Apocalyptic Rhetoric in “The Turner Diaries”

One of the points of contention during the discussion for “Colossus: The Forbin Project” was whether the movie explored a realistic fear of the dangers of technology or whether the sci-fi trope of computers gone wild was merely a lens through which to examine the human condition. In our class, for example, we focus less on the actual details of the apocalypse in the various media we study and more on what apocalyptic belief reveals about human fears and anxieties. I found that sort of critical detachment not only useful, but necessary while reading The Turner Diaries. I know that there is an idiom along the lines of forewarned is forearmed, but I still wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of racist ideology. I have never before been exposed to unfiltered extreme right wing rhetoric and I never realized how deep the hatred cuts.

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Apocalypse through the Decades

On Friday night, I saw the movie Miracle Mile at the Doomsday Festival.  The film was as much a meditation on the 1980s and Los Angeles as on the end times through the deployment of nuclear bombs, but that the film was dated, with a bit of campiness accompanying its attempts at creating a sense of apocalyptic urgency, made it much more enjoyable to watch, and in a way, made it easier to see the same sort of thinking alive in the present moment as for Angelenos gripped in terror of impending nuclear destruction. Continue reading

Trigger-happy Humans

The Turner Diaries offers a unique perspective in comparison to the other apocalyptic stories we’ve read/watched thus far. Written as several journal entries, it brings us directly into the mind of a fundamentalist, Earl, who serves as our only biased source of information. This piece of historical fiction seems much like what a delusional, racist, paranoid fundamentalist would have imagined would result from the Civil Rights Movement – an apocalypse. Continue reading

Rabbit-Frogs and Lukewarm Christians

Well, I can’t say I wasn’t warned about the Turner Diaries. From the introduction of the book to discussions in class, we were all sufficiently cautioned about the hatred that pervades the text. Nonetheless, it is still an important piece to analyze and what do you know? There is apocalyptic thought woven throughout. Continue reading

Paranoid Progression

The Turner Diaries offers truly fascinating, though incredibly difficult to imagine, insight into the dissociated and dualistic mind of a paranoid, fundamentalist. From the beginning of the novel it is evident that religious thought is working underneath what looks like an entirely politically themed plot. As I neared the end of the first section of the novel, I was actually very surprised at how completely religious the book began to sound. As Earl becomes more immersed in his role for the Organization we see the story shift from that of an impassioned bigot into the story of a fundamentalist soldier for the “army of God,” in his case the “army” for the Organization/Order. Continue reading

From Page to Screen

The Turner Diaries, by Andrew Macdonald, and the film, “The Forbin Project” offer insight into a unique apocalyptic experience. They deal with controversial issues, which can have consequences of epic proportions, as we later learn. I find that the controversy excites very narrowly defined extremes, and it is these exact ramifications that encompass the truth and individuality consistent with apocalyptic nature.
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Urban Apocalypse

Both this week and last, images of the city as a place of apocalypse are ideas which have been perhaps most provocative to me.  In both Watchmen and Children of Men, the city is the site of the apocalypse at its greatest (worst?) expression; it is in the confines of the urban environment that these secular apocalypses are to be most feared, and it is the escape from the city that can provide an escape from apocalypse, or at least the worst conditions of it.  Why the urban space is the place best fitted for a secular apocalypse is something that has troubled me: is it because the urban space is inherently crowded, or perhaps because technology, and the use of such, seems at its greatest presence in the city?  Or does it play on notions of the person of the city dweller, as already occupying the role of the other, the modern who has strayed too far from tradition (in whatever context that may be). Continue reading

Sexuality at the End of the World

A few years ago, when I watched 28 Days Later for the first time, it was the DVD version, which included several alternative endings, including one that the director intended to be the original ending but which was replaced because it was considered too bleak (you can watch it here in terrible youtube quality). Unlike the ending which made it past the editorial chopping block, the original ending showed Jim dying in the abandoned hospital after Selena fails to save him, and Selena and Hannah walking down a hallway, away from Jim into their uncertain future. It is in stark contrast to the ending that was shown in theaters, which showed Jim, Selena, and Hannah waiting for rescue in relative safety, implying that there was hope for survival, even renewal through the romantic relationship between Jim and Selena.

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Gender Roles: Ambiguous and Traditional

While watching Children of Men, Apocalypto, and 28 Days Later, I was drawn to the role that women played in each of the post-apocalyptic scenarios. I first questioned in Children of Men why the women were made infertile and the men were not. In Apocalypto, I compared Seven to Kee from Children of Men, both of whom offered hope from their pregnancies. In 28 Days Later, Selena is an independent survivor who, at first, seems like more of the traditional hero-type than anyone else. As Professor Quinby points out her essay, these empowered female characters completely contrast the roles of women in traditional apocalyptic myth and create a certain ambiguity in the distinction between masculine and feminine in terms of the traditional romance (2). However, though these gender roles are blurred during ensuing apocalyptic chaos, the hope of salvation does not seem to fully arise until traditional gender roles are reassigned. Continue reading