Michael Haneke wins the Palme D’ Or again. Austria. The perplexing, contradictory and often ambiguous battle ground between the liberal enlightenment, the tradition of Vltaire and Diderot and its almost strange complicity in producing a counter-Enlightenment in the person of Heidegger. This mish-mash Austro-Hungarian empire that could produce a Kafka, a Freud, and a Hayek. That witch’s brew really began during the reign of Maria Theresa, and the subsequent series of psychotic breaks that the Romantic age would engender. This was neo-Classicism and the beginning of bourgeois mass culture which would ultimately trigger the patterns of collapse that Haneke is so deft at representing; the conflict between the id and ego, and the pressures leading to the latter’s implosion. Freaks of nature, fantasies are produced, and perverse pleasures become the even stranger pleasures of madness…
Before long gossip got about that the Emperor Franz was flirting, that there were private, very amusing supper parties with a pretty dancer. It was not a delicate age and morals in Vienna were far from tidy. Comedy both on stage and off was apt to be coarser and bawdier than either in England or in France. Such an event as the birth of an heir to the throne could be greeted with exceedingly gross public utterances. Some of Mozart’s songs, written for the amusement of his friends in merry evenings at home, are, like the scatological letters to his little cousin in Augsburg, scarcely printable, but they are not at all out of keeping with the age and place.
Perhaps her husband’s peccadilloes provoked the Empress’s innate puritanism into action. Her decision was on a typically imperial scale: she would simply abolish vice throughout her realm. She was perfectly sure she could rule morals as efficiently as she handled taxationand supplies for the army. And so in 1747 she proceeded to set up a Chastity Commission, its purpose simply to enforce virtue in public and private.
Chastity police were posted at theatres and ballrooms. They patrolled the streets with orders to arrest girls found walking alone. At the Austrian borders they ransacked the luggage of travelers and even went through diplomatic mailbags to extract naughty books- or the works of the French philosophers.Prostitutes were transported to southern Hungary, where a possibly unique village was said to have been populated entirely with the banished ladies. Streetwalkers learned quickly to avoid arrest by walking demurely, head down, ostentatiously fingering a rosary.
Casanova visited Vienna just then with a mistress on whom he had bestowed the gratuitous title of countess. The day after their arrival they were surprised at breakfast by a visit from the chastity police , and when Casanova admitted that he was a bachelor, he was forced to move immediately into separate quarters. Ruefully, he wrote that “there was plenty of money and plenty of luxury in Vienna, but the bigotry of the Empress made Cytherean pleasures extremely difficult.” It can be said that Casanova did not know the ropes; the mistresses had now morphed into “chambermaids.”
Certainly, the Chastity Commission did not deter in the least the Empress’s own husband. During the carnival season of 1756 Franz took as his mistress a gray-eyed beauty of the court, Princess Wilhelmina Auersperg. The attachment lasted until his death ten years later…
Wilhelm Reich: Our politicians, however, are far from having such natural reactions. One might rightly say that it is of the essence of the world of the politicos not to learn from experience. Austrian monarchism kindled the first world war in 1914; then, it engaged in armed warfare against the American democrats. In the second world war, in 1942, it demanded, with the aid of American politicians, to have the
Hapsburg dynasty reinstated, in order “to avoid new wars.” This is irrational political nonsense.Read More:http://www.whale.to/b/reich.pdf
Wilhelm Reich:The violence and the ubiquity of these “race prejudices” show their origin from the irrational part of the human character. The race theory is not a creation of fascism. No: fascism is a creation of race hatred and its politically organized expression. Correspondingly, there is a German, Italian, Spanish, Anglo-Saxon, Jewish and Arabian fascism. The race ideology is a true biopathic character symptom of the orgastically impotent individual. The sadistic perverse character of the race ideology is also seen in the attitude toward religion. Fascism, we are told, is the [xi] arch-enemy of religion, and a regression to paganism. On the contrary, fascism is the extreme expression of religious mysticism. As such it appears in a specific social form. Fascism is based on that religiosity which stems from sexual perversion; it changes the masochistic character of the old patriarchal religions into a sadistic religion. It takes religion out of the other-world philosophy of suffering and places it in the sadistic murder in this world.
Fascist mentality is the mentality of the subjugated “little man” who craves authority and rebels against it at the same time. It is not by accident that all fascist dictators stem from the milieu of the little reactionary man. The captains of industry and the feudal militarist make use of this social fact for their own purposes. A mechanistic authoritarian civilization only reaps, in the form of fascism, from the little, suppressed man what for hundreds of years it has sown in the masses of little, suppressed individuals in the form of mysticism, top-sergeant mentality and automatism. This little man has only too well learned the way of the big man and now gives it back, enlarged and distorted. The Fascist is the top-sergeant type in the vast army of our sick civilization. Read More:http://www.whale.to/b/reich.pdf