Archives for posts with tag: alcoholic

Drunk Parents

Alec Baldwin and Salma Hayek, once they send their daughter (Michelle Veintimilla) off to college, struggle with making ends meet and hiding their poverty after being well-to-do and suddenly finding themselves in dire financial straits. Tasked with housesitting for out-of-the-country neighbor Nigel (Aasif Mandvi), the couple instead gets drunk and places a Craigslist ad to rent out the house, precipitating a wacky succession of misunderstandings and chaotic hijinks – all of it furnishing a serviceable showcase for the stars, with Baldwin doing his usual thing and Hayek totally over-the-top as she rants about hippies in a supermarket, spastically writhes as CGI spiders crawl over her face and body and bite her, and finds herself in various other zany situations. Colin Quinn and Will Ferrell, meanwhile, have amusing cameos as hobos.

3.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Drunk Parents is:

6. Anti-white. Baldwin and Hayek are the comedy’s obligatory positive depiction of an interracial couple. Like The Prodigy, Drunk Parents reflects Hollywood’s discomfort with politically rebellious young white men and includes two bratty kids, Trey (Jeremy Shinder) and Tristan (Eddie Schweighardt), who have hacked a neighbor’s baby monitor and are teaching the infant to say “the N word”. The name Tristan, which this character shares with a Wagnerian protagonist, may be indicative of the fear of rising identitarianism among intellectually inclined and irreverent white youth.

5. Pedo-sympathetic. New neighbor Carl (Jim Gaffigan), a convicted sex offender, is revealed to be a basically harmless eccentric whose attempt to save some children from a shark was misunderstood as predation. Reinforcing the theme of sympathy for accused sex predators, Baldwin and Hayek are abducted by vigilantes who have mistaken them for pedophiles. Again, as in The Prodigy, a racist white boy – in this case, Tristan – falsely accuses Baldwin and Hayek of sexual molestation. The industry would seem to be circling the wagons in response to growing public awareness and hostility toward Hollywood degeneracy.

4. Consumerism-critical. “Why did we get all this stuff?” Hayek frets after coming to ruin and finding herself in debt.

3. Media-monopolist. Alternative media – which is to say, the democratization of the means of disseminating information – makes the world of Drunk Parents a more dangerous place. This is demonstrated when the anti-pedo vigilantes upload a video of Baldwin and Hayek to the internet and turn them into a viral sensation.

2. Drug-ambivalent. Drunkenness makes Hayek accident-prone and gets her and Baldwin into some trouble, but the movie’s attitude toward alcohol is ultimately rather Taoist, with everything working out alright in the end. “A drunk man’s actions are a sober man’s thoughts,” narration explains. Trafficking drugs lands a trucker in prison, but the man is not depicted as fundamentally a bad person, and the fact that his daughter is left without a provider is intended to evoke sympathy and possibly militate against the regime of prohibition. Ferrell demonstrates that smoking is dangerous, however, when he sets himself ablaze while siphoning gas. Cocaine is also mentioned as a nutritional supplement utilized by ancient warriors.

1.Class-conscious. Ferrell’s character, a once-wealthy man reduced to homelessness, explains that the rich will “prey on you” – and the film’s representatives of “Wall Street” and “family money” are of course white men. Respectability or criminality, in the world of Drunk Parents, are situational products of environment and the vicissitudes of fortune. Rather like Trading Places, this is a story about a man discovering how his social inferiors live. Suddenly an entitled Baldwin finds himself thieving a bottle of pricy wine and only meeting with job offers he once would have considered undignified. One of Hayek’s gripes is that, “You have to be rich to be skinny. All the cheap foods are the ones that pork you up. The sugars, the carbs, the corn syrup.” Now that they are struggling, “people look away. They avert their eyes. Especially our friends.” They are ultimately happy to have lost the “stuck-up, useless friends” of their former social milieu.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of the books Drugs, Jungles, and Jingoism and Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies.

can you ever

Melissa McCarthy, in what must be her least repugnant role to date, plays the hard-drinking, foul-mouthed misanthrope and literary forger Lee Israel in this amusing movie for booklovers. After publishing biographies of Tallulah Bankhead, Dorothy Kilgallen, and Estée Lauder, Israel fell on hard times and, in order to make ends meet and keep her cat alive, took to forging and selling letters that purported to have been written by the likes of Dorothy Parker and Noel Coward. McCarthy, who is fatter but still way more attractive than the actual Lee Israel, manages to make an almost lovable character out of “a 51-year-old woman who likes cats better than people.” Suspenseful, involving, and often funny, Can You Ever Forgive Me? is forgivably watchable if you don’t have to pay for it.

