American History XTrevor Lynch
Director Tony Kaye’s anti-skinhead morality tale American History X (1998) is proof that propaganda is far from an exact science. Just as Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket caused a surge in Marine recruitment, American History X actually increases audience sympathies with neo-Nazi skinheads, despite its best efforts to present them as hateful hypocrites and losers.
American History X stars Edward Norton as Derek Vinyard, a young skinhead in Venice Beach, California. It is a riveting and compelling performance, Norton’s finest work. I saw American History X after I saw Fight Club, where Norton’s character is so unimposing and unassertive that he projects Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden as an alter ego. Thus I was surprised that in American History X, Norton plays a character every bit as swaggering, self-confident, and violent as Tyler Durden. They don’t seem like two different characters so much as two different men.
Derek Vinyard is the eldest of the four children of a fireman who was murdered by blacks while putting out a fire in their neighborhood. Derek was outraged and becomes involved with a local neo-Nazi mastermind, Cameron Alexander (Stacy Keach) who is supposed to remind us of Tom Metzger. Derek is highly intelligent and articulate. He is also a natural leader. With Cameron’s help, he builds up a serious and well-organized skinhead gang.
Three incidents stand out. First, Derek challenges some Crips to a basketball contest for control of a local public court and wins. The game is one of the best-shot sequences in the film. Second, Derek makes a rousing, well-argued speech against race replacement immigration then leads his gang to trash a Korean-owned grocery store that employs illegal aliens. Third, when Derek’s widowed mother Doris (Beverly D’Angelo) begins dating Murray (Elliot Gould), a Jewish teacher at Derek’s high school, the dinner table conversation becomes explosive. Derek refers to Murray as a “Kabbala-reading motherfucker” and flashes a huge swastika tattoo which he says means “not welcome.”
One does not need to endorse Derek’s Nazi ideology, rhetorical excesses, and physical violence to admire his sincerity and conviction, or to see the merits of his arguments. As for his opponents, they have nothing to offer but hurt looks, breaths sharply drawn in disapproval, and mumbling about racism and social inequalities.
Since the purpose of this film is to warn us against Derek’s ideas, one wonders what director Kaye and screenwriter David McKenna were thinking. They could have presented Derek as a vulgar, hateful loser like his fat friend Seth, whom Murray could easily best in a battle of wits. Instead, they chose to make Derek highly intelligent and articulate. This was a gutsy move, which goes against all media stereotypes about skinheads. However, if they are going to present Derek as fearsomely intelligent, then they need to match him with a more capable opponent, and they don’t. This means that Derek Vinyard can win any fair debate, which matters to some movie watchers.
Derek’s opponent and ultimate salvation is supposed to be Bob Sweeney, played by Deep Space Nine’s Avery Brooks. Sweeney is said to be a brilliant guy. He has two Ph.D.s. (Why is he teaching in a high school then?) He claims to see “holes” in Derek’s racialist worldview, which he dismisses as “bullshit.” But it rings hollow from the start. Brooks has made a career reading lines in his resonant, well-modulated black man’s voice. But he doesn’t come off as particularly intelligent. Derek’s father Dennis dismisses Sweeney’s pontificating as “nigger bullshit,” impressive only to the witless and gullible. (Dennis is clearly an intelligent man, who offers an excellent critique of affirmative action and political correctness.) When Sweeney actually argues against Derek, it turns out that dad was right. Sweeney’s arguments are terrible. Again, one has to ask what the filmmakers were thinking.
The most well-realized black character in the movie is Lamont (Guy Torry), an amiable buffoon. The rest of the black characters are vacant, mindless thugs. This too proves problematic for the film’s anti-racist message, for it supports Kipling’s characterization of non-whites as “half-devil, half-child.”
American History X is primarily the story of how Derek Vinyard stops being a skinhead. He starts when his father is murdered, then he falls in with the wrong crowd. He stops when he gets thrown in prison. When three Crips try to steal Derek’s car, he ends up killing two of them and is sentenced to three-and-a-half years for manslaughter.
While in prison, Derek immediately allies with the Aryan Brotherhood gang. This makes sense for two reasons. First, Derek is a neo-Nazi too. Second, even if he weren’t, it would be smart to join them, because whites who go it alone in prison are picked off by non-whites, who form gangs.
But cracks begin to appear in Derek’s racial collectivism. While working in the prison laundry, Derek bonds with a goofy black guy, Lamont, over their common interests in basketball and pussy. Derek also falls out with the Aryan Brotherhood because for some reason he objects to them selling drugs to nonwhites.
One of the most memed moments in American History X is when Derek declares that “Pot is for niggers.” Derek regards non-whites as soulless subhumans. So why not sell drugs to them? Or, at the very least, why make trouble with your allies over it?
