The alt-right’s new turn

“The guys said [some of the creators] were sleeping with the reviewers and that’s why their games were getting good reviews. They trolled memorial pages and bullied suicidal teenagers. What do they do if they work in an office?”) or the Gavin McInnes’s founded “pro-western” Proud Boys who crave traditional marriage and forgo masturbation. Back then it was a niche interest. Transgressive tactics Nagle’s initial interest in these groups, she says, was piqued by their style of engagement, which utilised the sort of irony-filled transgressive tactics formerly associated with left-wing counterculture. She’s talking about the army of Pepe-the-Frog-avatared trolls who often bombard female writers with offensive messages and threats. The appeal of Trump to the online trolls made total sense. “They were totally morally degenerate… but they were nihilistic about it. Nagle is the author of an excellent new book Kill All Normies: The Online Culture Wars from Tumblr and 4chan to the Alt-Right and Trump. Even if you took everything that they were saying as true it was still this absolutely outrageous and absurd overreaction.” It became a key battle in an online culture war (later battles included the racist and misogynistic targeting of the all-female cast of the 2016 Ghostbusters film). “No wanks!” is apparently one of their rallying cries. It’s a short journey from that to racism because they’re not viewing people as human beings. “They were good at taboo-breaking and were really good at media…. The more transgressive irony of the original 4chan trolls is giving way to no less offensive but more conventional far-right ideologies. I just go outside my front door and realise the world doesn’t look anything like the online world they’ve constructed.” “The Overton Window [the window of political acceptability] had moved more than [the alt light] realised,” says Nagle. They used the transgressive style of the countercultural left “but they changed the content. Zara pulls skirt over likeness to alt-right symbol Pepe the frog Fintan O’Toole: the alt-right is old fascism in new clothes Civility and respect beat political correctness every time The use of the term “red pill” became widespread, referring to the scene in The Matrix where a character takes a red pill and sees reality as it really is. They often did horrible things. She has received some harassment online (“I just block them now”) and some right-wing Tweeters have quibbled with details. They thrived on anonymity and …

Kraftwerk in Dublin: Occasionally over repetitive but with moments of genius

We should never forget how much of a pioneering group Kraftwerk once was. Indeed, as the four tight-costumed men of a certain age position themselves stoically behind their keyboard stands, only the devoted Kraftwerk fan will be able to identify the group’s sole remaining original member, Ralf Hütter. The brilliant thing about Kraftwerk is that from the very start they were way ahead of the curve. Beginning in Düsseldorf in the early 1970s, while virtually everyone else was dallying with prog rock and prancing to pop, they fully embraced electronic instrumentation, invented their so-called “robot pop”, and in doing so influenced future genres of music to include electro-pop, hip-hop, techno and club music.  Here’s another curio, though: what made them so amazing in the 1980s – the futurist aesthetics of man/machine parallels, viewing art as indivisible from everyday mechanical functions, isolation resting beside the ease and comforts of technology – makes them now virtually ordinary commentators on the nature of social media. What this show proves is that while the music can occasionally be overly repetitive, there are always moments when the music glistens with genius. In the space of two hours, it is he who will utter just four words to the fanbase (“good evening, auf wiedersehen”), and who will leave the stage last, appreciative of the room’s standing ovation.  This doesn’t make the 3-D presentation of their latest stage production any the less enjoyable.  That’s not to say the music is in any way similarly bound to the past. Blending supremely melodic electronic tracks (Trans Europe Express, Neon Lights, Autobahn, Radioactivity, The Robots, The Model) with the proto-glitchy techno they brought into being (Computer Love, Tour de France, Boing Boom Tschak), the show glides over an audience wearing 3-D glasses. Visual backdrops include vintage film footage and 3-D trickery, some of which seems almost quaint. It is no exaggeration to say that, along with The Beatles, Kraftwerk is the most influential group in contemporary popular music. Thirty-five years ago, Kraftwerk dealt in what to many was science fiction; now, advances in technology has overtaken them.  Unusually for such a vastly influential unit, however, there isn’t the usual engagement with cult of personality.

