Friday, October 23, 2009

It’s Like a Mummer Parade of Satisfying Self-Hatred

Even having lived in “merry ‘ol” Deutschland, what I can figure out is why the stereotypes of the place being a self-referencial hell keep proving themselves. The idea that the culture is absorbed in finding itself (or rather everyone but the critic) a miserable, socially unaware creature unable to do better despite it’s never ending hemming, hawing, and rumination is not improved much by offensive and absurd stunts that make a mockery of even their best intentions, incapacitated by guilt as they are.

Taking a page out of Hollywood’s joke book about 40 years late is this, a man in poorly executed blackface out to punk unsuspecting “inherently race aware” Germans that they are “inherently race aware”. It makes great imagery, especially with the tree in the veldt whacky comic sendup, but fails hugely in other ways.

First of all, there are only a handful of black Germans, so the “great inhumanity” that’s being redressed here probably isn’t a function of black Germans being treated differently in great non-existent droves, but the desire for some German Peckerwood to wag his finger at a bunch of other German Peckerwoods, while exploiting their awkward position in German society.

Basically, in case you’re wondering what being treated differently and being looked askance is like in Germany, it doesn’t require one to be black to experience it, or in any other part of western Europe for that matter, because even the “anti-racism” crowd has an equally vile moral flaw: they almost uniformly assume that the identity they associate with you is a shorthand for what they assume is your ideology. This is why they try to attribute fascism with conservatism, when virtually every fascist I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading seems to more in love with the state and it’s socially managing, controlling, and redistributive capacity than anything else. To let any if it happen to begin with, your right and wrong needs to have been bypassed. To vainly dwell and campaign on the pretext that only racism or some particular kind of bigotry get through that is itself an attempt at using a technicality to get around the need to judge right from wrong for yourself, and then man up, something that’s now a discredited concept if you take “pop-ethic” seriously.

Those that do appear to believe in the universal truth of a tribal/racial zero sum game, much like this “post partisan”, “post racial” President who we are led to believe was found in a field in cornfield in Kansas with a one-way ticket from Krypton tucked into his diaper:
When he delivered his speech on racism in 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama touched upon this issue of how race and class conflicts often get tangled up together. He spoke about "the resentments of white Americans" who feel threatened by gains made by blacks in American society. He went on to say that "to label (white Americans) as misguided or even racist without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns (also) widens the racial divide and blocks the path to understanding."
That idle mindless pap in that speech, which is actually extraordinarily uninspired, we are now told, is to be regarded as a breakthrough, an earthquake, and of “I Have a Dream” box set quality. It isn’t, because hardly a soul remembers it, remembers anything said in it, and has now to be TOLD to try to memorize phrases from it and give it a regards normally conferred on someone who DOES touch people deeply such that the resonance gives us reason to remember it.

It’s why they’re still shocked, even in adulthood, to find anything that seems like an inversion - such as a Jew criticizing Israel, or an Arab criticizing Islam, or anything that doesn’t conform to that simplistic and ignorant shorthand - thrilling and different. It’s an attitude and set of opinions that some believe makes them MORE humanistic and socially aware than others. Note that I said “attitude” and “opinion”. Having an opinion is largely regarded as “doing something” by this elementary thinking, which makes sense on a continent where having certain opinions and offending people is actually actionable behavior. Fortress Europa doesn’t have so much a wall, but a very, very this skin.

Otherwise, in an interview with filmmaker Michael Haneke, we may all wallow in clichéd bleakness on cue to lend a filmmaker some glory. Why? Because that’s the regard we are told to give it. It’s what culture vultures do when they think so little of the public that they don’t think that they can infer or interpret it for themselves.
Haneke: I think it's a little simplistic to explain a work through the psychology of its author. In other words, that Haneke has emotional problems, so I don't have to take his films seriously. By using this argument, the viewer retreats from the challenges of the film. People often use this approach, but I'm used to it by now: What kind of a person is Haneke, to be making those kinds of films?

Can you hear that? It’s about Me-me-me-me-me!!! and if you criticize that, it shouldn’t be taken that way because Me-me-me-me-me!!! can’t take it.

But the real crowd please must be this sort to apologia, self-loathing, and quick and dirty exit from facing the facts of life, and it to loves a good cliché about the assumed view of the German soul:
Haneke: You could see it that way. It isn't a coincidence that the village is called Eichwald. When strictness becomes an end in itself, and when an idea turns into ideology, it becomes perilous for anyone who doesn't comply with this ideology. The film uses the example of German fascism to talk about the mental preconditions for every type of terrorism, whether it comes from the right or the left, and whether it's politically or religiously motivated. Wherever people are in a hopeless, unhappy and humiliating situations, they will grasp at any straw that is handed to them.
...none of which makes any sense if you’re al all familiar with the reality of any of the usual popular whipping boys. The counter-ideology is itself a strict one that is meant to prevent one from using moral reasoning to come to terms with fascism, terror, or anything else on the reality-avoidance hit parade: all of which, like the avoidance principal itself requires moral self-evasions to enable evil. A million lectures, platitudes, and good intentions are a poor substitute.

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