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Varg in the News Again

Who or what, you ask, is Varg? Varg Vikernes, the most notorious of the Scandinavian black metal musicians who took the ordinary heavy metal fascination with darkness and violence far more seriously than other bands. In an awful lot of metal, there's an element of schtick in the whole thing; sometimes there's a bit of tongue-in-cheek, or just an adolescent desire to shock, not to mention a great deal of macho posturing. The black metal crowd was much more serious, at least a lot of them. They attained great notoriety in the early 1990s when some of them became actively criminal and burned several historic Norwegian churches. Then in 1993 Varg murdered a fellow musician and was sentenced to 21 years in prison. He was released in 2009 after 15 years and moved to France where he lives with his wife and three, soon to be four, children. (See Wikipedia for a great deal of information.)

A week or so ago he and his wife were arrested on suspicion of planning a terrorist massacre. Apparently they were released pretty quickly, but Vikernes is still--if Google's translation of this Norwegian news story is correct--facing charges of violating France's anti-racism laws in writings on his web site. 

He has apparently become a pretty serious racist and nationalist in a very Nazi-like vein: anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, nature-worshipping, pagan-fantasizing. Here's a segment of an interview in which he talks a lot of ahistorical rot about the origins of Christianity, rot which he firmly believes and discusses at great length on his web site.

 

How seriously should one take this sort of thing?--as a social force, I mean. There's no reason to think he himself is not perfectly serious, and the people who comment on his web site seem to. Is it anything more than a handful of cranks blathering on the web? I really don't have any idea. But it doesn't seem far-fetched that these sentiments would strike a chord with a certain number of alienated young people in a Europe dominated by a culturally self-destructive but personally power-seeking elite.

Curious about his music? Try something from this list. "Burzum," by the way, is the word for "darkness" in the Black Speech that Tolkien invented for the orcs. Vikernes for a time used the stage name "Count Grishnakh," which you may remember as the name of an orc soldier. It is difficult to enter into the mind of someone who could read The Lord of the Rings and want to be an orc. 

Comments

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His wife has her own website Atala: A Journey to the Golden Age. That age would be that of the Neanderthal and the cult of the bear.

A lot of the Nordic noir literature so popular now deals with neo-Nazi groups. Perhaps an indication that it is a fairly powerful social force in Scandinavia? And then there's the Golden Dawn political party in Greece.

Oh my goodness--the Forebears--ha. She may be nuttier than her husband, if not as violent.

"Perhaps an indication..." Good question. My first impulse is to assume that such plot devices in movies, tv, and books are mainly an effect of the desire of artists to have a right-wing menace to combat (cf. Margaret Atwood's dreadful Handmaid's Tale). But that's just a conjecture.

Maybe the noir writers are a bit more reality-based than Atwood. Back in 1996, at least, things were looking pretty dicey in Sweden, for example:

Sweden's reputation as one of the most tolerant countries in the world is under threat. Last week King Carl XVI Gustaf joined an appeal for an end to racist violence after extremist groups had tried to prevent distribution of an anti-racist magazine. And an international survey to be published tomorrow says the level of neo-Nazi propaganda is "unique" for a country its size.

The rest of the article is here.

Yeah, Atwood's book is definitely intended as a fantasy, a feminist 1984 or something.

American conservative reporting on Sweden suggests a pretty dangerous undercurrent of violence on the part of large unassimilated Muslim groups in some cities. I'm sure that would assist the Neo-Nazi cause. I wonder what it's like now. 1996 is 15 years back now (hard to believe).

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