Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mongolian Neo-Nazis

Does anyone remember from William Gibson's story Johnny Mnemonic, the racially contorted name of the band used as a password? Christian White and His Aryan Reggae band. Here's more evidence that we're now living in Gibson's notebook from 1983: an article in the Guardian via Marginal Revolution about Mongolian Neo-Nazis. Yes, really. Although their fascist salute seems a little posed for/by the photographers.

If you're short on irony for the day, read that story and you will learn, among other things, that Mongolians defend their racial purity by recording hip-hop music and following the teachings of Adolf Hitler. Hey guys: you're doing it wrong.

Some related trivia of interest to science fiction geeks and geeks in general:

1) In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (the book that Blade Runner was based on), Roy Batty, the superhuman Nexus 6 replicant was described by Philip K. Dick as having Mongolian features. Of course in Blade Runner the character was played by the decidedly un-Mongolian-looking Rutger Hauer. Perhaps it was in multiple rewatchings of the Ridley Scott masterpiece that these misguided fellows took a wrong turn. (Certainly I've paid the price for doing that very same thing in my own life.)

2) It turns out the Mongolians aren't the only racially confused fascists. The Nazis themselves were quite foggy as well. The late nineteenth century saw the rise of a kind of Pan-Indo-European spirit, driven by archaeologists and linguists who as it turns out were actually laying the foundations of our understanding of the peopling of Eurasia. They were doing good science - but that didn't stop Bismarck and later politically-motivated characters from co-opting that science for their own ends. To this day, German linguists speak not of the Indo-European language family but of Indogermanischen. In fact in pre-First World War linguistic texts, "Indo-Aryan" was also substituted, and believe it or not the use of the term "Aryan" in that era comes across as a bit flaky and crunchy. Nowadays it's being rehabilitated by patriotic North Indians, who seem to have an agreement to re-brand it by pronouncing the first syllable as "are" rather than "air". But the point is that the ultimate symbol of the racially-obsessed Nazis was one that they borrowed from brown people.

Try to be optimistic. At least part of William Gibson's future came true. Whereas I've been to Chiba, and the sky over the port was actually nice and blue. It was even clear enough to see Mt. Fuji that day.

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