Sunday, December 28, 2008

Choosing Heroes Carefully

You know, though I scan them, I usually skip Barbara Schwarz's messages in ARS as soon as I read something about Chattanooga, ear implant, LRH being impostered, or "German psych case officers", because I personally think that's crazy (which, apart for that craziness, does not prevent her from being a rather nice character overall).

Sometimes, though, you'll read surprising things, and I must admit that her analysis of Valkyrie made me think.

Not that I think Cruise was wrong in doing the film. He wanted to show that not all Germans were Nazi think-alike, and that's a very fine point.

But indeed, how do we know that the script he read initially was not romanticized and biased? How did Stauffenberg arrive at the position he was in the first place? (Though the same could be said of Gorbachev who turned out to be a history-turning genius.)

And it is true that the Germans changed their mind about the film, in spite of their hate for Scientology and Tom Cruise. That is telling something! Not that I agree with B. that this was to portray a "Good Nazi", but to portray precisely that not all were truly Nazi.

What got me tikking in B.'s message was in particular what she said about Schindler. I was indeed always wondering why Spielberg (who of course is a Jew himself, as I am, BTW), choose to make the film on Schindler instead of Raoul Wallenberg, who, for his part, was truly a real and awe inspiring courageous hero who saved the life of countless Jews, whereas Schindler may be a bit of a controversial figure indeed.

Nevertheless, I don't agree with the qualification of Cruise's film as "Nazi apologia". He certainly did not intent to apologise for any of the horror Nazis did, nor does he do it, quite on the contrary. I agree with Hartley patterson's assessment that Friedman's article is "total and utter nonsense". However, some of the questions B. raises are worth spending a bit of time mulling about and pondering upon.

UPDATE: Two additional food for thought brought up by Schwarz:

1) "Stauffenberg supported Hitler's insane system and ideology for many years and just turned around when he noticed that Germany will be defeated. "

Personally I don't believe that was the reason, but the events did take place in June 1944, not in 1934, when it would make more sense.

2) "it is possible that the Germany decided not to outlaw Scientology because of this Nazi-friendly Tom Cruise movie"

I think that's just a coincidence of date but it is interesting to note that in spite of the antagonism of Germany towards Scientology, Tom did push true to rehabilitate the picture of the possibly good no-Nazi-like German (and not "Nazi-friendly", for God sake). It may have been a factor in softening up German agencies, but is very unlikely to have been a result on its own. It takes much much more work on evidences no-evidences than that to arrive at such a conclusion.

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