‘Guernica’: 80 years on still a stark reminder of war’s horror

something so unforgettably beautiful.” Eighty years after Picasso completed the mural, on June 4th, 1937, not only does Guernica still draw crowds, but it reminds the modern world of the atrocity that inspired it – the bombing of the Basque town of Gernika by the German Luftwaffe during the Spanish civil war – as well as the horrors of more recent events. “Imagine a house built of flesh – it wouldn’t last long.” Following the World Expo, in 1938 Guernica went on an extensive European tour. The painting can also still provoke controversy. Escaping the horror of Guernica – An Irishman’s Diary on Basque child refugees in 1937 War and barbarity “For political reasons it travelled around the world to denounce war and barbarity; for political reasons it wasn’t brought to Spain until after [dictator Francisco] Franco died… But the return of Guernica to Spain in 1981, while fraught with controversy, also reflected the political efforts being made to repair that schism following Franco’s death in 1975. Picasso, who was born in the southern city of Málaga and was living in Paris, had never visited Gernika, but was distraught by the indiscriminate loss of life being widely reported by the international media. Meanwhile, photographs from Picasso’s personal archive show the mutilated limbs of Spaniards who had been maimed during the civil war and highlight his unique relationship with the human body. In an age of air strikes, it is something of a reference point – last year, British MP Andrew Mitchell, speaking in the House of Commons, compared the attack on Gernika to Russia’s use of force in Syria. In the meantime, it would inspire a generation of young American artists, who viewed it in the Valentine Gallery and then the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). “In a black-and-white rectangle that looks like an ancient tragedy, Picasso sends us our death notice,” noted French writer Michel Leiris of Guernica. Former members of the regime were co-operating with the newly legalised political left to ease the transition to democracy. It now hangs in the Reina Sofía modern art museum. “If there is one political painting in the world, it is Guernica,” Jasone Agirre of the nationalist Bildu coalition told the Basque parliament. In 1981, when Pablo Picasso’s Guernica finally arrived in Spain after more than four decades of exile, it was placed in a new annex of the Prado museum, behind …

Angel Hill review: Remastering the past with timeless skill

Another poem, Notebook Fragments, begins as a collage of jottings, some vapid (“Life is funny”) or jokey (“Why do all my books leave me empty-handed?”), before the poem develops momentum and focus, returning to an addressee, a lover, or the figure of a lover: “he had the hands/ of someone I used to know. “From behind he was all behind, Martin./ Everyone got drunk after his funeral./ On the path to our house a badger paused./ ‘I can’t answer any of your questions,’/ I said, and the badger shuffled away.” In his poems of the natural world, Longley is still a master of miniatures: there is an astonished, almost shortsighted intensity to the way he looks at what lies around him, in his familiar Carrigskeewaun habitat as well as in the Scottish locales this collection also visits. But Vuong is swift, light, constantly surprising in his movement. The cathedral in his sea-black eyes. To face it. I walk ever more slowly to gate and stile. For all its looking back, however, the book feels curiously timeless. Past successes Past successes hover around many of the poems, an “elongated shadow” that the poet sometimes writes into: “Long ago I compared us to rope-makers/ Twisting straw into a golden cable”, he writes in The Necklace. Longley’s skilfulness and experience are evident in poems where, in the choice of a single word, the focus of the description shifts, as in In the Mugello, where orchids are “harvest’s soul,/ Four under a hornbeam,/ Other orchids as well/ Decorating the verge,/ Pyramids, labia pink.” Or where a morning posy becomes “light-painted flowers,/ A field in a toothglass” (Nosegay). No use. Vuong writes in what may be one of the most unfashionable modes of recent decades, in the richly meditative style of Rainer Maria Rilke. Here is how his poem Torso of Air begins: “Suppose you do change your life.” Like Houdini wrestling his way out of an impossible-to-imagine confinement, the poem continues in the same vein: “& the body is more than/ a portion of night – sealed/ with bruises.” The book again and again admits and imagines violence and desire. And, almost unbelievably, he does so successfully. Or where the image of “the low sun as it frays/ Through a tree-creeper’s useful/ Fantail” shifts to an image of the poet, “my elongated shadow/ with its walking stick” (Solstice). Memory reminisces about the occasion of …

