They knew all the right people, they took all the right pills.
They threw outrageous parties, they paid heavenly bills.
There were lines on the mirror, lines on her face.
She pretended not to notice, she was caught up in the race.
— Life in the Fast Lane
Degenerates are not always criminals, prostitutes, anarchists, and pronounced lunatics; they are often authors and artists. ‘Degeneration’ by Max Nordau (1892)
The French have an idiomatic phrase — “nostalgie pour la boue” –which means, roughly, “the yearning for the mud.” This compulsive “yearning” most often comes over people whose lives have veered into the fast lane of the secular life; a life without spirit, or, at best, a phony “spiritualism” such as yoga or transcendental meditation. In France, they play with “nostalgie pour la boue” as a kind of dabbling in degradation. In America, where anything worth doing is worth overdoing, many who yearn to emulate the French have gone pro.
“Yearning for the mud” in America is a compulsion that comes over people when they have, for complex reasons, a need to immerse themselves in self-degradation. It’s usually a combination of drink, drugs, and weird sex until the soul is obliterated by the abused flesh; until their personal porn film becomes their own private self-snuff film. Why? Hard to say but it is often the case that some people when they look at themselves can’t stand what they see.
This obliteration of the soul and the abuse of the flesh is one of the central tenets in many of our post-modern, secular lifestyle religions. For them, the “signo” of “In hoc signo vinces” is the full body tattoo project, an earlobe plug, and the multiple facial piercings with a coke nail as an accessory.
Most people try some of these things for a time in their youth but grow out of it as age and experience get the upper hand. Others grow out of it via deep psychoanalysis and a few trips to the prison and/or the monasteries of our moment, the rehab clinic. Others are simply killed by it, their lives bracketed by dates that are far too close together.
Many, however, never kick this yearning for the mud and were once pointed out as “perverts” but now as only “differently minded.” Seeking the safety of numbers they gravitate towards those urban sinkholes of the soul they laud as “enclaves of Alternative Lifestyles.”
Once ensconced in their enclaves they busy themselves with bad design projects, bad art, bad fashion statements, bad life decisions and bad politics. Because America is rich and kindly as a culture we generally let them be despite their endless moaning that they are “oppressed.” Once comfortable in their cultural redoubts, however, they think it their duty to sally forth from time to time and infest the rest of the nation. Not content to live their stunted lives among others of similar stature, the self-degraded think it is incumbent upon them to get all other Americans “down in the hole that they’re in.”
A minority among the degraded make a career and a fortune out of nostalgie pour la boue, and are generally known as “pundits,” “media personalities, or “celebrities.” In reality, they’re just perverts with positive cash flow whose job it is to normalize their perversions through assertion and repetition.
An example might be the ( Still) too often seen Janeane Garofalo whose mind and body bear all the markers of a mud person except for a bone through the nose, and that’s probably on her “To-Do” list for this winter. The fact that this creature is a “go-to” person for comment from her fellow blobfish Bill Maher tells you all you need to know about both them and the audience that tunes them in. Down in the mud of the All-American perverts’ daisy chain, there’s a lot of cross-over between celebrity culture and media culture. Indeed, at a lot of levels, it is becoming hard to tell them apart. Both factions live, for the most part, in an insulated bubble of blather that is impervious to personal moral, psychological, spiritual, or political change; one that ruthlessly exacts the penalty of shunning and expulsion from the bubble in the event of any sudden shifts and heresies from any accepted pervert. Like junkies of all eras, once the ideological needle goes in, it never comes out.
Alas, this nostalgie pour la boue is starting to bore these creatures and they will, when bored, like junkies in all ages, feel the need to “increase the dose;” to move on to another, more powerful, and more deadly socio-political drug. And this is exactly what they are doing. I’d like to suggest that there’s another kind nostalgie going around in this hybrid culture that glories in the mud: nostalgie pour la defaite — “yearning for defeat.” Given the war record of the French in the 20th century, this nouveau nostalgie is also tres Francais.
