Friday, 23 December 2016

THE WICKER MAN AND IMPLICIT WHITENESS

Pepe at 2 o'clock

by Dave Yorkshire

We are of course concerned here with the 1973 classic of British cinema and not the 2007 remake, which should never be mentioned by anyone ever again. In fact, the only noteworthy aspect of the remake was Nicolas Cage's performance, as only he had realised the film was a parody.

The original was largely the vision of three men: writer Anthony Schaffer, producer Peter Snell and actor Christopher Lee, who clubbed together to buy the film rights from the author of the novel Ritual David Pinner. The three were joined by director Robin Hardy, who also had a hand in the film's writing.

A self-proclaimed conservative, Lee often stated that it was the best film he ever acted in. It is also, sadly, a film of which we will never see the director's cut, for the film was cut short by fifteen to twenty minutes and the footage edited out lost. Lee always maintained that there was a film ten times better than the one shown in theatres, if only the cans of reel could be found. That said, some of the lost scenes have since been recovered, which certainly give more of an insight into the premise of the film.

The film's implicit whiteness can readily be seen in its all-White cast and explicitly Eurocentric themes. Tension and conflict comes from the juxtaposition of the two religious traditions that Europe has experienced: Paganism and Christianity, the inhabitants of Summerisle having rejected the latter in favour of the former, largely, it would appear, under the auspices and perhaps even coercion of Lord Summerisle's forebears. Edward Woodward's staunchly Christian police sergeant, Howie, thus finds himself in a society the norms, mores and codes of which he does not understand.

The film could not have worked in the reverse situation, because the average viewer is far more familiar with Christian codes than Pagan ones. Whether he subscribes to the Christian religious belief system or not, he lives the codes of the religion's morality every day, imprinted as they are on societal norms. This is why the actions of Summerisle's inhabitants are so uncanny and alienating to the average viewer.

Indeed, the disparity in respective systems of morality can be seen in attitudes towards life and death - particularly sexuality. The islanders all deny, of course the death of Rowan Morrison, the girl who has allegedly disappeared and whose disappearance Sergeant Howie is investigating, the reason seemingly being that their religion transcends death and therefore nothing truly dies.

The sexuality of the islanders is celebrated in contradistinction to the celebration of celibacy in Christian doctrine, Howie famously being tempted by Britt Ekland's naked dancing Willow MacGregor. Sex is natural and therefore good and open. There is never any danger of this turning into some feminist or queer theory critique, however, for all sexual relations are heteronormative and sexual education is both spiritual and phallocentric.

The two recovered scenes that were edited out are revelatory and it is clear the filmmakers come down heavily on the side of Paganism. From an artistic perspective, perhaps too heavily when it comes to the opening scene, for Woodward's character is seen as a one-dimensional buffoon who lives as a Puritan stereotype and is the subject of ridicule by his fellow officers. There is a sense that the man is out of step with 1970s progressivism.


Yet the Paganism of Summerisle is not some twee, folksy Wiccan reinvention for the post-Hippy age. Cruelty also has its place here. Sergeant Howie is appalled when he opens Rowan's desk at the school and finds a beetle has been tied to a nail, one of the schoolgirls gleefully telling him:
"Little old beetle goes round and round, always the same way, you see, until he ends up right up tight to the nail....poor thing."
"Poor old thing? Then why in God's name do you do it, girl?"
The final revelation famously culminates in human sacrifice by fire - the policeman's own, during which the islanders sing the ancient traditional folksong "Sumer Is Icumen In". It is here that Sergeant Howie realises the full extent and implication of the joke that has been played on him by those who do not share his morality. In the end, there is the recognition that his morality is subjective and not objective.

Indeed, in the other recovered scene, the island's patriarch Lord Summerisle's disdain for Christianity is fully revealed:
"I think I could turn and live an animal. They are so placid and self-contained. They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins. They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God. Not one of them kneels to another or to his own kind that lived thousands of years ago. Not one of them is....respectable or unhappy, all over the earth."
The speech is better delivered than conceived and it was justly edited out. Animals do kneel to one another in a sense, for there is hierarchy in all things, as someone bearing the title Lord Summerisle ought to know. This is not necessarily in a predatory sense and Lord Summerisle himself is seen as paternal towards the island inhabitants. This very much fits with the European aristocratic ideal, and it is noteworthy that his grandfather came to the island as a grand bourgeois progressive and exploiter, as Summerisle relates in his tale to Howie. His father, however, was a traditionalist and patron, resulting in his acceptance as natural aristocrat by the islanders and the mutual love between the individual and the mass.

Ultimately, this is a story of the outsider versus the community. This I am sure will strike a chord, given the destruction of our people by outsiders. This is because we no longer have communities in any meaningful way, let alone ones in which their members work for each other, and, when deemed necessary, work against even their country's laws and legal enforcers for the good of the group. Given the revelations that members of the police indulged in the same predatory child abuse as the Muslim paedophile gangs, would the real people of Rotherham not have been better served by attitudes akin to the fictional inhabitants of Summerisle?


Thus, there is a lesson we can draw from The Wicker Man: we must reject the universality preached by most Christian sects. The Jew and the Muslim draw their strength from the fact that they apply their morality only to others of their kind. Towards the Gentile or Infidel, they can be as dishonest and unscrupulous as they want. This is not a criticism of them, but rather a criticism of us. When Jewish academics accuse us of "white privilege," we should feel shame not of practising it, but of not practising it more.


Originally published at Mjolnir Magazine


 

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