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Seyward Darby’s Sisters in Hate

1,978 words

Seyward Darby
Sisters in Hate: American Women on the Front Lines of White Nationalism
New York: Little, Brown, 2020

This badly named book began with a cover story in Harper’s back in September 2017. It was about female activists and intellectuals on the Far Right. While not entirely sympathetic to its subjects, “Rise of the Valkyries” was often whimsical and droll, as its title and cover illustration suggest.

Author Seyward “Sadie” Darby approached her subject with an air of naïve wonder, like a documentary maker scouting in the bush. Her investigative premise was that nationalist and Rightist women are a rare and curious phenomenon. Why do they even exist?

“Rise of the Valkyries” cover art, Harper’s, September 2017

Which is rather like asking why some women carry umbrellas. But it’s a good starting point for middlebrow journalists and readers who know little of either politics or umbrellas. And its open-eyed simplicity gave Sadie entrée to a broad mix of interviewees. They included a writer, an academic, a stay-at-home mom, and, best of all, the main “Valkyrie” of the article, Red Ice’s Lana Lokteff.

Lana and Sadie had a long chat together in a rooftop bar in Charleston. Meanwhile, Lana’s husband Henrik Palmgren taped it all, just for the record.

That was back in April 2017. A lot happened in the next few months. By the time it was published in late August, “Rise of the Valkyries” and its illustrations looked woefully transgressive. Superficially, they seemed to be promoting far-Right women as an exciting new team in the political arena. The article’s kicker was, “Can the Alt-Right Shed Its Misogynist Roots? These Women Say Yes.”

Actually, the article was pretty negative, a real point-and-splutter, with Sadie going Wow just wow I can’t even every couple of paragraphs. But in the context of the time, it was nonetheless Beyond the Pale, far too fair and balanced. That sort of treatment, right after Charlottesville, was not permissible in the mainstream media. “There were good people on both sides,” President Trump is supposed to have said, a capital offense for which the media Left has never forgiven him.

And now, let’s move on to 2020 and the book under review. It turns out to have a risible cover (the Three Races of Woman?), an offensive, misleading title, and a bloated text filled with gaseous ideology and foul innuendo. It couldn’t have been published otherwise. Not by Little, Brown, anyway.

Sadie begins with a story of a white woman berating a black female for blocking her at a gas station in the lower Shenandoah Valley, and proceeds to sermonize about how “racism” is America’s original sin. It’s the single note she bangs away on for the entire book. Racism is bad because everybody’s basically racist and the Nazis and KKK were racist and they were bad. Sadie’s a Southerner, and her people fought for the Confederacy, and she knows that was bad and she must make amends.

I gather the title “Sisters in Hate” was the publisher’s choice, and Sadie had to go along with it to atone for the glittering presentation in her Harper’s cover story. But it’s completely inappropriate, because the featured personalities aren’t “sisters under the skin” at all. Sadie has merely fished up a few American women with nothing in common with each other.

And as for “hate” — well, that doesn’t actually mean enmity or disdain here. It’s just a cant word that the ADL and Daily Worker threw at any conservative in the 1950s and 60s, and has latterly been revived by the SPLC and other rent-seeking organizations of that stripe (“Hate Not Hope,” “Life After Hate”).

The book’s insides consist largely of recycled notes from the Harper’s article, padded out with personal anecdotes and historical factoids. Some of Sadie’s tangents are really bewildering. At one point she starts talking about eugenics in Virginia in the 1920s, and how 85% of the field researchers were women:

Men like Josef Mengele and Madison Grant were the best known purveyors of racist science and policy at the height of the eugenics movement’s popularity. [Josef Mengele? 1920s? Virginia?] Women, though, were on the real front lines, incorporating eugenics into the fabric of everyday life.

Just fancy that. Women were interested in heredity and purity of blood even in the 1920s. Must be a female thing.

You can buy It’s Okay to Be White: The Best of Greg Johnson here.

Less historically, Sadie tries to explain things by invoking Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale (or more precisely the recent television series). She repeatedly suggests that women on the Right are like the character Serena Joy, a hymn-singing leader of traditionalist women.

Personally, I was never a fan of that dystopic fantasy. But I do recall that Margaret Atwood conceived it as a satire on American liberals’ hyperbolic fear of the Moral Majority in the 1980s. Sadie is too young to recall the context. Like a lot of self-described young “feminists” I see on Twitter, she imagines that The Handmaid’s Tale was meant as a fearsome warning about the Dangers of the Patriarchy.

She also fills many pages with digressions about Nazi mysticism and Odinism. End of the day, Sadie has two comic-book explanations for White Nationalist women — excuse me: “women who hate.” Either they are Handmaidens of the Patriarchy, or they are Nazi mystics in the tradition of Savitri Devi and Françoise Dior.

