Erlkönig: How I Loved & Hated A Fascist Charlottesville Organizer

Tampa, FL — The Noble Person Does Not Sin: A Tragedy In Three Parts is an experimental new memoir by dominatrix and student of philosophy Alexandria Brown. The work chronicles Brown’s tragic love of lead Charlottesville organizer, fascist politician Augustus Sol Invictus. In a psychically vulnerable state after the death of her father, Brown initially worships Invictus, but ultimately comes to despise him upon learning of his secret affiliations, motivations and misdeeds. The book was recently discontinued as a paperback, due to the the publisher’s succumbing to Invictus’ threats to sue for defamation. As a result, the original book has been made available for free online, and a revised, expanded edition will be released in late 2019.

In the following piece of writing, intended as a supplement to her memoir, Brown engages in an “autopsychoanalysis,” — an at times sober, at times playful treatment of the content of her new book. She is seeking to understand the origin of her fear that she is inevitably going to die as a result of her relationship to Invictus. Brown muses on how her friendship with him was founded upon a mythology which did not survive its confrontation with Truth. Beyond Truth, beyond even the Good of ethics, Brown’s analysis uncovers one sense in which the friendship nonetheless persists — whether she likes it or not. Attempting to make sense of this, in the wake of destruction and loss, she identifies a regenerative power in the memory of her former association with Invictus, by defining their dynamic as an agonistic “friendship between artists.” Finally articulating his role in organizing Charlottesville as Invictus’ worst personal betrayal of her, Brown explains in what sense it is true her love and compassion for Invictus may survive, even as she now works mercilessly to become one of his great, “sworn” enemies.

Reading this piece, one does well to consider that, beyond voluntary association, Brown’s engagement in such a “friendship between enemies” is not a “choice” in the conventional sense of the term. Such a friendship is not a “friendship” in any everyday sense. Instead, it is an act of meaning-making — an acceptance of the reality of already having been in relation to one another — which restores an essential order to Brown’s psychoanalytical universe. No longer involving the conventions of actual relationship, this collaborative “friendship” unfolds only as dialogue between the competing artistic projects of each “friend.” Such friendship, as work, takes the inevitable events of their past together, the inevitable existential suffering they have caused, and transforms these things into beautiful, tragic art. Against the backdrop of a post-Christian ethical universe, this artistic work clears space for new values by being a radical affirmation of fate — Nietzsche’s amor fati. Brown’s new ambition — to become Invictus’ great enemy — resuscitates meaning from the cursed affection each has had for the other. Alexandria seeks only to be able to live with what she has done — not what he has done. This is what is best for Invictus as well as herself. The author concludes the piece cryptically, by reflecting on a phenomenological overlap between the experience of feminine passion and the experience of violation, asking fearfully and oracularly whether — in the end — the “Erlkönig” will get her after all.

First, I must mention. . .

Photo of Augustus Sol Invictus, taken by the author. 2016

The mythological Elf-King who entices children with songs and games and visions of magical paradise. He is primordial — a shining enchanter, wizard, fairy, Zauberfee, luring small children away to their deaths. He is wicked; he is after me. He found me in a forest, remarked on my beauty — promised me games, began to sing! But when I touched his hand, my own began to wither and freeze. I ran, I tried to tell my father what I felt, what I’d seen. My father told me — it was just a gust of the wind. So the Elf-King returned, this time with his beautiful women, following me still — they still follow me. . .

Self-portrait of the author, overlaid onto ‘The Nymphaeum’ by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1878)

I am getting sicker, and sicker, he is growing closer, and closer, and it is silly, but his pursuit, his song, the game, will not leave my mind . . . I lose all other memories, but I cannot forget him. . . if someone does not save me, the Erlkönig will have his way with me — I will die.

Operatic rendition of Schubert’s ‘Der Erlkönig’

Reader, I hope you are not so naïve as to believe that this would be an easy question to answer, or fate to embrace! Do you discern, friend, how painful and challenging it might be, to pull apart your love into long fragments, to cleanly separate out your affection and your judgment? If you answered “yes,” then, well, yes, as you will see — #MeToo! My Erlkönig! For this reason, it is somberly most appropriate for me to characterize my new memoir as a tragedy in three parts. This work is a “tragedy” in the very highest sense of the word: the sense of the Ancient Greek tragōidia, from tragos ‘goat,’ and ōidē ‘song, ode.’ I found that my Erlkönig once brutally sacrificed a goat in a Thelemic ritual; since then, I have become interested in understanding the world from the perspective of the sacrificial animal. I retell this true story from my own perspective: the perspective of a — forgive me for complimenting myself — intelligent young woman, whose conscience and awareness perennially displace and disable her.

