2083 by Anders Behring Breivik, Part 4: All About ABB

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Now begins the last installment of my look at 2083.  If you’re just now joining the discussion, this is the fourth in the series.  You can click these links and go straight to Part One, Part Two and Part Three.

Throughout the previous three looks at Anders Behring Breivik and Fjordman, I did my best to remain on topic with the text only.  I still will derive most of Part Four from the manifesto text, but I will also be using information from the news and other sources as I discuss what I think this text reveals about Breivik.   If one reads the text closely,  Breivik reveals a lot of answers to questions that are troubling people.   I also think the text reveals a lot about Breivik’s motives in a way that gives lie to the idea that stopping Islamic immigration and ending what he refers to as cultural Marxism were his only goals.

In Part Three I mostly discussed the things that Breivik planned and the things he actually did.   Because of the level of plagiarism that Breivik engages in throughout the manifesto, it is hard to look at his writing and know if the words are indeed his, but there are patterns that emerge, times when it seems like writing flows and when it seems like he is parroting ideology from others in an awkward manner.   When he writes from a place of experience or a place of emotion, it flows smoother and simply feels more real.  So I tell myself that there are times I know I am reading Breivik’s actual thoughts, as well as text that is not plagiarized.

I need to explain that I am looking at his manifesto the way I read any text.   I am looking at the whole of the document – how it is arranged, how the writing appears, what Breivik considers important, what he does not.  There is truth in this manifesto of lies.   You know how it is when a seasoned poker player can judge the hands of the other players at the table?  It is because the other players, even as they try to present a flat demeanor, have what are called “tells.”  A finger twitches, eyes dart to the left, someone unconsciously clears his throat.  And the experienced poker player knows.  Breivik’s manifesto is littered with tells.

While I hope I am not sounding too arrogant, I am a reasonably good “poker player.”   I’m no expert on literary construction.  But I fancy that because of my time in the trenches of odd books, strange books, bizarre books, and the people who naturally accompany such books, I have a pretty good grounding in the unusual mind.   I also had some excellent teachers and professors in my day who instilled in me a habit of engaging with words in a manner that, at times, makes reading very involved for me.  So I fancy that I enter into Part Four with some skills for analyzing text.

But at the same time, I will be engaging in psychological analysis of Breivik that should likely be taken with a grain of salt.  In a way, psychoanalyzing him will be no different than analyzing other literary characters because in its way, this manifesto is as much a piece of fiction as any novel.   I don’t need a psychological degree in order to discuss the mental state of Emma Bovary, Gregor Samsa, or Catherine Earnshaw.   But if I acknowledge that I am analyzing the text in the same way that I would a fictional novel, hopefully that will make it clear that this is just speculation.   Once the professional psychological reports come back,  I have no doubt large chunks of this entry will be proven completely off-base.  As you read this, please keep in mind I am doing my best to discuss Breivik in relation to what I think his manifesto tells me about him, with some news articles to bolster the opinions I posit. I could be very wrong.

And all that having been said, I think I’m right on more than I am wrong.  I wouldn’t have written all this out if I didn’t have some belief I was right.

So let’s look at the insight the manifesto text gives us into the mind of Breivik.  Let’s look at how his text arrangement and emphasis show his priorities.  Let’s talk about what some of his plagiarism really means.  Let’s look at how so much of what he writes contradicts itself.   Let’s see if some of the initial media responses to him are borne out in his manifesto. Let’s see if we can pin down the mind of a killer via the words that meant so much to him.

2083 by Anders Behring Breivik, Fjordman: Part Two

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Today begins the second part of my look at Fjordman, the blogger who inspired  and was frequently cited by the Norway killer, Anders Behring Breivik (whom I will refer to as ABB throughout the rest of this discussion).  If you have not read part one, have a look at it here.

It would appear that my discussion of 2083 went a little viral, so welcome new readers!  I also welcome all comments, even those that may disagree with me entirely.  I encourage people to stick to reactions to the text but, of course, I understand political discussions will be inevitable where such a document is concerned.

It should also be mentioned that yes, I am verbose as a rule. Sorry about that but if length bothers you, you likely were not going to be interested in a quote-laden discussion of a 1500 page manifesto anyway. Also, please bear in mind this is a discussion of the book, not a review as such. I’m not judging the literary merit of the manifesto as much as I am just trying to reveal what the manifesto really contains and the minds of the people involved. I mean, I guess someone could review Mein Kampf or The New Libertarian Manifesto with an eye to the quality of the prose, but I really don’t recommend it.

2083: A European Declaration of Independence was so much more than a look at anti-Islam viewpoints that led to murder.  It contains a number of critiques, from how hip hop music is destroying black culture in the United States to misogynistic rants that contained rape apology.  It has reproductive ideas that sound like science fiction and instructions on how to make poison bullets.  It is all over the map. In many ways, I am glad I read this because it is a mistake to think that ABB was a lunatic who was just gunning for socialists whom he considered responsible for Muslim immigration.  His master plan, derived from the ideas of other thinkers, had something unsettling in store for almost everyone who wasn’t a white man. As progressive as we like to think we are, many of the more virulent ideas present in 2083 are rampant in political and social elements in the United States.

ABB is only a monster to us because he took his ideology to heart and shot people instead of blogging about it.  But he is only unique in how he displayed his hate.  And he is even less unique when you realize that all of his ideas came from other people.  As I said in my first article, in so many ways, Fjordman is more interesting to me than ABB, because Fjordman’s brain is on display here far more than ABB’s.  ABB is violently derivative.

This second part of my look at Fjordman will be when I show my snark teeth a bit more because it is going to cover  his misogyny that at times gives lie to his nationalist leanings, the messy contradictions present in Fjordman’s theories, his misuse of pop culture and literature, and some of the utterly bizarre things present in his writing.   Yeah, there will be snark.  I won’t be able to help it. Also, part two is mostly just a reaction to some of the more bizarre elements of Fjordman’s thought processes and misinterpretations. Mostly, this will be a look at the mind of a man who really is driven by hate to the point that he is rabid, inconsistent and just flat out weird.

Though I also mentioned in Part One that I find Fjordman infinitely more interesting than the murderer who cloaked himself in his ideas, Fjordman did not ask for any of this.  I did try to make a case that Fjordman engaged in rhetoric that seemed fated to send a True Believer on a violent rampage, but the fact is is that Fjordman was writing in that false, protective cloud that seems to envelop so many bloggers.  We write and write and write and it never seems possible that we could, without overtly meaning to, inspire someone to shoot up teenagers on an island.  Blogging is a new weapon in the arsenal of using the written word to change the world and Fjordman has, for me at least, become a cautionary tale.   And as I said before, Fjordman is not pitiful, but he is definitely pitiable.  That is, he is pitiable when he isn’t actively pissing me off.  There are some things that no woman outside of the stay-at-home-daughters in the Vision Forum can read and not be filled with disgust.

So let’s begin Fjordman: Part Two.