Editor’s note: This is a transcript of Robert Stark’s July 4, 2016 interview with Charles Krafft. We would like to thank Hyacinth Bouquet for this transcript.
Robert Stark: This is Robert Stark. I am joined here with Charles Krafft. Charles, it is great having you on the show.
Charles Krafft: Well, thank you; and nice to talk to you again, Robert.
RS: So, Charles, you’re an artist and you specialize in ceramics and porcelain; and a lot of your work, in the past several years or so, has inspired some controversy.
CK: You want me to go into how it began, or the latest controversy?
RS: I guess we can start with how you got interested in art. Did you start out originally as a painter? What kind of artistic subcultures were you interested in originally?
CK: I was interested in the visual arts. Specifically, the artists from the Pacific Northwest who made up a school, called the “Mystic Painters of the Pacific Northwest.” Those five major painters in that so-called “school” were an inspiration to me in high school; and by the time I graduated from high school, I knew that I wanted to be an artist, and sort of have a lifestyle like theirs. Because I was familiar with the way they lived, too, because they were alive at that time, and I met a couple of them.
So, that’s how I drifted into the visual arts. I started out showing my paintings in a local gallery. I started doing that in 1967. It was in Seattle, and San Francisco, where I first began exhibiting my paintings.
RS: Back in the 1960s, were you involved with the ‘60s counter-culture or were you more like a traditionalist at that time?
CK: No. I was heavily involved in the counter-culture and I was living in San Francisco, because I’d been hired to do psychedelic light shows at a club in the San Francisco Mission District, called the Rock Garden. The story of the Rock Garden is that it was an attempt by the Italian entertainment mafia that was running all those go-go girl shows up in North Beach to cash in on the hippy music scene at the time.
Some of these North Beach entrepreneurs, who —
RS: It’s interesting you bring that up. I’ve actually done some paintings of that area.
CK: North Beach?
RS: Yeah; the Broadway area.
CK: Well, do you remember Carol Doda, and those clubs that were so famous in the ‘60s, that were strip clubs up on Broadway?
RS: I wasn’t alive in the ‘60s, but I’ve done paintings of that stretch. A lot of them are still there.
CK: Well there was a whole district full of sex clubs. . . Keane. Margaret and Robert Keane, is that his name? Those painters that did the big-eyed children?
RS: Oh, yeah!
CK: The Keanes. Walter Keane. Walter and Margaret Keane. Those two were exhibiting their work in North Beach at the Hungry Eye, which was a nightclub that was kind of famous for comedians, where Bill Cosby started out. And folk singers, like the Kingston Trio.
The people that ran those clubs saw something happening in the counter-culture; and so they opened up a club in the Mission District, which was primarily Mexicans. I was hired to leave Seattle, and come down and run a light show at a very short-lived nightclub that they started, called the Rock Garden, in which most of the San Francisco bands played, the famous ones that you’ve heard about.
While I was doing that, I was also painting and exhibiting at the Vorpal Gallery, down on Fisherman’s Wharf. It was ’67, and I sort of had launched my painting career in San Francisco, and then up in Seattle, in Bellevue, Washington, which is a bedroom community of Seattle, at a gallery there.
RS: Rabbit just called in. Rabbit, great having you joining the show. I know, Rabbit, you also sort of have an interest in the 1960s. Do you want to comment on those topics?
Rabbit: Hey, thanks for having me back. Well, it’s interesting. I’m curious if he ever had any interactions with any well-known figures in those movements at that time? You know, like any of the Veeps? Or even people like Robert Cromer, who might have been around at that time?
CK: Well, my cousin is Grace Slick, of the Jefferson Starship. So, I was having family connections to her, before she became famous. I was at her wedding. Her family visited my family, because her late father is my mother’s brother; and she’s named after my grandmother. Her maiden name is “Wing,” and she married a guy named Jerry Slick. Jerry was a teaching assistant in filmmaking at San Francisco State College, at the time.
As far as having anything to do with the beatniks, when I was in high school — let’s see, 1965, I was underage, and I ran away to Berkeley to attend a West Coast poetry conference at the University of California-Berkeley. All of the beatniks were there; Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Charles Olsen, including that guy from the MC5. I forget his name. You know, the one that was sent to jail for two joints. He became kind of a cause célèbre. I can’t remember his name right now.
Rabbit: Timothy Leary?
CK: No. Oh, I did lights for Timothy Leary. I met him. Yeah, I did a light show for Timothy Leary in Seattle, when he came here. I didn’t get a chance to sit down and actually have a conversation with the man, but I projected globular liquid images on him while he was talking about LSD to an audience of probably 300.
RS: What are your thoughts on the aspects of drug use, and how it relates to creativity and art?
CK: My opinions on it?
RS: Yes, what is your opinion on it.
