Media Criticism: The Arrest of Varg Vikernes

This post originally appeared on Houdini's Revenge

One of the goals of Houdini’s Revenge is to look critically at how we receive information and come to believe what it is we believe.  Because of the way information is disseminated these days, we can no longer expect to read the news and know that we are reading the truth.  But it’s worse than that because these days we can’t even be sure that media outlets are even making an attempt to investigate what they are reporting to the public.  When dozens of websites republish the same initial report, if that initial report is completely wrong, by the time any errors are noted, the story is already all over the world and repeated without reflection.

On July 16, a friend on my Facebook left me a comment telling me that he had thought of me when he read Boing Boing!  I have a lot of strange irons in busy fires, so I had to go comb the site to see what he meant.  Within a minute, all was explained.  Xeni Jardin had posted a blurb that referred to an AFP article about the French police arresting Varg Vikernes.   This is the entire news blurb from Jacques Clement’s AFP article, link to article in quote:

Kristian Vikernes, a Norwegian neo-Nazi black metal musician and convicted killer who goes by the name of “Varg,” has been arrested in France over suspicions that he was planning a “major terrorist act.” He is reported to be linked to Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik, and he once stabbed a fellow musician to death, and set fire to several churches in the early 1990s.

Regardless of what anyone thinks of Vikernes’ politics, social beliefs or his past, we should all be extremely concerned that this news blurb from AFP that became the backbone of dozens and dozens of articles that reported this story has two major problems in just two sentences.  The first is that Varg Vikernes has not been known as “Kristian” in almost two decades.  Calling him “Kristian Vikernes” and mentioning he goes by “Varg” is like writing an article about “Thomas Mapother IV” and mentioning he goes by Tom Cruise.  I have no idea why AFP made the decision to make that strange distinction, but it set the tone for what was to come in the second sentence.

The second sentence is a hoot.  Varg Vikernes was “reported to be linked to” Anders Behring Breivik?  Ten minutes on Google would have made it impossible for any reporter worth a tinker’s damn to support such an accusation.  If nothing else, it would have made for far better reporting to have at least investigated what Varg had said about Breivik before they had run articles about his arrest.  Perhaps they could have added Varg’s own words from his websites as a counterpoint to the charges against him.  Perhaps Clement could have, you know, reported instead of vomiting up the vomiting up some official reports and adding some sly insinuations to spice up his article. 

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, Part 3: Breivik

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Before I begin discussing Anders Behring Breivik’s words from 2083, I want to remind any new readers that this is a four-part series.  You can read my take on Fjordman’s articles from 2083 in Part One and Part Two.

I am dreading writing about Anders Behring Breivik.   Whether I understood it consciously or not, I began discussing Fjordman because he was so much easier to write about.  His words, even as they appalled me, were words I knew he thought were true, plus there is the added benefit that he never killed anyone.  Fjordman’s passion indicated that he was emotionally connected to his dreadful topics.  At no time did I feel like I was reading the whole truth when I was reading Breivik’s own contributions to his manifesto.  Many times he read emotionally flat even as he was discussing war and executions.

I don’t think anyone will ever see the real face of Anders Behring Breivik and that is why I dread writing about him.  He wears many faces and in so doing, hides his real motives.  He is a man who carefully constructed an image before his rampage and is carefully maintaining that image even after his arrest.  I can make no assertions that I have nailed Breivik because I am not a psychologist.  All I can say is that as a person who has a vast interest in strange ideas and strange people, I have met many people who had or still have ideas I find anathema to a healthy world.  Some of these people were friendly, intelligent and affable and their strange beliefs took back stage to the whole of their personality.  Some were dark, dangerous people whom I never hope to see or correspond with again.  But every one of them was a real person, charming and glib, or earnest and odd, or determined and frightening but there was a core of humanity to them that could not be denied even as I was appalled with elements of their ideologies.  Even when I wanted to shake Fjordman, the reason I wanted to shake him was because he is real, someone whose words could create an honest, human reaction.

