Aihearkisto: Kirjat

Milo Yiannopoulos: Dangerous

Paedophilia is the first—and only—thing that should come to your mind from the name ”Milo Yiannopoulos”… according to the vocal opposition. Reflecting the escalated political polarisation in the United States, Milo’s political enemies machinated a public controversy by strategically releasing a year-old video recording right before the CPAC convention where Milo was to speak. While the controversy didn’t cost Milo his fan base, I believe it did further marginalise him from the mainstream.

More recently, there was an attempt to denigrate Milo with a video showing people, at a bar with Milo, making Nazi salutes. He swiftly addressed the video on social media, though, claiming it was intentionally staged.Dangerous

Why these attempts to discredit Milo? Dangerous, Milo’s bestselling book on current political issues, doubling as something of an autobiography, explains Milo’s point of view. One answer lies in the book’s title: to his enemies, Milo is dangerous. I originally figured that his sharp delivery of politically conservative opinions is hard for leftists  to argue against, making him dangerous. In Dangerous, Milo points out a different danger, referring to himself belonging to a sexual minority:

I’m also particularly terrifying to the Left because they see in me a repeat of the 1980s, when workers across Britain and the United States turned to Reaganism and Thatcherism. In the age of Trump, the Left are worried I might not be the only dissident minority. They’re afraid you might agree with me.

The Alt-Right isn’t what it used to be

A brief introduction of Milo Yiannopoulos is in place. He’s a journalist and an eccentric conservative political commentator. Religion Catholic, nationality British, with Jewish, Greek and Irish ancestry. A provocative personality known for outrageous statements and escapades targeting leftism, feminism, Islam, etc. Recently gay-married to a black man.

I’ve been thinking about the ”alt-right” recently. The mainstream media frequently discusses the movement whose mascot is Pepe the frog. The media doesn’t really get it right, though, according to Milo.

Is Milo alt-right?

He says he isn’t. But in his book, he clarifies the obscurity surrounding the concept. You see, something happened to it.

Milo credits himself for the ”most influential piece of political journalism” in 2016: ”An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right,” published on Breitbart, the popular conservative (alternative) news source. In this article, he described the alt-right as a movement for a wide variety of conservatives. Later, ”alt-right” was redefined as something exclusively sinister:

In effect, the extremist fringe of the alt-right and the leftist media worked together to define ”alt-right” as something narrow and ugly, and entirely different from the broad, culturally libertarian movement Bokhari [the Breitbart article’s co-author] and I sketched out. This wanton virtue signaling was wholly unjust to young members of the movement who were flirting with dangerous imagery and boundary pushing. Bokhari and I called them ”memesters,” and those are the people I will always speak up for.

Milo has something more to say about the media’s influence:

From day one, the media had an agenda with the alt-right: turn it into a synonym for ”Neo-Nazi,” and then accuse all young conservatives of being members of the movement. It’s an old game, and it’s growing exceedingly tedious. ¶ Because I was guilty of writing the only even-handed analysis of the alt-right—in other words, I gave them a fair hearing, as I thought journalists were supposed to do—the mainstream media decided to crown me the queen of the movement.

Milo uses several pieces of character evidence to disown today’s alt-right. While today’s alt-right is racist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic, Milo is a Jew with a black boyfriend. In his speehes, in response to allegations of belonging to the alt-right, he always describes in obscene detail how he pleases his black partner in bed (humorous but distasteful; if there’s one thing I don’t trust about Milo it’s sexual moral, even if the paedophilia-advocacy allegations are unbased).

In addition, Milo points out that alt-rightists have repeatedly expressed their hatred towards him. This is a questionable defence, though, as recent revelations suggest Milo has been fraternizing with Richard Spencer, an alt-right icon and white supremacist, among other communications.

The culture wars

The aforementioned political polarisation in the Western world may interestingly have its roots far back in the past. Early on in his book, Milo educates his readers about Marxist Antonio Gramsci’s plan to undermine the foundations of the capitalist society—family values, nationalism, and religion—through culture in order to succeed in a proletarian revolution.

Today’s popular culture is to great extent like Gramsci envisioned, which feels like a grave concern to me as the society is falling to more and more insanity based on ”progressive” ideology rejecting the reality.

