aryan ideal

There were lies you were told about WWII, Hitler being evil wasn't one of them

I remember a while back there was this immensely popular post with a gif of Hitler flattering his wife, that had tons and tons of notes from all these people gushing about how they had no idea Hitler was human too. When I criticized it, this older blogger claimed all these tumblr teens were taught in school to “dehumanize” Hitler, and now they were learning more than the simplistic narrative they were taught in school. It was, according to them, mind-broadening and important. The dehumanization of Hitler they claimed is a huge problem, and a bigger problem was young people thinking too simplistically about this complex person.

But this is the thing:

It’s true you are taught a simplistic and misleading narrative about World War II and the Nazis in school. But the problem isn’t that you’re taught to think badly of Hitler and Nazis, who committed mass murder, torture, enslavement, and other human rights abuses. The problem is you are taught that the US was the good guy and the Nazis were the antithesis to everything the US represented and now represents. You’re taught that the US came in and saved everyone in the name of freedom and democracy and crushed those Nazi fascists! And everyone lived happily ever after.

When in reality, the US invented eugenics which inspired the Nazis’ Aryan racial ideals in the first place. The Nazis modeled their treatment of Jews, Romani and other minorities after how the US treated Black people. Not only that, but the US refused the entry of many European Jews fleeing the Holocaust into this country. The US refused to help the Jews and other minorities targeted by Nazis. The US ignored pleas begging them to destroy gas chambers when they were so close within striking distance in Europe that they hit one accidentally.

What happened was after Pearl Harbor put the US at risk, they got involved and then they made up a story about why they were the good guys and why the Germans were the bad guys, about how they were now all about saving the world and the poor Jews. And the truth about antisemitism in the US (there were literal signs saying NO JEWS and shit, which you never learn about in school), about eugenics in the US, about the US’s deadly passivity for much of WWII, is actively erased, glossed over or explained away. And meanwhile, irony of ironies, the US sent thousands of Japanese Americans to internment camps–which of course were not the same as Nazi Germany’s extermination and concentration camps, but weren’t exactly the kind of thing someone who was ideologically opposed to Nazis would do. (You’re taught about the internment of Japanese Americans in school, but you aren’t encouraged to think about it as compromising the US’s alleged position as ideologically opposing Nazi Germany).

The US has used WWII to its advantage to create a particular narrative. It’s arguably a big reason antisemitism in the US changed and Jews started to achieve much greater access to whiteness. Associating Jews with whiteness dissociates Nazis from American racism and eugenics, despite how much mental gymnastics you have to do to ignore the fact white supremacy was at the core of Nazi ideology (people continually allege Jews were white in Nazi Germany despite the fact Nazis killed them, literally, to purify the white race). It takes the conversation away from the end result of white supremacy: genocide and brutality. Think about how important that would have been in the 1930s and 40s when the US was even more overtly racist than it is now. How would the US look: a nation where PoC, and Black people especially, were constantly exposed to violence and oppression? When what allowed the concentration camps in Nazi Germany to exist was a change to their constitution that allowed the deprivation of human rights in particular spaces, and all Roosevelt had to do was write an executive order depriving Japanese Americans of rights just as easily. Criticisms of white supremacy and human rights violations in Nazi Germany open up the same criticisms toward the US. I’m not the first to have that idea. Harper Lee tackles it in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Tumblr SJ who complain the Holocaust gets “too much attention” compared to other social injustices also seem to miss this point–they suggest it’s ~Jewish privilege~ or white privilege that explains why everyone cares more about the Holocaust, ignoring the fact that the mainstream narrative in the US about the Holocaust and WWII also often erases the long history of antisemitism in Europe and the history of it in the US. The narrative suggests Nazis arbitrarily decided on Jews as a scapegoat and ignores the racialization of Jews in Europe. There’s also an implication that with the end of the Holocaust came the end of antisemitism. Many aspects of the mainstream narrative around the Holocaust is hurtful to Jews. Ignoring the role of white supremacy in the Holocaust does no marginalized people any favors: as well as making it too easy to let the US off the hook for creating eugenics in the first place, it also erases Romani, who were targeted in the genocide, and are still definitely not racialized as white to this day.

The US is a racist empire (and I say empire because we currently live on colonized land and also exert worldwide control) and while I don’t like comparing Nazi Germany to anything, we’re not the opposite of Nazi Germany by any means–we certainly were not in the 1940s when we fought them. I don’t think the US is the same or even similar to Nazi Germany (as I said, I don’t like making lazy comparisons like that), but I think both the US and Nazi Germany have two terrible things in common: white supremacy and a government that has the power to deprive citizens of their basic rights at a moment’s notice.

That’s the story you’re not taught in school. That’s the mind blowing epiphany that actually matters.

Hitler being human is a fact of course. But he was a horrible, horrible human being, probably one of the worst in history. And making excuses for him being primarily responsible for wiping out one third of population of a people (Jews; edit: see here), 90% of the population of another (Romani), as well as countless other atrocities doesn’t make you interesting, edgy or counter-culture. It makes you downright despicable.

Sadly, it seems tumblr’s teens find the idea of Hitler flirting with his wife more interesting and mind-blowing than the idea that everything they were taught about the US’s role in WWII is slanted to mislead them.

I had a friend who claimed to be Jewish. He wasn’t, and isn’t, and never will be. For him, it was a fasionable alienation, a thing that he could use to make himself an outlier without actually putting himself at risk. I tolerated this, because there’s a certain amount of smiling and thinking this too shall pass when you’re Jewish.

Sometimes, it surprises people to learn that anti-Semitism is alive and well. It flies under the radar. We don’t like to think about it, as a society: there’s a very real sense of “we’re sorry we used you as our scapegoat and murdered tens of thousands of your people per year for two thousand years, and then let a madman wipe out one third of your population, but that’s in the past. Why aren’t you smiling? You’re rich, right? You control all the money and banks and movies…”

Back in the Medieval Ages, Europe took that whole Christian thing pretty seriously. Jesus was against lending money and charging interest, so royalty lent their money to Jewish communities and had them charge interest, then took it all. Jews were given the worst land to live on and forced to be tax collectors, and if the nobility charged people too much and they rebelled? “Well, it’s the fault of the Jews. Blame them. Kill them. They’re only Jews.”

