The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'nazism'
Frank Broughton, co-author of Last Night A DJ Saved My Life, writes about how the Nazis were responsible for disco, or more precisely, how the peculiar phenomenon of dancing to records in cellars originated with a subculture of French kids who defied the Nazis' bans on jazz and swing, dressed up in ostentatious costumes and called themselves les Zazous.
Imagine, amid the grey serge of wartime France, a tribe of youngsters with all the colourful decadence of punks or teddy boys. Wearing zoot suits cut off at the knee (the better to show off their brightly coloured socks), with hair sculpted into grand quiffs, and shoes with triple-height soles - looking like glam-rock footwear 30 years early - these were the kids who would lay the foundations of nightclubbing. Ladies and gentlemen, les Zazous.
The Zazou look was completed with high collars, impossibly tight ties and long sheepskin-lined jackets, with a curved-handled umbrella carried at all times (copied from British prime minister Neville Chamberlain, regarded as quite a style icon). Female Zazous wore short skirts, shabby furs, wooden platform shoes and dark glasses with big lenses, and chose to go hatless, to better show off the single lock of hair they had bleached or dyed. They took their name from the Cab Calloway-style scatting in a song Je Suis Swing, by their hero, French jazz singer Johnny Hess.
As the pogroms began, some Zazous went even further and took to wearing yellow stars of David to show solidarity with the Jews. To underline their outlaw musical taste, they wrote "swing" across them. Several found themselves in internment camps as a result. Even stranger, when liberation was imminent, female Zazous blacked up their faces to show their love for jazz and America.
Pope Benedict XVI, the first German-born pope, recently visited Auschwitz. However, his remarks there have left a bad taste:
He stood in the extermination camp where millions died, but he did not utter the word "anti-Semitism", he did not offer an apology on behalf of Germany or the Church, he said nothing about the silence of Pope Pius XII during the Nazi years, nor did he, the former member of the Hitler Youth, offer any sort of account of his own dawning awareness of the horror created by the people democratically elected to rule his country.
The Holocaust, then, according to Benedict, was only incidentally the extermination of the Jews. The true goal was the extermination of God and Christianity. So the German people were the Nazis' victims, used and abused by them, and Christians and Christianity even more so. In Ratzinger's Christo-centric vision, the Jews find themselves bit players - bystanders at their own extermination. The true victim was a metaphysical one.
Paul Schaefer was a Nazi officer during World War 2; after the war, he fled to Chile, where he established a religious cult named "Colonia Dignidad". Surrounded by barbed wire and guard towers with searchlights, inside it resembled one of those German pastoral scenes the Nazis were so fond of, where the men wore lederhosen and the women wore their hair in pigtails, except for the bit about young boys receiving electric shocks to their genitals to condition them against sexual desires, and secret tunnels under the compound where Schaefer's friend, Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, had dissidents tortured to the strains of Wagner. Schaefer, who fled to Argentina in 1997, is now facing trial for sexually abusing young boys. (thanks to Conrad for bringing this to my attention)
Proprietor of the Daily Mail (I think that's one of those ghastly British tabloids or something) Richard Desmond goose-stepped around a boardroom giving stiff-armed Nazi salutes and uttering a stream of Sieg Heils, during a meeting with management of the Daily Telegraph, which is likely to be bought by a German concern. Mr. Desmond, who dropped out of the bidding for the paper, asked if the Telegraph bosses were looking forward to being run by Nazis, and when rebuked, let forth a torrent of personal abuse at the other people in the room. Such, I guess, is the privilege of a newspaper baron.