For Writers Who Live Dangerously, Free Spirits, Overmen and Overwomen
(From my new Substack, Write Dangerously. Subscribe for free at https://writedangerously.substack.com
GARRY CRAIG POWELL
29 MAY 2023
‘Make war on your peers and on yourselves’ said Nietzsche, in The Gay Science. He added, ‘Live dangerously.’ I’m taking that a step further and urging my fellow writers to write dangerously - and artists to paint or sculpt dangerously, and musicians to play dangerously. What do I mean? I take it as axiomatic that most current art, including literary fiction, is rubbish, even the well-crafted stuff. Why? It either kowtows to the current politically correct ideology, which glorifies victimhood, and seeks to destroy the canon, or else harks back to a kind of writing that has become obsolete and irrelevant in the postmodern world.
It panders to what Nietzsche called ‘slave morality’ - I argue that in fact wokeness is nothing but Christianity disguised, since it extols the oppressed, and considers anyone who’s been oppressed to be inherently noble. But isn’t this kind? No. It does no favours to the weak, since it teaches them that they are entitled to the fruits of life without having to strive for them - social justice is coming! - nor to the strong, since it seeks to eliminate them. It’s obvious that the whole landscape of the arts has become controlled by a New Elite whose chief aim is to maintain their power and influence by signalling their virtue constantly, and excluding the wicked white men - especially the heterosexual ones - who have been hogging all the attention for so long.
If this sounds reactionary, I am not criticising diversity per se. I welcome good writing from anyone of any ethnicity, either sex (sorry, there are only two), or religion or sexual persuasion (provided it’s between consenting adults.) As long as the work is published and promoted on merit. But clearly that’s not what’s happening. Writers and other artists are now feted and marketed mostly because of their bio - their ‘minority background’ and/or because of their woke themes. The result is a cultural catastrophe. Increasingly, novels, short stories, plays and films - all kinds of narrative - are predictable, dull, and uninspiring. The young black woman is invariably brilliant, noble, and strong; the older white bloke is naturally cowardly, stupid, and evil. Who wants to read this hogwash? Only the wokerati, as I call them. And even they only pretend to enjoy it. They read what they are told to read in the Guardian and the New York Times, and by Oprah and the BBC.
So this blog or newsletter is an attempt to fight back, to make war, first of all, on my peers who are either too stupid to see the perniciousness of the ideology, or on those who do see it, but who are too cowardly to protest, lest they be cancelled or no-platformed. (I suspect that more writers, agents, and editors are cowards than evil.) Does this make you uncomfortable? Good. I hope to offend. Writing that doesn’t offend anyone is nothing more than bland trash.
You might observe that other people are already involved in this fight: Jordan Peterson, Douglas Murray, Joe Rogan, Paul Joseph Watson, and many others. Yes, but not in the world of fiction, as yet. There, as far as I am aware, I am leading the charge! My novel, Our Parent Who Art in Heaven (Flame Books, 2022) seems to be the first satire on the subject, and David Joiner has dubbed it ‘the anti-woke campus novel of our times.’ Doubtless that is why reviewers have been extraordinarily shy of publishing reviews of it so far - although readers’ reviews have been nearly all positive. I am aware that I may lose friends because of the incendiary tone of what I write. I know too that I am laying my writing career on the line. But I could not live with myself if I did not take up arms in this war. Because this is a war for the soul of man and woman. The globalists want to turn us into neutered trans-human consumers that they can manipulate at will - into slaves, in fact. And they’re succeeding. We have to fight back.
Just what am I advocating, then? A return to the realist fiction of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky and Flaubert? Or to the Modernism of Joyce, Musil, and Kafka? No. We can’t go back. We have to create something new and vital, something life-affirming. And that is where the second part of Nietzsche’s dictum comes in. Make war on yourselves. Because we are all - yes, even I, the ‘comandante’ - sometimes fearful, and conformist; we wish to fit in, to be liked, to be admired. We want to be safe. So we submit to being herd animals, slaves. But Zarathustra teaches us the Overman, or Super-Man, who overcomes his weakness. We may not ever attain perfection, but we should be striving for it. We can be strong, like the heroes of ancient Greece, or of Arthurian legend. We can live as aristocrats - aristos means ‘the best’ in Greek, and ‘aristocracy’ means ‘the rule of the best’ and thus is a synonym of ‘meritocracy’. You don’t have to be to the manor born. Like Robin Hood or Sir Francis Drake you prove yourself noble, however humble your background. Shakespeare did so, and Keats, and Dickens. We can too.
This blog is a challenge to the creators among you. Dare you think for yourself? Dare you allow the muses to infuse your work, dare you be inspired by myth, by the deepest sources of the spirit and art? Or do you just want to be successful, a rich celebrity? If the latter, then you will do no more than make conformist entertainment. You will remain a slave and your work will be consumed by the other slaves before it’s consigned to oblivion. But for the free spirits, the overmen and overwomen, there is another way: the way of Master Morality. It is dangerous. Follow it, and you will lose some of your friends. You may be reviled. The slaves hate to see a warrior, so they will spit on you and try to destroy you. I know this from experience. They may cry when they hear your work! They are so vulnerable and fragile.
And yet, for the true artists among you, this is the only way. We fight or we perish. My vow is that I will not abandon the struggle. Are you with me?