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Achtung!
April 23, 2009 12:59 PM   Subscribe

Too much Hitler?
posted by Artw (130 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I certainly don't need to see Winslet naked

Speak for yourself, lady.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:01 PM on April 23, 2009 [33 favorites]


They can't spell "unter" right.

They lose.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:02 PM on April 23, 2009


I don't think you can invoke Godwin against the world.
posted by cimbrog at 1:04 PM on April 23, 2009


So, does Godwinning the FPP itself close down the thread?

Or is that just more Hitler?
posted by MythMaker at 1:04 PM on April 23, 2009


Who?
posted by Brocktoon at 1:06 PM on April 23, 2009


pretty thin post, eh, ArtW?
posted by boo_radley at 1:06 PM on April 23, 2009


The Romani, as I recall, did and continue to do their best to forget that the devouring ever happened. Take that as a test on forgetting. The Romani tend to be unorganized, universally reviled and exploited, and occasionally have been systemically castrated/spayed by late 20th Century governments (at least one of them now a member of the EU.) They also make some of the best music in the world, and their ongoing philosophy of ifyouburnitdownIbuilditagain is widely underappreciated but certainly as viable as any kind of attempt to keep in constant mind the horrors of the past.
posted by Football Bat at 1:06 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Personally, I fail to see how three comments can be considered "too much".
posted by Parasite Unseen at 1:09 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


This seems like a lot of sound and fury. I do grant her the important point that genocide is being ignored by the world as we speak, but I don't think that's because of all the press generated by cat Hitler lookalikes - she took a left turn there on the way to a good point.

Also,

I appreciate the superb culture about Nazism . . . even Schlindler's List - although I hate the redemptive ending.

I'm pretty sure Schindler's List is a true story...even that annoying redemptive ending.

I'm just defensive about it b/c it's the only movie that has ever made me cry.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 1:10 PM on April 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Schindler's List is a true story...

Rips off Annie the musical though.
posted by Artw at 1:12 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


This Nazi goes to 11.

It's odd. Ms. Gold goes to no trouble at all to wonder why it's all Nazi-Hitler-Nazi-Hitler-Nazi-Mengele-Nazi. You'd think she'd at least take a stab at wondering precisely why it is going on. I'm not asking for her to develop a solution or come to any kind of firm conclusion, but a why, one of the seven key words of journalism (hint: the last is "byline"), would not be inappropriate here. Perhaps even a tentative step into the realm of "Okay, we have a muchness of Hitler. Cats, however, who look like Hitler? Why is this not being taken seriously?"

This piece isn't journalism, it's annoyance with a byline tacked onto it.
posted by adipocere at 1:12 PM on April 23, 2009 [11 favorites]


I came to the conclusion a while back that had Hitler won we would hear and see less of him than we do now. Maybe my view is skewed by watching the History Channel too much, but there it is.
posted by ob at 1:13 PM on April 23, 2009


somewhat apropos (Mitchell & Webb again)
posted by mrt at 1:16 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't be seeing or hearing anything had Hitler won.
posted by gman at 1:16 PM on April 23, 2009 [10 favorites]


(Not my exclamation mark.)
posted by rokusan at 1:16 PM on April 23, 2009


pretty thin post, eh, ArtW?

It's a lean mean comment machine.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 1:16 PM on April 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I read this column this morning. I thought it was pretty unimaginative. The Nazis achieved power because they perfected a system direct appeal to the base instincts of humanity. Of course they still exert cultural power - the atavistic appeal is still there, and it would be myopic and dangerous to pretend it didn't exist. We as a species haven't completely come to terms with fascism in general and Nazism in particular; knowing the outcome of its first bout of popularity doesn't wholly innoculate us against another outbreak, so we should keep it in mind, through culture. Similarly exceptional historical phenomena have thrown similar long shadows.

That said, The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, The Reader and Valkyrie were all dreadful films, and sloppy in their handling of the complex lgacy of Nazism.
posted by WPW at 1:16 PM on April 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know who else thought there was too much Hitler?

That's right...Eva Braun.
posted by briank at 1:16 PM on April 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's all just Hitler porn

FALSE ADVERTISING
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:16 PM on April 23, 2009 [8 favorites]


system of direct appeal, duh
posted by WPW at 1:18 PM on April 23, 2009


More importantly, is Hug a Hoodie any good?
posted by ob at 1:19 PM on April 23, 2009


While we're at it: You know who else had Hitler fatigue?
posted by bicyclefish at 1:21 PM on April 23, 2009


Shit like this makes me hate the written word. She said absolutely nothing in that entire article. "Something annoys me. Oh and people are dying in Africa." If you can't be bothered to communicate anything of substance whatsoever in a piece of writing then just paint a fucking picture instead and save everyone the trouble.
posted by ND¢ at 1:21 PM on April 23, 2009 [14 favorites]


"Get used to it, Hitler"
posted by stifford at 1:21 PM on April 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


This disgusts me. It makes me wretch. I thought the whole point of the second world war was to eradicate Nazism from the face of the earth.

Sure, except that isn't the way this sort of thing works; see if we manage to mostly eradicate it, then we will constantly be worried about the bits that we missed. It becomes the bogymen that haunt us at night and the face that we eventually give to every thing that frightens us.

But to take the personification of evil and make him into a clown? That takes the power away, it makes him silly and far less scary and nothing we really need to worry about.

It's done well for removing the fear of Hitler, but the concept of Nazis still holds a lot of power in terms of horror. Eventually though, they will probably be seen in much the same way that Napoleon's troops are now. An interesting cultural artifact led by a tiny little despot. Not the terrifying unstoppable force that they actually were at the time.
posted by quin at 1:21 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would like to put all of this Hitler stuff behind me, but that's mostly because Hitler was my uncle.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:25 PM on April 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Speak for yourself, lady.

Well, she was, but... um, yeah.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:27 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


So your real name is Max Hitler?

