For another perspective on this movie, I suggest reading John Rosenthal’s review titled “Inglourious Basterds: A German Fantasy, Not a ‘Jewish’ One”. Rosenthal posits that the movie is written to make the Germans look sympathetic, and the joke is on the buffoonish Americans–who are neither cultured nor competent and barbaric to boot. The movie glorifies German fantasies of vengeful Jews, when in reality, the Germans were the barbarians. One wouldn’t know this watching the movie, according to this review.
While Rosenthal makes compelling arguments and may well be correct about Tarantino’s motives, I would suggest that Tarantino was too smart by half, then. Consider the barroom scene. Repeatedly, the Americans and their fighters expressed frustration at being stuck in an underground bar because it is stupid strategically in a fight. They feared being double-crossed. Here is what Rosenthal says:
This is especially true of a long central scene that takes place in a basement bar in occupied France. The scene is entirely built around a German parlor game in which each participant is required to guess the identity of a real person or fictive character whose name has been written on a card and stuck to his or her forehead.
Well, that game is one I myself have played as an unwashed American. We called it Polish Poker growing up–a politically incorrect allusion to a source of a version of the game, I suspect. At any rate, it was the Brit who botched the hand signal and also the Brit who enjoyed his drink courageously before his death–stiff upper lip and all that. It was also the American, who, at the end of the bloodbath, out maneuvered the German soldier who mowed down anyone left alive, including, it looked like, his own compatriots. It was a gory mess that ended as the American feared.
Another point of concern was portraying the German enlisted “hero” as regretful. Rosenthal says:
“They include not only the jovial enlisted men in the barroom scene, but also, for instance, a celebrated and lovelorn sharpshooter who openly regrets his military exploits.” While he did seem a little sickened by his actions, he was certainly still portrayed as evil. In the very next scene, when his advances are rebuffed by Shoshanna, he threatens rape or worse saying “no one denies me” and then, after being shot by her, shoots her in cold blood when she shows concern for him. It is the Jew, as symbolized by Shoshanna, who hasn’t lost her humanity. The German is portrayed as having none. While this might validate the modern Germans’ thinly disguised anti-semitism by seeing her shot dead, it certainly doesn’t portray the German perspective in a positive light. To the contrary, the Germans are portrayed as vicious, anti-semitic, heartless, yes cunning, killers of women and children–from the first scene until the climactic end.
There is no question Tarantino indulged in a facile portrayal of Americans. Bumbling in, direct action, hicky accents, etc. But still, the Americans and the good guys won. For all the German ostensible heroics, they are still portrayed as losers. They are losers who go up in a ball of flames. They are losers who are branded as losers on their swastika carved forehead.
The suicide bomber reference was also not lost on me. Tarantino, as I wrote in my other review, is hardly courageous. In fact, like his comrades, he’s a product of Hollywood’s amorality. He won’t name current tyrants. He has to go back to World War II to find blood thirsty villains. That is why I suggested substituting an Islamofascist for every Nazi killed.
As to the bloody gore: No, I didn’t enjoy seeing a guy’s head bashed in. In fact, I covered my eyes at the over-the-top gruesome parts and there were many. It was a Tarantino film after all. The blood lust is a caricature and silly. Still, it was satisfying to see the bad guys come to such an ignoble end. It would have been a wonderful thing had World War II ended in such a glorious way. Unfortunately, Hitler got the satisfaction of controlling his own death. At least, historians can fantasize about a better end.
Did Tarantino make an anti-semitic film? Was he trying to portray Germans sympathetically? Perhaps. Americans aren’t stupid. They’ll catch the way Americans are portrayed. They’ll see the suicide bomber reference for the inversion it is. They might miss the underlying German fears of Jew revenge. Or, if they get it, they understand the Jews motive, even as most Jews have lived among their German brethren peacefully without recompense. It is, after all, a fantasy.
What sane, moral person can’t understand the desire to avenge their family, culture and people nearly being blotted out? Americans get it generally. And so do Germans. The Germans know how they’d feel if the roles were reversed and that’s why they’re afraid even after all these years. And the Jews have been models of restraint and forgiveness. I’m not sure I could do the same.