I disagree with the Zionists and what they’ve done to the Palestinians, but I understand their fervor. A large reason why all these atrocities happened was because there was no Jewish homeland - if you were, say, a Frenchman visiting Spain and the Spanish were mean to you, France would step up to protect you. The Jews had no homeland. No one stood for us, and for two thousand years people took advantage of that.

Have you heard of Yiddish? Of course you have. It’s that funny sounding language that Jews sometimes speak in sitcoms or movies. It’s a real language, a sort of ‘pig-Hebrew’ that was developed in the East Roman Empire. There was another language just like it spoken by Jews living in Western Europe called Sephardic. No one speaks it anymore. Everyone that did was burned to ashes to satisfy the misplaced religious bloodlust of a death cult.

I’ve had pennies thrown at my feet. I try and talk about it and people say that doesn’t happen or you don’t look Jewish, or any one of a dozen other things. I explain that most Jewish holidays boil down to they tried to kill us and failed… let’s get drunk. Smile. Laugh. It’s funny.

1941 was before Pearl Harbor. The United States was still very isolationist. When Hitler put Jews on boats and told the world what he wanted to do to them, the United States didn’t take them. The Jews at that point were allowed to do one of two things by the people that, for two thousand years, had done little more than murder and kill them whenever they felt like it.

In 1941, two Jews invented the character of Captain America. The concept was two-fold; on one hand, Steve Rogers was to be the Aryan Ideal turned in on itself, the Superman made someone who was inherently decent, the conscience of his world. The second was a plea; by calling the character Captain America, these two Jews were asking America to remember its dream and live up to that ideal.

The creators of Captain America had family that the Nazis murdered. They went and fought in that war to save the Jews that the world left to die.

Jokingly, I’ve written a column called God of Comics. I know how comics work, and in regards to this there will be a separate article about how this storyline is a symptom of a larger problem that is choking that industry. So, yes: the Captain America that is now a Nazi will be explained away as being a Skrull, or a clone, or from a different time line, or any one of a hundred different outs. It will be retconned; the company that has allowed this to happen will hope that it will be forgotten.   

It won’t be.

It took Marvel ten years to salvage something of Iron Man from Civil War. Without the movies, I do not think they would have had any idea of where to start. Now, we’re hollowing out an icon that was meant to stand against a thing by making him a part of that thing.

Yes, this too shall pass. It’s comics, another form of fiction, and people that don’t understand the power of fiction will dismiss it as such. It will be fixed, you think, when it gets retconned out of existence for being the idiot idea that it is.

And it is an idiot idea. It’s click-bait built on the deaths of eleven million people, over half of which were just the latest atrocity committed against the Jewish people.

I don’t know how to end this. I try not to quote other people, mostly, as I think that as a writer I should be able to speak for myself. Yet, in this instance, I’m bowing out to Sigrid Ellis, the Jew that does the panels for a comic called Pretty Deadly:

“And knowing that this wound is temporary, that it’s for the sake of sales and money and a story beat, that just makes it hurt more, not less. How little we must matter, the people who needed Steve to be the defender of the underdog and the weak, how little we must matter if betraying us for a story beat is so easy.

"How little must we matter. The people who created Captain America, and Superman, and countless other heroes like them. The people who need him. The people whose history and suffering and hope, as we stood on the brink of annihilation, gave you your weekly entertainment and your fun thought experiment, 75 years later.

"I hope it was worth it, Marvel.”

Smile, everyone. This too shall pass.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2017

“First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me.”

Martin Niemoller


They also came for the Romani, the gays, the disabled, the incurably sick, the blacks, the dissidents. Anyone who didn’t fit their ‘perfect Aryan ideal’.

The world was silent then. The world outside turned away boatloads of refugees, desperate to escape the slaughter. The world knew of the horrors, but did not, would not, act.

The camps were liberated, yes, but that was not the aim of the war. It was a sideline.

Nobody cared.


I can see a horrific mirror of those days beginning to appear now. Refugees turned away, the President of the United States proposing a Muslim Register, and a list of crimes committed by immigrants. The repeal of the ACA in the US, and the actions of the DWP in the UK, taken against the disabled and chronically ill.

Hate crimes against Jewish people and businesses, and anti semitism in general, on the rise. Honest to goodness Neo-Nazis on the streets and on the TV.

WE CANNOT REMAIN SILENT.

We cannot let this happen again. We must not let them divide us.

We must speak up, we must fight, we must resist!

On this International Holocaust Remembrance Day, of all days, we must remember:

NEVER AGAIN

There are probably ~edgy~ types out there using blond haired, blue eyed Barbie dolls to represent aryan ideals (either for or against)–if so, joke’s on them, though, because Barbie was created by a Jewish woman, operating a toy company with her Jewish husband, and inspired by their Jewish daughter (with Ken later inspired by their Jewish son.)

As far as I’m concerned, the stereotypical “Barbie Doll” is Jewish.

honestly i don’t see how the “it’s xenophobia, not racism” argument makes much sense when talking about racism between european ethnic groups. like you have so many cases where the people persecuted to the level of genocidal violence were part of the country in question for centuries. clearly, it’s not some generic dislike of foreigners at work. 

i also don’t agree it’s as simple as those groups only being persecuted because they’re not seen as “white”, given that in many cases, the european ethnic tensions driving the discrimination long predate the modern construct of whiteness. i can see how today ideas of white supremacy may intersect with it, but the root of it is about them not being seen as “one of us” by the majority ethnic group of that european country. meaning that it’s a highly specific hierarchy determined by ethnic affiliation, not so much just a broader, colourist idea of whiteness. in the case of european empires like Nazi Germany, ideas of superiority had a highly specific ethnic- not just colourist- racial dimension. people’s racial status was determined by their ancestral records, no matter how light-skinned they were or even if they possessed features stereotyped to belong to the so-called “Aryan” ideal. 

ethnicity-based racism is also something i find to occur from my personal experience in East and SEAsia. it makes no sense to say what we do is just “xenophobia, not racism” because we’re all “Asian”. issues between Chinese, Japanese and Koreans are a pretty good example of how ppl don’t just look at colour but look at ethnicity. anyway, i think xenophobia is often interconnected with racism. 