CK: I think it can be helpful. But, I think it can also be maybe a little bit detrimental to people that depend on drugs for inspiration; because you get an initial insight into yourself, and then it seems to not be as revelatory when you revisit those experiences. So, I have to say that I’ve taken quite a lot of drugs in my life, but I don’t prescribe them as a means of doing inspired art. I think you don’t need them to do that, but I don’t say “don’t do it” either.
And, I’d say if you do, do drugs, use them with restraint; because I’ve seen a lot of people, going all the way back to when they were first introduced to the youth culture, I’ve seen a lot of drug damage in my life. The potential for abusing these substances, which are proffered by the media as being some sort of a doorway to a spiritual experience. Anyway, yes and no. I’m sort of on the fence about that now; and I don’t use drugs, myself, that much anymore, to tell you the truth.
RS: I know you were influenced by the artwork of Von Dutch, he was a car designer and also a gunsmith.
CK: Yeah, right. When I was a kid, this is before I even learned about beatniks, I saw Von Dutch on television, on the family TV, pinstriping Keenan Wynn’s motorcycle. Keenan Wynn was the character actor son of Ed Wynn, who was a famous Hollywood character actor, who was in The Wizard of Oz, I believe.
Anyway, so I thought Von Dutch was a really cool guy, because you got a tour of the house he lived in, in Calabasas, California, as well as a demonstration of pinstriping. He had made a pair of model jet engine-powered roller skates that he showed, and then a gasoline-powered pogo stick. Then he had, his lamps in his home, were made out of musical instruments, like trumpets and saxophones. He just seemed like an extremely creative guy to me.
I was building models at the time, model cars. These hot-rod models were new. I was building those things and using pictures of Von Dutch’s cars, that he’d customized, in magazines to do my own miniature versions of those things.
Then when I got to be about 40 years old, I actually tracked him down and met him. Spent an afternoon with him, two months before he died, in Santa Paula, California. He was living in a trailer. We’d been corresponding as pen pals for about two years prior to that. I didn’t expect to get any letter back from him after I sent him a letter, telling him that he’d been sort of instrumental in putting me on the path that I took as an artist. I thanked him for being an inspiration, and he wrote me back. And so that initiated a back-and-forth between us that was pretty regular. Then I finally went down there and met him; and then, unfortunately, died.
RS: Did he inspire your transition from painting to the ceramics?
CK: The ceramics? Yeah, definitely. Because I worked in the blue and white Dutch Delft tradition; it’s a surface decoration technique that’s famous in Holland. I began to do that, because I wanted to make a tile for Von Dutch in the Dutch style. So, I had to go to a class and learn how to paint on tiles. I made the tile and sent it to him.
After I finished that first tile, I thought, this is a really nice medium. There’s a lot of potential here for doing more with this than you usually see. I sort of took a left turn right there, and I never went back to giving painting shows. Everything I’ve exhibited since 1992, when I met Von Dutch, has been ceramic art.
I make ceramic guns in the Delft tradition, these blue and white pistols and rifles that look like rather prosaic vases that your mother or grandmother might have around the house. The surface decoration is very kitschy, but the object itself has some sinister resonance: guns.
RS: I know you do a lot of — you do the guns. You’ve done Charles Manson, and different serial killers. You’ve done Hitler?
RS: Your work, people have accused you of promoting Nazism. One item of note you’re famous for, is the perfume bottle with the swastika that says “forgiveness”?
RS: The thing is, that people don’t get that you’re not promoting that, you’re not saying that like people should admire Hitler, or Charles Manson. It’s more for kind of the value of satire or kitsch.
CK: Well, there’s a satirical element in the work. But, at the same time, the work that has the Nazi tropes in it was a result of me getting involved with Holocaust revisionism and taking myself to Romania, on two occasions, to investigate an atrocity story I had read about.
The more I delved into revisionism, the more swastikas started appearing in my artwork. Yes, it does have — it’s basically satirical, yeah.
RS: You later got publicly attacked, it was later I know, for a comment, for just like a Facebook commentary. But prior to that, what were some of the reactions that you got for your ceramics dealing with the swastika, before you were publicly outed?
CK: I had a show in Santa Ana, California, and an Israeli fellow and his family came up to me and wanted an explanation for the perfume bottle and some other things in my exhibit. I can’t remember exactly what I told him; but whatever it was, after we had a chat, he understood that this wasn’t an anti-Semitic attack, or anything. He asked me if he could have his picture taken with me and his family. So he brought his family over, and we all had our picture taken together.
I can’t remember exactly how I defused the situation, but I was sort of under attack right at that moment. Basically, if somebody asks me, I can explain it; and if they can accept the explanation, they usually understand why I’m doing it.
That Facebook comment was what got me outed in a local weekly, and it was not my comment. The story behind that story is that it was somebody else, this Facebook person they thought was me, saying things as a sock-puppet. She thought that this person, that was posting on my Facebook page, was me using another name. She messaged me and said, “I can’t understand how the community would put up with this.” I said, “Well, for one thing, I don’t like to censor people on my Facebook page. I can’t stand the thought of that. And number two, that’s not me. I’m not saying those things. That’s somebody else.”
