Sunday, November 15, 2015

Michel Houellebecq's Submission


Michel Houellebecq's Soumission, a dystopian vision of the Islamic takeover of France in 2022, was published on the day of the Charlie Hebdo shooting, and graced that's day's cover, pictured above. I bought the English translation yesterday, the morning after the November 2015 Paris attacks, and finished it this morning.

Submission: A Novel was an engaging read, far more humorous than I expected, and as insightful as I had hoped. The comparisons to Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World are not hyperbolic. The novel is indeed insightful, but not a bit inciteful, as the PC Police would have it, and liberal individualism is the novel's true target. This is a novel not of resistance, even doomed but noble resistance. It is a novel of defeat and resignation, as the title suggests.

"Submission" is of course, the meaning of the word Islam. One character compares the submission of man to God to the submission of woman to man in the Story of O. The promise of having multiple wives selected for you, along with job security, is the main impetus for several characters' conversion to the carnal sex cult that is Islam. Polygamy is by one character justified as the mechanism by which natural selection is carried out, with lesser males being unable to reproduce and the wealthy able to reproduce in super-abundance.

Staying with the "woman question" (the question that prevented me from converting to Islam fifteen years ago, leaving my soul forever in the debt of the fairer sex), it is interesting to compare Houellebecq's dystopia with Margaret Atwood's in The Handmaid's Tale. Atwood's had to make up female-subjugating practices extrapolated from Old testament verses, which no sect calling itself Christian have ever employed. In contrast, Houellebecq need only look at contemporary Islamic societies for his dystopian vision of female submission. No need to make stuff up as Atwood did.

There was a lot to ponder in this novel, with references to influences from Distributism to René Guénon. My plan is to go back and read in reverse chronological order. Roissy has more on "the patron prophet and Saint Shiv of Chateau Heartiste," "who grasps the essential corrosive nature of modern Western society, and who is unafraid to tell it like it is" — Choice Quotes From Michel Houellebecq.

Houellebecq is famously a pessimist, but as an American optimist, with recent events back on the mother continent, I feel the need to shout back across the Atlantic, "Vive la résistance!"

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