Milo writes that the left adjusted Gramsci’s ideas and practically won the culture wars in every field: media, academia, and the arts. (One artform refused to give in to ”cultural Marxism”: the gamers.) He fiercely criticises the right for failing to fight these battles and speak to the masses. Milo convincingly explains what makes left-wing cultural warfare so appalling: the left wants to eliminate all fun, strictly control artistic freedom, and make everything political. (Gaming, he claims, was the only artform ”naturally resistant” to this politisation. Milo’s insights into gaming and internet cultures are among the most informative contents of Dangerous.)

Milo believes his own approach to be winning: he constantly ridicules the left and disregards political correctness in doing so. So far, this has made him attract lots of attention among students, i.a. Students are a very important target group as universities are so thoroughly filled with left-wing hegemony. (We are reading more and more about the suppression of free speech on campuses and other such concerning developments.)

Milo’s outrageous humour is found on pretty much every page of Dangerous, making the book hilarious to read at times.

Victimisation is weaponisation

As we all have surely observed, the left is fixated with the settings of oppressors and the oppressed. A good position in the ”victim hierarchy” means prestige and benefits among the leftists. Milo explores the case of a Black Lives Matter leadership aspirant who turned out to be white according to his birth certificate. He’d also embroidered the story of how he got beaten in a racist attack. And there are other similar cases of forged victimhood accounts.

The social justice activists are distorting more than just their autobiographies, Milo claims. He points out how the BLM movement’s talking points are in conflict with factual social problems within the black community and how their actions are actually counteracting black people’s interests.

It’s sad that due to political polarisation, Milo’s suggestions for improving the conditions of people of colour are totally rejected on ad hominem bases by the left.

Milo proceeds to thoroughly and successfully criticise left-wing activists’ narrative. This is one of several chapters of his book that explores the disproportionate classification of people into oppressors and victims. It’s no news that the left evaluates whites on whole different standards than people of other ethnicities. Frustratingly, they are blind to their own racism when, say, redefining the term ”racism” in a racist way. Milo exposes blatant racism in speeches and actions of left-wing/”progressive” activists, ignored or downplayed by their co-leftists.

In separate chapters, Milo explores the wide-spreadedness of left-wing bias in the media and warns about the same biased censorship being implemented in social media. (The social media part is most unnerving.) He also addresses his own permanent ban from Twitter, which he says was the best thing that has happened to him publicity-wise.

Islam gets its own chapter in Dangerous, too. Muslims are a most challenging group when it comes to left-wing oppressor/victim classification.

A few quick points to cover the rest

  1. The most difficult thing to understand in Dangerous is the conflict between Milo’s religious identity and sexual orientation. His absurd synthesis between the two seems to be working for him, though.
  2. Milo is optimistic about the future of conservatism. His explicit optimism may also be a trick to motivate his followers. The book’s last chapter is advice for young minds about how to take on the cultural battle.
  3. ”Fake news” has become a politically biased characterisation of certain news sources. By the way, I also remember Milo stating earlier in a lecture of his that ”fact-checking” is a form of biased journalism (I don’t think he mentions it in Dangerous). This was sort of a revelation to me, because now I don’t have to wonder why the woman who has been labelled the fact-checking journalist of Finland is also one of the journalists with the most politically coloured updates on social media.
  4. There’s so much more than what I’ve managed to summarise. Dangerous spans numerous subject matters and even broadens the reader’s general knowledge.

Was my book review boring? I’m sorry, I don’t have Milo’s sense of humour. Entertainment-wise, I can promise you that Dangerous is far more interesting to read.

Knowing the media’s left-wing bias, the recent exposé by BuzzFeed must be taken with a grain of salt. Milo had this to say about it:

Recently I learned that Buzzfeed had acquired a large volume of my private emails. Within them are conversations with friends, colleagues and loved ones going back some years. Buzzfeed reproduces some of these emails in its coverage today. In addition, a video has emerged that shows me singing karaoke in a bar in Texas in 2016. Unbeknownst to me, Richard Spencer fans made racist hand gestures during my rendition of “America The Beautiful.” These same racists took a video of the event and sent it to Buzzfeed this week. As I have always said, the far Right hates me as much as the far Left does: I am told a figure on the Right paid one of Richard Spencer’s nutty goons $10,000 for this video. He has been bragging about it for weeks. Which suggests the whole thing was a set up, engineered by white nationalists to take me out. As some of you know, I have severely impaired vision and I did not see these hand gestures happen. Here is the statement I have just sent Buzzfeed: "I have said in the past that I find humor in breaking taboos and laughing at things that people tell me are forbidden to joke about. Everyone who knows me has seen me make jokes about some awful things. But everyone who knows me also knows I'm not a racist. As someone of Jewish ancestry, I of course condemn racism in the strongest possible terms. I have stopped making jokes on these matters because I do not want any confusion on this subject. I disavow Richard Spencer and his entire sorry band of idiots. I have been and am a steadfast supporter of Jews and Israel. I disavow white nationalism and I disavow racism and I always have. “I have severe myopia, due to a congenital eye defect, as has been widely reported and as many people know or have seen from my squinting during public speeches. In a dark bar, I did not see these hand gestures. If I'd have realized white nationalist losers were hailing me as their leader, I'd have immediately walked off stage. I stand for, as always, race-blind nationalism. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm enjoying my honeymoon with my black husband.”

A post shared by MILO (@milo.yiannopoulos) on

It’s only fair that Milo gets to share his side of the story. Dangerous might work as quite an eye-opener. Even for those who mostly disagree, the book should bring about some healthy criticism when it comes to the mainstream media and political hegemony. That said, Milo certainly isn’t right about everything and does deserve his fair share of criticism. In general, you can’t leave your political convictions hanging from some ”hero”, for sic transit gloria mundi.

Mainokset

Robert Spencer: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades)

Published in 2005, The Politically Incorrect guide to Islam is still amazingly current in 2017. If one were to judge the book by its cover, one would presume it to be sensationalist and provocative. The contents are, however, more civilised than the tabloid-like cover. The author, Robert Spencer, has done a good job referencing relevant source material. The book is probably not very balanced, but the author does make some concessions to Islam’s side of the story, even when he would get away with presenting Islam in a more negative light. It’s important to point out that writings more amenable to Islam are surely also biased (reversely), but this bias isn’t routinely called out because it conforms to political correctness.

Islamic terrorism was a grave concern to many in 2005 already. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam made many important points and taught me several new things. Where to start?

Deus vult

Not only alt-right slogan: Deus vult can be found in many places, including this book’s dedication page.

What is Islam?

In the Finnish education system, different religions are studied in both junior and senior secondary school. They are all shown in a politically correct, positive light to promote tolerance. This is where my first knowledge of Islam comes from.

Islam was founded some 1,400 years ago by Muhammad, considered a prophet in the religion. What’s new to me is the detailed biography of the prophet himself. ”Prophet of War,” as the first chapter’s provocative title says. Interestingly, Muhammad fought in tribal wars before his religious revelations in A.D. 610. Later, he turned against his own tribe (the Quraysh) for not accepting his new religion. The Qur’an, Islam’s holy book, gives justification for waging religious war. Spencer writes that the Qur’an verses that justified the early Muslims’ attacks against the Quraysh led to the general Islamic principle that defending the religion overrides different moral standards. Later, the Qur’an permitted the Muslims to breach a treaty with the Quraysh in Islam’s interest, for example.

Muhammad went on to share his faith to other tribes. This sharing was eventually violent in nature. With the rejection of Islam by Jewish tribes, Muhammad eventually commanded, ”Kill any Jew that falls into your power.” He had a Jewish civilian assassinated for mocking Muslims. And there’s much more. None of this was told in school.

Muhammad’s aspirations to spread Islam and collect war booty are supported by the Qur’an every step of the way. The Qur’an promises great things to every faithful Muslim. The ones that fall in jihad are taken to Paradise to be served by beautiful ”voluptuous women”—and even ”young male servants handsome as pearls well-guarded,” to please men of different proclivities. Tendentious Islamic teachings bring about a most interesting perspective: that Islam isn’t a mere religion, but a self-empowering ideology built to subordinate the entire world under its power. Islam, ”submission.”

Islam’s nature as more than a religion is obviously not a novel thought. Some commentators speak about ”political Islam” in contrast to religion-only Islam, but there isn’t really any ”non-political Islam” to begin with. As Spencer illustrates in his Politically Incorrect Guide, the religion orders shari’a system to be established in all societies. There’s no separation of religion and state, on the contrary.