Oh, it’s a rich magpie stew, this book, with every popcult gleaning and scrap of Wiki-wisdom that Google can deliver. Sadie is stretching a wafer-thin thesis over 300 printed pages, and that takes a lot of Hamburger Helper. She throws in Emmett Till, and Alan Berg, and Richard Hofstadter’s “Paranoid Style,” too, as well as some personalities she’d probably never heard of before compiling this data-dump: e.g., Elizabeth Dilling, Louise Day Hicks.

She also gives us a potted biography of ad man/humorist Commander G. Lincoln Rockwell, and seems quite fascinated by Rockwell’s correspondence with Savitri Devi. Like many a scholar-squirrel (Gore Vidal’s winsome phrase), Ms. Seyward Darby is eager to show off all the acorns and candy wrappers she’s picked up in her research, no matter how marginal or irrelevant. Another reliable page-filler is her compulsive revisiting of the Charlottesville parade of Costco tiki torches on August 11, 2017. She seems to imagine the tiki torches were a scheduled activity of the following day’s Unite the Right convocation, an event that never happened because it was canceled.

One reason Sadie needs all this stuffing is that the people she interviewed for the Harper’s piece refused to speak to her again. However, Sadie takes her revenge. In the case of Lana Lokteff, Sadie retaliates by denouncing Red Ice videos and tossing in some 4chan filth and unsourced innuendo. She tells an inchoate story about Lana and Henrik buying a house in the Shenandoah Valley. Seems there was a black couple nearby, and when these colored folks found what horrible fiends Lana and Henrik were, they promptly sold their house and moved away. Lana has denied this confused and pointless story, while Sadie admits in a footnote that it may be less than truthful. Seems it came in “over the transom,” in a stranger’s email. Sadie puts it in anyway, perhaps because she believes that a Lie may contain a greater Truth . . . or something like that.

She found one new interviewee for the book, a publicity-seeker in Tacoma named Corinna Mian, who contacted Sadie in 2018. Corinna is very different from the Gals o’ the Right whom Sadie talked to for the Harper’s article. Those were mainly educated, upper-middle-class types, or at least stable, prosperous, and fecund. Corinna is more like a Leftist cartoon of socially marginal skinheads. She’s a petite ex-body-builder, sometime porn actress, and a drug abuser. She works as an embalmer.

A good start, right? But it gets better. Corinna is also newly a Muslim, and goes to a mosque where she is the only Caucasian. In pre-publication excerpts, Sadie showed us a picture of Corinna in a hijab. We’re not told whether Corinna wears that to her mortuary job and Narcotics Anonymous meetings, or whether it’s all just cosplay, like so many of Corinna’s escapades.

Corinna’s tale reads like a hashed-together, derivative character in some bad television movie about “neo-Nazis.” She comes from a lower-class broken home — check. Did a lot of drugs, probably meth — check. She discovered Stormfront (favorite website of every Lefty) — check. Got involved with “neo-Nazis” in a bad part of Portland — check. Corinna knows more Northwest slums than Gus Van Sant. Moved to Kalispell, MT (meets April Gaede in an IHOP, how perfect!) and then to Port Orchard, WA (she does Northwest Front podcasts with Harold Covington).

And then finally . . . redemption! Corinna sees the error of her ways, and makes her exit by becoming a paid informant for the FBI. Then she gives testimony to the SPLC. And then, finally, she contacts Sadie Darby and asks to be interviewed.

This brings us up almost to the present day, but not quite. On YouTube a little while ago, Corinna announced she had married a Pakistani she met on the Internet. (“I was married 8 hours after I stepped off the plane!”) She went to Pakistan, met his large family, and had herself videoed with a troupe of monkeys, one of whom tore off her headscarf. Another thrilling adventure to check off the bucket list.

Though not included in Sisters in Hate, this last bit gives some jolly insight into the whole Corinna story. She’s an egocentric attention-getter, always getting into something new and risqué. Look at me, I do Nazi podcasts! Look at me, I’m a competitive body-builder! I embalm bodies! Boo boo baby, I’m a Muslim now!

Far knottier is the mindset of our author. Her background and motivation are fair subjects here, since she makes them central to her brief. Consider this plea in her introduction, which she offers as explanation and self-defense:

I am a white woman married to a white man. I am a feminist and progressive. My middle name, Lanier, comes from the poet Sidney Lanier, an ancestor of mine who in addition to writing pleasant verse, was a private in the Confederate army. Several of my forebears fought on the wrong side in the Civil War, and most of my family still lives in the South . . . My parents are liberal; the place where I grew up is not. I once had a babysitter who referred to the predominantly black side of my hometown, situated across a set of railroad tracks from where she and I lived, as “Niggertown.”