That sounds either like a kickass band or an action movie.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:27 PM on April 23, 2009


There is a great machine that works very hard to keep the memory of the Nazis alive.
posted by Xoebe at 1:27 PM on April 23, 2009


Maybe all the Hitlerism/Nazism floating around is because they're the last group on Earth we're allowed to hate/revile/mock without being considered "insensitive"? It's the last war the US fought where there was a clear-cut "bad guy" rather than razing a third-world country. When you say bad things about Nazis, you're not saying anything bad about Germans, so it's OK.

That, and the Nazis were stylish. The jackboots? The shiny leather, the red and black? Definitely an evil group, but they looked good doing it. These days, when you think of "bad guys" or "threats to America", you get rag-tag bandits and terrorists that make the US look like the Empire in Star Wars. But when you compare us to the Nazis, their style makes them look like the Empire, stormtroopers and all.

Give it another 10-20 years though. We're already seeing an upswing in "Communism Chic" as the Cold War is forgotten. I expect it should overtake Nazi iconicism when we can all fantasize about KGB agents, fur hats, and a hell of a lot of Red Scare instead.
posted by explosion at 1:27 PM on April 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, The Reader and Valkyrie were all dreadful films, and sloppy in their handling of the complex lgacy of Nazism.

"Nazi" is too often a catch-all bugaboo when writers want "the most evillest bad guys ever", and once they have that, there's not much incentive to add depth. And that applies to Singer/McQuarrie as much as it does to Spielberg.

Nazism wasn't defeated in 1944, and fascism barely hiccuped in the bigger picture.

The outcome WPW mentions above was more the happy luck of circumstance than any kind of "defeat" of the machine or ideology. If it had been defeated by a rising-up from within, I would have faith in mankind's ability to keep it down again. Until that happens, though, it really only seems a couple of small slippery steps away.
posted by rokusan at 1:28 PM on April 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


This piece isn't journalism, it's annoyance with a byline tacked onto it.

It's not journalism, you're right; it's an opinion piece. In the Guardian. Opinion pieces are given a wide berth when it comes to how tight, important or factual they're supposed to be. As far as opinion pieces go, this one was pretty funny in places, probably unintentionally. Like:

"Sometimes I lie in bed and imagine actors' agents having conversations: 'Could Tom Hollander do Goebbels? He looks like Goebbels. Is Eric Bana too handsome for Albert Speer?'"

Now, either this is a lie, or she really does lie in bed imagining drama agents discussing who could play which Nazi. And that, inexplicably, makes me chuckle.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:29 PM on April 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: " Is Eric Bana too handsome for Albert Speer?'"

How much money did Speer have?
posted by Joe Beese at 1:35 PM on April 23, 2009


You know what would be awesome? If someone turned this Guardian rant into one of those Youtube Downfall parodies.
posted by dgaicun at 1:35 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


She chooses to read articles about a Nazi cow and Chanel versus the Nazis, and chooses to watch a film about Nazis, and chooses to click links in emails to view cats who look like Hitler... and she wants to complain about her choices? By writing an article about Nazis and how tired she is of them?
posted by Houstonian at 1:36 PM on April 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


who is this minstrels guy?
posted by kitchenrat at 1:36 PM on April 23, 2009 [8 favorites]


She really does lie in bed imagining drama agents discussing who could play which Nazi. And that, inexplicably, makes me chuckle.

Or moist. Either way, really.
posted by rokusan at 1:38 PM on April 23, 2009


Nazism wasn't defeated in 1944

true, dat
posted by mrt at 1:39 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


What a ridiculous article. World War II was the largest man-made disaster in history. It makes sense that its central antagonist would loom large in our collective consciousness.

I wonder if an early-20th-century Tanya Gold would complain about "too much Napoleon."
posted by Afroblanco at 1:40 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


What no mention of the Hitler paintings being auctioned this week... that's all over the news. Nice research Tanya
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:41 PM on April 23, 2009


This disgusts me. It makes me wretch.

No, it doesn't. It makes you retch.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:42 PM on April 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Never mind Hitler. What about that rabbi Pontius Pilatus had crucified two thousand freakin' years ago? I can't go a single day without hearing somebody talking about him.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:42 PM on April 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Too much Hitler?

What, are you kidding? Why, folks just can't get enough of the ole scoundrel! I mean, hey, one of his watercolors just fetched 15 large at auction.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:43 PM on April 23, 2009


Maybe all the Hitlerism/Nazism floating around is because they're the last group on Earth we're allowed to hate/revile/mock without being considered "insensitive"?

Nazis are modern-day orcs. Consider in the dawn of the first person shooter how long was it until we began actually shooting people who were not Nazis? (Not counting each other in death match.)
posted by cimbrog at 1:43 PM on April 23, 2009


So the author hates hearing about Nazis, but then tells us about all the times she's exposed herself, willingly, to film and literature about Nazis, and then proceeds to write an article about Nazis in which she at the very beginning decries the fact that the other day she read an article whose subject somewhat related to Nazis.

Just checking I got that right.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:44 PM on April 23, 2009


From the article: This disgusts me. It makes me wretch. I thought the whole point of the second world war was to eradicate Nazism from the face of the earth. No more swastikas, no more shiny boots, no more dwarf narcissists giving vegetarian dinner parties and shooting liberals.

People are writing stories about what it's like to be a normal person in the Nazi regime because it resonates with what we're living through right now.

I mean, fer chrissake, we just released documentation about the horrific tortures we've committed, and most of the outrage isn't that we're torturing people, it's that we admitted it. And the 'liberal' president refuses to investigate or prosecute the war crimes that have clearly and unambiguously happened.

So, yeah, we see a culture that's gone so rotten that it doesn't care that people are dying under torture in their name.... we see the banality of evil every day, of mothers in Volvos, worried about saving the planet, devoted to their children, but who couldn't give a flying rat's ass about some brown woman's suffering over her children half a world away, blown apart or maimed or tortured in America's name.