The Crusades as defensive wars

Apologists of Islam constantly refer to the Crusades to demonstrate that Islam isn’t any worse than Christianity. They may even claim that the entire conflict between Islam and Christianity started from the Crusades. Spencer argues that this is all just a PC myth.

Spencer recounts the historical background of the Crusades up to the detail and attempts to make a case against Islam-victimizing historical interpretations.

Pope Urban II called for the First Crusade in 1095 appealing to the fact that without defensive action ”the faithful of God will be much more widely attacked” by Muslim forces. Read the book for a detailed account of centuries of persecution by Muslim tyrants in Jerusalem and elsewhere.

Some of the more ignorant Islam-friendly political commentators have dismissed news about modern-day persecutions of Christians in the Middle East by claiming that Muslims were there first. This obviously contradicts clear historical facts. As Spencer explains, before the Crusades, Muslims had already conquered over two thirds (!) of the Christian world (including parts of Europe). We think about the Middle East and Northern Africa as Islamic areas, but they were originally Christian. And while Christianity was in its early days spread by word of mouth by persecuted believers, later Islam would be spread by sword, and the believers were themselves the persecutors.

The Christians’ three options under Islamic rule

This is what an unbeliever can traditionally choose from under Islamic rule:

  1. Convert to Islam.
  2. Pay the jizya, a tax for non-Muslims.
  3. Die.

The Christians or Jews deciding to keep their faith and pay the tax would be treated as second-class citizens. They would be forbidden from telling Muslims about their faith. They would also be forbidden from constructing churches. They might even be forbidden from wearing certain kinds of clothing reserved for Muslims. The collecting of the jizya tax used to be a humiliation in itself: the unbeliever may be hit on the head or neck, and up to the 20th century, he would be held by the beard and struck on cheeks.

The aforementioned three choices are today presented to Christians in ISIS-controlled areas, according to a news article. In mainstream Islamic countries, several aforementioned restrictions for unbelievers are in place, such as the prohibition to proselytise. In Saudi Arabia, religions other than Islam are completely forbidden. Recently in Indonesia, a Christian politician was imprisoned because he said that Muslims are allowed to vote for him.

Historically, the poor treatment of non-Muslims in Muslim-conquered lands combined with the jizya contributed to the majority of people converting to Islam.

Were the Crusades worth it?

Spencer admits that looking at the Crusades’ objectives, they failed miserably. Yet he points out that the Crusades managed to slow down the Muslim forces’ attempts to conquer Europe, and this may have been decisive for Europe remaining Christian.

Would Muslim conquest of Europe have been so bad? Another PC myth states that diverse religions have peacefully coexisted under Islamic rule. Spencer claims that history testifies how Islamic rule has decayed other religions, such as Zoroastrianism and Nestorian Christianity. The decay of Christianity in Europe would have been a great loss for humanity. Spencer believes that Christianity was essential to the birth of not just modern-day Western values such as human rights but also modern-day science, whose development has made people’s lives better worldwide. Spencer writes about the philosophy of science in much the same way as Tapio Puolimatka, the Finnish professor who has written books and given lectures on the very subject of how Christianity’s understanding of God enables empirical natural science.

Spencer believes that today’s (post-)Christian society also deserves to be preserved against the spread of Islam. He points out that Islam doesn’t acknowledge universal human rights as declared by the United Nations. Some Islamic countries have formulated their own human rights declarations instead of adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. From the reality of life in several Islamic countries, we can all understand why that is.

They want an Islamic state

The Politically Incorrect Guide to IslamOne major thing that was new to me has to do with ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also ISIL, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant). This organisation (or state) appeared into my consciousness out of the blue a couple of years ago. Suddenly, it occupied areas in the Middle East and spread terror also in Europe. The Politically Incorrect Guide doesn’t address ISIS, of course, as it was written a decade earlier. But it does contain some interesting information as to the group’s ideology.

As you may know, ISIS has established a state, not acknowledged by the international community, ruled by caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. They believe that Islam commands them to build this caliphate. I’ve read that they also believe in some sort of apocalypse in our days and a final battle to be fought between the forces of Allah and the forces of evil.

