June 12, 2012

Mel Gibson and Lars von Trier

My new Taki's Magazine column covers a lot of ground:
You probably haven’t heard of Get the Gringo, a recent Lethal Weapon-like action movie starring Mel Gibson and directed by his right-hand man Adrian Grunberg. Mad Mel plays Driver, an American criminal who makes a run for the border, only to wind up in one of those Beyond Thunderdome-like Mexican prisons where anything (except freedom) can be had for a price. 
You can watch the first eight minutes of Get the Gringo online here; it looks fun. So far, 9,949 reviewers on IMDb.com have given it a mean rating of 7.4 out of 10, which equates to “not great, but quite good.”  
Although Get the Gringo debuted on March 15, 2012 in Israel, there are no plans to ever let it enjoy a theatrical run here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Read the whole thing there.

102 comments:

slumber_j said...

Yes: this is a remarkable aspect of American intellectual history that's weirdly not much remarked-upon. My maternal grandfather was the son of a German academic and a Yankee WASP, and he assumed I'd be learning German as all educated people had in this country for a long time. I still have the imposing Blacketter books he gave me to kickstart the process so long ago, and I still can't read them.

Harry Baldwin said...

To watch Get the Gringo legally in the United States, you have to pay $11.99 to satellite provider DirecTV for video on demand.

It's being released on video on 7/17/12. You can preorder it on Amazon. It's got an 80% score at Rotten Tomatoes, higher than "Prometheus" or "Madagascar 3."

Anonymous said...

If you have Amazon Prime (and why wouldn't you?) then you can stream it for three bucks.

Whiskey said...

Siegel and Schuster were inspired by ... pulp tales and such. Superman was originally the villain and bald. They were not very Jewish, AFAIK neither spoke or read Hebrew, and had the usually hazy knowledge of Jewish culture among assimilated Ashkenazi.

Chambon was pumping up his own stuff.

In Captain America: First Avenger the saintly Dr. Erskine was played by Stanley Tucci as a German Jew. In NBC's "Grimm" the hero is Nick Burkhardt who is a German descended 'Grimmn' who can see magical fairy tale creatures, and is helped by another German descended fairy tale creature. German is not presented as "scary" but European.

Meanwhile Roseanne Barr, she of posing as Hitler "burning" "Jew cookies" with yarmulkes and star of Davids in an oven in some photo shoot has a midseason replacement series on NBC.

If its just anti-Jewish feeling, Barr is fully as egregious a violator of that taboo than Gibson, but Gibson is a non-person and Barr is back in the swing.

I would not argue that purging Germanic influences from thought and culture is not ongoing, but I would say that it is peaked and retreating.

DaveinHackensack said...

Interesting and provocative essay, Steve, but I think you're stretching it.

I can see how you could call 2001: A Space Odyssey Nietzschean (for the ape - man - superman arc), but Hitlerian? If it has any connection to Hitler, wouldn't it be an anti-Hitler film, given that the misguided villain (HAL) commits a genocide of sorts against the astronauts? To be consistent with your reading, man (Bowman) only becomes superman (the Star Child) by transcending Hitler (HAL).

As for the decline in German cultural influence in the west in recent decades, that seems less the result of a retroactive conspiracy to punish Hitler than the result of Germany's actual decline in cultural influence post-WWII (partly due to Hitler killing or forcing into exile so many of Germany's cultural luminaries).

Germany has produced a few excellent movies that were well-received in the West in recent years (e.g., The Lives of Others, Run Lola Run), but Germany has been punching below its economic weight culturally for decades.

DaveinHackensack said...

A couple of other points:

Where there was an active attempt to minimize the impact of German culture in the US was during World War I. The difference then is that German culture was actually ascendant during the first part of the 20th Century. It hasn't been for decades.

And the inspiration for the comic book character ("The Escapist") in Chabon's book was pretty clearly Houdini.

Anonymous said...

I think Trier's mother got fooled. Her son has zero talent.

But it's amusing... ideologically communist but procreatively fascist.

Anonymous said...

Did Brave One get released?

Bring me the head of Mel Gibson?

Anonymous said...

"As for the decline in German cultural influence in the west in recent decades, that seems less the result of a retroactive conspiracy to punish Hitler than the result of Germany's actual decline in cultural influence post-WWII (partly due to Hitler killing or forcing into exile so many of Germany's cultural luminaries)."

We are talking of legacy, not influence. Even legacy has been blanked out. This is also due to decline of German-American power.

TGGP said...

According to Wikipedia, Roseanne Barr was raised Jewish/Mormon. I'm as surprised as you are. Not sure what point Whiskey is trying to make, but whatever it was would have been stronger back in the 90s when somebody might have given a damn.

Anonymous said...

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-met-kass-0613-20120613,0,5725691.column

Victim: 'They were enjoying frightening people'
Mob attacks wound Streeterville's sense of security

Anonymous said...

there are no plans to ever let it enjoy a theatrical run here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. To watch Get the Gringo legally in the United States, you have to pay $11.99 to satellite provider DirecTV for video on demand.

Or you can download it and watch illegally. Takes about 2 minutes to find and 30-50 min of slow download. When the market fails to meet the demand...

I did watch Get the Gringo and wasn't impressed. It's a long series of cliches set in the exotic locale. I gave it 6/10 on IMDB just because it is well executed and does not take itself too seriously.

Simon in London said...

Whiskey:
"Meanwhile Roseanne Barr, she of posing as Hitler "burning" "Jew cookies" with yarmulkes and star of Davids in an oven in some photo shoot..."

You can do that if you're Jewish like Barr.

Orthodox said...

I watched Get the Gringo using torrents. It was decent, a bit corny. To my knowledge, no Englishmen were killed in the movie.

Anonymous said...

Brueckner was Hitler's favorite composer, not Wagner. Which makes you wonder about Star Wars...

Okay, no it doesn't. But it makes me, and probably nobody else wonder about Star Wars...if the final scene of the first movie was ripped off from Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will", and the "Star Wars" theme by John Williams was ripped off from the 1st movement of Brueckner's 4th - obviously this is a crypto-Nazi film. Time to airbrush it out of existence.

To the extent Lucas hasn't managed that already with the prequels.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Mel Gibson could make a film in which nobody is brutalized or dies horribly.

Rain And said...