The same cannot be said of Breivik.  Even taking into account the number of articles he reproduced from Fjordman and other Islamophobic writers, there was not much of Breivik present in his manifesto.   That sense of no one being at home was not helped by the fact that he often reproduced chunks of text from other writers without attributing it, leading to the impression that those words were his.  He outright plagiarized Ted Kaczynski.  I swear at times I felt like I was reading slightly repackaged essays from William Lind.   Hundreds of pages of  Breivik’s interpretation of historical events, political actions and religious beliefs, all as absorbing as entries from supermarket encyclopedias.  And about as facile, too.  His criticism of political correctness/cultural Marxism showed about as much understanding of the Frankfurt School and reactions to the New Criticism as an answer to a high school essay question.  And one assume those high school essayists would know not to crib entire entries from Wikipedia.

All of the plagiarism accusations, all of them correct, popped up after the manifesto was discovered and bloggers ran it through software that detects unfair usage.  People seemed jubilant in a manner I could not understand because, on its face, who cares if a mass murderer of children plagiarized his brick of a manifesto?  There are far more moral issues to discuss when talking about Breivik.  The plagiarism, rather than being one more example of the criminal nature of Breivik needs to be looked at in terms of what it represents.  Plagiarism is a form of lying, a form of intellectual theft, and when one steals the ideas of others, it can point to the notion that the plagiarist is trying to either align himself with ideas he thinks are brilliant or he is trying to cover up a lack of confidence in his own writing.  I think Breivik’s plagiarism points to both but it also points to something else I will discuss Part Four.

There were moments when Breivik wrote in an extemporaneous, personal style, like in the sections where he reproduced his diary and discussed actions he truly performed.  But even when he was talking about himself, he often used trite devices to distance himself from his exposure.  It was as if he realized he was talking about himself too much and wanted to distract from it, but couldn’t stop writing about himself even if he tried.  For instance, he produces an “interview” called  “Interview with a Justiciar Knight Commander of the PCCTS, Knights Templar” and for a few minutes, I thought that maybe, perhaps I was reading the words of a compatriot in Breivik’s scheme.  He makes references to having comrades in arms as well as ideology.  But no, it was an interview with himself (and whether or not I think the text proves he acted alone is something I will touch on in in depth my fourth article).

When someone who borrows ideology from others, when someone plagiarizes the key points of his manifesto, when he writes as if he has a book open in front of him, yet carries on an interview with himself that goes on for 64 pages, that is a clue of sorts.  That clue is that his personality is more important than his ideology.  I will later make the assertion that Breivik has a personality disorder, an armchair psychiatric diagnosis to be sure, but for now, Breivik to me is sui generis because he is so bland and so self-absorbed.  He is a media-age monster, grooming his image before and after his rampage.   It is almost as if how he is perceived is more important than how his actions are perceived, and that will be a key discussion in my part four.

As a woman who knows far more about mass murderers and sociopaths than I ever planned to discover, Breivik is a monster unto himself.  He lacks the simmering hatred with a catastrophic trigger that is associated with most mass murderers.  For a religious man, who discusses Catholicism as a means of conquering his greatest foes, he talks about it dispassionately and incorporates little of it in his daily life, the Knights Templar cover notwithstanding.  In fact, the only time I sensed Breivik was showing emotion was during the first pages of his manifesto when he discusses the utopia he feels like he lost out on because of cultural Marxism, and during some of the discussions of cultural Marxism itself.  When he expressed anger in the sections about Islam, the anger very much seemed borrowed from other writers.  I sensed none of Fjordman’s urgent paranoia.   In fact, I wonder if Fjordman was Breivik’s favorite writer because Fjordman had something Breivik lacks – a passionate identity.  Breivik’s utter lack of self outside of his interest in his appearance is remarkable.

Breivik, even in his manifesto, comes across as vain, isolated, and more of a Walter Mitty fantasist than a mass murderer driven by religious bigotry.  At times his manifesto read more like an RPG manual, casting a strange light over his use of video games to train.    I wonder if, in a narcissistic haze, he saw all of his victims as two-dimensional characters in the self-centered game going on in his head. He comes across more as a man trying on roles – Mason, Knight Templar, Eurabian theorist, chemist, marksman, international criminal and male model – than a man who was driven by hate for Islamic immigration or such deep love for his country he had to protect it at any cost.   And there is a reason for those disparities, one all too common.

