From: Terry W. Colvin <fortean1.nul> Date: Tue, 17 May 2005 22:26:11 -0700 Fwd Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 07:45:23 -0400 Subject: Forteans As Populist Intellectuals Forteans As Populist Intellectuals: A Sociological Probe by T. Peter Park 'By the damned, I mean the excluded' --Charles Hoy Fort The Book of the Damned Are 'Forteans' a 'new class' of populist folk-intellectuals alongside traditional academics and 'highbrows'? Are we seeing an attempted 'circulation of intellectual elites' in our time? Do writers on UFOs, Bigfoot, ghosts, 'psychical' phenomena, Atlantis, planetary catastrophes, and Nostradamus predictions compete with 'cultural elite' pundits and social critics? Are Forteans in a 'turf war' with the Lionel Trillings, Irving Howes, John Kenneth Galbraiths, Noam Chomskys, Richard Rortys, Nathan Glazers, Michael Harringtons, Michel Foucaults, Jacques Derridas, William F. Buckleys, Thomas Sowells, Gloria Steinems, Hannah Arendts, and Susan Sontags? These questions sound bizarre, even ludicrous. The groups deal with different topics, enjoy vastly different levels of 'mainstream' media and academic prestige, and appeal to different audiences. The 'mainstream' often dismisses the 'Forteans' as 'crackpots', while honoring the Galbraiths, Chomskys, Glazers, and Steinems as eminent scholars addressing important social, political, and cultural questions. The latter, rather than the 'Forteans', are usually called 'intellectuals'in newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post, in magazines like Time, Newsweek, Harper's, The New Republic, The Nation, and The New York Review of Books, by network television newscasters, and at 'Ivy League' universities. Still, we may see Forteans as part of a 'populist intelligentsia' expressing the interests and grievances of people who feel that their values and beliefs are ignored by 'mainstream', 'Establishment', or 'elite' scientists, scholars, media, academicians, and clergy. Besides Forteans, such populist intellectuals and their followers include religious fundamentalists, and commentators like Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge, Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter. Still 'further out' from the 'Establishment' or 'cultural elite', they include 'survivalists.' conspiracy theorists, gun enthusiasts, 'Holocaust Revisionists', 'militias' like the 'Aryan Nation', and anti-government terrorists like 'Unabomber' Theodore Kaczynski and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. These fringe communities are not identical, and do not agree on everything. Still, they do overlap somewhat in membership, interests, and attitudes. However, they all feel slighted by the 'prestige' media, universities, and journals, by the 'official' scientific and medical institutions, and by the 'mainline' churches. They see themselves as ridiculed by the 'cultural elites.' They are beneficiaries of mass literacy and modern communications technology - radio, television, and the Internet, by-passing 'official' institutions and media with their own alternative communications networks. They feel excluded by 'official' institutions and publications, but use the Internet as a 'Samizdat' for spreading their beliefs. If Harvard, Newsweek, the New York Times, WCBS-TV, CNN, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Historical Association, the national Episcopal or Methodist church hierarchies, or the National Council of Churches of Christ dismiss them, they will take their ideas directly to 'the people' on the Internet and in their own publications. I myself am a Ph.D. in European history from a prestigious elite school, the University of Virginia, with both high-culture and Fortean interests. I have published in both mainstream scholarly journals and Fortean publications. I've spoken at Carlyle congresses held by professors of English, and at UFO Congresses. I'm thus a keen observer - and participant - of both subcultures. Apart from specific subject interests and academic credentials, these two cultures definitely differ in sensibility and outlook. Many (not all, but still many) Forteans show a vision of life very different from that of mainstream academic scholars - and from that of the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Organization for Women, Common Cause, People for the American Way, Americans for Democratic Action, the NAACP, and Amnesty International. This was not always true In the 19th century, these two cultures were less sharply opposed than they are today. 