And another thing that pisses me the fuck off

Steven Grant Rogers was literally designed to be a giant “fuck you” to Nazis. Physically, he’s the Aryan ideal- white, blond haired, blue eyed, strong and mighty- and the fact that he looks like this and goes around fighting Nazis is completely deliberate. His name might as well be Steven fuckyouNazis Rogers. That’s why making him a Nazi is utterly disrespectful and total character assassination.

I honestly hadn’t realized it before yesterday, but I’ve got some pretty strong feelings about Captain America

In a way I guess I should be glad this happened.  Before yesterday I considered myself a pretty big Cap fan, but I’d never really sat down and thought about how much the character and what he stands for actually mean to me, and how much of an influence he was on me and the way I look at the world.

I’ve been reading Captain America comics for damn near forty years at this point; one thing that’s been consistent in all that time is that Steve Rogers is one of the few superheroes who doesn’t have any kind of ulterior motive or tragic backstory behind why he’s a hero.  He doesn’t do what he does because he made a mistake that he’s trying to atone for.   He’s not doing it because he has incredible godlike powers and he feels like he’d be wasting them if he didn’t try to make a difference.  He doesn’t do what he does because he lost someone, and he’s fighting for their memory.  He does it because it’s the right thing to do and it needs to be done, and to him it truly is =that simple=.  That more than anything else is the core of his character, and retroactively inserting into his backstory that he’s always been a HYDRA agent is an utter betrayal of that concept.

Here’s is a very important thing about Steve Rogers, and about specifically Steve Rogers as Captain America; Steve Rogers is a white guy.  Steve is, by design, a capital letters White Guy.  He’s blond-haired, blue-eyed, six foot four, and he’s built like a brick shithouse ate a brick shithouse.  He is in every way the living embodiment of Hitler’s Aryan ideal.  Yet the first thing – the FIRST THING – we see this character do is punch Adolf Hitler right in the mouth.  It’s a direct subversion of the very idea of the “Aryan ideal”, an indisputably clear signal that screams “You’re wrong.  I am obviously part of what you call the “Master Race”, and I think you’re an asshole.”  That’s an extremely powerful statement.  It still is today and it was even moreso when Simon and Kirby made it, more than a year before the US actually entered the war.  But when this White Guy stands up and says he’s fighting for “America”, you =never= get the feeling that he’s excluding anyone.  Are you an Amercian?  Do you want to be an American?  Do you believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that all men AND WOMEN are created equal? Then it doesn’t matter who you are or where you were born or what color your skin is, Steve Rogers will fight to his last breath to keep you safe.

The whole point of the article I just posted a link to captures my feelings about the matter perfectly.  I KNOW this isn’t a permanent change.  I KNOW this is going to be undone.  That’s not the problem.  That’s not remotely what I or anybody else is upset about.    

I’m not upset about it because I think it’s permanent.  I’m upset about it because it happened at all.  I’m upset about it because Captain America is apparently in the hands of stewards who have such a poor understanding of who he is and what he means that they didn’t realize what a terrible idea this was.  It doesn’t matter how this story is resolved, how long it lasts, or how good it is.  The damage is done.  The very center of the character of Steve Rogers has been betrayed, and they can’t take that back.  I keep thinking about what Tom Brevoort said in that interview with Time – “There should be a feeling of horror or unsettledness at the idea that somebody like this can secretly be part of this organization. There are perfectly normal people in the world who you would interact with on a professional level or personal level, and they seem like the salt of the earth but then it turns out they have some horrible secret — whether it’s that they don’t like a certain group of people or have bodies buried in their basement.”  Well, yes. That’s a thing that’s happening a LOT these days.  And yes, there are a lot of people like that (way more than I’m comfortable with, honestly) in America.  But here’s the very simple thing you and Nick Spencer don’t seem to understand.

Steve Rogers isn’t one of those people.  Period.  He never has been and he never will be.  And you turning him into one of those people is shameful.

The point of Captain America isn’t to be a mirror for the not-so-great aspects (or any aspects) of America.  Captain America is supposed to show us what we can be, if we try hard enough; if we believe in the ideals this country was founded on, and we’re brave enough to fight for them.  Not just for rich people, not just for white people, not just for people who were lucky enough to be born here, but for everyone.  For anyone.  Yes it sounds corny and cheesy; no it’s not edgy, no it’s not “cool”.  It’s not supposed to be.  It’s supposed to be right.  

Captain America isn’t a reflection of what we are.  Captain America is a beacon, to light the way to what we know we can be.

After Hitler rose to power, the Nazis began to consider the image problems that could arise from them being perceived as human-shaped garbage bags filled with spoiled autopsy trimmings. So to give the Reich a family-friendly vibe, propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels began the search for a “perfect Aryan” baby to use in a national campaign that would show everyone what the Nazis were all about. After spending days huddled over his new collection of submitted baby pictures, Goebbels finally found a photo of an anonymous, cherub-faced little girl with brown hair and dark eyes. Granted, she wasn’t the “Aryan ideal” of blond hair and blue eyes, but Goebbels sort of had this thing about dark-eyed brunettes.

What Went Wrong (Or Awesomely Right?): The nameless baby had her face slapped on magazine covers, postcards, and propaganda material all throughout Germany. This caused a bit of an alarm for Jewish Berliners Jacob and Pauline Levinsons, who noted that the literal poster child for the Master Race was their 6-month-old daughter, Hessy.

6 Propaganda Campaigns That Backfired Hilariously

anonymous asked:

hey, genuine confusion here, in your post about how outside of the US white people have indeed experienced racism...racism requires you to be oppressed because of your race. in the case of the bosnians, for example, from what i understand it wasn't because of their race that they were being oppressed, it was because they were bosnian, which isn't racism. asks don't really allow for more than this amount of text, so I won't be able to speak to the rest of your post, but this confused me.

i’ll try to explain the best i can. the main point i’m making is we need to remember that whiteness globally is a tremendously fluid concept. one could have white privilege in the US but not be considered white at all in Europe or even if they are seen as white, their ethnicity opens them up to other variants of racism. 

