Every edition of The America First Weekly includes Five Questions (a Q&A with an interesting figure, pseud or otherwise), Links & Screeds (all editors get to weigh in on anything they choose), and a friends-link to an original Featured Article by one of the AFW editors.
Thanks for reading. Please share this newsletter with your friends!
This week we speak with Pablo Treviño, nom de guerre “Paulus,” who besides being extremely redpilled and incredibly based, is also a fantastic artist. Check out his site and his Twitter feed. His art will be in the private collections and museums of a Western civilization that has remembered itself. The Medici to his Michelangelo could be you—so DM or email him and commission some art animated by “the fire that comes from above.”
Bedivere Bedrydant: I first saw your work when @wrathofgnon tweeted out pictures of your sculpture of Hecate. It is a beautiful work of art, and I was shocked to discover it had been created in the 21st century. So, before we get into anything else, tell us about how you chose to become a sculptor and how you've developed your skills in the various techniques and media you work in.
Paulus: Thank you. One of my main goals when working is to emulate that timeless aura and to distance myself as much as possible from trends or subjects which are an affront to the dignity of the viewer. I'm glad you find delight in my works.
To answer your question, I began studying sculpture and drawing during a brief trip to Florence when I was about 20. Later, after getting a bachelor in Architecture I returned there to immerse myself in the city as well as in the studies of that art for 3 years.
Now, even though I have much room for development (as I still consider myself a student in many ways), the main thing which has helped me grow in skill is in undertaking new sculptures and to try to bring into fruition compositions that would require of me new ways of planning and execution.
Bedrydant: On your website, you write that we should "embrace a higher aesthetic and meaning in the fine arts, but in other disciplines as well." Why is the modern world—particularly our art, architecture, and city planning—so ugly? And what is the "higher aesthetic and meaning" that will fix this problem? Are you optimistic that this "embrace" will actually happen?
Paulus: What is the driving force behind almost every aspect of modern life? Profit, efficiency and consumption. This is why architecture, art, music, etc. are essentially dead. These categories are no longer the bastion of human individuality and expression, but have now become the chains that bind human emotions and thoughts. The horizon of human endeavors and creativity is limited and obscured with endless clichés and institutionalized cynicism, so much so that the grand design of cities, neighborhoods and pretty much everything, has become decidedly dull and unremarkable... scandalous at best.
This current system of profit over common sense has its limitations however: in every human being there is a desire for truth and truth manifests itself to us in the form of beauty, harmony and virtue. This brings me to the "higher aesthetic", which is nothing more than the outward manifestation of the healthy relationship between Creator, man and creation. And since this relationship has been essentially replaced by the bondage of modern banking systems (usury and concentration of wealth), profligacy as a means of social and political control, etc., the only sensible choice is to remove oneself from what is at its very core irredeemable and then to reinstitute God at the very head of a true society. Indeed, one might think it's impossible to even attempt this in a modern metropolis and I ask, why do you want to inherit a thing worse than a ruin? Our efforts must find the fertile soil of unspoiled land!
Bedrydant: Looking through your feed, I see statues of Hecate, of Medusa, and a bas-relief of Perseus. Clearly, classical antiquity is central to your artistic concerns. But one of the criticisms one often comes across is that classicist artists are merely "aping" the ancients, or "slavishly" following old models. How would you respond? And is there a difference between a "fresh" take on classical art forms versus a "stale" or "slavish" take on those forms?
Paulus: I think it's sufficient to say that there is a reason certain subjects became so popular in the past and were so highly requested at times. Originality comes from the hands of the artist, not from the source of the inspiration.
The error of the modern critics is to organise past, present and future in inviolable categories which must never touch one another, and in this manner they act, as if they have been endowed with the power to influence the artist in his dreams. The critic even goes on to think that the past is immovable, perhaps even that it's sacred in a way, but ultimately dead. He fails to understand that the works of the ancients are timeless. They are neither old nor new if they sit at the height of human creativity. Any man who peers into the works of Praxiteles, Giambologna or Pradier will find the same genius, the fire that comes from above but which finding human hands shapes clay and stone in his own image.
