Fascist Aesthetics and the Heroic – Sontag, Riefenstahl and Propaganda

You may also like...

6 Responses

  1. Javier says:

    Olympia has its faults. But the staging doesn’t bother me, since there is very little on film which is pure documentary, ie not staged to some degree, even to the extent that when people know they are being filmed, they act’. But it is both the technical excellence and again, as I wrote, Riefenstahl’s invention of the grammar of filming sport in Olympia, coupled with her encompassing scope that make this a great documentary. The first half hour alone is worth the entry fee the film is close to four hours, incidentally. Riefenstahl sketches a mythical/legendary past, as an introduction to the torch run (created for Berlin ’36, by the way, and to be discontinued after the demos against the Beijing run). Tokyo Olympiad, in contrast is anecdotal, it concentrates on half a dozen competitors. I love the Abebe marathon sequence, the slow-motion footage and close-up of his impassive face tell you all you need to know about an athlete in the zone.Both great films, not just great Olympic films.

  2. Interesting post. What is always scary is that the USA’s Pledge of Allegiance was the origin of the Nazi salute and Nazi behavior (see the work of the historian Dr. Rex Curry). Francis Bellamy and Edward Bellamy were American national socialists and they influenced German national socialists, their dogma, rituals and symbols (including the use of the swastika to represent crossed S-letters for “socialism” under the National Socialist German Workers Party). The Bellamys touted what they called “military socialism” because they were fascinated by the military and wanted the military system imposed on all of society. The Pledge of Allegiance was part of that plan.

  3. horatio says:

    While you raise some interesting points Tiffany, I’m afraid Rex Curry is not a serious or reliable historian, and his claims, which you re-present, are not correct, historically or factually. The American pledge was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, before there was something called National Socialism in Germany, which only emerged after the creation of the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei in 1919. It was not until the 1920’s when Italian fascists began using a salute, a revival of the Roman salute–which Curry also wrongly claims is a myth–which then led the Nazis to adopt it. At that point the Americans began to worry about potential comparisons between the two, and moved to change the salute to the cross-heart. The swastika has a long tradition going back at least to the Neolithic, and there is no serious academic documentation that would validate the claim that the swastika is supposed to be two crossed “s”‘s for socialism, unless you want to claim socialism originated in the Neolithic period of history.

    Just wanted to make sure I set the record straight, as I see that “Dr. Curry” has a whole cadre of devotees peddling this myth over the internet.

  4. As you said, the American pledge was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, before there was something called National Socialism in Germany, in 1919. That is correct, for 3 decades the USA was robotically chanting to the flag in unison every day with the nazi salute. Similarly your point does not dispute the Pledge as predating and being the source for 3 decades for all of Europe including Italy. You simply imply that German socialists borrowed it from Italy, without disputing the USA as the source. You repeat the claim that it was an ancient Roman salute yet do not explain why you say that. Only some Americans began to worry about potential comparisons between the two gestures, other Americans knew that Americans “did it first” and did not want to change, even after some Congressional politician became involved. All of American did not immediately drop their nazi gesture. When you say that the swastika has a long tradition going back at least to the Neolithic times you are repeating Dr. Curry’s work, and then you seem to completely miss the point that just because swastikas existed before German socialists does not mean that German socialists did not use it to represent crossed S-letters for their socialism, a point that you do not actually dispute, unless you want to claim the Neolithic period extended into the 1920s and controlled all of society and symbology, preventing any other use of the swastika. Modern socialists make an absurd argument that for 25 years no one in the National Socialist German Workers’ Party ever noticed the swastika’s “S” shapes nor attached any meaning (nor anyone in Hitler’s SS Division), nor anyone in regard to the symbols of the SA, the NSV, et cetera nor even the VW Volkswagen emblem (showing the V & W letters joined, or two V letters crossed, for “Volkswagen”). You have shown why Dr. Curry has a whole cadre of devotees peddling the facts over the internet.

  5. Daniel Pose says:

    The swastika was used to represent crossed “S” letters for “socialism” under the National Socialist German Workers Party. The Pledge of Allegiance was the origin of the Nazi salute and Nazi behavior (see the work of the historian Dr. Rex Curry). The gesture was not an ancient Roman salute, and the American socialist Bellamy was the source of the gesture adopted later by Italian socialists and German socialists. Bellamy did not support “equality,” in that he was a bigot and wanted the government schools (socialist schools) to force everyone to be the same (and that is what the pledge is about).

  6. Sorry Daniel, or whoever you are trolling as, but I’m not interested in wasting time with more of Ellis Rexwood Curry IV’s–who is not a doctor, by the way–kooky ideas, nor providing a platform to spread his socialist paranoias. This is the end of the conversation.