Oh Lars ...

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Lars Von Trier, whose film Melancholia is screening at Cannes this year, took a tumble and was declared "persona non grata" at least for the remainder of this festival (but not his film, thank goodness), for this goof-off:

You know, sometimes, one has to learn when to stop talking.

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8 Response to Oh Lars ...

May 20, 2011 at 12:27 AM

Oh, frak! See my email--

Obviously he was riffing on the whole Teutonic "Oh my god, what if I'm secretly Jewish!" thing that afflicted Wagner and, some would argue, Hitler. (Nietzsche had his own sort of benign/crazy riff on this 19th/20th Cent. Germanic preoccupation by fantasizing he was really Polish or, alternately, descended from Alexander the Great).

Personally, I love Israel. But frak it, just let the man talk. When I get famous, I'll do just as bad or worse.

And what about all the other stuff he said? Until the Hitler thing he had a mound of good material: Kiki and Charlotte in a porno? haha And not Cokey Kiki is all saying "he dug a whole." Stupid blonde American twit! Scandinavian geniuses don't dig holes!!

May 20, 2011 at 12:29 AM

You take that back! Leave Kiki alone!

May 20, 2011 at 12:48 AM

I just wrote something "Larsstyle" in response and deleted it.

Because I hadn't the gnads.

May 20, 2011 at 12:58 AM

Regardless of the fact that he clearly was joking, and that all he really said was that he understood Hitler, not that he approved of what he did, it was still in bad taste, Jaze. He's not standing up for anything of value here that needs to be out there, except the ability to make jokes about it. And he clearly fumbled for words awkwardly here. Where's his editor when he needs to reign in the director's self-indulgent impulse?

May 20, 2011 at 1:26 AM

Why can't he just be "self-indulgent"? And *why* is it in "bad taste"? Didn't Syberberg say there's a "little bit of Hitler" in all of us? He's no public servant, he's a director. "The Greatest in the World". Let him say any damn tourettsie thing he wants to.

I can understand if people *don't* see that he's "clearly joking" and are offended. But why should we be offended if we *know* he's joking. If he can sit beside two blushing actresses and talk about putting them in a porno, why can't he talk about Hitler? Hell, why can't he dance a goose-step on the table if he wants to? He's an artist; he contains multitudes. Aren't people allowed to do these things at dinner-parties anyway? Don't people adulate Von Trier for SHOCKING them? That's his schtick!

I can't wait till I get invited to a dinner party. Those snide Episcopalean white beatches secretly recording me on their iphads. I'll give them something to be *scandalized* about! Anything and everything! Seig Heil!

And anyway, it's not just about "making a joke". He was ironizing, introducing a play of thought, not something with a punch line or an instant defuse-mechanism built in. Which is why, potentially, it could have gone somewhere interesting. Perhaps it is interesting. Perhaps it's really for a Danish/Nordic audience. Maybe it's a critique of their own preoccupations. Every European nation under Hitler's heel has its own way of (not) dealing with the collaborationist legacy-- the parts of Naziism that, as one French collaborationist intellectual put it, "tasted good" to them.

Anyway-- don't you think the French might even have a *selfish* interest in proving their bona fides here? They who were conquered, who collaborated, who hardly help Israel, who are bombing Libya (since they dragged us, I'll just toss that in!!), whose de facto Socialist nominee (allegedly) sexually assaulted a lower-class African-American and whose leading public intellectuals have fatuously defended him because he's too *important* for puritanical Americans to hold him over a mere "accusation" from a serving little nobody? Oh the French, their "humane values"!

Oh well. Free Roman Polanski!

May 20, 2011 at 2:20 AM

An artist can express himself via art if he wants to, and he's free to do so - but he's going to have to be subjected to the accepting/rejecting process for the opportunity to present his work. And that's where social mores come in for art - the whole not wanting to promote hate and stuff. Cannes separated the artist from the work, which is why his film is still being accepted to compete there. In this case, his work isn't about him siding with Hitler, so really it's got nothing to do with what he was expressing to the press here. Cannes people just wanted to send a message that they would not tolerate having amongst their festival - it is THEIR festival, not a public democratic place - people who seemingly sided with hate via their behaviour (however different their intention maybe), from their PR sensitivity point of view. Message sent! He really didn't have a cause - if you looked at the video, he clearly was at a loss of what to do and how to express himself, for no good reason. It's like seeing a movie just keep on going aimlessly in a terrible direction. Kinda like I spit on your grave or something. Just awkward and embarrassing really.

In any case, I'm not hating on the guy. I don't think saying you sympathize with Hitler is all that revelatory or shocking, really. But Cannes has a right to their own public image.

May 20, 2011 at 2:28 AM

When I was in 9th grade, I enjoyed telling my classmates: "Hitler was a genius. An *evil* genius, but a genius nonetheless!"

I even goaded my history teacher into agreeing with this, in front of the class.

And then I got kinda freaked out, like I had crossed a line.

"I mean, an ***EVIL*** genius, but, like, still that's a kind of genius you know."

I was just totally into all classes and kinds of geniuses.

I'm laughing uproariously as I write this. Ah, the salad days.

*Was* Hitler a kind of 'genius', even of a low-grade variety? Somebody was saying they're sick of people dismissing his problem as psychosis, when supposedly rational people went along with his own, sanely-calculated but murderously wicked, plans; and the psychosis label is just a defense against confronting all the dark potential in human nature his, and Germany's, actions reveal.

And somebody was immediately jumping in on her, declaring her in essence some kind of moral relativist for *denying* that Hitler was insane and affirming that he was *human* in his choice to exercise great evil. This objector thought (sincerely enough, it seems) that she was some kind of fascist scumball, and deeply troubled, for suggesting that Hitler's problems could potentially be our problems also.

It just so offended his sense of normativity, which doubtless he thinks is perfectly Christian and Jeffersonian, to suggest that Hitler's evil was part of the human spectrum of possibility outside of the subset of pure psychotics. For him, to deny that Hitler was *crazy* is completely taboo and a proof of *evil* in the person denying it!

That seems terribly confused, and an ironic comment on how much people depend upon the category of "insanity" to make sense of the world, and order themselves off from the hazard of real evil-doing.

May 20, 2011 at 2:41 AM

I think you're projecting your position a stretch here. He wasn't even coherent enough to present whatever the hell he wanted to say, so it came across to the mass like: "hey, I can empathize with why he'd want to wipe Jewish people off the earth, because my god some of them are annoying, especially that whole state of Israel." We understand humans have a dark side; understanding doesn't mean we agree with, tolerate and promote hate acts. His expression was too clumsy to warrant a defense.


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