Monday, August 31, 2009

"Inglourius Basterds" And The 'Jewish Lust For Revenge'

In Inglourious Basterds: A German Fantasy, Not a ‘Jewish’ One, John Rosenthal writes about the theme of Jewish vengeance which appears not only in Tarantino's movie, but is also a theme found in the German media and attributed by them to actions of the US (in regards to 9/11, for example).

Rosenthal anticipates the response--and has an answer of his own:

But, it will be objected, the Germans who are mutilated and murdered by the Jewish-American “Basterds” are Nazis, after all. Shouldn’t we all rejoice in seeing them get their just deserts in Quentin Tarantino’s signature blood-splattering detail? Well, I suppose it can be left to everyone’s individual conscience whether they enjoy seeing anyone have his head smashed in with a baseball bat or a swastika carved on his forehead with a hunting knife. But the fact of the matter is that most of the victims of the Basterds’ brutality and sadism are precisely not Nazis. They are members of the Wehrmacht: the regular German armed forces.

The point is even highlighted in the film. Thus, “Sgt. Donny Donowitz” notices a medal on the uniform of a Wehrmacht officer and asks him, “Get that for killing Jews?” “No,” the man coolly replies, “bravery.” Donowitz proceeds then to smash the officer’s head in. Many of the other Germans who are slaughtered and/or maimed by the “Basterds” are simple enlisted men. What possible satisfaction could be taken in that?

Read the whole thing.

I have no plans to see the movie, and have no idea if Rosenthal is correct about what kinds of German soldiers appear in the movie. However, if he is right, it would put a different spin on the movie--feeding into the claim that Jews/Israelis kill innocents too.

Considering the financial backing Tarantino received from Germany, he may be right.

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