photo by kyle johnson, from the set 'portraits of seattle' on flickr
It’s been more than a week since Jen Graves’ Stranger story, “Charles Krafft Is a White Nationalist Who Believes the Holocaust Is a Deliberately Exaggerated Myth.”
The paper’s print issue is now off of the stands.
The controversy continues.
Like many participants in and observers of the Seattle visual-art scene, I’ve long known about Krafft’s open admiration for neo-Nazis and Holocaust revisionist pseudo-scholars. He didn’t keep his views secret. They just hadn’t been written about in the local arts media, prior to Graves’ article.
While Krafft was out of the country when the article was written, Graves was careful not to allege anything about Krafft’s beliefs that he hadn’t specifically mentioned in national blogs, podcasts, talk-radio shows, newsletters, and his own Facebook posts.
Still, the counter-allegations of “hatchet job” etc. against Graves abound.
In the online comment thread for the original article.
In a spirited defense of Krafft (“despite his occasional idiocy”) by his friend (and my sometime book publisher) Adam Parfrey.
And in an essay by white-nationalist book publisher Greg Johnson, “The Persecution of Charles Krafft.”
Some of the counter-attacks are predictable.
There are people who sincerely defend white nationalism and anti-Jewish conspiracy theories.
Then there are people who assert that Graves, the Stranger, and the Seattle cultural establishment in general are a bunch of PC do-gooders who can’t handle any real dissent from their party line.
Ah, the last rhetorical refuge of the bigot and the bully; to turn around and whine that they’re really the victims.
By the way, that last remark of mine is directed toward Johnson and some of the other commenters—not against Krafft himself. Krafft has always been open and forthright about his extreme beliefs, and about his fondness for guys who express even further-extreme beliefs than he does. He hasn’t, as far as I know, ever played the faux “victim” card.
So how do I feel about Krafft, you might (or might not) be asking?
I believe he’s a sincere admirer of various military and paramilitary aesthetics, including those of the Nazi and Warsaw Pact eras.
I believe he’s got a big flaming ego, that enjoys tripping on the “Oh, aren’t I being a naughty, politically-incorrect cad?” vibe.
And I believe “irony,” at least the kind of irony viewers have long perceived was in Krafft’s ceramic rifles and hand grenades and Nazi-kitsch revival pieces, is a tiresome premise.
Every work of “satire” or “parody” contains, in its aesthetic, the real worldview of its creator.
Andy Warhol, for instance, really was a capitalist. Quentin Tarantino really is an exploitation filmmaker.
And Charles Krafft really does get off on power fantasies.
Even really, really sick ones.