He’s just there on my page, on a daily basis, spouting whatever it was that offended her.
RS: A lot of the controversies, has it gotten you more publicity, or done more negative harm?
CK: My show was shut down in November in London, England, as a result of a phone campaign, started by social justice warriors and Antifas, who threatened to do some violence to the people that ran the gallery. They said, “We’re not going to have your show.” So, I was in London hanging an art show, and I was told that it was canceled; and I had to pack everything up and go home.
Then the publicity that resulted from the cancellation of my art show was all negative. It’s been hard for me to get grants anymore, residencies, and schools, universities. I used to teach, as a visiting lecturer. Those offers, they don’t come in anymore.
I was thrown out of a show in Paris, France. Social justice warriors, again, calling up the curators in France. That generated negative publicity; and this negative publicity, that started in Seattle, follows me around the world.
RS: I heard that you did have a show at a museum, but the show put a disclaimer saying that this artist has views that you may find offensive.
CK: Yes. They put a qualifying warning sticker on a piece of my art that a patron of that museum had bought and donated to the museum.
RS: What museum was this?
CK: I think it’s called the Fuller Museum in Sacramento, California, if I’m correct. It’s in Sacramento, I know that for sure. I think it’s called the Fuller Museum.
Rabbit: It’s interesting that it’s been negative for your career, but also has boosted your name recognition a great deal to an almost legend status. Come to think of it, I, myself, found out about you a few years ago, even, from reading the article in the Seattle Stranger.
CK: Oh, you did?
Rabbit: Yes. I didn’t even know about you before then. So even though the publicity itself may be negative, it may be drawing interest to your work from other people, who may be open-minded and reading it. Seeing through the editorializing and all of that.
I think it’s interesting that you mention that you came out of the ‘60s; because a lot of those figures from that period in time, their legacy isn’t surviving the politically correct atmosphere we have now. In fact, you can find articles about Gore Vidal, and Kerouac, and Timothy Leary, all these people that they’re now considered to be like White Supremacists. Even those people, part of the ’60s counter-culture movement, are all accused of racism, and sexism, and all this other kind of stuff. They would have been going through the same stuff today, even though they were part of the far-left counter-culture at that time.
CK: Yeah, are you a Seattleite? Do you read the Stranger? You live in this city?
Rabbit: No, I live in Phoenix; but even I saw it online, because there are a number of local artists in Phoenix that have secretly politically incorrect views on a lot of different topics. So, we exchange intel, or what-not. I think my friend, who is a well-known artist in the city, I said to him, “Why don’t you just come out with your views? Who cares?!” He was like, “Oh, no! Didn’t you hear what happened to Charles Krafft? He was outed and he had a horrible time after that, after somebody pointed out his views.”
So then I went searching, and I found that article on the Seattle Stranger.
CK: Oh, yeah. You know, I got a lot of publicity. That Stranger story went through 74 — this guy was counting them for me — iterations. It would be picked up by different bloggers, different newspapers, and they repeated the thing, over and over again.
Then some people called me to comment about it. I was on NPR; and they excoriated me, the DJ on NPR, Studio 360, I think the show was called. He said that I needed psychiatric help.
I have to admit that, yeah, my name got bandied about a lot farther than it would have, probably, if I’d not done what I did, or if this had not happened to me. But generally speaking, if you’re an artist, you do — some of this stuff, my income stream, depended on some things that I can’t count on anymore. And one of those is being invited to lecture in colleges about what it’s like to be a working artist.
RS: How has it affected the sales, and who are the type of people who generally buy your work? Are they people from sort of a political sphere, or are they people from all walks of life?
CK: All walks of life, and there’s been a lot of support from the Right-wing people. A lot of people sort of felt sorry for me and they started buying my art, because they realize that this is probably going to impact my income. Which was never very big, anyway.
They made a big deal about me. They’ve put me on a lot higher pedestal than I already was, just so they could knock me off of it. That’s what they do in the media. It sells stories, you know. That kind of story is kind of popular.
I have to say that the people, politically incorrect closet artists, I know that there’s lots of them out there. I understand their position; because if you stick your head up [over] the parapet, you’re going to get shot at. You’ve just got to be ready for that. I don’t have a family. I don’t have any children to support, I don’t have a wife. If I had to support a family, this would have been a disaster; but, luckily, I don’t.
So, I’ve sort of coasted through the whole thing at pretty much the sales level that I had before. It’s just that I don’t get — as I’ve said, institutions don’t want to touch me. I can’t apply for a grant, because my name is toxic in those circles where they decide on supporting a project that you apply for, on grants.
RS: Have you had people who reject a lot of your political beliefs but still come to your defense on the grounds that there should be freedom of speech, and that your work should stand on its own merit?