You see what she’s doing here. Not just listing her “progressive” and “feminist” credentials, which anyone can do. She’s anticipating sneers about being a Southern Belle, a daughter of the Confederacy. She’s trying to preempt all that by being the first and loudest to damn her own people. A bit like Orwell’s Party members, trying to outshout each other as they denounce Thought Criminals during the Two Minutes Hate.

“The wrong side of the Civil War.” “My parents are liberal; the place where I grew up is not.” No doubt she’s been reciting this for years, in New York and in grad school at Yale, and among her Jewish in-laws, whenever anyone asks her where she’s from. What a sorry state of mind, what a burden to live with.

So let us find sympathy in our hearts — a Two Minutes Compassion — for the wretched self-loathing of Ms. Seyward Darby.

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18 Comments

  1. Posted December 4, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Oh boy, that book sounds like a really objective account! More seriously, I feel bad for all the trees needlessly killed in printing this thing.

  2. 3g4me
    Posted December 4, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    While I loathe the trend of White men marrying Asian women, White women are seriously damaged goods on the whole. I don’t know what is to be done, but without White women there will be no more Whites of either sex. How can such “wretched self-loathing” women such as Darby be healed or redeemed?

    • threestars
      Posted December 4, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      American-born Asian women are just as bad, if not worse, than their actual American counterparts. They’re more conformist than whites, after all. White guys go after them mostly because of their own Asian fetish not because those girls are in anyway “trad”. And the disgusting geriatrics who marry SW Asian women only manage to do that because those women are actual whores.

      But you still managed to somehow blame white women for the faults of white men… In the words of that music virtuoso of our generation: “Can [you] make it any more obvious?”

      • Canadianer
        Posted December 4, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        The average white male does not want to take responsibility and do what it takes to get our civilization back on track. They would rather blame women.

        News flash friends: we are blasted with 24-7 with enemy propaganda. Creating psychological defences for for our people is the order of the day. Many will still get brainwashed but you have to pull as many of our people of of the enemy propaganda matrix as possible. It should be obvious that whining about women is of no benefit.

        Ask yourself what books young people need to read to insulate themselves from propaganda. If they do not exist you must write them.

        If you want to whine and blame women it is obvious you do not have what it takes (intelligence and otherwise) to be of use to our people.

        • Mike Ricci
          Posted December 5, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          You are right but it doesn’t really matter. Everyone knows White Nationalists are the biggest incels on earth.

      • 3g4me
        Posted December 5, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        I blame White women for their own faults. They may be air-headed children, but they still retain agency. Yes, ultimately White men will have to step in and retake control, but they are not to blame for women’s essentially frivolous and emotionally incontinent nature. As a married woman and mother of White sons, I am sick of reading White women blaming men for the problems inherent in the female psyche. Mating with Asians is wrong not merely because they are inherently conformist and extremely calculating, it is wrong because they are NOT White. Acknowledging non- Whites’ essentially alien nature still does NOT excuse White women of their crimes against White men and society as a whole.

        • Lexi
          Posted December 5, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

          They may be air-headed children, but they still retain agency.

          This statement is incoherent.

          but they are not to blame for women’s essentially frivolous and emotionally incontinent nature.

          Hmmm. Of the two, the claim that we are frivolous is probably the more defensible. We have been known to overindulge in recreational shopping, but I don’t know that that’s any worse than men’s tendency to overpay for big cars and houses as an expression of their manhood. Like they say, the difference between men and boys is the size (and price tag) of their toys.

          The charge that we are “emotionally incontinent” is bizarre, given that men are far more likely to:

          Kill themselves.
          Rely on drugs and alcohol to cope with their emotions.
          Kill or seriously injure another person in the course of a “crime of passion.”

          I can think of one counterexample: men are more fearless in the face of extreme danger and less likely to panic. That is no small thing, of course, but it doesn’t warrant a blanket claim that men are more emotionally stable than women in general.

          • 3g4me
            Posted December 5, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

            Weeping over poor dead immigrant children positioned on the beach: women
            Bearing signs welcoming rapefugees into their homes: women
            Demanding ever-increasing government-school funding for the chill’ren: women
            Pushing participation trophies and making everything ‘fair:’ women
            Treating the world like a giant kindergarten class where everyone must take a turn and we’re all equal: women

            I repeat, emotionally incontinent. Your own claim that men buy big houses as a dick measuring contest is a prime example. That’s what women do. As far as cars, I’ll grant you the bald old man in the sports convertible. But men also build civilization. Women do not and cannot.

            • Lexi
              Posted December 5, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

              Weeping over poor dead immigrant children positioned on the beach: women
              Bearing signs welcoming rapefugees into their homes: women

              This is pure media hype that any White nationalist should know better than to swallow whole. Those women holding signs are paid Soros-funded activists. Get me one, just one (out of hundreds) White male billionaire to fund a pro-White women’s activist organization and I’ll have skirts on the street in no time flat. Instead, White men use their money to lobby for open borders.