1. The first thing you need to remember is that race outside the US is simply not constructed the same way. 

  • In Europe, race is constructed based on colour AND ethnicity- the latter particularly so when it comes to issues between different European ethnic groups. Ethnicity-based discrimination here is understood to be a variant of racism as much as racism based on colour. Because ethnicity simply does factor into the racial hierarchy in Europe- and in much of the world, actually. The way the Japanese in Asia during WW2 regarded us as “subhuman” was understood to be racism. It’s irrelevant that Chinese and Japanese are seen as the “same race” in the US or Western context. We have the idea that we are both “non-white” and “Asian” but our understanding of racism continues to be drawn on ethnic lines, not just colour or “race” in the American sense. Similarly, Europe has an idea of whiteness but it is not a coherent one,  because it’s marred by ethnic fault lines which continue to matter.

2. And therefore, how people globally understand the concept of “racism” isn’t restricted to US race categories. this is exactly why the UN’s International Convention of Racial Discrimination defines racism this way:

So in my view, you can’t really say what happened to the Bosnian people wasn’t racism on the basis that it doesn’t adhere to the US understanding of racism. They were definitely not oppressed because they were “white” but because of their ethnoreligious affiliation- and Europe consistently understands this to be racism. The crimes of Nazi Germany are always understood to be racism, even if some of its victims may be seen as “white” in the US today. imo, European antisemitism is a prejudice best described as racism based on ethnicity precisely because it is older than the modern construct of whiteness and Jewish or Romani people who had features that supposedly resembled the “Aryan” ideal could not escape. Like, it wasn’t a case where if you looked “more Aryan” you could get better treatment. Because the Nazi racial laws determined whether someone was “pure Aryan” by looking at their ancestry and was about an idea of German ethnic purity- hence the plan to exterminate Eastern Europe of Slavic people too in Generalplan Ost. Precisely because racial hierarchies in Europe factor in ethnicity, in addition to colour. 

Edit: Also, it does amount to US cultural imperialism when people say things we have long understood in our societies to be racism aren’t actually racism just because it doesn’t cohere to the US understanding of racism. I think you didn’t mean to do it intentionally, but you’re sort of assuming the structures of US race politics are universal. It is cultural imperialism that our experiences are forced through a US lens, because the US is easily the most powerful country in the world and possesses tremendous ability to dominate global narratives. 

The Ring of the Mastermen (Der Ring des Nibelungen Allusions in The Multiversity: Mastermen #1)

Introduction

One of Richard Wagner’s greatest operas, Der Ring des Nibelungen is namedropped and featured in the latest chapter of Grant Morrison’s Multiversity maxi-series. The tone of the narration and the promises of a greater story beyond the issue’s final page may put one in the mind that it is the first act of an epic tale. However, on closer inspection of the various characters and story beats of Mastermen #1, one realizes that the tragedy it tells of is a complete one and it is one of the oldest and most classic tragedies of all. Fittingly for such a bleak and bizarre universe, these emulations are likewise twisted and darkened into hideous parodies of their progenitors.

Das Rheingold

Before the United States entered World War 2 in full-force, there was a comic by Superman creators Siegel and Shuster titled “What if Superman Ended the War”. In it, the Man of Steel apprehends then-allies Hitler and Stalin and puts them at the mercy of the League of Nations at Switzerland. Two months later, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Foreshadowing? Coincidence? It was eerie all the same.

Prophecy plays a large role in the Nibelung saga. The clairvoyant Norns are characters in it after all and melodically lament on the past, present, and future. Morrison mixes this motif with the seemingly oracular Superman story above, shakes well, and throws in the Fuhrer himself for good measure. For reasons that none of his underlings dare to question, Hitler decides to pass the time during one of his infamous bouts of constipation by reading a comic book; the contents of which feature a fictional Superman hitting him across the face. Soon after, he is informed that a rocket from outer space has crash-landed in Nazi territory, carrying with it a powerful, bulletproof passenger. The poetry in this coincidence is not lost on Hitler, whose default aggressive and critical persona momentarily falters.

During his first meeting with Kal-El/Karl Kant/Overman, Hitler proves himself to be the quintessential Odin archetype: An Ambitious Man of Vision with Exceptionally Poor Depth Perception. He knows of Superman, he has read his comics, he is determined to create his very own to one day conquer the country that created the concept, but he has missed the point of the character entirely. If the hero within those pages ever truly came to life, it would undoubtedly turn around and deck him in the mustache like his paper and ink counterpart. Perhaps unjustly, this never comes to pass and Hitler doesn’t live to suffer the subversion of his grand, ill-conceived schemes as Odin did at the end of the Nibelung quartet.

There might be a superhuman named Blitzen/Lightning (who he commands) fighting alongside him, but it’s Overman - with the jagged, red, singular Schutzstaffel insignia cutting across a field of midnight black like a crimson thunderbolt on his crest - who is the Thor of this story. The mightiest of the Norse Gods and Odin’s top thug, Thor is the one who uses his powers to light the way to Valhalla at the end of Das Rheingold. Likewise, Overman leads his fellow Nazis to victory and to a utopia built upon “Aryan New Man” ideals. In addition, the swastika symbol, which this version of Overman does not wear, represented the Hammer of Thor in the Germanic Iron Age.

In contrast to him being THE Norse God in most of the mythos’ iterations in popular media, Thor is something of a bit player in Wagner’s production. Overman as we see him in the present, is much the same way; more of a super menace deterrent and figurehead than a creature of genuine volition and depth. But the guise of the juggernaut, much like the nondescript Clark Kent identity of his Earth-0 doppelgänger, hides a more insidious face; that of the trickster, that of Loki. The Loki of the Nibelung is, strangely enough, one of the more moral of the Norse Gods featured therein, disliking his brutal peers for their vices and resenting them for withholding the Rhine Gold from its true owners. While having opposing ideals and temperaments, Odin nonetheless sees fit to entrust and delegate a great many tasks to this most deceitful of deities during the events of the Ring Cycle. It is heavily implied that Overman is the mole leaking information to the Freedom Fighters so as to create a force that can dole out the punishment he feels he so deserves in a world that largely approves of the atrocities he helped make manifest; living out Loki’s traditional arc, but with a lot more misguided nobility and self-loathing. Linking all three of these reinterpreted icons is a common chain; that for all their might, cunning, and scruples, they are powerless to avert the tremendous fall from grace that lies just before the curtain’s final close.