The inspiration for the title of my memoir came from The Birth of Tragedy, where 19th-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche states:

A statue of tragic hero Oedipus; sculptor/photographer unknown

The Noble Person Does Not Sin: A Tragedy In Three Parts, is a passionate, harrowing, memoir about my relationship to the author of the first draft of the official Charlottesville manifesto, two-time candidate for U.S. Senator in Florida, with the Libertarian Party, and then the Republican Party —

On Father’s Day of June 2015, my father suddenly died of a heart attack. By early 2016, it was safe to say that in my mourning I had drifted somewhere out past the ruins of polite society and beyond the isles of sanity. It was during this time, within this unorthodox world, that I encountered my startling new friend Augustus Sol Invictus. A handsome, charismatic, 34-year old man, whose name means in Latin “Majestic Unconquered Sun,” Augustus first visited me when I was psychically not home — awash with a spell of psychosis, I was menstruating. Blood, which I ignored, was beginning to trickle down my leg. I therefore felt, acutely, that my rendezvous with Augustus was not kosher. Shaken by his sheer presence, I did not say a word to him, regarding that or anything else — only once, in response to his asking whether I was the one who had painted all of the paintings on my wall, did I say, “Yes.” After that, an extended silence — and, politely, he left.

Text messages from after Alexandria’s first meeting with Invictus. July 2016

He left — but, oh, he returned — he returned! Unlike so many to whose behavior I had become accustomed, Augustus did not dismiss me outright because of my insanity. For this reason he became, truly, a friend to me. In grace, Augustus swept me away — interrupting the horror and limbo of my grief over my father. Truly, he reminded me of my father. He was alive again! Augustus acted as powerful muse for this fantasy, being an actual father of, today, eight himself. He protected me as cherished pet — patiently, though I was sometimes a contrite, sometimes a resistant, source of joy. He offered pure love, alchemically transforming our shared sense of exile into deep belonging, camaraderie and pride. In little time, I trusted this loyal, supportive, boyish friend — enough to allow him to pretend at his maieutic role, and permit me to dwell once more in the sphere of my grief — a grief now adorned with honor — over the memory of my musician father. His hands, calloused by a lifetime of manual labor, nimbly played beautiful classical guitar pieces in my memory. Augustus was the occasion for the first peace I felt after his death.

Unfortunately it is the case that the objects and affects of this universe are too beautiful and too fragile to be permanent. Grief, in particular, is far too beautiful to be permanent. So as tragedy, my memoir recounts a suffering which is greater on net than Love, which worms along inner and worldly dimensions alike. To apprehend the scale of suffering involved, one must first have appreciated the sweet depth of child-like trust in this friendship which we lost, which we had inhabited. I hope, reader, you will understand that this is why it may seem that I speak positively of my great enemy. I hope I have given you some sense, just now, of how it was — when I was at home with my second father. Technically, however, it is important to note that the depth of my friendship with Augustus has never been destroyed. It has been transmuted into a function of agony rather than joy. This transmutation began when I forced our friendship into confrontation with the Truth. For a love which is founded within the warm and forgiving atmosphere of mythos cannot well survive in the cold and unrelenting face of logos.

One ought to be judicious about balance, when exposing what and whom you love to the unyielding & infallible light of the Real.

Two truths christened the rending of my friendship with Invictus. The first burst out in a January 2017 interview where suddenly, he proclaimed cheerfully to me that he agreed with “99% of what [Nazi legal theorist] Carl Schmitt has said.” After 11 months of friendship, and arguably, 11 months of my denial, he defiantly, instantaneously, made this clear: he was an outright fascist — with all the horror Blut und Boden implied.

I did not see him again after that. The second truth began slithering out, then — but did not until March explode blindingly forth. Late one night, Victoria — Augustus’ 19-year-old ex-fiancée — contacted me with the urgency of telegraph for war. She had found plans on Augustus’ calendar to “ANNIHILATE VICTORIA.” She feared he was after her life. In a flash, she alleged he had perpetrated against her 15 months of horrifying domestic violence. Second Truth — Victoria went on to describe with vivid detail and clarity the secret episodes of extreme brutality to which Augustus had subjected her throughout their love. Victoria explained that these fits included acts of violence such as strangling her repeatedly into unconsciousness — kicking her in the head until she became partially deaf — raping her, calling her a whore — and making ominous threats on her life if she ever spoke out, a gun pointed squarely in her mouth.

