Jacques Pluss got himself dropped from the history department of Fairleigh Dickinson University last year when campus officials discovered he was a high-ranking member of the National Socialist Movement (or, as they maintained, around that time, because they officially banned him from teaching due to excessive absences, not for his political beliefs). Now Pluss has come forward with his side of the story, in which he cites French deconstructionists and Romantic poets for helping him realize “any attempt to understand a group, a movement, or an individual psyche, would have to include becoming, as much as an individual can, the subject under study.”
So when he sent in that application to join the neo-Nazi organization, and when he became a featured broadcaster on their online radio show, he was just doing research. And then he claimed to have outed himself to Fairleigh Dickinson’s administration as a “literary experiment,” after which he dropped out of the little Hitler club. Except that almost everybody, from the academics to the white supremacists, wants to go on record as being convinced that Pluss is a self-published nutcase rather than a scholar with a radical methodology. Miriam Burstein, an English professor at SUNY-Brockport, offers one of the more measured responses, suggesting merely that Pluss’ rationalizations for his behavior demonstrate “a lower-division undergraduate’s understanding of Romantic authorship.” Pluss recently did an interview with Inside Higher Ed where he claimed his activities were worthwhile because “his findings were significant.” So what were they?
“There is nothing romantic about putting on a Nazi uniform and playing Third Reich. That ended in 1945. There are connections between white power groups that reach far and wide, and include a sort of spider web across America—skinhead groups, National Socialist groups that don’t use uniforms, and so forth.”
Well, thanks for clearing that up, Jacques; some of us might have been a bit confused.