Is Frank Miller a Crypto-New atheist? A Fascist? After all, he uses the label ‘rapist’ interchageably to label all protest or opposition.
That’s neo-syncretism* in action!
“‘Occupy’ is nothing but a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists, an unruly mob, fed by Woodstock-era nostalgia and putrid false righteousness,” Miller wrote in a blog entry last week. “These clowns can do nothing but harm America,”
Miller, once believed that ‘if you give corporations an inch, they will take a mile’, and even used the proverb on his book covers. For a man who has gained notoriety by fighting corporations via the medium of comic books, and film, he is apparently a different person in real life–or does life imitate art, and in fact, his comic book persona is the real Frank Miller?
Miller writes at his blog-cum-fascist-propaganda disseminating tool:
The “Occupy” movement, whether displaying itself on Wall Street or in the streets of Oakland (which has, with unspeakable cowardice, embraced it) is anything but an exercise of our blessed First Amendment. “Occupy” is nothing but a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists, an unruly mob, fed by Woodstock-era nostalgia and putrid false righteousness. These clowns can do nothing but harm America.
“Occupy” is nothing short of a clumsy, poorly-expressed attempt at anarchy, to the extent that the “movement” – HAH! Some “movement”, except if the word “bowel” is attached – is anything more than an ugly fashion statement by a bunch of iPhone, iPad wielding spoiled brats who should stop getting in the way of working people and find jobs for themselves.
This is no popular uprising. This is garbage. And goodness knows they’re spewing their garbage – both politically and physically – every which way they can find.”
But Frank’s commenters aren’t having any of it, and in fact, some of them are downright pissed.
Dan Calvisi, a screenwriter, aptly notes that Miller is a hypocrite, and a bully who has forgotten where he comes from. He writes that the war on terror has come home in a way that was unpredictable–Americans enforcing a moral code of silence–against each other!
“So how should the rest of us fight terror?” He asks.
Oh, right, by not rocking the boat. Never complaining, just stewing in our anger and writing angry screeds online and in comic books. Gettin’ the ol’ job done, aren’t we, Frank?[…]
“Remember the Frank Miller who donated to groups that supported creator-owned companies? The guy who printed “Give ’em an inch, they’ll take a Mile” in big bold letters on the back cover of one of his books? He was talking about CORPORATIONS, not big government. “
Today, Everywhere you look, crypto-fascists are slipping into every internet dialogue–but you would never know it, until it is too late, because their main selling point is the outwardly noble idea of building an online “community,” around an emerging syncretic use of the meme that ‘rapists are everywhere!”
To fascists, if you are not ‘with them’ you are ‘against them,’ because fascism feeds on the primacy of fear, and eats everything in front of them in real time here and now, forgetting what lies down the road, or what seeds their boots are marching over–seeds that were planted in the not too distant past.
Fascists are like locusts, or as in Millers own artwork, flying dogs masquerading as superheroes. And in their minds, they actually believe they are the good guys–and they work hard to get you to buy-in to that message. They want that message in your mind.
But in the world of comic books,and the internet, sometimes the opposite is true of any character. The ‘good’ guy is the bad guy and …?
That sounds reasonable enough, possible for most of us doesn’t it? But there is nothing reasonable about the methods they all choose to sell these messages: while community for some, means walking outside butt naked to get the newspaper, for others, it means having it delivered to their office.
So what harm is there when one group builds community by walking around naked, and the other does it by upholding privacy or power? Either way, trapped as they are in dualism, it seems they all forget that some others only use the newspaper as a temporary shelter to cover themselves while sleeping on bus benches…
Never mind the American political system in real life that frames everything in dualistic terms of a right and a left, white and black, male and female, gay or straight, as each ‘side’ seeks what they think is moral high ground. Fascism is an equal opportunity hate movement that exploits differences, and conflates meaning, because fascism is, at its root, syncretic, and unapologetic about it.
Frank Miller clip called ” Girls”. The world, and women are black and white to Miller
What defines fascism is that it is a unifying force that attempts to define a sense of community based on ‘us versus them mentality’ that precludes, negates, and actively discourages conversation, while ‘electing’ populist leaders; and actively seeks to silence alternative viewpoints with brute thuggery, usually directed at the poor, the marginalized, the homeless, the carpet baggers, and especially, those who don’t pick up an axe when told to do so.
Discussion is meaningless without context, and no conversation is context free– except the one where you dehumanize or otherwise stigmatize a participant or a group of them. Attempting to silence a participant, has such an effect, but stigmatizing can be much greater, in both the long and the short term, because the axe of fascism hides behind community. And dualism of religion, like fascism relies on black and white narratives.
Yet history shows us that movements which resort to such tactics are often short lived themselves–and populism, with it’s ‘chosen’ leaders who most often speak syncretic ‘newspeak’, often end where they started–nowhere, and everywhere you look, as figureheads who will be ridiculed long after the movements they attempted fail, leaving a trail of actual harms that they have caused.
The root of Fascism is only as deep or elusive as your own day to day decisions within ‘your community’.
While many have tried, none have succeeded in fully describing or identifying the essential conditon of fascism. Or, for my point here, the essential pre-condition. What is this essential condition that enables the creation of communities that for whatever reason rise and fall on the merits of such ideologies as fascism?
