The AntichristThe Antichrist follows Roth’s fictional counterpart, J.R., who is a journalist hired by a proto-media mogul called the Master of a Thousand Tongues to report on the myriad emanations of the Antichrist throughout the world. This loose narrative structure allows Roth to tilt his irony-tipped lance at the various evils he believes are driving civilization beyond the point of no return. The Master of a Thousand Tongues sends J.R. to report from the “Red Earth” (a thinly veiled Soviet Union) where “sweepers” have brushed aside not only poverty but also religion and righteousness. He exposes a propaganda machine bent toward an industrial, dehumanizing modernity. Next he is dispatched to the (“land of shadows”) Hollywood, a cinematic factory cranking out very different but no less threatening illusions. He is sent to coal mines, summits between world leaders, gatherings of religious leaders, and most chillingly he is instructed to “visit the Jews”. As the Jews had no homeland, he was forced to visit a ghetto where the Jews, who as “the earthly womb” of Christ live in a threatening and inextricable bond with the Antichrist. The Antichrist bares Roth’s pessimism and devastating prescience, not only for the impending horrors of the gulags and concentration camps, but for the still extending networks of control that were ushered in during Roth’s lifetime by the pioneers of mass media – in fact, in The Antichrist Roth even predicts, among other things, the advent of paparazzi.
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