And they don't care about the mass surveillance that's been instituted; everyone is being watched, now, all the time. All your Internet use, your phone calls, your emails, all of it being intercepted and stored. Right now it's only for 'terrorism', but it's already being used in the War on BlacksDrugs, against liberal groups whose sole crime is meeting and having cookies, and probably, with the supposedly "leftist" government we've elected, it'll start being used against the right-wingers soon, people whose only actual crime is disagreeing with the majority position.

This is how evil happens. We let it. Not only do we accept the terror committed in our name, not only do we accept massive infringement on our civil liberties, we extend our wrists and beg for the handcuffs. And evil people are only too willing to promise safety while taking power.

Artists see that culture, and wonder what it would have been like to live in Nazi Germany, because it's pretty clear that we've already gotten there, at least from the viewpoints of some people in the world. American exceptionalism is no different than German exceptionalism was in the 1930s. The Germans demonized the Jews, and we do more or less the same for Muslims. Now, true, we haven't killed 6 million yet. We've only managed to wipe out a hundred thousand or so. But we're working on it.

Way to completely miss the damn point, lady.
posted by Malor at 1:44 PM on April 23, 2009 [17 favorites]


This piece isn't journalism, it's annoyance with a byline tacked onto it.

Kind of like Andy Rooney...
posted by jonp72 at 1:44 PM on April 23, 2009


Nazis are modern-day orcs. Consider in the dawn of the first person shooter how long was it until we began actually shooting people who were not Nazis? (Not counting each other in death match.)

Actually orcs are now black people, and you should feel bad.
posted by Artw at 1:46 PM on April 23, 2009


All this because it was the fucker's birthday a couple days ago, is why.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:48 PM on April 23, 2009


"Maybe all the Hitlerism/Nazism floating around is because they're the last group on Earth we're allowed to hate/revile/mock without being considered "insensitive"?"

Oh, no, not the "last alllowed prejudice" trope!

Here's another take: they're the Designated Bad Guy. Everyone agrees that (a) they're the bad guy (b) we're NOTHING like them (c) the people we dislike are very much like them.

Hitler has become a myth. The reality doesn't matter; Nazism is a symbol of evil.

So generic that even though Nazism is right-wing by definition, angry right-wingers, instead of calling left-wingers commies, will flip it over and call them Nazis instead, a la Jonah Goldberg.
posted by edheil at 1:51 PM on April 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


What about that rabbi Pontius Pilatus had crucified two thousand freakin' years ago?

He's had kind of a bad rap, Pilatus, and nobody ever gives him credit for the system of physical exercise that he invented.

Millions of people owe their well being through good physical posture to Pontius, but he crucifies one jew and we never hear the end of it.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:56 PM on April 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Guys, as usual, the comments section is a gold mine of entertainment. A few samples:
-Maybe NOT going to see a bunch of nazi-themed movies would help?

Nazis nazis everywhere. You can't even read the Guardian without finding a featured columnist writing about them. That is your point, right Tanya?

-What's the argument here - that mass culture is being insensitive? Nazism wouldn't be the sole victim of this my dear. Most of your examples point to the horrors of the Holocaust being subject to insincere sympathy rather than tactless recycling of the past. And the Cats That Look Like Hitler website is genius.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:59 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


There is a great machine that works very hard to keep the memory of the Nazis alive.

And yet nothing to keep the memory of Mark David Chapman alive.
posted by atbash at 1:59 PM on April 23, 2009


There's way too many Hitlers. Why are there so many Hitlers? The brochure said there would only be a few Hitlers. This is a terrible vacation!


"Communism Chic" as the Cold War is forgotten. I expect it should overtake Nazi iconicism when we can all fantasize about KGB agents, fur hats, and a hell of a lot of Red Scare instead.

Explosion, have you been to any former Eastern Bloc countries? Bulgaria looooooves it's Commie Camp.
posted by The Whelk at 2:01 PM on April 23, 2009


This disgusts me. It makes me wretch. I thought the whole point of the second world war was to eradicate Nazism from the face of the earth.

Yes. And, having eradicated, it, to remember that it used to exist. The motto isn't "Get rid of it and walk away and try to forget." It's Never Forget. And I'd rather do that imperfectly than actually try to ignore history.
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:03 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know who else thought there was too much Hitler?

That's right...Eva Braun.


I don't think she thought that. (Blah blah proportionate blah blah mustache.)
posted by Sys Rq at 2:04 PM on April 23, 2009


wretch: v,
"to make an effort to vomit."

That's it exactly. Trying so hard to show how disgusted you are, so you can get printed in the Guardian. Looking at her other works, she traffics in outrage-porn.
posted by potch at 2:04 PM on April 23, 2009


One thing I've never figured out is why no cinematographers have taken Stalin to task. Why hasn't there been a Schindler's List about the millions who went into the gulags? Why is there nothing about the great purges, the Kolyma fields, and the exiles? When my son gets older I'd like us to see some critical films about 1920s-1940s Russia to provide some education context on how much of a dystopia Russia became, but man, there's nothing to pick from, even in the Netflix foreign section.
posted by crapmatic at 2:05 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Hitler Meme: How grim — how perplexing, how unsettling — that after more than 60 years of trying to cast and recast Hitler to make sense of him, we may have arrived at a version of Hitler that takes him exactly at his word.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:06 PM on April 23, 2009


One thing I've never figured out is why no cinematographers have taken Stalin to task.

They're just Stalin for time.

even I know that was lame
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:08 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why hasn't there been a Schindler's List about the millions who went into the gulags?

The Nazis had better iconography that consistently appeals to contemporary aesthetics. What could be sexier and transgressive than a skull-and-crossbones cap, riding breeches and boots, and a black leather overcoat?
posted by KokuRyu at 2:08 PM on April 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Malor: "And the 'liberal' president refuses to investigate or prosecute the war crimes that have clearly and unambiguously happened."

