Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Must not mention Nazi sex?

We read:
"The Oscar aspirations of Kate Winslet, the British star, have been threatened by critics' claims that nudity in her latest film, The Reader, has "trivialised" the story it tells about the Nazi Holocaust.

Winslet, who plays a former concentration camp guard with a voracious sexual appetite, was believed to be a certainty for her sixth Oscar nomination next month until an attack by Charlie Finch, an influential New York critic, spread across the internet and raised doubts among Oscar voters in Hollywood.

The furore began at a private screening last week hosted by Stephen Daldry, the film's British director. Finch, who contributes to several New York newspapers and magazines, accused him of creating a "dishonest and manipulative" vision of Nazi war crimes and postwar Germany which, because of its sex and stars - including Ralph Fiennes - would "crowd out" many better films about the subject.



Anonymous said...

So instead we'll give a nomination for to Tom Cruise for Valkyrie?

Anonymous said...

The gay flick Milk is gonna win everything as a slap at the people of California that voted for prop 8. This sort of talk is just window dressing. The fix is in and the winner will be Milk.

Anonymous said...

So you condemn ppl for what you presume they might do - and for the reasons you suppose? Yep - guilty until proven innocent!

Anonymous said...

Anon #2,
Please explain what "condemnation" you are speaking about as I fail to see any in either post.

Anonymous said...

Oh, like there wasn't sex in the third reich? Right.

Anonymous said...

I've always found it amusing how some elitist (and totally talentless) critic can ruin the careers of people who actually have some talent, and a real job. It just shows how dumb the public is.

In case you haven't noticed, the academy awards are about as genuine as professional wrestling.

Anonymous said...

"Oh, like there wasn't sex in the third reich? Right."

There was sex, but everyone knows Nazis are rightwing pigs who rape everything with the right plumbing...
So to show a woman enjoying a normal relationship with one is BAD.

Anonymous said...

Nazis are rightwing

You really need to learn your history. Nazi is short for "National Socialists". Socialism is a leftist ideology which is a fraternal twin with communism. Communism tends to focus on spreading its ideals to the entire world, while fascism focuses within a nation, thus the "National" in Nazi.

Compare Nazi ideas and history with current left-wing and right-wing ideas, and you find almost total correspondence between left-wing and Nazism. In the few cases where they don't correspond, you'll find that most of the time, no one agrees with those ideas.

Anonymous said...

hmm - it seems like the procrustean bed is used a lot on this site - anything you don't like must be squeezed or extended to fit the definition of "Leftism".

Anonymous said...

anything you don't like must be squeezed or extended to fit the definition of "Leftism".

Squeezed? Extended? No.

Try this exercise:

Define leftism. (Make sure your definition is accurate.)

Now define fascism. (Again, make sure your definition is historically accurate.)

Now, compare the two. I rest my case.

If you need a little help, you could try reading "Liberal Fascism" by Jonah Goldberg, or "Modern Fascism" by Gene Edward Veith, Jr.

BTW… The term "liberal fascism" is not some twisted phrase made up by conservatives for use as something to smack leftists with. It actually came from H. G. Wells, a well known socialist/leftist, who intended it as a good thing.

Here's a short list of things the Nazis believed in:

- identity politics (groups matter, not individuals)

- central control by the state

- free universal health care

- guaranteed jobs

- progressive taxation

- public education absolutists (no vouchers, and they made homeschooling illegal, a law which is still on the books)

- separation of church and state (BTW, this is not in our Constitution). They actually promoted nature worship.

- they declared war on smoking

- pro abortion

- pro euthanasia

- pro gun control

- they hated capitalism

- pro racial quotas

- campus speech codes

- they promoted organic farming

- they promoted alternative medicines

- Hitler was a strict vegetarian

- Himmler was an animal rights activist

Do any of these sound like conservative ("right-wing") positions to you?

Anonymous said...

Hitler also believed in autobahns - so you'd better dig up all US freeways so as not to be accused of being Leftist! Hitler also believed in paid vacations for workers, so I hope you've never taken a paid vacation from an employer. Cats have tails and so do dogs - so all cats must be dogs!

Anonymous said...