The reason is that Breivik is a liar.  He lies to himself and he lies to us in his manifesto.  He hid a key motive for the murders behind hundreds of pages of vaguely relevant information. He isn’t crazy – people with personality disorders can be terribly deluded but they are not insane.  He is simply a fabulist, a man who hated the life he was born into and the life he had come to live and was willing to do anything to redefine himself.

Does this mean he was not influenced by Fjordman?  Of course he was.  I think I made my case for how it is Fjordman’s violent rhetoric influenced Breivik.  And in terms of common sense, you don’t reproduce article after article from another writer in your mass murder manifesto unless you are influenced or inspired by them in some way.   Even had Breivik never read a word of Fjordman’s work, it still would have been violent, bigoted and misogynistic.   It is just Fjordman’s great misfortune that his loaded mini-manifestos found a reader willing to take his words to heart.  But I think Fjordman may have influenced Breivik in a way that no one could have anticipated, a way no one can hold Fjordman responsible for.  I think Breivik, who already had distaste for Muslims and feminism, found Fjordman so intoxicating because he longed to have the influence that Fjordman had and probably still has.

Fjordman was a part of a tightly knit group of Islamophobes online.  People in that oeuvre looked up to Fjordman.  They found him to be a great thinker.  And Breivik even wanted to meet Fjordman but was rebuffed.   I cannot entirely make the case that Breivik had an ideological and sociological crush on Fjordman, but it sure seemed likely when I finished the manifesto.   And this is a stretch, but I also wonder how Breivik truly felt about Fjordman refusing to meet him.  In his manifesto, he makes little jabs at men who blog and do not act.    It is sheer speculation but it has a ring of truth to it that if Breivik could not meet his idol, if he could not become a part of the thinkers who fueled his ideology, he would best him in some manner.

But that’s just one of the theories floating in my head.  While Breivik was decidedly an Islamophobe, there definitely other motives that fueled his rampage.  The very way he begins his manifesto is a very good clue that he has mixed motives.  The beginning is not an overview of atrocities attributed to Muslims, but rather a discourse on how the family of the 1950s cannot exist in a politically correct world.  I intend to make the case in Part Four that Breivik was as equally motivated by twisted emotions about what he considers the destruction of his own family as he was the need to end Muslim immigration in Europe.  Though in his manifesto he gives a reason for why he did not shoot Muslims, the fact that he shot young people, teens, having fun at a summer camp, speaks to motives in addition to Islamophobia.  It is more in line with his loathing of cultural Marxism, but even that only goes so far.  By shooting teenagers, he violated even his own outline of the “traitors” who needed to die first.  He shot to death dozens of teenagers because he was striking out at a country he felt deprived him of the family and youth he thinks he deserved and missed out on.

So, in my estimation, Breivik is a liar both to himself and his audience, and his motives go further than just a look at his hatred discussed disjointedly and blandly in his manifesto.  Given that much of his manifesto is the work of others, either attributed or plagiarized, and that his pages and pages of historical revisionism and examples of Bad Things Muslims Have Done Over The Past 1400 Years are just regurgitated facts from Islamophobia sites, I don’t even see the point of discussing them.  Discussing Fjordman’s anti-Muslim beliefs is discussing Breivik’s anti-Muslim beliefs.  You can find analysis of those parts of his manifesto elsewhere, and in the comments on those sites you will find refutations that are then refuted and in turn there is more refutation but there is never a conclusion.  A True Believer in conspiracy theory cannot change his or her argument and non-believers are foolish even to try and convince them to see reason on an online venue.  So I am not going to examine all that minutia and those “facts” repackaged and filtered through Eurabia conspiracy theory.  It would just be my facts against their facts and it would be a colossal waste of time.

Instead, I intend to examine this manifesto in two ways.  In this article, Part Three, I want to discuss the framework Breivik set up for the massacre and the things he actually did to prepare.   I warn you – Part Three is the  least interesting part of my analysis and probably reads that way.  But it is worth looking at, I think.  Breivik  may be lying about some of the things he did, but that framework at least seems to have some authenticity to it.  The framework, in which he analyzed who should be killed, how to go about it, evasive maneuvers, etc. was clearer and seemed less copied and false than all the facts he vomited up.