In all likelihood, a few prominent Democratic lawmakers were present at briefings where they were told that prisoners were being tortured. And - petrified of being labeled "soft on terror" - they kept silent. Who knows? Maybe they even encouraged it. It just wouldn't do to have that come out, now would it.

But as always, Chris Floyd says it best:

You cannot disentangle the torture program from the war of aggression in Iraq – nor from the illegal wiretapping program, the corrupt war profiteering, and all the other degradations of liberty and law that have been so accelerated in the past eight years. They are all of a piece, part and parcel of a plan to expand and entrench America's "unipolar domination" of world affairs with a thoroughly militarized state led by an unaccountable, authoritarian "Unitary Executive."

This is one reason why Barack Obama is so obviously reluctant to tug on the torture thread too hard. If you tear it out, with full-scale prosecutions and top officials locked up behind bars, the whole rotten skein would fall apart. Once you start genuinely subjecting government officials – including security apparatchiks and military brass – to the full extent of the law, there would be no end to the unraveling: senators, contractors, representatives, bureaucrats, generals, lobbyists, judges, corporate chiefs – the whole edifice of Establishment power would be shaken to the core as its leading lights went down, one after the other. ...

And that's why we will not see Barack Obama follow such a course. He might, in the end, have to pull much harder on the torture thread than he wants to; as we noted yesterday, a few upper-level middlemen might have to be offered up as scapegoats to quell the PR tempest. But he has already demonstrated, over and over, that he has no intention or desire to unravel the skein of imperial power. Indeed, he is trying to strengthen that skein and bind it more tightly, as we have seen in his various court cases seeking to uphold or even expand authoritarian powers claimed by Bush, in his escalation of the Afghan war, in his continual expansion of attacks in Pakistan, in his servile coddling and protection of the CIA, and in his celebration of the "success" and "extraordinary achievement" of the war crime in Iraq.

posted by Joe Beese at 2:10 PM on April 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


I thought the whole point of the second world war was to eradicate Nazism from the face of the earth.

Actually, I'm pretty sure WWII was about preventing eradication of people and ideas from the face of the earth.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:11 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


One thing I've never figured out is why no cinematographers have taken Stalin to task.

That word doesn't mean what you think it means. And, um, Fiddler much?
posted by Sys Rq at 2:14 PM on April 23, 2009


This disgusts me. It makes me wretch. I thought the whole point of the second world war was to eradicate Nazism from the face of the earth.

Yes. And the only way to do that is actually remember that it exists, and give it a place in the world. And that includes comedy, satire and movies, be they good or not.

I do however take issue with depictions of Nazis, and Hitler in particular, as possessing some kind of unnatural, mythical evilness. I think that misses the point greatly: it should be remembered that these were all just people. And if we're not careful, it could easily happen again.
posted by Harry at 2:18 PM on April 23, 2009


This Nazi goes to 11.

It's odd. Ms. Gold goes to no trouble at all to wonder why it's all Nazi-Hitler-Nazi-Hitler-Nazi-Mengele-Nazi. You'd think she'd at least take a stab at wondering precisely why it is going on. I'm not asking for her to develop a solution or come to any kind of firm conclusion, but a why, one of the seven key words of journalism (hint: the last is "byline"), would not be inappropriate here. Perhaps even a tentative step into the realm of "Okay, we have a muchness of Hitler. Cats, however, who look like Hitler? Why is this not being taken seriously?"

This piece isn't journalism, it's annoyance with a byline tacked onto it.
posted by adipocere at 1:12 PM on April 23 [3 favorites -] Favorite added! [!]


Completely agree.

Even more so, her persistence that she doesn't need to see movies like The Reader all but ensure the fact that she does. It's like an answer to its own question (or in this case, complaint)

The Holocaust, by her seeming definition, is something awful that happened and it has been properly mourned. It needs to be tucked away, rendered as something that we should deal with in sober teaching terms only. Like an old relative's grave you never visit. The third Reich's horror should be forgotten, unspeakable. Not to sound completely asinine, but oddly it reminds me of "HE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED" in Harry Potter... really it's ridiculous. What all these films do, what all the comedy bits, what the irony, what the fetishism does, is it makes something it something we don't ignore (for better or worse). It transcends the historical approximation. The holocaust is history. And as history, it was something lived in... something that breathes, which gives it just as right as anything to perverted, hounded, and glorified. That's what happens to history. To rage that it should be treated any different strikes me as bathos (yes bathos) or at least some kind of folly.

To plain old ignore it seems like the worst thing. Is nazi-fascinaction/comedy fatigued? Maybe. But make no mistake the author was disgusted. And quite frankly her Disgust registers as something juvenile, or at least unaware (e.g, she laments the fact that nazism is everywhere and yet article is nothing but a list of references with almost no discourse??? A tad bit of irony itself). She may understand the holocaust and its gravity, but she barely seems to understand 1) how culture deals with and 2) how she should deal with it. Or at least she didn't in the article.

Maybe she needs to see The Reader again.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 2:18 PM on April 23, 2009


Surprised nobody drawing comparisons with Soviet Chic and commenting on the Nazis' stylishness as a reason for their entertainment legacy has mentioned this essay. (Especially Tanya.)
posted by Beardman at 2:19 PM on April 23, 2009


Sys Rq: "Fiddler much?"

Fiddler on the Roof is a musical... set in Tsarist Russia in 1905

In 1905, Stalin was organizing Bolshevik militias in Georgia. Not a genocidal dictator yet.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:19 PM on April 23, 2009


The article annoyed me. I can't take anyone seriously who complains about all the hype surrounding Hitler these days when she obviously takes such pains to actively seek it out, including paying to go see some truly awful films.

