Monday, May 19, 2003

I watched some of CBS's mini-series on Hitler and was somewhat disappointed. I say somewhat because it's not like I expected great quality from CBS in the first place.

I am opposed to such a miniseries because I don't see how it serves the public good. In my view, there are only two options for outcomes of this series. For hateful people, they are ecstatic that someone is spouting off their views in prime time, even if only as an actor, a charismatic personality is shown saying these hateful things. For regular people, this show makes Hitler a sympathetic character which is precisely what we don't want. By showing his upbringing and early experiences, we are being shown, in a tacky way I might add, why he ended up like he did. And this to some extent absolves him of evil.

It would take expert storytelling and filim crafting to show him as the son of evil that he is and that takes dollars and talent and is not fit for network prime time coverage. To understand Hitler, I think we only need see the Schindler's lists, etc. We don't need to see him as a struggling artist, abused child, betrayed infantryman, political activists, etc, these things make him seem more like us and less like the embodiment of evil that he is.

I would tolerate a story about someone at that time who got sucked into the Nazi movement, because that is always an interesting and important story of how regular and normal people get sucked into ideologies and do not think a thing about it. We have the same problem here in the US with slavery. Take the Holocaust and extend it over the period of generations to capture the horror of slavery and then wonder why regular people were not moved with horror at this institution. How regular people get sucked into an institution of blatant injustice is always fascinating, but that sort of exploration and investigation should not be done for evil people because it seems to mitigate their evil.


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