Now, to what the Politically Incorrect Guide has to say. Even before ISIS, several Islamist groups and religious commentators were calling for a caliphate to be founded. You see, Turkey used to be the successor of the old Sunni Islamic empire, until President Kemal Atatürk abolished the caliphate in the 1920s and made Turkey secular. (As we know, Turkey has recently been moving towards Islamism, again.) Ever since, jihadists have been calling for the reëstablishment of the caliphate and the renaissance of the umma (worldwide Islamic community). They believe that the secularisation of Turkey was a Western conspiracy. Restoring the caliphate was also Osama bin Laden’s goal.

Spencer writes that terrorism expert Daniel Pipes estimates 10–15 % of Muslims worldwide to support the jihadist agenda. Even far higher estimates are referred to in the book.

Left-wing double standards

When debunking PC myths about Islam, Robert Spencer recurrently points at the moral double standard of the PC establishment.

Bill Clinton suggested that the sack of Jerusalem in 1099 was the ultimate cause of the September 11 attacks. Yet the Muslims’ sack of Constantinople in 1453 does not burn in anyone’s memory. No president has pointed to it as the root cause of any modern-day terrorist acts. Indeed, it is less well known today than another sack of Constantinople: the one perpetrated by misguided Crusaders in 1204.

This is one illustration of the strange, unacknowledged moral double standard that PC types use when evaluating behavior by Westerners and non-Westerners: Any number of massacres and atrocities can be forgiven non-Western, non-white, non-Christian people, but misdeeds by Christian (or even post-Christian) Westerners remain seared in the world’s collective memory. […] It’s a tacit admission of a fact that the PC establishment stoutly denies in every other case: Christianity does teach a higher moral standard than Islam, and more is expected not only for observant Christians, but of those who have imbibed these high principles by living in the societies molded by them.

Today, this double standard culminates in claims that only whites are capable of racism and that discrimination of whites cannot be racism, if they can be discriminated against in the first place.

The point

Am I calling for a war between Christianity and Islam? Certainly not. What I am calling for is a general recognition that we are already in a war between two vastly different ideas of how to govern states and order societies, and that in this struggle the West has nothing to apologize for and a great deal to defend.

While The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam is somewhat biased, I think it underlines certain facts that are relevant to the modern Westerner but are constantly left unsaid or even denied by the mainstream media and political commentators. ”Islam has nothing to do with Islam” is a caricature of the liberal/progressive statements made in the aftermath of more and more frequent terrorist attacks and religiously motivated acts of violence. A Westerner easily forgets what a central role religion has in the world-view and values of other peoples in the world.

It’s not that these different values are wrong from an ”objective” perspective, it’s that the collision between Western liberalism and Islamic culture produces severe conflicts. A liberal, modernised interpretation of Islam might nicely integrate into European societies, but as Robert Spencer points out, so far there’s no sign of such a reformation within Islam. Liberal attempts to conceal the conflict between Islam and Western values, while well intended, actually constitutes a disservice to reform-minded Muslims:

Some countries in Europe are currently going through major demographic shifts. Now is the time to acknowledge the facts and become familiar with those sides of Islam they don’t yet tell about in schools. I recommend reading The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades); if you worry about the book’s unbalanced tone, read a book with the same subject matter but liberal undertone, in parallel.


Anni Sumari (toim. ja suom.): Óðinnin ratsu. Skandinaaviset jumaltarut

Muinaista kansanperinnettä tutkiessani minua kiehtoo ajatus siitä, mitä jos noissa taruissa on säilynyt tiedonjyväsiä (vaikkakin ajan kuluessa hämärtyneitä) ihmiskunnan varhaisista vaiheista. On jännittävää, kuinka eri kulttuurien myyteissä on yllättäviä yhtäläisyyksiä.

Ajatusleikkiähän kaikki tyynni. Tähän väliin haluan silti jakaa linkin mystiselle sivustolle, joka käsittelee muun muassa juuri näitä mytologioiden yhteneväsyyksiä.