Bedrydant: You say that true artistic genius is "timeless" because it is animated by "the fire that comes from above," which is why it is a mistake to think of the ancients as dead. So, on the other hand, are there modern or contemporary artists, sculptors, etc. that you admire and who channel the fire from above? In other words, which modern artists transcend what you call the "dull and unremarkable" nature of the modern age in which they find themselves?
Paulus: Thankfully there is a growing number of artists, architects and craftsmen who undoubtedly follow tradition. However, we should make the distinction that possessing considerable technical skill is no guarantee of greatness in the arts. Of all artists I would say only a fraction are actually influenced by the masters.
This influence or attunement is visible in the artist that even with relatively humble abilities can produce marvelous works. This is possible just by having as teacher the timeless legacy of the ancients. So, for those that look into the art of our forefathers, they'll also find a limitless source of ideas, inspiration, lessons and strength. In short, they will uncover a catalyst for creativity.
In my opinion the contemporary artist who is without a doubt a master and has even surpassed the masters such as Clodion in some regards, is Guido da Pascale. A criminally unknown terracotta sculptor who has unparalleled skill and taste.
I would also include Alexander Stoddart and Cody Swanson as relevant and leading sculptors. Noteworthy as well are the Russian academies, which are producing many draftsmen, painters and sculptors of great talent and skill.
Furthermore I would advise any artist old or young to look once more into that inexhaustible source of inspiration which is antiquity and western art. This is especially important for the production of digital content, which excluding some notable exceptions, hasn't really been influenced by a classical approach. The timeless principles could be applied to create works beyond our current expectations and inspire a new generation.
Bedrydant: Give us an idea of what your workshop looks like and how your artistic process goes. Do you sculpt exclusively in terra cotta? How do you find buyers and commissions? What projects are you working on right now, and are there any big projects you're looking forward to tackling in the near future?
Paulus: All I use in my home studio is a workbench, some easels, anatomy manuals and the usual instruments for modelling clay. For now clay sculpture is more than sufficient to work but I do expect to move to a larger studio in the future, where I could more freely use different materials.
Currently I usually receive commissions mainly from online patrons but also from personal acquaintances as is the case of a religious subject which I'm working on at the moment. A compositional drawing, a reproduction of an antique artifact and possibly a personal rendition of Marcus Aurelius are all projects which I'm either working on or will in the immediate future. There is also a project of which I'm part of that might see the creation of a life-sized bronze, but I'm not at liberty to disclose much details.
Additionally, I'm looking forward to completing a series of personal bas reliefs and compositions which I had to momentarily pause. God willing I'll work on them soon!
Links & Screeds
Historian of religion here 👋 Let’s talk about political and ecclesiastical power in Catholic vs. Protestant countries, and the differences in their secularization… (1/99)
Just kidding. I’m not an historian of religion. I’m not even an historian. I’m an Arthurian knight with a Twitter handle.
One thing I’ve noticed, however, that an actual historian of religion could write a 99-tweet thread about (I would read it! Heck, I would read a book about it!), is the violent anticlericalism of secularizing Catholic nations (e.g. Spain, France, Mexico) versus the passive neglect of the churches in Protestant nations (e.g. England, Scandinavia, America).
I’m sure our bluecheck historian would complicate this narrative considerably… but consider the United States. Pretty much every Christian in America (i.e. actual Christians, like people who believe in the Virgin Birth, the bodily Resurrection, and eternal damnation--in other words, Fundamentalists) would agree that in this country, we’ve passed beyond mere passive neglect of Christianity into something more like hostility. And yet! We still have ordained ministers of the Christian religion exercising their duties at the woke coronation of a President whose religious observance and piety have received almost as much press coverage as his dog (which is a lot, if you haven’t been paying attention).