CK: Yes. Yeah, that’s even been written about in a couple of places, in art journalism. Art journalists have used me as an example of free speech in the arts, and what’s happening to it. Self-censorship is the biggest problem in our culture. Institutional censorship is the second biggest.
They’ve got artists and culture makers thinking, and thinking, and thinking about how not to offend people. I’ve watched this evolve, and it’s a very serious — we’re in a serious situation now.
Rabbit: How do you deal with kind of the internal struggle between knowing that coming out with certain views will hurt your career, and basically destroy you? But at the same time, part of being an artist is staying true to yourself. So, if you’re not putting that out, putting some of your self out there, your true self, in a way it’s kind of a betrayal.
How do you deal with that internally? I think a lot of people right now deal with that, that are in the arts, generally.
CK: Well, not everything I do is politically charged. When I was a painter, I was a landscape painter, and I was heavily influenced by these “mystics” in the Pacific Northwest, that were seriously studying Eastern religious systems, and those kind of ideas came into their work.
So, I have other interests besides politics that I can express myself about, that I can use in my arsenal of ideas.
Rabbit: I think that not being able to express yourself in certain ways, or having to hold back because of these types of reactions, I think seems to create a real internal contradiction or struggle in a lot of artists now. Because you can’t offend anybody, or anything, if you want to have a career as an artist; but at the same time, part of being an artist is being true to your own beliefs, or you kind of feel like you’re betraying yourself. At least that’s how I kind of feel.
CK: In my case, I have to admit that I’ve always been a button-pusher, even going back to my middle school years. They would give reports to my parents that said, “Charles likes to put people on edge and keep them there.” I’ve got this personality, that I can’t resist picking at these scabs. I’m a skeptic. I was a born smart-aleck, and a born skeptic. I just keep plowing through.
If I make something that’s politically incorrect, and I like it, I put a picture up on my Facebook page, or on Instagram, and let people either like it or dislike it. Usually, they like it! I don’t get a lot of criticism from the social media, and I guess it’s because the algorithms are not letting it through, or something like that.
Rarely do I get somebody attacking me. The week before last, I got somebody that was calling me out as a “Nazi.” If you follow me on these social medias, and where I put my pictures and things, I get more “likes” than “dislikes.” I don’t feel like I am censoring myself. The stuff that gets me the most in trouble is not everything that I do. I have other interests besides cocking a snook at the politically correct, you know what I mean?
Rabbit: This all came about just because you were merely just exploring certain controversial topics. It’s not like you wrote a manifesto, or even really gave your opinions on anything. It was just kind of like you became interested in researching some of this stuff. And even that was enough to get you into trouble.
CK: Yeah. That’s all it was.
RS: Even if you just advocate, like there should be freedom of speech on the issue, even that can get you in trouble.
CK: I think now, yes, it seems to be. You know, I spend most of my time not thinking about art anymore, though. I mean, I make it on a daily basis. Every day I do something in my studio, and that’s how I make my living. But my interest is not so much in the art right now, as it used to be.
I used to be reading about artists, and art shows, following people’s careers, marveling over the technical mastery of this artist and that artist, and being inspired and such. But right now, I’m very obsessed with this political correctness. These social justice warriors. The behavior of Americans during the presidential election, with these attacks at the Trump conventions. All of this divisiveness and name-calling that’s going on, and the hypocrisy behind it. I spend way too much time thinking about it now. I might be ready to try to go to a clinic, one of those rehab places, to try to get away from Donald Trump.
I think about this stuff too much — time to rehab!
RS: The thing about politics is that the art world is kind of associated with the Left? A lot of conservatives, both mainline conservatives and traditionalist conservatives, they either try to kind of avoid arts and culture, and delegate that to the Left; or if they do, a lot of them have a very kind of rigid — some of them have a very rigid view of art, and they reject all forms of art that may seem too modern or not traditional enough.
RS: I know that there’s sort of a long tradition of political movements that are associated with the artistic movement. One example is the Italian Futurists.
CK: Yeah. I saw a lot of — I don’t know how to categorize myself visually, you know, as a visual artist. I’m interested in the artists that got swept underneath the rug after World War Two; because we went left in 1945. Cultural Marxism, you can just say it started right at the end of World War II.
The Italian Futurists, you see, especially in America, we don’t know too much about them; because they were the enemy. There was a lot of conservative, if you want to call them conservative or nationalist, leaning artists, poets, musicians and various kinds of essayists, and commentators, who have been completely forgotten as a result of — they ended up on the wrong side of history after World War II.
Finding out about those guys has been real fun for me, because those are the allies that we need to proceed if we’re going to built any kind of a resistance to this cultural Marxist mandate that came with the end of the war.