4 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Can You Ever Forgive Me? is:

4. Pro-gay. Israel is a lonely lesbian and her partner in crime is a charming British homosexual, Jack Hock (Richard E. Grant), who tragically comes down with a case of the AIDS at the end of the movie after “fucking [his] way through Manhattan.” Hock appears with a bloody face in one scene as a reminder of the perils of being a fruity fop in a cold and insensitive world. Israel’s forging of letters by Noel Coward, too, furnishes a pretext for a history lesson about how, during the benighted first half of the twentieth century, gays still had to hide their orientations and carry out their forbidden amours in secret.

3. Anti-drug. Israel’s drinking is a barrier to healthy relationships. Cocaine, meanwhile, is associated with homosexual excess and irresponsibility. After going away and leaving Hock alone to look after her apartment and cat, Israel returns to find that her friend went on a coke-and-sodomy spree and that the cat has died. It is unclear, however, whether the cat has actually died because of neglect or simply succumbed to old age, considering that it was already sickly. In any case, Hock’s life of doping and diddling eventually leads to his demise.

2. Anti-family. “Maybe she didn’t die,” Hock reflects, trying to recall what became of a mutual acquaintance. “Maybe she just moved back to the suburbs. I always confuse those two. No, that’s right. She got married and had twins.” “Better to have died,” quips Israel, who has no interest in family life.

1.Philo-Semitic and anti-white. Can You Ever Forgive Me? takes place in a New York of the imagination in which plucky underdog Jews struggle to make it in a WASP-dominated world. “Did you hear,” bookseller Anna (Dolly Wells) asks, “that Tom Clancy is getting paid $3,000,000 to write more right-wing macho bullshit?” “Are you kidding me?” Israel objects. “That blowhard’s gettin’ $3,000,000? Oh, to be a white male that doesn’t even know he’s full of crap, right?” To her credit, Israel’s literary agent Marjorie (Jane Curtin) advises her to become “a nicer person” because “you can’t be such a bitch” and make it in the publishing world. Israel, however, accuses Marjorie of benefiting from (an implicitly WASPish) privilege and wealth. (Deleted scenes include a vignette in which Israel takes a job as an assistant to a rich blonde lady with the nakedly symbolic surname Whitman. The viewer, of course, is encouraged to find Israel more likable, cleverer, and more deserving of comfort and success in life than the prim and tedious Whitman.) Probably to counter the bad-optics spectacle of a slovenly character named Israel engaging in theft and fraud and generally being antisocial, screenwriters Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty throw in references to Adolf Hitler and “terrible old fart the tyranny addict Joe Kennedy” to remind viewers of Jewish suffering during the Second World War. In truth, however, Can You Ever Forgive Me? is, all things considered, a celebration of balls-out chutzpah and Jewish talent at snookering the gullible goyim.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of the books Drugs, Jungles, and Jingoism and Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies.

Wonder Wheel

I have mixed feelings about Allan Konigsberg. Revelations about his sexual proclivities as well as my own awakening to the director’s participation in a massive tribal project of hostile culture distortion make it impossible for me to like “Woody Allen” the way I did when I was younger; but it would be dishonest of me to pretend that his body of work did not influence my intellectual development. Coming from a blue-collar Midwestern background, Konigsberg’s stories of New York sophisticates were exotic and illuminating. His movies made me want to become a literate person so that I could be witty and impress complicated women. And – as much as I dislike to concede it – he has continued to produce worthwhile entertainment well into his decrepit years.

Wonder Wheel is no exception, and offers exactly what those familiar with the writer-director’s filmography have come to expect. Its tawdry tale of two shiksas – older, married woman Kate Winslet and naïve stepdaughter Juno Temple – who both fall for sophisticated and handsome Jewish aspiring playwright Justin Timberlake contains a great deal of Hebraic wish-fulfillment, particularly with Jim Belushi portraying the boorish and slovenly goy alternative. Set in the bustling Coney Island of the 1950s, Wonder Wheel is both a rather painful melodrama and a comfortable nostalgia piece, evoking fondness both for America’s past and for Konigsberg’s, so that the whole experience seems like old times.

