As published at Unz Review, 3/23/19:
Eileen Neff was my professor at the Philadelphia College of Art, and we became friends and even did coke together, though just once. In January, Eileen emailed to ask if I would consider writing a piece about Walt Whitman for the American Poetry Review, where she is a board member. Its late editor, Stephen Berg, was a mutual friend, and we had many drinking bouts together, fondly remembered, and by Steve too, I’m sure, whether he’s lounging in a heavenly or hellish sphere.
I answered Eileen, “I’ve moved back to Vietnam, spent much of last year here. I'm now working as a foreman in my brother in law's plastic recycling plant, in a small, dusty village no one in their right mind would visit [...] With my new life and mindset, I'm not sure I can say much about Whitman for APR.”
Earlier this month, the Brooklyn Public Library invited me to be on a panel, discussing Walt Whitman, for the 200th anniversary of his birth was coming up. The honorarium would be $500, not great, but acceptable if I was still in Philadelphia, a short train ride away. Plus, I would not have wasted a chance to talk about Whitman in Brooklyn.
I responded, “Many thanks for your interest, but I’m now living in Ea Kly, Vietnam, and working in a plastic recycling plant. Literally a world away, the American poetry scene is completely alien to me, and I no longer have any interest in it,” and that’s the truth, for I have stopped reading American poems nearly a decade ago, at exactly the same time I decided to write essays on society and politics.
I did add, “When people remember the US five hundred years from now, they’ll cite Whitman as our pyramids. He’s by far our greatest poet. He remains my inspiration, though I only write poems in Vietnamese now,” and I am working on a cycle of poems about Ea Kly, my new home. I’ve always believed in being a homeboy. If all goes well, I should have a new book by year’s end, published in Saigon.
Reaching out to me, the American Poetry Review and Brooklyn Library clearly haven’t gotten the news that I’m a racist, anti-Semitic, Neo-Nazi Fascist, as concluded by many woke American poets, some of them my erstwhile friends. Chax Press, for example, decided to cancel the publication of my Collected Poems, just as it was about to go to the printer, though all of these poems had already been published, mostly by Chax Press itself. It’s understandable. As a long-time professor, Charles Alexander can’t risk losing his income by being associated with a pariah. The woke mob would hound Charles from his ivory tower, just as they would shout me down at the Brooklyn Library, assuming the invitation hadn’t been rescinded.
My biggest thought crime was penning “Blacks, Jews and You,” in which I discussed racial differences, black crime, Jewish power and, most heretically, mocked the official Holocaust narrative. I stand by every word. Before this, however, I had repeatedly called for the erasure of Israel, a racist, Fascist state found and maintained by endless terror and war. Clearly, I was becoming très trief in the eyes of the American academy and media, and that’s why my Postcards from the End of America got exactly one major review, a smear job in the Washington Post.
Kudos to Chris Hedges for blurbing my book, then interviewing me on Russia Today. The Pulitzer-winner had nothing to gain, but then Hedges had already been fired from the New York Times, and even prevented from speaking at UPenn, by Jews. Surely, Hedges knows about Jewish power.
Hedges has written quite a bit about how enthralled we are to illusions and pseudo-events, a make believe universe of distortions and lies that has removed us from reality. The mass produced images are the virtual bricks of this faux cosmos, and it all started with photography, invented during Whitman’s lifetime. Inspired by photography, Whitman strived to become just as lustful, undiscriminating and democratic, so that he could record pretty much the entire world, though in real life, he only got as far as Toronto and New Orleans. Unlike Hawthorne, Melville or Twain, Whitman never left North America.
“I hear from the Mussulman mosque the muezzin calling, / I see the worshippers within, nor form nor sermon, argument nor word, / But silent, strange, devout, rais’d, glowing heads, ecstatic faces.”
Writing as if he had been there, done that, Whitman did not try to deceive, but seduce us into wanting to embrace more, everything in fact, except that, as has amply been borne out, what we usually get are just photos, endless photos.
Sensing this coming trap, Whitman did warn, “Poet! beware lest your poems are made in the spirit that comes from the study of pictures of things and not from the spirit that comes from the contact with real things themselves.”
It seems too late, for we’re now not just relentlessly fed, but addicted to everything that’s unreal, fake or indirect, so that we can avoid undressed, pungent or complicated reality. If there’s anything authentic left in this world of come ons, sound bites, staged elections, false flags, elaborate hoaxes, trumped up issues, buried crises, cardboard mavens, disappeared voices, pretend dissidents, silicone boobs, virtual sex, posers and cross dressers, I had a hard time finding it, and that’s why I’m glad to be in this global backwater, where folks are much less mesmerized by Hollywood, New York and Washington.