"[[Get the Gringo]] has theatrical releases in South America, the Middle East, Singapore, Russia, Australia and many European countries such as the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Portugal, Poland and the UK & Ireland where it is known by its original title"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Get_the_Gringo

This sucks. It's obvious why Mel Gibson's new film gets to be in every movie theater in the world right now EXCEPT in the US. But can someone point to a source that explicitly discusses the reasons.

Anonymous said...

Not only German culture, other European cultures have been downplayed and even villainized for not going along to the neocon/liberal agenda that definies American politics.

Anonymous said...

"This sucks. It's obvious why Mel Gibson's new film gets to be in every movie theater in the world right now EXCEPT in the US. But can someone point to a source that explicitly discusses the reasons."

I'll hazard a naive guess: Over the top, Mexican gang jailhouse schlock is like sci fi outside the U.S. Inside, it's a little too close to home.

Gilbert P.

Anonymous said...

Hitlers favorite composer by all serious accounts was Franz Lehár. His wife who was of Jewish decent was even granted Aryan status because of that. Hitler used Wagner and Bruckner for political purposes but his true love was Vienna not Valhalla. Lehár symbolizes the contradiction of Hitler's attitude towards the Jews like no other. Regarding the perceived cultural decline that Germany experienced, its cultural elite never really embraced television or film as a serious form of art. For Americans who consider only these art forms viable, mainly because they generate both revenue and soft power, Germany might appear as a wasteland. I don't know of any German university professor who writes about Buffy the Vampire Slayer but have encountered numerous Americans with liberal arts degrees from ivy league colleges who's main occupation are TV shows,comics and the hidden messages in holllyweird blockbusters.

Anonymous said...

...directed by his right-hand man Adrian MacGrunberg... debuted in Israel...

Is this the same SS Reichsführer Mel Gibson who was chased out of Hollyweird because he objected to the Scots-Irish ethnicity of the KKKalifornia policeman who pulled him over for drunk driving?!?

Anonymous said...

Uh, Master Steve, a stylistic question: “Consider Kubrick’s 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, which to suspicious 21st-century eyes sounds practically Hitlerian.”

Did you mean to say “…21st-century eyes looks practically Hitlerian.” Or “…21st-century ears sounds practically Hitlerian.”? Since it’s a movie, I’d assumed you meant “eyes-looks”, but you also discussed Strauss and Wagner in the next three sentences, so it could be “ears-sounds”. Just sayin’. Please help a prole reader out here...

Anonymous said...

...you have to pay $11.99 to satellite provider DirecTV for video on demand...

Does anyone know how much of the $11.99 makes it back to Mel & the guys who actually made the movie [versus how much of it gets eaten up by the middlemen]?

Thanks.

Marlowe said...

It seems Mr. Gibson has remade Midnight Express and set it a little closer to home. Amusing factoid: Oliver Stone's story grew out of his personal experience of incarceration in a U.S. prison on the Mexican border. While returning from the land of the siesta, bearing unlawful herbs, the gendarmes detained him and threw him into jail. Mr. Stone discovered that he was the only gringo in the joint. It formed a satori moment for him, the scales dropped from his eyes and he saw American for what it truly is. A lot of his anger at the country in his later work came out of it.

BTW: the only 'visceral experience' Wagner's anti-semitic views induced in Nietzsche was one of nausea. He despised and loathed anti-semites and had a couple of Jewish friends. Unfortunately, his sister, Elizabeth, married a man named Vorster, a full-on German anti-semite (and Wagnerian), who set about establishing a pure Aryan colony in Paraguay (I think). After Nietzsche's collapse in 1889, his sister became responsible for his care until his death a decade later and she took control of his work and prepared editions taking his writings on Jews (some of which were critical) and presenting them in a light most favourable to her own position.

Nietzsche also repeatedly expressed his scorn of German nationalism and regarded German Culture a contradiction in terms during the late 19th century because of Bismark's realpolitik. He regarded France as the leading cultural force within Europe and was a pan-European. He said Germans had played a calamitous role in history - the tribes destroying the Roman Empire and Martin Luther and the Reformation. The further calamities wrought by Germans in the 20th century would have satisfied him.

Anonymous said...

'Regarding the perceived cultural decline that Germany experienced, its cultural elite never really embraced television or film as a serious form of art.'

But their music, painting, and lit were no great shakes after the war either.

Also, German elites took film and tv very seriously. tv was heavily funded by the state and ran many serious stuff. And German cinema attracted many intellectuals.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer:"In particular, the huge Ashkenazi debt to German thought is being eased down the memory hole."

I would argue that it was a kind of German-Jewish synthesis, as the cultures effectively merged.

Steve Sailer:"Strangely enough, this did not happen immediately after WWII. For decades afterward, the most celebrated Jewish thinkers—Marx, Freud, and Einstein—were all depicted as German-speaking Herr Professor types."

Well, they were depicted as "German-speaking Herr Professor types" because they were German speaking Herr professors.

Syon

Anonymous said...

"I don't know of any German university professor who writes about Buffy the Vampire Slayer but have encountered numerous Americans with liberal arts degrees from ivy league colleges who's main occupation are TV shows,comics and the hidden messages in holllyweird blockbusters."

Germ universities are a joke.

Anonymous said...

DaveinHachesack:"I can see how you could call 2001: A Space Odyssey Nietzschean (for the ape - man - superman arc), but Hitlerian?"

Guilt by association.Because Hitler was influenced by Nietzsche, anything that displays aspects of Nietzsche's thought is , ipso facto, Hitlerian.

DaveinHackesack:"And the inspiration for the comic book character ("The Escapist") in Chabon's book was pretty clearly Houdini."

Chabon goes to ludicrous lengths to drag the Golem into the Superhero mythos. Josef Kavalier's first attempt at a superhero is the Golem. Similarly, his magnum opus is a kind proto-graphic novel involving a mash-up of Judaic Angelology, the Golem, and Jewish life in Central Europe-Ginzberg's LEGENDS OF THE JEWS in comic book form.


Syon

Rohan Swee said...

Anon @6/12/12 11:35 PM posted:

'They were enjoying frightening people'.

Fascinating. See journalists and SAPLs and SWPLs really starting to lose it under the strain of denial. Article wanders all over the place looking for a safe harbor. Something is happening in Streeterville. What could it be, what could it be?