19th century 'proto-Fortean' students of scientifically unorthodox phenomena saw themselves as the daring 'cutting edge' rather than as bitter adversaries of their day's 'mainstream' science. The 19th century working classes eagerly pursued 'mainstream' high culture and sought guidance from 'mainstream' intellectuals. Today's 'mainstream' academics and intellectuals are certainly not unanimous in their political, social, or cultural attitudes. We have C.P. Snow's 'Two Cultures' of scientists and literary humanists - and traditionalist upholders of the Western cultural 'canon' of 'dead white European males' versus multiculturalists, feminists, Afrocentrists, postmodernists, deconstructionists, and apostles of 'queer theory.' Still, most share a belief in the reliability of generally accepted scientific, historical, and scholarly knowledge, a loyalty to contemporary society as a going concern worth preserving, a sober hope in its continuance, and a commitment to humanistic values of 'liberty, equality, fraternity' for all people. They are committed to religious and ethnic tolerance and to racial equality, a rejection of religious fundamentalism and exclusivism, an abhorrence of racial, ethnic, and religious stereotyping, and a chariness of apocalyptic visions. Whether they are political liberals, radicals, or conservatives, and agnostics or religious believers, 'mainstream' academics and intellectuals accept a 'consensus reality' where evolution and an expanding universe are established facts - while UFO abductions, Illuminati or New World Order conspiracies, and cryptographic Bible Codes predicting current events do not exist. They hold their beliefs in a tentative manner - aware they may be wrong, seeing their own views as plausible, reasonably well-founded hypotheses alongside other reasonably well-founded hypotheses.. Here, they are the opposite of amateur historians pontificating from their bar- stool or dinner table that 'history shows' that divorce, homosexuality, high taxes, immigration, or 'women's lib'caused the fall of Rome, or that FDR engineered Pearl Harbor to maneuver America into World War II. Many Forteans, by contrast, often show a populist suspicion of such academic and 'cultural elite' attitudes, and a sympathy for fundamentalist, xenophobic, apocalyptic, and conspiratorial views. Many exhibit what a friend of mine calls a 'Chicken Little' syndrome of obsession with 'prophecies' of impending disasters - in the Bible, or by Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, and various'psychics.' They fear an unprecedented, unimaginable apocalypse about to sweep away human history impossible to avert: thermonuclear war, Muslim terrorist attacks, a plague worse than AIDS and Ebola, alien invasion, global warming, a new Ice Age, a polar shift, a collision with 'Planet X', or the 'Rapture', 'Tribulation', and Second Coming of Christ as interpreted by Biblical fundamentalists. Many speculate about Jewish, Masonic, Illuminati, 'International Bankers.' or 'New World Order' conspiracy theories - and about the U.S. Government having made a pact with space aliens under Area 51. They scorn as na=EFve the liberal/radical dream of building a just society and peaceful world through good will, rationality, social reform and political activism. They have equally little faith in the conservative dream of preserving a stable society for coming generations through Judaeo-Christian moral values, capitalist free enterprise, fiscal prudence, and a strong national defense. They reject the tentativeness, the awareness of their own fallibility, of academic scholars in confidently proclaiming their conspiracy theories and apocalyptic scenarios. A grassroots apocalyptic anti-academic cultural and political populism unites many (not all, but still many) Forteans, UFO enthusiasts, and 'New Agers' with religious fundamentalists, 'survivalists', conspiracy theorists, militias, gun enthusiasts, and terrorists like Theodore Kaczynski and Timothy McVeigh. These people, often using the Internet as their forum as traditional Bohemians used cafes, represent a 'circulation of intellectual elites', an autodidact 'intellectual proletariat' contesting the 'mainstream' high-culture, academic, and liberal/radical heirs of traditional avant-garde and radical 'Bohemia.' The 19th century working classes and the 19th century forerunners of modern 'Forteans' did not share the contemporary populist resentment of 'mainstream' academics, established scientists, and liberal/radical intellectuals. In the 19th century, many American and European workers eagerly strove to appropriate high culture and supported political movements devised by 'mainstream' intellectuals. American 'mechanics' flocked to Lyceums and Chautauquas, or pursued private self- education in the manner of the 'Learned Blacksmith' and peace advocate Elihu Burritt. European 'proletarians' joined radical movements led or inspired by middle-class or even aristocratic intellectuals. In 19th century America, the 'Lyceums' and later the 'Chautauquas' gave lectures, readings, and concerts on philosophy, science, literature, and classical music. They attracted workingmen - farmers, blacksmiths, carpenters, shoemakers, and their wives - as well as the middle classes. Ralph Waldo Emerson