But Derek is a bit abrasive and autistic about “principles.” The Aryans tire of Derek’s preaching, so one day, their leader forcibly sodomizes him in the shower. This is a pretty much complete inversion of the truth. Prison rape is largely a black thing. White neo-Nazis are probably the least likely perpetrators of this particular crime.
Being raped somehow causes Derek to change his whole worldview, which is dumb and out of character. Derek keeps getting himself into trouble because he is a stickler for principles. But nothing that has happened challenges his basic principles. Lamont proves only that every group has likable outliers, apparently even in prison. And yes, we aren’t so different after all when we focus on the least common denominators, like food, sex, and games. As for the Aryans: they are not supposed to sell drugs and rape one another. But is it realistic to expect sterling characters in prison? Besides, when people betray their principles, couldn’t that be because the people are bad, not the principles?
Derek is taken to the prison infirmary. He needs some stitches. There he is visited by Sweeney, who makes a little speech:
There was a moment when I used to blame everything and everyone for all the pain and suffering and vile things that happened to me, that I saw happen to my people. I used to blame everybody. Blame white people. Blame society. Blame God. I didn’t get no answers because I was asking the wrong questions. You have to ask the right questions.
When Derek asks Sweeney what the right questions are, the answer is: “Has anything you’ve done made your life better?” To which Derek tears up, because no, he has suffered quite a lot for his ideas. Derek then begs Sweeney to help get him out of prison. He has a parole hearing coming up soon.
Sweeney’s arguments are terrible.
First of all, it is merely a shaming tactic to liken complaints about white dispossession to blacks blaming the white man for their own failings. It might appeal to an older generation of “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” conservatives, but Derek would see through it. What matters is the question of truth. White dispossession is real. The solution is not to “try harder” in a rigged system but to change the system. Blacks who still fail in a system of objective black privilege can’t blame the system for that. They can only blame themselves.
Second, when Sweeney chooses to focus on his individual life rather than questions of social justice, this is not moving from the “wrong questions” to the “right questions.” It is just a subjective change of focus. But focusing on your own life doesn’t make social problems disappear. It simply distracts you from noticing them. Individualism is just escapism. It is a form of cowardice.
The system deals with white dissidents by piling on personal problems: doxing, defamation, deplatforming, censorship, legal persecution, etc. That’s on top of the wearisome drama endemic to the movement itself. When enough negative consequences accumulate, many people simply give up. They have not, however, achieved some sort of enlightenment. Their convictions have not been disproven. They have simply been broken by the system. Derek is a broken man.
Sweeney speaks for Derek, and he is paroled. Somehow, he manages to survive on his own for the final months of his sentence. The conditions that drive men into racial prison gangs have been suddenly been suspended. The movie explains this miracle with a ridiculous deus ex machina: the spindly black buffoon Lamont somehow has enough credibility with the various prison gangs to “protect” Derek. I guess they were afraid he would rumple their sheets. I’m pretty sure Derek’s dad would call this some species of bullshit.
American History X is also the story of Derek’s younger brother Danny (Edward Furlong), who idolizes him. While Derek is in prison, Danny joins Cameron’s skinhead gang. Danny gets in trouble when he writes a paper on Mein Kampf for the civil rights portion of Murray’s class on American history. Sweeney, who is now the principal, tells Danny that he is now in a new class, called American History X. His assignment is to write a paper on Derek, who has just gotten out of jail. Danny’s paper, related as a voice-over, is the narrative framework of the movie.
Once Derek is paroled, he does not want to get back into the gang. Instead, he wants to get Danny out of it. This is irrational. Derek killed two Crips. They will be seeking revenge. He has a better chance if he has the gang behind him. If he really wants to extract Danny and break with the gang, then he needs to be diplomatic about it. Otherwise, he will simply multiply his enemies. His best option is just to say that associating with them violates the conditions of his parole, which would probably be true. Derek bungles his exit rather badly. He ends up punching Cameron and having a gun drawn on him. Now both the skinheads and the Crips are gunning for him.
The next morning, Derek has a meeting with his parole officer, and Danny has to turn in his paper. But it turns out that the same system that broke Derek now has a use for him. The Crips have attacked Cameron and Seth. Sweeney — who is clearly acting outside the purview of a high school principal — and a cop approach Derek for help. Derek is now a police informant.
When Danny shows up at the High School, we hear a voice-over of the end of his paper: “my conclusion is: hate is baggage. Life’s too short to be pissed off all the time. It’s just not worth it.” Then he quotes Abraham Lincoln’s pious folderol about overcoming enmity — this time between the North and the South — by the better angels of our nature tugging on the mystic chords of memory. The emptiness of these high-minded sentiments was, of course, soon demonstrated by America’s bloodiest war. As if to underscore this very point, the voiceover follows Danny’s bloody murder in a school bathroom by a Crip.