In other words: There’s never been a worse time to be a Christian in America. But even in that moment, the people making Christians’ lives hellish are donning chasubles and swinging incense around.
Or take England: The Queen is still the “Defender of the Faith” and head of the national Church. In Norway, ministers of the Church of Norway were employees of the government as recently as--get this--2017. Sure, it’s not fashionable to be a Christian in America, England, or Norway. Church membership rolls are cratering. But let’s compare and contrast with the Catholic countries.
How about the worst-ever time to be a Christian in Mexico?
How about the worst-ever time to be a Christian in Spain?
How about the worst-ever time to be a Christian in France?
Can you imagine priests being lined up and executed by an Anglo regime? I suppose it could happen… but the closest we came was the English repression of the Catholic Church--but that wasn’t in the name of irreligion--it was in the name of Reformed religion.
I suppose one simple explanation is that the Catholic Church has loyalties that transcend the national polity--most of the European Protestant countries, like Norway, made their ministers into employees of the state, a move that the Vatican, by contrast, isn’t keen to let national governments make.
But is that all? That’s kind of abstract. Is that sufficient to make normal Mexicans put Catholic priests up against the wall?
Maybe the guys holding the rifles in those photos above had all been molested as little boys? I kinda doubt it… Even in Catholic Boston, no one put priests up against the wall in the early 2000s. No, the victims got rich. Further, we learned last week that Protestants are no slouches either when it comes to dark sex magic.
(Reading the Ravi Zacharias Report revealed that the famous apologist had basically created his own, personal, extremely expensive OnlyFans platform. He paid rent for countless massage therapists around the world, and they sent him “bobs and vagene” in return. He took the “build your own platform” line a little too seriously. An OF subscription is, I assume, cheaper than rent--even rent in Bangkok--which makes the whole affair a bit baffling to me. But hey, Ravi was richer than I’ll ever be. My takeaway: I’m just glad I never donated money to “apologetics.”)
Ravi aside, all this is to say, where is the friendly historian of religion who can tell me why Catholics periodically go crazy and shoot their priests, while Protestants just tune theirs out and then pat them on the head like a lucky garden gnome when the fit takes them?
Untameable Native King
The saddest aspect of 2020-21 was not the killing of George Floyd or David Dorn, not the racial protests and riots, not the Corona Virus lockdowns and attendant deaths, not the 3.7 million small businesses closed, not the Presidential election fiasco and its attendant stupidity. No. Though many of these things were tragic, the 30% increase in murder rates within our largest cities, the skyrocketing increase in suicide attempts and drug overdoses, the plummeting labor force participation rates (Look especially at the past 25 years), the 11 year old who, in an act of desperation, shot himself in the head during Zoom School (found by his sister while his teacher and his classmates kept zooming. Were we a just society there would be a lack of millstones and chartered boats by our decision making elites.), these are not the most tragic events of what is evidently a horrifying year.
Even in my most horrifying of horrifying states, CA, where Governor Gavin Newsom (and his economic equals) enrolls his children in open private schools while those of us in the public school system watch our children isolated from classmates and school associations alike, in the words of Isaac Wilkes, “It’s morning in America, Timmy! Time for your behave in school drugs, breakfast made of corn and lighter fluid, and eyeball tracking software at Zoom school. You are seven years old,” where churches are fined for in person attendance while they pass out single serving packaged eucharists, “passing the peace” without contact and even then are held in contempt by the rest of the “secular elites,” where high school sports teams practice (and even play games) clandestinely in private leagues on private property or travel across state lines, where public outcry had to demand the re-opening of playgrounds for children in public parks, where homeless men and women wander the streets, setting up campsites under freeways, in abandoned lots, or even on sidewalks along main thoroughfares, these are the not the worst things.
