Thursday, November 12, 2009

Inglorious Basterds, or why Germany hates the U.S.

I'll start out by saying that I haven't actually seen the movie. However, the Tarantino beat fest comes highly recommended. From what I understand it's an example of good ole' America kicking some Nazi ass, despite the fact that the story is about a Jewish guerrilla force. I mean it stars Brad Pitt for crying out loud. I see that as evidence that it's just a pretext used in order to make the movie less obviously about kicking Nazi ass and little else. The only thing is that ultra-violent movies about Nazism coming from a country that's just spent the last eight years plastering its flag everywhere, declaring "God bless America" over and over again, and trumpeting "Proud to be an American" seems a little inconsistent. I mean, World War II was sixty years ago but it's us who have invaded two countries without good reason, us who have engaged in torture recently, us who have infringed on our own citizens' civil liberties, not current Germany.

And it gets better. Take a look at the Indiana Jones franchise, at least the first two from the '80s. Here we have a similar dynamic, only the President at that time was promoting militant nationalism, hardcore anti-Communism, worship of the military, and illegal building of arms (Star Wars). Can you say pot calling the kettle black? The truth of the matter is that we continue to get a charge out of movies pitting righteous Americans against evil Germans while we ignore the same features that are present in our own culture that resemble theirs from that era.

And that's why, or at least one reason why, Germans hate U.S. culture. It's impossible to say "I'm proud to be German" in Germany because it'll be looked on as being a pro-Nazi sentiment, while we say "I'm proud to be an American" over and over and over while making movies like these. You don't find the Flag displayed much in Europe as a whole and specifically not in Germany, yet flags proliferate around the United States. We feel that God has blessed us and has accorded us a special destiny in the world, yet could you imagine a German president saying this without a firestorm of controversy being stirred up? It's the Germans, though, who we continue to portray as the eternal, unthinkably evil, enemy.

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