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Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!

By Michael J. Smith on Tuesday October 19, 2010 12:47 PM


I cannot begin to tell you how deeply I desire to possess this set of Nazi figurines. I would play with them obsessively by the hour. We could have rallies with architectural searchlights (using small LED flashlights for the purpose). We could annex Austria and invade Poland and France and generally tear up the pea patch. We'd leave the Jews alone this time, of course -- that was always the un-cool thing about the Nazis. Strange, because the uniforms were so consummately cool, not to mention the helmets and the Panzer tanks and that irresistible salute.... Where'd that creepy nerdy kink about the Jews come from?

All preadolescent boys love the Nazis, and the preadolescent boy continues to lurk within the grave old man's mind, as the reptile brain survives beneath the neocortex. Seeing these figurines called that old preadolescent boy right up out of my vasty deeps, as fresh and feisty as he ever was.

The figurines form part of an exhibit in Berlin of Nazi memorabilia, which as the New York Times solemnly observes, "explores a wider circle of guilt". In fact, if the Times is to be believed -- admittedly, a stretch -- it posits collective guilt; something strangely like the collective guilt for the Crucifixion that used to be laid at the door of the Jews.

The Times clearly loved this idea of collective German guilt, and oddly, so do many Germans. One of the most disquieting things about contemporary bien-pensant liberal Germans is their voluptuous delight in self-flagellation over their granddads' dirty deeds.

The show focuses on the society that nurtured and empowered [Hitler]. It is not the first time historians have argued that Hitler did not corral the Germans as much as the Germans elevated Hitler. But one curator said the message was arguably more vital for Germany now than at any time in the past six decades, as rising nationalism, more open hostility to immigrants and a generational disconnect from the events of the Nazi era have older Germans concerned about repeating the past.

“The only hope for stopping extremists is to isolate them from society so that they are separated, so they do not have a relationship with the bourgeoisie and the other classes,” Mr. Thamer [the curator] said. “The Nazis were members of high society. This was the dangerous moment.

“This we have to avoid from happening.”

There's some very interesting dissection, of delicate and intricate psycho-anatomy, to be done here. One thing that comes rather quickly to mind is that these same beautiful-souled German penitentes are for the most part thoroughly down with one of the most Nazi-like states in the world today -- I mean Israel, of course. The lessons of history seem to be rather restricted in their application; and perhaps the Germans' inner Nazi has really been no better exorcized than my inner preadolescent.

The ritualistic beating of a long-dead horse no doubt serves many purposes. Perhaps most importantly, it shows that you are a Good Person. And it also costs nothing. It's a bit like waving the poor chicken over your head to avert the vengeance of a very appropriately indignant Jehovah.

Don't get me wrong here. I greatly approve of penitential rituals, and the more earthy and primitive they are, the better I like 'em. I was debarred by accident of birth from the chicken-swinging, but I well remember the gritty ashes on the forehead that my landsmen get once a year. It's only meet and right that we should be reminded every so often that we're all more or less fuckups,

But the danger comes when we think that because we've done the ritual, we're now OK. We've taken a shower, and now we're clean. Deploring the Nazis is a lot like swinging a chicken who's got so many sins of his own that he can't very well absorb ours.


Comments (13)


This is the problem I have with Catholicism: Its mechanical acts of meaningless absolution are scary.

We'd leave the Jews alone this time, of course -- that was always the un-cool thing about the Nazis.
I am always running on weird Nazi-related comicbook porn in otome games and in 4chan fanposts, and in every case the nerds fetishize the uniforms and ignore the racism. This fondness for war-swag has always eluded me (I'd always considered that the anti-Semitism was a far more essential part of basic Nazi-dom than the sharp threads, but then again, my primary objection to Regency romance is the corsets), but now I get it! Maybe.

(Unrelatedly, my mother wants you to know that she was, in fact, NOT AT ALL 'proud' to have paid off her house; she was relieved to be free of an overwhelming 20-year debt, and she was also slightly pleased to live in a place no once could evict her from (probably). She was utterly horrified when I related the contents of my comment.

And this is the problem with casting people without bothering to let them audition first.)


the threads make the man
i might add our own storm troopers have manged to morph in stages to a pretty fair facsimile
of panzer troops




Emma -- I think the Nazi fanboiz are in fact mostly boys. There's the odd boy-like girl, e.g. Leni Riefenstahl, but in general it's a siren song to which women are fortunately mostly deaf. Boys love it, though -- the heel-clicking, the stiff arm, the general air of strenuosity and excess -- we just eat it up.


Boys love it, though -- the heel-clicking, the stiff arm, the general air of strenuosity and excess -- we just eat it up.
This is just odd, because I know a lot of women who would shank a bitch in the eyeball with a fork for an opportunity to date a military officer or a police officer or a fireman or whatever, no matter what kind of dumbass actually lurked beneath the uniform. Women often behave as if they’re keyed to respond sexually to anything in a set of epaulets, but only after puberty. I guess it’s just the reverse for men? Weird.

(Notice how classily I am avoiding mentioning the obvious Freudian subtext!)

