Nazi punks fuck off

20 09 2017

Ohhh, I don’t know why, but it seemed that it might be a good time to read Deborah Lipstadt’s Denying the Holocaust.

No reason, really. Y’know, I just happened to have recently watched Denial, happened to have been at the Strand, happened to have to have found myself in the Holocaust Studies section, and, Oh, look, there it is. And then I just happened to have found myself in the opposite corner of the basement in the Law section, where, again, Lookee, here’s History on Trial.

I have said before that, after that first rush to do something, anything, to grit up the gears of the Trump machine, I’d deflated.

I’m still flat. Oh, I still go to the occasional protest and holler, but mostly, I read of all the harm this administration is doing and think God. Fucking. Dammit. And not much more.

I am still trying to think, however, and I figured Lipstadt would be among those authors who could give me something to think about. She doesn’t sketch out an explicit typology of denial in Denying, but in laying out the stories of Hitler and Nazi apologetics, she makes it easy to see the tricks and bullshit these horrid wretches pull to advance their pernicious claims. (In fact, I think I may go through the book and pull out and arrange that tricksy shit for all of y’all.)

It is discouraging, however, to note that, in the preface to Denying, she writes of the incredulity her work provoked, as if no one could believe such a rebuttal were necessary. But then, she continues, That situation has changed dramatically. Regrettably, I no longer have to convince others of the relevance of this work.

Why discouraging? Denying was published in 1993.

~~~

I know, it’s easy to laugh at tiki torches and fashy haircuts, but anyone who wears a swastika is a menace. I absolutely believe that we can and should laugh at these assholes as much as possible—if mockery can shrink ’em, then let’s errrrybody mock—but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take them seriously, and shouldn’t be ready to confront them at every possible turn.*

I’ve long thought it important to keep an eye on the fringes, even if I didn’t think it necessary to do more than that. The overt antisemites are still on the fringes, along with the hood-wearing racists, but that they’re popping up has made it even easier for the ‘respectable’ white supremacists to advance their ideas about “globalists”, “thugs”, and “aliens”.

Again, none of these convictions translates, for me, into a clear sense of what, exactly, I should be doing. But I know I need to prepare for whatever comes.

~~~

*I just re-read Jen Graves’s 2013 piece on Charles Krafft, an artist who worked—ironically, it was thought—in Nazi imagery; turns out that, no, really not ironic.

So Krafft is a piece of shit. But what’s striking is less his shittiness than his friends’ reactions to that shittiness:

Another old friend, Tacoma writer Peggy Andersen, said she had to stop socializing with Krafft. “I told him, ‘When I hang out with you, I feel like I’m endorsing something.’… His main thing is that the Holocaust is an exaggeration. I say, if they only killed 10,000 people because they were Jewish, it would still be a holocaust, jackass.” As Andersen and I ended our interview, she said, “Be sure to say I love Charlie.”

A longtime friend who insisted on anonymity said, “It’s not only anti-Semitic stuff, it’s also racism—you know, blacks and women and anything that is held dear by the liberal establishment. And I can see a reaction against holier-than-thou attitudes, I mean, yeah, of course. But…”

Other friends, like Larry Reid, coauthor of the 2002 monograph on Krafft, Villa Delirium, just sort of look away. “I try not to pay too much attention,” Reid said.

Yeah, no, looking away, proclaiming love, not paying attention: not gonna fly.

Like I said, I may not know what to do, big-picture, but if one of my “kind”, “generous”, “articulate”, Zen friends goes Nazi, I sure as hell hope I know at least enough to say NOPE.

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Shine a little light

11 09 2017

Last year, I didn’t go out to look at the lights.

They’re visible from the grounds of my building, two thin, blurred beams towering up through the night, disappearing into the beyond. All I have to do is walk down a few flights of stairs, across the lobby, out the door, angle a look left and up, and there they are.

I haven’t seen them every year since I’ve been in New York; in fact, I don’t know if I saw them before I moved to my current apartment. Maybe? I don’t know.

Anyway, I wasn’t here when it happened, didn’t know anyone (at the time) directly affected; those who I know who were here will talk about it, if prompted, but none of them will volunteer the memory. It’s personal.

It sometimes seems fake for me to claim those two lights as mine, to think that there’s anything to my witness of this annual rite. But I felt bad, last year, for not going out. Here or not, mine or not, it seemed disrespectful not to remember, especially since that remembrance costs me so little.

So, tonight, I took the short walk down and out, looked left and up, and there they were, grayer here and brighter there as they passed through the clouds and up into the beyond, farther than those of us on the ground can see.





Going to the chapel

10 09 2017

I was supposed to get married last night. Or early this morning. Or both, really.

This happens every so often: I am in some sort of wedding venue about to wed a man I barely know.

Last night, he was blond and nice and I don’t know even know if bridal-me knew his name. I think I knew the bridesmaids—in one version, the three of them were wearing not-entirely-awful aubergine dresses, and we acted like we knew each other—but I also remember wondering whether they were friends or family or why they were my bridesmaids. At one point they were stepping on my very long train.

In both versions the wedding was being held in some kind of funky mansion/old hall with 17 chapels, with many weddings happening all at once. It was an amazing place, and it was all quite festive.

Also, in both versions, I thought Why the hell am I getting married? I mean, the groom (younger than me, I think) seemed like a perfectly decent guy, but we hadn’t know each other very long and I felt nothing in particular for him. In one version I actually made it into the chapel and was about to head down the aisle, but in the other I (and/or bridesmaids and/or friends and family) were rushing to find the right chapel, thinking we’re late, but not. At one point in one of the versions I recall telling a friend I really shouldn’t be getting married and she cheerfully agreed, but nothing came of it. I also thought I should call this off; isn’t it too late to call this off? Then again, I also thought, Well, let’s see what happens. Oh, and yet yet again, I thought, this is all just a dream so it doesn’t matter what happens because when I wake up I’ll be single.

Also, in both versions, my hair was a disaster.

Now, when I was younger I thought—assumed—I’d get married. As a dress-hating pre-adolescent I announced that I would get married in jeans, a jean jacket, and a jeans hat. Yes, I left that particular fixation behind, but also, at some point probably in my twenties, stopped assuming I’d get married, then stopped wanting it.

Do I want to get married? In the abstract, no, which, given that my relationships never lasted long enough to advance much beyond the theoretical, meant that that abstraction reigned. But what if I met someone who was not abstract, with whom I did manage to maintain a relationship long enough for it to become real, for us to say, Hey, maybe. . . ?

I dunno. I doubt it. Then again, Hey, maybe. . . .

In the meantime, I guess I’ll keep having this nocturnal ceremonies with grooms (thus far, they’ve all been men, but that could change) I barely know, wearing gowns I’d never choose, always simultaneously late and on-time, the perpetual bride-to-be.