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How Gay Icon Renaud Camus Became the Ideologue of White Supremacy

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A pioneering gay writer in the heady 1980s. A laureate of the Académie Française, a literary circle so rarefied that its members are known as les immortels. A radical champion of art for art’s sake who withdrew to a 14th-century château to live among the paintings and the pictures that were the only sources of meaning he ever seemed to recognize. These are all descriptions that might once have captured the essence of Renaud Camus.

His trademark was fearlessness, as evinced in his 1979 autobiographical novel, Tricks, which recounts in unsparing detail a string of nonchalant homosexual encounters the narrator has in nightclub bathrooms and grimy apartments on both sides of the Atlantic. “I put saliva in my ass, kneeled on both sides of him, and brought his penis, which was not of a very considerable size, inside me without much difficulty,” we read of one such encounter. “He came the moment one of my fingers was pressed inside the crack of his ass.” That was Camus then.

These days, the author of Tricks is better known as the principal architect of le grand remplacement (the great replacement), the conspiracy theory that white, Christian Europe is being invaded and destroyed by hordes of black and brown immigrants from North and sub-Saharan Africa. Since 2012, when it appeared as the title of a book Camus self-published, the term “great replacement” has become a rallying cry of white supremacists around the world—the demonstrators who stormed through Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017; the man who killed 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in October 2018; and especially Brenton Tarrant, the suspect in the New Zealand mosque attacks in March. Tarrant posted his own “The Great Replacement”—a 74-page online manifesto—before murdering 51 people.

The day after the Christchurch shooting, I called Camus out of the blue, reporting for The Washington Post. He told me then that he condemned this kind of violence but that he ultimately appreciated the attention these episodes have brought to his arguments. Does he resent “the fact that people take notice of the ethnic substitution that is in progress in my country?” he asked rhetorically. “No. To the contrary.”

Camus, now 72, lives in Plieux, France, a peaceful afterthought of a town about an hour by car from the nearest train station. But when people are slaughtered in mosques in the antipodes, his phone starts to ring. Although he tweets constantly—even without the coveted blue check mark—public figures start to engage with him. And after a series of exchanges with French and foreign journalists, he has typically generated enough material for the online diary he publishes.





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Thanks !

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