PUNCHING NAZIS by Keith Lowell Jensen

PUNCHING NAZIS

And Other Good Ideas
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Give fists a chance.

As a boyhood veteran of the Sacramento punk scene, Jensen became uncomfortably familiar with white supremacy before it began veering toward mainstream acceptability. In this scattered collection of polemics, broadsides, stand-up routines, social commentary, and personal anecdotes, the street-wise author and comedian mainly leads with his heart. His heart tells him that racism is wrong, wrong enough to deserve a punch in the nose whenever one encounters it. However, he notes early on, “full disclosure; I’ve never punched a Nazi. This is my great shame.” Regardless, Jensen supports those who do, even if he admits that sometimes those folks are just looking for a brawl. Take his ambivalence toward a group that some readers might not know: “The SHARPS, Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice.” You have to be up on your cultural codes and tribes to understand that shaved “skinheads” originally embraced everything about Jamaica: the culture, the rhythms, the black musicians—until the shorn style was adopted by militant white racists who transformed that culture into their stomping grounds. Hence the SHARPS, who represent a rejection of that racist stereotype and a return to the original ethos—ostensibly. A club promoter suggested to the author that they weren’t really effective anti-Nazi warriors but rather “just dudes who wanted to fight. They cloaked it in some kind of ideal but they were just dudes who wanted to fight.” Jensen admits to his own ambivalence: “I didn’t like a lot of the SHARPS, and I loved several of them,” before concluding, “whatever other issues I may have had with them, I will always admire them for their Nazi punching. Well done, crew, well done.” His sentiment toward Antifa—the aggressive anti-fascist protestors—is similar: “If you think Antifa groups are as bad as Nazis, please stop being the right’s tool.” This is a book about right and wrong, and if right stops wrong with a punch, so much the better.

Neither a nuanced political analysis nor a typical comedian’s laughfest.

Pub Date: June 1st, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-5107-3374-9
Page count: 250pp
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2018




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