Radix Journal

Radix Journal

A radical journal

Author: Jerome Schmitt

Nostalgia, Nationalism & Woody Allen

Nostalgia is the great opium den of Nationalist circles where many bright and energetic minds in dissident politics go to escape modernity and embark on a quest of contemplation and…

Nostalgia is the great opium den of Nationalist circles where many bright and energetic minds in dissident politics go to escape modernity and embark on a quest of contemplation and yearning for what “could have been”. Is this something that can be fully separated from radicals in our movement? Maybe not completely, however, just like the addict in the opium den, so too, are nationalists being consumed in reverie over any time period that they never lived in, and in place of progression is a great wheat field image induced stagnation that breeds depression and resentment.

Third position ideas do require reflection on our past, which can justifiably create immense admiration, but if only for the purpose of moving forward. Jewish Filmmaker Woody Allen, seems to understand the negative effects of nostalgia and seemingly gifts us with his 2011 film, Midnight In Paris. A film that displays how this trance-like state of yearning for the past can seriously complicate your present. The only problem is Allen, I feel, is speaking to a very specific audience and that audience is us. Thus, he is careful to not encourage us too much and, as you will read below, I believe he has a more nefarious purpose for this messaging.


OVERVIEW OF MIDNIGHT IN PARIS

 Midnight in Paris, written and directed by Woody Allen, is a quirky tale of a screenwriter seemingly at an impasse. Gil Pender (Owen Wilson), is vacationing in Paris with his fiancee, Inez (Rachel McAdams) and her parents John and Helen. As we can see right off the bat, Gil and Inez couldn’t be more different than one another. Gil is very lackadaisical while Inez is explicitly high maintenance and intense. Inez’s parents have nothing but disdain for Gil and his ostensibly aloof and unserious personality. Gil is almost finished with his first novel about a man working in a nostalgia shop. Inez is not impressed or encouraging with this novel and wishes he would stick to screenwriting due to to his success in Hollywood. Inez is also annoyed at Gils’ insistence that they should live in Paris indefinitely due to his nostalgic euphoria over the Paris of the 1920’s.

Paul, who is a friend of Inez, and his wife happen to be in Paris at the same time as them. She admits to Gil she had a “crush” on Paul in college to which a clearly jealous Gil describes him as “Pedantic” and “Pseudo-intellectual”. Inez is clearly infatuated with Paul while Gil cannot stand him. Paul is a very dapper man who speaks with confidence and with every chance he gets, he tries to be the smartest man in the room. Even when he is contradicted by a tour guide about the artist Rodin and his tryst with his wife and mistress, Paul will not relent and keeps insisting he is right (and as the viewer can find out if they look into the life of Rodin, the tour guide was correct).

Gil and Inez have a night of drinking with Paul and his wife until Gil opts for a walk around the city of Paris alone to take the city it all in while Inez leaves with Paul and his wife in a taxi. Gil stops on his walk to figure out where he is exactly and as soon as the clock strikes midnight, a 1920’s vehicle pulls up in front of Gil. The passengers, also dressed from the 20’s, invite him to join them. It is at this point Gil is transported back in time to what he sees as the Golden Age of Paris. The 1920’s. This allows for an entertaining list of famous characters from the time to enter the plot such as Ernest Hemingway, Salvador Dali, Luis Bunuel, Cole Porter, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and more.

Every night Gil transports himself back in time to meet all these artistic giants of the 20th century while his wife spends her time with Paul and, supposedly, his wife. After Hemingway brings Gil to Gertrude Stein’s flat so that he may have his novel analyzed, he meets Adriana (Marianne Cotillard). They have an instant connection and Gil becomes conflicted with this new flame that he has in the past and his current fiancee.

After visiting an Antique vendor in the present day, he finds Adriana’s diary where she has written a passage about her love for Gil. This encourages him to go back in time once more so that they may communicate their feelings for one another. They do so,and as they kiss at midnight, a horse drawn carriage pulls up in front of them and a well dressed couple invites them in. They are then transported to the 1890’s which is the true Golden Age, according to Adriana. After she is offered a job to make costumes for the theater, she decides to stay but Gil cannot. He realizes that everybody is bored with the age in which they live and they won’t find their meaning by going back. He decides the present is where he should remain and they choose to part.

Once in the present, Gil realizes Inez may be cheating on him with Paul (a discovery made by Hemingway after he reads Gil’s novel; Gertrude Stein then relates to Gil that Hemingway could not believe the protagonist did not see his fiancee was having an affair right before his eyes with “the pedantic one”) and when he confronts her, she admits to doing so but that he needs to just “get over it”. Gil seems rather pleased and takes this moment to tell her he will stay in Paris and they are not right for one another. In the end, we see Gil walking, yet again, through the city of Paris and at midnight he bumps into a young beautiful antique vendor he met earlier in the film. They walk off together through the streets, in the rain, which is where Gil always felt happiest.


