Lamont, a much-liked figure among the blacks, could have asked for favors among the brothas who, out of favor to him, left the white boy alone. Unlikely but far from implausible. It's like the scene in THE KILLING FIELDS where the skilled pleading by Dith Pran with the Khmer Rouge leads to Sydney Schanberg being spared. Things like that do happen. Negroes are craaaazy, but if you know their psychology and treat them like children-who-are-bigger-and-stronger-than-you, you can get along. It's like the meanest nastiest black biatch will melt in your hands if you tell her how she looks so lovely in that weave, shoo. They suddenly go from crazy gorilless to happy gorilless.

Danny gets in trouble when he writes a paper on Mein Kampf for the civil rights portion of Murray’s class on American history.

That is the funniest thing in the movie.

Once Derek is paroled, he does not want to get back into the gang. Instead he wants to get Danny out of it. This is irrational. Derek killed two Crips. They will be seeking revenge. He has a better chance if he has the gang behind him. If he really wants to extract Danny and break with the gang, then he needs to be diplomatic about it.

He did try to be diplomatic and walk away on friendly terms, but things fell apart. The problem is it's not easy to bid farewell to a lifestyle like that. It's like the system keeps calling Deckard back to be blade runner. It's hard to walk away from gang life. It's like a family, a brotherhood. Also, the gang hero-worships him and has no clue as to his transformation in prison. As for the crips being out to get him, if they really were they would have gotten him in jail. Crips, lowlifes that they are, know that Derek didn't kill the blacks in a gang war but in a foiled robbery. It's like the mafia make a distinction between 'business' and 'personal'. Negroes are like that too.
Also, it's not about being rational or irrational but being sensible. Derek has walked away from that life; he's outgrown it, much like Mark Wahlberg folded his career as a rapper. His priority is to save his younger brother from the lifestyle, and he knows they must go Cold Turkey. It's like when Lawrence of Arabia finally calls it quits, it's total and absolute. He's no longer a fellow Arab but a British soldier back on duty.

Also, whatever one thinks of Sweeney, he didn't have to do what he did. But he did it for someone who hates blacks because he believes that, on some level, there is something better inside Derek. So, on that personal level, he owes something to Sweeney who went the extra mile for an enemy.
In a way, it's like the reverse situation of RIDE WITH THE DEVIL. Why does the black guy ride and fight alongside the Confederates even though it's the North that promises freedom for blacks? Because the Negro's master, unlike typical white Southerners, has set him free and treats him as a dear friend. On the personal level, the Negro feel indebted to him even though he would rather be on the other side. Rationally, the Negro should use the first opportunity to run and join the Northern side, but his sense of personal indebtedness to his master/buddy keeps him fighting for the South. He is both grateful and bitter. Their bond of friendship is also like a bondage. And Derek feels similarly about Sweeney. Much of human nature is personal, not rational. Consider the sentimentalism that affects even the Dissident Right, especially among the boomer types. Why are they so incapable of naming the Jew?

Also, Derek's transformation is a testament to the power of pain. What finally breaks Cool Hand Luke in the end? The grueling agony. He simply couldn't take it anymore. Likewise, Derek's transformation owes as much to pain & fear as to better understanding. Thus, it is both noble and ignoble. Through prison experience, he did become wiser and more broadminded. But he also became more fearful and desperate. But then, so many choices we make are not pure but compromised, a blend of courage and cravenness. Take Puyi in THE LAST EMPEROR. He really did change but under considerable duress. The story of Jesus is an outlier because He didn't cave to the pain.

...Danny’s bloody murder in a school bathroom by a Crip. Again, I am not sure what the filmmakers were thinking, but this conclusion does not support their anti-“hate” agenda.

The ending would indicate that AMERICAN HISTORY X is not a simple anti-hate message. It is disturbed by the radical politics of hate but is aware that hate is not a one-way street. There is plenty of black hostility and thuggery. Why not give the film its due in addressing this truth instead of being so incredulous that a propaganda movie subverts its own message? While the film isn't entirely truthful and invokes certain PC shibboleths, it has just enough courage and daring to break free of ideological dogma.

Tragedy of history is that sentiments are rarely in sync. Jean Renoir made THE GRAND ILLUSION as remembrance of the tragedy that was the Great War and as warning against another such conflagration, but Nazi Germany banned the film and embarked on war-footing. So many in UK and France didn't want war, but Hitler regarded their decency or moderation as weakness. Likewise, so many whites wanted to bury the hatchet and be nice to Jews following WWII, but Jews decided to destroy the white race. Sentiments out of sync in history.

