Sunday, September 24, 2006

early autumn conquests

William Shirer's biographical account of life in the third reich, or "the life of an Englishman in the press reporting on the Nazi regime's rise to power and rearmament" (alternate title) proved to be entertaining easy reading (1150 pgs), despite providing several stages of disillusionment. As far as I know, it has attained the status of "definitive", but my own ignorance of the subject matter on the whole led me to repeatedly assume that the western invasions, Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, the Nazi occult bureau or Thule society, crematoriums, and other tangents from the story of World War II would somehow assert themselves in the narrative. Instead I found myself reading a highly romanticized account of historical events (days when Hitler looked under the weather, coincidence of an especially dreary day during a failed military rally, calms before the storms in the streets of Berlin, demonic possession not only of Hitler but definitely of Chamberlain, who scribbled the what would become the party's elaborate racial philosophies in a trance like state, not recognizing the voice of his own pen upon waking) most of which have guided popular opinion for decades. Though the narrative never strayed from matters of the reich, via the author's background the story's concerns become those of Britian - degradation of a naive Chamerlain, Churchill's foresight, strength of British navy, role as the world's superpower, extent of its empire, etc. I would have enjoyed a few chapters on the Nuremberg trials, views of the regime abroad......well I would have enjoyed a different book, but no such book exists. Anything more comprehensive than Shirer's account would suffer from hindsight, lack of first person accounts, or dilution of detail necessary to cover all bases. Of course I'm glad to have read it; fundamental Christianity's negligence in taking account of worldwide atrocities (as anything other than precursors to the events that will take place under Antichrist) fascinates me....but more on that when I finish "A Postmodern Revelation".

Following a breadcrumb trail left by Grant Morrison, Philip K Dick, Borges, and James Joyce I arrived at Flann O'Brian. What is it with the Irish? Circular narratives set in inescapable least this one is a comedy, populated by obese policeman with names like Inspector O'Corky, MacCruiskeen, and Fox. Hell's mechinations are guided (in either affirmation or contradiction of) the philosophies of de Selby, the book's insane prophet, an idiot savant who fills the protagonist and the reader's heads with one disgusting paradox after another......I can see de Selby as the father figure in the heavens in conjunction with the policemen, hell's archdemons, proving that making any distinction between the forces of good and evil is an improper reaction to their battle, which only drives everyone insane. But at least it's amusing.