Again, I am not sure what the filmmakers were thinking, but this conclusion does not support their anti-“hate” agenda.
Yes, hate is arguably “baggage.” Being angry all the time is definitely no fun. If we were but atoms floating in a social-historical void, we would surely benefit from simply shrugging off hate and anger.
But that’s not the world we live in.
You may decide one morning not to have any enemies. But your enemies may still have it in for you. In fact, they might think your change of heart is a weakness to be exploited. Danny and Derek did not choose to be in a race war. The race war was imposed on them. Derek decided to fight, which is necessary if one wants to have a chance of winning. The system broke Derek, but it didn’t stop the race war. Nor could it protect him or his brother once he broke with the gang.
Derek bears some responsibility for his brother’s death: not for exposing him to “hate” but for pulling him out of the gang. As a member of the gang, Danny enjoyed some protection, because the Crips knew that attacking him would lead to retaliation. But once Derek and Danny were out of the gang, they became targets of opportunity.
Lincoln’s hope that “memory” could overcome enmity presupposed that the North and the South had deep commonalities and old friendships that had simply been forgotten in the struggle over slavery. Memory will not heal the divisions between blacks and whites in America, because there was no common community before slavery. There is enmity all the way down. Memory only polarizes race relations in America, which in turn polarizes whites against each other.
After Danny’s murder, the film ends with Lincoln’s high-flown rhetoric over a sunset at the beach. In short, a typical liberal retreat from racial reality into sentiment. An anticlimax. Dare we wonder what happens next? The most logical ending for this story would be a repentant Derek shaving his head to rejoin the struggle. But that’s clearly not the intended message.
American History X is beautifully filmed — often by Kaye himself — with an excellent orchestral score by Anne Dudley. Some scenes drag, and the use of slow-motion is about as annoying as teeth scraping against concrete. But this might not be due to Kaye, who turned in a 95-minute final cut. Norton and the studio insisted on a longer edit, which added back in 24 minutes. Kaye’s reaction to this was highly neurotic, to say the least, and he was branded unemployable, even though the film went on to enjoy commercial and critical success.
Why does American History X fail so splendidly as propaganda?
We can discard the idea that Tony Kaye is secretly sympathetic to Nazi skinheads. He is what Derek would call a “Kabbala-reading motherfucker.” He would arrive on set in a chauffeured Lincoln with the license plate “JEWISH” and had matzos delivered to the set at Passover.
The most likely hypothesis is that the filmmakers were just smug. They thought that Derek’s views are self-evidently evil and that their own views are self-evidently good. Thus they felt that both sets of ideas simply needed to be stated aloud, with no real argument, and the audience would see things their way.
But people outside the Leftist bubbles of academia and the media don’t react like that. Intelligent normies see the logic of Derek’s positions. They can separate the truths Derek utters about white dispossession and liberal coddling of black criminals from the violent skinhead trappings. They also see the vacuousness of the film’s liberal message. Thus American History X qualifies as a classic of Right-wing cinema, despite the best efforts of the filmmakers.
The Unz Review, February 22, 2021
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Nuclear Families: Threads
Of Donkeys and Men: A Review of The Banshees of Inisherin
Trevor Lynch’s Classics of Right-Wing Cinema
Race and Ethics in John Ford’s Stagecoach
Institutional Racism Explained
John Wayne’s The Alamo & the Politics of the 1960s
40,000 Brown Sardines Packed Into One Prison
The Banshees of Inisherin
Take Vineyard’s white victory at the basketball court scene and try to imagine that smiling unified celebration repurposed as the film’s linear finale with whatever script changes are needed to arrive at THAT conclusion, and you’d have a film to remember.
What a great review. I’d like to tape a copy of it to every dvd of the film that I come across. I love this sub-genre of classics of Right-wing cinema: viz., Leftist-intended films that boomerang. This incisive dismantling of AHX is right up there with the great, deserving-to-be famous review of the loathsome “Cabaret” with its one great scene.
It has been nearly 20 years since I saw this movie. Can I ask for some clarification?
Earlier in the review we are told that Derek’s genesis in “neo-nazism” is related to the murder of his fireman father by blacks.
Later we are informed that Derek’s antagonist, Sweeney, is not well liked by Derek’s father, Dennis, who accuses him of spewing nigger bullshit.
This is kind of confusing. Was Derek adopted after his father was murdered?
Thanks for any further clarification
There is a flashback to a pre-skinhead Derrek where his father is still alive and he is expressing his unfavorable opinion of Sweeney.
Up until that point the viewer may be under the impression Derrek came to his worldview due to his father’s death at the hands of some thugs, but in this scene you discover he inherited his racist views from his father.