was a popular Lyceum speaker, as were Henry David Thoreau, Daniel Webster, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Susan B. Anthony. Many of Emerson's essays were originally Lyceum lectures. Elihu Burritt (1810-1879), the 'Learned Blacksmith', was a Connecticut blacksmith who became a peace advocate and prodigious self-taught linguist. Burritt educated himself by holding a book on a stand behind his anvil and reading as he worked. He studied mathematics, geography, and languages,- learning 50 languages by age 30! He became a crusader for social reforms - antislavery, temperance, self-education, and above all world peace, lecturing and organizing international conferences. The workingmen and farmers who flocked to Lyceums and Chautauquas, and the self-educated 'mechanics' like Burritt, were eager to acquire the high culture enjoyed by the prosperous haute bourgeoisie of Boston, New York, or Philadelphia who had attended Harvard, Yale, or Princeton. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Europe's industrial workers sought an improvement of their condition by political action through radical movements led or inspired by 'progressive' intellectuals. The rural peasantry were traditionalist devotees of Church and King, devout Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, or Eastern Orthodox loyal to the traditions and institutions of the pre-1789 European ancien regime, voting for conservative political parties pledged to upholding Throne and Altar. Urban industrial workers, however, were estranged from Church, monarchy, and aristocracy. Instead, they supported various forms of socialism, communism, anarchism, trade-unionism, or left-republicanism. Skeptical of religion, urban workers sought a this-worldly improvement of their lot through political and social action. They embraced either the revolutionary utopian ideologies of secular salvation invented by radical intellectuals like St.-Simon, Fourier, Owen, Marx, Engels, Proudhon, Bakunin, and Kropotkin, or the soberly hopeful programs of orderly, peaceful, gradualist social reform preached by middle-class liberals like Jefferson and Mill, and by reformist socialists like Jean Jaur=E8s, Eduard Bernstein, and the English Fabian Socialists (H.G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Sidney & Beatrice Webb, etc.) Whether revolutionary communists or anarchists, or peacefully reformist social-democrats and left-liberals, Europe's industrial working classes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were wedded to 19th century offshoots of the Enlightenment. European industrial workers espoused the Enlightenment dream of Condorcet, Paine, Jefferson, St.-Simon, Bentham, Comte, Marx, and Mill. With Condorcet, Paine, Jefferson, St.-Simon, Bentham, Comte, Marx, and Mill, they dreamed of building a peaceful rational cooperative City of Man devoted to the Greatest Happiness of the Greatest Number through reason, science, and good will. They felt that it was the duty of decent, rational men and women to fight, work, and agitate for the Hoped-For Better Day to Come. Next to active connivance in reaction or tyranny, the worst sin was a fatalistic acceptance of the inevitability of war, injustice, poverty, and oppression, a lazy pessimistic refusal to fight for justice and against social evils. The European workers who joined socialist, communist, or radical-democratic parties or anarchist cells placed their trust in schemes of social betterment devised by middle-class (sometimes even aristocratic) intellectuals, journalists, and lawyers. Liberal idealists like Jefferson, Emerson, and Mill came from middle-class or even 'landed gentry' social backgrounds, as did socialist, communist, and anarchist firebrands like Marx, Engels, Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Ferdinand Lassalle, Jules Guesde, and Francisco Ferrer, and reformist socialists like Jean Jaur=E8s, Eduard Bernstein, Eugene Debs, and the English Fabians. 19th century workingmen, both in Europe and America, trustingly looked to such progressive bourgeois thinkers for guidance. They did not resent the grounding of Marx, Engels, Bakunin, and Kropotkin in Hegel and Darwin, nor the well-rounded high-culture education of Jefferson, Mill, and Emerson. The socialists and anarchists, too, organized adult education programs and 'workers' universities' similar to the American Lyceums and Chautauquas. Many socialist and anarchist workingmen were avid intellectual self-improvers, eagerly devouring Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Goethe, Hegel, Darwin, Marx, Spencer, and Nietzsche. Leon Trotsky himself, in his Literatura i revolyutsiya (1923; Literature and Revolution, 1925), enthusiastically described how under communism, Man would transform himself, and the proletariat would appropriate the cultural riches of the past. In a final chapter of Literature and Revolution, Trotsky predicted