Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity

Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity

Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity

Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity


Vaudevillians used the term "the wow climax" to refer to the emotional highpoint of their acts- a final moment of peak spectacle following a gradual building of audience's emotions. Viewed by most critics as vulgar and sensationalistic, the vaudeville aesthetic was celebrated by other writers for its vitality, its liveliness, and its playfulness.

The Wow Climax follows in the path of this more laudatory tradition, drawing out the range of emotions in popular culture and mapping what we might call an aesthetic of immediacy. It pulls together a spirited range of work from Henry Jenkins, one of our most astute media scholars, that spans different media (film, television, literature, comics, games), genres (slapstick, melodrama, horror, exploitation cinema), and emotional reactions (shock, laughter, sentimentality). Whether highlighting the sentimentality at the heart of the Lassie franchise, examining the emotional experiences created by horror filmmakers like Wes Craven and David Cronenberg and avant garde artist Matthew Barney, or discussing the emerging aesthetics of video games, these essays get to the heart of what gives popular culture its emotional impact.


The religious and mythic elements of German National Socialism often made the Third Reich resemble a cult in power. the pageantry of the Nazi rallies and their quasi-liturgical nature were matched by the extraordinary fervor of the huge crowds in attendance. Most participants were caught up in an intense atmosphere of collective excitement and self-surrender. Hitler's undoubted charisma and the assiduous development and cultivation of the Führerkult since the earliest years of the movement were crucial factors in the construction of Nazi religiosity. Huge congregations, banners, sacred flames, processions, a style of popular and radical preaching, prayersand-responses, memorials and funeral marches were all essential props for the cult of race and nation, the mission of Aryan Germany and victory over her enemies. the messianic figure of Adolf Hitler, the savior of Germany, towered over the entire project.

National Socialist ideology was also deeply imbued with ideas drawn from radical religious imagination. the belief in a Jewish world conspiracy, ostensibly backed by the notorious invention The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,provided the image of a demonic enemy. Nazi anti-Semitism was rooted in this apocalyptic demonology, which blamed the Jews for all ills, including liberalism, communism, the corruption of morals, and the downfall of a traditional world. the notion of national regeneration was also presented in an apocalyptic spirit: only the destruction of the Jews could guarantee the salvation of Germany in a racially pure millennium. Alfred Rosenberg, the chief Nazi Party ideologue, was an early publicist of the Protocols, establishing their core status in Nazi philosophy during the early 1920s. Dietrich Eckart, Hitler's mentor in Munich, held a gnostic-dualist view of the Jews and their antagonistic role in German national life. Hitler's own belief in a Jewish world conspiracy remained a life-long conviction, finding terrible fulfillment in the Holocaust.

In an earlier book, The Occult Roots of Nazism, I traced these ideas of racial election, demonology and millennium among Austrian German nationalists prior to the First World War. That study was intended to show how . . .

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