Ah, absolutely. That makes more sense now. They couldn’t allow a character to draw his own conclusions about the nature of blacks and race relations. They had to attribute his “bigotry” to inherited preprogramming from a brutish working class father. NO WAY that a young man could learn to hate someone from his own life experiences.
Very good, I particularly liked “Individualism is just escapism. It is a form of cowardice”.
I recall watching the film in my teens long before I was interested in politics and I remember sympathising with the skinhead cause.
Recently I looked up the “not welcome scene” on YouTube and on reading the comments they were largely supportive of Derrik or found it amusing atleast. The critical comments were commonly along the lines of “it was dangerous to make Derrek so articulate and charismatic, probably a lot of “Kabbala-reading motherfuckers” behind those accounts too.
It’s been a while since I saw this movie, but I remember well the conclusion I drew at the time. As I see it, the intent of the authors was to convey to White audiences this message: Even if you are factually right about White racial awareness, even if you are morally right, you will still lose if you fight “diversity”, so you might as well surrender.
The message conveyed was quite literally; if you resist, you’ll be ass raped in prison
Precisely. I can’t imagine someone becoming more militant in the White cause as a result of watching that movie. Contrary to what the author of this article implies, I believe the Jews who made it are very smart and knew exactly what they were doing. They were saying, “Yes, goyim, diversity is pretty much a nightmare. But guess what: fight it and it will be even worse.”
Really enjoyed the exegesis.
It’s really hard not to like Vinyard and frankly, it’s leaving the fold that kills the little brother.
One thing that made no sense to me though. If a fireman is murdered doing the job, doesn’t the grown son get more or less adopted by the crew? I mean, shiet they’d have dragged Derek into applying and joining up.
That plot hole is absolutely huge. No way does that crew abandon the dude’s dons and wife like that. Those firemen are a gang.
I actually didn’t know that about fire crews. I guess the film makers were counting on the majority of the audience not knowing that either.
Slightly off topic, (my apologies) but the movie reminded me of some of the real accounts on Amren of White prisoners and what they endure while incarcerated. I have been fortunate so far not to go to prison, and after reading some of the stories on American Renaissance, I have no desire to.
Yes. Racially integrated prisons are Foucauldian disciplinary mechanisms for keeping dissident whites in line with the Alien Occupationist System. Recall a black man actually challenged the commonsense CA practice of racially segregating either pre-trial jails, or maybe it was prison cellmates (I forget). The case went to the SCOTUS, where Majority member, Reagan appointee, and precious First Female Supreme Court Justice (and odious leftist and Constitution-shredder) Sandra O’Connor wrote the majority opinion outlawing this perfectly reasonable and sane practice, whose humane purpose had of course been to minimize interracial conflict for the benefit of both guards and prisoners. Her opinion was something about the need to “teach racial tolerance” in prison in order to lessen tensions in our diverse society.
I hate liberals. They are evil. They are the real cause of all our misfortunes. Never forget that. Liberals destroyed the West. They are also exclusively white. No other race behaves in this type of ethnomasochistic way.
The case went to the SCOTUS, where Majority member, Reagan appointee, and precious First Female Supreme Court Justice (and odious leftist and Constitution-shredder) Sandra O’Connor wrote the majority opinion outlawing this perfectly reasonable and sane practice, whose humane purpose had of course been to minimize interracial conflict for the benefit of both guards and prisoners. Her opinion was something about the need to “teach racial tolerance” in prison in order to lessen tensions in our diverse society.
The person selected to write the majority opinion is selected precisely because it is believed that their opinion will be acceptable to the rest of the majority. The Court was 7/9 male at the time. Justice Thomas (a black man) dissented. Justice Stevens also dissented, but only because he thought the majority opinion wasn’t woke enough.
Your implication that women are to blame for that case is preposterous, but not surprising, of course. Monomaniacal ideologues always tend to blame everything on their favorite “root cause” (systemic racism, capitalism, feminism, etc.)
This is a remarkably stupid comment. First, the Court was not 7/9 male, but 8/9ths. Second, my point was not to blame “women” as a class for that awful decision, but to point out that its author was a GOP appointee – by the “conservative” icon Reagan, no less – the only reason for whose appointment had been that she was supposed to be a “twofer”: a Constitutional conservative and a woman who would be known to history as The First Female Justice. Well, how’d that little foray into PC liberalism work out?
This is a remarkably stupid comment. First, the Court was not 7/9 male, but 8/9ths.
It sounds like you need remedial math.
by the “conservative” icon Reagan, no less – the only reason for whose appointment had been that she was supposed to be a “twofer”: a Constitutional conservative and a woman who would be known to history as The First Female Justice. Well, how’d that little foray into PC liberalism work out?
It worked out precisely as it would have if a male justice had been appointed.
