Discover more from Polemics
A novel by Dan Baltic
Terror House Press
When "Twitter Spaces" first started, I was captivated and engaged with the secret and secluded routine life of adult film actress Saya Song. What exactly was she talking about in the wee morning hours at the end of 2021?
It was an interesting space because I was hearing what a porn star does in her average, mundane life. Some of the most eccentric people entered the space, with a limit of exactly 8 people. Because I was one of the only users ever who listened to her space, this gave me direct insight into Song's life. With that, I could easily proselytize her into my political interests in Eurasian identity politics, as well as talk about cool art stuff I like.
I'm not so sure if she ever agreed to be in my secret film, a screenplay I wrote which I want her to star in, starring Dr. Richard Wolff and Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu. She liked the concept. That’s all that matters. However, it is the obscure name-dropping that matters, and how it's all engaged like a Mark Lombardi conspiracy web. Maybe she could tune into Democracy at Work or listen to A Promise. What if she already knew these things? Saya Song was becoming radicalized, by me and her audience. That’s the power behind virtual spaces.
Song’s real Twitter Space is much akin to the fictional "Nutcrankr" revenge porn website and dissident political forum, found in Dan Baltic’s explosive debut novel. Who knew that you could actually find insight through a PornHub comment, or even make friends on irregular forums like Bodybuilding.com? There is always something growing, politically, behind the unusual.
The anti-hero, Spencer Grunhauer, is a mix of many heroic faces. He has the body of Andrew Tate, the mind of Richard "Spencer," the attitude of Patrick Bateman, and the legacy of Ted Kaczynski.
Spencer had it all in 2009. Even behind Cell B-26, in solitary confinement, he created an impact with his brand. Just like how Sam Hyde called out Hasan Piker, Spencer’s scream incites an eternal war against weakness.
Before his arrest, he was in love with a blonde Jewish academic, Dr. Nora Katz. Together, they would bond over the most masculine ideas, like a Fabio romance cover fantasy of Salon-based bliss. I recall a time in 2012, when Blogspot bloggers, like "Laguna Beach Fogey," would just repost pictures of how fancy European dandies should dress. Spencer and Nora are a top 10% who are not only idealized “liberals,” but strong people living out a fantasy only a few internet nerds could dream of. A “liberalsexual” of “dark academia” romance, they might call it.
With the rise of Tumblr during the late 2000s, the concept that pictures could be "retweeted" and shared among those new users looking for "cool things on the internet" has itself created a subculture based on "aesthetics." This Tumblr influence has only accelerated an influence of performative and pretentious attuites around the arts. We are now seeing the influences in the most niche categories, from "Bronies," “MAGA Communists,” to (I kid you not) "trans-BAP femboy traps." What was ridiculed in the "alt-right" in 2012, is now commonplace on post-Twitter in 2022. The rise of the infamous joke account, "Bronze Age Pervert" took the attitudes of Jack Donovan and Roosh V, and mashed them together to create a humorous anti-liberal criticism, something of the fairy tale, antisemitic wisdom found in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. BAP has made it possible for even the My Little Pony fans to craft their art direction around both Fashwave memes and the art of Lauren Faust. Hence we get those who embody the transhumanist ethos while incorporating the reactionary and hostile criticism against them. Who is on the right side anymore?
Dan Baltic’s witty and nice prolix reminds me of the political quirkiness found in the work of Tom Wolfe or Gay Talese. Not that NUTCRANKR is a piece of New Journalism, but the playful has the playful modernist spirit found in John Updike’s A&P, along with a dash of John Kennedy Toole and Flannery O'Connor’s love for tragic comedy against the obnoxious, class condescending nature of satire. Satire is often used as a political tool to shame others and to condemn certain anti-liberal behavior. However, NUTCRANKR packs its punches back.
Here are some good licks from the novel:
"The American college was a factory of desire."
"Together, they would grow the world."
(And “grow” here has many connotations).
And what about shame?
"Ashamed at her animal arousal at the prospect of long evenings of debate and lovemaking with her young champion? …A denizen of the rough and tumble world of men, where war plays and play is war, Spencer realized that he must learn to soften his male hardness to care for the delicate Nora, who was intelligent and intuitive, but yet the eternal woman."
Already, one is against defeat, in favor of keeping his prize forever. It sounds like the same path as Yukio Mishima’s The Sound of Waves, where inner weakness motivates the imperfect jihadist to earn his 40 virgins in heaven.
"A liberal in the classical tradition, Spencer was a proponent of individual freedom. If a man so chose to engage with the inflamed member of another man, it was his curious affair. Spencer might judge, but it was not his place to interrupt. “Did you just wink at me?” asked Alex."
Here, we get the American Psycho at work. Spencer has a cunning plan against the plebs. They will never understand his genius of being a supreme gentleman.
"Sensing her impending loss in this game of rhetorical brinksmanship, Maddy frantically accused Spencer of being the true racist, in light of an occasion when Spencer had expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler. But Spencer had not expressed an unqualified admiration for the notorious Austrian statesman. Spencer appreciated Hitler’s prowess as a propagandist and politician, but not, for the most part, his racial belief system. That the man’s ideas were evil was not in debate, but surely they could all learn a thing or two from his method of delivery? Maddy did not agree. Instead, she suggested that Spencer was afflicted with autism and promptly exited the conversation."
Adolf Hitler? The most vile and evil creature in human history. Yet Spencer manifests their admiration and accomplishments into his character. What could be worse?
Spencer eats from the tree of knowledge, only then to feel the repercussions of it all, leading to an ultimate tragedy, created by the outcomes of our current society.
All because he falls for a certain somebody named Crystal Clancy.