Synopsis: The strain of cognitive dissonance now reducing reporters to drooling and babbling. I predict the print equivalent of hysterical laughing in articles on this topic as the summer wears on.

Anonymous said...

http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2012/feb/11/new-obama-cinema-clint-eastwood-halftime/

Anonymous said...

RE: Chabon and the Judaic roots of superheroes,

Other examples of his increasing focus on the intersection of pop-culture with all things Jewish are GENTLEMEN OF THE ROAD (Working title:JEWS WITH SWORDS-historical adventure but with a pair of Jewish swordsmen)and THE FINAL SOLUTION (Aged Sherlock Holmes and, you guessed it, Hitler's Final Solution to the Jewish Question).

GENTLEMEN OF THE ROAD is particularly interesting as an exercise in ethno-patriotic nationalism, as Chabon's Afterword largely consists of a lengthy ethnic rant about how the idea of "Jews with Swords" strikes many people as intrinsically funny.

Syon

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

I don't know of any German university professor who writes about Buffy the Vampire Slayer but have encountered numerous Americans with liberal arts degrees from ivy league colleges who's main occupation are TV shows,comics and the hidden messages in holllyweird blockbusters."

To say nothing of all those faux-conservative girly-men at National Review who gas on without end about pop-culture ephemera.

Anonymous said...

http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2012/jun/01/when-westerns-were-un-american/

"As the Vietnam War escalated, one could have made a parallel assumption about another popular genre: Every Marxist intellectual wants to write a Western."

Anonymous said...

I reiterate a past comment: Everything you write for Taki reads like it was once twice as long and was edited randomly.

How did the Mel Gibson movie fit into that? Even if he's an anti-Semite, he's not German. And no one is trying to erase him from history so much as not put his current movie in theaters. (His old movies are still constantly on cable.)

How, frankly, did LvT fit into that? No one is trying to erase him from history, either. To the contrary, people keep trying to push him into film history, even though his movies are mostly lousy.

It's like there were two missing pages. But why would a Web based publication edit for length? Particularly now that the Daily Mail has demonstrated so clearly that the key to web success is just putting everything into a story.

Unknown said...

I attended the Ring Cycle in San Francisco last summer and the opera house was packed. I knew several teutonophilic Jews in attendance. Unfamiliar but telltale schnozes abounded. No Jew I know wants to see “Moses und Aron” or listen to anything by Bloch.

I’m not disputing what you’re saying; I just don’t understand where these people in charge are coming from.
Kai

Anonymous said...

For anybody that appreciates civilization, the massive German contribution simply can't be denied. Prussia/Germany had the first society with mass literacy and an educated middle class. They invented the welfare state as well as the research university.

As a committed Germanophile, my favorite areas of German accomplishment are:

Engineering: Invented the industrial printing press, car, television, digital computer, bicycle, diesel engine, high-speed highway, etc.

Classical Music: Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner, Brahms, Strauss, Schumann, etc.

Philosophy/Sociology: Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx, Schopenhauer, Leibniz, Weber, etc.

Henry Canaday said...

The old German saw, "Die Wissenschaft Des Nicht Wissenswerten," has been turned on its originators.

Anonymous said...

In fact, California, Texas and Florida are now looking into the Utah guest worker program. So, you will see some states like Alabama going one direction and other states with a lot of them trying to almost legalized them.

Peter A said...

Hitlers favorite composer by all serious accounts was Franz Lehár.

That is debatable. Certainly when he was an impressionable youth in Vienna Hitler loved Wagner. Ironically Hitler would complain because most of the other fans of Wagner, or any highbrow music in Vienna in those days, were Jewish. Most German Viennese preferred hanging out at the local beisl eating and drinking.

josh said...

"I wonder if Mel Gibson could make a movie in which nobody is brutalized or dies horribly." I had the same question re Matthew McConnaughey...tho I was thinking of the audience!

pat said...

The movie business is changing. Around 1950 it changed once before.

It used to be that all the revenue to the studios came from ticket sales. The studios owned the neighborhood theaters. They released movies regularly but spent almost nothing on marketing. People showed up twice a week to see whatever was showing.

Today everything is different. There was an big effort in the fifties to keep people coming to the theaters with superior technology - wide screen, stereo sound, and 3D. All of those technologies are now available at home. TV is now vital for the movie studios. They need TV for the initial advertising campaign and later for the DVD/Blu-ray and cable TV presentation. These TV home presentations now bring in most of the studio's revenues.

Theatrical showings are a vestigial phenomenon. Every year they become less important. The battle is over - TV won. Movies are made for viewing on TV and they are marketed on TV. Theatrical releases are becoming simply previews.

I got a new 3D Blu-ray player yesterday. I'm planning to buy a 3D projector next week. Rather than saving theaters as Cameron, Spielberg and Lucas had hoped, 3D seems to just accelerate the movement away from theaters. One reason is because 3D at home is so cheap. A 3D Blu-ray player is only maybe twenty dollars more than a 2D version. Soon they won't even bother to make 2D players. A 3D projector is only a couple hundred dollars more than a comparable 2D model. Both of my new gadgets convert 2D to pseudo 3D on the fly. 3D movies rent for only one dollar more than 2D.

The big action movies like John Carter and the Resident Evil series are all made in 3D now.

There is no reason for theatrical releases now except as part of a big marketing drive. More and more smaller movies will just skip theaters altogether. Mel once again is a leader.

Albertosaurus

pat said...

As for the contention that Hitler really like Lehar not Wagner, WTF? Why can't someone like both?

Hitler, you say, gave Lehar a pass on his Jewish wife? Yes, but he also gave a pass to Max Lorenz (his favorite Wagnerian HeldenTenor) for his Jewish wife and also for his homosexuality. Lorenz was doubly protected.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

In a way, the decline of Teutonism is related to decline of Southernism.

Even into the early 60s, Jewish Hollywood was rather respectful--even if also resentful--of white America. Hollywood was careful not to offend White Southerners. Hollywood made GONE WITH THE WIND. And most Civil War movies were careful not to vilify the South. HORSE SOLDIERS by John Ford honors both sides. While these movies were not pro-south, they weren't anti-south either. Take RED BADGE OF COURAGE by Huston.

