Friday, November 16, 2012

800th Post

And maybe the last. But, either way, some Cabaret...


Nominally Catholic said...

Nominally Catholic said...

Mark, this post is the extremely offensive! The Nazis killed nearly 6 million people in Poland, many of whom were my own family members and relatives! The thriving Jewish community in my parents' hometown of Zabno was completely exterminated -- all that is left now is an old Jewish cementary. I can't believe that you had the nerve to post this socialist Nazi crap. WWII was the most atrocious and covered up war of the last century. The numbers of casualties and secrets are only now beginning to emerge, whereas others are dying with the same elderly population who would like many things to remain secrets. Polish people warned the world and the world didn't listen. They are reminding people about its events to this day, but the history is merely being shrugged off.

Well, good luck world! Much of the peace and cooperation that we enjoy now is directly attributable to the actions of the "civilized" Germans in the 1940's. Keep embracing Nietszche and Marx, sex and power. It only leads to manipulation and murder.

Nominally Catholic said...

The difference between my Polish ethno-centrism and Germanic Nazi ethnocentrism:

No other culture can claim so many years of oppression!!

Jordan/sortacatholic said...


It's all good that you're into Broadway, but I doubt that it was a wise idea to post this clip. Perhaps you have some reason for doing so that isn't immediately evident to your readers.

I can understand NominallyCatholic's rage. The Shoah is more than an extreme atrocity. It is also an complex sociocultural and religious phenomenon for Christians and Jews alike. MarkVA and I had a chat once on VN about this, and decided that it was better to let time mend these wounds.

Robert said...

"MarkVA and I had a chat once on VN about this, and decided that it was better to let time mend these wounds."

How much time? If I am good at guessing, I know the ages of everyone who is offended by this reference to WWII. None of us were in the war. To my knowledge our parents weren't even in the war. You all have no physical wounds from these events, other than hand-me-down sensitivities. How many generational gaps do we need before we can talk about this stuff? Or even (God forbid) have an art piece describe even for a moment a single Nazi as something other than a Jew-hating, God despising, baby eaters?

Nominally Catholic said...

Well Robert,

If it were up to Holocaust-deniers like yourself, we would all be laughing, but the wound is much larger than the Americanist portrayal and denial of WWII. Go ahead and tell your grandchildren that the Iraq war didn't happen, that September 11th was just a joke and that African American slavery and apartheid was simply a casual affair. YOU simply cannot tolerate that almost every Polish person alive today was brought up hearing stories from their grandparents of their aunts and uncles going to concentration camps or being shipped off to Siberia (or in the events following the War in Ukraine, being starved to death). I find this clip (or rather the TONE in which it was posted to be extremely intolerant and disrespectful of the real tragedies that occurred as a result of the "civilized" and "intellectually" and industrially-advanced German nation. We go all "koochie-koo" over veterans who return from Iraq or Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder today. Is it absurd to think that our grandparents went through the same, if not much, much worse?

Polish social dynamics are different from white, overpriveleged social dynamics, just as African-American social dynamics are different from both. It would be absurd to claim that we must all belong to just "one" vague socio-cultural system.

So feel free to attack me, the "man," rather than the ideas because they make you feel uncomfortable (would you care to expose your biases rather than craftily disguise them in a veil of cynicism)? It's okay if you hate "Polaks," that's fine. Just make sure to be open and explicit about it. Why, if a dispassionate and intellectual appeal to more tolerance should arouse so much passive aggression and cynicism in you, don't you think that the victimized descendants of the cultures that the Nazis slaughtered like dogs wouldn't feel a little bit of outrage?

The point is to perpetuate the wound so that it exposes prejudice rather than just pretending that it didn't happen.

A Sinner said...

omg, lol. Cabaret is NOT a pro-nazi musical. At all. It's an anti-nazi musical.

In fact, the point is that final line "Do you still think you can control them?" about the strength of empty propaganda over reason.

The scene was posted on another Catholic blog a couple months ago and that's where I found it, with the same sentiments expressed:

Nominally Catholic said...

I stand by my initial outrage

Nes said...

"Nominally Daft"

Nominally Catholic said...

Oh, not merely "nominally" daft, but normatively so.

Singing Nazis are simply not funny. Whatever point the original Catholic blogger was trying to assert simply came out as religious and fanatical anti-Semitism. So many things pass off for "Catholicism" nowadays, that I just want to make sure Catholic bloggers know that what they write is not infallible dogma...

Nominally Catholic said...

"None of us were in the war. To my knowledge our parents weren't even in the war. You all have no physical wounds from these events, other than hand-me-down sensitivities."

