Thursday, 31 December 2015


Contemporary Media seen from the Right

Be careful what you wish for, so they say. Well, in Alt-Right circles, the idea of the Axis winning World War II might have some appeal. That’s what makes this Phillip K. Dick adaptation so compelling and even thrilling. It takes a look at a United States conquered by the Axis, and some of the intrigues this generates.

The geopolitics is certainly fun: everything from New York City now with a giant SS Building in the middle of it (echoes of Trump Tower?) all the way to the Mid West finding its "inner Teuton" as part of the Greater German Reich. There is also a thin sliver of "Free America" – a kind of no-man’s land or DMZ, the natural place for renegades and refugees – stretching from Denver down to Mexico. Then there is the West Coast, where instead of a patronizing interest in Zen and sushi, the Golden State and a few others are all part of the Empire of Japan. So, far so good!

Add to the plot various spies and rebels, Nazis, and the Kempeitai – yes, the Japanese Gestapo, not often mentioned in many World War II histories – who play a big part in the story of this mini series. It is all rather delightful, with a plot that centres on all the hunt for rolls of film, supposedly made by the mysterious Man in the High Castle, that purport to show an alternative future where – god forbid – the Axis lost WWII! The horror!

This series is very well put together and highly recommended to the readers here – as they will love it. There are some typical Hollywood excesses to make the Nazis and Japanese appear extra nasty (not that the Allies ever did anything wrong, of course). Yes, the Japanese even have their own gas chambers too; and don’t mind offing the odd Jewish family who annoy them or who won’t co-operate, in a special, plastic furnished gas chamber room.

The Nazis are still brutal (snore) – but Hitler is old and a power struggle in on between Goebbels, Heydrich, and others for succession. I won’t say how, but Heydrich, who clearly survived the assassination attempt near Prague in this alternate universe, turns up as a character boasting of his "necessary and good work" in Africa. One can only imagine what that was, although I doubt it involved the digging of wells for villages.

Dick’s novel has clearly served as a back drop and scene setter that the filmmakers have used to create new characters and change things around a bit – but it all still works. I won't say too much more apropos spoilers, but when the Man in the High Castle Turns up you will all be enthralled.

Trains running on time?
What’s more, I just heard the show was a ratings hit, and that it will back for a Season 2. So, people seem to be digging this Axis-run alternate universe version of America that is naturally far more orderly and disciplined than the one we have now. A fun advertising campaigns putting Nazi type ads on New York subways may have helped with a key demographic.

A nice touch is that, while the Japanese are shown as being vicious at times, there is a nice spiritual dimension to them that seems to channel an appreciation of Yukio Mishima’s samurai ethics. This carries the show to the higher realms of art that is well appreciated by this critic.

It’s all a job well done, so get a hold of it and check it out. Alt Right readers and fans – an alternative reality awaits you.

The Man in the High Castle
Created by Frank Spotnitz
Amazon Studios
Buy from Amazon (Alternative Right will get a %)

Richard Wolstencroft is a filmmaker, writer, events promoter, and founder and festival Director of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival. He has an interest in Right Wing, Conservative, and Fascist philosophy, politics, and history.

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