The Fan Page on Facebook is not subtle. The last status update reads:
Israel is not fighting war against Terrorism; it’s fighting WAR AGAINST HUMANITY and INNOCENSE!… “Fuck Israel”.
It’s also not very literate, but that sort of enhances the foaming-at-the-mouth sputtering. Distressingly, there are 121,363 fans of this page. That’s a lot of people who hate Israel.
I wonder where to find the “Hate Women” fan page. I’m sure it’s close to the “Hate fill-in-the-blank racial epithet-here” fan page. And of course, there’s the I Hate Iran Group with a whopping 117 members.
But the Fan Page isn’t anti-Jewish, no sirree. It isn’t antisemitic. They LOVE the Jews they just want the state where Jews live destroyed. And the names of the haters aren’t Muslim. Nope. They’re just your average open-minded Middle Easterner expressing their free speech.
This Facebook Fan Page would be an example of ignorant philistines using the modern Western culture against itself. These people do not believe in free self-expression. They do not believe in individual rights. And they most certainly do not believe in Israel’s right to self-determination free from being bombed by their neighbors. They are racists and fascists and it is shameful that Facebook allows this group to exist when similar Fan Pages aiming hate at other groups or people would be banned.
If Facebook is a safe community, why is this tolerated? And if it is tolerated, will the Ku Klux Klan be allowed to start a Fan Page with pictures of burning crosses? Just trying to clarify their terms of service here.
Are The Iranians Emboldened Now That Obama Is In Office?
Jewish investigator tortured last Friday in Buenos Ares and Iran’s fingerprints are all over it.
Jihad Against Britain’s Jews
Haven’t had time to write about this, but you should read it.
Newsflash, people, Jesus was a Jew, The Guardian’s Howard Jacobson informs us. His real message seems to explain why Jews still fear Christians (and I might add, ignore all the evidence to the contrary and vote for people who actually aren’t pro-Israel and pro-Jew). He says:
It is a question of the deepest interest, how Christians have been able to maintain two parallel but entirely contradictory attitudes to Jews. The one, as described above, the effect of which has been to remove Jews from the sphere of the human altogether. The other, full of piety and respect, expressed in reverence for the Jewish Bible, in tender pilgrimages to the Jewish places of Jesus’s birth and upbringing, and even, in some quarters, in the fond adoption of Old Testament names for their offspring. The mind is a wonderful thing, capable (when it chooses) of entertaining apparently irreconcilable emotions. In this case, it is as though Christians simultaneously know and don’t know that Jesus was Jewish, but in order for the not knowing to win supremacy over the knowing they have had to do mental violence to themselves, of which the collateral victims have been the Jews. [Emphasis added.]
How else does one account for a calumny as grotesque and misapplied as the blood libel – a belief common throughout England and Europe in the Middle Ages and not entirely expunged in some parts of the world today, that Jews kill gentile children for their blood, which they drink or cook with in the course of whatever diabolic things Jews do when worshipping their God. If that is not an unconscious parody of the eucharist, a transference of shame felt towards something cannibalistic at the heart of Christian ritual, blame for which is then laid at the door of the older, crueller, fathering religion, I don’t know what it is.
Explain it how you will, Judaism is Christianity’s guilty secret, and God help whoever happens to be the occasion of a people’s guilt. “When will Jews be forgiven the Holocaust?” asks that dark philosopher John Gray. There is a prior question. When will Jews ever be forgiven giving Christianity its religion?
There is so much wrong with Jacobson’s take, but at essence, he writes like a European Jew stuck in history and explaining why Jews are right to be wary of Christians. Or rather, excusing Jewish bias towards Christians.
There is no question that historical Christian leaders had deep antipathy for their Jewish brethren. One could argue that changing the Sabbath to Sunday was a very real attempt, by Christians, to differentiate from Jews because back in the day, they were persecuted together because they were mostly Jews by birth who became Christ followers. The Gentiles came in later.
Mr. Jacobson clearly, though, does not understand or in some cases, distorts Christian dogma. And even that is difficult because everything from the nature of God to Armageddon is debated by Christian theologians. In essence, he’s debating a caricature of Christianity.
