Day: January 27, 2017

Holocaust Remembrance and the NeverEnding Story

In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, my I present a short essay I wrote about the Nazi-fighting message contained in the movie NeverEnding Story – which, lest you forget, was directed by Wolfgang Petersen right after he finished Das Boot. They look like big, good, strong hands, don’t they?

“Holocaust Remembrance and the NeverEnding Story,” on Medium

(Although I’ve added pictures and made a small edit to the lead in, I wrote the majority of the text in October because after all I am a futurist.)

Sylvia says: I totally agree with everything you wrote and you gave me new ways to look at the never-ending story. I would say that, yes Bastian is a hero, because he took strength within himself. He used the glimpse of a creator (as the human kind can be classified) to create an alternative solution, alternative to misery of life. When such tragedies the holocaust occur, any poet, philosopher or idealist rebel is salvation of the society, right then and there or in years to come. They can because looking at reality with creativity (wherefore out of the box) they are the only ones who can find a solution where the other well known solutions didn’t work, and the only ones who want to shout them out or at least the only ones who know how to shout them, just like Bastian who is the only one who eventually shouted to Atreyu because of his nature of thinking out of what society would feed him. If this makes sense

Romie: Yes, exactly. Even when there are smaller tragedies in my life, I find myself seeking out stories and music and art I haven’t seen before, because it is no comfort to return to what already existed for me until I can see it with new eyes.

Sylvia: I do the same, just browse and instinctively find a different perspective or morality/motivation.

Nic says: I feel bad that when I watched it recently my main thought was ‘Why doesn’t Atreyu just squeeze round the back of those laser statues instead of going down the middle? there’s loads of room…”

Romie: They could have lasered him anyway. Totes powerful.

Nic: My second thought in that sequence was that he actually seems to get through just by running, not really via self belief (they fire anyway, he just gets through in time first). Not that I don’t think running can often be a great substitute for self belief but I guess it would less inspirational so everyone in Fantasia has to pretend that’s what really happened.

Romie: I am a huge fan of running as a substitute for self-belief; another way of putting that is that I almost never ask myself “am I happy” because that doesn’t matter so long as the thing I’m doing needs to get done. But I figure in the movie it’s more of a demonstration of how hard it is not to let doubt creep in. (I’m betting plenty of those corpses tried the run technique and failed.) Even managing to be brave for one extra second is the difference between heroism and obliteration. Particularly as a kid, that makes it seem more achievable. It doesn’t matter whether I’m confident all the time; it matters whether I can be confident at the exact moment it’s my cue to step on stage.

Nic: I am genuinely happy at this interpretation.

Women’s March Criticisms, a Rebuttal

It’s probably not surprising that most of the men criticizing the women’s march didn’t pay enough attention to it to know that feminists don’t give a fuck about satisfying men who didn’t pay attention to the women’s march.

But if you’re just tuning in: If you want to make a salty comment about the women’s march without me mentally replacing all your words with “I am a piece of shit in love with swallowing my own shit,” you’ll have to start with a big explanation of everything you did to prevent the women’s march from needing to happen.

The Mucha-Shaped Hole in the World

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, but really every day is Holocaust Remembrance day, because it’s a hole in the world that reaches into everything. Millions of noncombatants sadistically murdered by people who had looked into their faces and touched their bodies. Millions of people who were never born because their family lines were snuffed out. Millions of people who were displaced and ethnically and nationally recategorized when diverse cosmopolitan areas were sorted into us and them and them and them.

A couple of months ago, I did a curiosity search on Alphons Mucha, an artist I like, to see what he got up to after his Art Nouveau poster fame. Killed by Nazis. It sneaks up on you, how everywhere it is.

Mucha was a Slav, and when Czechoslovakia was created in 1918, he helped design their postage stamps, and the money. He was already halfway through a series of large-format paintings about important moments in the region’s history. (It took him 18 years to finish. You can see it in Prague.) When the Nazis marched across the border in the spring of 1939, Mucha was one of the first people dragged in by the Gestapo. It’s doubtful they thought they could get much valuable information from a 78-year-old painter, so it’s safe to say “interrogation” is a euphemism for what happened to this man who symbolized Czech identity, who was pro-intellectual, pro-Jew. He never recovered from his injuries. He died a few months later, officially of a lung infection.

It reaches into everything.


Gorbachev Alive

Things I was recently surprised to learn:

1. Mikhail Gorbachev is still alive.

2. Pravda reports that yesterday he failed to save Pizza Hut from bankruptcy.

There seems to be a lot I don’t understand about Mikhail Gorbachev.

Pravda considers Gorbachev culpable because he appeared in a Pizza Hut commercial in the 1990s, and it was not sufficiently persuasive to keep Pizza Hut afloat forever. Shame on you, Mikhail Gorbachev, and your insufficient enthusiasm for pizza, such that 20 years later this has happened, although the company is probably still fine it’s just in bankruptcy, just as you yourself are still alive, apparently.