Of course, she may have a personal stake in this. It's quite possible that Gold was once Goldman or Goldberg, and if that's the case I can understand where all that bitterness and anger are coming from, even though I think she could have done a better job articulating it.

As MStPT said above, though, the comments are pure gold.
posted by misha at 2:21 PM on April 23, 2009


I thought the whole point of the second world war was to eradicate Nazism from the face of the earth.

Actually, I'm pretty sure WWII was about preventing eradication of people and ideas from the face of the earth.


WWII was fought for myriad reasons. For certain captains of industry, it was profiteering. For certain ordinary people, it was getting the Germans or the Japanese out of their back yard. For many, many soldiers, it was the same reason most all wars are fought: you either fight for your government or they send you to jail.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:23 PM on April 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


Don't forget Hitler babies.
posted by Eideteker at 2:24 PM on April 23, 2009


Intriguingly, Tanya Gold's Mom is a Holocaust historian.
posted by misha at 2:27 PM on April 23, 2009


Movie Hitlers: 253
Movie Stalins: 100
posted by Artw at 2:29 PM on April 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Intriguingly, Tanya Gold's Mom is a Holocaust historian.

Oh goodie, now we can brace ourselves for the inevitable Caitlin Flanagan screed on the subject.
posted by joe lisboa at 2:30 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


flapjax at midnite: "For many, many soldiers, it was the same reason most all wars are fought: you either fight for your government or they send you to jail."

Thank you for that. Every time Tom Brokaw starts yammering about The Greatest Generation, I want to loudly point out that plenty of American soldiers were volunteers - but sure as shit not all of them.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:31 PM on April 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


The term Nazi has become watered down. The threat of Hitler is dead, even if memorials to the past tragedies still stand all around us. I really like a comment from cortex in a prior thread, talking about modern day tourists visiting Nazi concentration camps, and his visit where he saw high school kids romping around:

"there was something gratifying about seeing that kind of nutty, youthful vitality bouncing around like an antidote to the history of the place."
posted by filthy light thief at 2:32 PM on April 23, 2009


Artw: "Movie Hitlers: 253
Movie Stalins: 100
"

These links are terrific. F. Murray Abraham played Stalin twice! And this guy seems to have made a cottage industry of it.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:35 PM on April 23, 2009


* playing Hitler, that is.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:35 PM on April 23, 2009


In the end, we knew that Stalin would save us from the Martians.
posted by boo_radley at 2:36 PM on April 23, 2009


Consider in the dawn of the first person shooter how long was it until we began actually shooting people who were not Nazis?

Three years, and just the third major shooter (Dark Forces).

What could be sexier and transgressive than a skull-and-crossbones cap, riding breeches and boots, and a black leather overcoat?

A skull and crossbones propeller beanie, a black leather diaper, and deep red fluffy bunny slippers that squeak "ach" and "tung" when you walk.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:39 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't figure out if the spelling errors were deliberate or ironic or something. They've been on the website for 20 hours, people have noticed them. Is there a joke I'm not getting with "Schlindler" or "wretch"?

And she's railing against 3 disparate things:
1. I'm involved with a film about Nazis. I am a serious. Oscar Plz.
2. LOLNazis. Not only did we defeat Hitler, we're mocking him on YouTube.
3. This is the British Press. Mention the War. I failed to mention it once, but I think I got away with it.

Basically seconding "annoyance with a byline", and it's pretty incoherent annoyance.

Although there is way too much Hitler in life. I find categories 1. and 3. most obnoxious because of the kind of awed respect they give to all the wee details. Like they buy into the aesthetic but not the ideology. It's kind of weird and distasteful.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 2:47 PM on April 23, 2009


This is a digression, but the first popular FPS of note was Battlezone. You shot at wireframe tanks, not Nazis. There was also a very early Atari-ST game where you shot at Smiley Faces (something maze? face maze? I can't recall) that was out sometime during the early 80s.

Of course, the granddaddy of "shooting Nazis" games was the original 2D Castle Wolfenstein for the Apple, released in 1981.
posted by boo_radley at 2:59 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


One thing I've never figured out is why no cinematographers have taken Stalin to task.

I recall seeing a foreign movie that focused on the destruction of a communist party official in Stalin's Russia -- one device was largish banners of Stalin's visage floating over the fields, but I forget the name of the movie.

Kinda tough "taking Stalin to task" since his crimes were mostly directed towards populations of what was historically Russia, eg. Ukraine, Finland, Poland, etc. Plus Russians themselves.

And I don't think you're going to find too many Stalinists outside of old-guard Russians. Well, not that old since Stalin had the real old guard killed, of course. Stalin's reign of cruelty ran unchecked for nearly 30 years -- an entire generation -- and there was damn little to be learned from it, other than there wasn't much limitation as to how deep a murdering bastard, once achieving unchecked control of a state's security apparatus, can take a nation and its state into tyranny in the first half of the 20th century.

As for Nazism, I think the author, given her background, is riling against the creeping de-demonization of Nazism. If Nazis become multidimensional and have their own story to tell then the propaganda patina begins to wash away.

The real story of Nazism is that most if not nearly all Germans thought they were fighting the good fight against the existential danger of Jewish Bolshevism leading the fierce hordes of the Asian hinterland in an age-old struggle for European civilization. That, plus their own racist "exceptionalism" that the German-Nordic race was the Herrenvolk in the natural order of the wild and the German nation could and should break its bonds imposed on it by other hypocritical, Jew-influenced, culturally-debased western democracies.

That was their propaganda, and it made sense to most Germans at some level, who, like Americans today, prefer not to think things through that much and go by their gut and the beliefs and worldview received from their respective religious leaders.
posted by mrt at 3:02 PM on April 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


boo_radley: "In the end, we knew that Stalin would save us from the Martians."

And then Gorbachev would come and save us from Stalin.

