I spend a lot of time thinking about fascism. I think about its impact as well as its legacy. I think about the line between minor despotism and fascist thinking. I can never decide where it lies but I rail against any attempt to conform for no reason. For example: I was at a party at which there was much food. I picked the items I thought I might enjoy. I sat down to enjoy them. I was suddenly descended upon by incredulous colleagues who had apparently just been upbraided by some authentic epicure for eating their food incorrectly; they wanted to save me from a similar fate, and encouraged me to eat the food as directed by said epicure. I looked at them in disbelief of my own. While I understand that there are suggestions as to how one eats, or with what beverages one eats, because certain flavors and textures enhance one another, I feel that personal taste overrides these suggestions, as they are suggestions and not absolute rules. The colleagues who wanted to save me from a fate worse than mis-eating couldn't have told you the difference between eating the way they wanted and the way they were told to. They merely crumbled in front of what they understood was an authority. I told the authority he could go home if he didn't approve of my eating habits. The colleagues looked on in further disbelief. I find this indicative of fascist thinking. They want to belong to the correct club, because it's correct, not even because it's a belief system they wish to uphold. Instances of fascism are all around us. And I must marvel at how attractive they are.
Example 2. A small friend who lives near the sort of amusement park where bored teenagers go to misbehave on friday nights. The entrance fee is cheap, and for the privilege of paying little, you're exposed to rowdy kids and chewing gum stuck all over the rather ill-kempt rides, epithets and suggestions for "good times" scrawled in permanent marker or etched into the fiberglass. My small friend said, 'when can we go to [aforementioned park] again?' I retorted, 'why in the world would you go there?!' because he recently acquired a season pass to a far superior amusement park. At this amusement park, everything is clean and if there were any rowdy behavior, it would be quickly suppressed by smiling authority figures in snappy outfits. The park is far from any highways, it does its best to remove you from your everyday world. It forces you to follow every of its little rules--and there are many, and no escape--and you pay a lot of money exactly for that privilege. The privilege of no unruly teenagers, who could never afford to get in there. You trade freedom for cleanliness and order. I--even I, who spends so much time thinking about fascism--prefer the park that has been compared to a fascist state over the park where you could do pretty much whatever you want. I pay extra to have others made orderly. I frown at any attempt to subvert its order.
And while I stroll along the grounds, enjoying even the nature that has been forced into the ideology of the park, cut as it is in delightful thematically appropriate shapes, I am completely aware of the thin line I walk, and I am amazed both at myself and at the brilliance of constructing such an Other world.
A journalist and cultural critic wrote in 1912 of a particular group of people, that their definitive characteristic in modern history was to act as a critical mirror to the majority, reflecting back its discrepancies and short comings.
Has this become the ironic role of fascism? What once strove to mask itself is now a mode for exposure?