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Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

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Location: Surreality, Have Fun Will Travel, Past Midnight before a Workday

Master's Degree holder, telecommuting from the hot tub, proud Darwinian Dawkobot, and pirate librarian belly-dancer bohemian secret agent scribe on a mission to rescue bloggers from the wholesome clutches of the pious backstabbing girl fridays of the world.



Thursday, August 09, 2007

In Memoriam: Raul Hilberg

Raul Hilberg, author of The Destruction of the European Jews, has died.

He was a controversial figure, but a heroic and provocative one to me. I have yet to finish reading this book - it's a painful thesis and an emotionally draining book, in the manner that The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, or The Gulag Archipelago, by Solzhenitsyn, are. I never finished those two, either, although I intend to - reading those books taught me that there is a step beyond desensitization, that being, traumatization. For my own emotional well being I had to put the books down for a while.

(I have not yet attempted to read the book Psychiatric Terror, by Sidney Bloch and Peter Reddaway, but someday I'll have the guts. This book has the distinction of catching the eye of people on the bus when I carried it home, people who begged me for the title and author, and wrote them down. Anyone who knows me knows that I was never an apologist for the Soviet Union.)

If you are interested in Holocaust studies, then I highly recomment Lawrence Langer's Admitting the Holocaust. This book is not about Holocaust denial in the classic sense, but pricks the conscience of the average person who knows that the Holocaust happened but seeks out comforting stories, tales of individual heroism, accounts of people dying with dignity, etc., instead of confronting the fact that millions of frightened people were tortured to death and they should not serve as the backdrop for heartwarming dramas about the few who survived.

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24 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to be honest and admit I never read 'The Destruction Of The European Jews' and I have no intention to do so. The reason is this, there are more up to date works like Christopher R. Browning's 'The Origins Of The Final Solution'. As most of you know, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Nazi documents kept under wrap for four decades could finally be studied.

This is not to dismiss the importance of his work. For more then two decades after the end of the death camps, not much was known by the general public the depths of depravity that the Nazi sunk to.

This lack of general struck me when I was reading William Manchester's 'The Arms Of Krupp'. I took it for granted the bad treatment that the Nazi subjected the Jews to. This book was very scholarly until it got to a section about Krupp's use of slave labor and especially the nursery where Jewish babies were left to die while their mothers slaved away. At this point Manchester broke his tone and his anger flew off the page. It took me time to realize that this book was released in 1968 and the history of the Holocaust was not that well known to the public.

It was through the works of people like Raul Hilberg that the sheer depths of what humanity can do to each other became well known. Painful? Yes. But we need to know what we are capable of doing and what steps we have to take to keep it from happening.

As it stands, it is too easy for people to turn away from these facts. Back in 1984, a survivor of Auschwitz spoke on my campus. (Sorry, I cannot recall his name.) He was a tough man in his late fifties, early sixties. Despite the fact the english was his second language, one got the sense he was not much of a talker. He described life and death at Auschwitz and his experience as a sonderkommando.

It was the reactions I overheard from my fellow students that got to me. One said she was not that convinced by his stories because he did not break down and cry. This man had to be a tough SOB to survive his treatment and to be a sonderkommando. Plus is was forty years after the fact. And this woman needed to see him have an emotional breakdown so that she could be convinced of the horrors of his stories. I am afraid this is where some of the seeds of denialism can come from.

It is for these reasons and millions of others that I am grate for the works of Raul Hilberg and the others who followed in his wake. They have documented painful truths. Just look at the actions of those who deny these truths.

Janine

August 09, 2007 10:48 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

It was the reactions I overheard from my fellow students that got to me. One said she was not that convinced by his stories because he did not break down and cry.

Oh, dear. I'm afraid that that is what “reality television” and public displayals of remorse/victimization by celebrities are doing to us.

Who was the alleged “Auschwitz survivor” unmasked as a fraud several years ago, who would speak in front of people and stand there with one iconic tear running down his cheek, like the Native American on the horse in that old commercial about littering?

However, general Holocaust denial, in terms of needing films like Life is Beautiful to romanticize the unromantizable is what Langer speaks of. Boy, did John and I disagree about that film – he liked it, I was revolted by it, and I was not alone. I had issues with the inexcusable “I could have done more” ending of Schindler’s List as well, and so does Langer, who rips it apart.

I simply can’t keep up with all my reading ambitions – I’m now reading Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, which I bought at the Oriental Institute in Chicago, and David Heddle’s novel (still working on it, David). Plus, I’m thinking of posting about all the books that contain arguments from design that the Intelligent Design crowd does not promote and probably doesn’t want people to read, but I have – that’s interesting, isn’t it?

(Oh, and don't forget Calculus for Dummies. *Sigh*)

August 09, 2007 11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a minor point here, this was in 1984. No 'reality' TV at this time. But the likes of Donahue were about and Oprah was just getting started in Chicago. One could argue that people's perception were moving towards the development of this genre.

Denialism takes many different roles. Besides the evil people who actively deny the reality of the event, there are other forms.
There are some who require the survivors to constantly be on the edge of a breakdown.

Then there is the Oprah like need to make everything a life affirming event that you are talking about. I had no desire to see 'Life Is Beautiful'. Just the description was enough to make me flee in horror. While there were parts of 'Schindler's List' that I admired, I had mixed feelings about it. The violence that was shown may seem to have been over the top but I am afraid that any accurate depiction would seem to be so. But in the end, the movie was yet an other Spielberg daddy quest. In this case, the protective daddy was a very flawed person. Still, it was a daddy quest.

