Once again, I took my usual break after an intense NaNoWriMo (which is why I usually have to do Panic Time in the final week of any WriMo). When I started preparing for NaNoFiMo '09 at last, I did it by reading books that I thought would be important sources for Bad Company. Were they ever! On the side of realism, there's Welcome to the Urban Revolution: How Cities are Changing the World by Jeb Brugmann and Nation of Rebels: Why Counterculture Became Consumer Culture (Canadian name: The Rebel Sell: Why Culture Can't Be Jammed) by Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter. On the more mystical front, I found the notorious book by Otto Rahn called The Crusade Against the Grail, which is also redirecting me toward some books that have been languishing on my bookshelves. All are transforming the plot of Bad Company. I can feel the plot actually transforming into something coherent. And, considering the trouble I've had working the various plot threads of Bad Company into something coherent since I started writing it during NaNo '07, that's saying something.
Welcome to the Urban Revolution, the subject of a recent blog post of mine, is about how 1) the growth of cities is democratizing human civilization and 2) the world's cities are forming a network so strong that it can only be called a World City, the ancient ideal of the Cosmopolis envisioned by the Athenian philosopher Isocrates. The democratic logic of cities is a simple matter of mathematics: the bigger, denser, and more populated a city is, the more potential interpersonal associations there are, which increases the complexity of association networks geometrically. What that means in practical terms is that small towns are as stifling as they are intimate, while big cities, if impersonal, are liberating. Plus, though the wealth and power of capitalist oligarchs can get obscene, the relative power of the common people is proportionately much greater in the city than in a small town. That's why big cities and not small towns are vulnerable to revolutions. And this, I realized, provides the key to the climax of BadCo that has evaded me for so long: the reason why Dictel's invasion of America actually fails.
Next: Nation of Rebels. Its theme is that culture jamming, currently the preferred strategy the Left uses against capitalism, is impossible. Even worse from an anticapitalist perspective, culture jamming, and counterculture in general, only reinforces consumer capitalism. In Bad Company, that means culture jamming and other countercultural strategies are useless against a giant corporation hellbent on taking over the country by force, much less the reigning corporatist tyranny itself. In Dirty Pop, culture jamming (specifically that of the sisters and their band) may be effective against a rival counterculture (their cult guru mother's), but not against the music industry cartel (i.e., the corporatist power structure), which requires legal and economic countermeasures that can hurt the cartel. Counterculture is not only useless as a strategy of resistance, its strategies have already been taken over by the advertising industry.
Now for the controversial mystical element, the "Dan Brown-ish" part of Bad Company. (Which I will do far better than Dan Brown ever can.) That's where Rahn, the reluctant Nazi, comes in. He documents the destruction of the original European renaissance culture by the Catholic Church and the Kingdom of France. Their war against the revival of civilization in southern Europe was officially designated a crusade, and resulted in the first genocide in European history. The Cathars fought their losing battle in the name of the Holy Grail, against the evil forces of the Cross. The blowback against both Rome and Paris was massive: the Renaissance in Italy, the Reformation in Germany, and the Revolution in France. The oppressive political power of the Roman Church had to be broken before modern Western civilization could be born at last, and rise phoenix-like from the ashes of the Roman Empire.
So what the hell does a military contractor like Dictel Corporation have to do with the Holy Grail, the symbol of the Occitan resistance? To explain, I have to remind you that the blowback against Catholic power, which created the modern West, had its own blowback. Part of Rome's strategy against the Cathars was to coopt their symbols by adopting the previously heretical Grail as its own (monk-written Grail romances did the job) and redirecting the cult of Sophia and the Magdalene back toward the orthodox cult of the Virgin Mary. Ultimately, Catholic and Masonic reactionaries joined forces with the French government to destroy the worker-led Paris Commune in 1871, and then they formulated their secret plan to overthrow the republican governments of Europe, to which they gave the name "synarchy," meaning an occult form of totalitarian oligarchism based on the rigid hierarchism of authoritarian India and Egypt. And the reactionaries made the Holy Grail, the symbol of spiritual enlightenment, the emblem of their crusade against the Enlightenment. Contrary to Dan Brown, both Opus Dei and the Prieuré de Sion are offshoots of the elite conspiracy against Western civilization.
And so is Dictel Corporation. As I've previously posted, Dictel was founded in 1947 to siphon Nazi refugees from the infamous Ratline in order to hire them to do the new CIA's dirty work abroad. Dictel's founders were among the more infamous Nazi collaborators before and during World War II. Nazi Germany was the ultimate consequence of the Roman Church's anti-Cathar strategy: the Crusaders themselves were committing genocide in the name of the Grail itself. This is what drove Rahn to his ritual suicide in the Pyrenees. Hitler himself was never excommunicated, and in fact was close to Pope Pius XII. The Cathars, in other words, were now serving Rome's darkest purposes. The cooptation was complete; in the language of the Grail myth, Klingsor the black magician had stolen the Grail. After the war, some of the conspirators founded Dictel, which by the end of the 20th century had become the largest military corporation in the world (combine Blackwater-Xe with Halliburton-KBR, and you get Dictel). But Dictel's secret purpose has always been to abolish democracy, destroy the Enlightenment, and turn the clock back to the medieval Age of Faith. And that's why the company is involved with a neo-Egyptian cult (Drusilla's to be exact). The important part is not the "Nine" or the exoticism, but the hierarchism of ancient Egyptian absolute monarchism and the total unity of church and state.
As is, or should be, well known, the Prieuré de Sion hoax escaped its masterminds' control. The Grail the Cathars revered is now more popular than ever, partly thanks to Margaret Starbird and Dan Brown. Which means there are now two Grails competing for supremacy: the White Grail of the neo-Cathars against the Black Grail of the synarchists, representing the sovereignty of the people (Starbird's anawim, Hebrew for "little ones") against the hierarchic supremacy of a hegemonic elite (which we can call anakim, or "giants," which in Genesis 6 are the half-divine Nephilim whose arrogance provoked the Flood). Two of my recurring characters fight throughout the whole Spanner cycle for control of the Grail as its rival keepers: Starbird's fictional disciple Ariel Shield champions the anawim, while Dictel heiress Drusilla Becket invokes it for the sake of the power of the anakim. But they fight each other in the background of Bad Company.
The major forces at war in BadCo are Dictel Corporation and the (at least at first) American people. In mystical terms, this means "Montsalvat," the Cathar citadel now occupied by the Crusader forces of Rome and therefore the militantly self-isolated symbol of elite rule itself, against the City as alchemical cauldron of human evolution (from the occult perspective, the true significance of a book like Welcome to the Urban Revolution). So there's an alchemical subtext to BadCo and the rest of the Dictel trilogy. After all, one of the forms the Grail takes is the Philosopher's Stone. Thus the question Sir Percival neglected to ask becomes crucial once again: Who does the Grail serve? You know which side I'm on; after all, Dictel is the corporate archvillain of the novel I've named after it.
Of course, I'll have to ruthlessly swat down any New Age fuzzy-mindedness. After all, isn't this a war?
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