I don’t get fascists.
I’ve genuinely tried to. My liberal age has been littered with moments of giving them an audience, of trying to find an empath in their skewed passions, of laughing at their royally cancellable jokes. As a middle class, upper caste manly man, I’ve even flirted with being their comrade (except, of course, never using that word when they’re around).
But I never quite got fascists. Like, I know they are a thing the way moonrocks are a thing, or starfish are a thing. I mean to say I get the overall concept of them, I could define them, use them in a sentence, I could maybe write a whole research paper on them, an anthology and all that at least two teenagers would read before going to bed. It’s just that I just don’t find myself vibing with them even in a hypothetical dream sphere. Like, it’s easier for me to picture the taste of a unicorn barbeque salad, than it is to see myself hanging out with a neo-Nazi and go, “hmm, I really admire you, king.”
So here’s three questions I have on fascists, and if you can answer them, then maybe I’d finally start getting fascists.
Q1: Do fascists have nipples?
I read somewhere that if you’re a man who hates another man, you should think about his nipples. Nipples on men are pretty ridiculous, the argument went. And the fact that the man you hate has two of those, the fact that his chest is not a peninsula of plain skin and rough hair, that a pair of muscle knots don it like some dried frosting on a wedding cake, serving no real purpose, acting almost as a low-budget parody of the utilitarian female chest, that fact should just make your and his existence seem like a spoof itself, and the hate should just collapse into humor.
And so I thought, well, I do hate fascists. And hate is a barrier to understanding. So maybe I should picture some tits on them. And I gave that a shot. Couldn’t really imagine Hitler shirtless. In my head, when he’d unbutton his black-and-white clothes (I’m sure they were as colored as the 1930’s), there’d just be a void staring back at me. And I’m not trying to be profound here. I’ve heard Hitler just had one testicle and I can totally imagine that hanging under his button penis. It’s just really hard to put nipples on a shirtless Hitler.
It would be great if fascists, in fact, do have nipples. Then I could pray that one day they wake up with no nipples, and it drive them all mad. Imagine all the fascists running in the streets shirtless, donning those brown boxers, crying “where are my titties?” I’m sure they’d come up with some vague international conspiracy on how Amnesty is behind the disappearance of their chest cherries, or maybe some poor Bangladeshi worker is. You’d look at their chests and you’d suddenly feel they’re not as human as you thought they were. For a change, it would be nice to see them dehumanized, these torch bearers of dehumanization. And then maybe us non-fascists could gift them one of our nipples as a token of goodwill. Maybe we can solve fascism if the fascists don’t have nipples. Worth praying for.
Q2: Can fascists know when they fall in love?
For a small period of my life (close to two hours, some time back in October last year) I was almost convinced that fascists are incapable of falling in love. Wouldn’t have been that surprising. If love is empathy and harmony, and psychopaths are know to not feel either, it would mean fascists are indeed incapable of love (the Venn diagram of psychopaths and fascists, purely coincidentally, happens to look like a nipple- with the psychopaths being the areola).
But I was woefully wrong, I realised. We think of fascists as these hate engines, constantly combusting bigotry to kinetic energy, harnessing it in lynching and rioting. But more than hate, I’m assured now, the fascist next door is driven by this malnutritioned mutation of love, called narcissism.
A fascist, I believe, thinks of everything in us vs them, because he’s in love with the us, a meta-monkey tribe he was just born into. The collective human history of the planet repels him, the oppression of the them instigates him, not because he gets some hate boner on seeing the them. It’s because every achievement of them, every grievance of them, every moment of joy for the them is an affront to his own narcissistic formulation of love. He cannot find pride in a white marble wonder of the world, because he cannot separate his awareness of the lack of us in the monument by them.
So then, when a fascist falls in love, I’m sure, it’s just a projection of his narcissism onto his muse. Without falling in love with himself in someone else, a fascist cannot really know he’s in love. It’s not even love, unfortunately. Just have a look at the way a fascist uses the very word love. It’s reserved for such modern, austere, mundane constructs like nation, class and religion. A love of an idea is just fetish in drag. It’s lesser, lower, so much more outwardly destructive (hence, selfish) than the unredeemable, grand, potentially self-destructive (and in being so, selfless) love for another human. You call these modern fetishes love to fill the gaping hole where love really ought to be.
So can fascists tell when they fall in love? Sadly, I don’t think so. Till at least one of the world’s biggest fascists falls in love with one of the them, till he lets the world know about his awareness of it by allowing this love to destroy him, I truly don’t have much evidence to believe so. Our modern fascists pride themselves on being unmarried, fully devoted to the fetishes they sell. It’s a sad life, but a great marketing tool to pitch to a culture lost on finding and safeguarding love.
Q3: Do fascists wear boxers over their ideology or under it?
I want you to imagine a naked fascist. (A handful of friends have told me they’d like to spend a day in my head, well, it begins with a walk in the fascist nudist amusement park.) Are you imagining? Are they truly naked? If they are, do they seem powerless, or just as powerful as ever? I know, to most of you they’d seem powerless. If Trump were to give his next speech naked, I am sure a lot of the QAnon folks would stop treating him as their messiah. (Trump is the safest name I can take, you know that.) But I really don’t think it would be as existential for Trump himself.
If a fascist was in a crowded local train and he were to lose his boxers and his ideology at the same time, I’m convinced that he’d first try to find back his ideology. Boxers can wait. You see, a fascist, like all of us, takes off his boxers to shower. But I don’t think he takes off his ideology. In fact, I feel he never takes it off. At no waking or sleeping moment, is a fascist not a fascist. A humanitarian could occasionally flirt with wearing some fascist drag, but a fascist doesn’t even know his ideology is an ideology.
So if a naked fascist is still a fascist, the next logical question is whether a fascist wears his ideology over his skin or under it. I feel it's under. And not just under the skin, a good fascist’s ideology runs under his blood, under his bones, somewhere tucked in the cocoon of my idea of me. This is why all those poems you read in your english or moral science class, the ones that go ‘all humans bleed red’ or ‘we are the same deep down’ and ‘we live under the same sky’, despite the best of intentions of these poets, do little to deradicalise a fascist. This is why the fundamentalist liberal romanticism with absolute free speech hardly ever changes a fascist, and every other decade, in fact, just ends up getting a fascist elected to the top of the food chain.
You know, you’d have thought the fascist nudist amusement park is going to be a fun place, a stress-free vacation hinterland. It’s clearly not. Naked fascists are in fact more shameless in their pursuit for power. That roller coaster you loved has now been turned into a nuclear device, and all the arcade booths you planned to play Contra at are now detention centers.
Looks like I knew the answer to this question after all. Maybe then the question that's left to answer is can you truly change a fascist? (Side note: I’ve also often wondered if all fascists have small penises, but I’m yet to dedicate enough time pondering that.)