Monday, October 31, 2022

Netflix "All Quiet on the Western Front" and Bieganski


I recently watched the trailer for the 2022 Netflix production All Quiet on the Western Front. The trailer is only two and a half minutes long. After I watched it, I felt like I needed counseling. It is a devastating glimpse of war. 

The full movie is even more devastating, as reviews report. I have not seen the film. 

After I watched the trailer, I realized a few things: 

1.) I'd never see this movie. I know that war is a bad thing and I have watched enough ultra violent, realistic war movies. I won't know more or feel more after seeing this movie. I'm glad if the movie works for others. I'd be thrilled if the film inspired humans to stop all wars. That won't happen, though. 

2.) The movie looked quite good. High quality production values and acting. 

3.) This movie tells part of the back story that engendered Nazism. After watching this movie, people may say, "Well, I can see how, after this, Germans fell under the spell of Nazism." The movie would make Germans and Germany more understandable. 

Understanding Nazism is difficult. How could people like us commit such mind-boggling atrocities? 

Nazism didn't spring up over night from Hitler's brain. It has roots. See here

World War I is one of the factors that paved the historical road for Hitler. For one thing, after that devastating and apparently pointless war, nations were not eager to fight again, handing Hitler a free pass for too many years. 

But the massive casualties in what has been called history's first mechanized war, Germany's defeat, the "stab in the back" conspiracy theory, and the Versailles Treaty all contributed to Nazism's rise. 

Saying that WW I paved the road for Nazism is *not* any justification of Nazism. Nothing justifies Nazism. It is, though, a way to understand, and to see Germans, even Nazis, as human beings. 

We need similar media clarifying Poland's back story. We need this media as a way of addressing the Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype. 

The Bieganski stereotype insists that Poles are essential anti-Semites, that is always and everywhere anti-Semitic, because of their nature. People point to various factors in Polish society as proof of this. 

They may mention the interwar numerous clausus in universities. That quota system is meant to prove the essential anti-Semitic nature of Poles. 

What is not mentioned is that around 80% of Poles were poor and earned their living through labor, mainly agricultural, and that in some regions of eastern Poland, illiteracy was widespread. 

In contrast, Joseph Adler reports, "Jews who formed ten percent of the population constituted thirty percent of the country's university students, forty-nine percent of all lawyers, forty-six percent of the physicians, as well as fifty-nine percent of the nation's population engaged in commerce, and twenty-one percent in industry."

This back story does not make the quota system right or wrong, but without this back story the quota system can be falsely represented as nothing but an expression of anti-Semitism. 

Clearly, given the accounts of Endeks beating Jews on campuses, many supporters of the quota system were indeed violent, thuggish, anti-Semites. But the back story, the disproportionate representation of Polish Catholics on campuses and in white collar professions, helps the student of history better to understand social tension in interwar Poland. 

My suspicion, that this film will help viewers to understand the road that Germany traveled that made Nazism possible, is reflected in published commentary on the film. 

USA Today reports 

"But Berger's version reaches a new level of poignancy and even urgency given the tenor of the times.It does so first by focusing on the way in which young German boys were turned into cannon fodder by adults spouting nationalist dogma, and secondly by spotlighting how Germany’s capitulation at the end of World War I – and the sense of shame in defeat stoked by politicians – gave rise years later to Nazism and ultimately World War II. In that, says Berger, is a lesson for us all in 2022."

Financial Times reports 

"A modern eye brings more advantages besides. Like Paul, unwitting of the ceasefire ahead, a director working in 1930 could not have known the bleak killing joke the end of the decade would bring. Now Berger spotlights disgust among German high command not at the war but at the coming armistice — already tagged as the “stab in the back” that would help deliver Germany to Nazism. The film is haunted by the ghosts of the future. Could its outrage be any more relevant than now?"

In short, one message viewers are taking from All Quiet on the Western Front is that Germans are human beings like you and me, and only under exceptional historical circumstances would humans like you or me commit atrocities. 

The message of Bieganski, in contrast, is that Poles are not humans like you or me. They commit atrocities as they breathe. 

The video, below, is a commentary on the film. It includes spoilers and clips. Warning: not for those who do not wish to be exposed to disturbing, war-related material. 

