Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Delicacy of Monday

 I am perplexed;
 famous men rest
 retiring into their
 nineties with their
 spouses at their

 and every seventh
 morning fame is
 thwarted for the

 though they dream
 the pain
 of nobody



              What was the 
              hollering about 
              last night, in
              South Carolina?
I don't publish Ribbentrop fils,
as he is shown all over the web
these days, as an archetype. Do
I propose a Republican-like simile,
between his monstrosity and theirs?
Certainly not.

How much suffering must one 
will and cause in this country, 
to gain notice for what one does;
how ghastly, before there is shame?

These others are simply innocents
who bother Republicans. The final
one they would deem, too expensive, better left to their god to relieve.

Just after this posting went up,
and just before hopping in the
shower Tuesday morning, I sent 
off an e-mail to the source of 
one of these images, confiding 
in part:

I have felt acute disappointment 
in the publication, here and there, 
of Ribbentrop's picture.
I was extremely reluctant to use it.
But he serves an appropriate purpose 

in the question I ask, 'how terrible 
do you have to be, before you start 
to be ashamed' - For that reason I 
hope you do not disapprove.

Upon emerging from the shower, I saw
his comment blinking on my telephone,
and I published it and then took the
posting down, sending him a note to
say it was not his comment but my un-
derlying dismay with the popularity
of this picture, that brought this

The subject of that picture's al-
lure is a very broad one, but the 
narrower ground on which my friend  
objected to me in private - and
is very welcome to repeat here in
public - is the familiar and prob-
ably accurate judgment, that it's
best to compare nothing to Nazism.

This, however, I had not done. I had
compared conjugal deprivation of the
innocent to 50 years of conjugal lib-
erty for an officer of the Waffen SS,
constantly promoted and at least four
times decorated by the régime, for
leadership of the NSDAP's annihila-
tion machine. I had expressly not com-
pared Republican suppressions of lib-
erty to Nazi precedents, so that I 
could ask the fundamental question of
the hour, and in order to illuminate
exactly how Republicans frame extremist
similes as a matter, evidently, of core

The page has previously received re-
buke for disallowing one demographic
exclusive rights to complaint against
Nazism. I don't know anyone who hasn't
the duty, much less the right.

The bibliography of this blog is ex-
tensive in its registry of the conduct
of the Waffen SS, from Tim Snyder's
Bloodlands and Max Hastings' Armaged-
don and All Hell Let Loose, to three
great studies of the judeocide, itself.
But the argument in favour of recalling
Nazism's schadenfreude, its whipping 
up of fear and pride, its incitement
of rage and contempt, inter alia
is that such touchstones of its means
have a way of seeming to be safely
buried with its bones. That is not 
the case, in my country. All of these
qualities, air strikes excepted, are
directed against my liberty as we
speak, and primarily by Republicans.
For mammals, they quack pretty good.

i     Photography Will McBride
ii    another country
iii  Family album Rudolf von Ribbentrop
      Waffen SS


  1. The picture accompanied by words gives credence to publication-the rub comes when people can not read. No one visiting here can be accused of that-I hope. Pictures are lures and the beautiful lures us all. Inciting the mob with beauty is an age old tactic the Nazi regime used and lured. Reminding us is no crime. I am glad the post stands. pgt

  2. Thank you for furnishing this context in the uses of beauty, but also in the usefulness of words to frame its presentation. That said, one never takes pride in any reference to those people, and always hopes it will be a very long time before it is relevant to do so.

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  4. Cher Franck, I thank you for working so carefully to present a position which I invited sincerely and welcome warmly. Setting aside invective, I hope it is fair to say that your feeling is that the Ribbentrop portrait's inclusion is "useless because it didn't belong there." In fashioning this entry for republication, I laid out, above, why it is not useless, whether or not it does belong there. I rest that case where it is made. I have the impression that we might differ on that point, and I know we still resist deleterious imaginings of what we are saying.