AMERICAN HISTORY X ends on a note of tragedy. Derek really did change and tried to turn his brother around, but the immediate world remained as it is, with sun rising in the east and setting in the west. It was the hard lesson learned by the lord in Akira Kuroawa's RAN. As an old man, he'd seen enough battles & bloodbath and wanted to retire peacefully in an orderly world, but war was still raging in the hearts of man. In EXCALIBUR, Uther wants to call it quits and settle down. He's 'weary of battle', but his enemies are ready for more. The ending of AMERICAN HISTORY X is well aware of this ironic tragedy, and it was intentional. It's like when the sun is in the east, the west is dark, and when the sun is in the west, the east is dark. Rarely are humanity and history in sync. The film ought to be lauded for the courage to end that way.

Derek bears some responsibility for his brother’s death: not for exposing him to “hate” but for pulling him out of the gang. As a member of the gang, Danny enjoyed some protection, because the Crips knew that attacking him would lead to retaliation.

Being a member of a gang is a double-edged sword. It can mean protection by your buddies, but it can also mean carrying a target on your back. Notice how blacks who joined the Bloods or Crips had a higher chance of getting killed than blacks who didn't. Same with Mexican gangs. Some may join as a survival strategy, but chances are it will reduce their chances of survival as gang life is about guns and knives, like in WEST SIDE STORY.

Memory will not heal the divisions between blacks and whites in America, because there was no common community before slavery. There is enmity all the way down. Memory only polarizes race relations in America, which in turn polarizes whites against each other.

It all depends on who controls the memory. When proud whites controlled American Historical Memory, there was something for everyone. Anglos and Europeans deserved respect for having conquered and settled North America, creating a great new nation. But American Indians were ennobled in time as brave and worthy warriors who'd put up a courageous war against the white man. Cowboy and Indians were both honored. Black American experience was recognized as one of slavery, struggle, resilience, and color. And yet, White South was also admired for its loyalty, courage in battle, honor code, and its rich heritage. Every group got its due. But then, Jews came along and took control of the Memory and Narrative; the result has been total sacralization of the Negroes and total vilification of whitey, especially Southern whitey.

True, even with white control of memory, blacks were bound to be problematic due to evolution. Having evolved for 100,000s of years in wild Africa teeming with gorillas, rhinos, elephants, hyenas, lions, hippos, cape buffalos, leopards, and wild hogs, blacks evolved to be tough, fast, strong, nasty, wild, and crazy. Black women emphasized butt-shaking, and black men emphasized dong-swinging, and that's why black culture is mostly about the beat and beating up people. What were whites thinking when they imported so many of these black savages? But because blacks were so tough, they could be made to pick lots of cotton and carry big bales on their shoulders. Going was good for whites as long as it lasted.

Even though whites and blacks came to co-exist only relatively recently, there is a strong bond between whites and blacks because whites are so into black-derived music, so admiring of black athleticism, and so into black-buns-and-dongs. White race is into serious jungle fever.
Just consider: Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, Czechs, Slovaks, Serbs, and etc. are all Slavs, but are Poles into Russian culture, are Russians into Polish culture, are Czechs into Serbian culture, are Serbs into Slovak culture? Chances are NO. But I'll bet they're all into rap music and 'twerking'. Or consider Japan, China, and S. Korea. They are all East Asian, but the chances are they don't much care about one another's cultures or histories BUT they are all into worshiping NBA Negroes and imitating rap music. What do UK, France, Holland, Poland, and Germany have in common? Jungle Fever. So, even though whites and blacks are racially different and even though many whites(including 'liberals') don't want to live with lots of Negroes, so many whites, cons and libs, are enamored of the rambunctious Negro. UK cheers for black athletes, France cheers for black athletes, Holland cheers for black athletes, and etc. Because blacks are so good at sports & hollering and because they excite whites with buns & dongs, whites have come to idolize blacks as the magical race, and this idolatry is what most whites have in common across entire continents. An Armenian may know almost nothing about Belgium, and a Belgian may know nothing about Armenia, but the chances are both are into worshiping Negro athletes and shaking their butts to rap music. What does a white Parisian have in common with a white Texan? They are both into black sports and black music. And they both celebrate ACOWW or Afro-Colonization-of-White-Wombs.

The most likely hypothesis is that the filmmakers were just smug. They thought that Derek’s views are self-evidently evil and that their own views are self-evidently good.

Or maybe Trevor Lynch is being a bit smug in thinking the Jewish Tony Kaye simply had no art in him and only propaganda in mind. Rather than seeing AMERICAN HISTORY X as failed propaganda, it makes more sense to see it as failed art. Like some of John Sayles films, it is willing to go further and dig deeper than your average Hollywood movie, BUT it doesn't go quite far enough and falls back on one too many time-worn formulas to fill in the gaps. Thus, it doesn't quite make it as art(which would be something like MY BEAUTIFUL LAUNDRETTE), but the effort, even if half-hearted, is there.

Now, a failed work of propaganda would be Sam Fuller's ludicrous WHITE DOG that doesn't make sense even on its own grounds.

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