also argue that warnings must and should be issued before showing
clips from the mesmerising, or as Susan Sontag (1975) famously put it, ‘fascinating’ representations of fascism that Riefenstahl created. The clips from
Night and Fog must shock; the clips from The Triumph of the Will need to
be stalled in their bid to seduce the viewer into an unwitting sympathy with
the straight lines and orderly flow of fascist aesthetics.
And what has feminism got to do with all this? We recall that trigger
warnings are often considered to be feminist in origin and connected in
British masculinities, pomophobia, and the post-nation
Responding to the threat of a total dissipation of traditionalist boundaries that used to clearly demarcate the presence of both the masculine
self and the patriarchal nation state, both man and nation seem inclined
to reassert themselves hyperbolically, that is, by means of a deliberate
pomophobic reinforcement of their allegedly original (yet in fact nostalgic and entirely imaginary) definitive contours and monumental stature.
Fascism and ethnic cleansing are the inevitable result, propagating a
relentless reinscription of terrifyingly atavistic, masculinist
thing from where it was to
where it was needed. ‘Distribution’ in Pound thus came to be stained, like so
much else, by his enthusiasm for Fascism, the stain running through this
poetry, from The Cantos back.
Making things available had long since been axiomatic to Pound. When
he argued, in Howto Read, that when ‘the application of word to thing goes
rotten ... the whole machinery of social and of individual thought and order
goes to pot,’ he was amplifying the claim he had made in ‘I gather the Limbs
of Osiris’ that ‘it is not until poetry lives again “close to the
it own narrative origins it becomes dangerous’, Kearney cautions,
because the result of this is too often ‘totalitarianism, fascism and
fanaticism’.3 The story of nation then becomes a monolith, a grand
narrative of the kind questioned in postmodern literature and thought.
When the nation is recognised as a narrative construct, on the other
hand, it can be constantly reinvented and reconstructed, and this is to
a great extent what is being done in contemporary Irish literature, at
least as it is described in works of literary criticism. Studies of literature and