We want to glorify war—the only cure for the world—militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of the anarchists, the beautiful ideas which kill, and contempt for woman. [From "The Futurist Manifesto"]
I make no bones about loving war. It separates the boys from the men. It also separates the boys and the men from their families, but I can't be concerned with nostalgic details.
You may want to see me as a militant Darwinian—survival of the fittest, right? War just clears all of the fluff away, separates the wheat from the chaff. Seeing war as violence and hatred is just one perspective—and a fairly limited one, if you don't mind my saying so. After the fire: rebirth. War is how we re-make the world.
All right, moving on.
So. Women. That's complicated.
Obviously, I love everything stereotypically and excessively masculine. What do women have to do with war, cars, technology…? I may appear to be back-pedaling, but my contempt for women was more about scorn for femininity and for all those sentimental ideas we have about women. Why can't women just be into cars, like we are?
I liked the ladies; I just didn't like all of the romantic nonsense that surrounded them. I even had my moments when I defended the rights of women. Shocking as it may seem, I believed that women should be granted the social and political rights they had long been denied.
We want to demolish museums and libraries, fight morality, feminism, and all opportunist and utilitarian cowardice. [From "The Futurist Manifesto"]
Let me be loud and clear (especially loud): I do not like institutions of any sort. Churches, universities, marriages—they're all stuck in history and tradition. They rely on the past for their meaning and cred. So when I say, "I want to destroy museums and libraries," I mean that I truly want to demolish them, flood them, and burn them to the ground. Institutions are like cemeteries—they're repositories of dead ideas and dead images.
How can you find Leonardo da Vinci inspiring when you can look at a work by Tullio Crali? Why waste your time on a Gustave Courbet when you can gaze on a Giacomo Balla? Some people just don't know good art when they see it.
Anyway, you simply must know that I do not like all this prudish clinging to convention, and I don't like anything timid and soft.
War, the World's Only Hygiene [From "War, the World's Only Hygiene"]
People love to quote this one because it just sounds so brutal. Grrrr. Like I've said before, there's nothing like violence to clean up a situation. It's like aggression's answer to a ground-in stain. I wanted nationalist purity. I know I try to distinguish myself from Hitler (who wouldn't?), but I, too, got all hot and bothered by the idea of uncontaminated national identity and a sincere and direct form of Italian expression.
A final note: I am not into the idea of racial purity. I'm just into the idea of a full-throttle commitment to the nation. I don't care what race you are as long as you <3 Italy. Oh, and I don't like purity in that precious feminine way. I'm for the whole "Shock and Awe" masculine kind of purity. It gets stuff done.
We have sacrificed everything for the success of this Futurist concept of life. To such a degree that today, after having loved them intensely, we hate the glorious forefathers of our intellects. The great Symbolist geniuses, Edgar Poe, Baudelaire, Mallarmé, and Verlaine. Today we feel nothing but contempt for them for having swum in the river of time […] For those geniuses, there was no poetry without nostalgia, without evocation of times that were dead and gone, without the mists of history and legend. [From "We Renounce Our Symbolist Masters, the Last of All Lovers of the Moonlight Books"]
I don't like libraries, so do you think I'm going to read the dusty books that sit on their shelves? I read and write for the and about the future—if I could, I'd write from the future. These crusty old authors had their day in the sun. I know that lots of modernists like them, so in that sense I am not a modernist—I'm an übermodernist.
Poe, Baudelaire, and company worship classical styles, and they're all into the idea of the tormented poet. Real men are not tormented. They're doers, not dreamers; they fall in love with fast cars, not with women with tuberculosis. Our visions are blueprints for the future, not yearnings for the past. SO OVER IT.
We already have television at a resolution of 50,000 dots for every large image on a big screen. While we are waiting for the invention of teletouch, telesmell, and teletaste, we Futurists are perfecting the radio, which is destined to increase the creative genius of the Italian race a hundredfold, to abolish the ancient, tormenting nostalgia for faraway places, and to impose Words-in-Freedom everywhere in its logical, natural mode of expression. [From "The Radio"]
You'd better not be laughing. I am a man with a vision.
Now, I admit that my fantasy about the possibilities of television wasn't exactly accurate, but hey, a man can dream! And you have to admit that teletaste sounds good! (By the way: I came up with that way before it showed up in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
As for my other point, I admit that the History Channel, AMC, and all of these reruns everywhere kind of foul up my idea that television would make people less nostalgic. But whatever—hasn't television made the Italian people smarter? Ha! I knew was right about something.