During WWII the Nazis killed 22% of the inhabitants of Poland, 2.6 million of its 3 million Jewish citizens, 3 million other civilians and 320,000 in the military. (These losses compare with just over 2% of those in the Netherlands and 1.3% in France). Most Polish Americans lost members of their families, sometimes whole branches, to the Nazi policy of extermination, but this tragic fact is not recognized by American society.

Thus, it may take more than just two generational gaps to forget a tragedy as big as the Nazi extermination of Poles. It is embedded in their very identity. Every person in my generation has grandparents who were themselves teenagers during the War's events. Furthermore, it is absurd to make fun of any tragedy, as I hopefully made clear by making distasteful correlations to September 11th. One simply does not laugh at evil.

Nominally Catholic said...

Polish nationalism in itself also has nothing to do with Polish history. It is not the Poles' fault that they are and have historically been Catholic, for example, nor are all Polish Catholics necessarily nationalistic, anti-Semitic or and biased. Poland was historically very tolerant of other religions.

Poland became a primarily Catholic country as a direct result of the Holocaust and the Catholic-born Adolf Hitler's cleansing of Polish Jewry.

Communism, which actually provided welfare for the poor as well as jobs for Polish women as far back as 50's, was nevertheless anti-Semitic -- expelling most of Poland's remaining Jews in the 1980s from the country because they were seen as a nationalistic threat.

Poland has sky-rocketed into economic boom in recent years, though at the expense of the poor. Unlike its American counter-part, the economic success in Poland is overshadowed by a severe neglect of social welfare.

In spite of their "posing" to European secularists, Church-spurning Polish Catholics also spurn the poor, as the Church remains the only institution that still cares for the poor.

Thus the more nationalistic and jingoistic attitudes are the ones which would like to willfully deny the well-documented facts of Polish history, a denial that is rooted not only in ignorance but also in sheer bias. The derogatory "Polish" jokes of the 70's in Chicago as well as presently in Germany are only one example. The anti-Polish sociologies of various sociological schools in America are another. Finally, the Church-spurning attitudes of contemporary Poles themselves (supported heartily by onlooking Western society) is a third, spurning the poor in spite the fact that the Church remains the only source of welfare for the poor in Poland, in direct contrast to Poland's tremendous economic growth.

Nominally Catholic said...

It was also the Nazi, Prussian, Austrian and Russian bourgeois which initially caused most of Poland's problems, the Communist bourgeois which continued the problems and the church-spurning European secularist bourgeois attitudes which are now prolonging the problems.

Considering just how quickly the present-day bourgeois would like people to forget the war, however, (consider that thousands of the Nazis pardoned in the Nuremberg trials were governing members of large corporations like IG Farben -- and the same people were allowed to conduct "business as usual" well through the 50's and 60's, turning over to head large present-day corporations like Bayer and Braun), Polish outrage is simply a loud expression of righteous anger, a kind of "affirmative action." Poles have been disadvantaged historically, through no fault of their own.

To this day Poles regard themselves as the "Christ of the Nations" -- a notion so deeply embedded in the Polish psyche that it extends all the way back to the late Middle Ages and Early Renaissance. It was at that time that the Catholic Church in Poland introduced the idea in the sermons of Polish Catholic preachers in response Protestantism as well as Jan Sobieski's military victory in Vienna. The idea was later taken up again by the Catholic Polish Romantics, who used it to describe the state of the nation with respect to its wealthy and tyrannical Russian, Prussian and Austrian occupiers. The notion was once again affirmed by the martyrdom of Polish Catholics in various wars, none more atrocious than World War II. Finally, not even a Communist socialist government allowed its people to live freely, suppressing freedeom of speech and information as well as the facts of history. Thus the notion of Messianism has continued up until modern times.

Having grown up with these nationalistically messianic attitudes as well as different perpsective on global history than most Americans, Poles and Polish Americans like myself react very strongly to myths and misconceptions. While not an issue for most Americans, except sentimentally, the Second World War is THE defining issue for Poles, whose own tragic history is simply suppressed and ignored.

Considering this, neither I nor the authorities of the Polish Church (I base this claim on actual scholarship as well as the Polish bishops' own testimony) find anything wrong with a victim Messianic theology, especially when the sole aim of such a theology is the redemption of others through personal suffering. It is precisely when such messianism takes up the flavor of Nazism where such thinking is dangerous, nevertheless the Polish attitude is not liberation theology.

Nor is such an attitude ethnically exclusionary - the same sentiments are shared by Jewish Poles, who in addition to Polish Messianism have a religious understanding of messianism of their own -- understanding themselves as the "chosen people."

On my trip to Poland in high school I also walked on the grounds of Auschwitz and saw the barracks, the train-tracks and the gas-chambers for myself. Actually seeing the places where the defining mass murders of the 20th century happened thus also make it difficult to take jokes or dismissive attitudes about those mass murders lightly.