So who are the main architects of our false reality? Focusing just on Israel’s crimes against Muslims, Ilhan Omar charged that “Israel has hypnotized the world,” but the lady has been forced to backtrack and apologize, while citing her susceptibility to an “anti-semitic trope,” as if it’s a contagious disease. If you have any negative assessment of Jews, you’ve come down with an evil trope, and must seek help immediately, but if you’re seething with genocidal thoughts against whites or non-swishy men, you’re finally woke! We haven’t had such a straight talking politician since Cynthia McKinney, but Omar will be similarly disappeared if she doesn’t Jew up.
Luckily, we have Kevin Barrett to elaborate on Omar’s, uh, trope, “it is obvious that Jewish elites have played an outsize role in the discovery and manipulation the unconscious mind. Sigmund Freud’s discovery of the unconscious was weaponized by his nephew Edward Bernays and transformed into what is euphemistically known as ‘public relations,’ many aspects of which involve the direct manipulation of the unconscious in a process reminiscent of mass hypnosis.” The first victims of this brainwashing, Barrett reminds us, are low level Jews.
Also at Unz Review this month, we have Ron Unz writing about the Jewish role behind internet censorship. Exposing this, Unz also points out that the Anti-Defamation League “was founded with the central mission of ensuring that no wealthy and powerful Jew ever suffered punishment for the rape and murder of a young Christian girl, nor for trying to orchestrate the lynching of innocent black men in order to cover his own guilt.” Ron must be one of those self-hating Jews I’ve heard so much about, or maybe he’s just intellectually honest.
Counting Seneca, Aquinas, Chaucer, Luther, Marlowe, Bacon, Shakespeare, Voltaire, Diderot, Hawthorne, Kant, Schopenhauer, Heidegger, Dostoevsky, Eliot, Pound, Celine and Solzhenitsyn, many of the best minds in Western civilization have been afflicted with this unfortunate trope, so one must conclude that Western civilization is gravely diseased, and the Holocaust had to happen, except that it didn’t happen, as told, but let’s not fuss with six million or so minor details. If such a dream team can be caught anti-Semitic, then imagine what often spill from the slurring mouths of barflies. As Jewish Susan Sontag so succinctly sums up, “The white race is the cancer of human history,” so the solution is to neuter, dilute and, if all goes well, disappear whiteness completely, except in brothels and go-go bars. Hypnotized, many whites are cheering on this final answer.
Dumbshit Whitman, though, didn’t see this coming, “The nigger, like the Injun, will be eliminated: it is the law of races, history, what-not: always so far inexorable—always to be. Someone proves that a superior grade of rats comes and then all the minor rats are cleared out.”
That’s not very politically correct, is it? Let us, then, burn all copies of Leaves of Grass, rename the Walt Whitman Bridge and even paint over his likeness at Camden’s only McDonald’s!
The fact is, there is no need to erase Whitman, for he and every other poet are already all but invisible in this nation of mirages, trivia and distractions, where sexed up, mass produced images have erased contemplation, reflection and, ultimately, thoughts. Poetry is no longer viable in the United States.
Exuberantly singing about what could have been, our greatest bard was no prophet, “Of all nations the United States with veins full of poetical stuff most need poets and will doubtless have the greatest and use them the greatest. Their Presidents shall not be their common referee so much as their poets shall.”
Nam Cao (1915-1951), real name Trần Hữu Trí, was a fiction writer, playwright and poet, as well as an educator and author of a memoir.
He was born in Hà Nam, went to Nam Định at age 10 to study, got sick and had to return home before graduating from high school. He married at age 18, then took a train to Saigon a few months later to become a secretary for a tailor. In 1936, he published his first stories and poems.
Returning North that year, he obtained his high school degree, taught at a private school in Hanoi until it was requisitioned by the invading Japanese Army in 1940, forcing him to go to Thái Bình, where he continued to teach. One of his five children died of hunger during the Japanese occupation.
He joined the Vietminh resistance movement in 1943, then the Communist Party in 1948. He wrote about himself, "He was not suitable for the gun or the sword, so he would have to fight with the pen." In 1951, he was caught by the French in Ninh Bình and executed.
Nam Cao's 1941 short story,"Chí Phèo", is one of the most celebrated in Vietnamese literature, with its eponymous character an emblem for a type of hapless, desperate, downtrodden yet deeply human individual.