Tag Archives: Racial Purity

Lawless Love: New Orleans Mardi Gras and Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Niebelungen….Can Civilization survive a merger? On Lundi Gras, the Ancient Krewe of Proteus tested the waters….

In 2017, Mardi Gras in New Orleans yields gigantic piles of trash, poisons thousands with excessive alcohol, and fosters a welfare oriented and sometimes criminal mentality, yet it is a uniquely community affirming ritual that nearly shuts down this medium-sized city and draws the attention of the rest of the world.  Mardi Gras allows (especially a lot of black) people an escape from the humdrum of poverty and ordinary life.  Like the Saturnalia of Ancient Rome, Mardi Gras is a time of reversal, an inversion of all the rules. 

In the years 1843-1883, Richard Wagner broke all the rules of music and theatre and made new ones, many of which we still follow in playhouses and cinemas and opera houses today (such as “dimming the lights” before and during a performance, which was a brand new idea in Wagner’s day).  Wagner equated hatred of Jews with love of art and civilization, especially music, and in so doing (and writing prolifically about it) he served as an inspiration for the German National Socialist movement, especially one Iron-Cross winning corporal who survived “the Great War”: Adolf Hitler.  

This year the Krewe of Proteus (founded 1881) brought Mardi Gras madness and Wagnerian passion together in a torchlight parade…. and the result was stunning and extremely impressive, if not quite terribly loyal to the plot or typical imagery of the operas.  But Proteus gave us an amazingly intellectual interlude in the utter squalor and depravity of most Mardi Gras events…. and one which surely went over the head of (I would estimate, unscientifically) more than 95% of the people assembled along Magazine Street and St. Charles Avenue Monday Night.

The parade received SOME local attention, e.g.: http://www.theadvocate.com/new_orleans/entertainment_life/festivals/article_be5d1948-d9bb-11e6-ad6b-4faaff249cf7.html, but well-over half of this town speaks a dialectical variety of English which cannot be called “educated”…. and the rest of the population isn’t overly steeped in European culture—the original Opera House (the first in the United States) at the corner of Toulouse and Bourbon Street, burned down in 1919 and is now the site of a modern hotel in the absolutely most depraved and degenerate blocks of Bourbon Street…. several blocks of which constitute one of the most depraved and degenerate (and dirty) “micro-neighborhoods” anywhere in the United States… I have written before on these pages about the destruction and degradation of beautiful New Orleans after 1865, and especially in the 20th century.  The City had reached its pinnacle in 1860…..and then a very destructive war happened….

But if one is the pinnacle or Zenith of all things Elite and Erudite in Western Civilization and the other marks the Nadir or even polar opposite of high civilization, what do “Der Ring des Niebelungen” and New Orleans Mardi Gras have in common?

Actually quite a bit: both exalt what can only be called “Lawlessness”, especially in the realm of love and sex…

To start off with, Wotan, in Wagner’s Ring, like his Ancient Greek Counterpart Zeus, can only be called a “philandering cad”…. I know this would be considered an insult in many quarters, but it is, statistically speaking, quite a “Godlike” or “Kingly” trait… and I confess I’ve lived that way myself for most of my existence…. although I can claim neither Divinity nor Royalty….  Wagner’s Wotan is a tragic character…. he is adventurous, generally idealistic, and seeks to build a beautiful new world (Valhalla).  And yet dies as he watches his world destroyed around him….by a fire set by his daughter….well, actually a fire set by ONE of his many daughters (Brunhilde) by Erda, ONE of Wotan’s many girlfriends/paramours/liasons… whatever it is proper for the King of the Gods to call his mistresses…. (Sidebar: in the original Icelandic and Norse sagas and tales, Erda (aka “Jörð” was the mother of the thunder and hammer God THOR with Wotan, not the Valkyrie Brunhilde….)