The Valkyrie

The eponymous Valkyrie of this opera is named Brunhilde. There is a New Reichsman named Brunhilde who dresses like a Valkyrie and has the heart of a warrior. Like Blitzen before her, this is a thematic red herring. Brunhilde is not Mastermen’s stand-in for Wagner’s Valkyrie; Overgirl is.

While she perished during Final Crisis and doesn’t appear outside of Overman’s nightmarish vision of the dead Countdown Reichsmen and Lord Broken of the Gentry, Overgirl supplies Mastermen with a bevy of Nibelung allusions in quick succession. Or to be more accurate, it’s her memorial service that does the job. During it, Overgirl proves to have been beloved by her fellow Reichsmen as Brunhilde was to the Norse Pantheon of Nibelung. The Eternal Flame that Overman tries to install for her is a dual reference to her lover’s funeral pyre at the end of the play and the ring of fire that Odin set up around her mountain prison so that only the mightiest of heroes could wake her from her cursed slumber. The lover she mourned and the hero that saved her were the same man: Siegfried.

Siegfried

Pale like the Grim Reaper’s steed, garbed like a nuclear knight, and sporting the purple triangle of a Jehovah’s Witnesses concentration camp prisoner’s badge on his visor, this version of the Human Bomb is the very image of an anti-Nazi specter of vengeance. Helped by the fact that he is one; an ivory fury that will not die. But he’s also one of their most beloved heroes in the atomic flesh. The Mastermen incarnation of Siegfried: the legendary slayer of dragons.

The use of stories, concepts, myths, and ideas as weapons is a recurring theme in Morrison’s stories: Superman in his Action Comics made himself a colorful, grinning distraction for his enemies to punch so his allies could strike at their Achilles’ Heels; his Batman consciously fed the flames of his own myth so that he’d remain a fearsome memetic legend despite everyone knowing that he existed; And Flex Mentallo speaks for itself/himself. Every charismatic leader who had their fingers on the pulse of the common man’s thoughts and emotions has done likewise from Gandhi to JFK, but much more sinister individuals like Hitler and Kim Jong-il have used hype machines of their own to craft cults of personalities for themselves and as ammunition dumps to use against ideologies and persons they despise. In that same vein, Morrison’s villains aren’t necessarily concerned with just murdering their victims as they are with changing their minds. The Men from N.O.W.H.E.R.E, the Outer Church, Mickey Eye, and even a version of Grant himself in Animal Man all want to superimpose their beliefs and prejudices on the broader collective consciousness, deterring imagination and innovation This is what the Gentry desires as well and they accomplish this by importing foreign elements into other universes (The Society of Super-Criminals, the Sivanas, Ultra Comics), reshuffling the narrative (Pax Americana), and haunting the dreams of key players (The Just, Mastermen). In addition to supervillains, the Gentry also employ heroes that have been broken by these spiritually corrosive processes. The Human Bomb is one such agent. As they did with Nix, the Gentry took the core components of the selfless Freedom Fighter, mangled them, stretched them until they tore, and then put them back together in the mocking assemblage they needed to assassinate the soul of the super soldier Aesir.

Siegfried was a beleaguered champion, motivated by love and courageous to a fault, who was exploited by the cunning and the vile into destroying himself. The Human Bomb follows the broad strokes of the beloved warrior’s path. His playing possum is kin to Siegfried using the tarnhelm to disguise himself and take the coveted Rhinegold Ring which is represented in Mastermen by the Eagle’s Nest orbital watchtower. The fires of his burning body also bring great disaster to the “gods” of Earth-10 by annihilating their Metropolis, their Valhalla. But the Gentrified Human Bomb is no martyr; his regenerating body lets him take as much injury as he likes before unleashing it on his tormentors. He is a liar and a terrorist; as decadent and sadistic as the original Siegfried was true and sympathetic. Contrasting his fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses, Doll Man and Doll Girl, the perverted Human Bomb relishes the idea of blowing the space station out of the sky, murdering Leatherwing and Underwatermen, and committing mass genocide in the process. Whether he is unaware of the hypocrisy in the Freedom Fighters’ actions like Uncle Sam or simply doesn’t care so long as it’s his jackboot on a neck is irrelevant. Both scenarios are equally horrific.

Götterdämmerung

But where, you might ask, is Alberich? The wretched little dwarf that set the entirety of the Nibelung saga in motion with his greed and spite? Befitting one of his stature, he’s been in the story the whole time, just out of sight. He is a Doctor Sivana, one of many who are all as loveless and proud as the Rhinegold Ring’s creator, and his experiments and inventions bring about Ragnarok as Alberich’s did in the form of his Freedom Fighters. Even without knowing that this Operation Paperclip-esque alliance is a front for a massive multiversal conspiracy to take over all that exists, Uncle Sam really should know better than to trust someone as transparently shady and dishonest as Doktor Sivana. But this is not a Justice League or Freedom Fighters story. This is Der Ring des Nibelungen, where dwarves like the Doktor and Alberich are given just enough slack to strangle their enemies and themselves.

And here the shape of the story is retroactively revealed and bleeds into everything that came before. This is opera, one of the greatest and starkest of its sort. Leatherwing and Jurgen recognize the viper in their midst too late. The Freedom Fighters lay siege to the theater and set about killing its occupants as Brunhilde did to the Gods in their beloved dining hall. Uncle Sam calls upon and mocks the name of Siegfried, proving the Human Bomb’s true narrative identity. Propaganda, disinformation, and mudslinging are used by him to frame this insurgency as a war of ideas, of right vs. wrong. But the people he fights for have dwindled to a size that can’t possibly replace the civilization he wants to destroy, it has been 60 years since the war he fought was lost, and his star-spangled jihad will result in the demise of millions of innocents that had nothing to do with the formation of Germanica instead of the “gods” - for do superheroes ever truly die? - that did. His grudge has blinded him to the fact that the Doktor didn’t make the Freedom Fighters from select minorities out of a sense of poetic justice, but to turn them into homicidal harlequins. The sacred opera has been systematically debauched into a minstrel show of the highest order. And only the Gentry are laughing.