I think it was intended as a more clever form of propaganda as usual. You’ll find yourself agreeing to much of what Derek says, you empathize with his grief and pain for having lost his father, you’ll be taken in by his good looks, but you will be shocked out of your agreement and fascination by seeing him do violent, ugly, indefensible and repulsive things as a consequence of his beliefs. This is the “pedagogical” lesson. After all, it is easy to reject the beliefs of an inarticulate, dumb and ugly skinhead you would never want to identify with. The “argument” made is again merely emotional, because there is no necessary link between Derek’s arguments and the cruelty of the “boardwalk kick”.
Like FULL METAL JACKET, the most memorable part of the movie is the first, until Derek’s
arrest. Then it becomes preachy and dishonest.
The movie may reject Neo-Nazism, but it DOES clearly confirm that there is a real problem in society with black violence that causes legitimate grief among whites. That leaves Derek at least partly justified, especially with his brother getting killed in the end. In fact that ending almost sabotages the movie’s message.
And yes, it is pretty unfathomable and mysterious sometimes what was going on in Kaye’s head.
“American History X” is one of those GenX movies that is plenty visceral but doesn’t have much substance. It just preaches to the choir. The anti-racism crowd and the pro-White crowd will both get what they want out of it. If there is some big unintended message in the movie, maybe it’s that young guys will look anywhere for a father figure if they don’t have one at home.
I never thought it made White Nationalism look good. It accurately portrayed skinheads as rage-filled idiots who can easily be controlled by weird conmen like Cameron. The fact that Vinyard is “the smart one” and leaves it all behind says a lot. We can only guess how Derek would’ve reacted to his brother’s murder; did he go out for revenge or did he use his grief to “bring people together”?
Just rewatched the Elliot Gould scene on Youtube, Derek makes so much hard hitting sense here I cannot imagine anyone agreeing with the smug Gould character in his lazy, superficial talking points. That, and some other scenes, are almost a mystery.
I enjoyed the thorough analysis. In August, 1999 Free Speech, William Pierce reviewed the movie in context of the division of America into different races, a division that couldn’t be cured. He wrote of Pure Race, a film that was typical in showing blacks as open and caring, (rural) whites as bigoted and murderous, and a white girl was charmed by the main black character.
As for American History X, Pierce said it was a ‘much, much more subtle propaganda film than Pure Race. he noted how many jews were wringing their hands over American History X, that it was too subtle, pretended to be too objective and even-handed, and might send the wrong message to whites.
Pierce said: ‘The message of American History X is that some Whites are bad and some Blacks are good…we see the effect of this message on Derek. it confuses him to the point that he decides to opt out of the very real war going on between Blacks and Whites. He fought in the war and it cost him dearly. He won’t fight any longer…The message of American History X is that we should not resist…just go with the flow and try to make the best of it. Don’t resist.’
This seems to confirm Ray Caruso’s opinion.
I would say the vast majority of race based and anti-government films are like this, especially giving the ‘we’re all together: we just need to get along.’ Over and over, decade after decade.
Now, however, as opposed to 1999, our enemies don’t feel any need to be subtle. They hate us, and can’t control it. Trump really unlocked something, and now it’s war.
Excellent review. AHX did indeed have something of the effect on me described in the first paragraph. I was already totally awakened (and an AR subscriber), and I loved it, and had the same impression as Lynch – that the makers massively failed to make Norton seem repulsive (as I assumed had been their intention). A regular normiecon friend saw it first, and told me I should see it. He expressly mentioned that he agreed with the Norton character (“he made a lot of sense”).
Even though I haven’t seen it since I guess 1998, I recalled most of it even without the review’s aid (and with it I now remember much of AHX vividly). I can’t think of anything to add to the review; Lynch has said it all. A totally unintentional rightist classic.
I replied to you again on the Singles Epidemic thread. I also ask there if you wanted to move the discussion elsewhere, as that thread is getting long and that article is now over a week old, and things move fast on this site.
They love the myth of the ignorant racist hillbilly or ignorant racist skinhead. Because only an ignorant racist hillbilly or skinhead could acknowledge his/her whiteness with pride rather than shame, right? Their hubris is their weakness; like altruism is ours. We are smart. We are thoughtful. Our ideas have merit. They try to portray our love of ourselves as hate for others. The only hate I might harbor – is hate against whites that apologize for being white. Loathsome creatures.
(Another good movie of the same genre is “Romper Stomper”)
This review utterly fails to capture the essence of the film: that it was spectacularly, embarrassingly, mind bogglingly stupid. It was more stupid than it was despicable -and it was utterly despicable. Every single element, every scene, was facepalmy ludicrous.
Take the basketball scene. First we’re supposed to accept that the negroes (corps, I guess?) would accept a gentleman’s deal will white people -skinheads, no less, to play for control of the courts in the future. Uhh, Ok, stupid, but …mmmm ok
Then the game plays itself out with each team respecting the rules, doesn’t degenerate into chaos, and the white team -that includes a morbidly obese slob -WINS!