Warning: boobs, zombies, dismemberment, Stalin.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:03 PM on April 23, 2009


FPS of note was Battlezone

A tank game is not a FPS. There was that bazooka game way before Battlezone, anyway.
posted by mrt at 3:03 PM on April 23, 2009


I appreciate the superb culture about Nazism

Does she mean history? Yeah, I remember the culture of slavery too. I think it was when people had slaves.

Jesus, what a twit. She's basically saying why can't we get over Hitler because she's sick of hearing about him. This has about the same level of stupidity and inanity as asking why we can't tone it down with all those black people making movies about racial issues in America.

boo- you're thinking of MIDI Maze, which later became Faceball 2000 for next-gen systems.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:06 PM on April 23, 2009


Mocking Hitler was, from the start, one of the main ways of resisting the Nazi mythos. Chaplin, the Great Dictator, 1940.

Well, someone has to bust out the ultimate weapon in Hitler satire, and it might as well be me. That's not just a bad man, son...
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:07 PM on April 23, 2009


Warning: boobs, zombies, dismemberment, Stalin.

These are a few of my favorite things!
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:14 PM on April 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Achtung! The Red Baron didn't fly for Hitler. He flew Fokker triplanes for the Kaiser, in WWI. The Red Baron was the name for Manfred Von Richthofen, who was Germany's greatest flying ace in WWI.

He was too much for Snoopy. Curse you! Red Baron.
posted by notmtwain at 3:31 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


You really never know where Hitler is going to turn up. A few months ago, my dad informed me that the unique ashtrays in our old home were taken by his father from Hitler's palace right after the end of the war. These weren't just any old ashtrays any more, they were Hitler's fucking ashtrays! I couldn't believe he had never thought to mention this before. So, yeah, he's everywhere.
posted by inconsequentialist at 3:35 PM on April 23, 2009


I find it sexist that only Hitler gets to be taboo. I can go into any Wal-Mart and get a Braun electric shaver, no questions asked... but ask for a Hitler oven and everyone is suddenly looking weird at you.
posted by qvantamon at 4:04 PM on April 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


"But to take the personification of evil and make him into a clown? That takes the power away, it makes him silly and far less scary and nothing we really need to worry about."

That was always one of Mel Brooks' stated goals in making fun of Hitler, to take away his power and to diminish him. This was never to make him seem like a minor figure or to understate his evil nature, but rather to reclaim history so that Hitler wouldn't continue to exercise his power long after he's dead. Brooks' point was that the only way to take away his power today is to laugh at him. In another generation or two, it might not be as necessary, but Hitler will continue to be used as shorthand for many concepts for some time to come.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:08 PM on April 23, 2009


Dictators are first God, then the Devil, then a Clown. The final stage is having a food, mixed drink, or theme restaurant named after you.
posted by The Whelk at 4:13 PM on April 23, 2009


Dgaicun, get out of my head!!!
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:14 PM on April 23, 2009


You know who else hated some stuff?
posted by zardoz at 4:15 PM on April 23, 2009


That, and the Nazis were stylish. The jackboots? The shiny leather, the red and black? Definitely an evil group, but they looked good doing it.

Well, the SS did have Hugo Boss making their uniforms. (He didn't actually design them, though.)

Give it another 10-20 years though. We're already seeing an upswing in "Communism Chic" as the Cold War is forgotten. I expect it should overtake Nazi iconicism when we can all fantasize about KGB agents, fur hats, and a hell of a lot of Red Scare instead.

It already happened, at about the time the Berlin Wall fell. There were nightclubs named Checkpoint Charlie, and vodka brands evoking the might of the Soviet empire, with names like "Red Bear" and ubiquitous red stars. In fact, didn't vodka become more popular as part of the Soviet-chic thing?

As for Communism itself being chic, it has been claimed on numerous occasions that Marxism has the power to get you laid, if you're a university student.
posted by acb at 4:25 PM on April 23, 2009


"orcs are now black people"

Silly, everyone knows that orcs are Maori.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:27 PM on April 23, 2009


What a witless article
posted by mattoxic at 4:28 PM on April 23, 2009


Man, she may have some problems with Tarantino's next film.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:45 PM on April 23, 2009


And of course, not everything that he did was bad. I believe I read this in one of David Irving's books because your typical propagandist historian would like to suppress a story like this.

For generation after generation, Germans were forced to wear those stupid fucking lederhosen. They weren't so bad in summer, but in winter, your legs would be fucking freezing, and they'd get all chapped by the wind, etc.

Anyway, one night, a group of Generals got together and decided that they'd had enough of these stupid schoolboy pants and if Hitler wasn't going to fix it, they were going to do the bastard in, and so they agreed to wait for him in a beer hall and confront him about it. They were somewhat nervous, because if the thing had gone wrong, they could all have been executed for conspiracy.

But as soon as they tell Adolf their complaint, he agrees immediately. "An aryan man should be able to wear whatever the fuck he wants", said the Fuhrer.

Today, even in an area as conservative as Bavaria, you can see German men wearing trousers that go right down to their ankles, and made of materials like wool, cotton, denim, etc. But does Adolf get any credit? Not at all. People will never shut up about the Night of the Broken Glass, and the Night of the Long Knives, but nobody ever gives him credit for the Night of the Long Trousers.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:48 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


One thing I've never figured out is why no cinematographers have taken Stalin to task.

Well, he was part of the alliance, after all, at least initally on the side of the Good Guys. The commercial film makers of the world tend not to ply their trade in countries where Russian were not shooting at the homeboys (excepting of course Germany and Italy, and they have their own cinematographic issues to resolve).

