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Yesterday I found myself adding Heinrich Himmler quotes to my Quotes section, a day after adding Dolly Parton. Once upon a time I quoted Moses and Jesus and John Donne and Shakespeare and Shaw and Thoreaux and thought nothing of it. In 1967 I thought I was daring to quote Hitler in a rhetoric class. Hitler was the straw man of my childhood, no one took anything he said as worthy of thought. I thought I was daring to quote Mae West, never thought even I would be quoting Dolly: but she’s brilliant, clever, hightly verbal as well as highly plastic: visual: not to mention auditory: she’s a singer!
I watched a Himmler doc, Himmler: the Decent One, enjoyed it in surprising ways. One way I enjoyed it did not surprise me: my life has gone from stack-the-deck-against-Hitler-and-all-things-Nazi to use-Hitler-as-a-clear-illustration-of-bad-thought-as-successful-politics to outright agreement with Hitler that war is inevitable, might as well wage it, might as well try to win it.
Kisses before Auschwitz trips
And if we flush ourselves down the drain being human, what the hell: Hamlet was smarter than we are and he couldn’t do anything about it either.
It’s lovely to monitor Himmler’s love letters with Marga, then see him not telling her everything, then telling her nothing, lying … Lying with Hitler to the world. “Why go to hear Hitler,” wondered Marga to Heini,
It’s wonderful to hear the Nazis, their backs to the wall, still insisting that they believe they’re winning!
Wonderful to see the Americans arrive, the Russians, not one whit smarter than the Germans.
Since yesterday a rude rhyme from my childhood has been ear-worming me:
|to Col. Bogey’s March||
Hitler has only got one ball.
Goering has two but very small.
Himmler is very similar.
And Goebbels has no balls at all.
Pronounce “Goebbels” as Go-Balls.
2015 02 04 I learn for the first time that there really was a rumor that Hitler had lost a testicle: in WWI goes one story. I further learn that Hitler himself enjoyed promulgating fibs about himself. I also appreciate today more than the other day when I launched this the Allied impetus to make fun of Hitler. It was a mistake to take him lightly.
Himmler’s diaries monitor AntiSemitism charmingly in the 1920s: he dances with a nice Jewish girl, unwittingly he makes comments about Jews, she flirts with him! Then, in another decade a familiar, normal ugli-ism goes utterly dreadful.
But monitor that growth: Naziism in the 1920s, then in the 1930s … we all know what happened in the 1940s. What we forget is how similar Americans were to Germans in 1933: and how universally plausible expantionist politics sounds to almost everyone at first: of course the Germans were pissed at Versailles, of course they wanted to grow, to expand … of course they thought they were superior, of course they wanted other peoples to serve them …
And had the Nazis not said “slaves” outright, how many would have disagreed? If they had said slaves outright before the early 1860s, who would have noticed?
And compare Manifest Destiny! Who are we to talk?
I watch a lot of TV “science”: David Attenborough … Just as I used to read of lot of pop-translations of science: Asimov, Calder, Sagan … And I groove how the many science presenters who say the same things I’ve said for decades: we’ve already murdered the earth, our nature betrayed us millennia ago … Hitler was our honest spokesman.
One of my favorite parts of this documentary had an actor reading aloud a Himmler dictum on Nazi confiscations of property from Jews. We know the Nazis sabotaged the Jews’ labors, the Jews’ businesses, the Jews themselves, stole their Berlin apartments, stole their grand pianos, stole the gold from the fillings of their teeth … The voice is saying that no German soldier may benefit from any of these confiscations, not by so much as a cigarette … Only the “party” may benefit!
Which movie was it that showed the rising Nazi party member living in his Jewish friend’s apartment? playing his friend’s piano, having that piano played for him by his wife, his mistress? The Pianist, I think: Adrian Brody.
2015 02 03 Apparently I’m on a Nazi kick: watching a DVD which reads Goebbels’ diaries.
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