Then, the blacks HONOR THE TERMS OF THE AGREEMENT AND CEDE CONTROL OF THE COURTS LIKE GENTLEMEN. How about that shit? A breakdancing contest would have been less ridiculous.
Later, Derek goes to prison for killing two precious blacks, and -just like real life, right?- the system goes easy on a skinhead who kills blacks. He gets like 5 year sentence, while the black buddy got 15 years for stealing a loaf of bread or something dumb
White people beat blacks in basketball all the time.
Greg, if you search the comments of the “Singles Epidemic” article, published 16th February, you will see two very lengthy comments by me regarding David Benatar and anti-natalism, and an ensuing discussion between myself and Lord Shang. Several users think I should reformat my long comments into a word document and submit them for publication on this site. Can you read them and tell me if you think that’s possible, as I am already writing my book (On the Historical Absence of Feminine Facial Morphology in European Art and Culture: An Informal Enquiry) and I don’t want to waste time writing articles for this site if they will be rejected for ideological reasons or because I have to jump through hoops to make my writing style comply with this site’s petty criteria for submissions. Thank you.
I see no reason to republish your comments as an article.
Well those other commenters apparently do. They believe it would generate considerable discussion, and they thought you would agree with them. Can you give some reasons as to why you don’t agree? Is the subject matter too provocative for this community?
Have you considered writing the article to style and submitting it instead of being annoying in the comments?
Who’s being annoying? I am simply stating, as a matter of fact, that the tidal wave of rules and regulations they have for submitting written material to this site is severely inhibiting to one’s creative flow. It turns writing into a chore when it should be a joy, or at least therapeutic.
Autisticus Spatiscus is certainly intelligent and reflective. Granted, his erudite comments were tangential to the purposes of this site. Still, if strung together and properly formatted, I do think they could serve to force white preservationists to reflect more deeply on why exactly we are so passionately committed to our cause. I mean, why *do* we care so much about justice for whites, as well as long term white preservation, when none of us reading here is likely to see the extinction of our race, and most or all of us are intelligent enough to ‘negotiate’ the antiwhite System so as to secure tolerable lives for ourselves as individuals – as long as we abrogate or just ignore the racial injustices and collective threats our people suffer? AS’s anti-natalist nihilism is the kind of provocation that might trigger useful white nationalist self-reflection about ultimate justifications. There’s no guarantee of that, of course, as people might just ignore him. But it seems to me that he would be bearing all the costs of the endeavor, other than the editorial time spent reviewing the submission, which I should think a philosopher like yourself might find intriguing, and then the actual posting of it.
I was high school when this movie came out and by far the most important scene, as far as resonance among masculine teenagers of the era, was the curbstomp.
This was also handled extremely bizarrely. I don’t think anyone who saw it back then really cared much about the rest of the movie, because whatever messages it was trying to convey were so convoluted and poorly done.
But the thing about the curbstomp scene, is for some reason they made Edward Norton completely bad ass. It’s iconic, still to this day.
And Norton was protecting his house from thugs when this happened, he wasn’t even the aggressor. So nobody has any sympathy for the thug negro. I couldn’t even imagine meeting someone who does.
Normally, this would be handled as just a random murder due to racist hatred or something, but it was actually the opposite.
Now obviously people shouldn’t curbstomp anyone in real life, but this was the movies. People like to see bad ass dudes kicking ass in the movies, and Ed Norton was an absolute bad ass dude who did just that (in, again, the only truly memorable scene).
“The most logical ending for this story would be a repentant Derek shaving his head to rejoin the struggle.”
From what I understand, this was Kaye’s original ending, but they made him change it. Well, of course they did lol. Honestly he might just be a little wacky. That would explain a lot.
I’d love to see Trevor Lynch review The Beliver with Ryan Gosling. It is an interesting look into Jewish psychology. Gosling is a literal Jewish Nero-nazi whose character is loosely based on the real life Daniel Burros. He has a deep, seething hatred of Jewish ideology and behavior from his Jewish upbringing. And yet a part of him can’t stop being committed to Judaism.
Jews often have this weird combination of extreme narcissistic self-love and self hatred, and The Believer airs this dirty psychological laundry.
But the film is also worth seeing because, in a weird way, it predicted the alt-right. Gosling and his skinhead droogs fall in with two urbane, intellectual fascists played by Billy Zane and Theresa Russell. The Believer came out in around 2000 or so, and yet it predicted the split between the 1.0 and 2.0 versions of White Nationalism. It’s a brilliant, multi-layered movie and it has a lot to offer for white nationalists
Not that anyone should curb stomp but that was an epic cinematic moment.
He should have migrated to Argentina after that.