And even through most of the 60s, Germans were not presented as subhuman beasts. Take movies like ENEMY BELOW. And movies like STALAG 17 by Jewish Billy Wilder, while anti-Nazi, didn't present Germans as eeeeeeeeevil. YOUNG LIONS, LONGEST GAY, BATTLE OF THE BULGE, and etc don't dehumanize the Germans. And there was even laughter with LOGAN'S HEROES.
And there's almost no mention of the Holocaust in those movies or TV shows. And due to censorship on violence, atrocities couldn't really be shown. Even in PATTON, the Germans are not subhuman freaks. But something did begin to change with DIRTY DOZEN that came out 2 yrs earlier. The final scene with the counter-holocaust against Nazis was almost gleeful in its sadism.

Things really changed with the TV series HOLOCAUST, non-stop PBS documentaries on the Holocaust that I recall watching as a child in the late 70s, and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, which made killing Nazis a kind of fun sport.

By then, German-Americans and the American South had lost so much moral clout and political power vis-a-vis Jews that Jews could show anything and get away with it.
So, we've had tons of movies about beastly Germans and evil Southerners.

As for the decline of the Jewish-German cultural axis, I think this owes to generational shift. Many prominent Jewish-Americans were refugees from Europe--Germany, Austria, or nations within the German-Austrian cultural orbit like Hungary, etc. They had deep cultural roots and even pride in Germany. They even had German prejudices and looked down on American pop culture. Frankfurt School was no fan of American pop culture. Otto Preminger, Billy Wilder, Sternberg, Lang and many other all had roots in German culture. They had a love/hate thing with Germany. Also with Arendt who intellectually worshiped Heidegger(as did Sartre in France). So, even if they had deep agony about what happened in Germany, they felt an attachment to German culture and a kind of contempt for shallow dumb American culture. But as time passed, their children grew up in America and merged with other Jews with roots in America. Also, as NY became the center of world culture, American Jews no longer felt a need to pay homage to the old world--just as Anglo-Americans felt free from Old World ties.

And American Jews found more freedom and truth in being free-wheeling Americans than in revering old world aristocratic culture. If European Jews, even as mavericks, had been slavish to Old World high culture, American Jews could create something to call their own without slavish devotion to anything. In Europe, Jewish composers tried to imitate old masters or be intellectually serious, like Schoenberg. IN America, they could shamelessly work on broadway musicals.

Of course, American Jews drew from all sources--black music, white music, French cinema, Japanese cinema, WEsterns, etc--, but WITHOUT the sense of reverence. Jews felt freer with mix-and-match irreverence. The thing about German culture was its heavy emphasis on reverence for the sacred past, spirituality, passion, and etc. The Chico-Groucho-Harpo nature of the Jew finally broke from this in America. Today, most Jews don't even care much about Freud or Marx.
Their idols are Bill Maher and Jon Stewart Lebovich.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I spend most of my time in LA and NYC. Don't spend much time in Chicago.

However my impression is that Streeterville is similar to the East 50's in Manhattan, or similar to the San Vicente Avenue part of Brentwood.

In other words, Streeterville is not just affluent, but it is geographically far from the areas where NAMs live. NAMS would have to make a concerted effort, take a long long walk in order to get to Streeterville

Steve, I could understand NAMs doing wildings on the gold Coast, after all the Gold coast is close by some really bad neighborhoods. But Streeterville is far.

You seem to understand Chicago better than the rest of us, why is crime in almost all of NYC and LA way way down (70% off peak from what I have heard) but violence in Streeterville up so much? Do you blame Chicago PD?

321Anonymous said...

Steve, amigo, that column may cover a bit too much ground-- you never connect the initial stuff about "Get the Gringo" to the stuff about von Trier. Is is just that von Trier is in danger of being Gibsonized? And if Jews dislike Gibson or von Trier so much, why can you see their films in Israel but not in the USA? I'm confused...

DaveinHackensack said...

"Regarding the perceived cultural decline that Germany experienced, its cultural elite never really embraced television or film as a serious form of art."

Nonsense. Germany had a thriving and hugely influential movie industry in the first third of the 20th Century (including giants such as Fritz Lang).

"Guilt by association.Because Hitler was influenced by Nietzsche, anything that displays aspects of Nietzsche's thought is , ipso facto, Hitlerian."

As I said initially, a stretch.

"Chabon goes to ludicrous lengths to drag the Golem into the Superhero mythos."

He also goes to ludicrous lengths to drag homosexuality into his work (to such an extent that some gay critics assumed he was gay). But the Escapist was obviously based on Houdini (as was the character of Kavalier).

Anonymous said...

Bill Gates' wisdom. I hear this often from late boomers now. The new message is EARN RESPECT,don't demand it.

http://www.newser.com/story/147969/finally-grads-get-good-advice-you-are-not-special.html

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304811304577366332400453796.html

And Chua says: STUDY, DON'T COMPLAIN.

The new message is socio-economic realism.

I guess even libs are annoyed with OWS whininess.

Anonymous said...

superheroes are now based on gaylem.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/the-rise-of-the-gay-superhero/article4246596/

Anonymous said...

movies are 4D cuz time is an element

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jzq-HNDBulg&feature=player_embedded

C. Van Carter said...

"They were not very Jewish, AFAIK neither spoke or read Hebrew, and had the usually hazy knowledge of Jewish culture among assimilated Ashkenazi."

The no true Scots-Irishman fallacy.

Dahinda said...

"To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize." - Voltaire

Svigor said...

Nietzsche also repeatedly expressed his scorn of German nationalism and regarded German Culture a contradiction in terms during the late 19th century because of Bismark's realpolitik. He regarded France as the leading cultural force within Europe and was a pan-European. He said Germans had played a calamitous role in history - the tribes destroying the Roman Empire and Martin Luther and the Reformation. The further calamities wrought by Germans in the 20th century would have satisfied him.

Thanks for that. Now I know Neechee was wrong about everything.

Norville Rogers said...

I know I've complained a lot about the gays but man, ain't they guarding the flame of Teutonic super-race imagery singlehandedly (?)--how many magazine covers can you possibly get Michael Fassbender onto...

Anonymous said...

The pain of unrequited love.

Anonymous said...

"As a committed Germanophile, my favorite areas of German accomplishment are:"

No beer?

Anonymous said...

"Bill Gates' wisdom."

Reality check for Bill.

You can't turn inner city kids into Einsteins by running schools like fortune 500 companies.

You can't turn Africa into Sweden by getting rid of some mosquitoes and shaking Bono's hands.