I would like to suggest that the exclusive pre-condition for fascism to take root is that one has a right, a duty, or even, an obligation to enforce syncretism of beliefs , and the commitment to that expression of sentiment is prized above all.
Umberto Eco struggled with that definitional problem, and decided that there is not one defining character trait so much as a collusion of traits, but that of the 14 that he identified, only one condition need be met to allow the other conditions to coagulate around it.
A few features and group wide character traits and that I find useful from Eco are “Disagreement Is Treason“, “Selective Populism“, “Obsession with a Plot“ and the hyping-up of an enemy threat, and especially pertinent to my subject, “The Cult of Action for Action’s Sake.” These apply to the current situation, and Miller as well, if we view him as a real person, rather than a cartoon.
Marxist’s suggest ( as Marxists always do) that fascism is a right wing thing, that has a distinct tendency to ‘smash the working classes,’ and is marked by an authoritarian rule, and totalitarian policies. Also, they generally would not agree with the statement that “America is a fascist country” despite mountains of evidence to the contrary in recent decades.
Amadeo Bordiga disagrees with the mainstream socialist version, and posits that fascism is just unexceptional, bourgeois rule, doing the sort of things that the middle classes do to gain, or maintain power.
And, most presciently and quite famously, George Orwell ( himself almost a cliche’ in such discussions) said that the word fascism and the word bully could easily be used in place of the other in any dialogue, because it had lost it’s currency as a meaningful symbol in a discussion.
So where does that leave us? where does that leave my opinion about Frank Miller if we can’t call him a fascist? He is not wrong that a certain percentage of 99%er’s are just there for something to do–taking action for actions sake. And maybe he is just kidding around. But I think he is wrong on so many other levels.
I think the best place to start is to say that Millers own work is almost to a fault, bleak,dystopian, and short-sighted, especially his view of women, all of whom conform to some form or another of the beauty myth.Films almost dark and foreboding to the point it leaves you depressed after a viewing ( Sin City). Miller himself; his views of the world, and the women in that world are reductionist, and syncretic as well.
Yet I like to believe that a better world is possible. And that a more fair minded community is possible as well. So do the 99% ‘s.
And in my mind, anyone who would disagree with that statement could be called a fascist–but that would be an inaccurate representation of the word because Miller doesn’t speak for anyone but himself. He is an individual with an opinion, albeit a potentially influential one.
But using the word that way dulls our collective ability to see actual fascism in action, taking actual action against others–because the fascists require a community of like minded ‘individuals,’ and then, they require a ‘popular leader’ who sanctions such activity. Those are the ones to watch out for, because by definition, fascists believe that they are ‘all one, only when they are united.’
So while the term fascism might be passe’ it is not less pertinent. It’s just taken a beating as a useful term. And the fact that the dualistic paradigms are currently in a bloody competition to co-opt or blame each other, and each defile each others right to speak, and some amongst them take actions that mirror what Marxists called the right wing, it doesn’t make them any more or less right–it makes them both sound more ‘dumbed down’ by the minute, more factually incorrect, more historically revisionist; more academically fraudulent, and more thuggish by their actions.
So, at the root, syncretic is a better word that describes this set of actions–this tendency to attempt to oversimplify, and merge competing ideologies is syncretic by definition; and then, to demonize and dehumanize legitimate protest on both sides of the cultural divide to the point where you are willing to violate another’s sense of community is as Eco pointed out, ur-fascism. But perhaps, because their are other factors at oplay in the current dynamic, by both sides in the discussion, neo-syncreticism probably more accurately describes the emerging dynamics.
Add to that the idea of a dumbed down community that acts only on instructions of ‘authorities’; add willing subscribers to sound bytes mixed with dogma’s and ideologies or new theologies, healthy portions of cyber-space, splattered with cyber revenue, and associated profits of fame, and you have another word that could be added to make a phrase. Then, add to that a willingness–a desperation almost to destroy community as much as to build it, and you have a sum total phrase: neo-syncretic capitalism.
And even though on the surface they are not actively a fascist movement–yet– these syncretics ARE steeped in hypocrisy, eagerly dispensing soundbytes, and winning over the short attention spans of men like Frank Miller, because, ironically, no matter how far to the right his dismissive statements of legitimate protest are? He is fully synchronized with the new-atheists, feminists, and the police state in the unified call that all protesters are rapists.
It looks like we only have an inch or two to go before the circle is completed–look at the new boss! Same as the old boss! and the new religion takes over the old one. But I won’t wait around: I have my own scripts to write, and they’re full of grey area.
- Frank Miller slams Occupy Wall Street, becomes a parody of himself [Frank Miller] (io9.com)
- Comic genius Frank Miller on #Occupy (tigerhawk.blogspot.com)
- Frank Miller, Losing His Mind, Occupy Wall Street and My Thoughts (graphicpolicy.com)
- Frank Miller posts idiotic, reactionary rant about Occupy Wall Street (dangerousminds.net)
- An improv lesson in moving forward that Frank Miller really needs to learn (talkinreckless.com)
- Frank Miller Criticizes Occupy Wall Street (buzzfeed.com)
- Occupy Wall Street Reaction of the Day (geeks.thedailywh.at)
- Occupy Sin City (slog.thestranger.com)