The Turner Diaries is a book most people have heard of but few have read. It’s best remembered as the neo-Nazi pulp novel that inspired a half-dozen violent crimes by white supremacists and other anti-government terrorists, most notably the Oklahoma City bombings in 1995. I always liked Chip Smith’s take on it; years ago, he attempted to analyze William Luther Pierce’s “masterpiece” from a literary standpoint, describing the book as “masturbatory,” “contrived” and “the meanest goddamn book ever written.” The Turner Diaries depicts its Aryan heroes as flawless supermen and their enemies as impossibly evil, without a shade of nuance or complexity. Plus, in what universe does a guy named “Earl” ever amount to anything?
And since Chip Smith is the head of Nine-Banded Books, publisher of Tito Perdue’s satirical novel The Node, that provides the perfect segue for this review.
The Node isn’t merely a fantastic send-up of our sexualized, multiculturalist world, it’s a book-length goof on the self-appointed saviors of white, middle-class America, the perfect antidote to Pierce’s humorless onanism. Perdue asks the vital question that no one seems to be asking: how exactly is civilization going to be saved when its rescuers are just as incompetent and degenerate as the society they decry? How can those who have been poisoned by cultural Marxism—even if they’ve rejected some of its lies—be trusted to create a new societal paradigm?
Perdue doesn’t have any answers, but he deserves credit for even asking the questions to begin with.
Just a few days before I wrote this review, a friend of mine sent me a hilarious example of the kind of idiocy that the New Right produces. Basically, a middle-aged Mexican neo-Nazi (don’t ask me how that’s supposed to work) who lives with his parents decided that he could best help the white race by illegally immigrating to the U.K. with the help of a Brazilian he knew off the Internet. Anyone with a sex life could have pointed out how this was a bad idea, but Nazi Gonzales went through with it anyway… and ended up getting screwed over by his Brazilian benefactor in the most humiliating way possible. His Ray Midge-esque whining about having to sleep in a slum hostel with Jamaicans and carry his own luggage around London is made even funnier by his earlier panegyrics to Hitler and his proclamations on exterminating non-whites.
These are the kinds of people who call manospherians “degenerates”: socially maladjusted losers who fall for obvious scams.
The setting of The Node reads like a Philip K. Dick manuscript married with Idiocracy. In the far future, pretty much every godawful social trend of modern America has been played out to its conclusion. The U.S. has devolved into a collection of segregated cities, packed to the brim with sub-retarded ethnic minorities addicted to daytime TV and petty larceny. Whites are a despised and exploited minority, derisively referred to as “Cauks” (short for “Caucasian”). The environment has been completely destroyed, the countryside a hellscape of exploding volcanoes and perpetually overcast skies. The yuan has replaced the dollar as the currency of choice, men are routinely emasculated as a matter of course, and life is generally short and unpleasant:
She went to get it. Far away he saw an anorexic sipping at a cup of synthetic water and at the table next to her two basketball players from the former Namibia. A young boy, an Australasian he believed, was standing in the center showing off some of the new diseases. He was dressed in a T-shirt that pictured the moment of his own conception and no one who saw it could fail to be amused. Just across from him our pilgrim saw a pretty girl whose skirt covered much of her pubis and in places came down to her garter tops. And then, finally, he saw some other people as well.
The story follows an unnamed protagonist variously referred to as “our man,” “our boy,” “the novice” and “the pilgrim.” His placid life in rural Tennessee disrupted by a propane shortage, he journeys to the big city, stumbling across an enclave of whites known as a “Node.” He’s immediately welcomed in due to his stock of money and top-of-the-line “escrubilator” (a vaguely defined device that is mentioned every other page), quickly ascending through the Nodists’ quasi-religious structure and tasked with creating his own Node.
The ultimate goal of the Nodists? To create a new homeland for whites, where the mistakes of the past fifty years can finally be rectified.
The only problem with this is that the Nodists are an unlikable lot, a bunch of crabby old men with only the faintest recollection of life before everything went to hell. They’re unreliable drunks who frequently screw up, leaving “our man” to constantly bail them out of their own stupidity. Despite constantly talking about repopulating the Earth with whites, there are precious few young women in the Node to go around. Even worse, the Nodists have imbibed the moral code of the surrounding society:
She said nothing. Her hips were broad enough and she was in possession, he felt sure, of a birthing canal of just the right proportions. Her bosoms were in their places, too, and had a quality that caused him to refer visually to them from one moment to another. Here now was a woman who with but little effort could nurture one set of twins after another until the end of all. He even believed that he could perceive her nipples, appurtenances of about 4/10 an inch in length and as big around, almost, as an old-fashioned Chesterfield cigarette. He smiled at her in friendly fashion. They were passing just then an extensive structure called “The Wedge,” a containment center for people of ethnocentric tendencies. One glimpse of those towers and razor wire, the facilitators marching back and forth carrying blowguns over their shoulders… He preferred not to think of it.
Perdue isn’t just blasting white nationalists/separatists, he’s blasting every right-wing splinter group with dreams of grandeur about saving the world. Are you listening, neoreactionaries, the ones babbling about “Gnon” and “Elua” on Twitter? He’s talking about you. Dark Enlightenmentarians? He’s talking about you. Men’s rights’ activists? He’s talking about you. The Node is a blistering attack on every Napoleon complex-afflicted dork who’s never even kissed a girl yet writes detailed blog posts about the intellectual inferiority of blacks or fantasizes about slicing the U.S. into independent states. It’s a novel about what would actually happen if a bunch of Aspie monarchists really did found a reactionary commune in Idaho.
There are too many self-appointed generals on the New Right who aren’t even fit for the enlisted ranks.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though: Perdue expresses a bit of hope for the future of Western civilization. The second half of the novel concerns “our boy’s” attempts to carve a functioning society out of the post-apocalyptic wilderness. While Perdue leaves us with an ambiguous ending, he paints a portrait where possibly, just possibly, the Nodists’ philosophy might work out. It’ll just take a severe amount of work to get there.
The Node is propelled forward by Perdue’s minimalist prose. Reflecting his Southern origins, the novel is written in an erudite-yet-unpretentious style, the diction of a man who’s more intelligent than his vocabulary suggests. This tone works perfectly for the protagonist, who resembles the central figure of Dostoevsky’s Idiot in his childlike-yet-wise approach to life. While no one would call The Node a “laugh-out-loud” novel, there are several segments that had me chuckling.
The fact of the matter is that if you enjoy thought-provoking satire and aren’t afraid of having your sacred cows slaughtered, The Node is right up your alley. While the canon of “New Right” literature isn’t very large, it’s heartening to see self-criticism of the kind that Perdue is putting out. It indicates that this cultural movement, entity or whatever it is hasn’t lost its mind.
Click here to buy The Node.