(But you can turn Sweden into Africa by immigration and multiculturalism.)

Anonymous said...

"Guilt by association.Because Hitler was influenced by Nietzsche, anything that displays aspects of Nietzsche's thought is , ipso facto, Hitlerian.

DaveinHackesack:As I said initially, a stretch."

That's the point;our culture has become so paranoid about Hitler that anything that can be connected to him six-degrees-of-separation-style becomes tainted.

DaveinHackesack:"He also goes to ludicrous lengths to drag homosexuality into his work (to such an extent that some gay critics assumed he was gay). But the Escapist was obviously based on Houdini (as was the character of Kavalier)."

Yes, Dave, we all recall the section of the book where Chabon himself describes Houdini as a superhero protoype, just in case anyone missed it.Of course, that makes the Golem stuff all the more interesting, as it keeps re-emerging in the narrative.


Syon

DaveinHackensack said...

Syon,

"That's the point;our culture has become so paranoid about Hitler that anything that can be connected to him six-degrees-of-separation-style becomes tainted."

That's actually not the point, since "our culture" hasn't called 2001: A Space Odyssey Hitlerian; Steve has.

Steve's essay is an exercise in swinging the pendulum to the opposite extreme: for example, blaming a desire to retroactively punish Hitler for the decline in German cultural influence, instead of blaming Hitler himself, who killed or chased into exile so many creators of German film and other culture.

Steve Sailer said...

"That's actually not the point, since "our culture" hasn't called 2001: A Space Odyssey Hitlerian; Steve has."

I haven't. I think it's silly.

But if a non-Jew tried to make sci-fi movie in 2011 based on the same Germanic cultural elements as 2001 was based upon, they could be in danger of being accused of being a Nazi.

Oh, wait, in fact, that just happened in 2011.

But, this long, slow change in opinion was clearly on the mind of both the questioner and von Trier regarding von Trier's 2001-influenced Melancholia. Von Trier had just finished up noting how Tristn und Isolde was key to German Romanticism, and the Times of London critic jumped in to ask him about his appreciation of Nazi aesthetic. That's what set off his joking response about his discovering at 33 that he wasn't born Jewish, he was born a Nazi, etc. and got him in so much trouble with the French police.

Anonymous said...

"But if a non-Jew tried to make sci-fi movie in 2011 based on the same Germanic cultural elements as 2001 was based upon, they could be in danger of being accused of being a Nazi."

Trier got in trouble for what he said, not what he did.
I'd say BLADE RUNNER is more 'fascist' than 2001, but Scott didn't get in trouble.
One can make 'fascist' movies as long as one makes PC noises. One can make ROBOCOP and STARSHIP TROOPERS but one had to say liberal things in public.

Anonymous said...

I must say even Nazi aesthetic, as poor as it was--except for some films and architecture by Speer--wasn't as bad as MELANCHOLIA, which is more MTV.

Anonymous said...

"That's actually not the point, since "our culture" hasn't called 2001: A Space Odyssey Hitlerian; Steve has."

But Susan Sontag did say it had fascist elements, along with FANTASIA.

"Steve's essay is an exercise in swinging the pendulum to the opposite extreme: for example, blaming a desire to retroactively punish Hitler for the decline in German cultural influence, instead of blaming Hitler himself, who killed or chased into exile so many creators of German film and other culture."

I think you gotta take it with a grain of salt. Of course 2001 isn't Hitlerian-Hitlerian. But it deals with themes and images that share some of the visions of National Socialism. Same goes for STAR WARS. Lucas is a liberal fascist all the way.
But seriously, TRANSFORMERS and AVATAR are closer to Hitlerism. All three are stupid. Though TRANS and AVATAR have racially diverse cast, their message is THOSE are the bad guys and THESE are the good guys, and good guys must totally smash bad guys. It's like techno-WWII. And the war scenes in ATTACK OF THE CLONES were clearly inspired by WWII. And the really dumb PEARL HARBOR could have made by some Nazi hack director.
So, 'fascist' imagery is all around us. And notice how people talk nowadays. In the first ALIEN, people just spoke as people. Now, everyone puts on an pose, like they are super-special, super-cool, super-tough, or super-thoughtful.

TERMINATOR MOVIES and CONAN movies and the recent THOR movie all play on 'fascist' imagery, as do MATRIX with its pop-Marxist-fascist-New-Age narcissism. So, I think Sailer is wrong to say there would be much fuss about 'Nazi-like' imagery if a non-Jew did it. We see it all over. As long as filmmakers don't EXPLICITLY say anti-Jewish or pro-nazi things, they are in no trouble. Even Mel Gibson would have gotten away with PASSION if he didn't open his mouth about 'all Jews start wars'. In fact, neocons at National Review were defending him.. But when he got too crazy, he just lost it.

Anonymous said...

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19820101/REVIEWS/201010313

Ebert's review of CONAN THE BARBARIAN, which he called fascist but still recommended.

Steve Sailer said...

Right, Fascist aesthetics are all over modern movies. Note how many movie trailers use either Carl Orff's 1937 Carmina Burana or some knockoff. You just are't supposed to talk about it.

In the case of Melancholia, Trier's not using Orff's martial 1937 music or even Richard Strauss's thunderous 1896 Also sprach Zarathustra, but Wagner's exquisite 1859 Tristan und Isolde, but he still gets called on the carpet over it.

Trier's offense was his intelligence: he got what the questioner was insinuating and made a joke out of it.

Steve Sailer said...

The funny thing about the Dutchman Verhoeven is that he has admitted a few times in interviews that his fundamental cinematic inspirations were the Nazi propaganda films he made in WWII. He adds an glaze of satire to his fundamentally fascist visions, so that makes him cool.

Anonymous said...

"instead of blaming Hitler himself, who killed or chased into exile so many creators of German film and other culture"

Hitler kicked a lot of Jews out--and they fled on their own--, but it's wrong to say Nazis destroyed much of German culture. Unlike the Soviets who destroyed 50,000 churches, ransacked immeasurable amounts of treasure and sold it abroad, killed or exiled many artists, and etc, Nazi policy wasn't that harsh, especially to its past treasure. Sure, Nazis had bonfire of the books. Nazis banned certain forms of modern art called degenerate. But most artists and writers were left alone as long as they didn't attack the regime. Also, Goebbels tried very hard to woo many artists, actors, directors, and etc. to work for the regime. Many chose to leave out of their own volition because they happen to be leftists and liberals, not because Nazis chased them out. If anything, Nazis tried to recruit liberal and leftist Aryan artists to stay and work for the regime.

Generally in the modern era, artists have been on the Left. If a socialist regime were to take over the US, most artists will stay even if the regime happens to be hostile to artists. But if a fascist regime comes to power and offers sweet deals to artists, many will freely choose to leave or refuse to do work. That's what happened with many liberal artists during the Nazi era. Some might say those artists were decent for choosing to leave than live and work in an evil nation, but as leftists, many of them had nothing but kind words for Stalin's murderous empire.

Yes, Nazi art policy was stupid. There was censorship. But for the most part, you were left alone in Nazi Germany if you didn't make trouble. In the USSR, you be a diehard supporter of the regime and still be sent to the gulag or shot. But why was the USSR more interesting culturally? Because most artists were leftists and had some rapport--even if troubled--with a leftist regime whereas most libera/leftistartists would feel ill-at-ease in a right-wing regime. There is the Jewish factor too. Talented Jews found work in Russia; they didn't in Nazi Germany. Another reason is USSR lasted for 70 yrs while Nazi Germany lasted 12 yrs.

Another reason is humanism is more interesting than supermanism. Though communist social realism was stifling, it allowed a certain human element that conveyed the pungency of life. In contrast, Nazism was all about the god-like super-race and superman. It made for great comicbookish posters but wasn't very interesting as story. On the other hand, most movies made during the Nazi era weren't propaganda but Hollywood knock-offs: costume dramas, romances, and etc. For one thing, most Germans didn't wanna see stupid Nazi propaganda since few artists had the eye of Riefenstahl, who wasn't too crazy about working on those projects either.

AS for artworks destroyed, it happened as a result of the war. But Germans didn't destroy German culture but Polish and Russian culture. German culture was physically destroyed by US/UK bombs and Russian soldiers.
It's like what happened to the museum in Iraq with the US invasion. Hussein was a bad guy, but he didn't destroy it. A bunch of thugs who took advantage of the war did. We can't blame Hitler and Hussein for everything.

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, Kubrick made an interesting remark about Hitler while working on EYES WIDE SHUT with Raphael. Of course, he could get away it because he was Jewish. It's like Negroes can use the 'N' word.

http://www.fpp.co.uk/online/99/06/Kubrick150699.html

"STANLEY KUBRICK, SELF-HATING JEW
By ROD DREHER
THE late Stanley Kubrick once remarked that "Hitler was right about almost everything," and insisted that any trace of Jewishness be expunged from the "Eyes Wide Shut" script that author Frederic Raphael was writing for him."

It sounds like crazy talk but we gotta take what he said in private with a grain of salt. OF COURSE, Kubrick was NOT a Hitler lover. Of course he was half-jesting and exaggerating. But not entirely. Though Kubrick saw Hitler as scum of the Earth, he couldn't help seeing that Hitler, in terms of understanding and use of power, was one of the most 'honest' giants of the 20th century. Kubrick's films show us high civilization as summit of man's genius but also man as essentially animal-ape at the core. Kubrick was something of a biologian, or 'theologian of biology'.
Kubrick noticed in Nazism the fusion of art and ape, German as visionary superman and German as savage killer ape. Instead of seeing the world in terms of savagery and civilization, Kubrick, like Freud and Jung, saw much of high civilization as 'created' by the repressed passions of man-ape-killer-sex-machine. The destructive power of the ape in 2001 is linked with the perfect spaceship orbiting Earth. German culture was both very refined AND very irrational and mad, both intellectual and imaginative. This fascinated Kubrick. Kube didn't swallow the leftist tripe that mankind could be molded into anything. He was too smart and honest for that. But as a Jew, he had fear of the gentile far right.
Also, as a man with a great eye, he had a thing for beauty, and he found great beauty in the 'Aryan', but not so much in the Jew.

Some see the character Dr. Strangelove as evil incarnate, but he's actually like a Nazi-Jew, which makes him one of the most perverse characters ever created. He's supposed to be an ex-Nazi scientist but he was also modeled on Jews like Teller. He is the real hero of the movie.

So, given these complexes that dogged Kubrick, there is something faintly Hitlerian about 2001. But not the Hitler of history but Hitler as a kind of metaphor.

DaveinHackensack said...

Steve,

Isn't this:

"But if a non-Jew tried to make sci-fi movie in 2011 based on the same Germanic cultural elements as 2001 was based upon, they could be in danger of being accused of being a Nazi."

Contradicted by this?:

"Right, Fascist aesthetics are all over modern movies."

I don't recall non-Jew George Lucas getting into the heat Trier did.

"Trier's offense was his intelligence: he got what the questioner was insinuating and made a joke out of it."

Maybe his offense was being tasteless and gratuitously provocative? Plenty of Europeans are still somewhat sore about the whole Nazi business (not just Scots-Irish either: ask a Ukrainian soccer fan about the Nazis' poor sportsmanship against Dynamo Kiev in '42).

Anonymous said...

Why did German culture mostly fail after WWII? I think this owed less to the destruction of WWII. After all, Japan got smashed real good but there was a great flowering of cinema, literature, and etc after the war at least until the late 60s or early 70s.

I think what really hurt Germans was the crisis of confidence. During WWII, they followed Hitler into history as Wagnerian opera, as if spirit could defeat matter... but then the whole thing collapsed. German crimes were so immense that Germans were scared shitless. Germany could easily have been wiped off the map.
With the double whammy of fear and guilt, Germans restrained their emotional, expressive, and creative nature steeped in romanticism, irrationalism, visonaryism, sturm/drang-ism, and etc, all of which got associated with the madness of Hitlerism.

Imagine if blacks held back their natural beat and rhythm and tried to make music. They would be holding back what is most essential to their creative soul.
Germans were a musical and romantic people. Darkness was as important as light to their creative soul. But after the war, Germans were supposed to be GOOD, RATIONAL, RESPONSIBLE, and etc to prove to the world that they won't make trouble again. And Germans did a good job, but they lost their artistic/creative fire.
But when a German artist let loose the irrational, as when Herzog did with AGUIRRE, the result could be stunning.

Anonymous said...

Fascism is cool.

Anonymous said...