But this is all a diversion. Mr. Jacobson seems to be straining to find a reason why Christians can’t be trusted. It’s their own mental gymnastics that make them Christians to begin with–to believe that Jesus is God’s son. And it’s their own twisted morality that would have blamed Jews for Christ’s death. Therefore, Christians who do support Israel and Jews generally, are just delusional.
And that’s the real issue. In order to justify voting Democrat in the United States, and whomever the secular humanist, politically correct moral equivalence candidate is over in the UK, a Jew has to make Christians into conflicted, unpredictable, Illogical, immoral cartoons. Jews have to make Christians scary in order to turn a blind eye to the true threat before them: leaders who see no good and evil. Well, there’s an evil and the evil is the minority scape goat who makes life difficult because the more violent majority hates them.
I wouldn’t want to be a Jew in the UK or Europe today. Certainly, I wouldn’t want to be a Jew in Paris or Denmark right now. But the threat isn’t coming from the Christians. The threat is coming from the P.C. crowd who won’t condemn violent followers of an unreformed religion: Islam. Please read that sentence again. The threat isn’t even the violent Muslims. Not yet. They still need more numbers. And, as Mark Steyn says, time is on the Muslim’s side. The threat to Jews are those Machiavellian secularists who refuse to name evil when they see it.
The threat is the papers who sanitize phrases and refuse to note that the “youths” are Arab or Muslim. The threat is the schools who refuse to stand up to violent children and parents and protect Jewish children. The threat is the different newspapers too afraid to offend Muslims that they won’t put cartoons in the paper. The threat is the corrupt leaders appeasing terrorists and condemning Israel.
The threat to Jews has not been Christians, certainly not American Christians, for a very long time. And while I think it’s imperative for Christians to know about the Jewishness of Christ, I believe Mr. Jacobson’s angst is misplaced. Right now, the Jews staunchest allies and friends are Christians. It is difficult for some Jews to understand, but it’s actually quite simple. Christians acknowledge that the Jews were God’s people and still are. God loves them and blesses those who bless them and curses those who curse them. Christians who love God, will love the Jews.
Mr. Jacobson operates from an old reality. His suspicion is self-destructive. Many Jews seem to have a certain mind-blindness to the true existential threats before them. It’s time to see the world as it really is. Christians, Mr. Jacobson, are your best friends. It’s time you let go of your prejudice.
I would recommend reading two books that relate to this issue:
David Brog explains why many Christians ardently support Israel and Jews specifically.
Mark Steyn illuminates the actual existential threat. Hint: It ain’t Christians.
Also read Jonah Goldberg’s recent Op-Ed Who Are the Real Nazis? Here’s a snippet:
Perhaps one reason Israel fails at genocide is that it isn’t interested in genocide? That would explain why Israel warned thousands of Gazans by cell phone to leave homes near Hamas rocket stockpiles. It would clarify why, even amid all-out war, it offers aid to enemy civilians.
Meanwhile, calls for the complete extermination of Israel are routine. The Hamas charter, invoking the fraudulent “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” as justification, demands the destruction of Israel. Hamas exists solely because it is dedicated to the complete obliteration of the “Zionist entity.” Remove that “principle” and Hamas is meaningless.
A sick mixture of Holocaust envy and Holocaust denial is the defining spirit of Hamas. Indeed, Holocaust denial passes for a scholarly pursuit not just in Gaza but throughout much of the Arab and Muslim world.
Why the obsession with casting the Israelis as the new Hitlerites? One answer is surely that critics know such charges are painful to a country largely born of the Holocaust and marked by its scars. It also grabs attention, galvanizes radicals, vents legitimate frustrations and anger, and helps demonize the enemy and, hence, justify the murder of “Zionists everywhere,” as Hamas often declares in its communiques.
But I think the desire to cast the Israelis as Nazis is fueled, deep down, by the haters’ need to see their own hatreds and ambitions mirrored in their enemy’s actions. Hamas has an avowedly Hitlerite agenda. The only way to make such an agenda defensible is to convince yourself and others that the Israelis deserve it. Hence, Hamas and its allies insist that when they aim rockets at grade schools and playgrounds, they are resisting the “new Nazis.”
Also, for the genesis of liberal thought, read Jonah’s book. It should be required reading:
See also: Infidels Are Cool–great blog detailing the threat. He’s up for a BlogAward!