I like to share my knowledge about the Vorticists, those were the English version of the Futurists, with Wyndham Louis and Ezra Pound, and there’s some others involved with that movement there. And other art movements in Europe, and some artists in America, like Thomas Hart Benton, who’s kind of a traditionalist. He was a very conservative, regionalist painter who made no bones about his political beliefs. He was an anti-communist, he didn’t like homosexuals. He said as much.
That kind of thing. There are, there was, a number of famous, and good, artists and writers that you could re-discover. I’ve been re-discovering them, and that’s a lot of fun.
Rabbit: Do you feel like kind of a new form of art emerging among young people that are more nationalist? I’ve seen kind of a lot of it with these memes, and a lot of these kinds of YouTube montage-type videos, surreal, almost like Pop Art. Like Murdoch-Murdoch.
CK: Yes, Murdoch-Murdoch. Then Oscar Turner. You know that sixteen-years-old video whiz that puts out all those videos about that National Vanguard guy, what’s his name? That everybody. . . William Pierce. He does video tributes to William Pierce and George Lincoln Rockwell, and those people. His name is Oscar Turner. He’s sixteen years old! He’s seventeen, I mean. He’s a master of his medium at that early age.
So, yes, to answer your question, I do see people doing this kind of thing. I think that The Daily Shoah is hilarious sometimes. I like to look at neo-folk album covers. Their graphics are always very totalitarian-looking, Germanic. Volkish, with references to the German Paganism and the Wandervogel. That kind of thing, before the Nazis.
RS: You’ve done some work using human remains. Can you talk about that, and how exactly did you get access to the human bones that you used for the porcelain? And also, the tradition of that art form.
CK: Well, Josiah Spode II was the man that invented bone china, in England, in about 1785. It’s called “bone china” because he used cow bone ash in his porcelain formula to give it tensile strength. “Calcinated” cow bone means it went through a fire, which is ash. You can substitute, in his formula for bone china, human cremains, which are ashes from the crematory.
RS: I know you did some people who, they have a family member who dies, and they have them cremated. Is that usually how you do it? They commission them and you make it out of their family member?
CK: Yes. Right. They bring me the amount of ash I need to make the container; and then I can put the rest of the ashes, of the deceased relative or loved one, inside the container that’s made out of that human bone china.
Essentially, I’m making urns to put ash in. The urns themselves have ash in them. That’s what I do. The last thing I did for somebody was a radio microphone for a pair of brothers whose father was an FTC lawyer. I got a radio microphone and made a plaster mold of it, and then I recast it in human bone china. Which I call “spone”; that’s a combination of the word “Spode,” who was the inventor of bone china, and “bone.” They come to me, and I consult with them about an image that they like; and then we process from there.
I haven’t done a lot of this, but I’ve done enough so that I know how to do it now. I can do it on demand.
RS: You were in Bosnia during the war? Can you talk about that experience and how that influenced you?
CK: I went to Sarajevo with Laibach as their tour photographer. It’s the tail end of the Occupied Europe tour. We were there when the peace accords were declared in Dayton, Ohio.
I saw a lot of Bosnian militiamen with Kalashnikovs on their backs, and I’d already been making these plates in Slovenia for the NSK group, for Laibach. Plates that were about their collective there. I got the idea that maybe I could make a Kalashnikov out of china. When I got home, I started to — I get my hands on these guns, and then I make molds from real guns, and then remake them in ceramic.
I was inspired just by the soldiers I was seeing marching around Sarajevo. Around, I guess it was 1995, or something like that, was it? Was that it? I can’t remember when the war in Yugoslavia was over.
RS: I forget. There’s another one I was thinking about. . . Oh, the other one in, think it was the mid-90s, sounds about right.
CK: Oh, that’s Kosovo. It started up again in Kosovo; but, it was over in Bosnia-Herzegovina a lot earlier. The Dayton Peace Accords. Clinton was our president, he signed it with Milošević. They were in Dayton. I remember listening to the radio show from Dayton in Sarajevo, itself.
It was a miserable experience for the Sarajevans. The infrastructure of their city, which was a twentieth-century city, had been knocked out by four years of bombardment from the Serbian army. The Serbian army was bivouacked 360 degrees around their city, launching rockets into it on a daily basis for four years. Nobody picked up any garbage there for a couple of years.
There was a curfew. We couldn’t go out after nine o’clock. All the neon on the first level, the street level, it’d been concussed out of existence. The signage was all destroyed. Plate glass windows were gone, so everything was sand-bagged, or plywood hammered over it. The air concussion from in-coming rocket fire, if it didn’t hit something and break, the pressure would break things around it, like glass.
There had been a cease-fire; so I wasn’t too afraid of getting hurt myself, because we went in during a cease-fire. That was the final cease-fire; number 14. I don’t know. I could talk to you for another hour about the Yugoslav war, because I changed my entire attitude about it, once I started looking into what was going on there. I wandered into that thing completely oblivious to the situation in Eastern Europe at the time. I had some friends in Slovenia that were artists, but I didn’t know anything about what was going on there politically.