There are some out there who seem to think this manifesto should not be discussed at all because parts of it read like The Anarchist Cookbook combined with some volumes from Paladin Press and to discuss it is to aid in the dissemination of such information. I find that laughable at best because there is nothing in this manifesto that the average teenager cannot find in several minutes using a Smart Phone.  Moreover, refusing to look at this section because it is deemed too dangerous to discuss just perpetuates the thought that Breivik had to have had help or financial backing, and feeds the fear that there is a sinister group of people training to kill Muslims and liberals in Europe.  If nothing else, this manifesto shows what the so-called super-empowered individual can accomplish on his own, which is cold comfort, I know.

All of that having been said, I don’t intend to reproduce any content that could prove a legal liability to this site or to my web hosting service.

In Part Four, which will hopefully come no later than early next week, I will discuss common questions the manifesto answers, Breivik’s emotional motives that fueled the murders, what I consider to be a personality disorder that is evident even to those who did not read 2083, and other inconsistencies and issues that cropped up as I read his “interview” and his diary.  That, I think, will be infinitely more interesting than this discussion.

But if you’re still here with me, let’s discuss Anders Behring Breivik.

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.

2083 by Andrew Berwick, aka Anders Behring Breivik

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Book: 2083: A European Declaration of Independence

Author: Andrew Berwick, real name Anders Behring Breivik

Type of Book: Paranoid manifesto, conspiracy theory

Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: Sigh…

Availability: It’s all over the Internet.

Comments: (edited to add: I mistakenly refer to the site Gates of Vienna as Gates of Brussels several times in this discussion. Mea culpa and I would change it but this article has been reproduced several places and the mistake is sort of cast in e-stone. Just know that the site is Gates of Vienna.) When I learned that the Norway mass murderer had salted his manifesto all over the Internet shortly before he went on his rampage, I knew I was going to have to read it. After all, I read odd books. And more to the point, I have an unapologetic interest in the aberrant mind. From all the commentary I read online and from news reports, Anders Behring Breivik was a fundamentalist Christian, he was a fascist, he was a racist, he was an Aryan supremacist, he hated Muslims, he was a loner, he was a part of a larger anti-Islam group, he was a lunatic, he was a mastermind – he was all kinds of inconsistent things and I wondered what was correct and what was the typical media rush to judgment.  I wondered if the people who were postulating about him and his sources had actually read the manifesto.

So I read it. Every last word. I will admit that at about page 1200 things at times got a little vague for me. Reading every word of this disjointed, strange monster of a manuscript would make even an Adderall addict bleary. I also admit that after a while, all the articles explaining the horrors of Islam and all the terrible things Muslims have done wore a bit thin. I have a feeling that were I forced to read some of them again, it would be like I was reading them for the first time. That’s okay  because all that “evidence” was not likely to be of much interest to me anyway. It’s largely unimportant because I examined this manifesto from the perspective of a person interested in strange minds and conspiracy theory. On both fronts, this manifesto was quite interesting.

Strangely, Anders Behring Breivik (to be called ABB from here on out) is not the most interesting part of this manifesto. Rather, it was the cast of characters who led him to the conclusions he reached and provided confirmation for his strange ideas. Most notable is Fjordman. So notable is Fjordman that I intend to devote two entries to discussing him. Initially, I declared Fjordman to be a complete asshole, and parts of that assessment still seem true, but as I reread and wrote my discussion, I began to find him pitiable. Not pitiful, but definitely pitiable.

Fjordman, who revealed his identity recently as Peder Jensen, a 36-year-old man who seems largely unremarkable, greatly inspired ABB’s thoughts and the terrible rampage that killed 77 people. Because Fjordman influenced many of ABB’s ideas, it seems logical to me to discuss him first. You see, though much of this manifesto consists of articles from other writers, the bulk of the articles came from Fjordman. If you have not read or browsed the manifesto, many articles from anti-Islamists are reproduced in full in the manifesto. Part two of this three-part manifesto was almost a static wiki of articles from other people. Though my eyes admittedly glazed over at times, I believe I counted 40 articles from Fjordman reproduced throughout the 1500 pages. Though there are articles from other writers (one of them a hilarious pearl-clutching treatise on the horrors of rap music), Fjordman’s words take up the most space and show a very clear path of how his words affected ABB. Though there are theories about a Brit in Malta who may have influenced ABB’s rampage, the fact is Fjordman’s paranoiac and violent rhetoric influenced ABB’s mindset and his plans more than any other writer or thinker. In fact, the subtitle of this manifesto comes from the title of one of Fjordman’s articles, and the date of 2083 seems very much influenced by estimates that Fjordman posits about the decline of Europe if Muslim immigration is not stopped soon. So logically, for me at any rate, to understand ABB, we first must talk about Fjordman’s articles and the part they played in ABB’s anti-Muslim fears.