I love anti-White films that backfire. “Midsommar” and “Er is Wieder Da” are two other amusing examples.
“American History X” lost me immediately, when Dereks’ brother’s history teacher has to have an urgent conference with the school principal because the kid wrote a paper about Mein Kampf. Obviously, any child that age who could plow through Mein Kampf (which is a slog: say what you will about Hitler, but he wasn’t a scintillating writer) and write a paper about it should be congratulated and encouraged. Any real-life teacher nowadays would think that having a student like that to teach was a Godsend.
Perhaps Neil Gaiman could be persuaded to lay off wrecking Germanic Mythology(*), team up with a suitable illustrator (ideally the latterday avatar of A Wyatt Mann of this parish) and create a Mein Kampf graphic novel for young people? I am sure it would strike a chord in these troubled times.
(*) e.g his frightful Marxian-Freudian version of Beowulf
Shades of producers. How can we make money losing money on a graphic novel? Set it in the 1980s and have thinly veiled Alan Moore, Gaiman, Morrison, Ennis, Mills, Esquera, Bisley and other British comic book figures, as characters in the production. It could have happened. Forbidden Planet eat you heat out. The entire genre of comics back then was fascism adjacent.
Do you think typical American educators wouldn’t make a big deal out of a term paper complimentary to Mein Kampf. Are you insane?
You’re right, of course. I had some cool high-school teachers who would have been open to the idea of a well-written paper on a controversial subject, but that was back in the late middle ages.
The most likely hypothesis is that the filmmakers were just smug. They thought that Derek’s views are self-evidently evil and that their own views are self-evidently good. Thus they felt that both sets of ideas simply needed to be stated aloud, with no real argument, and the audience would see things their way.
See also: Norman Lear, Archie Bunker.
I keep seeing commenters exalting that this movie and Archie Bunker somehow “backfired.” There’s no evidence of that whatever. The overwhelming majority of people in my age bracket (genX, the target) took precisely the lessons that the producers intended them to. And I mean over 90%
I wish I could chortle in exaltation over how stupid the other side is, but instead I’m horrified and sickened over at how silver-bullet effective it was
Derrick made better arguments? All that “proved” to everyone was that good and sound arguments are evil.
The only way this movie differed from other depictions of “racists” is that one “Racist” found redemption and is now “good.” Usually a racist character is irredeemable and the plot satisfaction comes from his gruesome, painful, and humiliating death, or he remains in a position of power as commentary on what an awful systemically racist place America is
“The overwhelming majority of people in my age bracket (genX, the target) took precisely the lessons that the producers intended them to. And I mean over 90%”
Going to need to see a study to back that up.
I think a better way of saying this is that such movies only serve to reinforce pre-existing beliefs.
I doubt many antiracist leftists or Jew worshipping Christians walked out of this movie with an epiphany about Jewish power or with their worldview shaken. Likewise, I doubt many right wing dissidents walked out of it thinking they need to hug a Jew and denounce nationalism.
As far as the apolitical normie masses, it was just a kick ass movie like any other they had seen that year, and it altered their worldview no differently than seeing Shrek, Lord of the Rings, or The Notebook.
I hate to admit this. I agree with Lynch’s assessment that the plot of the movie isn’t particularly compelling for the leftist narrative. I simply do not think that people’s views are all that pliable. Sure there is nuance and there is room for Overton window shifting, and I do believe the trajectory of real, current events does have an impact. I don’t think movies really do, however.
My personal anecdote is that I saw this movie 20 years ago, and I liked it. I did find Derek’s character to be compelling, and I did have my natural dislike for thuggish black culture and I knew that Derek’s character was justified in seeking revenge for his father’s murder. I’m a natural right-winger and I don’t fall for leftists plot devices and never have. However, 20 years ago I didn’t consider myself a ethnonationalist of any sort, and I probably didn’t even realize that I was a (then) civic nationalist. I just knew I wasn’t a Shitlib and that there was nothing wrong with white people feeling community with each other and that black culture was poisoning white culture. But I already felt that way. This movie only reinforced my beliefs. It didn’t change anything. OTOH, I don’t think I left having any revelations about the skinhead movement either, and was probably offput by the violence in a practical sense. At that time, and still to this day, I am not one who walks around with a chip on my shoulder ready to initiate violence with people I don’t like. I’m prepared to defend myself, and lean on others who have a like mind, but I prefer differences to be settled through more diplomatic means, when possible.
*I need to add something
I don’t want to imply that I don’t think movies and media (propaganda) are effective in influencing people’s beliefs. I most certainly think that they do. I just think it is a more wholistic phenomenon and our minds are influenced more by the sheer volume of propaganda that we are exposed to rather than any one specific morality tale.
You are of course, right, that it’s the sheer weight and volume of propaganda that makes it so effective. Standing alone without that universe of propaganda and subversion, AMX would not be effective, but AMX does not stand alone.