RS: It’s interesting, because you were in Bosnia. I know, in general, nationalist types tend to be more like pro-Serbia.
CK: Yes, now I am pro-Serbia. I was not then, because my Slovenian friends were anti-Serbians, and they filled me with this anti-Serbian attitude. And so I went along with that. When I actually studied the situation from a distance, and got away from my Slovenian friends, I became more on the Serbian side than the Croatian side. The United Nations Croatia, you know what I mean. I became sort of a nationalist as a result of that.
RS: What’s interesting about Bosnia is that it’s a Muslim country, but it’s also a European country at the same time. People sort of tend to equate Islam with immigration and the Middle East. What were some of your observations on Bosnian culture? Did it seem more Islamic, or more similar to other European neighboring countries, like Serbia and Croatia?
CK: Croatia? It was more Muslim there. I went to Zagreb and there was a Muslim presence, but not as much as in Bosnia. It was an organic multi-cultural society. They got along well. They intermarried. There was no real problem with the Muslims and the Christians, the Orthodox Christians. They had been existing there very nicely up until this war broke out.
Oh, yeah, the Muslim-Christian multicultural situation in Sarajevo was, as I was saying, they weren’t at each other’s throats until after the Serbian intellectuals decided to change the language. Everybody was speaking Serbo-Croatian, and then these intellectuals, I think they were actually Croatian intellectuals, excuse me. They wanted to change the language. It started as semantics, a semantics war, and then it escalated to a hot war.
The thing is about that situation was that the UN — I want to tell you this. This is something that nobody really knows. What the EU oligarchs wanted was the Stari Trg mine in Kosovo that belonged to the Serbians. There was a Serbian majority in Kosovo. The Serbian minority, but they ran Kosovo; and the Stari Trg mine was in Yugoslavia. It’s the biggest mine in Eastern Europe, and they’re smelting all kinds of metals there.
Essentially, all this business was about grabbing natural resources for the Western Atlanticists oligarchy. So, that’s one of the things people aren’t — they think it’s an ethnic war? No, it’s really not. It’s being orchestrated from outside of the region by people that want to steal resources; and they used ethnic warfare to cause chaos, and then they come in and clean up, you know?
RS: I actually heard about that in Kerry Bolton’s book, Babel Inc., if you’re familiar with that.
CK: You did? He wrote about Stari Trg, the mine?
RS: Yeah, he did.
CK: Oh, good! Because, man, they just kept that under wraps. Nobody talked about it. I think the 3M Company owns it now; the scotch-tape people.
Rabbit: We were going to talk about Heinlein, because we did that show on him and Charles was also listed in that article.
CK: Hey, did you guys know about Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard’s three-way?
RS: No, I haven’t heard that one.
CK: Yeah, man!
RS: It wouldn’t surprise me.
CK: Yeah! It’s in that article about how Heinlein became a libertarian; went from socialist to conservative libertarian.
RS: He went from being a socialist to libertarian? I know he’s also been accused of being a fascist, so he’s not someone who’s easy to kind of pigeon-hole ideologically.
CK: Right. Yes, but apparently he was involved with L. Ron Hubbard in a — well, I won’t go into it; but it’s in that article. That was a revelation to me.
RS: Was Heinlein involved with the Scientology?
CK: I don’t think so. No. Hey, are you interested in science fiction writers? Because I discovered a guy named Cordwainer Smith, you know about him?
Rabbit: I’m not familiar with him.
CK: Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger, and he wrote under the name, Cordwainer Smith. He was born in 1913, and he died in 1966. He died. His godfather was Sun Yat-sen, it says. He has a Ph.D. in Political Science from John Hopkins University. Worked as an intelligence psychological warfare officer in World War II, and wrote science fiction.
He seems to have been very prescient about — his notable work is called “Scanners Live in Vain,” and it’s about psychological warfare. He was a psychological warfare officer.
I just thought I’d throw that in the mix because he claimed he had some sort of experience with an extraterrestrial. Or that he was an extraterrestrial. I think he said he was an extraterrestrial. That’s what I read.
Yes, that’s what I read. Excuse me. He said he thought he was an extraterrestrial.
Rabbit: I was actually looking up information on him as you were talking about it. Seems to have died in the ‘60s. He died pretty young, it looks like, for an extraterrestrial. He probably wasn’t adapted to Earth’s atmospheric conditions.
CK: Too much for him here!
RS: Charles, would you say that you’re more of a futurist or a traditionalist?
CK: I would say futurist. I like the idea of national futurism as a name for what I do. I stole that from that German guy. . .
RS: Constantin von Hoffmeister.
CK: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I just ripped him right off! I adopted it to describe what I do, and then I have a manifesto that sort of goes with it. And I ripped that manifesto off from a traditionalist site, you know where they’re discussing — what’s the name of that Muslim-French mystic? Who died in. . .