4.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Wonder Wheel is worth seeing if viewers can do so without putting any money into the filmmaker’s probably candy-filled pockets. Also:

4. Anti-drug. Looming over Ginny (Winslet) and Humpty (Belushi) throughout is the specter of alcoholism which threatens to reassert itself over their wills in times of stress. Ginny embarrasses herself in a drunken state at the end of the film.

3. Borderline pedophiliac. Juno Temple, like previous Konigsberg muses Mariel Hemingway and Christina Ricci, evinces a childlike presence despite her experience. The word “Toys” is visible in a shop window in a scene in which Mickey (Timberlake) picks up Carolina (Temple) to give her a ride, slyly emphasizing her youth.

2. Anti-family, anti-marriage. “Don’t ever have kids,” Ginny advises. Marriage, too, is “scary”. Ginny is only “going through the motions of lovemaking” while she has “so much to give” to a smart and beautiful Jewish boy. Ginny also insinuates that Humpty has incestuous inclinations toward his daughter when she accuses him, “You treat her like a girlfriend.”

1.Anti-white. Carolina rejects the “dull, colorless, boring [i.e., WASPish] guys” her father would have preferred she marry. Instead, she falls in love with a tribesman. There is a sort of malicious glee in Konigsberg’s decision to name the head of the household “Humpty”, presenting the American father of yesteryear as a gruff and abusive but fragile figure destined to fall and never to be restored to his previous station. Humpty distrusts the influence of movies and radio – i.e., the Jewish-dominated mass media – on his family, calls psychology a “phony head doctor” racket, and is probably therefore suspect in Konigsberg’s imagination as a potential anti-Semite. Ginny’s son (Jack Gore), meanwhile, is a little pyromaniac – symbolic of the potential of every goy boy to grow up to perpetrate the world’s next Holocaust. Sadly, waitress Carolina must endure the indignity of serving “redneck clowns” in her clam house – representing the ever-present threat posed by rustic deplorables infiltrating and crudely stinking up the nice, respectable, kosher stronghold of New York City.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies – the DEFINITIVE Alt-Right statement on Hollywood!

The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY NINETEEN

The Runner

Set in the aftermath of the BP oil spill, The Runner is about a liberal Louisiana congressman (Nicolas Cage) who struggles to hold onto his integrity, maintain his commitment to his impoverished constituents, and resist the perpetual temptation to sell out to Big Oil. Cage is making progress and raising national awareness about the plight of the Gulf Coast fishermen when a sex scandal involving another man’s wife derails his momentum and sends his personal life into a spiral. The meaning of the title is threefold: in addition to the lamely gratuitous scenes of Cage going for jogs and the fact of his running for office, he is a man who runs from his problems and loses himself in dissolution. Not a bad movie, but not much fun, either, weighted down as it is by an incessant mood of moroseness and Cage’s uncharacteristically somnambulant performance.

[WARNING: SPOILERS]

3.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Runner is:

4. Anti-drug. Cage, himself an alcoholic, warns his dying father (Ghost Rider costar Peter Fonda) against drinking and smoking. Hypocritically, Cage then drinks and drives, crashes through the gate to his home, and wrecks the car against his garage door.

3. Pro-miscegenation. The hero’s penchant for grabbing at black booty temporarily torpedoes his political career when an episode of elevator lovemaking winds up going viral on YouTube.

2. Green. Cage at one point says he hopes to phase out oil drilling in Louisiana. The film illustrates the devastating impact of the oil spill on wildlife as well as the local economy.

1. Anti-marriage. Cage’s relationship with his wife (Connie Nielsen) is without affection, and he enters into a love affair with his publicist (Sarah Paulson), who is also temporarily separated from her own husband. The liberal idealism Cage shared with his spouse in their early days together has now transferred to the younger woman, who encourages his political commitment. His eventual return to his wife signals his sell-out as a politician, as she has been the one lobbying all along for him to get into bed with Big Oil.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY FOUR

NonStop

Joel Silver, to his dying day, will never tire of trying to spook the goyim with terrorism. The immortal boogeyman of the twenty-first century rears its turbaned head again, only this time it is not the Muslims – or is it? – in Silver’s production Non-Stop, a decent vehicle for star Liam Neeson, who plays an air marshal aboard a transatlantic flight being threatened by an unusually inventive mystery terrorist. Until a turn for the stupid plunges it into irreparable turbulence, Non-Stop lives up to its title as a high-velocity thrill-flight, so that viewers are guaranteed at least a solid hour of Neesony excitement. Creepy Julianne Moore is also on board and somehow manages to get through the whole film without wrenching her face and sobbing.