I guess there is no way to make a life affirming movie based on something like Christopher Browning's 'Ordinary Men'. Or make a feel good movie about a survivor who crawls out of the pit in Baba Yarba after being shot and then buried by hundreds of other bodies.

I guess one of my great fears is that some people feel the need to ignore the events that happened in order the find the 'feel good' stories'. And those who look at the Holocaust as being unique in human history, therefor downplaying the suffering of other peoples.

Janine

August 09, 2007 1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings One Trick Pony. What you do not want to go back to Chimpy's site site where Chimpy, Bronze Dog and I stuffed your word back at you. And after you have been banned.

Apparently, you never read any of the works the Kristine and I have sited here. I have just checked the index of my copy of 'The Origins Of The Final Solution'. There is no nothing about Darwin in the book. Like I said before, you know not what you are talking about. Get a new argument.

As for Darwin's racism, means nothing to modern ideas of evolution as Bronze Dog pointed out. That is how science works. Ideas are tested and what seems valid passes on.

If you are going to say something, make it about the topic at hand.

Keep changing your name. We all know who you are through your sheer stupidity.

Janine

August 09, 2007 2:19 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Lewis/Legion, you're banned. Get used to it, and get lost.

August 09, 2007 2:33 PM  
Anonymous Missouri said...

Charles Darwin abhorred slavery. That so-called Christian named Fitzroy who commanded the HMS Beagle thought that slaves were happy in their servitude. Darwin and Fitzroy hated each other by the time the voyage was done.

August 09, 2007 2:38 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Legion - you are BANNED. Quit coming here. I'm not tolerating your vandalism anymore. I'm not even going to let people see all the deletions. If you want to swear at people, do it at your own blog.

Or why don't you walk down to Prospect Park Plaza, or Elmwood Cemetary, and chill out.

I should think there would be plenty of other things to do in Kansas City, MO. Get a life.

August 09, 2007 4:15 PM  
Anonymous JanieBelle said...

Oh Legion darling, my apologies,

C'mon back over my place.

I got a little somethin' for ya'.

Chickenshit bastard, I'm in just the mood for a bottom feeder like you.

...if you have the stones, that is.

August 09, 2007 10:47 PM  
Anonymous JanieBelle said...

P.S.

I forgot "scum sucking".

Sorry 'bout that.

August 09, 2007 10:52 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

*Snork!* Oops, must have nodded off there.

I'm so decrepid and old after all. I hope I didn't delete any comments in my SLEEP!

Of course, if somebody wants to START A BLOG, USE A REAL NAME, and allow COMMENTS THERE instead of visiting other's blogs under many FAKE NAMES and making INSANE SUGGESTIONS, it would be such an inspiration to me, and I would be BORED enough to fall ASLEEP!

(Okay, 'nuff with the all caps, I promise.) ;-)

August 10, 2007 1:17 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I meant "wouldn't be bored." But who knows, I probably still would be bored.

Not much to do in Kansas City, MO? I should think that the jazz would be great - but somebody needs an imagination for that - dongs and jazz just don't go together! :-D

August 10, 2007 1:19 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

And Goldstein, just remember - you little spermie spills go into my Legion Spammie Drawer at my e-mail.

So if you want to jerk off here, it's up to you. Yes, I wipe them up, but I save the kleenix, you hawt old dirty thingie.

He's with the bland, everyone!

August 10, 2007 1:22 PM  
Anonymous Missouri said...

Kristine - I just want to say:

Legion = moneychanger
Amused Muse blog = Temple

Fill in the rest! :)

August 10, 2007 1:48 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Whoa, there! You can't be serious!

Missouri, I like you but you are way out there sometimes!

Oh, and Legion, just so you know, today is payday, and I just got my raise, with retro pay!

Be careful walking to Independence Avenue now.

August 10, 2007 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But Kristine, Shitlgruber has his little homepage. He claims it is a joke but one can never be too sure.

Janine

August 10, 2007 8:55 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Does Shitegrubber allow comments on its "homepage"?

Does it post photos of itself for others to mock?

'Nuff said. ;-)

August 10, 2007 9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shitlgruber does not seem to have a blog. (But I have to be honest, I do not have one also.) As for photos to mock, we can mock him without photos. Besides, most photos are not going to show the unginess that resides in that body.

As for Shitlgruber mocking your looks, well, I do not see anyone doing so. What do you think that means?

Janine

August 10, 2007 9:41 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Well, there was DaveScot, who essentially called me fat at Ftk's blog, although I said I was over that. ;-)

Although it is funny that DS seems to have been avoiding me evah since!

The personal e-mail that I sent to him was a thing of beauty. I called it, "My Big Fat Galapagos Threading."

August 10, 2007 9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I shiver in terror from that pun.

Janine

August 10, 2007 10:04 PM  
Anonymous Lee Kuan said...

Kritine, you so clever.

Can't out smart you, can we?


heheheheheeh

August 11, 2007 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shitlgruber, it seems you cannot help but to reach into your used diaper and smear that stuff all over.

Bad Shitgruber!
Bad! Bad!

Janine

August 11, 2007 11:45 AM  
Anonymous Leginaire said...

Wow!

Kristine is hot on the trail of the Legionaires!

Nope, we sure can't fool her.

Damn, you are smart kristine!

August 12, 2007 3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shitlgruber, in this case, it is not so much that she is so smart. It is because you are so stupid. The droppings you leave all have that putrid smell. All one needs is a working nose to know it is you.

Janine

August 12, 2007 4:38 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Don't worry about it Janine.

August 12, 2007 9:56 PM  

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