Episode 81: Warren Hedges on the Fantasy Roots of the Capital Insurrection

This week’s guest, Warren Hedges, teaches a course at the University of Southern Oregon on how speculative genres such as science fiction and fantasy help us imagine more inclusive cultures, societies, and worlds. He shared some thoughts on Facebook about Jacob Chansley, the so-called “Q Shaman” who participated in the January 6 insurrection in the U.S. Capital and the ways his dress and tattoos reflected long-standing nationalist and racist themes in High Fantasy. Across this conversation, Hedges traces out some of the links, including the connection between fantasy and representations of national character, the ways these ideas about race shape modern gaming, what it means for white supremacists to “play Indian,” the Greek and Roman iconography of the U.S. Capital and how it means different things for the North and the South, the way Birth of a Nation and The Clansman built on Sir Walter Scott’s fantasies regarding Scottish history, and the ways contemporary fantasy writers of color are expanding the genre’s relationship to mythology and nostalgia, among other topics. This far-reaching discussion explores the relationship between genre fiction and far-right politics, helping to make sense of some of the images associated with the January 6 insurrection.

A full transcript of this conversation will be available soon!

Here are some of the references from this episode, for those who want to dig a little deeper:

Right Wing Politics and Iconography:
Q-Shaman Jacob Chansley
Right wing appropriates Viking culture
Charlottesville shield
Tea Party Movement
A Second American Revolution
Right Wing cosplayers
Flags of the Insurrection

The High Fantasy Tradition
J.R.R. Tolkien translation of Beowulf
Worm Tongue in Lord of the Rings
ReDiscovery of Beowulf
Brothers Grimm
Johann Gottfried von Herder
High Fantasy
Game of Thrones
Orcs, Klingons as African-American

Further Reading on Fantasy
Brian Atteberry, Stories About Stories
Michael Saler, As If: Modern Enchantment and the Literary Prehistory of Virtual Reality
Henry on the need to rethink genre

Games and Gaming
Roots of Dungeons and Dragons
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
Skyrim – Warren’s Videos on Racial Coding and Gender Coding in Skyrim
Stranger Things

Rewriting the Fantasy Genre
Sylvia Moreno-Garcia, Gods of Jade and Shadow
Marlon James, Black Leopard, Red Wolf
Grace L. Dillon, Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction
Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha, Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from
Social Justice Movements

Scottish Nationalism and the Klu Klux Klan
D.W. Griffith, Birth of A Nation and crossburning
Thomas Dixon, The Clansman
Martin Luther King on white supremacy
Sir Walter Scott and nationalism
Mark Twain — Sir Walter Scott caused Civil War 

Native American Imagery
“Playing Indian”
Grace L. Dillon, Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction
Lydia Maria Child
Boston Tea Party — Indian imagery

The Iconography of the American Capital
Trump’s 1776 Commission and the New York Time’s 1619 series
Greek and Roman Imagery in Capital
George Washington as Roman Hero
Greek Revival
William Faulkner on the past
Lincoln and Pericles
City Beautiful movement
Thomas Jefferson’s changing views on slavery’
Benjamin Franklin discusses the “lovely white”
Hamilton and Diverse America
Oregon as haven for white people

Svetlana Boym on Nostalgia

Superhero Mythology
Donald Trump as Captain America
The Punisher and Blue Lives Matter

Share your thoughts via Twitter with Henry, Colin and the How Do You Like It So Far? account! You can also email us at [email protected].

“In Time” by Dylan Emmett and “Spaceship” by Lesion X.
In Time (Instrumental) by Dylan Emmet  https://soundcloud.com/dylanemmet
Spaceship by Lesion X https://soundcloud.com/lesionxbeats
Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported — CC BY 3.0
Free Download / Stream: https://bit.ly/in-time-instrumental
Free Download / Stream: https://bit.ly/lesion-x-spaceship
Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/AzYoVrMLa1Q

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *