Monday, September 12, 2011

Nazi Thesis- Part X

X means ten in Roman numerals. Here is part ten in my continuing series on the Nazi personality.

There have been many movements and political parties throughout history, but Nazism outmatches most when it comes to the fanatiscm of its members. Hitler was able to tap into the fears and paranoia felt in Germany after World War I, and combine it with popular doctrines of the time. Racism, nationalism and even the dreaded Marxism played into what the Nazis created to gain their “living space,” and the elimination of true evil. By borrowing what he liked from various groups and texts, Hitler could create his own utopian ideology that spoke to everyone in Germany, including the workers who were mainly socialist. The very name of the party conveys this mass appeal, the National Socialist German Worker’s Party. All of these things mean something different, in fact, they contradict each other, but Hitler knew that he needed to gain all the support he could. 

In the Nazi party there was something for everyone, and that is why there was such a grab bag of men that chose to join. No other movement could have culled such a varied spectrum of men into its ranks. Varied only applies to the places they came from, the viewpoints they held were not varied at all. The darkness in the hearts of the top Nazis was what connected them with each other and to the overreaching Nazi idea. Like all groups, the Nazis believed that they were doing good, and that Aryans were the preferred race on the entire planet. An ability to be easily swayed characterizes all die hard Nazis. 

In the Nazi personality there were varying degrees of gullibility, Goebbels represents the highest, and Speer the lowest. Certain men joined because it suited their lifestyle, and gave them the opportunity for success, like Speer. Others used it merely to fill a void in their lives, and bought into every facet of Nazism, like Goebbels. Perhaps gullible is the wrong word for those who completely immersed themselves in the party, but so large was the hole inside of them that a lack of truth in what the Nazis preached did not matter. 

The opportunism that Hitler exercised rendered any disbelievers helpless against the growing throngs of Nazi supporters. Times had been so hard in Germany following the war, and the population was so humiliated that it was easy for the Nazis to rally support, despite the lack of truth in their ideology. Also, the Nazis tapped into long standing social beliefs, mostly concerning the Jews. Among his many talents, Hitler had the ability to tell people what they wanted to hear, but even he was not able to make his people believe as the war turned against Germany.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ten Years On

Ten years ago, during my first week of college, I remember waking up to a ringing phone. My mom was on the other end, and she frantically told me that someone had flown a plane into the World Trade Center. I scoffed, half asleep, and told her she must be mistaken. I tried to get off the phone and go back to sleep, but she was insistent, so I got up and turned on the T.V. She was right. I saw one of the twin towers engulfed in flame and frantic New Yorkers fleeing the scene. Moments later, another plane flew into the second tower. It was so surreal, it felt like I was watching a trailer for some cheesy terrorist movie. When the reality sank in, a feeling of sickness and shock hit me.

I remember many of the details of that day, but it was all in such a haze that it felt as if I was watching someone else's life from the outside. The whole thing was so jarring and incongruous because here I was a young, bright eyed college student embarking on an exciting new chapter of my life, and then this act of unspeakable evil occurred, threatening our safety and our lives. I knew that our nation and its people would never be the same after the attacks.

9/11 was my generation's Pearl Harbor or Kennedy assassination, not because the magnitude of either of those events is at all the same as 9/11, but because all three events robbed the country and its youth of their innocence. We were all different after 9/11. I saw firsthand how young people changed in the aftermath. Cynicism and hatred became more pronounced, war and its brutal effects were born out of those attacks, and many people I knew, and still know became irrationally fearful. Even though I wasn't directly affected by the events on that day, I do sometimes wonder how different my life would be if the towers still stood and all those people were still alive. It's silly to play the 'what if' game, and pointless because it did happen and we are living in a post-9/11 world. I just hope that we can someday get to a point where we are all a little more open, a little more trusting and a lot less fearful, like I was on September 10, 2001. That's my hope as we sit here, ten years on.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Movie of the Week

This week,

AMADEUS (1984)

Starring- F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Jeffery Jones, Elizabeth Berridge

Based on a Tony Award winning play by Peter Schaffer, this film is as close to perfect as any film can be. Schaffer, who adapted the play for the film, crafted an engrossing, beautiful and terrifying story about the life and death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The story is told by Mozart's chief rival, cum enemy, Antonio Salieri (Abraham) in flashbacks. The film is set up like a mystery, as the viewer tries to discover whether Salieri killed Mozart or not. While there is a bit of license taken with the historical facts, the narrative is so moving and well done that even the most strict classical music experts will overlook the inconsistencies.

Abraham's Salieri is the focal point of the story as we see the action through his eyes. He serves at court composer to Emperor Joseph II of Austria, but is quickly outshone by the young, and very uncouth Mozart (Hulce). A somewhat friendly competition between the two men turns more vengeful when Salieri, who is a model of virtue, is outdone at every turn by Mozart. While he plots to have Mozart marginalized at court, he is also secretly his biggest fan, which sets up some very amusing and riveting scenes. Perhaps the best scene in the movie illustrates this conflict best when Salieri helps an ailing Mozart write his Requiem, seeing that the voice of God is coming through the vulgar little man.

The acting and cinematography are top notch, all the mark of Director Milos Forman who shot the film in his native Prague. While there are moments of high drama, Forman and Schaffer mix in some very funny moments, namely scenes where Mozart has occasion to do something crass or giggle. It is hard not to laugh when you hear Tom Hulce laugh in this film. The supporting roles add to the richness of the film, namely with Jeffery Jones as the Emperor and Roy Dotrice as Mozart's domineering father. No score was composed for the film, because each piece of Mozart's music was chosen specifically by Schaffer and Forman to reflect the mood they hoped to achieve or the time in Mozart's life. I must say that they did a superb job and that the soundtrack is one of the all time greats in film history.

I can always watch this film if it is on, and I try to watch it at least once a year. If you have a chance, also watch the behind the scenes documentary on the DVD because it is just as compelling as the movie itself. Amadeus is easily in my Top Five films of all time. I'll favor you with that list sometime soon, but until then- watch Amadeus.

Things to watch for-

Simon Callow (who originated the role of Mozart) as Schikaneder
Nipples of Venus
Mozart changes the March of Welcome
The Requiem
The Queen of the Night
The Creature

"Forgive me, Majesty. I am a vulgar man! But I assure you, my music is not."

Monday, September 5, 2011

Five Top 5 Lists

Here now are five top five lists on a variety of subjects-

Top Five Steven Spielberg Movies-

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Schindler's List

Jurassic Park

Top Five Beers-

Newcastle Brown Ale
Miller High Life
Uinta Cutthroat Pale Ale
Pabst Blue Ribbon


Top Five Candy Bars-


Milky Way Midnight
Oh Henry!

Top Five Shows Currently on T.V.-

Mad Men

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
30 Rock

Top Five Secondary Star Wars Characters-

Bib Fortuna

Wedge Antilles
Admiral Ackbar
Aunt Beru
Jar Jar Binks (Just Kidding)