The most terrifying, horrifying, monstrous aspect of this entire “season” is the hypernormalization of a non-American way of being. An embrace of a certain gnostic way of moving through reality. Something Buddhist, deeply esoteric. If one spends any length of time among Chinese or Chinese-Americans, one notices a certain formality and lack of physical contact among strangers, acquaintances, or even friends. There is a sense that ones physical space is ones own and not to be violated by the intrusion of unwanted contact. Similarly, one is not to be bothered when going about one's business. Each man is an island barely acknowledging one another as they pass through any place external to the home.
Contrary to that is the archetypal “Western” jocularity. A lack of formality observed through hearty handshakes, pats on the back, and an overabundance of smiles and familiar joking. Even Southern California, with its mannequin like shallowness, its emphasis on appearance and aesthetic without the corresponding interior realness projected an external nicety. Marilyn Monroe may have been a drug addicted nymphomaniac, but she presented as sweet, almost innocent. And similarly, though Charlie Sheen openly used meth while raising his children with a pair of porn stars, he did it with cheer, openly demonstrating his “tiger blood” interior. Even up north in the Bay Area, there has always been a sense of openness toward anything divergent. First the Chinese, then the Irish/Italians then Hippies, techpreneurs, poly-curious, black nationalists, sodomites, progressives of all ideologies have made this place their home. The transgressives welcomed any and all who wanted to part with modern American sentiment.
In 2021, all this is gone. Everywhere I go, except among the very poor, I see absolute conformity. Masks, and their closed, isolating coldness have replaced all those visions of openness. There are no transgressors, the models face is covered and the Western back-clapping has been replaced with touching elbows or a hesitant fist bump. The eyes stare out without context, making potential friends into strangers and potential acquaintances to enemies. There is no spontaneous interaction with the other in stores. No more hearty backslaps when “recognizing” a stranger on the sidewalk. No more pleasant smiles when passing someone in aisle, whether church or store. The human face has been erased with all its diversity and ability to communicate the emotions that bring connection. Donald Trump wanted to build a wall between one nation and another. Joe Biden’s mask mandate erects a barrier between one American and another. We are all strangers now.
China won and they didn’t fire a shot.
Ulysses S. Musculus
Pointillist paintings were criticised for being mere dots on the page. But what the pointillist painters knew was that the form we see exists in a metaphysical space which only our mind is in contact with. Minds cannot help but inform the reality they see. The color you see isn’t on the canvas. The cluster of red and green dots is undeniably yellow. Don’t look too close. My screeds are pointillist essays. I am not going to tell you the Obamas are corrupt. But you’ll see what you see.
To understand a corrupt regime, or even to prove it is corrupt and about to collapse, you have to look at it slantwise. You have to find a vantage where you can study historic regimes. Identify the corruption there. Compare the contours and the shapes. Machiavelli advised his potential princes to study two things: hunting and history, particularly the history of regimes. Alexander was to Achilles as Caesar was to Alexander. We can update his advice: lift and read. But you are not here to lift.
I recommend you read Paul Klebnikov’s Godfather of the Kremlin: the Decline of Russia in the Age of Gangster Capitalism. The USSR is a regime that was corrupt and collapsed. You may even be able to find a babushka who can tell you what it was like. That is if your babushka hasn’t already fled the US to go back to a more stable polity, like Ukraine. Klebnikov has a particularly striking passage to illustrate corruption in action. Yeltsin had many flaws but he was not obviously corrupt, in the sense of leveraging his office for personal financial gain. He liked power and kept his nose clean. But as with all jobs in the Slavic East, the official pay was never quite enough to make ends meet. One can’t keep up with the Joneses—or should I say Ivanovs—on the miserly presidential pay. So what did he do? He decided to write a book, Notes of a President. But who was to publish it? The answer appeared with a businessman who had a vested interest in getting close to power. One of the corrupt oligarchs offered to help with the publication. The book went out and the money flowed in. Yeltsin was a multi-millionaire by the end of a year or so and his money problem was solved. Of course the book hadn’t sold that well. What happened was the oligarch had used the publication as a pretext to buy influence by “selling” the book. Yeltsin made millions in the short run, the oligarchs billions in the long run.
