Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Laibach--Yisra'el video, plus commentary

As is often the case, to really get the feel for what a Laibach song is about you have to see the stage show. By the way, the album it comes from is made up of takes on national anthems and nothing else. It's a take on the Israeli national anthem.



All this, that the video dispenses with many of the U.S. takes on the subject,and the fact that this was filmed in Italy, brings to mind something Norman Finkelstein wrote in "The Holocaust Industry". Finkelstein described the Holocaust in American life as being a kind of proxy tragedy whereby millions of people who lost nothing in relation to Nazi Germany, who never had a relative who suffered there, who aren't even Jewish, have taken up the pain of the Holocaust as their own. This relates to the video in that even though the video would be blasphemous to Americans, Europeans probably would take it in stride, in no small part because they really lost family members during World War II in a way that families in the U.S. who lost members who were soldiers can never really understand, and not only that but actually lived under fascist dictatorships preceding and during World War II. It's different if you die actually defending your home from invasion rather than going over seas to stop someone's home from being invaded.

People in Europe have their own tragedies, so they don't have to appropriate the Holocaust.

One of the reasons this comes to me now has to do with the appropriation of the 9/11 tragedy by people who have both never been to New York and who, if they were conservative, likely saw New York City as a place of corruption before the attacks.

Funny thing, I was watching Aqua Teen Hungerforce: the Movie, which really sucked by the way, and immediately after a scene where an evil scientist gets them to try to fly a 747 into a brick wall one of my fellow audience members got up and left. It couldn't have been coincidence. Why, after sitting through most of the movie, would this person decide to get up and go after a pseudo-9/11 part?

Wow, I though to myself, a cartoon that showed a plane going to smash into a wall got you so upset that you had to leave the theater. And you probably never visited New York, or if you did once you probably never lived there.

Yet 9/11 has become a deeply felt tragedy for people who if they lived in New York would hate it because it was too liberal and who New Yorkers would probably hate for being too conservative. I'm sure people in NYC love that Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter are appropriating their city and their event daily, on a national level, so that rednecks can wear their suffering on their sleeves and on their bumpers. I usually don't use that word, in part because in a former life when I was fresh off the boat from the country the sentiments behind it were sometimes directed at me, but I think that it's justified. The actual 9/11 almost doesn't figure into things any more; the fact that it was New Yorkers and not someone who lives out in the middle of no where who felt this tragedy the most is never mentioned any more. The idea that the people who people in more conservative areas of the country despise, artists, gays, New York Intellectuals, might not like it that they feel that they understand 9/11 better than liberals isn't mentioned.

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