Siegfried has hijacked the Ring, causing it to change owners and ultimately destroy Valhalla. The Mighty Thor, despite his formidable weapon and powers, was unable to break down the doors and walls that trapped him and the rest of his gods in the inferno that Brunhilde started. Overman fails to stop the Eagle’s Nest from crashing into Metropolis, not for lack of ability, but because he doesn’t fully want to. Fully, it is important to stress that. For all his shame and contempt for the paradise built upon the bodies of murdered millions, Overman still tried to stop Uncle Sam from destroying Metropolis, but his self-loathing and desire for punishment curtails the resolve he needed to save the day. Then comes the final, sadistic subversion to the Ring Cycle. The “hero” survives when all he coveted was to be struck down for the crimes of the past. Der Ring des Nibelungen is full of characters that wish to escape the consequences of their actions, those who wish to cheat fate and death. What better insult than to have the one remorseful god who consigns himself to execution live so that he may languish in the aftermath of his search for “justice”? Very few, I’d wager.

Regard the Overman. How he does not celebrate in the mass killing that so eerily mirrors the one he came home to after three years of exile. How he slouches down among the ruins, inconsolable in the face of his continued existence and realization that he is now kin to his adoptive father, complicit in a Holocaust on the German people that trusted and loved him. But is this not the same Overman who was drained of his life force and conscripted by the Monitors in exchange for a ransomed cousin long dead? Who despite all that, won the grudging respect and trust of his polar opposite Billy Batson, and fought against the forces of Mandrakk regardless? Can he come back from this as he did then or will he be “destroyed” as Jurgen claims? Nothing may come of it, but anything is possible because he’s a Superman and it is, as Jurgen says, “The Beginning.”

Additional Notes

Something of note is how Hitler once wielded the Spear of Destiny to combat the Justice Society of America; Odin was rather fond of Gungnir, a lance of immense power.

Der Ring des Nibelungen is full of duplicitous, ambitious, nigh-identical dwarves who regularly double-cross each other. Mime, Gunther, Hagan, and the rest are represented by the multiverse alliance of Sivanas who mostly consist of mean-spirited, diminutive mirrors to the classic Captain Marvel villain. Complete domination is their motivation, as it was with the dwarves, and their comparable shortsightedness (and treachery) leads to the undoing of whatever brief victories they win for themselves.

Billy’s contempt for Karl is rather ironic given how they both have simplified thunderbolts in place of the traditional Superman crest (Zeus vs. Thor!). Both of them were styled after the idea of Superman (Captain Marvel’s comic and how Hitler made Kal-El into Overman), but are not him exactly. And in an added twist, Billy was after a chunk of magic rock in Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3D while Overman’s motivation for joining Zillo was arguably the most selfless out of the five Supermen, finding his cousin Overgirl.

Fritz Lang was a German-Austrian director who was responsible for the creation of some of the greatest films of the Golden Age of German and Hollywood cinema. Among them was Metropolis and a movie adaptation of Die Nibelungen, possibly making Mastermen one of the most calamitous crossovers ever. Don’t let the often-demonized name fool you; he wasn’t a very big fan of the Nazis and left Germany the moment Hitler came into power.

Captain America, True Believers

Last night, in addition to the news of a new Thor, it came out that we will be seeing another figure taking up the mantle of Captain America.  Steve Rogers faces a new crisis, the loss of the super serum that’s been keeping him alive and strong for decades.  Now old, he needs a new hand on his shield.  To that end, his friend, Sam Wilson (AKA The Falcon, played fantastically by Anthony Mackie in The Winter Soldier) is taking the mantle.

If this last detail bothers you, I need you to stop.  “But Cap is white!”

No.  Steve Rogers is white.  Steve Rogers was made into the perfect Aryan ideal from common, unfit stock in World War II and it was his perfect blonde hair and blue eyes that fiction needed to punch Hitler in his fucking face.  He was the irony America needed in World War II.

But even then, he wasn’t the only one.

In 2003, Robert Morales (writer) and Kyle Baker (pencils, ink, and color) created Isaiah Bradley for the seven part miniseries, Truth: Red, White, & Black.  Bringing a face back to the too-easily forgotten black soldiers and using the Tuskegee Experiments (not to be confused with the airmen, but shoutout to them, too!) as a basis for inspiration, Bradley became another face of the Captain for World War II.

(YOU NEED TO READ THIS STORY.  THIS IS A GOOD FUCKING STORY)

Long debated as canonical or non-canonical, today Bradley and his family are a firm part of Earth-616 comics history.  Still strong but recovering from decades of abuse from both the Nazis and his own country, Isaiah not only came to the wedding of Black Panther and Storm, but his bloodline lives on to fight - Patriot, his grandson Elijah, founding member of the Young Avengers.

Isaiah’s story has added much-needed dimensions to the history of the title “Captain America."  He challenged the status quo, and in the context of his own story, like countless more stories in the real world, he paid for it dearly.  Isaiah comes out of his story still strong of spirit, but not without immense cost, as Rogers comes to learn at the end of the miniseries.

Steve Rogers is white.  Perhaps he truly needed to be then, to impress into the children of and after WWII the hatred that had come in the name of the white man’s ideal he was forged in, and the good he could still be.  But Captain America does not have to be Steve.

He (or she) needs to be America.  And America has never been made of one color, or been represented by one, or should be represented by one.

With Ms. Marvel, Thor, and Captain America this year, we’ve seen Marvel at least *try* to see the faces of today’s readers.  Maybe that’s not enough, and by God, certain contingents of ‘fanboys’ will scream about the new faces of Marvel.  I am not here to listen to them, and in time they will dwindle.

If America as a story is strong, then Sam Wilson, Captain America, will be, too.  I’ll be there to read it.

Reading reviews on Race, I’m seeing exactly what I was worried about, which is the exact same set of things that might get the movie an Oscar (aside from it being a black triumph over struggle with the invaluable help of a white guy that’s literally called Race).

