Achtung, baby

28 12 2015

Finally made it to the Neue Gallerie for the Berlin Metropolis exhibit.

Verdict: Ehhhhhh glad I went, slightly disappointed not more Otto Dix (tho’ this work is great), but taken with the work of John Heartfield (about whom I knew nothing prior to this exhibit) and pleased to see some of George Grosz’s work up close (although I didn’t know that there was more than ‘Metropolis’ painting: I was thinking of this one, but the Gallerie hung this one).

There were a fair number of movie stills and drawings for movie sets, which didn’t rock my world, but I’m sure would be of interest to film aficionados. There were a few fashion items (shoes, dresses, hats), and some architectural renderings. Oh, and Walter Ruttman’s Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolis played on continuous loop; I watched about a third of it, but will catch the rest on YouTube.

I also checked out the (small) permanent collection, and, oh my, they have a number of Klimt’s—including the famous portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, which is, as expected, completely astonishing.

But what stood me still was this smaller piece by Klimt, Girl in the Foliage:

As noted, it’s small—less than 13×10—but man, there’s something about that face, her eyes, that I couldn’t stop looking at. I stood back, I went in close, I stood back. I left, I came back, left again, came back again.

It’s just. . . I . . . I lack the words for this image, for how it affects me, not mesmerizing, maybe mesmerizing. . . I don’t know. I can only repeat: it stood me still.

I can ask for nothing else.





Upsot?

24 12 2015

My mom loves Christmas music. Loves loves loves.

Back when we had a stereo she’d load up that little thingamabob in the turntable with, I dunno, 5, 6, albums and let ‘er rip. Nowadays, she loads up the cd player and lets ‘er rip.

When I was little I loved the music and then I got older and teen-crabby and hated it and now that I’m not forced to listen to it I’m kind Eh about the whole thing.

Still, there was one song I was amused by:

And yes, I listened to it while writing this.

I still like it.

I hope you do, too. Merry happy peaceful.





I hate you

24 12 2015

Oh my fucking Zeus do I hate Twitter right now. NOT WORKING!

That’s under 140 characters isn’t it?

Fuck. I have to finish grading, but I sure as I hell don’t want to look at papers when I am this fucking aggravated.

I can’t believe that after all my to-ing and fro-ing regarding this stupid platform that I’m still trying to work with its sorry fucking ass.

Fuck fuck fuuuuuuuck.

Oh, fuck.





Circus Maximus MMXVI: Dance this mess around

23 12 2015

I am old—I’ll hit a half century in 2016—so I have run out of patience for this kind of shit:

Hillary Clinton is just Republican lite

And, fucking hell, he had to make this a generational thing, as opposed to a self-satisfied-schmuck thing.

I’m not going to bother fisking Bragman’s “argument”, such as it is—Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns & Money has been handling Bragman and others of his ilk quite nicely—but I do want to emphasize that when the 2nd-wave feminists argued the personal is political, this is not what they had in mind.

I get it: You don’t like Clinton. Fine. You don’t have to like Clinton. And the primary is the perfect place in which to register your preference for the senator from Vermont.

Hell, I plan to vote for Sanders (even if self-satisfied schmucks “feeling the Bern!” make me want to defenestrate my computer). And then I’ll go volunteer for the Clinton campaign.

You see, I know this election is not about ME ME M-FUCKIN’-E ME!

It’s about a chance to make things marginally better versus a chance to make things much worse, not just for me, but for folks in this country whose well-being ought to matter to any decent leftist.

