Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Condemnation of Degenerate Art - from Munich 1937 to Melbourne 2008


Not sure where to begin with this piece by Dr Dvir Abramovich of the University of Melbourne. It would be nice to think it was a spoof, but apparently it isn't. The guy really is that humourless, that stupid, that far up himself.

Exhibit A: US senators Dick Durbin, Rick Santorum and Robert Byrd compared the actions of American interrogators at Guantanamo Bay to Nazi tactics.

Gosh. While I realised of course that the word "Holocaust" was now a trademark registered for use by Jews only, and that any comparison of Israeli state atrocities to those of the Nazis was strictly verboten, I had not previously appreciated that any comparison of anyone's conduct, anywhere, to that of the Nazis came under the Holocaust trademark infringement. Even when it's being done by Jews: Offensive representations found their way into the Jewish Museum in Manhattan. Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery used Nazis as pop culture symbols to attack consumerist culture and argue that there are parallels between the Nazis and modern capitalism.

Exhibit B: Life is Beautiful, an absurdist fantasy, irresponsibly dared to set a comedy in an extermination camp, raising the stakes of bad taste and shallowness. Never mind that it pulls no punches in its depiction of the camp, or that Roberto Benigni's lead character ends up just as dead as the 5,999,999 other Holocaust victims. The story is not of unleavened gloom, and any suggestion of brightness amidst the horror must be airbrushed out of history in a new kind of Holocaust revisionism. I shudder to think what this self-regarding balloon would make of the decidedly chirpy Diary of Anne Frank if he ever read it. Perhaps he doesn't complain about its "irresponsible" suggestion that a teenage girl could remain cheerful under the most terrible conditions because like many Holocaust deniers he considers the book a fake?

Exhibit C: The Brooklyn Museum exhibition Sanitation by Hans Haacke featured anti-art declarations by politicians, including former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, that were written in Frankfurt Gothic typeface, the same lettering used by the Third Reich. OMFG, this is beyond parody. He really believes that use of the same typeface as the Third Reich (and I bet he couldn't readily distinguish it from dozens of other Gothic typefaces used in Germany for hundreds of years before Hitler was born) is forever forbidden because of the Holocaust. Is the depiction of Egyptian hieroglyphics banned because of the privations of the Israelites in Egypt? Or cuneiform because of the Babylonian captivity? Is history to be reduced to Jewish history? (Well, he is "Director of Jewish Studies" so that would be a logical position in terms of career advancement.)

Exhibit D: Mel Brooks' The Producers is Broadway's biggest hit. The finale has a chorus of leggy women in black boots dancing on a revolving swastika giving the Sieg Heil while Hitler and Braun romped at Berchtesgaden. What great fun — unless you were a victim. If I were a parent considering sending a child to study at the University of Melbourne, I would have second thoughts if they employ people this stupid in senior positions. Has anyone ever missed the point of a play (or film) so completely? Does he think Airplane! is a fearless exposé of safety issues in American aviation?

Exhibit E: Jerry Seinfeld made out with his girlfriend during a screening of Schindler's List. Colour me shocked. Clearly he should have been reverently on his knees. Perhaps he'd been reading Benjamin "Cunt" Kerstein's opinion of the film as an example of Spielberg's antisemitism: Spielberg is a fantasist after all, and we can hardly expect a filmmaker whose primary cinematic influence is ‘50s television to be capable of putting together an entirely credible narrative out of life and death events. Let alone in struggling with the complexities of the Jewish reacquisition of the capabilities for power, violence and, yes, we shall speak the dread word, vengeance. Schindler’s List will, of course, be cited as an exception, but in that case Jews were quite comfortably victimized, and so we could spend our time pondering the possible humanity of a mass-murdering Nazi officer.

I am amazed beyond belief that this unbelievable walking pile of ignorance has yet to post a complaint (at least, anywhere Google can find it) about Matan Vilnai's use of the word "Holocaust" to threaten the Palestinians with genocide. I realise that the genocide itself wouldn't bother him, but the copyright infringement and concomitant insult surely has him chewing the rug over Vilnai's failure to "privilege" the pain of the survivors of the One Genuine Holocaust.

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