Burning banalities

Christina Hagen: Jungle Basilisk. Denmark

Jungle Basilisk
Forfatter: Christina Hagen
Forlag: (Danmark)
Christina Hagen makes a sharp stance on political correctness – but the confusion of style expressions clashes with criticism.


I could shape it here as a letter. Writing «Dear Christina Hagen. How can I get in your panties? 'No, that's too sad. It must be a text message or a Facebook message. Maybe flanked by one dick pic. No, I know damn well that Miss Hagen is mostly for big, black dicks, and I'll probably be bad with my little white dick, but I'm drawn to her, damn it'll be unfair not to write this. But hoof, hold now, why utter all this, does the reader have any interest in you and your suffering? Now come to the case and pass judgment on this book.

It's so annoyingly easy and so banal that it feels like reality TV in writing. Empty calories in text form. And then, suddenly, the text bursts into flames.

Dick, not lunch box. And so I could start by saying that it is not Hagen that I am drawn to and want in the panties, but rather her text. After all, that's what we see; the one we are witnessing in Jungle – but already there the chain jumps off. Because we live in the age of autofiction, and of course we are Jungle also a series of guesses about where Hagen – understood as the real Hagen, her, the woman and the human Hagen – is in the text. She must be there. We are so used to looking for traces nowadays. And Hagen gives us many clues. She starts right on. Staying at an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean and taking care of the black man. Because of course she loves the big black cock. The dick can do something quite special. And the dick sits on a man who is much easier to deal with than the white man. The white man has been tamed. He is harmless and troublesome. Nearly lifeless. In Hagen's words: "He wants pussy, but he also wants a greased lunch box and a hot couch and a boyfriend who makes a pitcher of tea or fetches a plaid when he freezes his toes." The black man, by contrast, is pure vildskab. He is an animal from the jungle. More simple and straightforward. Nice primitive.

Scrapbook. A recurring feature of the book is the play of prejudice, and here Hagen does not hold back. She throws herself into a balmy embrace of political correctness and likes to use both racist and deeply problematic statements. It all happens as a front against the norms we are constantly surrounded by, no matter how modern, how free and revolutionary we consider ourselves to be. For Hagen, of course, you may want to fuck. She is allowed to use her position of power as a white, rich woman and copulate through the black continent.

Now I wrote the word "play". This is because, throughout the reading of the book, one feels that it is indeed a play and a construct. Even the provocative statements and the really sharp criticism of the correctness, the moderation and the childishness remain playful. There are probably several factors that come into play here, but shape is at least one of them. Jungle is a jumble of expressions. Nearly a collage or a scrapbook. Here are texts in a square with small line spacing. Here are pornographic images of two people fucking wearing animal masks. Here are diary entries written on recipe paper from the City of Copenhagen. Printed versions of text correspondence with all the men who want in the pants on Hagen and who naturally sends out strips of dick pics to entice her. Photographs of a middle-aged woman surrounded by cheap ketchup and a dog labeling liver puff pastry. Text as handwriting. Text as mails. Text as dymo. Text like Jørgen Leth text. The confusion of expression creates an effective impression that we are entering the private. That we have found Hagen's diary and are secretly wondering. It is also underpinned by the fact that we gain insight into the communication between Hagen and the publishing editor of the book we are sitting with. And on top of that, the book also contains reviews of itself, in which a critic (?) Named Lone Nikolajsen reviews the book and actually comes up with good pointers, which I as the reviewer of the same book can just as well copy-paste from and for example throw Such an analytical phrase here in the field: "Paradoxically, there can also be some certainty in the production of one's own insecurity, for it requires one to rest safely in one's belief that one's personal thoughts are interesting and relevant."

Impotence. However, all of this formal virak and the many meta-meta-like layers make us stay in a playful country. The criticism clashes with the mosaic. On the other hand, I really think the mouths work well. It is so annoyingly easy, but also banal at times, so mundane that it feels like reality TV in writing. Empty calories in text form. And then, suddenly, the text bursts into flames. Becomes sharp, perfidious, vulgar, pompous. The text struggles, and the form struggles as mentioned. The visual, however, not only obstructs the criticism, but also feels particularly irrelevant. The chin is best in text. Especially the biting parts, like when she writes confrontationally about black dicks and white men.

The Copenhagen life is the lost life, where everyone hustles around in their careers, coffee latte and indifferent design furniture. The Jews burn the sausages on the grill and get cancer of the ass. They hang in the barn when life gets too much.

However, there are also quiet passages that work. Especially towards the end, where she goes into clinch with all the prejudices directed at the province. She turns it around and writes an ode to provincial life. Here the contrast is again in use, just as it was in use with the white man over the black. The Copenhagen life is, after all, the lost life, where everyone hustles around in a career, caffe latte and indifferent designer furniture, but the jews have the life inside. The Jews live in cottages with mold. They eat warm liver pastry and cakes with green poison color. In Jutland you can't hide for yourself. The Jews fire the sausages on the grill and get asshole cancer. The Jews hang out in the barn when life gets too much. That kind of text is gripping and sits. And in the whole construction, which is largely about the right and the wrong, the lost and the real, the primitive and the civilized, one is left with a sense of powerlessness, but also of indifference. Maybe it can all be just as much when it comes to the piece. Yet there is not really one way to be human.

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