[WARNING: SPOILERS]

4 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Non-Stop is:

9. Civic-minded, performing a public service by informing unsuspecting men that womyn can be triggered by being called “ma’am”.

8. Pro-gay, normalizing homosexual marriage. An Archie Bunkerish cop (Corey Stoll) is flying to London because, he says, “My fairy brother’s getting married to a guy with a British accent.”

7. Drug-ambivalent. Neeson is an alcoholic whose drinking, however, seems not to have impaired the performance of his duty. His smoking habit, furthermore, serendipitously leads him to the discovery an important clue.

6. State-skeptical. A federal agent (Anson Mount) takes advantage of his position to smuggle cocaine.

5. Media-critical and anti-vigilante. Talking head critics of security state spending come across as uninformed nuisances. Also problematic is the trend of democratized reportage and instantly uploaded videos of purported misconduct by the authorities. Out-of-context phone footage of Neeson manhandling a passenger contributes to a false news narrative according to which Neeson himself is the terrorist. Passengers seeing these reports are misled into revolting against his questioned authority. Neither mainstream nor alternative media are helpful. Best to let the feds conduct their searches of persons and phone records unimpeded by citizen scrutiny and interference. (cf. no. 1)

4. Anti-racist. Cast against audience expectations, the token Arab (Omar Metwally) turns out not to be a terrorist, but – surprise, surprise! – a mild-mannered molecular neuroscientist. Educated brother Nate Parker, meanwhile, knows how to program and hack cell phones.

3. Police-ambivalent. Corey Stoll plays a New York City cop who, while basically a decent sort, is a bit of a bigot. “You’re gonna let that guy in the cockpit?” he objects, seeing Metwally being ushered into the front of the plane to assist in a medical emergency. Later, after having his broken nose set by the Arab, Stoll seems to have been humbled and made to understand something about the brotherhood of man. Police, Non-Stop says, need not be abolished or cannibalized like pigs in a blanket; they only need to be made more sensitive. On the other side of the equation, a mouthy and uncooperative black man (Corey Hawkins) gets off to a bad start with air marshal Neeson, but eventually takes his side and helps him to retrieve his pistol in a difficult situation. Non-Stop invites badged authorities and non-whites to try to meet halfway and engage in mutual understanding.

2. Anti-war. Terrorists Scoot McNairy and Nate Parker are ex-military men who see their service in the War on Terror as pointless. Implausibly, they are most upset by what they perceive as the unsatisfactory state of airline security in the wake of 9/11. “Security is this country’s biggest lie,” they fret. Rather than simply going online and discovering that the event was perpetrated by Jews, however, the duo concocts an elaborate terror scenario designed to frame an air marshal for their own outlandish crime. One can only assume the pair sustained head injuries on the battlefield. Non-Stop’s anti-war bona fides are, however, disingenuous in light of the following consideration.

1. Zionist, perpetuating the 9/11 myth. The circumstance of a flight from New York to London conflates the ghosts of the 7/7 and 9/11 attacks, which hang over the film and reinforce the mythology of the linked destinies of the United States and Britain in fighting the enemies of the Jews.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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Wild poster

A career highlight showcase for star Reese Witherspoon, this freewheeling emotional odyssey into triumphant you-go-girlism concerns real-life tramp Cheryl Strayed, whose epic hike along the Pacific Crest Trail takes her from “piece of shit” and “hobo” to liberated and self-actualized piece of shit with an Oprah’s Book Club pick. As with all wilderness pictures, from Jeremiah Johnson to Rescue Dawn, there is an innate fascination to the scenes of Strayed’s one-woman struggle with the elements. The interspersed flashbacks to the unpleasant experiences that drive her to make her quest, however, are hit-and-miss, diminishing any sympathy this reviewer is able to muster for her. Laura Dern appears as Strayed’s long-suffering, cancer-ridden mother.

4 out of 5 possible stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Wild is:

6. Drug-ambivalent. Wild sends mixed messages about Cheryl’s life as a heroin addict. Marijuana, however, seems to be a laid-back thing to do. Alcohol appears as a no-no, though, with Cheryl vomiting after some hard stuff. (see also no. 1)

5. Anti-Christian. Foulmouthed Cheryl utters multiple blasphemies.

4. Anti-redneck. The rural white male is a constant menace hovering in the gloaming of Cheryl’s consciousness, leering at her and making unsavory advances.