Aside from Wotan and Erde, Wotan also fathers the lineage which ultimately overthrows him—the Walsunga….first a male-female pair of twins, Siegmund and Sieglinde, who are separated in early childhood and meet once Sieglinde is married to a very beastly, babbitty, bourgeois bore by the name of Hunding….  “Naturally” or unnaturally, Siegmund and Sieglinde rapidly become an item one Spring AFTER (not in spite of, but because of) recognizing each other as long-lost siblings, and they have a child.  (Wotan’s wife Fricka, the goddess of Marriage [NOT love, but marriage] compels Wotan to kill Siegmund to avenge Hunding’s loss of his wife…. and Wotan’s daughter….to Wotan’s son…. talk about conflicts of interest, you know…. NO modern lawyer would ever know what to do with the Walsung estate…. IF Brunhilde’s immolation had left anything, which it didn’t….

Siegmund and Sieglinde’s lovechild….(Sieglinde dies in childbirth)….is SIEGFRIED… destined to become the boy who knew no fear… the Dragonslayer… and, not coincidentally, Brunhilde’s “POSSLQ”…. at least for a while….

Now any competent sociologist will tell you that families JUST LIKE WOTAN’s typify the underclasses everywhere, as well as the extreme upper classes (e.g. the British monarchy). But especially dysfunctional families are well-known as characteristic of the black community….in Chicago, South Central Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and New Orleans, and these are the families who most enjoy watching and trashing the Mardi Gras parades.

A substantial number of middle-class to upper class and truly, traditionally, elite Uptown New Orleans White Families and a lot of middle class white tourists from Peoria, Princeton (Illinois), Paris (Texas), Portland, Poughkeepsie, Punksetawny, and every other real or imagined “Pottersville” (cf. “It’s a Wonderful Life”)…. create some illusion of “racial balance,” or at least “diversity.”  But the overwhelming majority of the parade viewers on the street, “throw collectors” and Mardi Gras celebrants generally are mulatto (mixed race) and black African-Americans….and their culture clearly does not have any credal element that dictates “Cleanliness is Godliness.”

So the Krewe of Proteus has done something amazing…. they have made a brilliant parade out of the operatic tetralogy that inspired the Third Reich, and all its dreams of a thousand years of racial purity and Aryan supremacy…. and brought it to New Orleans where almost nobody understands it or “gets” anything about it.

Why did they (the Krewe of Proteus) do it and what does it mean?  “The Advocate” states that Proteus has a long tradition of operatic support….but this just isn’t enough.  Proteus was founded when Richard Wagner was still alive (albeit near the end of his life… within a year of the date that Wagner’s last opera Parsifal premiered on July 26, 1882, at the Festspielhaus in beloved Bayreuth….)…

All I can promise you is that I intend to find out…. And write more about this when I have more to report…. I confess I have a suspicion, a hope perhaps, that Krewe of Proteus is sending a highly concealed “Alt-Right” message that the same kind of elite which formerly ruled the West is still alive, and well, and hiding in New Orleans, biding its time for an opportunity to seize power once again…. in the land of pioneering “Third Way” Americans like Huey Long and Gerald L.K. Smith…..

May Day, May Day: Happy Birthday to Pedro Un Cen, 63, Feliz Cumpleanos yete Hach Ki’imak Olal le Kin ka Sihkech….

I turned 52 last month, and as a consequence have spent a lot of time thinking about the cut or missing threads of friendship in my life.  A couple of days ago I was inspired to remember and write “Happy Birthday” to a friend I haven’t heard from in years, but who was my rod and my staff for a long time, namely “Carmen” Jacqueline Amber Burns, aka “La Carmencita”, on or near whose birthday I originally met her in New Orleans at the annual meetings of the Society for American Archaeology in 1991.  I suppose it all started when a girlfriend from my teenage & college years contacted me in late 2010 or early 2011, with whom I have been happily and regularly corresponding since, although she’s happily married with a college-age daughter and on the opposite side of the continent….  