that under communism, the average human type could rise to the level of Aristotle, Goethe, or Marx! European workers looked for guidance not only to socialists and anarchists. They also read and discussed liberal thinkers like John Stuart Mill, and conservative critics of laissez-faire, 'Mammonism', and the 'Cash Nexus' like Thomas Carlyle, Charles Dickens, Benjamin Disraeli, Charles Kingsley, and John Ruskin. They even read anti-socialist, 'rugged individualist' apostles of science like Herbert Spencer, and elitist anti-democratic heralds of the =DCbermensch like Friedrich Nietzsche. They saw Mill, Carlyle, Disraeli, Dickens, and Ruskin as allies against 'every man for himself and the Devil take the hindmost' laissez- faire 'rugged individualism', Spencer as a fellow-fighter for scientific enlightenment against religious dogmatism, and Nietzsche as a comrade-in-arms against petty, narrow-minded bourgeois conventionality. The same respect for mainstream high culture marked the 19th and early 20th century forerunners of today's 'Forteans', 'New Agers', and 'Fantastic Realists.' It characterized the Mesmerists, phrenologists, Swedenborgians, Spiritualists, Theosophists, 'psychical researchers', and readers of books like Catherine Crowe's The Night Side of Nature (1848) and Robert Dale Owen's Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World (1860). Many Mesmerists, Swedenborgians, Spiritualists, Theosophists, and 'psychical researchers' - unlike their contemporary counterparts - were actively involved in the progressive social reconstruction movements of their day: trade unionism, anti- slavery, feminism, pacifism, socialism, etc. They saw their Fortean interests as an expansion, broadening, and deepening of orthodox science, rather than as its overthrow. They were only drawing attention to phenomena overlooked by 'mainstream' scientists and philosophers, or hastily dismissed in debunking mediaeval 'superstition' and ignorant peasant or tribal 'folklore.' They acted like 'cutting edge' Thomas Kuhnian paradigm-shattering scientific revolutionists, daringly going where no man has gone in penetrating the secrets of our vast mysterious universe. Unlike many current pop-Forteans, 19th century proto-Forteans did not denounce mainstream scientists as closed-minded mendacious Establishmentarians, nor orthodox science as a conspiracy to hide the truth. They did not preach the 'Chicken Little' syndrome of expecting an unavoidable mega-catastrophe (atomic war, alien invasion, super-plague, planetary collision, etc.) to end human civilization in the near future. They hoped to improve their society, rather than fatalistically awaiting its apocalyptic destruction. Some Forteans now still hold the outlook of their 19th century forerunners. Others, however, embrace populist anti-intellectualism, conspiracy theorizing, and apocalypticism. Scientists are themselves partly responsible for the anti- scientific backlash. On the one hand, many eminent scientists and philosophers have recognized the importance of anomalous phenomena like ESP, apparitions, and mediumistic communications. We may name here Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Henry Sidgwick, F.W.H. Myers, William James, Henri Bergson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Oliver Lodge, Alfred North Whitehead, William McDougall, Carl Gustav Jung, Aldous Huxley, C.D. Broad, and David Ray Griffin, as well as some supposed scientific skeptics like H.G. Wells, Sigmund Freud, and Sir Julian Huxley. Against this, however, we find the dogmatic skepticism of the T.H. Huxley, Lord Kelvin, Hermann Helmholz, Bertrand Russell, Carl Sagan, Paul Kurtz, Isaac Asimov, and Philip Klass types. This has created a popular impression that the academic and scientific communities are dogmatically closed to any consideration of anomalous phenomena. It has encouraged the belief that the academic and scientific 'Establishment'is engaged in a conspiracy to suppress discussion of such phenomena in a 'Watergate'-style cover-up. Historically, the 19th century alliance between 'highbrows' and 'Proles' continued into the early 20th century. In the late 19th century, however, the working-class, socialist, and proto- Fortean respect for mainstream high culture gave way to a resentful populist anti-intellectualism among the American and European working and lower-middle classes. A grassroots rejection of both aristocratic/churchly conservative and orthodox liberal/radical intellectual traditions among the 'plain folk' led to Burkean or 'Throne and Altar' conservatism, Disraelian noblesse oblige 'Tory Democracy', and traditional liberalism, socialism, and anarchism alike yielding to an anti- intellectual populism distinct from the traditional Left and Right. This populist mentality was born in the decades after the American Civil War of 1861-1865 and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871. The