See the trailer of the Netflix All Quiet on the Western Front 

Friday, October 28, 2022

Let's Talk about A Little Known Massacre. In the Eyes of God, All Lives Matter


Let's Talk about A Little Known Massacre
In the Eyes of God, All Lives Matter


I want you to think about a massacre. Look, I know I'm asking a lot. For normal people, it's not fun to think about massacres. It's not fun to contemplate what the victims endured. It's not fun to look at our fellow humans and think, "How would my friend, my neighbor, my spouse, behave in such a hellscape? As the victim? As the perpetrator? As the bystander?" It's not fun to think those thoughts while looking in the mirror.


It's not fun to compare the social, political, and military features that engender massacres, and then to look at one's own society. We post-World-War-II Americans are some of the luckiest people on earth. Other than in localized and temporary terror attacks like 9-11, we have not known war on our soil. That could change. Our society, too, has its fault lines. If social norms decayed just a bit more, if divide-and-conquer invaders trespass on our soil, how long before massacres follow? And which group, racial, ethnic, religious, economic, would do the killing, and which group would be killed? Would anyone record the carnage? Would anyone care?


No, it's not fun to think these things.


But, listen. I just want you to give this massacre ten or fifteen minutes of thought. Why? I'm not sure why I want this so much. It's a visceral reaction. When I read about this massacre, one of the most intense reactions I have is, "Who cares about these victims? Who says their names? Who cries for them? Who prays for them? Where is their monument? Where is their justice? When will the perpetrators, and their ideology, be named, blamed, and shamed? When will anyone learn the horrible lessons this massacre teaches, in boldface type ten feet high?"


I know my reaction is irrational. Nothing we do can "fix" this horror. Nothing we do can resurrect and redeem the dead. Nothing can ever erase the agony they and their loved ones endured. And yet I want this. I want you, the person reading this, to think about these victims, perhaps to shed a tear for them, to read at least one name, to feel anger at their killers, and to look at the world anew. To say, yes, the earth is covered with wounds, history is complicated, and tribal moralities exacerbate problems rather than offer any solution, and the only solution is a universalist morality that insists, against all the pressure not to say this, that all lives matter.


The massacre I want you to think about is little-known and understudied. You may never have heard of it. The upper estimate of the number of victims is 100,000. There are graphic images of massacre victims and even film footage of loved ones sobbing over the disinterred remains of their beloved. All this documentation is easily found in an internet search.


In spite of the high numbers and graphic documentation, the Wikipedia page for this massacre is a mere seven pages. In contrast, the Wikipedia page for the 1940 Katyn massacre of 22,000 Polish officers by Soviets is thirty-two pages. The Wikipedia page for the death of George Floyd is forty-one pages. A six-year-old YouTube video in which a serious scholar discusses his unique work on this massacre has fewer than six hundred views. His book has exactly one review on Amazon. Big-name historians who have published best-selling books about events surrounding this massacre in space and time have spared it few to no words.


There are concrete reasons why you may not have heard of this massacre. One is that it was part of a larger cataclysm. Of course, that's not the entire answer. The Katyn Massacre, the Rape of Nanking, the Bataan Death March, were all part of World War II, and they are all better known. There are other reasons, and those other reasons are discussed, below.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Kanye West and Bieganski the Brute Polak


Kanye West and Bieganski, the Brute Polak


Kanye West is an American rap celebrity. He was married to Kim Kardashian. He is known for making outlandish public statements. After Hurricane Katrina, during a live, televised Red Cross fundraising event, he blurted out that "George Bush doesn't care about black people"


When Taylor Swift, a white woman, was on stage accepting a VMA award in 2009, West jumped onstage and shouted that Beyonce, a black woman, should have won.


Kanye West's ex-wife and the mother of his four kids, Kim Kardashian, divorced him, and then she began dating mystery-celebrity Pete Davidson. Davidson is a mystery-celebrity because he is ugly, and he has no talent nor charisma. It's a mystery why he is famous. Kanye West made a video that appeared to show him kidnapping, decapitating, burying, and threatening Davidson. This violent, threatening video is still on YouTube, which has banned and shadow-banned forthright discussions of jihad and gender apartheid.


And that's all I know about Kanye West.


Until recent days, when Kanye West began making outlandish, overt, anti-Semitic statements.


It must immediately be said that West was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.


It must also immediately be said that one can be mentally ill and also be a dirtbag who has earned himself a good ass-kicking, literal or metaphorical.


Kanye West is spreading hate. His statements can be found all over the web; no need to repeat them here. This behavior is disgusting. I'm glad numerous economic powerhouses have cut highly lucrative deals with West.