AMX’s targets had grown up seeing after-school specials, Cosby, plus a myriad of “very special, 1- hour episodes” of Growing Pains and Punky Brewster. That was the “main assault force” against race realism. But every main assault force must have infantry set up to clean up the “squirters” who escape. Those squirters were the kids who were unmoved by the simple, straightforward plots: 1)Alex and Mallory love sweet Aunt Clara from the south2) Alex and mallory’s parents are uncomfortable and terse with Aunt Clara, causing conflict between the parents and the children 3) somehow Alex’s best friend and gifted math genius Dexter (who has never been seen or mentioned in the show before) is brought into proximity with Aunt Clara, who then reveals herself as a seething, backwards hater of blacks 4) Parents and Children are brought back together, reunited by their shared contempt for Aunt Clara, who along with Dexter, never appears in another episode
Point is, Clara makes no arguments for her cause. When confronted, she explains her racism in an overdone New-York-trying-to-affect-southern-drawl “Why that’s just the way things is, sugar.”
AMX was there to gun down “squirters”
Maybe the movie was not didactic. I know that’s unlikely, but maybe it really was just a story. There was this trend of suggestions that prison rape was perpetrated by “white supremacists” back around that time. It’s in Butterfly Effect, Take Me Home Tonight. Not the overt act as in this movie, but the statement that that is the danger of being thrown in prison.
Reality: prison rape is committed by a certain demographic and white supremacists are unicorns.
I thought this review was one of trevors better because it was more on point topically. I liked many of the nascent ideas in it, like I was intrigued by the argument that individualism is a form of cowardice. I would say more, that when there are potential costs involved, as we face, that it is selfishness. All the people I know who are very anti racist are also extremely selfish, self serving.
There have been other great skinhead classics. The Believer, Romper Stomper, Imperium, maybe Class of 1984. These could make a great compilation and comparison contrast series. There’s also that one with the Jewish lawyer defending the skin head, but I haven’t seen it, don’t even know the title.
There is a subtext on skinheads. Let’s call it the Morrisey Effect.
Homosexual Jews think skinheads are sexy just as much as non Jewish Homosexuals. Indeed if a Jew tries to present as white they often shave the hair away to hide the black ringlette thing they have.
Never heard about that. Shaving their heads doesn’t hide the hook.
Theres also the example of Ralph Fiennes as a commandant. He made Goeth a sex symbol.
Think aboit Talcum X. He wears his hair in a black way. Even though he’s not black.
The younger brother should have done a book report on Hitler’s Table Talk instead of Mein Kampf. It’s much more interesting.
A movie I haven’t seen suggested on here that I consider to be right-wing would be They Live.
I think everyone here would have seen They Live. Sure and all, after the protagonist is forced to wear the reality-penetrating spectacles, it is very interesting, and a great B-movie as a whole (note that, of course, B is not meant to denigrate).
Some Jewish woman, name forgotten, Barbara something, I think, made a big name of herself by copying the style (typeface and words) of the messages seen by wearing the reality-revealing specs in They Live.
I watched this movie again after having read this review. With the exception of Derek the pro-white characters are all unlikeable, brutish and unintelligent, particularly his best friend Seth and girlfriend Stacey. The thought leader, Cameron, while not stupid is exposed as a dishonorable man possibly with ulterior motives. I expect the idea here is to get the viewer who may sympathise with concerns over crime and immigration to identify with Derek, the smart one that sees the futility of racism and comes to see the nuance of the situation, not the thoughtless, low IQ haters he leaves behind.
Derek’s father and younger brother are quite likable characters too.
The father is down to earth, straight talking, assertive and cares about his family but I think the average viewer was likely put off by the bluntness of his rant which could be perceived as indoctrination of his impressionable young son.
Interesting that I overlooked Danny. I Likely discounted him as somebody who just follows his brother’s lead (becomes a skinhead like Derek then turns his back on it like Derek) and hasn’t yet become his own man. His is certainly likeable; perhaps my analysis does not really hold water.
Dear Trevor and Greg,
I like this review of AHX, but my own impression of how nonsensical it is goes a little further, how would he stop being what he was (as an OP mentioned) when his little brother is killed? There are several similar points in the film.
However, I write not upon that, but to recommend two films, not for reviewing but just viewing.
One is The Professor and the Madman, press reviews were all bad, but they are all by Jews. It is actually very good, even a great date movie (the woman characters are both loyal and strong), and with interesting Christian content.
The other is the South Korean Parasite,
It has continuity problems for the last fifteen to twenty minutes, but is great as a whole.
I strongly recommend viewing both to you.
I add that both are monoethnic, no anachronistic blacks pop up in Professor and Madman, and the entire caste of Parasite is Korean.
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