From the article:
Nicole M. Wright, an assistant professor of English at the University of Colorado, describes finding a surprising Austen fan base.
It started, she writes, when she noticed the provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos riffing on the famous first line of “Pride and Prejudice,” turning it into a dig at “ugly” feminists. (He also mistakenly called Austen, who died during the reign of George III, a “Victorian” novelist, but whatever.)
Looking around, Ms. Wright also found more straight-faced references to Austen in alt-right paeans to racial purity and subservient wives, including a shout-out from a blogger promoting the infamous meme of Taylor Swift as an “Aryan goddess.”
Some alt-right admirers hail Austen’s novels as blueprints for a white nationalist “ethno-state.” Others cite her as a rare example of female greatness. But the bigger point, Ms. Wright argues, is the same.
“By comparing their movement not to the nightmare Germany of Hitler and Goebbels, but instead to the cozy England of Austen,” she writes, alt-right Austen fans “nudge readers” into thinking that “perhaps white supremacists aren’t so different from mainstream folks.”You can read the rest of the Times' dire warning here.
It's time for all tolerant, free-thinking people to acknowledge the only acceptable conclusion. Though the truth is disturbing, the Times and its readers have never been known to shrink from facts that challenge their deeply ingrained worldview.
Jane Austen's works--and the author herself--are being used as propaganda tools to advance the backward, monarchist, Nixonian, bimetalist views of the extreme right end of the political horseshoe.
You could argue that it's not Austen's fault that her Regency-era romance books have been co-opted by the far right. However, making that argument is equivalent to saying that there's nothing inherently racist about Pepe the Frog or whole milk. After all, the alt-right wouldn't have such an easy time using Austen's novels to spread their Anarcho-Tyranist poison if there were nothing problematic about them to begin with.
The Times itself points to red flags in Austen's work--which, we must always remember, was written at the height of British imperialism.
But Ms. Wells said scholars teaching Austen at schools with “substantially multicultural students” still wrestled with a truth that must, perhaps, be uncomfortably acknowledged.
“Her characters are white, and her world is white,” she said. “What do you do with that?”What, indeed?
I won't presume to speak for anyone else, but as a science fiction and fantasy author, I think that it's incumbent upon authors of Regency romance to publicly and unequivocally disavow Jane Austen for giving the bigoted Fabian nihilists of the alt-right a vehicle to preach their theocratic nonsense. Even if those authors have previously won Hugo awards.