Everyone has a muse. Dennis Cooper wrote about his obsession with "George Miles," in his series of sadomasochistic homo books. And for me? Let’s say it bounces back between a woman named "Monica" and this celebrity (who used to love me) by the name "Maggie Lee." That's what motivates people to create art on a religious, if not, neurotic level of self-destruction.
Just like Spencer, I'm cursed. All the women who ever cursed me begin with the letter "M," and those who I fall for begin with the letter "V."
Is that meme magic or what?
No doubt, Terror House Press has been leading a genre of similar "school shooter" tragedies of sorts, projecting all the liberal frenzy madness of having a slight interest in "right-wing" politics turns to murder. Andy Nowicki wrote The Columbine Pilgrim far back in 2011, and recently in 2021, Matt Pegas with Dragon Day and Robert Stark with Vaporfornia. By golly, I should write a “mog tragedy” where I should write about an “incel loser” going haywire. This is quite the contrast to the pretentious nature of “power electronic” queer shock art found at Amphetamine Sulphate, where wannabee cosmopolitan black trans folk wave their fake dick around on who is the most offensive to an already fake queer-stacking society.
Philip Best, I hope you do pick up NUTCRANKR this Christmas of 2022!
We can all love Peter Sotos, up until a point much of it reminds us of repetitive Gen-X hardcore punk zines, and less to do about the quiet nerds at the lunch table who show slight of interest in the now-popular genre. “Ewwww!!!” the preps of power electronics say!
The cultural divide around wannabee school shooters is quite interesting, considering all the terms and fads of the last decade have manifested into serious novels about embracing the anti-liberal world of internet communities. Those who get it advocate some kind of Republican ethos, while those who are against it can’t get out of the Antifa headspace. The criticism is often more about political movements themselves, and how they lead to the same "falling out," whatever that means Matthew Heimbach or Caleb Maupin being "canceled" because of their sexual antics. Imagine the conundrum found in The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. Think about the obvious shock jocks who will flirt with anti-liberalism sooner or later, or else they will have to kiss the feet of black trans-pseudo-intellectuals who will continue to gatekeep outsiders from ever criticizing the pretentious modernity and imperialistic nature of Salman Rushdie. You can’t win. So a logical shift will occur. Those already into political science and writing have an advantage because they will naturally walk away from the neoliberal rainbow state of Omelas.
Spencer will always rage a war against the evil and eternal "global Marxism" and their "communist ninjas." We all know what they are. These “Marxists” are liberal idiots and weak men. Yet still to this day, it’s embarrassing that shallow agents like Emily Youcis continue to call Michael Moore a “communist” without ever reading one page of Marx or Hegel. I’m digressing, but everyone seems to be out for some kind of boogeyman, even without understanding the full context. It’s not so much deliberate “satire,” but how words are used in a different type of semantics, causing confusion and solipsism. How many times has a racial advocate called something “anti-white” without further elaborating on who is white? Are all admixture European people “white,” or do liberal opponents assume “white” actually means “middle-class values against cosmopolitanism?”
In Spencer's case, everyone is sucking "on the teat of Foucault."
While we live in this amazing contradictory liberal society, we are quite aware of the drastic attitudes and middle-class ignorance around the millennial generation. Furthermore, think about the exploitative nature of “rainbow capitalism” and how that was set up by Gen-X and The Boomers, and ultimately, how it is accelerating the decline of America. Take note of this! This is the same kind of insanity found in the subcultures and reactions against the clown world. Yes. Even the so-called white nationalist destroys himself. There still is a binary split between a subcultural "left" or "right," and an arrogant "don't talk to that ugly kid at lunch" type of gatekeeping. These are markets of desire set up against one another. But we know the truth.
We sympathize with Spencer.
We sympathize with Spencer as we would when Coffeehouse Crime makes a video about Roman McClay and Randy Stair. While we are supposed to hate them because "they killed lots of people," we don't understand what was the motivation, or the urge to do it. Antifa loves talking about "killing Nazis," but would never flinch a finger if someone shoots up a Pennsylvania supermarket over Butch Hartman cartoon porn. Understanding the nature of it all presents us with the real problems of our society. We care about what Roman and Randy are going through.
What about the actual novel? It's not that a certain fictional character should be condemned through a narrative portraying humor, irony, ( god fucking no), and absurdity to make such conclusions through “satire.” Satire seems to be the liberal’s weapon of choice, and they love to direct it to their opponents by pretending to know what the anti-liberal thinks.
The anger is real. The anger is real in NUTCRANKR. There is the sincerity with Butch Hartman's cartoon porn. There is sincerity in Spencer's "Monkey Love May Day." No one can tell you that this is a work of “satire.” It’s a manifestation of the struggle and a romance about our own lives with the internet.
In 2022, we still have Dick Hebdige's concept of the isolated and braindead "subculture" routine ruling us, and we also succumb to Rene Girard's mimetic desire. There is no escape, and no awareness, from any party, of the apparent stupidity and reoccurring hypocrisies found in political circles. No one is questioning the secretive life of meaningless rooftop parties in Williamsburg. It is all like Eyes Wide Shut, happening in front of you. Your internet idols lie to you. They continue to be extroverted and hip, celebrating a life that our American society wants us to love. You stay at home while they milk your money. They live in New York and San Francisco, you don’t.
Why isn’t anyone protesting against the artificial nature of subculture and Instagram whoring? That’s exactly what Zuckerberg wants.
From Nora to Crystal, it all leads to self-destruction.
Baltic writes anti-satirical prose, where no one is being ridiculed, but instead, glorifies and montages political jargon and esoteric memes while turning the narrative into a blossoming flower, shining the beauty back to The Sorrows of Young Werther. It's that good.