What does comparing Hitler's beliefs to things everyone agrees on—or just plain nonsense—have to do with comparisons of divisive ideological issues? Statements which are completely devoid of reasoning are not a valid argument.

If you want to make an actual logical argument, find ideas which Nazis held which conservatives agree with and which leftists disagree with. If you compare all the issues which leftists and conservatives disagree on, and find that the majority of them match up with conservative positions, then you have made an argument that the Nazis were "right-wing". If you discover that Nazis match up with both sides at close to a 50/50 ratio, then you could say that Nazism was a whole different animal which doesn't equate to either side.

So far, the list I've provided is practically in lock step with the left in this country. Slapping together a bunch of emotional drivel does nothing to change the list or shift the balance in favor of your position.

Anonymous said...

So kindly give an accurate and complete definition of the terms "Leftist" and "Rightist" so that all further accusations of being one or the other can be compared.

Anonymous said...

If you don't already know, then you have no business equating any positions with any other. The list I gave earlier is a good starting point.

Anonymous said...

So you are the arbiter of what is "Leftist". It's quite obvious you would question what I or other people might call Leftist (a term that is usually used in a derogatory way rather than a completely accurate one, which was my original point). Have a nice day!

Anonymous said...

"So you are the arbiter of what is "Leftist". "

That's baloney and you know it. I'm not using any unusual definitions. For example, Wikipedia says:

"In contemporary Western political discourse, the Left is most often used to describe forms of socialism, communism or social liberalism. Leszek Kolakowski defines the left in abstract terms as being utopian and ideological."

"It's quite obvious you would question what I or other people might call Leftist (a term that is usually used in a derogatory way rather than a completely accurate one, which was my original point). "

It's the most accurate term I can find that's in common usage. "Liberal" used to mean the positions held by the founders of this country; positions which bear absolutely no resemblance to the current claimed definition of "liberal". And I refuse to accept the label of "progressive" for those who return to failed ideas over and over and over again. That's not "progress," that's regression.

So instead of wrangling over what the meaning of "is" is—which in debating terms is the equivalent of planting flowers in front of a condemned shack and claiming that it's a beautiful mansion—how about taking up my challenge to do a point by point comparison of Nazi ideas to conservative (or right-wing if you prefer) ideas. I suspect your continued refusal to do so is because you know that I'm right.

Anonymous said...

You will always think you're right (in both senses) - that's your right - and mine to sometimes disagree with you! Merry Xmas!

Anonymous said...

Of course it's your right to disagree. It's also my right to remain unconvinced by assertions made without one whit of evidence whatsoever to back them up.

Do you honestly think it is legitimate to hold a position which ignores all the available evidence?

Anonymous said...

You said I should cite something Nazis approved of which Conservatives would also but Leftists would not. Well what about nationalism itself, aren't Conservatives/Rightists supposed to be more nationalist than inter-nationalist, and Leftists the opposite? Now I suppose you'll find some reason to disagree or that I must provide a longer list. You want to call the shots and then criticize the replies with a patronizing rant. Sorry, I'm not playing your game. Bye bye.

Anonymous said...

... but if you would like another example to try and refute - Nazis didn't officially approve of homosexuality (hence sending homosexuals to concentration camps), and neither do conservatives usually approve of homosexuality, while Leftists are supposed to be tolerant if not supportive of it.
However, my initial post was not about Nazis at all, but that anything disliked in topics on this site was often attributed to Leftists on the grounds that if Leftists are "bad" then anything "bad" must be Leftist.
I think I've made my point and I'm sorry if you disagree, but now I think it's time to end the discussion.

Anonymous said...

"but if you would like another example to try and refute - Nazis didn't officially approve of homosexuality "

We hear that fairly often, but it's wrong.

"The masculine homosexuals in the Nazi leadership selectively enforced this policy only against their enemies and not against all homosexuals. Even Rector lends credence to this perspective, citing the fact that the decree "was not enforced in all cases". Another indication is that the pro-Nazi Society for Human Rights (SHR) continued to participate in German society for several years after the decree. In The Racial State, Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wippermann remind us that Roehm was a leading member of the SHR; and we know from Anthony Read and David Fisher that the SHR was still active in Germany as late as 1940. Furthermore, Oosterhuis and Kennedy write that "although he was well known as a gay-activist, [Adolf] Brand was not arrested by the Nazis"

(I really wish Blogger comments allowed blockquotes!)