The reader will here, despite perhaps not being familiar with the story which I am telling, immediately need to accommodate me, and caper after the author’s increasingly panicking pace. For the Truth has wounded me: Augustus was not only a fascist in an ideological sense — he was also capable of the unfathomable terror of real physical violence. I began drilling down into the raw fury which had always been the bedrock of my love. I amplified the sound of Victoria’s cascading accusations until they were audible to the media and the public. Shaking, I told myself that I did this for the sake of the maenads, all women — but just as much, I confess that I did it for him. As the nemesis-nurse of a vile and deeply sick man, I can only hope I have now neutralized some small part of the threat my dear twisted Augustus poses to the world. But the cost of my success is that I was forced to wade through the retaliatory onslaught of his neo-Nazi minions, across a necrotic expanse of psychic horrors which swarm my anima, banal & relentless.

I was driven below the ground into months of terror and silence, reviled by all of those people I had thought were my friends and community. Nazi-sympathizer, they sneered at me. I sobbed for hours. Might we really have been better off — the two of us — without these terrible truths? Might we have been better off — without Truth at all?

Self-portrait of the author after learning about the domestic violence allegations against Augustus Sol Invictus. April 2017.

I appear here as a tragic figure and therefore I must wholly fail. Perhaps it is not Augustus, but I, who forms the tragic heroine of this story. It is laughably unsurprising that, at the moment when hatred would be a virtue, I found myself battling increasingly overpowering, cursed, muffling forms of love. I was ritually bathed with a sense of scorned love — even obsession — for and with this abhorrent, remarkable, and remarkably violent man. I felt Augustus, capable of such terrible evil, tested my very capacity for forgiveness — as a gift, as if preparing me for eventual perverse beatification. I have attempted to forgive the unforgivable. What I have thus far omitted, however, is that there remains still another, Third, Truth, which absolutely finalized the destruction of all positive affect between us.

Augustus’ greatest personal betrayal of me was not the revelation that he was a fascist in an abstract sense — beliefs can change. Nor was it that he had allegedly abused Victoria — sometimes, abusers can be rehabilitated. No. In the last conversation with Augustus that I had as his friend, he told me about his plans for 2017. He said he was going to visit Europe that year, to make a documentary film, to travel abroad, to fight ISIS on the ground. He had told me that although, for obscure reasons, we were no longer to speak, that he would seek always to make me proud of him. This is what he said— and, that he hoped for me to become everything he knew I was capable of being.

The beginning of the twenty-point Charlottesville Statement. A screencap from

That is what he has done.

After Augustus played a central role in creating the Charlottesville Statement, it was impossible for him to convince anyone with any remote intelligence that he was a libertarian any longer. He was a consummate fascist. He had blood on his hands. Charlottesville is why I will never regret exposing the domestic violence allegations against him, forcing him to drop out of his campaign for Senate. Charlottesville is why I will continue to publicize my estimation of his true nature and character. Charlottesville is why I do not stop. After Charlottesville, it is indisputable that Augustus is not innocent; he knows this all all too well. In his new book The Witches’ Sabbath, he publishes an attempt at the expiation of mass murderer Charles Manson, who after all — if only we will hear Augustus out! — is so much more than just the sum of his most gruesome and homicidal deeds. One can hear the Telltale Heart which haunts Invictus today pounding, while his flimsy acts of rationalization and psychological projection disintegrate, caving in upon themselves.

What I have learned: we do not forgive unrepentant fascists.

Trying to remedy the cruelty of a man like Augustus by forgiving him, is like trying to lift an ancient anchor with muscles atrophied by months of coma. There are moments of life during which one cannot, and must not, forgive. Fate has chosen me to be one of those who learns this lesson in the most difficult manner: I must practice, for I learn things the hard way. And I have learned: it is dangerous — and, frankly, an act of incredible stupidity — to “forgive” a man who retains glimmering, saber fangs, where his capacity for repentance might otherwise be. I can never forgive you, Augustus — I am not weak enough for that.

Let all those who doubt my character, hear just how much I have learned today.

Let all those who feign sickness at my warm heart — feel just how cold I have come to be.

Author’s original oil painting portrait of Augustus Sol Invictus ovrlaid with the painting by Moritz von Schwind — Erlkönig (1830), and with the text “Incipit Trageodia,” or “ Tragedy Begins”—the opening words of Nietzsche’s ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra.’

Today Augustus publicly esteems me as his “sworn” personal & political enemy, dragging down in turn all who dare to get close to his turncoat maenad. His “territorial panther” paws ply at me, assuring me I am the very worst of his enemies. Supreme gentleman that he is, Augustus knows I want nothing more than ἀγών between us, even if this ἀγών is the vehicle by way of which he ensures my mortality. Having insinuated himself within my psyche along the lines of my own father’s lineage, Augustus indicates the ashy funeral rites for a love so profound that my own death is the only mercy which could reprieve me of the grief of its loss. The only way out of this double-bind: becoming his enemy. Therefore I struggle to murder the well of compassion flowing inexorably to this man from within me.