That is kind of sad. Better than imitating the redcoats, though! I guess?


Emma writes:

I know a lot of women who would shank a bitch in the eyeball with a fork for an opportunity to date a military officer or a police officer or a fireman or whatever, no matter what kind of dumbass actually lurked beneath the uniform.
This may be the most depressing news I've read since the Duke U girl's fuck book hit the stands. Y'all really aren't that much smarter than we are after all, I guess. Oh there's no hope for the species.

Al Schumann:

When I see uniforms, I instinctively hide the chickens (and anything else that could be stolen or damaged beyond use). It's a peasant response; not really an instinct, but with the force of one. The more savvy Schumanns try to leave a few scrawny birds pecking about, to emphasize our humility and satisfy whatever ghastly appetite is contained in the uniforms.

We have an almost unblemished record of malingering and draft dodging too. Alas, the word "almost" does apply. But what clan is without its prodigals?


Contemplation is one thing, Al; practice quite another. Cool as the uniforms are, I've always stayed out of 'em, myself.


Oh there's no hope for the species.
Absolutely none :[


One of the most disquieting things about contemporary bien-pensant liberal Germans is their voluptuous delight in self-flagellation over their granddads' dirty deeds.

Me thinks Norman Finkelstein has the right number of these breast-beating German lovers of all things Israeli:

...philo-Semites are typically anti-Semites in "sheep's clothing." The philo-Semite both assumes that Jews are somehow "different" and almost always secretly harbors a mixture of envy of and loathing for this alleged difference. Philo-Semitism thus presupposes, but also engenders a frustrated version of, its opposite. A public, preferably defenseless, scapegoat is then needed to let all this pent-up ugliness ooze out. To account for Germany's obsession with the Nazi holocaust, a German friend explained that Germans "like to carry a load." To which I would add: especially if it's light as a feather. No doubt some Germans of the post-war generation genuinely accepted the burden of guilt together with its paralyzing taboos on independent, critical thought. But today German "political correctness" is all a charade of pretending to accept the burden of being German while actually rejecting it. For, what is the point of these interminable public breast-beatings except to keep reminding the world: "We are not like them." It can also be safely said that politically correct Germans know full well that, more often than not, the criticism leveled against Israeli policy and misuse of the Nazi holocaust is valid. In private conversation (as I've discovered) they freely admit to this...What politically correct Germans really fear, I suspect, is the loss of power and privilege attendant on challenging the uncritical support of all things Jewish. Indeed, their public defense of the indefensible not only breeds cynicism in political life but, far from combating anti-Semitism among Germans, actually engenders it.

It took another boy-like girl to speak the truth when it comes to what for many remains the greatest tragedy of them all: the defeat of Germany.

A survey of the exhibition visitors (at least according to the Berliner Zeitung) indicates that the public expected more. More of what, I'm not sure. Eva Braun Barbie, perhaps.


Don't feel so bad. I used to paint figurines like this when I was a kid, though my particular fascination was with the Napoleonic Era, not the Nazis. I always loved the colorful uniforms with which the peasantry marched into the face of grapeshot and musket balls. Dare I admit that as a kid I admired Napoleon?

The fascination with uniforms isn't limited to the boys, as some women have always been suckers for a guy in uniform. Soldiers are generally young and fit but also perceived to be more manly. There is also the not so subtle allure of violence and power the uniform represents. I don't see anyone fawning over garbagemen or postal workers.

A little secret for all the lonely ladies with a uniform fetish out there: at US military bases there are ten sexually-deprived, physically fit young men for every girl in town, making it a smorgasboard for women who want to have a last hoorah or two before entering into middle age. If you can get past the immaturity, it's one hell of a hunting ground for cougars.

I must confess the sexual attraction of uniforms isn't limited to the frauenvolk, as I sometimes succumb to the charms of women in combat fatigues or police blues as well. This cutesy little bad-ass from America's favorite modern-day wehrmacht with her sporty little M4 and pointy pixie hat does it for me.


Even inasmuch as I'm a totally diehard antiracist/antifascist/antinazi type, still... I must've seen a metric shit-tonne of old WWII footage and fotos, and I've got to admit that their fighter planes always looked cooler than ours -- especially the early jets, the experimental ones, like the Heinkel HE P1079 ( http://www.luft46.com/jgart/jg179.html ), and the Focke-Wulf TA183 ( http://www.luft46.com/ghart/gh183.html ), and the ones rushed into production towards the end of the war -- like the Messerschmitt 262 ( http://salamiran.in/me262.html ).

But then, I was one of those kids who loved building model planes, and was a sucker for anything that was sleek and fast. I would build a model of an ME262 just as soon as I would build a MiG-15 or an F104, because they all just looked so goddamn' cool.


The Nazis certainly had better planes -- the fantastical imaginativeness of those massive gliders and that rocket-powered thing, what was it called?

Air power appeals to imperial states who realize that the long-term geographical odds are against them. That entertaining madman Curtis Lemay is a perfect example, as is the current occupant of the oval office -- and indeed, all his predecessors in my lifetime, including Bill "Mad Bomber" Clinton.

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