              Demanding ever-increasing government-school funding for the chill’ren: women

              Right. The more expensive it gets to get a degree and certification to teach, the more teachers have to be paid. Add on top of that the increasing cost of affording a house in “a good school district” and you’re going to need a decent salary to afford to have children. Teachers want children. That’s often part of the reason they become teachers: the family-friendly schedule.

              As far as cars, I’ll grant you the bald old man in the sports convertible.

              And then there’s the gargantuan television sets and stereos, motorcycles, boats, jetski, etc.

              Your own claim that men buy big houses as a dick measuring contest is a prime example. That’s what women do.

              That appears to be false. Men put a premium on size, while women are more concerned about amenities and interior finishes, which makes sense when you give it a moment’s thought. His friends don’t know what an elegant interior looks like. All they understand is size.

              https://magazine.realtor/home-and-design/feature/article/2019/11/how-big-is-the-gender-divide-in-housing

              But men also build civilization. Women do not and cannot.

              So you say. Men and women tend to specialize in ways that play to our strengths. On the other hand, necessity is the mother of invention, and I rather suspect that in a counterfactual world where men didn’t exist, women would find a way. By the same token, children did not go uncared for when their mothers died in childbirth. Well, at least most of the time they didn’t.

              Pushing participation trophies

              I’ll cop to this one, and hopefully women’s influence can sort out the disaster that is youth sports beyond middle school, where all the emphasis is on glory for the few rather than fun and exercise for the many.

              https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2016/06/01/why-70-percent-of-kids-quit-sports-by-age-13/

    • Lexi
      Posted December 5, 2020 at 5:40 am | Permalink

      The manosphere misogynist’s attitude toward marriage reflects a degenerate consumerist mentality that is not authentically countercultural but rather very congruous with the hyperrational, self-interested spirit of the age. Women are “goods” that can be damaged and should be “purchased” or not based on their utility (broadly defined) to the “consumer.”

      Of course, human beings are not goods, and MGTOW (or whatever they’re calling themselves these days) will find themselves old, sick, and alone one day, and they will find that their pleasure-and-pocketbook value system may have been rational but it was not wise.

  3. Rob Bottom
    Posted December 4, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    You know, it could have been a super interesting book if “Sisters in Hate” had profiled women of different races who belong(ed) to various racialist/radical movements. You know, do a chapter on black women in the Panthers (or Winnie Mandella and her “necklaces”), another on the women in the Weatherman and their bomb plot, and the Palestinian women who blew themselves up to kill Israelis, etc in addition to women in WN circles. Of course, such a book would never be published as it would suggest women of every race and creed can become politically motivated actors, and that the WN examples are a far cry from the terrorists they’re made out to be. This book/author are only interested in demonizing white women, lacks context, and suffers tremendously as a result.

  4. Posted December 5, 2020 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    Reducing it all to “hate” has been a disgusting form of gaslighting for generations now.

    • margot metroland
      Posted December 5, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      It’s the “short circuit” technique. I don’t know if that’s my own expression, or if I read in some samizdat in 1973. Anyway, you impose a catchall slur to cover all forms of thoughtcrime, so that all discussion on the subject is forbidden. You are promoting “hate.”

      A similar, later, variant was to call everyone a “holocaust denier,” regardless of the topic.

  5. Joe Gould
    Posted December 6, 2020 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    https://redicemembers.com/

    We should respond to this aggression against good people by supporting those people rhetorically and financially. Becoming a member of and financial contributor to Red Ice helps Lana Lokteff.

    It’s important to support pro-Whites who fight for us. It’s also important to become the sort of person who fights back in a practical way whenever one of us is attacked. That is a better sort of person to be than the sort or person who says, “oh how unfair, how sad,” but doesn’t spend money.

  6. Elenka
    Posted December 6, 2020 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    Another irritating book in this genre is Ben Teitelbaum’s War for Eternity. Cherry-picked priofiles of “traditionalists,” superficially sympathetic to Bannon, John Morgan et al. In truth about the author and his morbid fascination with ideas and people he does not understand. Since he mentions Greg Johnson and Counter-Currents I hope we’ll see a review here.

  7. Paul
    Posted December 6, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    If Komono dragons were portrayed in television commercials as having the social and financial status to buy diamond rings, drive fancy cars, and pick up the tab for five-star restaurants and tropical vacations, the majority of American white women would be engaging in, and demanding the normalization of, sex with lizards.

    Sorry ladies, it’s on you.

  8. Paul
    Posted December 6, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    *Komodo.

    Maybe, it’s partially my fault, too.

    • margot metroland
      Posted December 6, 2020 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      I was rather beguiled by the notion of a dragon in a kimono.

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