Before you read part one of my discussion about Fjordman, there are some things I would like to share with you, gentle reader. Unpleasant things. Of course, I will never not be a little shocked when I discover a whole mess of people willing to accept conspiracy theory as irrevocable fact. I may devote my life to reading books about conspiracy theory, but it is unsettling when it hits home how deeply people can believe in it. It was shocking to realize that there are people who take the word of Bat Ye’or, the woman responsible for creating what I like to call The Protocols of the Elders of Mecca, as historical truth. It was horrifying to realize that people like Diana West (ahahahaha!), Daniel Pipes, and Robert Spencer are not laughed out of every quarter of contemporary political thought. It was disgusting to realize that there are no depths too low for the likes of Glenn Beck, Pamela Geller and Debbie Schlussel to sink as they try desperately to keep their names and ideas relevant in the minds of those who live and breathe race hate and bigotry.

But as unpleasant as all of this is, it is important that we understand how common conspiracy theory is in some form or other for a good many people in this world. For many the natural impulse is to dismiss ABB as a crazy man, and we dismiss him as a lunatic at our own risk because if he is a lunatic, so are many, many others. It is hardwired into the human brain to believe strange things, I think, and it’s hard to look at a man like ABB and realize that he is just one of many, a man who is different solely because he took things just one step further. That is why I ultimately feel pity for Fjordman. Fjordman, a True Believer in Bat Ye’or’s Eurabia conspiracy theory was building castles in the air via his online essays, never once thinking that his words, taken at face value, could have been seen as a call to arms.

We have a vested interest in dismissing all violence as crazy, labeling people like ABB as The Other, but his views are derived from other people and are influencing other people even after anyone with common decency would dismiss him. Killing innocent teenagers for a bizarre political and social agenda should have rendered ABB’s ideas untouchable for anyone with sense and a conscience – Fjordman is appalled by what happened on Utøya – but there is a fringe element who see what ABB did as being the work of a patriot. Think I’m exaggerating? I don’t recommend visiting Pamela Geller or Debbie Schlussel’s sites because if you do, you are rewarding their dreadful antics to draw attention to themselves. Rather, check out the analysis of some of these people on sites like Loon Watch, Spencer Watch, and, interestingly enough, Little Green Footballs. (It had been years since I had visited Little Green Footballs. Last time I visited the site, it was a hive of scum and villainy. Discovering the site is no longer devoted to race hate and biogtry was perhaps the sole pleasant element to come from reading 2083.)

Before I begin my discussion of 2083, I need to make it clear, very clear, that I am not discussing any specifics of the immigration situations in other countries or the specifics of Muslim immigration in Europe. I am not qualified to discuss it and I have no interest running to ground all of the statistics, determining what information is sound and what information is not. But even though the sites I have read that discussed some elements of 2083 focus solely on the question of Islamic immigration, there is so much more than that to be found in 2083. So much, in fact, that what began as just another of my long-winded looks at strange writings turned into what I think will be a four part series: two entries about Fjordman and two entries about ABB.

But being who I am, only part of the manifesto interested me. If you want a hard political look at Muslim immigration and the social implications of it, there are plenty of political sites on both sides of the issue to accommodate you. My examination of Fjordman will look at his beliefs and an analysis of his writing. My examination of ABB will be to look at his plans and his theories, and some postulation about his brain because I cannot resist the urge to armchair psychoanalyze him. And it should be mentioned that I am not going to stray from the text. Everything I discuss about either man comes directly from 2083, and to make it clear, every word from Fjordman comes from articles that ABB found so important that he reproduced them in full in 2083. I also will end up snarking some because, given the text we are discussing, how can I not? Some ideas, even those that lead to tragedy, have an arrogant comedy in them that cannot be ignored by a woman who has a black belt in sarcasm.

So begins Part One: Fjordman.