RS: Oh, René Guénon.
CK: Yes, René Guénon; one of those types.
Rabbit: Yes, interesting you bring that up, because I actually own NationalFuturism.com, and I actually got permission from Constantin von Hoffmeister to publish a lot of his stuff on there. So, I have collected a lot of his old essays and stuff, because I found them very interesting, too.
I often find myself, and you probably do too, when you get into a lot of these edgy political circles, there’s always a clash between these reactionary traditionalists, and the people who are more like nationalists, or racial futurists, and whatnot. There’s always this constant clash there between those types of groups, and so I’ve gotten into that stuff because I was more on that side of things.
RS: What’s also interesting is, Rabbit, you have like the alternative-Left, the alt-Left, and Charles, you have your sort of background from the ‘60s counter-culture. Politically, did you start off on the left as well?
CK: Yes, I did. I mean, it was just a given that if you were a hippy you were on the Left. I was not a politicized hippy. I was one of those louche hippies, that just wanted to hang out and take drugs and listen to music, and not really engage in any sort of political organizing or activism. I marched in two anti-Vietnam war demonstrations, and that was it. I didn’t do anything else.
Rabbit: It makes sense that at that time, as almost any kind of young person — there’s young people that are protesting, and into social justice and all that right now, there’s no real reason for it. But back then, your ass could get drafted into Vietnam. Like there was a real reason that you would have somebody invested in protesting, if you wanted to. A lot of people, I guess, didn’t. But that was something that was already always out there. Like you could actually be drafted, and sent to war.
CK: Yeah, I got drafted, by the way. I went down to the induction center and told them I was gay, and I got 4-F. Then I had to go home and explain that to my father, and he knocked me across the den. I went crashing into these pictures, that were of the relatives, in our den. We had a fight in there! He told me to call up the — he asked me if I was gay, and I said, “No. I’m not.” He said, “Well, then you lied to the Army, and you should call them up right now and tell them that you lied.”
He wanted me to go over to the phone, and call them up. I said, “I’m not going to do that.” So, we had a big old wrestling match there. I left the house that night. I was drafted.
RS: I know that traditionally the Leftists have fought against a lot of legitimate issues, like the anti-war movement, and then in the 1990’s you had the protestors against the World Trade Organization, and the environmental movement. And even the ACLU used to do a lot for privacy issues and free speech. So in the past, there were a lot of good reasons to be a Leftist.
Today, we just have like the social justice warrior garbage.
CK: Yeah. Well, I think that they’ve been compromised. The Black Lives Matter, and these other social justice warrior groups are being funded by George Soros and his group.
RS: I was reading in your biography, ironically, you were actually sponsored by George Soros’ organizations for one of your — I forget what it was.
CK: Yes, it was a residency. I did two residencies in Slovenia for the Citizens Exchange Council, which gets funding from the Soros Foundation. It was a conglomerate of funding agencies that includes George Soros, that gave me the money to go and do an art project with some Eastern European artists in Slovenia.
They’re very attractive people, the Slovenes, believe it or not. They’re more Austrian than they are Yugoslavian. They live on the border of Austria, so they’re just like Austrians; except they have their own little language that only they speak. There’s nobody else in the world that speaks Slovenian. They’re a postage-stamp country of about two million of them. They’re very well-educated, and there’s lots of culture there. Lots of theatre, and painting, and philosophy. What’s-his-name comes from there — Slavoj Žižek.
Žižek is just one of a number of Slovenian philosophers, trained in philosophy. In fact, they say in Slovenia every second Slovenian is an unemployed philosopher. Like Žižek.
RS: You’ve been involved in art. I’m interested in some of your views on architecture, and what are some of your favorite architectural genres?
CK: I guess the Craftsman movement, in America. You know about Greene and Greene, Stickley, and those other guys?
RS: Yes. I’m from LA, so there’s a lot of them in southern California.
CK: Yeah, I like that period of American architecture. We have a lot of Craftsman houses up here in Seattle, that style; and I’m living in one of them. I just like the whole idea of it.
Are you thinking about modern architecture? Who are my favorite modern architects?
RS: Yes, you can answer that.
CK: Let me think. Well I don’t like — I’m going brain-dead now — Frank Gehry. I can’t stand that stuff. We’ve got the EMP up here, the Experience Music Project Museum, it used to be the Jimi Hendrix Museum. Frank Gehry was brought in to design it, and I can’t stand that.
Rem Koolhaas designed our new public library. It looks like a penitentiary inside, I swear to God. It is the coldest, most institutional library that you can imagine. I watched a baby almost kill itself, crawling to an edge of a second floor that didn’t have a railing. That was small enough for a baby to go through. It could have just toddled right off the ledge there, on the second floor, and crashed down to the first floor, while I was in the library.
