Shroomin'
Stumbled home on Friday evening to find my roommate sprawled on the couch, drinking beer and watching on video?and with a debatable degree of moral seriousness?American History X, the movie from a few years back in which Ed Norton plays a neo-Nazi skinhead from the Southern California poor-white sticks. I stood in the darkened room for several minutes, disburdening myself, and watched in fascination as the particular scene into which I had stumbled unfolded. Since I viewed the scene out of context, I don't know at what point in the film it occurs. But it depicted the shorn-headed Norton seducing?with corny rhetoric that was unlikely in its pandering obviousness and broadness?a rabble of politically uncommitted poor-white teen suburban mutants; organizing them, craftily winning them over to the side of whiteness, like a muscled suburban Hitler dragged out from Munich's hillbilly beerhalls and teletransported to some dusty hellhole in Ventura County, or wherever the film takes place, at century's end. Politically inverted social realism: slackjawed deviants snapping to, grinding out their joints and pouring out their malt liquor as Norton?a negative image of the union organizer who emerges from the woodwork to holler The Truth at the groaning Joads?brings the neo-Nazi gospel Unto Them.