Which the Bernie-or-bust bros, with their heads comfortably snuggled up their respective asses, are manifestly not.

~~~

Okay, so here’s where I also admit that I’m a hippy-hippy-forward-hippy-hippy-hippy-hippy-hippy-shake! hypocrite:

I voted for Nader in 2000. When I was old enough to know better.

Now, in my defense, I was living in Minnesota, which Gore had locked down, and I’m pretty (not, alas, absolutely) sure I would have sucked it up and voted for the vip had I lived someplace swing.

(And as an aside, if these Bern-burners live in states which are clearly in the tank for one party or the other, then, whatever, register your protest. But Bragman et. al. aren’t content simply with registering a protest: they loudly announce their preference any Republican to Clinton.)

But, yeah, I was pissed at Gore and even years into the Bush regime I liked to toss around the whole “he couldn’t even win his home state” bluster in response to (entirely appropriate) criticism of my vote.

I was an idiot. Not only would Gore have been a better president than Bush, he fuckin’ certainly would have been a better president than Nader. Who I voted for. For president.

Fuuuuck younger-me.

So maybe I’m particularly sensitive to these types “we’ll-show-’em!” of arguments because I am a convert away from them, and y’all know the converts are the most hard-core.

But it’s also worth pointing out how well that whole Gore Sucks movement worked out, how well that worked for the country, for the world—which is to say, calmly, quietly,

NOT FUCKING WELL AT ALL.

 





Keep it down now

20 12 2015

So much concern about black people and brown people and gay and lesbian people and transpeople and women people insisting that they’re people and you know who’s really got it bad?

But seriously, you know who can’t take a joke? White guys. Not if it implicates them and their universe, and when you see the rage, the pettiness, the meltdowns and fountains of male tears of fury, you’re seeing people who really expected to get their own way and be told they’re wonderful all through the days. And here, just for the record, let me clarify that I’m not saying that all of them can’t take it. Many white men—among whom I count many friends (and, naturally, family members nearly as pale as I)—have a sense of humor, that talent for seeing the gap between what things are supposed to be and what they are and for seeing beyond the limits of their own position. Some have deep empathy and insight and write as well as the rest of us. Some are champions of human rights.

But there are also those other ones, and they do pop up and demand coddling. A group of black college students doesn’t like something and they ask for something different in a fairly civil way and they’re accused of needing coddling as though it’s needing nuclear arms. A group of white male gamers doesn’t like what a woman cultural critic says about misogyny in gaming and they spend a year or so persecuting her with an unending torrent of rape threats, death threats, bomb threats, doxxing, and eventually a threat of a massacre that cites Marc LePine, the Montreal misogynist who murdered 14 women in 1989, as a role model. I’m speaking, of course, about the case of Anita Sarkeesian and Gamergate. You could call those guys coddled. We should. And seriously, did they feel they were owed a world in which everyone thought everything they did and liked and made was awesome or just remained silent? Maybe, because they had it for a long time.

Rebecca Solnit can think and she can write and if I were the jealous type I’d be jealous that she gets paid to do the work I can’t be arsed to do but I’m not particularly jealous so instead I’ll just read her and sigh Ahhhhh.

~~~

h/t PZ Myers; update: fixt hed





Who knows, tonight, we may lose the battle!

16 12 2015

How about some numbers?

I’m a theorist, yes, but when it comes to elections, you gotta talk numbers.

So how about some numbers for Reichstag elections 1919-1932?

  • January 1919 (percentage of seats; bold are Weimar Coalition 1919-20; after 1920, parties in minority)
    • Social Democrats (SPD) 39%
    • [Catholic] Center (Z) 22%
    • German Workers Party (DDP) 18%
    • Nationalists (DNVP) 10%
    • Independent Social Democrats (USPD) 5%
    • German People’s Party (DVP) 4%
    • Others 2%
  • June 6, 1920
    • SPD 22%
    • USPD 18%
    • DNVP 15%
    • DVP 14%
    • Z 14%
    • DDP 8%
    • Bavarian People’s Party (BVP) 5%
    • Communists (KPD) 1%
    • Others 2%
  • November 30, 1923 (seats)
    • DDP +DVP + Z 168
    • SPD 103
    • USPD 83
    • DNVP 71
    • BVP 21
    • KPD 4
    • Others 10
  • May 4, 1924 (percentage)
    • SPD 21%
    • DNVP 20%
    • Z 14%
    • KPD 13%
    • DVP 10%
    • German People’s Freedom  Party (DFVP) + Nazis (NSDAP) 7%
    • DDP 6%
    • BVP 3%
    • Others 6%
  • December 7, 1924
    • SPD 27%
    • DNVP 21%
    • Z 14%
    • DVP 10%
    • KPD 9%
    • DDP 6%
    • BVP 4%
    • NSDAP 3%
    • Others 6%
  • May 20, 1928
    • SPD 31%
    • DNVP 15%
    • Z 13%
    • KPD 11%
    • DVP 9%
    • DDP 5%
    • BVP 3%
    • NSDAP 2%
    • Others 10%
  • September 14, 1930
    • SPD 25%
    • NSDAP 19%
    • KPD 13%
    • Z 12%
    • DNVP 7%
    • German State Party (DStP, former DDP) 3%
    • BVP 3%
    • Others 12%
  • July 31, 1932
    • NSDAP 38%
    • SPD 22%
    • KPD 15%
    • Z 12%
    • DNVP 6%
    • BVP 4%
    • DVP 1%
    • DStP 1%
    • Others 2%
  • November 6, 1932
    • NSDAP 34%
    • SDP  21%
    • KPD 17%
    • Z 12%
    • DNVP 9%
    • BVP 3%
    • DVP 2%
    • DStP 0% (tho’ still held 2 seats)
    • Others 2%