American 'Gilded Age', the German 'Grundungsara' of rapid industrial expansion, and the early decades of the French 'Third Republic' saw the rise of this populist mind-set among the working and lower-middle classes and small farmers in both America and Europe. It became quite widespread among them in the 20th century. The term 'populism' is used by historians for movements claiming to represent BOTH the economic interests AND the cultural outlook of the 'common people' or 'plain folk.', against BOTH economic exploitation by Big Capital AND the cultural corruption of big-city and academic intellectuals, 'sophisticates', 'cosmopolitans', and media. Historians rarely use 'populist' for liberals, socialists, or anarchists who champion the interests of the lower classes with highbrow ideologies based on Mill, Marx, Bakunin, Kropotkin, or the English Fabians. Rather, they use 'populist' for European as well as American anti- 'Establishment' movements with a strongly anti-intellectual, fundamentalist, racialist, or xenophobic flavor. The original 19th century American Populists were led by small-town Southern and Midwestern lawyers and newspapermen, with little input from progressive East Coast and Ivy League intellectuals. Many Populists expressed racist and anti-Semitic views and conspiracy theories, and a general resentment of highbrow intellectuals and 'city slickers.' William Jennings Bryan, the Populist candidate for U.S. President in 1896, 1900, and 1908, defended religious fundamentalism against Darwinism a generation later at the 1925 Scopes 'Monkey Trial.' Xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and conspiracy theories were a disturbing undertone in American Populism. However, they were central to the 'Volkisch', 'Integral Nationalist', and 'Right- Radical' movements arising in Europe in the 1880's and 1890's, and to the thinking of the late 19th and early 20th century 'Conservative Revolutionary' intellectuals inspiring or embracing such movements - writers like Paul de Lagarde, Julius Langbehn, Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, Stefan George, Oswald Spengler, and Martin Heidegger in Germany, Charles Maurras and Maurice Barr=E8s in France, Gabriele D'Annunzio and Enrico Corradini in Italy, Knut Hamsun in Norway, Dimitri Merezhkovsky in Russia. These preached a blend of xenophobia, nationalism, anti-Semitism, conspiracy theorizing, suspicion of urban cultural 'decadence', and hostility to both 'Capitalism' and 'Socialism.' Especially in Germany and Austria, whose 'Volkisch' groups and agitators spawned Nazism, these movements embraced occultism, extreme anti-Semitism, crackpot racial theories, and attacks on 'Jewish' science. In France, anti-Semites divided the country into bitterly opposed camps with the Dreyfus Affair of the 1890's and early 1900's. In Russia, this ugly reactionary- populist ferment, officially encouraged by the Tsarist regime, manifested itself in the pogroms of the 'Black Hundreds', and in that notorious anti-Semitic forgery sponsored by the Tsarist secret police, the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. The Protocols of Zion, in translation, became immensely popular among anti-Semites throughout Europe and even in America, where Henry Ford serialized them in his Dearborn Independent. The Protocols were especially popular in Germany and Austria, as part of what has been called the 'cultural exchange' between Russian and German anti-Semites. The Action Fran=E7aise and the anti-Dreyfusards, the Viennese Christian Socialists under Mayor Karl Lueger, the pan-Germans, Volkisch' groups, and anti-Semitic parties in Germany, and the extreme Italian nationalists emerging in 1903 under Corradini were early movements inspired by the 'Ideology of Resentment', as historian Fritz Stern has called it - an ideology that reached its culmination with Fascism and Nazism in the 1920's, 1930's, and 1940's. In the United States, too, it had its echo in Father Coughlin and his followers in the 1930's. It did not wholly die after 1945, resurfacing in the 1950's, for instance, with the Poujadist movement in France and McCarthyism in the United States. The 'militia' movement, and anti-government terrorists like Timothy McVeigh, represent a more recent American outcropping of the same 'Ideology of Resentment' - which in a much milder form inspires the Rush Limbaughs, Matt Drudges, Sean Hannitys, and Ann Coulters of our time. The specific movements of the 1880-1945 era are dead and gone, except among some small fringe groups, and unlikely to be revived in their original forms. However, the broader populist mentality is still with us. We see it in the sniping at 'cultural elites', in the sneering at 'effete snobs' and the 'Brie and Chablis set', in the 'Chicken Little' syndrome, in the obsession with Nostradamus' and Edgar Cayce's 'prophecies', in religious fundamentalism, and in the fundamentalist and 