3. Pro-choice. Cheryl has an abortion.

2. New age, peddling mass market paperback mysticism that might have been cribbed from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The film ends with Witherspoon reciting some philosophical gobbledygook about how nobody knows what leads to what – the scientific method, contrary to this reviewer’s mistaken impression all his life, turning out never to have been invented after all – life being one big mysterious journey, each seeming adversity or disastrous decision constituting a necessary step toward destiny’s fulfillment. People – and, by extension, societies – might as well experiment to their hearts’ content on this starry trek of objectively valueless existence.

1. Feminist. Wild celebrates the junkie-adulteress-intellectual as heroine. One of its many nuggets of womany wisdom is that divorces, unlike marriages, tend to be lasting. Regarding her serial back-alley extramarital humps and heroin habit, Cheryl apologizes to her nice-guy husband (Thomas Sadoski) but later confesses that she harbors no regrets about anything. Adrienne Rich’s poem “Power”, a favorite of the protagonist, furnishes Wild with its theme. Marie Curie’s “wounds”, Rich explains, “came from the same source as her power”. Witherspoon’s body, accordingly, appears with unsightly contusions and cuts throughout the movie, these presumably being the feminist stigmata symbolizing the suffering through which she has attained her “power”. In a parallel characterization, Cheryl’s mother is an abused wife who abandons her alcoholic husband and goes back to school for her education because, she says, she never felt like she was in the driver’s seat of her own life.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Oprah’s Bucks Club

Hebrew Cover

Got Gas?

After taking a break of a week or so to recuperate, your humble reviewer has finally mustered the courage to venture back into the Danger: Boredom Zone and finish watching the communo-Zionist “Holocaust” propaganda documentary Shoah. Following are a few of his observations on the contents of disc four, comprising the exciting conclusion. (Discs 5 and 6 of the Criterion Collection set promise “special” [i.e., T4-worthy] features.)

Fredy Hirsch

Fredy Hirsch, Auschwitz’s tragic Prom Queen

This straggling stretch of the much-lauded, long-winded, and stupendously self-important film, irrespective of the intentions of director Claude Lanzmann, provides some valuable insights into how and why false rumors of extermination by gassing spread among European Jewry during the war. Rudolf Vrba, a dishonest-faced Jew who was given duties as a registrar in Auschwitz, recalls attempts by communist inmates to secure the cooperation of Fredy Hirsch, a homosexual Zionist with leadership ability, for a violent uprising within the camp. Unfortunately, Vrba’s claims that a mass gassing of prisoners was to occur within two days only drove Hirsch to commit suicide. It also comes out in the interviews that the Czech internees in the camp were unmoved by Vrba’s gassing stories, spotting these as they did for wild prevarications.

Rudolf Vrba

Smiling liar Rudolf Vrba

Explaining his decision to escape rather than go forward with a revolt, Vrba says that his intention was to spread abroad rumors of mass exterminations at Auschwitz: “I thought zat if zis will be made known by any means wizin Europe and especially wizin Hungary, from where a million Jews were supposed to be transported to Auschwitz immediately [. . .] zat zis might stir up ze resistance outside and bring help from outside directly to Auschwitz.”

Filip Muller

Sonderkommando (i.e., Jewish Nazi lackey) Filip Muller

Another of Lanzmann’s seemingly endless procession of talkative tellers of tales of heroic “Holocaust” survival is Filip Muller, who claims to have worked as a sonderkommando, forced by the SS to assist in the gas chamber exterminations. Before proceeding to unleash his terrors, Muller makes a dramatic show of being too emotionally discombobulated to continue with his story (a pretentious objection repeated by more than one of Shoah‘s interviewees – always valiantly overcome for the sake of history and remembrance!), but then promptly sets about rambling again and rattling off a self-aggrandizing anecdote.

Muller, claiming to have witnessed one brutalization too many at the entrance to the gas chamber at Auschwitz, says that he resolved to die and to join in the chamber the Czechs he was supposed to be gassing. The Czech women, however, objected and told him, “Your death won’t give us back our lives. [. . .] You must get out of here alive, you must bear witness to our suffering, and to the injustice done to us.” For this reason – to warn and enlighten posterity – and for this reason alone did Muller refuse to die along with those women, he says. So, if this yarn-spinner is to be given credence, it would seem that some of the Nazis’ victims had the leisure of making melodramatic speeches at the gates of Hell itself and that others, furthermore, actually had the privilege of deciding for themselves whether or not they would be exterminated.

Jan Karski“They didn’t look like human beings,” Polish courier Jan Karski says of the Jews whose indignities he witnessed in the Warsaw ghetto.