Kit de Waal’s ‘My Name Is Leon’ is Irish Novel of the Year 2017

The full line-up includes Florence Welch, David Simon, Mary Robinson, Maggie O’Farrell, Geoff Dyer, Roddy Doyle, Jeffrey Eugenides, Angela Scanlan, Joanna Trollope, Eimear McBride, Colm Tóibín, Edmund White, Dominic West, Sebastian Barry, Laura Lippman, Lemn Sissay, Claire Keegan Maajid Nawaz, and Michael Harding, as well as Fintan O’Toole, Eileen Battersby and Roisín Ingle of this parish. Fiction writers, historians, journalists, broadcasters, film-makers, photographers and musicians will gather for a weekend of dialogue and discussion in Borris, Co Carlow. belfastbookfestival.com She is also shortlisted for the £10,000 Desmond Elliott Prize, won last year by Lisa McInerney. The John B Keane Lifetime Achievement Award, in association with Mercier Press, was presented in person to poet Brendan Kennelly. He will receive the £1,000 award at a public ceremony at the British Library on October 10th, where he will deliver an address. His latest work, Angel Hill, is reviewed by John McAuliffe on page 13, and Rosita Boland’s interview with the author will be published next Saturday. Debut novelist Kit deWaal has won the €15,000 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2017 for My Name Is Leon. See festivalofwritingandideas.com The Belfast Book Festival takes places from June 7th to 17th, with political scientist Norman Finkelstein; comedian Sara Pascoe; the stars of the hit podcast My Dad Wrote a Porno; Louis De Bernieres; and Ciaran McMenamin. The winner is announced on June 21st. It was presented on Friday at an awards ceremony held to mark the opening by US author Richard Ford of the 46th annual Listowel Writers’ Week. De Waal (56) was born in Birmingham but has roots in Wexford and the West Indies. The sixth edition of the Borris House Festival of Writing & Ideas takes place from June 9th to 11th. The novel, about a young boy caught up in gang culture and the care system, was chosen by fellow authors AL Kennedy and Neel Mukherjee from a shortlist that included Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones, Neil Hegarty’s Inch Levels, Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder and Conor O’Callaghan’s Nothing on Earth. Poet and academic Michael Longley has won the PEN Pinter Prize 2017. The €5,000 Pigott Poetry Prize was awarded to Vona Groarke for her Selected Poems.

A wake-up call to Leo: some of us don’t get up early in morning

This is a variation on the political construction that honours “hard-working families”. I also learn that in the course of the Fine Gael leadership campaign, Leo Varadkar confirmed himself as the Wrong Sort of Fellow. The Catholic Church will be doing less meddling in our maternity hospitals. To be serious for a moment, politicians should, of course, identify with fraught parents rising at six in the morning to commute blearily towards unedifying jobs. The implication is, nonetheless, there to be read. I’m not having it. Night people are bad people. Politicians assume that few voters will self-identify as slovenly layabouts. They deserve only opprobrium. The noisy exuberance that the former bring to their morning routines are, to us, as baffling as the toad-worshipping dances of the Kodogo Islanders. No, I’d leave it until after lunch if you wouldn’t mind. What really confirmed his Wrong Sort of Fellow status was a largely insignificant propagandist tic at a campaign launch. Large problems will seem insurmountable. ‘Prejudice has no hold on this Republic,’ says new FG leader Pat Leahy: Power shifts to a new generation in Fine Gael Campaign for Leo: The inside story of how Varadkar beat Simon Coveney I get it, really. Winston Churchill did most of his morning’s work in the scratcher. Dawn will have barely announced itself before they stride out to catch this proverbial worm they’re always droning on about. Prof Jacob Bronowski remembers phoning John Von Neuman, the great mathematician, “well after 10” to confirm that he agreed with one of his findings. I’ve missed more than a few cultural convulsions. He seems polite. That sounds like a fine thing. When discussing internal security, it’s reasonable to upset saboteurs and agents of hostile governments. Give me a call and I’ll tell you why. He hasn’t explicitly said he won’t look out for those of us who get up late. But he didn’t. You don’t hear us trot out an equivalent of “early to bed, early to rise.. He knows how to order a sentence. The problem, pal, is that night owls don’t discuss their preference as if it grants moral superiority. You don’t speak for us. Another likes jam. It will seem much worse. Toad-worshipping There are, in everyday life, few divisions more stark than those between early birds and night owls. We are a tolerant nation. But his discrete shuffle to the economic right has, over …