'New World Order' paranoia about computer microchips and supermarket bar codes as 'the Mark of the Beast.' Anti-Semitism has taken a back seat to anti-Isl=E2mism and Arab-baiting - especially since September 2001. Sociologically, Forteans and other 'populist intellectuals' represent an attempted 'circulation of intellectual elites', the yearning of a new would-be 'intelligentsia' for a 'place in the sun', a 'piece of the action.' Their rise parallels that of the original radical/Bohemian 'highbrow'intelligentsia in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Like the radical pamphleteers of the French Revolution snubbed by the salon philosophes of the High Enlightenment, and the struggling cafe artists and poets of La Boh=E8me, today's Internet-surfing UFO, conspiracy, and apocalypse buffs are an intellectual proletariat resentful of the prestige and pretensions of 'Establishment' and 'cultural elite' scientists, scholars, intellectuals, and journalists. Modern 'mainstream' intellectuals have a three-fold historic social root: (1) university professors; (2) cultivated upper- class gentlemen of letters, along with ambitious, talented folk of humbler origin welcomed into their salons; and (3) 'Bohemian' writers and artists living on the margins of society. The celebrated 18th century philosophes and literati of the High Enlightenment were either gentlemen of leisure or else salon lions enjoying aristocratic patronage: Voltaire, Montesquieu, Hume, Gibbon, Diderot, LaMettrie, d'Holbach, Rousseau, Helvetius, Condorcet, Marmontel, Jefferson. The 'Bohemia' of struggling writers, artists, and composers living by their wits on the fringes of society was the seedbed of the 19th century's literary/artistic avant-garde and political radicalism. 'Bohemia' developed in early 19th century European cities from the 'literary underground' of 18th century London and Paris. Tobias Smollett and Samuel Johnson's London had its Grub Street, described by Johnson as 'inhabited by writers of small histories, dictionaries, and temporary poems.' France, too, had a vast 'Grub Street' of hack writers leading hand-to-mouth lives in garrets. Dreaming of becoming philosophes, celebrated poets, and noted dramatists, they resentfully envied the Voltaires, Diderots, Montesquieus, D'Alemberts, and Marmontels leading privileged lives at the top levels of the Republic of Letters. Princeton University historian Robert Darnton has traced the radicalism of the French Revolution to The Literary Underground of the Old Regime (Cambridge MA and London: Harvard University Press, 1982). Peering below the High Enlightenment salon philosophes Darnton portrayed the underworld of garret scribblers, pirate publishers, pornographers, clandestine book peddlers, book smugglers, and police spies forming the literary underground of the Enlightenment. This literary underground merged into an underworld of swindlers, recruiting agents, pimps, prostitutes, pickpockets, blackmailers, and murderers. Darnton showed how this literary proletariat contributed to the fall of the Old Regime, providing the orators, demagogues, pamphleteers, and popular journalists of the French Revolution. The radicalism of the Revolution came from the vulgarized 'philosophy' of their scurrilous and semi-pornographic pamphlets attacking the vices of the aristocracy and clergy, rather than from the polite salon philosophism of the Voltaires, Montesquieus, Diderots, D'Alemberts, and Rousseaus. Below the exalted level of the Voltaires, Montesquieus, Diderots, and Rousseaus, lesser figures compiled the encyclopedias, dictionaries, digests, and anthologies so plentiful in 18th century France. Cruder hack work included writing for Government ministers, pamphleteering for the 'bulls' and 'bears' on the Bourse, publishing social gossip sheets, writing pornography, peddling prohibited books and pamphlets, and spying for the police. Many would-be philosophes survived by compiling anthologies, writing for journals, peddling manuscripts, or spying for the police. The salon was a preserve for the high philosophes, who left the cafes to the lower classes of litterateurs. Cafes were the antithesis of the salon, being open to everyone (like the Internet today!). In the early 19th century London's Grub Street and the French literary underground became stabilized in many European cities as 'Bohemia', the seed-bed of many noted writers, artists, and composers - and many influential revolutionaries and social critics. Like the 18th century French 'literary underground',19th century Bohemians survived by hack-work for commercial publishers pandering to mass taste. Gentlemen Enlightenment authors-like Montesquieu, Voltaire, Hume, Holbach, and Jefferson could be philosophers in their ample leisure time, but free-lance writers found no market for serious work. Instead, as noted by Alfred Salomon, 'the demands of the uneducated grew louder' for 'creators