Don’t worry though; this stuff doesn’t happen in America. Oh wait! There’s a whole industry around it. Might we call that industry “the publishing industry”? After all, the book-to-cash grift could be a simple way to legally hand cash to someone. Or it could be a more complicated way of buying influence. Of signaling a desire to work together. The publishing companies are owned by someone, and people with enough money to own the publishing industry own other things as well, not least ambition. The key to bear in mind is this is all legal and not at all rare.
Obama has written three memoirs by the age of 59.
There’s no escaping the propaganda of the Sexual Revolution. I had just finished cleansing my spirit of the filth hurled at me from the Super Bowl and its commercials when the missus and I decided to watch what seemed like a charming new movie on Valentine’s Day.
The new Netflix movie The Dig tells the story of a lowly excavator hired by a healthy widow to dig up some mounds on her property. Based on a true story on the eve of World War 2, the self-taught excavator uncovers an Anglo-Saxon ship filled with priceless treasures, which are eventually donated to the British Museum in an act of remarkable charity by the sickly widow. She tells the excavator that her donation seems right, for it will allow “the most number of people to view the treasures.”
Her one request made to the museum is that the self-taught excavator be honored as the one who discovered the treasures. Throughout the movie, he was slighted and dismissed by the bigwig museum archeologists.
The movie is pleasant enough, except for it being hijacked midway by some side characters, a few freshmen scientists hired to help with the dig. One is a sexy newlywed who comes with her husband to the dig while on their honeymoon. She soon finds out her husband may not be up to the task of consummating the marriage. He may, in fact, have the hots for another...a boy(!), who also happens to be on the dig. After some measly attempts to seduce him, she falls in love with the landowners' very masculine cousin. He rides a motorcycle (badass)! He’s enlisted in the RAF (and so courageous)! And he takes photographs (...but with a sensitive soul)!
The landowner advises the young vixen, “Life is fleeting. We need to seize our moment” (or some such drivel) which is all the persuasion she needs.
Our sexy newlywed tells her husband “we have to go our own paths.” Realizing his cover is blown, he makes one last-ditch attempt to try and play it straight. “I could try to love you!” he pleads, but she will have none of it. She blesses him as he goes off to ass-ram his lover boy and she spreads her legs for the cousin, right before he goes off to war.
In light of Bedivere’s analysis of the international plot to render us all into classless coomsumers, the movie makes perfect sense. The Sexual Revolution is part and parcel of their project. It abides by the same gluttonous rationale: Buy what you want whenever you want! Fuck who you want whenever you want!
It also seeks to erase the family distinctions Bedivere identifies as hostile to the Trotskyite campaign. The spawn of the newlywed’s fling with the cousin will grow up without his father and resenting his mother. He too will surely sire many bastard children, liberated to do so by the regime which shirks virtue for the sake of “following your heart.” A world of parentless children who grow up to produce more parentless children, uniformly raised by the New World Order, in the conformist public education system operating with services and products from multinational corporations.
Netflix, of course, would like proper credit for their part in freeing us from the strictures of virtue. Like the sad excavator, they will surely get their recognition. And with their unbeatable monthly subscription fees, as many people as possible can see their treasures.
The American conservative movement is largely a lifestyle brand. Matt Walsh is one of the best and cringiest examples of this phenomenon. Consume, consume, consooooooom. But this isn’t just because the conservative movement is vacuous and useless. This is by design. Consumption is the point of the whole project. Let me explain…
Victorian capitalists knew that class antagonism was inevitable; they just intended to maintain the upper hand in the class war. Modern-day Republicans, on the other hand, are not so cynical. They are more utopian. They believe they can end the class war.
Stop saying that “Dems are the real racists.” Start saying that “Republicans are the real commies.” Why? Let me introduce you to: the Grand Old Communist Party.