  • The whole “the US was uncomfortable with Nazi Germany” myth. The US had plenty of supporters of Nazi Germany, including major businessmen and political figures. I mean, IBM’s machines were integral to the Holocaust, and the dude directly responsible for the supply and maintenance of those machines, who went over there in 1933 right after the Nazis took power to help them prepare for the census whose purpose he knew was to round up Jews and other “undesirable groups” and put them in the concentration camps that were already sparking some level of international outrage, and who got a medal from Nazi Germany in 1937 but didn’t even feel uncomfortable enough to send it back until 1940 (both dates, you’ll notice, being after the 1936 Olympics that provide Race’s backdrop). There was a plot for a fascist coup in the US that reportedly involved a lot of prominent businessmen. The US was only nominally anti-fascist as a country until entering the war, and the US didn’t enter the war because of fascism or the Holocaust.
  • The whole “Jesse Owens was a symbol of anyone-can-make-it American exceptionalism triumphing over Hitler’s white supremacist views, which America totally didn’t have” myth. Apparently the film shows him facing racism in the movie (which I’m sure is Hollywood Racism, always overt and always solved by friendship or courage), but still plays into the idea that it was just Hitler that pushed the idea of the Aryan ideal rather than being the leader of a movement that sought to achieve it through genocide. We had our own eugenics movements here, including state-sponsored programs that lasted into the 1970s and 1980s. They didn’t include rounding up any ethnic groups–at least not for genocide. But “at least we didn’t gas anyone” doesn’t play as well in a feel-good America Beats Racism film. This whole mythology also fed the gas-inducing thinkpieces on why Sam Wilson should never have been made Captain America in the comics (that Steve Rogers’ Cap represented the Aryan ubermensch kicking the Reich’s ass, rather than the Western ideal generally, which is ridiculous and ahistorical). Jesse Owens did confront by virtue of his victory the ideas of white supremacy, but the overall ideas and not simply those of the Nazis.
  • The whole “Leni Riefenstahl was fighting Hitler on racism” mythology, which Hollywood loves because it helps explain why her films are shown in film schools and why she’s regarded for her technical prowess without anyone having to feel conflicted about it. She did have a complicated history with the Nazis, with her role as a propagandist, and with racial stuff, certainly, but the whole apparent subplot in the film of Hitler–who, unlike FDR, shook Owens’ hand and congratulated him on the victory and sent him an autographed picture–angrily demanding she cut the Owens footage and her refusing, which is ahistorical. Which is obviously not to say that Hitler was better than FDR or that he was not Literally Hitler, just that this line of mythology serves America and Hollywood but simplifies that era in a way that hurts our understanding of it.
  • The whole “America treated black people bad, but you should have seen how black people were treated in Germany!” mythology, which simply serves to excuse American racism and place us way farther along on our imagined road to Our Current Post-Racial Society™ than we could be depicted as with the remotest bit of honesty. The policies regarding black people in Nazi Germany were more or less the same as the ones in the US, except that Jesse Owens was allowed to stay in the same hotel as the white people when he went to Berlin but had to take a freight elevator in the Waldorf Astoria to his own reception in New York after he won.

It irks me how much we minimize and whitewash this country’s past even as we attempt in these vain and self-serving ways to atone for that past.

After Hitler rose to power, the Nazis began to consider the image problems that could arise from them being perceived as human-shaped garbage bags filled with spoiled autopsy trimmings. So to give the Reich a family-friendly vibe, propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels began the search for a “perfect Aryan” baby to use in a national campaign that would show everyone what the Nazis were all about.

After spending days huddled over his new collection of submitted baby pictures, Goebbels finally found a photo of an anonymous, cherub-faced little girl with brown hair and dark eyes. Granted, she wasn’t the “Aryan ideal” of blond hair and blue eyes, but Goebbels sort of had this thing about dark-eyed brunettes.

The nameless baby had her face slapped on magazine covers, postcards, and propaganda material all throughout Germany. This caused a bit of an alarm for Jewish Berliners Jacob and Pauline Levinsons, who noted that the literal poster child for the Master Race was their 6-month-old daughter, Hessy.

6 Propaganda Campaigns That Backfired Hilariously

What happened to works of art under the Nazis is still very much in the news. One piece of that history is the official Nazi response to Modern Art. They called it degenerate, and put on a number of exhibits to demonstrate how terrible it was. A show at New York’s Neue Galerie  is the first major American exhibit since 1991 to deal with this subject. And Fresh Air’s classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz was there to see it:

One of the most unsettling rooms in an important art exhibit at New York’s Neue Galerie is a room in which numerous empty frames are hanging, with guesses about which paintings might have been in them. The paintings themselves were all lost or destroyed by the Nazis. This is part of a show called “Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937.” Encouraged by Hitler, most Nazis (Goebbels was the rare exception) considered everything but the most hide-bound, traditionally realistic paintings and sculptures to be “degenerate,” a threat to the Aryan ideals of German culture. To bring this home, there was a series of “exhibitions of shame,” designed to teach the German public to despise Modernist art. This culminated in a major show in Munich in 1937, which later toured Germany and Austria. The public crowded to see it. That same summer in Munich, a counter exhibit, called “The Great German Art Exhibition,” including at least one work owned by Hitler, showed what the Nazis thought art should be. The Neue Galerie includes some 80 works from both of these landmark shows.

Read the full review here. 

Image courtesy of the Neue Galerie 

thisisnotjapan

In the beginning I said “racialised as white” and said race is a fluid social construct. My wording could have been tighter yes, but the usage of “white” later was to reiterate how within what Americans perceive as whiteness, there are lots of fault lines which matter. When I write about it now, I do try my best to reiterate how “white” is a construct. And indeed, I know whiteness is a construct. The reason why I referred to these people as “White” was because the originally asker was talking about white privilege on a global scale, so some of these people if they were oppressed back home, could benefit if they were in a non-European country or went to the US to become “white”.

  • I am really tired of reiterating this, but if you suggest that discrimination between two ethnic groups is just “ethnic discrimination” you are downgrading things like the WW2 crimes of the Japanese against people like my grandparents.
  • What the Japanese did to us is racism.  What the Germans did to other European ethnic groups like Polish and Russians IS RACISM. Where I am (Europe) everyone pretty much describes Nazi Germany’s policies as racist. To say it is not racism is erasure of the severity of these crimes. Especially when there are posts floating around on the internet which are so willing to construe the US atomic bombing of Japan as racism, yet the Empire of Japan’s murder of millions of people is not racism, even though there were notions of Japanese superiority, even though people were abused in the most hideous ways, even though there was a lot of cultural imperialism and erasure going on that is practically indistinguishable from how European empires tried to forcefully assimilate its colonies. It’s pretty damned fucked up that murdering millions of people is “not racism”. Because this is not like say, Mao purging other Han Chinese CCP members for ideological purity. Germany and Japan were both aggressive and expansionist empires that saw themselves as superior- and therefore- that they had a license to treat the rest of us like shit. And how? By othering us. By racialising us outside the group with privilege.