of entertainment, of pornography, and of horror stories.' These writers, 'separated from any form of Kulturtraeger and living on their wits alone', learned by the early 18th century to 'prefer each other's company to that of a hostile world.' They created 'their own life-pattern' as 'white-collar intellectuals' who lived by 'meeting the demands of their publishers and whose spare time was taken up with more serious efforts.' They formed 'a new social group', whose 'center' was 'not the court, nor the Church, but the coffeehouse.' Montesquieu 'discovered the social function of the coffeehouse - the home of the homeless intellectual' in the 18th century [Albert Salomon, 'The Messianic Bohemians', in George B. de Huszar, ed.,The Intellectuals: A Controversial Portrait (The Free Press of Glencoe, Illinois, 1960, reprinted from Salomon, The Tyranny of Progress [The Noonday Press, 1955]), p. 20] 'Coffehouse intellectuals' are 'bohemians... learned men who have not submitted to the rules of social and professional careers which the society around them takes for granted.' They are men 'utterly indifferent to the sources of their income', who 'do not care to pursue the organized channels of literary or academic advancement.' In the cafe, one could sit 'surrounded by poets, astronomers, military tacticians, revolutionaries, card- players, and philologists', Revolutions, too, were prepared in cafes. Thus, the German economist Emil Lederer and the Austrian Socialist leader Rudolf Hilferding discussed the possibility of a Russian revolution in a Viennese cafe in 1916. Lederer believed a revolution was impending while Hilferding skeptically answered, 'Who will make the revolution? Mr. Trotsky, perhaps, of the Central Cafe?' However, 'Mr. Trotsky stepped out of the cafe and made the revolution.' [Albert Salomon, 'The Messianic Bohemians', p. 21] The coffehouse 'belongs to the bohemians', as 'the salon of homeless thinkers, poets, and scientists, the drawing room of underpaid writers, their means of escape from the abysmal physical conditions under which they live.' Poverty has 'always been the supreme condition of he bohemian' from which 'he flees to the comparative warmth of the coffehouse.' Poverty gave Bohemians 'a set of defenses which have become, since the eighteenth century, standard procedure for non-conformists: the anarchical attitude towards the established goods of social conduct; the refusal to accept the normative requirements of manners, fashions, and conventions.' The 'routine requirements of society' have 'often forced men with a specific spiritual destination' like Baudelaire to 'escape into Bohemia.' [Albert Salomon, 'The Messianic Bohemians', p. 21] 18th century garret scribblers resented the prestige and pretensions of the salon philosophes. Since the late 19th century, a similarly under-appreciated underworld of autodidacts has been conducting a similar resentful vendetta on the now successful, prestigious, and 'mainstreamed' cultural descendants of the 18th century garret scribblers. They are cut off for various reasons from the established 'highbrow', academic- scholarly, scientific, labor-union, adult-education, 'mainline'- religious, or liberal/radical institutions, media, and communication channels of our time. The literary, philosophical, and ideological descendants of the garret scribblers are the 20th/21st century intellectual and cultural 'Establishment' - in effect the High Enlightenment philosophes of our time! They are now attacked by calorically well-fed but status- and appreciation-starved 'lean and hungry' poor souls in a more materially comfortable Electronic Age version of the 18th century garret underworld, who use the Internet as their 'cafe'! Most Forteans are decent and reasonable in their social attitudes and political instincts. However, there are also those in the Fortean community who nourish darker impulses, disquieting symptoms of the 'Ideology of Resentment', such as a weakness for anti-Semitic, anti-Masonic, anti-Jesuit, 'Illuminati', or 'New World Order' conspiracy theories. Syracuse University political scientist Michael Barkun, author of Religion and the Racist Right: Origins of the Christian Identity Movement (revised ed., 1997) and Disaster and the Millennium (1986), has described the bizarre, alarming subculture of UFO enthusiasts who also zealously believe in Jewish, Masonic, 'Illuminati', or 'New World Order' world domination conspiracy theories in A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America (2003). He traces the print, radio, and Internet dissemination and popularization of such ufological and occult-tinged conspiracy theories by writers like David Icke, Milton William Cooper, 'Branton', and Jim Keith. It behooves decent, sensible Forteans, and the Fortean community as a whole, to be watchful about such peddlers of hate and paranoia!
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