At long last my first book, Hated and Proud, has been published by Arktos Media. It is available in eBook, softcover, and hardcover from Arktos, Amazon, and wherever dissident books are sold. Hated and Proud began its life as the dissertation requirement of a Ph.D. in Anthropology. As such it still remains a deeply theoretical book, albeit one that, in my eyes, reads with a furious affirmation of the life of the Roman Ultra, and a defiant negation of the bourgeois consumerist life that we inherit as Western men and women.
Once upon a time, Jack Donovan suggested that the book would be more effective as a memoir accounting for my own “becoming-Ultra;” and indeed, I made several attempts to re-create it in a more conversational style. However, in the end, I still wanted Hated and Proud to be an example of dissident scholarship, and, more mundanely, I just really enjoyed the book in the form in which it was eventually published: as an exposition of theory drawn from an aggressive, often violent milieu of radical, organized, intensely prideful, and political soccer fans.
Rest assured, though, that between each line of every page, there lies an unspoken struggle between a man who once loved credentials, authority, comfort, leisure, quality fabrics, expensive meals, fine wine, and all of the trappings of a life well lived; and a man who would violently tear away his obedience to the meanings and behaviors necessary to reduce a life to such a slavish and mediocre reality.
Perhaps mention could have been made in the book of a small apartment without air-conditioning, 104-degree summer days, and a feverish exploration of Nietzsche’s demolition of the modern world’s necessary human type. But in the moment – in the act of recreating one’s life from the still-smoldering ashes of one’s own plebeianism – there was little need for reflection; for reflection was one of the instinctual activities that I was actively overcoming. My entire life had been spent “reflecting,” and now it felt like bovine contentment. I needed explosive action in a perilous sea, afraid not for my well-being but instead, of ever again seeing the world through “normal” eyes. I needed aggression so as to think. I needed hatred and hostility so as to transvaluate all that I had once loved and embraced.
I did reflect, though; especially on how useless Nietzsche had once seemed – hell, not even “once” or “seemed” – as if it was merely a question of happenstance: Nietzsche had been useless in the Academy. Hmm, no. He had been useless TO the Academy. I used him here and there as a theorist among theorists. I had become disenchanted with the idea that language merely represents reality when I was in Graduate School and Nietzsche had helped me to begin exploring the limits of representation. Those extracurricular explorations eventually led me to Deleuze, but I just couldn’t figure out how to move language beyond its bourgeois limits – at least, not until I got to Rome. But when I arrived in Rome, Nietzsche and Deleuze were distant memories. I was there to find out the why and how of violent, politically motivated soccer fans. Nothing in my proposal research had led me to “Nietzsche.” I was ready to study voting behaviors and to ask questions about race, class, and gender.
That plan lasted all of two months, as the Ultras themselves couldn’t be bothered a single bit to engage my earnest American – “Hey! I’m from New York City and I’m getting a Ph.D. in Anthropology and please sign here and answer the following questions” – research project. Then one day, an older “retired” Ultra threw me a life preserver (Ha! Yeah, he threw me a life destroyer!): “If you want to understand the Ultras,” he said, “you need to read Nietzsche.” Nietzsche. I still don’t understand how he knew, and I could’ve asked him a thousand times over the next year. But I did come to find out why he read Nietzsche and what he had gotten from it; and that was enough for me, for it was exactly what I was getting from it. But would it have been the same for everyone? I don’t think either of us cared to know, and it wasn’t until I left Rome that I realized just how vital that place and that milieu had been to my reading and understanding of Nietzsche.
If any surveillance database worthy of the name exists, it surely started a file on my name and Monteverde address in early-2007, as I went home from that fateful lunch at Da Francesco and did one of my favorite things in this or any life: I bought some books! Being literate allows us to look back in time, through the eyes of a debt-recording accounts manager, to learn when and what I received and devoured:
10 February Thus Spoke Zarathustra
24 February The Anti-Christ, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols
16 March Writings from the Late Notebooks, Daybreak
21 March The Birth of Tragedy, Beyond Good and Evil
15 June Untimely Meditations, The Gay Science
11 July On the Genealogy of Morality
Looking now at the “chronology,” I see the arrogance of the all-so-many: instead of approaching hat-in-hand, an ignorant but eager neophyte at the door of a master, I haughtily assumed myself worthy of starting at the highest peak in the Nietzsche canon. I’m sure I stumbled through Zarathustra for those two weeks, realized the deep water into which my project was certain to sink, and decided to start anew with something more legible to a man of prose. Indeed, the Anti-Christ “collection” (Cambridge University Press) and then the Late Notebooks (Cambridge’s loose collection of notes spanning 1885 to 1888) set me ablaze. The rest is less “history” than the becoming-useless-to-modernity of a human male.
(For readers interested in reading Nietzsche, I humbly but staunchly recommend beginning with the Genealogy; proceeding to The Gay Science [especially Book Five], the Anti-Christ, and Twilight; then the Untimely Meditations and the Late Notebooks. Only at that point I would suggest reading Zarathustra.)
Thus, my wife and I were joined by a travelling companion – Nietzsche became my eyes, and I never went anywhere without him. That being said, the use made of Nietzsche in Hated and Proud is rough around the edges; it is shorn of the subtlety required by the Academy and its static, quiet thinkers – but it is in the subtlety that Nietzsche’s power and regenerating potential is often lost. Instead, I found and used what I’ve always called, “Nietzsche for street fighters.” This is a Nietzsche very much focused on the first level of transvaluation: what our enemies think. The second level came later, especially as I returned to America and Deleuze: how our enemies think. It was having moved to that “second level” that made editing Hated and Proud so difficult. Gutting it for the sake of insights gained far from Rome – far from that field of battle – would not only have created a much more confusing narrative, but also, and more importantly, would have erased the very thing that Jack Donovan had suggested would strengthen the book: the person who wrote it.
None of this is necessary to find Hated and Proud useful, however. Instead one just needs a willingness to make a problem of his or her own weakness, comfort, and desire for safety.
Welcome to Hated and Proud.