"I don't recall non-Jew George Lucas getting into the heat Trier did."

Things weren't so PC back in 1977, but many critics did complain.
And many still do.

http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.com/?p=23571

http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.com/?p=6680

Anonymous said...

DaveinHackensack:"That's actually not the point, since "our culture" hasn't called 2001: A Space Odyssey Hitlerian; Steve has."

Steve didn't call 2001 Hitlerian; he was explicating the mindset that looks for traces of Hitler everywhere, a crucial distinction.

DaveinHackensack:"Steve's essay is an exercise in swinging the pendulum to the opposite extreme: for example, blaming a desire to retroactively punish Hitler for the decline in German cultural influence, instead of blaming Hitler himself, who killed or chased into exile so many creators of German film and other culture."

Since Hitler is a universally condemned figure, why should anyone waste his energy heaping more opprobrium on him? At this stage, analyzing the Left's employment of the Hitler-trope is a far more urgent exercise.

Syon

Glaivester said...

In Captain America: First Avenger the saintly Dr. Erskine was played by Stanley Tucci as a German Jew.

An interesting note: Dr. Erskine was originally named "Dr. Reinstein" (later this was ret-conned into a codename) and was obviously based on Albert Einstein.

Anonymous said...

One can make ROBOCOP and STARSHIP TROOPERS but one had to say liberal things in public.

Starship Troopers?

That whole film is an exercise in smug, pleased-with-itself liberal digs at what they think represents the ideology of the source book.

Anonymous said...

Plenty of Europeans are still somewhat sore about the whole Nazi business

Lots of Poles have ended up in the UK in recent years. Those that are prone to talk about such matters (to me anyway) seem a lot more exercised about the Russians/Soviets than the Germans/Nazis.

I may be reaching here but it seems like they regard Nazi WW2 activities to a degree as just bad stuff that happens in wartime. The Soviets otoh are seen as the real bad boys.

Of course Soviet domination is much more recent and Russia still looms large and somewhat threatening.

Anonymous said...

"That whole film is an exercise in smug, pleased-with-itself liberal digs at what they think represents the ideology of the source book."

True, and I hated it. But it still used fascist tropes and dummies enjoyed it as gung-ho blast-em fest.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe his offense was being tasteless and gratuitously provocative?"

Really? The same people who dump on Trier laugh like crazy at PRODUCERS. Springtime for Hitler and Germany...

Anonymous said...

Btw, if Nazis were evil for their banning of free speech, how does it help to pull a gestapo on free thinkers and talkers?

Matra said...

Even Mel Gibson would have gotten away with PASSION if he didn't open his mouth about 'all Jews start wars'

The Passion of the Christ caused massive controversy before it even came out in early 2004. Gibson did not make the remark about jews and wars until July 2006 during the Israeli assault on Lebanon.

Anonymous said...

"The Passion of the Christ caused massive controversy before it even came out in early 2004. Gibson did not make the remark about jews and wars until July 2006 during the Israeli assault on Lebanon."

I know but it was a huge success, and many critics defended it. Jews who hated it seemed like paranoid sourpusses seeing 'antisemites' everywhere... but then Gibson acted the fool and gave credence to Jews who condemned Passion.

Anonymous said...

then Gibson acted the fool and gave credence to Jews who condemned Passion


That makes no sense whatsoever. A work of art stands apart from the person or people who create it. The Passion Of The Christ could have been directed by Adolf Hitler and that would tell us nothing about the film.

Anonymous said...

why was the USSR more interesting culturally? Because most artists were leftists and had some rapport--even if troubled--with a leftist regime whereas most libera/leftistartists would feel ill-at-ease in a right-wing regime.


Artists as leftists is a very recent phenomenon. It's so pervasive now that everybody takes it as being the natural order of the universe, but in all of European history up to WWII, artists were more on the right.

Anonymous said...

"Artists as leftists is a very recent phenomenon. It's so pervasive now that everybody takes it as being the natural order of the universe, but in all of European history up to WWII, artists were more on the right."

Top artists?

Kafka, Picasso, Brecht, Mann, Proust, Orwell, Bunuel, Renoir, Hugo, Zola, Rodin, Rimbaud, Gorky, etc.

Of course, there were many more conservative artists in the past: T.S Eliot, Pound, Waugh, etc but even they tended to upset conventions

Anonymous said...

"That makes no sense whatsoever. A work of art stands apart from the person or people who create it. The Passion Of The Christ could have been directed by Adolf Hitler and that would tell us nothing about the film."

In terms of aesthetic worth, that is correct. But in terms of moral intent and meaning, who and why are crucial.

Steve Sailer said...

"Artists as leftists is a very recent phenomenon."

Oh, come now, everybody can remember when Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian formed the Artist's Shockworker Collective and boycotted the Powers that Be.

Actually, it's hard to remember any artists at any time in history doing anything for very long that wasn't subsidized by the rich and/or the powerful.

Anonymous said...

"Oh, come now, everybody can remember when Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian formed the Artist's Shockworker Collective and boycotted the Powers that Be."

They were the oddball bohemians of their time, often at creative odds with their patrons. And often gay. Botticelli, the greatest imo, got in hot water lots of time. And many of the rich and well educated tended to be relatively 'progressive', funding science, enterprise, and ideas that upset the order. French revolutionaries were rich men. So were the Founding Fathers. Many Jews have been rich patrons of the arts but on the left.

Anonymous said...

Why is rainbow gay? Who said so? I thought the gay color was pink. Now they wanna hog the entire spectrum?

Andrea Ostrov Letania said...

"Today, Wagner, Nietzsche, and Strauss are all seen as tainted quasi-Nazis.

Nietzsche is actually very big on the left.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/books/review/american-nietzsche-by-jennifer-ratner-rosenhagen-book-review.html?pagewanted=all

Anonymous said...

http://faculty.smcm.edu/mstaber/niet6rev.htm

Anonymous said...

The funny thing about the Dutchman Verhoeven is that he has admitted a few times in interviews that his fundamental cinematic inspirations were the Nazi propaganda films he made in WWII.

Um, the Dutch director Paul Verhoeven wasn't making films during WWII. (He was born in 1938.) Are you confusing him with an obscure German film director of the same name (but no relation), who did make Nazi propaganda films in WWII? Or are you making a joke? You bring out the autism in me, Steve.

