I came across a biography of Maria Landrock who was a celebrity star during the Third Reich. It does force one to look at the role of popular entertainment within its context as part of the entertainment industry pushed to its extremes under wartime conditions…
Firstly, the validity of Raul Hilberg’s essential thesis is kind of a preface to the type of low mass culture of 1933-45. That is, that the ‘Final Solution’ was a bureaucratic process. It was the bureaucracy of the Nazi state that drove forward, with ever more daring and mortal radicalism, the policies inflicted on Europe’s Jews and others. The Holocaust was therefore, according to Hilberg, a systematically implemented program that proceeded ‘step-by-step … to the annihilation …” As Walter Laquer also asserted, there was a willing participation in anticipation of the advantages.This kind of “bystander effect” produced its own self-reinforcing culture, insulating itself from wider issues.
Whether the destructive process is genetically influenced as Daniel Goldhagen has claimed, is questionable, but it does not invalidate individual responsibility; but should be looked at in the context of fascism/capitalism and the necessity for status , predation and invidious comparison. The Thorstein Veblen model on amphetamines or stronger…
Only a few weeks after the National Socialists came to power in January 1933, Joseph Goebbels stressed the important function of popular entertainment films. In his Hotel Kaiserhof speech, the Reich Minister of Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda explained that while pursuing the objective of reforming German film “from the roots up” and giving it “the contours of the Volk,” it was equally important not to neglect “the creation of the most minor amusements, our daily ration against boredom.” …Goebbels called openly for the production of popular films and wrote in a February 8, 1942, diary entry: “The popular film today is politically significant, and even, potentially, a decisive factor in the war.” Read More:http://www.filmportal.de/df/24/Artikel,,,,,,,,1E8087A1FB543999E04053D50B375C91,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,.htmla
What is apparent is that these light comedies are loaded with “aesthetic pollution”.Compare these kinds of soft-core images of the instrumentalization of race ultimately leading to the known results, with say photographs of Abu Ghraib which were examined by Susan Sontag, in particular her observation that violence has become entertainment in American culture, providing an “easy delight.” Which is more “violent” The unchanging effect of the photographs themselves, or the violence they represent?
Evidently, shifting the sphere of circulation from the closed community of soldiers and their friends to a context of mass dissemination provoked no “easy delight” in the crudely composed Abu Ghraib images. The single photograph that has become the most iconic and emblematic image of the Abu Ghraib atrocities is the most aestheticized of those released: the Hooded Man. The aesthetic appeal of the graceful figure in this image gives it the power to evoke an abiding horror. Obviously, Maria Landrock movies make a much more exploitative use of aesthetics. But the Ghraib photos, a sort of unwanted beauty or outlaw beauty with its painful contradiction makes the suffering it represents haunting memory singeing.
In Under The Volcano, Lowry calls the German actress Maria Landrock “engimatic” which may refer to her playing a Mexican woman Pepita in Veit Harlan’s Pedro soll hangen and the fact that her features appear “Spanish”. Surely, Lowry could not have seen either film in Mexico before beginning Under The Volcano? If he is referring to the Pedro soll hangen film then it was not released until 1941 and begs the question where he saw the film. He could have either seen the mention of the film in a US trade magazine while in Canada in 1941 or saw the film on his 1945 visit to Mexico. Read More:http://malcolmlowryatthe19thhole.blogspot.com/2009/04/maria-landrock.html
Susan Sontag on Leni Riefenstahl:“Fascist aesthetics include but go far beyond the rather special celebration of the primitive to be found in The Nuba. They also flow from (and justify) a preoccupation with situations of control, submissive behavior, and extravagant effort; they exalt two seemingly opposite states, egomania and servitude. The relations of domination and enslavement take the form of a characteristic pageantry: the massing of groups of people; the turning of people into things; the multiplication of things and grouping of people/things around an all-powerful, hypnotic leader figure or force. The fascist dramaturgy centers on the orgiastic transactions between mighty forces and their puppets. Its choreography alternates between ceaseless motion and a congealed, static, “virile” posing. Fascist art glorifies surrender; it exalts mindlessness: it glamorizes death.” Read More:http://celinejulie.wordpress.com/2008/12/19/susan-sontag-and-fascist-aesthetics/ aa