Anni Sumarille ei riitä titteliksi pelkkä ”toimittaja” eikä pelkkä ”suomentaja”, mitä tulee Óðinnin ratsuun, mutta molemmat nimikkeet yhdessä tekevät edes kohtalaisesti kunniaa suurelle työlle, jonka hän on tehnyt muinaisskandinaavisen mytologian selvittämiseksi. Hän on ammentanut käännöksistä, kommentaareista ja uudelleenkerronnoista esittääkseen runo-Eddan ja proosa-Eddan myytit ymmärrettävänä kokonaisuutena.

Sumarin hyvin kirjoittama johdantokappale kertoo mytologian ydinasiat, jotta lukija on heti juonessa mukana, ja myöhemmin alaviitteissä selitetään Eddaa siten, että ymmärrys karttuu sopivasti vähitellen.

Tällainen mistään mitään tietämätön moukka kiinnittää kyllä ensimmäisenä huomiota teoksen nimeen. ”Óðinn”? Eikös se kirjoiteta Odin? Niin kuin Soldiers of Odin, tiedäthän? No, itse asiassa Eddan keskiaikaiset käsikirjoitukset ovat islantilaisia, joten on vallan asiaankuuluvaa noudattaa alkukieltä. Óðinnin ratsussa esimerkiksi Asgård on Ásgarður. Valhallaa Sumari sitä vastoin ei ole kääntänyt Valhölliksi, vaan on antanut vakiintuneen kieliasun jäädä valikoiduissa tapauksissa.

Tomb Raider 8: Baddies

Skandinaavinen mytologia on inspiroinut paljon popkulttuuria, mm. Tomb Raider: Underworld -peliä. Kuvassa Lara Croft kohtaa Helheim-nimisellä tasolla sen, mitä hänen kauan sitten kadonneesta äidistään Ameliasta on jäljellä. Tästä on tullut puoliksi elävä ja puoliksi kuollut, kuten Lokin tytär Hel, tuonelan eli Helheimurin hallitsija. Tässä linkki lyhyeen kirjoitukseen (englanniksi) aiheesta Tomb Raideria ja arkeologiaa käsittelevällä sivustolla.

Skandinaavisen mytologian mukaan maailmankaikkeus koostuu yhdeksästä maailmasta. Muinainen demonisten tulihenkien maa Múspellsheimur jää hämärän peittoon, sillä sinne ei sijoitu säilyneiden myyttien tapahtumia, sikäli kun Óðinnin ratsun läpi lukeneena muistan. Pääasiassa myytit kertovat jumalten sompailusta oman maansa Goðheimurin, jättiläisten maan Jötunheimarin ja ihmisten maan Mannheimurin välillä. Tarkemmin sanottuna Goðheimur on aasajumalten maa (siellä sijaitsee Ásgarður, aasojen linnakaupunki), kun taas toinen jumalten suvuista on vaanit, joiden maa on Vanaheimar. Menikö jo tarpeeksi monimutkaiseksi? Mytologian mukaan aasoilla ja vaaneilla oli sota, joka päättyi rauhansopimukseen. Rauhan vakuudeksi vaaneista kolme – siis Njörður, Freyr ja Freija – muuttivat Ásgarðuriin asumaan aasojen luo. Sumari selittää johdannossa, että tämän myytin ajatellaan liittyvän siihen, kun skandinaaveista tuli sotaisia viikinkejä ja he tarvitsivat uudet, sotaisammat jumalat vanhojen agraaristen vaanien tilalle. Lopulta tuli ”rauha” eli aasat ja vaanit integroitiin samaan mytologiaan tasa-arvoisesti palvottaviksi. (Eddan muistiin kirjoittamisen aikaan oli varmasti jo unohdettu paljon aasoja edeltäneen ajan uskonnosta, eikä Edda tunnekaan nimeltä muita vaaneja kuin nuo kolme Ásgarðuriin muuttanutta: Njörðurin, Freyrin ja Freijan.)

Óðinnin ratsun avauslukuna on Näkijättären ennustus, joka kertoo salaperäisellä tavalla maailman synnystä ja tulevasta maailmanlopusta, Ragnarökin taistelusta. Sumarin hienossa lyyrisessä käännöksessä on tunnelmaa. Ote:

Aikojen aamussa, kun Ýmir-jättiläinen eli, ei ollut hiekkaa eikä merta, ei viileitä aaltoja tai maata, ei ollut taivasta yllä; oli suunnaton kuilu, ammottava Ginnungagap, siellä ei ruoho kasvanut.