Nostalgie pour la defaite is that state of the eviscerated soul when an American, who either came of age in the Vietnam era, or who was taught and mentored by many leftists or liberals of that vintage, yearns for the defeat of America, and acts accordingly in word and deed.
This compulsion is now not only required to keep their residency in their subcultures but to keep their status in the same as well. The more virulent their articulations of hate of America, the more shrill their calls for the death of the host that sustains their parasitic existences, the higher their regard by their peers. Neither children nor even infants are safe from their depravities. The norming of the perverse is their norm.
Nostalgie pour la defaite is a perverted form of “confirmation bias.” In a way, joining this group is like joining a gang — once you’re in, getting out is not an option unless you seek social and political death. Once articulated, Nostalgie pour la defaite is confirmation that his or her worldview — and that of their social milieu — is the correct view and correct milieu. To operate otherwise would throw not only all the progressive views, assertions, and actions of the last seventy years of diseased perverted politics and sham social theories into question but the entire structure of the perverted personality as well. It is not just life in the fast lane but life inside the lie.
An America that is ascendant rather than retiring; an America whose policies are aggressive and not apologetic, is an America the People of the Lie are simply unequipped to inhabit or report on. They have, quite frankly, an empty toolbox when it comes to this task and no raw materials with which to build.
The only America they can support is one that supports them and their lies without question. They want a blank check for money and means; they want unceasing regard and praise for their perversions. They most deeply desire an endless opportunity to smear the lie on all comers hoping to increase their numbers through adoption and perversion since they have reduced their own procreation through nonfertility and abortion.
Our current infestation of American media personalities and American celebrities with Nostalgie pour la defaite rises from decades of belief in an America that is best as a “pitiful, helpless Giant.” The current media tsunami of TrumpHate is a kind of “Nostalgie pour la jeunesse perdue” — nostalgia for lost youth. Their entire professional and personal lives, from the New York Times to the Los Angeles Times, from the Hamptons to Beverly Hills are based on the grand assumption that America is unworthy and unfit to live now that the normals, for a bit, have begun to steer the ship of state not into their deepening dark but towards the morning star.
The degraded has lived in their lie of “normalcy” for so long that they’ve come to believe — like some depraved Velveteen Rabbit — that they are normal and not freaks. They’ve had Presidents and Presidential candidates that, raising money from their child-lite or child-free bank accounts, have confirmed their specious “normality” to them. Their coworkers in their digifrittering jobs confirm it for them. Their ceaseless flow of “significant others,” drawn from the same chitinous ranks, confirm it for them. The parties they attend, the awards they ceaselessly give and receive like the swapping of spit at orgies, the places they vacation, the books they read and the films they make and see, all confirm it to them over and over again. It is not only the only America they know, it is the only America they can know.
Anything that confirms the Nostalgie pour la defaite is news the depraved can use. Anything that confirms American exceptionalism is not news at all. Anything that actually represents American exceptionalism is bad news and must be crushed and erased by any means necessary.
Several generations of these diseased Americans have been raised and trained to desire that, in all things, America should always lose and become less of an important force in the world. The results of a weaker America do not concern them. It is only important that America become and remain weak and hamstrung.
If America is to become weak, what do they propose in its place? The short form for their vision of the future is “an empowered United Nations.”
At which point they step from their Nostalgie pour la defaite back into nostalgie pour la boue — the yearning for the mud. In the final analysis, it isn’t that big a step. The mire is where they feel most at home.
Can the depraved and degraded be saved from themselves? Not all. Not even most. The only thing that can save them from themselves would be themselves, and that is a rare transformation. It does happen, just as for some individual junkies the personal addiction can be brought under control “one day at a time”, but most of these bad Americans are stuck forever in their armed cultural hamlets and redoubts. They assure us of the truth of the motto,
“Once a bear is hooked on garbage, there’s no cure.”
Towards us came they, and each one cried out:
“Stop, thou; for by thy garb to us thou seemest
To be some one of our depraved city.”
Ah me! what wounds I saw upon their limbs,
Recent and ancient by the flames burnt in!