Here's what's unfortunate. Too many of those criticizing West for his dissemination of hatred are criticizing him for wearing a t-shirt that read, "White lives matter."


Not for the anti-Semitic filth he's been spouting. For his stating the simple truth that white lives matter.


Yes, white lives matter. Yes, as West insists, abortion ends a human life.


Someone can be mentally ill, and an anti-Semite, and still occasionally say true things. That our current Woke Overlords label "White lives matter" hate speech is soul chilling. Clearly, white lives do not matter to our Woke Overlords.


There's another aspect to West's anti-Semitic outbursts that is germane to the Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype. I can't think of a single Polish-identified American celebrity, so let's invent one. If a Polish-American superstar of West's wattage said many of the same things Kanye is saying, that imaginary Polish-American superstar's outburst would *immediately* be related to the Polish-American's identity.


African American celebrity Kanye West says hateful things about Jews because he is mentally ill and paranoia is one symptom of bipolar disorder. So far, so good.


A posited Polish-American celebrity would be diagnosed as having said hateful things because of his Polish identity.


Kanye West is black, and black identity is protected in America, and I haven't yet found an article relating West's anti-Semitism to a significant amount of anti-Semitism among African Americans.


If you find such an article, please alert me.


In the case of a Polish-American celebrity saying anti-Semitic things, this is what would happen. Alan Dershowitz, the ADL, Jan Grabowski, Jan Tomasz Gross, and others would be all over the media bemoaning the "fact" that Poles "suckle anti-Semitism with the mother's milk," as Israelis like PM Yitzhak Shamir, Acting Foreign Minister Israel Katz, and Haaretz journalist Israel Harel have repeatedly said, in exactly those disgusting, misogynist, and racist words.


The Polish-American celebrity's comments would never be understood as manifestations of mental illness. They would be attributed to an ineradicable Polish essence, a biological, spiritual, and cultural essence that Jews must always hate. And if you don't believe me, read Yitzhak Shamir's, Israel Katz's, Israel Harel's comments.


Of course not all African Americans are anti-Semites, but ADL surveys report the following: "AntiSemitic views among the African American population have remained steady, but are consistently higher than the general population."


"There is a strong correlation between higher education levels and the rejection of anti-Semitic stereotypes among members of all races, but Black Americans of all educational levels are significantly more likely to be anti-Semitic than whites with the same educational level.[93]. In the 1998 survey, Blacks (34%) were nearly four times as likely as whites (9%) to have answers that identified them as belonging in the most anti-Semitic category (those agreeing with at least 6 out of 11 statements that were potentially or clearly antisemitic)." From Wikipedia.


Further, there are notable anti-Semitic celebrities among African Americans, including Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, and Amiri Baraka.


Finally, there is a blatant and deadly anti-Semitic conspiracy theory among African Americans, that is, that blacks are the true main characters of the Bible, and Jews are "usurpers" who have taken black people's place. This conspiracy theory was behind a deadly terrorist attack on a Jewish grocery store in Jersey City in 2019. Wikipedia insists on labeling this terrorist attack a "shooting."


After the Jersey City terrorist attack, Jersey City school board member, Joan Terrell Paige attacked Jews verbally online.


Kanye West subscribes to this deadly conspiracy theory. He claims that blacks are the "real" Jews.


I have yet to come across a media account of West's anti-Semitism that relates it to the larger problem of black anti-Semitism. Again, if West were a Polish-American, that celebrity's anti-Semitism would immediately be related to a corrupt Polish essence, biological and cultural.


In contrast to how a Polish celebrity would be treated, see Isaac Herzog, Israel's president, as he is interviewed by Wolf Blitzer. "Anti-Semitism is a problem all over the world," they both agree. As are all racism, xenophobia, intolerance, etc. they add.  That would be not be said in the case of the Polish celebrity. Hate would not be characterized as a universal problem. It would be a Polish problem. That interview is here.



Thursday, October 13, 2022

New York Times Celebrates Dead Communist


The New York Times published a celebration of the life of Jerzy Urban, a POS communist who pushed nihilism during the communist era and pornography and anti-Catholicism after that era ended. 

Ask yourself. Would the Times ever publish a celebration of the life of a Nazi spokesman, who pushed anti-Semitism and porn? No. But yes for a communist spokesman who pushed hatred of Catholicism. 

Thank you to Jerzy P. for sending this in. 

You can read the Times piece  here