WOODY ALLEN & THE ARYAN

 What does this film mean, and more importantly, what does it mean for nationalists? In a way, Allen is giving an honest critique of reactionary thought. Not living in the now and spending ones time only in the past can produce untold unhappiness in the present. Gil is frustrated with how he is presently living. He dreams of a before time when to him everything was great. We see this many a time in politics. For a typical Republican, perhaps it’s America in the 50’s. To some 1930s Europe. To others medieval times and there are even those that believe that in the days of cavemen things were far more ideal. Which ever time one finds themselves pining for, Allen is telling the viewer that it is the present we should be focused in but how exactly is he portraying the present?

The film opens with a series of static shots that appear almost like paintings to display the very best of Paris. Throughout the film, the city is always ever present as another character in the story. While indeed very inspiring and breathtaking, it is obvious Woody Allen has only picked very select parts of the city. What we know of Paris today is that it is a shell of its former self. Even in 2011, during the films release, migrant hell holes burrowed their way into the city along with the trash that covers the streets. Culture in Paris is waning and the very best parts of the city are only preserved for the sake of tourism and not for the French soul. I doubt Allen is ignorant to any this. Quite the opposite. I believe this was a calculated decision on his part to ensure that we don’t spend much time in the past but to also accept our present as being more than sufficient, therefore we have no need to look to our future. As Nationalists, we are inspired by our past which Allen is more than aware, and as I’ve stated before we take elements from our Golden Age (whenever that may be) so that we may apply it to our lives in order to create a different future than the one that has been currently decided for us. Allen is careful to not encourage us too much. He wants you to stay forever in the present and to imprison your passion within the confines of a “this is good enough” type of attitude.

How do we know Allen is speaking to us? Some subtle clues in his body of work, as well as Midnight in Paris specifically, give us an indication of who he is speaking to. One of the ways we can find these clues is through name recognition which you can learn through the work of Mark Brahmin and his work in Jewish Esoteric Moralization also known as JEM. Many Jewish filmmakers pick very specific names in order to indicate who is an “Aryan” and who is a “Jew”. Gil can be translated to a few different meanings. Foolish, simpleton, and happy (which can hint at a happiness out of ignorance) are among those meanings which makes sense when you view this blonde and blue eyed character in the film. JEM often portrays the Aryan figure as gullible and generally oblivious.

It’s not that Gil is an ignorant man by any means it is more that he is a bit unaware of his surroundings and can be easily manipulated. Two women in his life that are Jewish signifiers, Inez (Who’s father is a Jewish figure named John who is also a neocon) and Adriana (meaning black, which is a Jewish signifier), merely have Gil around for their temporary entertainment. Adriana, for example, writes in her diary that her reasons for loving Gil are that he is “naive and unassuming”. Paul Bates, being short for Bartholomew which is a Jewish signifier, even cuckolds Gil. The Jewish figure steals the Aryans woman away from him.

While there are several symbols and other names that we can delve into, the point is that Allen is giving, in my opinion, a direct message to the “goy”. Jews are very fearful of an inspired Aryan people which may lead to uprisings as we have seen in the past. Since film is possibly the most versatile art form in history, it would behoove one such as Woody Allen to not only entertain his audience but to also influence them in a way that he feels benefits him through subversive means.


CONCLUSION

Nostalgia, while being quite natural, can be a trap. Gil experienced this well enough. While its aroma can be alluring, it has been the great motivator of inaction among Nationalists currently. I cannot emphasize enough that we can, and should, look to days gone by to find inspiration and ideas that we can use or even update to create a future. But A movement must have vision. Vision requires forward thinking. There is no return to tradition and Nostalgia is by no means meant to be our end goal.

Midnight in Paris interested me because on one hand Woody Allen is acting as if he is giving us good advice on this matter. On the other hand, making sure we are stopped in our tracks. This is one of many ways our opposition tries to control us. The film is well done, entertaining, and quite funny. With that being said, Allen wishes to make you feel like you are progressing while in reality keeping you in a perpetual hamster wheel. It is all too Caducean. We need to spot this effect in every aspect of our lives. We need to break free of not only the prison our opposition has created for us but the one that we, as nationalists, construct for ourselves. Move forward. Not backward.

 

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Death by Modernity: Michael Haneke’s “The Seventh Continent”

What should one do when they feel dead on the inside? When yesterday, today, and tomorrow all bleed into one another and when society ceases to provide any kind of…

What should one do when they feel dead on the inside? When yesterday, today, and tomorrow all bleed into one another and when society ceases to provide any kind of meaning?

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