Ei kasvanut, kunnes Borin pojat nostivat esiin maan muodot, loivat kuuluisan Miðgarðurin. Etelästä paistoi aurinko rakennuskiville, ja vihreät yrtit versoivat maasta.

Etelästä tuli aurinko, kuun sisar, pitkin taivaanrantaa salejaan löytämättä, kuukaan ei tiennyt voimaansa, tähdet eivät tunteneet sijojaan.

Óðinnin ratsuMuinaisskandinaavisen kerronnan hienouksia ovat kenningit, runolliset kiertoilmaukset, joita kirjan alaviitteet selittävät. Esimerkiksi Runouden siman ryöstö -kertomuksessa Fjalar- ja Galar-kääpiöt tappavat viisaan Kvasir-jumalan, ottavat hänen verensä talteen ja käyttävät siitä simaa, joka tekee juojastaan taitavan runoilijan. Kertomuksessa selitetään: ”Siksi runoutta kutsutaan joskus kääpiöiden juomaksi tai Kvasirin vereksi”. Tapahtumat etenevät siten, että Suttungur-jättiläinen hylkää Fjalarin ja Galarin kaukaiselle luodolle ja hukkumiskuolema uhkaa heitä nousuveden tullessa. He suostuttelevat Suttungurin viemään heidät takaisin kuivalle maalle lahjomalla hänet runouden simalla. Siksi ”kääpiöiden juoman” ja ”Kvasirin veren” lisäksi myös ”kääpiöiden alus” on runouden kenning, olihan tuo runouden materialisaatio eli Kvasirin verestä tehty sima kääpiöiden konsti päästä luodolta pois. Yhä uusien kenningien hoksaaminen mytologiaa lukiessa on ilo.

Óðinnin ratsu on hyvä aloitus skandinaavisen mytologian tutkimiselle. Kävin yläkouluaikoina mytologiaa käsitelleen valinnaisen uskonnon kurssin; nyt olisi korkea aika palata näihin teemoihin ja sivistää itseään. Siinä sivussa saisi nauttia Suttungurin simaakin.


Theo Hakola: Veren reitti

Luulenpa, että joku kirjallisuutta tunteva kuvailisi Theo Hakolan esikoisromaania “postmoderniksi”. Minulle se näyttäytyy pitkälti niin, etten pysy teoksen juonen kintereillä. On loppujen lopuksi melko vaikea selittää (ja ymmärtää), mistä Veren reitti kertoo.

Teos lähtee liikkeelle amerikkalaisen Peterin lapsuudesta. Hänellä on kirjailijan tavoin suomalaiset sukujuuret. Pidän tavasta, jolla Peterin lapsenomaista mielenmaisemaa maalaillaan: millaisena perhedynamiikka, epätasapainoinen äiti keskiössä, näyttäytyy lapselle ja miten mustavalkoinen ja idealistinen onkaan hänen omaksumansa luterilainen eetos.

Peterin amerikkalaistuvan suvun linkki suomalaisuuteen on Suomesta maahan muuttanut isoisoäiti, jonka anti Peterille jää vähäiseksi, sillä ikäkin jo painaa. Lukijalle kuitenkin paljastetaan isoisoäidin vaiheista sellaista, minkä Peter vasta aikamiehenä saa riemukseen kuulla.

Sitten tutustutaankin toiseen päähenkilöön, Jaskaan, ja ajaudutaan postmodernismin syövereihin. Kuvioon sekoittuu varsin epäortodoksinen versio Zorrosta. Espanjan sisällissota linkittää sosialisti Jaskan vanhaan maailmaan.8039a1781f782975fda15c473a2bb-orig

Romaanin kerronta on toisaalta inhorealistista, toisaalta runollista. Suorasukainen, graafinen ja perversion leimaama seksuaalisuuden kuvaus saa sopivan aisaparin mielipuolisuuden päämäärättömästä sanoittamisesta.