Simon in London said...

anon:
"Nazism was all about the god-like super-race and superman. It made for great comicbookish posters but wasn't very interesting as story..."

Yet modern Hollywood in the Michael Bay era seems to be all about the super-race and superman; Hollywood blockbusters are more Nazi than the Nazis. I think these are dumb, uninteresting movies, but they seem to be successful.

Anonymous said...

If a socialist regime were to take over the US, most artists will stay even if the regime happens to be hostile to artists. But if a fascist regime comes to power and offers sweet deals to artists, many will freely choose to leave or refuse to do work

What do you call a government which nationalizes its car industries and its "green" energy industries and its loan industries etc etc etc?

Is that not "fascism"?

Or is it "socialism" because the czars are named Steve MacRattner and George MacKaiser and Lloyd MacBlankfein?

***************
***************
***************

THE late Stanley Kubrick once remarked that "Hitler was right about almost everything," and insisted that any trace of Scots-Irish-ness be expunged from the "Eyes Wide Shut" script that author Frederic Raphael was writing for him."

Then why did Sydney MacPollack play such a prominent role in the film?

***************
***************
***************

Actually, it's hard to remember any artists at any time in history doing anything for very long that wasn't subsidized by the rich and/or the powerful.

Which gets back to the point above - if we approve of the rich people doing the funding, then the artists are "leftists", but if we disapprove of the rich people doing the funding, then the artists are evil cigarette-smoking big-gulp-drinking baby-murdering "fascists"?!?

Rain And said...

"Um, the Dutch director Paul Verhoeven wasn't making films during WWII. (He was born in 1938.)"

That confused me too. I assume he meant Verhoeven was inspired by the WWII propaganda films he *watched*.

Anonymous said...

That confused me too. I assume he meant Verhoeven was inspired by the WWII propaganda films he *watched*.

Yeah, I figured that's what happened, although there actually was a German film director named Paul Verhoeven a generation earlier, so I wondered if Steve was making some weak joke or had gotten the two confused.

Anonymous said...

"Today, Wagner, Nietzsche, and Strauss are all seen as tainted quasi-Nazis.

Nietzsche is actually very big on the left.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/books/review/american-nietzsche-by-jennifer-ratner-rosenhagen-book-review.html?pagewanted=all

6/13/12 11:53 PM


The whole centerpiece of Allan Boom's The Closing of the American Mind was called "The Nietzschization of the Left and Vice Versa".

Ron Woo said...

"Actually, it's hard to remember any artists at any time in history doing anything for very long that wasn't subsidized by the rich and/or the powerful."

Perhaps because it's hard to recall things of which you're ignorant, Steve.

David said...

Any depiction of unusual strength in spirit or body, and any mature consideration of the tragic side of existence, are now classed with "Nazism," "Fascism," and - by another step in misthinking - with everything bad, such as stupidity or brutality.

So that anything loud and dumb and brutal is "fascist" along with anything depicting the above-average in a reverential (or even respectful) manner.

This is why not only certain dumb war movies and the like are "fascist," but also whites are "fascist," smart people are "fascist," civilization is "fascist," manners are "fascist," self-control is "fascist," sexual continence is "fascist," physical culture is "fascist," the middle class is "fascist," etc.

If almost everything good and almost everything bad can be squeezed into the word "fascist," what meaning does it have, other than "what some MacSontag doesn't like"?

Q said...

(Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian) were the oddball bohemians of their time, often at creative odds with their patrons.


They were not "the oddball bohemians of their time", and if they sometimes had creative differences with their patrons, it was not because they wanted to create such works of art as "Piss Christ".


And often gay.


No! Because homosexual people were never on the right, or something.


Botticelli, the greatest imo, got in hot water lots of time.

Getting in hot water for being a follower of Savonarola hardly marks a person out as a leftist.



And many of the rich and well educated tended to be relatively 'progressive', funding science, enterprise, and ideas that upset the order. French revolutionaries were rich men.


If you're going to define "the left" to encompass the rich, the French aristocracy, businessmen, religious people, scientists, and all great artists, then sure, your case is watertight. By your definition "the left" has created all great art, and all everything of worth in the world.

Of course outside the fever swamps of the left, nobody defines "the left" in that fashion.

Anonymous said...

"They were not "the oddball bohemians of their time", and if they sometimes had creative differences with their patrons, it was not because they wanted to create such works of art as "Piss Christ"."

Michelangelo was an oddball as played by Heston in AGONY AND THE ECSTASY.

"Getting in hot water for being a follower of Savonarola hardly marks a person out as a leftist."

His Savonarola was a turning away from his wilder, bohemian, paganism.
Kerouac later became a faithful Catholic--albeit more faithful to drink to the end--, but his most important work, ON THE ROAD, was as a maverick bohemian.

"If you're going to define "the left" to encompass the rich, the French aristocracy, businessmen, religious people, scientists, and all great artists, then sure, your case is watertight. By your definition "the left" has created all great art, and all everything of worth in the world."

Personally, I don't think we can use 'left' and 'right' when it comes to much of what happened in the past. My point is it's foolish to say what was left and what was right in the past, at least prior to rise of modernism. If one say past artists were on the 'right', one can easily make a case for the 'left'.

But with the rise of late modernism, leftists were clearly more involved in the making of new culture. And after WWII, the left got a huge boost.

Q said...

But with the rise of late modernism, leftists were clearly more involved in the making of new culture. And after WWII, the left got a huge boost.


Yeah? That is the original argument which you took exception to.


Personally, I don't think we can use 'left' and 'right' when it comes to much of what happened in the past.


"I don't think we can say" is the standard lefty excuse when the data does not support them.

Art used to be a very elitist enterprise. To the extent that the art in question is any good, artists today are still an elitist bunch. Up until very recently the elite were largely defined by church, throne, and military, none of whom were "left" in any sense. Tennyson did not write poems condemning the Crimean War as an immoral and illegal enterprise. Peter Paul Rubens did not do paintings designed to show the exploitation of the common serf at the hands of the wealthy land-owners. And so on.

Q said...

Michelangelo was an oddball


An awful lot of aristocrats were (and still are) oddballs.

You seem to be under the impression that "right" = "staid, buttoned down, boring" while "left" = "eccentric, oddball, life-of-the-party".

Using your definition, Winston Churchill was a lefty and Karl Marx was not.