I have a new responsibility, which I now can discern and give direction: I must be a great enemy to Augustus. For, by being great — even as an enemy — one esteems the magnitude of the friendship which was once there. Living ruin, contentious monument, I no longer aspire to convince Augustus of the value of the political or philosophical worlds of my pursuit. Cursed, eyes darkened, I extract humility from his mapped, dissected spirit, mining itfrom the deepest possible core. Instrumental, bloodless cruelty against the one I loved drips out of my body, generating a cognitive dissonance in me which consumes everything in its path. Abstaining from food & sleep for days on end, I fight to stay alive. I learn to hate him — and thankfully, the bitter detritus of rabble, uncannily cackling “Nazi-sympathizer!” at me, nourish my consciousness with enough bathos that I survive.

Yet I confess — for I am without shame — I loved my terrible friend Augustus Sol Invictus. I loved him fiercely, and unrepentantly even though, Elf-King he is, he now effortlessly pursues me — and all those I love — into the ground. I remain, in a buried sense, withering at the Erlkönig’s shuddering touch. For this reason alone, The Noble Person Does Not Sin: A Tragedy In Three Parts is a fraught, personal, and existential work. It is a work from which I can guarantee no redemption. However, in it I have nonetheless sought to shift political fault lines in the mind of my reader. As my parting gift, you will walk yourself through proximity to an invaluable account of painfully-earned, first-hand, private experience — yet, find yourself arriving at a meaning that is new, political, and public — however bitter it may be.

Figure of tragedy, irrepressibly driven by either Thanatos or Dionysus in turn, I shall remain one of Augustus’ maenads, it seems; frenzied woman, failing to protect myself from my own desires, betraying those I love most in the process. I am exposed, as if to the elements, to an agony of rapture and guilt. For a time, I believed this condition was imposed upon me by my friend; next I believed it was I who must release myself from Augustus’ vice grip. But neither of these things are true. Certainly, “I” must theoretically overturn this ruler. “I” must secede from the responsibility, which the creaking Erlkönig has taken, for my entire being as a woman. Repudiating his possessive abdication, Untamable, “I” must untumble up the tunnel of an eternal, virginal childhood. But still, “I” linger, because he would sometimes stroke “my” cheek with his fingers so lovingly. Forgive me for this! Devote your life to the Roman Goddess Vesta, my Dionysus said to me. The forces which have driven us apart — I can hear him — are as empyrean as those which drew us together — beneath the old, gold mantle of Zarathustra. Today, “I” work relentlessly — not towards a positive verdict in the court of public opinion, but towards keeping fidelity to those forces.

My memoir is intended as medicine and tool. As a tool, it is a valuable instrument for understanding the rise of the “alt-right” under Trump, and understanding the tragedy of Charlottesville. It is also a tool for, I can only hope, evoking the urgency of the #MeToo movement, & resisting the normalization of sexual violence. But let it be known that “tool” is not most appropriately what it is that this text can be. This work of art is a medicine — most of all, a medicine for myself. I believe it may benefit others, too. In this text, we may uncover meaning much more sedimentary than any topical or moral concern. We may unmask something more tectonic than an art in servitude to Ethics or to Truth. Let us dispense now with any beauty which begs for the chance to justify herself. Let us despise any beauty which would fashion an excuse her own existence in the face of the Supreme Values of the Supreme Gentlemen — as they go on, eternally demanding her storied labor.

Original oil painting of Augustus Sol Invictus by the author, torn and destroyed.

No, you see, I myself no longer answer that question. No, with this piece, I have already compelled you to begin answering it yourself. With that question, we confront the intermingling between your ardor and your suffering — the inexorable overlap between your passion and your violation. You have not answered my question willingly, dear reader, and that was your only chance. Perhaps that means you understand a little of how difficult a question that is. But I was not asking the question rhetorically. I need the question answered. My life depends on it. Now, with my breath growing shorter as I flee — “v’ano yechol l’ha’arich bin’shimato — farther, farther from the Erlkönig, his pacing rapidly catching up with me — I ask, not my audience — no tragic chorus — but the Oracle at Delphi:

Self-portrait of the author overlaid onto “The Priestess at Delphi” by John Collier (1891).

Alexandria Brown’s memoir, The Noble Person Does Not Sin: A Tragedy In Three Parts, is available to read in full by clicking here.