Also, not sure if it has anything to do with it, but both I note that Stalin and Mao are political leaders whose countries have not really broken from their pasts, at least as far as outlawing the oppressive political party in question. Cf Germany were National Socialism is illegal. Fans of Hitler tend to few enough and wacky enough just to help us right minded folk to be outraged. I expect that's a Good Thing.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:52 PM on April 23, 2009


where Russians were shooting at (I have to stop posting after too long days at work)
posted by IndigoJones at 4:54 PM on April 23, 2009


Hitler is good(s)
posted by telstar at 5:15 PM on April 23, 2009


In the Hitler v. Stalin argument, what really gets me is that you can play *as Stalin* in Civ IV, but there's no option for Hitler. I guess there's an expansion pack that allows you to play as Hitler, which only seems fair if they're going to have Stalin, Napoleon, and Genghis Khan.

Hitler's the only one though that if they have him in the game, someone is going to start THINKING ABOUT THE CHILDREN.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:12 PM on April 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Hitler v. Stalin argument back in the day was always that there was too much Stalin, and that makling light of the gulags or what showed that people didn't understand the true horror, not like Hitler who no-one would ever joke about.

There's always been a political axe-grindy element to it as well, presumably because Stalin is LEFTY JUST LIKE SOCIALISM, or some ridiculous shit like that, and it bums people out that the non-Lefty Hitler gets all the badguy attention ( the HITLER WAS A national SOCIALIST card being distictly weak).
posted by Artw at 8:17 PM on April 23, 2009


I don't think near enough attention has been paid to her citation of Snoopy vs. the Red Baron. A videogame for the PS2 based on a cartoon trope born in the '50s about a World War One phenomenon. She also cites Red Dwarf (off the air for ten years) and Monty Python (more than thirty). All this as secondary evidence of "a new kind of Nazi domination."

I could go on. I could fill your screens and RSS feeds with Tanya Gold's absurd analogy, thin-sauce argumentation and temporally dislocated trendspotting. Also, if you're disgusted and retching, lady, that's not ennui you've got. Google it, you lazy hack.

Bloody hell, I've read some weak-ass cultural journalism in my day, but I've never before felt moved to demand my five minutes back.
posted by gompa at 8:51 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


mrt: I recall seeing a foreign movie that focused on the destruction of a communist party official in Stalin's Russia -- one device was largish banners of Stalin's visage floating over the fields, but I forget the name of the movie.

This sounds an awful lot like Nikita Mikhalkov's Burnt by the Sun.
posted by daniel_charms at 8:55 PM on April 23, 2009


Remember that one time that Hitler hitlered Hitler with his hitler? That was hitler!
posted by blue_beetle at 10:04 PM on April 23, 2009


^ да, то оно
posted by mrt at 10:33 PM on April 23, 2009


Continuing the digression slightly, boo-radley says: There was also a very early Atari-ST game where you shot at Smiley Faces (something maze? face maze? I can't recall) that was out sometime during the early 80s.

You're thinking of Midi Maze. As far as I know, this was the very first "networked" multiplayer game that supported more than 2 players. You could set up a ring of up to 16 STs, using the built-in MIDI interface, and have large multiplayer deathmatches WAY before networking came to home computers.

In 1987, this was pure crystal meth.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled discussion.
posted by Malor at 10:47 PM on April 23, 2009


Hitler's top ally? Mooselini.

Hitler, Hitler, bo-bitler, bo-nanna, fanna, fo-fitler, fi-mi-mo mitler...Hitler!
posted by kirkaracha at 10:49 PM on April 23, 2009


Hitler is cute.
posted by telstar at 3:15 AM on April 24, 2009


He's in Berlin.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:19 AM on April 24, 2009


Hitler Sucks
posted by Pollomacho at 5:41 AM on April 24, 2009


"The Germans demonized the Jews, and we do more or less the same for Muslims. Now, true, we haven't killed 6 million yet. We've only managed to wipe out a hundred thousand or so. But we're working on it."

Are you fucking deranged?

Judenordnung, Kristalnacht?

You might as well say that the time someone farted in an elevator was just like the chambers at Auschwitz.
posted by klangklangston at 9:04 AM on April 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


The Germans demonized the Jews, and we do more or less the same for Muslims.

It's absolutely true that racial profiling in the United States, Canada, France and other so-called western states and societies has made life more difficult for people of middle eastern heritage or who identify themselves as Muslims, and makes it more likely that folks like these run the risk of being incarcerated and even tortured in a shadow system of extra-judicial prisons and detention centers resembling something out of Kafka. It's also absolutely true that hundreds of thousands or even millions of people have been either killed, injured or catastrophically affected by the half-dozen or so wars that have been fought in the Middle East over the last decade.

But the scope of the suffering inflicted by America and its allies pales in scope when compared to the Final Solution, and comparing the two is neither arch and ironic nor funny at all.

The Final Solution was the systematic liquidation of an entire group of people. It cannot be emphasized enough that the entire Nazi legal and parliamentary system, its judiciary as well as the bureaucracy and its infrastructure (the rail system), not to mention its military and paramilitary organizations were carefully calibrated and fine-tuned to affect one goal: mass murder of all Jewish people in Europe. I must say that I am not engaging in hyperbole here, but am paraphrasing the concept in Holocaust studies known as "intentionalism."

While you might argue that the whole American system of government and its economy are aimed at protecting access to oil, the apparatus of the American is not aimed at liquidating Muslims.

Muslims and folks of Arab descent, for example, do not have to display special symbols that identify their heritage. Jews did in Nazi Europe. Muslims and Arabs are not prohibited from owning businesses in the United States. Jews could not own businesses. Jews also had their possessions and assets stripped from them. Jews were also prohibited from marrying "non-Jewish" Germans. They were also caricatured in the most outrageous ways not only in the vernacular press but also by the German state itself. This doesn't happen in the US.

All of this would be bad enough, even if you left out the concentration camps (don't exist in the US), the mass executions, the development and refinement of innovative technologies to kill more and more people more efficiently (gas vs machine guns, crematoria vs open pits). And all of this was facilitated by the Nazi state - its only goal, really, and they came damn close to achieving their goal. If the war in Europe had dragged on for just another year the Nazis would have achieved victory.

