The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'holocaust'
In what could be one of the most unfortunate printing errors in recent history: the publisher of the German edition of Donald Duck comics has had to recall a recent issue after one of the speech bubbles seemingly used the word “Holocaust” as a term of congratulation. Oops!
In the episode titled "Where is the Smoke?" a dignitary honors a team of firefighters, with the German words, in the bubble above his beak, boasting of the "awards to our brave and always alert fire lookouts! Holocaust!"The word “Holocaust” in the text was not the work of a mischievous translator, but rather part of the English-language text which, by mistake, had not been erased. (The question of how that one particular word escaped deletion in the artwork sent to the German publishers has not been answered. One does wonder whether or not it was a prank by some low-ranking staffer at Disney Corp; if so, it might not be the first Nazi-themed prank by a Disney insider.)
A few recent studies demonstrating the power of cultural transmission of values and attitudes over surprisingly long stretches of time: firstly, a set of surveys in central and eastern Europe has shown that trust in government officials is higher and corruption is lower in areas formerly governed by the Habsburg Empire, whose bureaucracy was considered to be more honest and competent than elsewhere in Europe at the time; the phenomenon has lasted from the end of World War 1 to the present day, surviving the redrawing of borders and different types of regimes, and to this day, levels of trust and corruption differ within the borders of countries between formerly Habsburg and, say, Ottoman or Russian-ruled areas.
On a darker note, another study in Germany has found that towns in which Jews were massacred during the Black Plague were more likely to support the Nazis and participated more enthusiastically in the Holocaust, some six centuries later.
In case you were wondering whether Mel Gibson is really the despicable turd he has been made out to be: it turns out that, at a party more than 15 years ago, he called Winona Ryder an "oven dodger" after learning that she is half-Jewish:
"I was with my friend, who's gay. [Gibson] made a really horrible gay joke. And somehow it came up that I was Jewish. He said something about 'oven dodgers', but I didn't get it. I'd never heard that before."
A French artist is working on a Nintendo DS game about the Holocaust. Titled Imagination is the Only Escape, the game will place players in the role of a young boy in Eastern France who uses his imagination to escape the horrors of war during the German occupation of World War II. (Sounds like a real barrel of laughs, doesn't it?) That is assuming that Nintendo sign off on this; the New York Times reported that they had refused to release it in the US, though this report has since been denied.
(via Wired News)
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.
Santiago Sierra, the Mexican conceptual artist who, in the past, hired labourers to masturbate, created casts of prostitutes' genitals and invited patrons to an art opening which was blocked off (thus demonstrating that they were more concerned with free champagne than aesthetic experiences), is back. His latest project involved turning a former synagogue in Germany into a gas chamber:
The Mexico-based artist has parked six cars outside the synagogue and attached their exhaust pipes to the building using plastic tubes. It is then filled with deadly gas. Visitors are invited to go inside one by one wearing a gas mask, escorted by a firefighter. Before being allowed in, they have to sign a disclaimer stating they realise the room is full of carbon monoxide.Sierra claims that the installation, titled 245 Cubic Metres with chilling blandness, is a protest against the "banalisation of the Holocaust". Germany's Jewish groups, however, don't see it that way and have denounced the exhibit as "scandalous". Visitors' reactions have been mixed. The exhibit has since been suspended until Sierra meets his critics to discuss the project.
The comments in the Guardian's blog raise some interesting points, with some claiming a second subtext, equating personal automobiles with genocide, and others comparing it to a notional installation spraying the inside of a mosque with pigs' blood.
Right-wing hoaxers are believed to have submitted a maliciously modified Michael Leunig cartoon to an Iranian competition to find cartoons poking fun at the Holocaust. The cartoon in question was believed to have been one contrasting the Holocaust with Israeli military actions against Palestinians, which The Age refused to print in 2002; the version submitted apparently had the words changed to something appropriately rabid and mean-spirited to stand a chance against the fierce competition from the Middle Eastern press's finest. Leunig, a renowned humanist and anti-war campaigner, is considering legal action.
The hard-line government of Iran has announced that it will be holding a conference to question whether the Holocaust really happened. The announcement comes shortly after Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadine-Jihad called for the annihilation of Israel and stated that the extermination of Jews by the Nazis was "a myth".
I bet Holocaust denier David Irving's kicking himself that he got arrested in Austria; were he a free man, he'd probably have a university chair waiting for him in Tehran or something.
This evening, I went to see The Pianist. It's a great film; starkly realistic and profoundly moving (the acts of bestial sadism committed by the Nazi troops, for one); it's one thing reading about these things, and another seeing them in front of you. The sets, effects and photography were also very good, and the acting was superb. Highly recommended.
Sarah Kane: a theatrical Ian Curtis?
Her last work ``4:48 Psychosis'' -- was completed only a week before Kane took an overdose and then hanged herself in hospital with her own shoelaces.
She wrote at night in intense bursts, confessing: ``I hate it. I get no pleasure from writing. It kills me.''
``Being in love was like being in Auschwitz,'' she said of the play's theme.