It looks like everything is still about Nazis, even today, the greater part of a century after the ideology was wiped out, and the memory of it so distorted by the mists of history that almost nobody today has any idea what Adolf Hitler actually stood for.
According to J.J. Abrams, the director of the upcoming Star Wars film, The Rise of Skywalker, Star Wars will still be about Nazism. The use of the word “still” carries the implication that Star Wars was ever about Nazism. Maybe it counts that Armitage Hux Hitlered it up before firing up Starkiller Base, because how many heads of state in the history of mankind ever gave an impassioned speech before firing weapons on an enemy that they’ve declared war on?
While we’re discussing Nazis, I think the time is ripe for a confession. Are you ready? Here it is:
I’ve never taken Nazism seriously, and have never viewed them as a serious ideological threat.
Yes, I’m being serious. At their most significant, Nazism lost the only war they had ever fought, within years of having started it. In fact, Nazism was defeated so quickly that the bulk of World War II became about staving off Japanese imperialism. Hitler became viewed so unfavorably that his name became an insult, and any idea that he put into practice became grossly unpopular. People today hate eugenics, and relate the idea to Hitler, even though he didn’t come up with it. He pretty much took the idea from the United States, because he saw that it was popular there. Which it was, especially with the super-wealthy family of Rockefellers feeding into it, and the then-popular idea that criminals and the poor were genetically inferior. It took Hitler taking eugenics to its conclusion for people to realize how disgusting it was. He was the leader where everything he touched turned to crap.
Hitler was slow-witted to the point that he believed that military victories would be inevitable due to the virtues he perceived in the ideology his soldiers were fighting for, and his own generals feared he would derail any strategy they could come up with with his sheer, naive idealism. What’s more, he believed that we lived on the inside of a hollow earth, and could therefore spy on the British by aiming telescopes upward at an angle.
See what I mean? Nazism is way too stupid for anyone to take seriously. Today, most people who claim to be a Nazi do so as a joke for shock value. Not my cup of tea, and a rancid cup of tea at that, but I understand the humor of it.
Nazis are viewed so poorly, that when someone wants to tear someone down in as few words as possible, “Nazi” is usually the go-to insult. It’s gotten to the point where a rule for debate was made called “Godwin’s Law”, which states that the longer an argument continues, the likelihood of one side comparing the other to Hitler approaches one. The implication is that in an exchange that wasn’t originally about Nazism, the side that calls the other a Nazi is considered to have lost the argument, because that will be considered the point where they have exhausted any reasonable argument that they could have alternatively made.
I’ve made the point before that it’s super-easy for anyone to read into a fictional narrative a political movement that’s not intended, such as the Separatist movement from the Star Wars prequels as a close equivalent to the SJWs of today. But it’s hard to argue that a point is not there when the director of the film himself states that a comparison was intentional.
One point that I found interesting in the Newsweek article that I’m referencing is that George Lucas had intended for Star Wars to make comparisons with the Vietnam War, which is a comparison that I had not noticed when I had previously seen the original trilogy. While one can get carried away and call it “subtle”, I think it can be credited to a failure to properly articulate the social commentary that was intended. Having said that, that’s not as bad a crime against creativity as being so on-the-nose about one’s point that the director takes it upon himself to point it out months before the film is even released, expressing no faith in the viewer’s ability to interpret the film for themselves.
Personally, I think the case can be made from the first ever Star Wars film, A New Hope, that it’s intended as a commentary on how religion will always play a role in human affairs, even if it were to come to the point that humans were to dwell primarily in space, which would be a time that secular types seem to like to imagine as a time where humanity would have long since given up on religion.
A few obvious points can be made for this from the original film, such as:
- The prolific use of Biblical names such as Luke, Ben, Leah, and even Anakin, which sounds like Anakim, the race of people that Goliath originated from.
- Speaking of Goliath, Luke’s attack on the Death Star seems like a type of David vs. Goliath. When Luke points out that hitting the target was like hitting a target he was familiar with, one can easily think of how David pointed out that he had slain a lion and a bear when making the case to Saul that he could take on Goliath. Then there’s the obvious point that a single, well-placed shot took down something big.
- Imperial officers seemed to make a point of referring to Darth Vader’s ideology as his “religion”, even after he had demonstrated his capacity to strangle someone from across the room.
Even considering this, it’s still possible that no such point was intended, which goes to show (again) how simple it is to read into something a message that wasn’t intended.
Now, one can imagine that a Newsweek article about Star Wars would have gotten a lot of attention. However…
Hours into its publication, and no comments. It’s almost as though no one cares what Newsweek has to write about Star Wars, Nazism, or Social Justice, even when the topics are rolled into the same article. But when some guy with a blog trashposts about Digimon, something far different happens.
But the question that remains is, what is the relevance of Nazis today that they’re still used in films to make a point? What political ideology can be accurately compared to Hitler’s National Socialist German Worker’s Party?