Also pulling the I’m-too-overcome-with-horror-to-continue shtick, but somehow mustering the fortitude to persevere, is old Jan Karski, who during the war acted as a secret courier moving between the Polish underground and the government in exile. Karski conjures from the hideous mire of his memory a 1942 meeting he had with two Jewish leaders, a communist Bundist and a Zionist, respectively, who sought his assistance in lobbying the Allied governments for arms and for special strategies and actions to liberate the Jews in the concentration camps. “They were whispering. They were hissing. It was a nightmare for me,” Karski recalls of the meeting.

Among these Jewish provocateurs’ uncompromising demands, recounts Karski, were the following: “Let dem [the Allies] make offeeshal declaration, again, offeeshal, public declaration, dat if de German nation does not offer evidence of trying to change de policy of their government, German nation will have to be held responsible for de crimes their government is committing. And now, if der are not such an evidence, to announce publicly, offeeshally, certain objects [i.e., civilian targets] will be bombed, destroyed, as a retaliation for what de German government is doing against de Jews. Dat bombing which will take place is not a part of de military strategy. It deals only with the de Jewish problem.”

Warsaw ghetto“Stench, stench, dirt, stench . . .” Karski recalls of the Warsaw ghetto.

Karski was instructed to visit as many politicians, influential Jews, and leading intellectuals as he could and spook them with the incipient legend of the Final Solution. And so as to instill in Karski a personal understanding and appreciation (sense memories, a Method actor would say) of the squalor of the Warsaw Jews’ situation, he was secretly taken on two private tours of their ghetto. “It wasn’t humanity,” he says in an awkward attempt at pathos in describing the scene he witnessed. “German officers were dere,” and on the streets were the naked bodies of people whose relatives were too cheap to pay the tax for their burial. Other horrors included the sight of peddlers desperately selling cookies and onions and flat-chested Jewesses publicly breastfeeding “babies with some crazy eyes.”

Adam CzerniakowDiarist Adam Czerniakow: the face of nerd revenge deferred

Elsewhere in Shoah the camera goes for a pornographically lurid stagger through a Warsaw cemetery, arriving at the tombstone of Adam Czerniakow, a Jewish community leader whose diary provides a valuable record of the day-to-day happenings in the ghetto. Slack-jowled, oily-nosed Raul Hilberg, editor of the English edition of the diary, puts in another appearance in order to plug the book and to attempt to extrapolate from its contents – its “anxiety”, “rumors”, “premonitions”, and anecdotes about drunken hearse drivers – a kind of preternatural foreknowledge on Czerniakow’s part of the hellish ovens awaiting his people. Ironically, Hilberg, in the midst of painting one of his tableaux of agony, admits that Czerniakow “hasn’t any criticism of the Germans themselves” or how they administered the ghetto – but this, no doubt, is only an implicit indictment of the most ingenious subtlety!

Raul Hilberg

Raul Hilberg assumes the ironic position

One of Shoah‘s most appalling sequences has the sullen Lanzmann badgering a friendly-faced old gentleman named Franz Grassler (sounds a little too suspiciously like “Gasser”, no?), who as Deputy of the Nazi Commissioner of the Warsaw ghetto played a role in trying to keep the residents in good health and free of typhus through hygienic measures. The idea, Grassler explains, was to maintain the Warsaw Jews as a workforce, not to kill them. “Ja,” Lanzmann answers sarcastically, suggesting throughout the interview that Grassler is trying to cover up his complicity in the Final Solution.  Confronting Grassler with Czerniakow’s diary, reading aloud an innocuous passage, and feigning to yank from it some smoking gun like a rabbit from a magician’s hat, Lanzmann finally stabs Grassler with this devastating and unanswerable charge: “You were part of the vast German power structure.” So shut up and feel guilty, you old archfiend!

Franz Grassler

Lanzmann hatchet victim Franz Grassler

Meandering and non-chronological to the end, Shoah concludes with the reminiscences of an Israeli veteran of the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising. “If you could lick my heart, it would poison you,” this boring man deadpans, blaming the Germans for his alcoholism. This could have been the tag line for Shoah itself: “Lick the poison heart of the Jews! Sadomasochistically savor the holy blood of Shoah – if you dare!” Either that or “Writhe in penitent boredom, you gentiles!” In the final analysis, however, this reviewer arrives at the judgment that this oldie-but-goodie would probably be most appropriate to describe Lanzmann’s 9.5-hour opus:

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