Breakfast Republic presenters serve up menu of witless drivel

On Tuesday’s show, McDermott, with bracing honesty, describes the programme’s normal bill of fare as “kind of frivolous or disposable, like a Happy Meal toy”. The “banter” of Zamparelli (née Maguire) and O’Shea is shouty snark, lacking anything that might pass for zingy chemistry or cheeky humour. “It’s long and slick and easy to ride,” she says, sounding immensely pleased with herself.  Is Wonder Woman a feminist in hot pants? In mitigation, the show’s third regular presenter, Keith Walsh, is absent for the week: his unassuming persona offsets the shrieking partnership of Zamparelli and O’Shea, much as a glass of water makes an emetic palatable. “Throw up the hand, but not in a 1940s fascist way,” he quips, asking for a high five. Music is always worth tuning into. “I always get nervous when you play that music,” King remarks. When she’s not slagging her co-host, she’s chiding callers, mainly for not proposing marriage to their partners.  The duo’s joyless stewardship brings out the most mean-spirited elements of  zoo radio O’Shea, meanwhile, plays the role of the hen-pecked, resentfully bristling colleague in the same spirit, talking loudly instead of displaying comic imagination. (Thanks to the support of her friends, it turns out fine.) It may not be “as light and fluffy as usual”, but it’s a heartening item, not least because it shows that some 2FM presenters have something worthwhile to say. ‘Anyone would find an affair with a married man stressful’ ‘Acting is just being a man’ and 19 other memorable quotes from Irish actors In addition to delivering such Wildean epigrams, Zamparelli, who made her name as stereotypically self-confident contestant on BBC reality show The Apprentice, pitches herself as the show’s bad cop. Her occasionally scatty manner hides a subversive wit, which makes her host sound more flustered than usual. But for all his attractively relaxed on-air manner, he is capable of handling more pressing topics, as when he talks to Erica Burke, captain of Kildare’s women’s Gaelic football team, about coming out.  This being 2FM, the interview has a zippy informality to it. If you tune in after the 9am news bulletin, you can go for anything up to 20 minutes without hearing the presenters speak.  On Tuesday, for example, there’s an unbroken passage of music featuring guiltily pleasurable oldies from Alanis Morrissette, sunny R&B pop from Rihanna and rousing indie anthems from Ash and Primal Scream. …

‘Anyone would find an affair with a married man stressful’

I can express all of these ideas with perfectly easy facility in my ordinary life, so why do I need to adopt some kind of tone that’s completely alien to me in order to express these ideas in fiction?” Perhaps more than anything else, Conversations with Friends is about power. Though ostensibly about the same kinds of things, the characters of Frances and Bobbi are not the kind of useless millennial caricatures you find in Dunham’s world. Rooney says she read Jane Austen’s Emma shortly after finishing the final edits for her own book, and was startled by the amount of parallels she found there. The characters of Frances and Bobbi are not the kind of useless millennial caricatures you find in Dunham’s world They’re also witty, intelligent, serious and flawed people. She’s often anxious in person, but she can take control of her image and her impact much more easily in text. “You need to have a taste for ritualised, abstract interpersonal aggression. “I don’t think Frances feels like that. You have to be willing to tolerate physical and mental discomfort: weekends of sleeplessness, bad food or no food, and interminable group conversations about how tired and ill everybody feels. An affair is begun. It’s a nerve-racking experiment, latent with potential disaster, but nonetheless optimistic. If there was some easy way to fix the problems in their relationship by being a bit more feminist, he would probably at least try and do it. I definitely don’t aspire to writing that’s ‘timeless’, whatever that means. ‘Conversations with Friends’: fearless, sensual writing Irish writer Sally Rooney shortlisted for £30,000 story prize Mr Salary – a short story by Sally Rooney Both are writers, and Frances particularly is much more comfortable communicating via the written word. They want something other than coercive monogamy or frictionless, Tinder-aided one-night stands. They are, in a word, natural. For Rooney, as for Austen, the novel form is about “observing the behaviours and interactions of people as finely and in as much subtlety as possible”. “You have to enjoy talking out loud in front of people,” she writes. It’s an emotionally demanding task, but for young, relatively idealistic people such as Frances and Bobbi, their sense of moral and political correctness depends on it.  “They’re genuinely left feminists who are concerned about how the world is, and they’re trying to live out those concerns in some way …