This kind of hair splitting that it’s “ethnic discrimination” does us no favours when people like:

  • 1) Japanese nationalists love painting themselves as victims of racism whenever someone brings up how horrific the WW2 history is- like regarding Angelina Jolie’s new movie.
  • 2) EU far right and neo-Nazi parties which have won elections in EU Parliament always like to hit on Eastern European immigrants and light-skinned Roma or Jewish people and go “it’s not racism! they’re kind of "white” and “European”! Despite the entire fact that Nazi Germany construed Slavic people as a separate “subhuman race”. Of course, they hate those of us with non-European ancestry but they gain popularity by being racist in a manner that they can obfuscate things more easily.

(x) And no, it’s not just the policies against Roma and Jewish people which are racist. Policies against EVERYONE not considered to be the “Aryan” ideal is racist- so that includes Slavic people. The only thing I would describe as “not racist” are of course those prisoners locked up for their sexual orientation or Germans who would be “Aryans” but were oppressed for being enemies of the Nazi party. YES, then that’s not racism.

The heart of what is going on is the same, no matter what clothing it wears. Ethnicity, xenophobia, culture, language all form a potent combination for racially Othering other people.

  • What is the point of all these “it’s ethnic discrimination, not racism” I keep getting? It always seems to detract from the suffering of these victims even if you didn’t intend it. It seems just like American monopolisation and gatekeeping of these terminologies despite the fact that our own society and media and academic discourse describes these atrocities as racism. WE see it as a racism and it is not your position to tell us it is not. Not to mention the UN definition of racial discrimination is much broader and comprises ethnicity.

  • This notion that racism has to be so rigidly construed along US colourist lines does no justice to understanding the complexity of racism around the world. And, it’s fallacious- if I point out how the Irish and many Southern Europeans were not regarded as “white” in 1800s America. So what, is this ethnic discrimination now? Even though it’s completely CONGRUENT and CONTIGUOUS with how whiteness as a system was used by the elite to confer privilege and basically divide and conquer poorer classes? When the Irish’ absorption into whiteness was consistent with how there were MORE AND MORE non-European immigrants who seemed even further from the definition of white, who began to occupy the space formerly filled by the poor Irish immigrants fleeing the Potato Famine?

If I sound frustrated, it’s because I see this again and again. Yes, I know mods on your blogs do not support those revisionists in the Japanese government and I am glad you do acknowledge Japanese war crimes but you do us no favours when you suggest racism has to occur between what the US race paradigm regards as “separate races” to be racism. Because then what happened during WW2 to Asia doesn’t qualify, despite the fact that the Japanese government has had officials caught with links to Neo-Nazis.

Ethnic discrimination, nationalism, racism whatever are all merely sides of the same coin. Maybe you are not conscious of it as some of your mods are Japanese-American, but this kind of gatekeeping of terminology despite the fact that our societies already describe it as racism- is basically an extension of American cultural imperialism.

Because your country now not only imposes its foreign policy- but its racial politics on us in a manner that erases how people there actually see their experiences.

9

As it’s Holocaust Memorial Day, I thought I’d share some of my pictures from when I visited the most notorious camp of all the concentration camps in use throughout the Holocaust during World War II. Auschwitz-Birkenau saw the deaths if around 1.1 million people whom the Nazi’s declared inferior, including Jewish people, the disabled, homosexuals, political opponents and anyone who didn’t fit with Hitler’s ideal “Aryan Race”.

The most awful and inhumane beatings, killings and the humiliation of millions took place here, may we remember the victims of this terrible event in history, and never forget the atrocities that occurred.

Motives and Cultural Appropriation

I’m going to try to keep this short. My dash and the trending tags are full of hate and counter-hate on the issue of “white girls” wearing bindis. It’s been the same with “white people” appropriating Egyptian culture, and Native American culture, and everything else. In the end, it all comes down to this:
Motives.
The biggest complaint I have seen from desis concerning the wearing of bindis by white girls, is that they suffered ill treatment for what is now a fad. Yes, it is also the appropriation of a religious symbol, but that hasn’t seemed to infuriate as many as the discrimination they have faced. So let me ask you this:
Are all the white girls wearing bindis to Coachella saying they are doing so because they look better than you? Or that it’s only cool when they do it? Or that your culture is theirs for the taking?
No. They are interested in bindis as a beautiful thing. No, they do not all of them understand the meanings behind your culture. But they meant no harm. If anything, they saw something so beautiful on a desi woman, that they wanted to mimic her. Mimicry is the highest form of flattery. You are allowed to be upset that you feel your culture is being disregarded. But it is not being disrespected by hippy girls wearing bindis and henna.
Black face was always meant to be disrespectful and mean, just as Aryan ideals of beauty were always meant to be discriminatory and ableist. Are you telling me it makes me a Nazi to find my own fair hair and blue eyes beautiful?
It shouldn’t. If I thought that, and that my being so made me better than others, then I would be in the wrong. My motives for seeing my own beauty have nothing to do with Fascism or the like, just as those girls at Coachella are not trying to oppress your culture and religion. We just have to get along better, guys. There is such a thing as innocent ignorance. Like a child loudly asking if an overweight woman is pregnant, not all people know all the time what can be offensive to others and why. Gently explain to us what we did wrong, and then, give us compassion and understanding. The child didn’t know any better, he didn’t mean to imply the woman was fat. It may not make her feel well, but she shouldn’t be too upset, knowing it was said in ignorance. True equality and peace will never be reached if we continue to divide ourselves to heavily, to draw these lines in the sand and shout across them that we are not all human, that our hurt is ours, that our hurt is worse. Let’s try to understand one another, let your heart bleed for the one that offended you, take time to see that they are not as evil as you suppose.