Varaan elämässäni tosi huonosti aikaa kirjallisuudelle. Veren reitin lukeminen tapahtuikin monessa pätkässä hitaasti edeten, mikä selittänee osaltaan vaikeuden pysyä kärryillä. Veren reitti ei tehnyt erityisen hyvää vaikutusta, mutta siinä oli jotain sellaista, mikä saattaa saada minut tarttumaan teokseen jonain päivänä uudemman kerran. Josko sanoma toisella lukemalla aukeaisi paremmin?


Blaise Pascal: Geometrisestä mielestä ja muita pohdiskeluja

Muistatko Pascalin kolmion? Tiedätkö mitään Blaise Pascalista, miehestä, jonka mukaan se on nimetty? Hänen kunniakseen on muuten nimetty ohjelmointikielikin.

WSOY on julkaissut yksissä kansissa Pascalin teokset Geometrisestä mielestä, Kolme puheenvuoroa suurten asemasta ja Vertailu varhaisten ja meidän aikamme kristittyjen välillä hyödyllisten alkusanojen kanssa. Niiden lisäksi mukana on Pascalin ja Louis-Isaac Lemaître de Sacin keskustelu Epiktetoksesta ja Montaignesta, joka ei saatesanojen mukaan ole aito taltiointi todella käydystä keskustelusta, mutta jota “pidetään ensiarvoisen tärkeänä Pascalin katsomuksellisen kehityksen dokumenttina”.

Varhaisin muistoni korkeamman matematiikan asioista on päiväkoti-iästä, jolloin isäni selitti minulle äärettömyyden käsitettä. Se tuli mieleeni lukiessani Pascalin tutkielmaa Geometrisestä mielestä. Siinä hän selittää matemaattista (ja yhtä lailla filosofista) todistamista ja selittää äärettömyyden käsitettä – etenkin sitä, miten asiat voidaan jakaa osiin ad infinitum. Hän selittää äärettömän osiin jakamisen seikkaperäisesti, mutta toteaa joutuvansa hyväksymään sen, että jotkut eivät vain tajua. Geometrisestä mielestä on luonteeltaan lopulta varsin tieteenfilosofinen teos selittäessään esimerkiksi määrittelemistä ja totuutta. Geometrian (geometrialla tarkoitettiin aikoinaan matematiikkaa) Pascal toteaa perustuvan määritelmää vaille jääviin käsitteisiin, joiden kauneus – ja samalla geometrian kauneus – onkin siinä, että ne ovat luonnollisen järjen valossa selviä.

Kolme puheenvuoroa suurten asemasta on viisautta ajoilta, jolloin Pascal vieraili Luynes’n herttuan luona ja antoi tämän pojalle Charles-Honorélle arvokkaan opetuksen, siis kolme puheenvuoroa. Niissä hän korostaa vallanpitäjän moraalisia velvollisuuksia kansaa kohtaan Jumalan suunnittelemaan järjestykseen nojaten. Pascal oli viisas myös uskon alueella. Sama asia on perusteltu kolmesta eri näkökulmasta, mikä ei ole ollenkaan redundanttia vaan välittää viestin vaikuttavasti.

Lisää uskonasioita Pascal käsittelee Vertailussa varhaisten ja meidän aikamme kristittyjen välillä. Kristillisyys todella kohtaa hankalan vaikeuden, kun kirkon jäseneksi tullaan pian syntymän jälkeen eikä kasteoppilasvaiheen seurauksena. Jos opetus unohdetaan ja kristillisyyttä pidetään itsestäänselvyytenä, maailman paheet asettuvat asumaan kristittyjen sydämeen. Niin totta nyky-Suomessakin.swh838

Keskustelu Sacin kanssa paljastaa, että Pascal lähti mukaan jansenistisen liikkeen yhteisöön Port-Royaliin. Keskustelun aitous kyseenalaistettiin jo varhain, mutta se siis kertoo kuitenkin Pascalin ajatuksista ja katsomuksellisesta kehityksestä. Keskustelu on se osa tätä kokoelmaa, joka eniten menee minulta yli hilseen, enhän tunne juurikaan filosofeja. Epiktetos ja Montaigne ovat kuitenkin Pascalin puheissa vastakkaiset filosofit, jotka ovat kumpikin hakoteillä, mutta joiden kummankin filosofiassa on jotain ammentamisen arvoista. Pascalin ajatuksenkulku synteesin luomiseksi ei ole ollenkaan tylsää luettavaa.


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