17 October 2009

Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World

Wikipedia says that the US punk band (and I would say the best US punk band) Ramones' eponymous album (1976) featured presumably the first references to Nazi themes in punk music. Significantly, these very first references were 'tongue-in-cheek'. One song from the Ramones album is of particular interest to me -

Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World

I'm a shock trooper in a stupor, yes I am
I'm a Nazi schatze, y'know I fight for fatherland
Little German boy
Being pushed around
Little German boy
In a German town
Today your love, tomorrow the world!

Originally, however, the song was titled "I'm a Nazi, Baby" and it started with "I'm a Nazi baby, a Nazi, yes I am". The Ramones' producer insisted the lyrics were changed, but the band turned back to the original lines on live versions of this song (check the 1977 CBGB video). The Ramones' vocalist, the late Joey Ramone, was Jewish, y'know.

The song was covered many times by other bands, most notably Metallica, although there exist even more unusual versions of the song (check, for example, the amateur piano version). Quite recently "Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World" was covered by the US band Cult of Youth, and I consider their version most interesting. The thing is that the Cult of Youth is a "metapolitical fascist" band, so when they play the Ramones' song they actually deprive it of any irony.

If you enlarge the image of this Cult of Youth guy, you will see an element of the tattoo on his left hand. This is a Star of Chaos. Although this symbol originates from Michael Moorcock's fantasy books, it was actually popularised through role-playing games, especially the Warhammer 40K series. It is also interesting that the Star of Chaos is now widely used among the European New Right (who can be considered "metapolitical fascists"), see for example Troy Southgate's Tradition & Revolution forum or Aleksandr Dugin's International Eurasian Movement's web-site.

10 October 2009

Sacred Modernities: Rethinking Modernity in a Post-Secular Age

In September I took part in a really amazing conference organised by Tom Crook (Oxford Brookes University) and Matthew Feldman (University of Northampton) -

Sacred Modernities: Rethinking Modernity in a Post-Secular Age

I think that the topic of the conference, as well as the conference papers themselves, is revealingly indicative of the European academia's endeavours to understand humanity's prospects of spiritual (or "spiritual") development in a world where such terms as "spirituality" and "sacredness" have acquired so many meanings that it is no longer possible to be sure whether a person you are speaking to (in the same language!) agrees on meanings of the words you choose. Hence, the "modernities".

And, yes, the European academia, although there were scholars from the US and Australia. It's the Europeanised world, and the conference was Eurocentric. I don't see any trouble with that really. The call for papers was available for everyone after all.

My paper was on the modern Ukrainian nation that was born during the Orange revolution -

The Feast of Disobedience: Orange Gifts and the Sacred Birth of a Modern Ukrainian Nation

I tried to put aside my "political science expertise", if any, and focus on the ritualistic nature of the Ukrainian "revolution", its development outside the protest activities. The whole conference was recorded by the Academic Service unit of the Backdoor Broadcasting Company that specialises in web-casting academic conferences, symposia, public lectures, workshops and seminars in order to further the dissemination of academic research. So, all the podcasts of the conference papers are freely available through their web-site. Here's a direct link to my paper. I guess it is my only paper in which I did not actually use the word "fascism"! A nice departure, yeah. (Not permanent, of course.)