The November 1932 were the last free parliamentary elections; after Hitler became chancellor in 1933, the fix was in, so while elections were held that year, they were in no way free. Even then, however, the Nazis couldn’t manage a majority: they received only 43.9% of the vote in the March 5 elections.

A coupla’ things to note about these numbers (helpfully provided by Fuad Aleskerov, Manfred J. Holler, and Rita Kamalova in their paper, Power Distribution in the Weimar Reichstag 1919-1933; note that they go on to analyze those electoral results and various governing coalitions):

  1. These are parliamentary election results, which may or may not have been reflected in who was chosen as chancellor—and there were alotttttta chancellors in this period.
  2. As noted in a previous post (as well as in bold, above), the Weimar coalition didn’t rule past 1920.
  3. A number of parties in parliament were, in fact, anti-parliamentarian: the rightist Nationalists (DNVP) most notably early on, and the Communist KPD and fascist NSDAP later.
  4. The two Catholic parties kind of straddled the republican line: The Center party (Z) was decidedly anti-left, but also valued their ability to participate fully in government; they moved to the right by the end of the 1920s. The Bavarian People’s party (BVP) was more conservative (and, obviously, found its power base in Bavaria) throughout this period.
  5. Finally, and rather importantly, look at those figures for NSDAP: After the failed beer-hall putsch in 1923, Hitler vowed he would take power via ‘legal’ means. Yet in elections from 1924-28, they were a marginal force in politics—the Nationalists were the main representative of the right in parliament. It was only after the onset of the Depression did the Nazis’ electoral fortunes improve.

That last bit is rather important: absent economic crisis, it is not clear that the republic would have fallen, nor that the Nazis would rise to destroy it all.

It’s an incredibly complex matter, complexities which I’ve barely touched on here nor in previous (and likely, future) posts, and which I’m still sorting out myself, but whatever other elements contributed to the end of Weimar, it’s nonsense to conclude that the republic fell of its own accord.

~~~

In addition to the Aleskerov, Holler, and Kamalova piece, I also relied upon Richard Evans’s The Coming of the Third Reich and Detlev Peukert’s The Weimar Republic for various electoral and party information.





What good’s permitting some prophet of doom

15 12 2015

Ahem:

It’s a sort of Weimar Republic problem. The liberal left have the upper hand, and use it so carelessly and arrogantly, so totally despising those who disagree with them,  that they risk losing not just their own superficial gains, but the whole of free society. I believe this to be true, and have tried arguing it with members of the new elite, quite often. They haven’t been interested.

Excuse me Mr. Peter Hitchens but did YOU NOT READ MY LAST POST wherein I noted that THE LIBERAL PARTIES IN WEIMAR NEVER HELD A MAJORITY IN PARLIAMENT PAST 1920?!

No, no, you clearly did NOT.

~~~

h/t Rod Dreher

(And yes, I’ll continue my long-form diatribe tomorrow.)