Malor, have you ever cracked open a history textbook? Do you even understand how horrible the Holocaust was?
posted by KokuRyu at 9:51 AM on April 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Give the guy a beak, he's turned over a new leaf.
posted by owtytrof at 10:21 AM on April 24, 2009


But the scope of the suffering inflicted by America and its allies pales in scope when compared to the Final Solution, and comparing the two is neither arch and ironic nor funny at all.

Malor's point was that "we are working on it". And I agree. By demonizing the Germans we dehumanize them and lose the ability to undertand the sociologic dynamics of their experience.

Millions of Americans think of Islamic peoples as towelheads, sandniggers, etc. This illiberal attitude is not constructive and leads us and them closer to an armaggeddon solution down the road, just as America's anti-Japanese discrimination against Japanese-Americans contributed to the outbreak of war in 1941, and mass slaughter of Japanese in 1945.

Events proceed by degrees. We as a nation have installed a new executive that hopefully has a stronger moral compass than the previous one, but we are a still knife's edge from future mass slaughter.
posted by mrt at 11:02 AM on April 24, 2009


just as America's anti-Japanese discrimination against Japanese-Americans contributed to the outbreak of war in 1941, and mass slaughter of Japanese in 1945

Wait, what?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:13 PM on April 24, 2009


Pollomacho, the Immigration Act of 1924:

"The Act barred specific origins from the Asia-Pacific Triangle, which included Japan, China, the Philippines, Laos, Siam (Thailand), Cambodia, Singapore (then a British colony), Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Burma (Myanmar), India, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Malaysia.[4] Based on the Naturalization Act of 1790, these immigrants, being non-white, were not eligible for naturalization, and the Act forbade further immigration of any persons ineligible to be naturalized.[4]"

was contributory to the Japanese nationalist feeling of getting screwed by hypocritical western powers (they were already rather unhappy about having to disgorge much of their WW I seizures in the postwar settlement of Germany's territorial holdings in China).

I'm not trying to paint the Japanese as innocents here, their attempts at colonialism of the early 20th century were quite odious and I'm speaking from my comfortable spot in the future I'm quite happy that our forebears stood up for the Chinese once Japan really started putting its hooks into China.

I was just trying to give an example of illiberalism that makes a situation worse, not better.
posted by mrt at 12:24 PM on April 24, 2009


(apparently, I'm confused about the German / China thing . . . perhaps conflating two separate incidents, the somewhat unsatisfactory ending of the Japan-Russian war brought by Teddy Roosevelt and the UK and US shooting down the Japanese motion of racial equality in the postwar peace settlement:

'The equality of nations being a basic principle of the League of Nations, the High Contracting Parties agree to accord as soon as possible to all alien nationals of states, members of the League, equal and just treatment in every respect making no distinction, either in law or in fact, on account of their race or nationality.')
posted by mrt at 12:32 PM on April 24, 2009


ah, the German Tsingtao colony was taken from Japan and given back to China in 1922.
posted by mrt at 12:40 PM on April 24, 2009


I'm not sure the nationalist feeling in Japan was directly because of the US immigration policy, rather the US policy was reflective of an overall smug sense of superiority in the West over the East and that sense certainly contributed to the Japanese fervor in proving itself a force to be reconed with on the global stage.

As far as the hypocritical western powers thing, I think the economic embargo to prevent the Japanese from wresting the hypocritical western powers' grip on China was probably more to blame there, eventually leading to a preemptive fuck-you at Pearl Harbor before we could do it to them again.

But back on track, I don't disagree with the premise that illiberal attitudes can contribute to conflict down the road. Certainly though, actual mass-executions tend to have a greater and more rapid negative impact on relations with the victims' relatives back in the old country.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:03 PM on April 24, 2009


yeah, I'm just talking atmospherics and not direct causative agents. Butterfly wings and all that.

I read a couple of days ago that Alan Kay in the 1970s said that point of view is worth 80 IQ points. Fixed ideologies, unexamined prejudice and chauvinism can indeed cripple us mentally and morally.

Our friends on the right are a good example of that now (as are examples of leftists defending Stalinism, Maoism, and/or the Hanoi regime of course).

We upstanding not-mass murdering Americans declared our own little Ausrotten on the heathens who had the temerity to occupy our newfound homeland. That may have been 300 years before Mein Kampf but our historical example, even as late as 1898, was certainly no moral brake for the Hitlerites.
posted by mrt at 1:50 PM on April 24, 2009


"Malor's point was that "we are working on it". And I agree. "

You are given, as is Malor, to the fallacy of the slippery slope, and the facile comparisons of America now with pre-war Germany do the opposite of supporting the argument that they are the same or proceed apace.

"We have done evil, they did evil, thereby we are like them" seems to be the reasoning, and it is the same stupidity that calls dolphins fish, or conflates Hussein with Bin Laden, or single-payer health care with state socialism.
posted by klangklangston at 2:50 PM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Don't you find that recently, Hitler has lost some of his "cache" as the ultimate evil doer? It's become such a crowded field over the last 8 years that Hitlers stock has decidedly fallen.
posted by Aetius Romulous at 7:13 PM on April 24, 2009


I don't think there will be too much Hitler until Mel Brooks makes History of the World Part II.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:49 PM on April 24, 2009


heh. this lady sucks minstrels.
posted by joe defroster at 4:06 PM on April 25, 2009


"You know what else shows up constantly in theaters? Movies. You can't swing a dead cat in a theater without hitting a movie. I, for one, am sick & tired of seeing a movie whenever I go out to the movies."
posted by Pronoiac at 6:32 PM on April 25, 2009


You might as well say that the time someone farted in an elevator was just like the chambers at Auschwitz.

Comedy is when you get sent to the gas chambers. Tragedy is when I get stuck in an elevator with Farty McFartpants
posted by straight at 11:44 AM on April 27, 2009


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