But from about May or June of 1982 onwards, one of my closest friends was a native speaker of Yucatan Maya named Pedro Un Cen—and unfortunately I lost contact with him about the same time and for some of the same reasons of shifting life focus as I lost contact with Carmen Jacqueline…. but Pedro was more my teacher and my guide to Yucatec Maya nature, modern and archaeology than any other single individual—he and his brothers Marcelino (an elder brother) and Luis Vicente (a younger brother) together with his cousins Felipe Cen Ucan and Felipe’s younger brothers Vicente and Damian….  Pedro’s entire family worked for me from 1982-1987/1989 at Chichén Itzá and Xkichmook, Yucatán, in years which were not merely magical and fairy-tale like for me, but I think would qualify that way in almost anyone’s life….

The Un Cens and Cen Ucans were experts in the local terrain, obviously, knowing every plant and rock formation and every nuance of soil or water on the surface and below the ground, every animal and every insect, bird and lizard, and all the peculiarities of each species.  No modern Americans or Europeans born into the 20th or 21st century modern/post-modern world can imagine what it is really like to have intimate local knowledge of land the way these rural Yucatec Maya people still did as recently as the 1980s…. I am told that the early 20th Century Irish and Scots still had such knowledge in England, perhaps some of the Appalachians of Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and the Virginias might have had something remotely similar—as was captured, albeit briefly, in the movie the Hunger Games about which I can’t stop writing.  Certainly Pedro, Marcelino, Luis Vicente, and their cousins Felipe, Vicente, and Damian had all known hunger and hardship during their lives in a way that educates and humbles, and at the same time exalts and magnifies both their minds and their souls, as well as the scale of their achievement for having survived.

I know that since the late ’80s, electricity, running water, and television have crept into San Felipe Nuevo, bringing both comfort and amnesia, and I wonder whether Pedro’s grandchildren will know one-one-thousanth as much about their world as he did…. I tried to learn as much from Pedro and his family as I could…. but I missed lots and lots, I’m sure, even lots and lots of opportunities.

Our modern minds are atrophied to learning only things that can be useful—and without knowing the context, nothing is truly useful….

With the Un Cens and Cen Ucans I regularly learned about and attended their rain (Cha-Chaac) and village cleansing (Loh Cah) ceremonies at Tumben Cah San Felipe (aka “San Felipe Nuevo”), Municipio de Tinum, Yucatán.  Pedro had been born in Uchben Cah San Felipe (“Old San Felipe”), but sometime in the late 1970s, had a falling out with his grandfather and uncle which led to the assassination of some of Pedro’s prize pigs (the grandfather was ever afterwards “the pig-killer”—ku cinsik keen).  Pedro, together with his Father Don Andres Un Dzul, his brothers, and his cousins, all relocated into a new community of San Felipe right in the middle of the ruins of Chichén Itzá, a UNESCO World Heritage (Patrimonio Mundial) site—one of the most famous and visited archaeological sites in the entire world, ranking right up there with the Acropolis and Delphi or Mycenae (Mikinis) in Greece or Stonehenge in England—Chichén is much more accessible and better known to the public than, for example Cahokia Mounds in Illinois or Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, although Mesa Verde in Southwest Colorado gets probably the highest number of tourists of any archaeological site in the USA… unless one counts the site of the World Trade Center in New York as an oddly modern kind of archaeological site….

What I remember most from Pedro was that he was constantly telling stories and teaching me, because he saw I wanted to learn about his world.  Stories about the stars, animals and spirits of the bush “Ka’ax” and the ruins “mulob“.

According to Harvard’s preeminent geneticist Richard Lewontin, the Yucatec Maya are one of the “racially purest” groups on planet earth, insofar as DNA evidence suggests real homogeneity and the duration of isolation from other groups.  If this is true, it proves that racial purity IS a virtue, because the Yucatec Maya are indeed among the noblest people I have ever known in my life, Pedro Un Cen, his brothers and cousins, leaders among them.  They taught me about their legends and folktales, their understandings of and beliefs concerning the ruins.  I could and should write much more about what they have learned than I have.  

But for the moment, I just want to remember Pedro Un Cen’s 63rd birthday, and send him greetings and salutations from across the Universe—to him, his brothers and his children.  No one ever had a better companion, guide, and friend than Pedro Un Cen.