So, Rem Koolhass and Frank Gehry are not any architects that I like. Arthur Erickson I like. He’s a Canadian, and he’s done a lot of work in the Pacific Northwest that I really like, including a museum up in Vancouver, B.C.
RS: What do you think about the mid-century modernists, sort of a mid-century, space-age aesthetic?
CK: I don’t like mid-century modern that much, to tell you the truth. I don’t hate it; but it’s nothing — I wouldn’t buy myself, if I could afford a house, a mid-century modern house. I just wouldn’t do it. I would go back in time. I’m more classic in my architecture, in what I like.
Rabbit: You wouldn’t be a fan of Brutalism and that. . .
CK: Oh, God no! No. Bauhaus? No, not at all. No, it’s terrible! Brutalism, I can’t stand it. I’ve seen a lot of it. That English Brutalism, it’s just terrible! I mean, who would want to live in a great big cement box, with all these other sad souls? Anyway.
RS: What do you think about early twentieth-century architecture, like the Beaux-Arts and Art Deco?
CK: I like that a lot. You know where you can find a lot of good surviving Art Deco is Budapest, Hungary. There’s tons of it, all over Budapest. Coffee houses just dripping in Art Nouveau, you wouldn’t believe it. It’s great. It’s like a big living museum of Art Nouveau. I do like it.
RS: I don’t think there’s that much — I know there’s a lot of Art Nouveau in Europe, I don’t think there’s that much in the United States. The United States has the Art Deco and the Beaux-Arts; but Art Nouveau tends to be more in Europe. I know Belgium, and Prague is famous for it. Budapest, as you mentioned.
CK: Yeah, Budapest was like — Prague, Budapest, and Vienna were the crown-jewels of the Habsburg Empire; and so they got hit with secessionist art and art nouveau architecture — really hard, heavy. So, you can find it, this Vienna secessionist. You can find it in Vienna a little, a little bit. There’s some left.
Prague, I’ve never been to, believe it or not. Budapest, I’ve been to. As I’m saying, if you like that stuff, you should take yourself there; because, A, it’s all over the place, and, B, Budapest is as cheap as Mexico. It really is, for a vacation destination. And nobody seems to really want to go there. Everybody wants to head for Paris, or head for these other places.
RS: It’s probably also a lot safer than either Paris or Mexico.
CK: Yeah, there’s less — Germany’s crawling with touts, and pick-pockets, and street scammers. I mean, all the major European cities are polluted with this low-life, that will prey on tourists, if they can. If I was young, and wanting to see the world, I would head for Eastern Europe and down into Hungary, and why not go to Belgrade? That’s a beautiful place, too.
Rabbit: I know a couple of my friends went to Spain some years back, and within the first twenty minutes at the airport, they got all of their wallets stolen and all of their luggage, like in three separate incidences. All in the first twenty minutes that they were there.
CK: Oh, my God! How long ago?
Rabbit: This was like 15 years ago; so, I can’t imagine what it’s like now. It was right when they first got there. Yeah, it was right when they first for there. It wasn’t even like one incident. It was just in the span of twenty minutes somebody stole their luggage, and then somebody pick-pocketed them and they lost everything — as soon as they got there.
CK: Yeah. Well, that’s what you’ve got to watch out for these days in the capitals of Europe, because they’re just crawling with this criminal class, petty criminals. I mean, they’re desperate. These people are desperate; so you’re a mark, and they’ll prey on you, in any way they can.
I don’t want to scare people away from taking a vacation to Europe; but if it were me, I would go to places where people don’t go. Because you can find more of old Europe in those places than you can in London, Paris, and Madrid even.
RS: You were in London recently for your exhibition that didn’t happen. What were some of your observations on the city and how it’s changed? I was there in 2002.
CK: Well there’s just all kinds of Africans, and Middle-Easterners riding the public transportation system. If you want to get directions from people they don’t know what direction to send you in, because they don’t know where they are themselves.
It’s amazing. I was trying to get to the Royal Academy. I asked about ten people for certain cross-streets that I needed to navigate it, and they didn’t know where the hell they were. I walked into these stores, and a Pakistani guy — I’d ask him a question and he didn’t even know what street his business was on! I mean, that’s what it seemed like to me. I’m exaggerating, of course; but they couldn’t tell me how to get to the Royal Academy. You know, it’s lost.
RS: I guess now everyone’s expected to have an iPhone and access to the Google maps, so people don’t ask for directions anymore.
CK: Yeah, right. Okay. You see, I’m a luddite when it comes to the cell phone and the Google maps app. I don’t have a cell phone. So, I’m dependent on passers-by and shopkeepers to get me where I’m going, if I get lost. Or, my girlfriend. My girlfriend, she’s got a cell phone.
RS: We’re out of time. I would like to thank Charles Krafft for being on. Check out his work. I’ll post a link to his website, so you can see all his work for yourself.
Thanks. It’s been a great show. Thanks for being on. Thanks, Rabbit.
* * *
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