"that anything disliked in topics on this site was often attributed to Leftists on the grounds that if Leftists are "bad" then anything "bad" must be Leftist."

So leftists don't believe anything? And therefore their beliefs can't be checked against reality and history? Gimme a break!

I've already pointed out the generally accepted definition of "leftists" which is just a label applied to people who hold certain positions/beliefs. In other words, it's those beliefs which define "leftist".

Conservatives (another label assigned to those who hold certain beliefs) disagree with leftist ideas because history has shown them to be incompatible with reality over and over again. It's not that we disagree with "leftists" because they're another group. It's that we disagree with most of the ideas (or their priority, or how they're applied) which happen to define "leftist"! Heck, most conservatives (and you can count me among this group) had to hold our noses to vote for McCain in the general election because he holds a lot of positions/beliefs and has done things which we are convinced are wrong. That those ideas happen to agree with "leftist" positions is part of why McCain is called a "centrist".

Why do you have a problem with us referring to certain beliefs by way of a generally accepted label? In fact, human communications require labels in order to refer to anything and that includes groups of ideas.

In short, what are you squawking about?

BTW… I'm not ignoring your point on nationalism. I just don't have time to respond to it at the moment.

Anonymous said...

I promised that I would get back to your point on Nationalism, so even though you're probably no longer reading, I'm going to keep my promise.

"You said I should cite something Nazis approved of which Conservatives would also but Leftists would not."

Not exactly. What I said was, if you want to equate conservatives and Nazis, you need to show that Nazis are more like conservatives than leftists. That means multiple points, not merely 1 lonely little similarity.

That said, let's move on.

"Well what about nationalism itself, aren't Conservatives/Rightists supposed to be more nationalist than inter-nationalist, and Leftists the opposite?"

Yes, most leftists are more internationalist that conservatives. So on this single point, you might say that fascists are more like conservatives than leftists. Yet even on this point (as you suspected) there is not a one-to-one correlation.

This single point is the reason why Communists in pre-war Germany called fascists "right wing". (There may have been other minor differences, but they don't come to mind right now. This reason trumped them all.) Even though they agreed on many other points, this international vs. national focus was the primary disagreement between them. Even then, the fascists' primary reason for adopting nationalism as their approach was for sheer practicality; it's far easier to convert a single nation than the entire world.

There's also a critical difference between the fascist concept of nationalism and conservatives' idea of nationalism. In fascism, as in communism, the state is superior to individuals. There are no individual rights. If something is "good for the state" but bad for individuals, then the state's needs always outweigh the individual, up to, and including murdering the individual to take what they have. (Notice that Fascist Germany and Communist Russia and China—among others—have had no qualms about using murder on an industrial scale to accomplish their definition of "for the good of the state.")

To conservatives, the state exists only to defend the rights of individuals. The Declaration of Independence put it this way:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, "

The Constitution puts it this way:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

In other words, to conservatives, the state is subordinate to individuals and exists to fulfill a need which can be met no other way. To conservatives, nationalism is just one step in the hierarchy from smallest, most local, most responsive government to largest, least responsive, but still necessary government. The idea of maintaining these borders between governments is that humans are involved in them, therefore corruption of the government functions is guaranteed. By maintaining many "compartments", it become possible to always escape a tyrannical government because the scope of that tyranny is limited. This applies both at the local (city, county) level, and at the national level. If there's only one worldwide government, then when (not if) it become tyrannical, there's no place for free men to escape to.

In short, fascist's idea of nationalism makes them "right wing" only in relation to Communists, but does not put them anywhere near the right end of the total political spectrum. Furthermore, their idea of "the state trumps all" nationalism is not the same thing as conservatives' "the state is subordinate to The People" idea of nationalism.

You've scored half a point. But half a point is not nearly enough to make your case. The evidence is clear. Fascists are far more similar to modern leftists than they are to conservatives.

Anonymous said...

Oh, BTW… I just decided to review the entire thread. In case you've forgotten, I had made the point that the only important different between communism and fascism is nationalism in my very first post in this thread. Nazi = "NATIONAL Socialists".