A celebration in stone and cement

Arminta Wallace These and other Irish Times images can be purchased from: irishtimes.com/photosales. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t fancy climbing up on that slab of concrete, let alone raising my arms into the wind like that. The piece, described by one commentator as “a formidable arrangement of imposing monolithic slabs sited close to the monolithic slabs of Ballymun’s tower blocks”, consisted of a lengthy path of alternating blocks of stone and concrete which made a silent but eloquent comment on the scale and geometric severity of Ballymun’s architectural horizons. This iconic image was taken at the opening of Michael Bulfin’s artwork, A Walk Among Stone, at the Dublin Millennium Sculpture Symposium in 1988. As a child, I can recall my father’s dire warnings as to the catastrophes which would befall us if we sat on concrete steps without putting a rug down first. Meanwhile, who is this girl – and how did she get up on that gargantuan slab? Just in case. If so, it never really happened: and the jury is still out as to concrete’s long-term environmental footprint. If you want to see more work by Michael Bulfin, check out his Sky Train at Lough Bora Parklands. We usually think of stone as lasting forever, so it’s strange to think of this artwork – more of an installation, perhaps, than a sculpture – as simply having been chucked out. It’s gone now. As are the seven towers, built in the 1960s and demolished within half a century. The last one went in the autumn of 2015. No doubt the boulders were recycled and used elsewhere: not so, I suspect, the large slabs of concrete. It’s not concrete, but it is magical. We have a bit of a love-hate relationship with concrete in Ireland. But she is, and in this photograph will always remain, the picture of absolute joy. A book, The Times We Lived In, with more than 100 photographs and commentary by Arminta Wallace, published by Irish Times Books, is available from irishtimes.com and from bookshops, priced at €19.99. We don’t know. Brave, or what? Perhaps the placing of these slabs were meant to signal a new artistic appreciation of this implacable-yet-crumbly material?

Is Wonder Woman a feminist in hot pants?

Or at least since the dawn of the Silver Age of Comics. Wonder Woman may be a better movie from the DC Extended Universe than the underperforming Suicide Squad and the much-maligned Batman vs Superman. They don’t know the half of it. But we’re back to the hot pants.) Rather confusingly, Gal Gadot has insisted, against both her director and the final cut, that: “Wonder Woman is a feminist, of course. (Worth noting: various incarnations of Wonder Woman, including comics published in 1969, 1974, 2010 and 2015, have depicted the character in trousers and she had bike shorts for a spell in the 1990s. The character may now be played by former Israeli defense forces veteran Gal Godot, rather than former Miss World America Lynda Carter. Is Wonder Woman a feminist? It’s a question that has plagued womankind since the dawn of time. People think hairy armpits and women who burn bras and hate men. It’s odd to hear a director who hasn’t made a feature film since the Oscar-winning Monster talk this way. As such, she’s the only character walking across No Man’s Land in her knickers. Still, once the picture takes Diana Prince (to use her humanised handle) out of the Amazonian matriarchy where she grew up, and plonks her in the middle of the first World War, she quickly comes to exemplify Hollywood’s troublesome Smurfette Principle. Wonder Woman may have graced the first ever edition of Gloria Steinem’s Ms Magazine in 1972 but she has been a problematic figure for feminists ever since her 1941 debut in All Star Comics. If it’s salaries, then we get paid equal to men. It’s not men vs women or women vs men.” Wonder Woman features a squishy romantic subplot between characters played by Chris Pine and Gal Gadot We should not be surprised by such contradictions. Especially in an era when even the Kardashians insist they are feminists. Wonder Woman: Making a mini-skirted warrior a feminist symbol ‘Girls’ to women: the march of female-led television The shows that changed television forever That’s not it. In common with Princess Leia or Miss Piggy, on the western front, Wonder Woman becomes the token girl on a boy’s own adventure. Unhappily, Jenkins’ film is an extension of these views. Never mind the superpowers and magic bangles. I think people have a misconception about what feminism is. Womder Woman has been a problematic figure …

Joy Division at The Hacienda: a new poem by Andrew Jamison

Andrew Jamison’s second collection is due from Gallery Press this year This afternoon, it’s tonight, The Hacienda, four pale-faced twenty-somethings, plugging in, exchanging glances and nods, a 1-2-3, playing songs with titles like ‘Disorder’, its lyrics like a broken record, ‘feeling, feeling, feeling.’ I’m one of the first to hear those opening notes, watch that convulsive front man, who seems to be on drugs or in need of drugs or a hot meal as he stares out beyond the crowd, the walls, to the north, the city, to all the norths, and all their cities and all the lights of all the houses of all the men who having eaten want more, or maybe it’s to the audience of himself, the north of himself, his soul’s streets, and houses lit through a winter fog, closing in.