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Okay, like the mod said, let's continue our discussion about Wagner and nazis...

72759 Views 851 Replies 54 Participants Last post by  mmsbls
This is the place for it, right? Come on, let's have some posts! I don't wanna get banned again, or end up like Paul Best, the little boy who played too close to the railroad tracks.

So what's wrong with pointing out that Wagner and Hitler came from the same flawed Germanic social matrix, without having to "prove" it?

While Wagner didn't literally claim that Germans were superior to all other people, it is apparent that he felt that way on a cultural level. All his art was made within that culture.

I don't recall Wagner ever having said that some other culture was superior to Germans, do you? Can you provide any quotes, or any concrete evidence of this?
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Well, just because there is congruence in this language area doesn't mean their antisemitism as a whole is identical.

In fact, I see some truth in this; many American citizens, from immigrant backgrounds, claim they are "bi-lingual," when in fact they have only a rudimentatry "conversational" knowledge of English. There are many nouns and verbs they do not know, and they can't read technical manuals very well. This can become a problem in the workplace, where one must read instructions, or in sending e-mails which do not sound awkward.
Well, being very good in English may not help much with instructions, since all too often those pretty clearly are not written in English and are just automatically translated into something that vaguely resembles English, and printed as is.
No, I meant it the way I meant it. They have trouble reading technical manuals (or literature, for that matter). Their knowledge of English is largely conversational.

I can see how this would irritate Wagner.
I understand precisely what you meant, and that does not affect the fact that I meant my post the way I meant it. (A touch of humor often helps.)
Similar accusations have been made against H. L. Mencken, but I have known people who actually knew Mencken personally. He had many Jewish friends in his circle, and his views were a mixture of generally negative view on what was seen by some as Jewish dominance of cultural and financial matters, as a kind of faceless cabal, and friendly thoughts about individuals he knew who just happened to be Jewish. I know people who have black friends, but are still clearly very racist in their attitudes and comments. These things can be exceedingly complicated, and we do no one any favors in over simplifying them and dividing the world into good guys and villains.
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. . . I only got into this thread specifically to address whether Wagner's strand of antisemitism was different in kind from that of the Nazis, though, not to declare that Wagner was a goody or a baddy.
There is probably a common thread, but surely the Nazis went a lot further with it. I don't know that Wagner would have advocated the actual attempt to eradicate the whole race. That is certainly a very different kind of monster.
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Well, they were in government and had all the resources of the state at their disposal. Of course they went further with it!

And Wagner did advocate the actual attempt to eliminate the whole race from Germany. He wrote about the need for an emancipation not of the Jews, but from them. With a nineteenth century mind, and as a private individual, he probably was of the "ship them back" school of thought, rather than the 'kill them all!" one, but that's a mere matter of degree, not of fundamental nature. The Nazis at one point wanted to ship the Jews off to Madagascar, rather than gas them all, too.
I think that there is a huge difference between the idea of forcing people to leave a country and actually killing them. Wagner might well have advocated totally disrupting their lives and seizing their personal property, which is certainly bad enough, but Nazis actively rounded up Jewish people, subjected them to work camps with terrible conditions, ran inhumane experiments on them, and executed huge numbers in various ways. The basis for the attitudes may be similar, and equally criticized, but the end result is a very different matter, and I think that matters.
. . . So, disrupting lives, confiscating properties, and 'shipping them out' is fundamentally different from disrupting lives, confiscating properties and killing them?

The end result in either case is the disruption of lives (that don't really matter anyway), the confiscation of property and a Jew-free Germany. From the German's point of view, there's no difference in outcome at all. . . .
Both are terrible, and despicable on their own terms, but yes I see them as very different things. If you do not, then no further discussion is possible or practical to attempt. You are basically suggesting that if you hit someone's car on a bridge, you might as well push them over the edge because it is the same, when it isn't. (And the difference is not merely one of intent.)
It is only a silly comparison because the idea you are defending is so silly. A closer comparison might be that if you are going to rob someone's house, you might as well kill them while you are at it, which is still silly. This is not simply a matter of crossing one line and thus going all the way to the far end. It just isn't.
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You just cannot give up an argument that you have already lost. You and MR should be very happy together. I am done.
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^ You simply cannot say that Richard Wagner is to be held accountable for whatever stuff Wagner's family has done and supported. As I have written extensively in this thread - there's no reason to think that Wagner would have supported holocaust because his semi-religious, semi-philosophical thoughts condemned even killing and eating animals. You also cannot say that Wagner is responsible for how his works has been misinterpreted and misused by Nazis. Wagner saw his works as representation of the highest Art not as some political propaganda. Give me one quote from Wagner's works or writings where he says explicitly that the works are representative of German superiority and are meant to convey anti-semitic stereotypes. . . .
We also simply cannot say that Wagner had extremely objectionable social ideas (which he clearly did), and that it means his music is somehow inherently tainted. (Obviously things are slow if this ridiculous thread is still going.)
^^^ who are you, and how did you hack into MR's account?

This is getting very weird. Is Rod Serling standing by the side somewhere waiting to narrate?
I think that much of this thread could be summarized as: Richard Wagner -- fine composer, terrible dinner companion and not good friend material.
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Absolutely. His antisemitism is a terrible stain on his character and any listener to his music should know of it. But his music is nevertheless great stuff.
Plus he would probably hit you up for money . . . and maybe your wife, girlfriend or daughter.
I forget the precise context, but I once had a particularly literate co-worker who objected to a manager who was trying to steal credit for a project with which he really was not involved. This co-worker had said "I will not play Von Bulow to your Wagner" and stormed out of the room. The manager asked me what this meant, and I had to explain it. It did not go over particularly well.
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I believe that is what the French call l'esprit d'escalier (the wit of the staircase).

It was a good reference, but probably not very useful since it went entirely over the manager's head, until explained. It was probably fortunate that he was not required to explain it himself. (The co-worker was one of the few comrades of classical music in my years of employment.)
Yes, the Wagner laundromat is still spinning at full speed...new detergent, same recipe.
Unfortunately, it makes things muddier and muddier rather than cleaner.
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^^^ Just so YOU know, it has been suggested that you are one and the same. (Of course, I don't think that suggestion was widely accepted, and the source is questionable.)
All I was getting at is that it is no defence against charges of anti-semitism to say something equivalent to 'some of my best friends are Jews.'

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-46192941
That is an interesting article. Of course, it might be noted that things are always more complicated when dealing with people who are consciously maintaining a public image, and especially political figures.

It must be admitted that there is also really no good defense against charges of antisemitism or racism or anything of that kind. Even an absence of overt statements to the contrary, and for some figures who actually have a history of actions that would seem to be favorable to the group for whom charges are being made, it can be a challenge. Any number of politicians can be dredged up to demonstrate the problem. In general, the best way to avoid the charge is to actively avoid earning it, but even that isn't necessarily sufficient.
Holy crap, AB! Relax! Wagner is dead! Move on!
He just wants you to think that he is dead. He is probably leading one of the groups of zombies on The Walking Dead. (Obviously a group of Anti-Semitic zombies.)
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I heard something by Nietzsche once. I knew immediately that he chose the right profession.
Until you also read or heard some of his philosophy . . .
You don't think he said anything worthwhile?
Anything is a big word. Is there not a single note that he wrote that you didn't dislike? For his philosophy, I find the whole idea of superman troubling to say the least.
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