Hitler Scrapbook

K. mentioned Hitler. (Who doesn’t?) I’m reconstructing K. the best I can after the US destroyed it (actually, and me, almost). Some Hitler points I’ll repeat, some make for the first time: online anyway.

When I was a kid Hitler was an awesome presence: he was in the movie newsreel every time: impressive, scary. But from age two or so I also thought Hitler was very funny! Because Charlie Chaplin lampooned him! I couldn’t tell the genius comedian from the great dictator! well on into my childhood! (Actually, I still think Hitler was funny! and have no idea how much of that is still Chaplin!)

Charlie Chaplin
The Great Dictator
thanx fanpop.com

(I’ll tell you frankly, I still love his propaganda artist: Leni Riefenstahl: another film genius, a great artist.)

Leni Riefenstahl
Leni Riefenstahl, in her 70’s, photographs in Africa
thanx uta.fi

I squeezed some of Hitler’s prose into my English rhetoric classes at Colby, in 1967, ’68: I was discussing rhetoric, distinguishing effective writing from true philosophy.

Hey! Maybe that’s why I was fired! Illegally fired! fired just after I’d been rehired! Maybe it wasn’t because I opposed our conduct in the war in Vietnam (as had seemed obvious). Maybe it wasn’t because I had taught global warming as a possible danger! (also in my rhetoric class!) (in 1968!!!) Maybe it was because I quoted Hitler as an example of effective political rhetoric.

Fer instance (and here’s what actually launched the idea of this post), in the previous post, Two Religions, I had an urge to mention Hitler’s blatant (and brilliant) creation of a mythology instead of a history for his German mystique. Take his nonsense about Aryans, for example, or his invention of “The Third Reich.” The Reich part we get; but what’s third about it?
It ain’t history; it’s myth! He wanted to be the Third Reich, he wanted his reich to become understood to be the third in the glorious history of humans on earth.

What I also love about it: he called it “the thousand year reich”!
A thousand years?! That moron drove it into the ground in about a dozen years: ‘Thirties, early ‘Forties, Kaput!

More on that in a minute, but before I forget: I once held a Hitler watercolor in my hands. I was trying to set up select galleries around North America for Brazilian artist Ula Haensell, I was in a gallery in Rockville Centre, trying to soften them up: Nice couple, the guy Hispanic, but once he decided on selling something, he could really sell it. So I’m blabbing about Ula, he hands me a framed watercolor: what did I think of it?
Good, quite good. Cézanne influence strong: good. Now he’s gonna tell me it is a Cézanne, very early. But no; he says, Look at the signature.
Damn! Then he shows me that watercolor reproduced in Time, in the 1930s. Now owned by some Jew! God! what wonderful ironies.
And I once met a little Jew, maybe five foot nothing, who’d walked out of Germany with two six foot Albrecht Durer’s under his arm!!!!

Albrecht Durer
Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528)
thanx metmuseum.org

Scholarship, History

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
This entry was posted in history, pk Teaching, scholarship. Bookmark the permalink.

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