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January 11, 2012: "When a Monster Makes Art" 
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Post Re: January 11, 2012: "When a Monster Makes Art"
Ragnarok73 wrote:
oakenshield32 wrote:
I have to say that Rag is really really wrong.Stalin was very well organized in his purges,deportations and starvations which were well orchestrated to subjegate all parts of Russian society to his rule.Prior to 1939 Stalin had killed millions while Hitler had only killed hundreds.Both decided to use starvation as a policy tools but the German use of it in Poland and Ukraine didn't work effectively as they did not have enough manpower to control every corner of a large territory with a large population.Stalin though worked his plan to perfection in Ukraine because he did have the manpower by first declaring a war on the kulaks(rich peasants against city workers)and using his omnipresent legions of communist cadres to grab every scrap of food in every village and had guard posts put up in farmers fields.It was a capital offence to take a potato from a field.Cities were well supplied with food but the peasants could not enter them or cross the borders into Poland that were sealed.Bodies could be found everywhere in homes,by roads and in fields.If any local communist official complained for compassion he would be executed.Then add in the quotas of executions that each local official had to meet and usually surpass to prove loyalty.In the end he probably killed 5 million people in less than a year but maybe it is not special because of the low tech methods the Soviets used to kill everyone but they are still just as dead.When you look at the Soviet behavior in occupied eastern Poland after they had a joint victory parade with the Nazis it was nearly the same as the Nazi policy with executions and deportations to destroy Polish culture and society.The well planned and executed Katyn massacres were part of that plan.Stalin had a plan to pacify external and internal enemies but hid it it behind Marxist rhetoric not a rambling biography.

Oak, you really need to read through more history books. Stalin never created factory-like structures to specifically exterminate specific groups of people. His only really targeted policy of murder were the Officer Purges prior to WW2, and this was done as a way of securing his position through control of the military as opposed to killing them just for existing, as Hitler wanted to do with the Jews. The Germans didn't only use starvation and overwork as method of extermination, they also created poisons (Zyklon-B) not to mention the thousands that they just shot before using the poison gas as a way to exterminate without expending ammunition. You are plain wrong if you're asserting that Stalin was anywhere near as focused as Hitler was on committing genocide.


People were sent to Gulags (the labour camps) to be worked to death. That he got use out of them first doesn't really lessen the severity of what happened.

Sorry, I don't see how such minor differences make it okay to trivialise one set of atrocities whilst putting people in prison for denying another =/ makes no sense to me.


Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:09 pm
Post Re: January 11, 2012: "When a Monster Makes Art"
Dragonbeard wrote:
Ragnarok73 wrote:
oakenshield32 wrote:
I have to say that Rag is really really wrong.Stalin was very well organized in his purges,deportations and starvations which were well orchestrated to subjegate all parts of Russian society to his rule.Prior to 1939 Stalin had killed millions while Hitler had only killed hundreds.Both decided to use starvation as a policy tools but the German use of it in Poland and Ukraine didn't work effectively as they did not have enough manpower to control every corner of a large territory with a large population.Stalin though worked his plan to perfection in Ukraine because he did have the manpower by first declaring a war on the kulaks(rich peasants against city workers)and using his omnipresent legions of communist cadres to grab every scrap of food in every village and had guard posts put up in farmers fields.It was a capital offence to take a potato from a field.Cities were well supplied with food but the peasants could not enter them or cross the borders into Poland that were sealed.Bodies could be found everywhere in homes,by roads and in fields.If any local communist official complained for compassion he would be executed.Then add in the quotas of executions that each local official had to meet and usually surpass to prove loyalty.In the end he probably killed 5 million people in less than a year but maybe it is not special because of the low tech methods the Soviets used to kill everyone but they are still just as dead.When you look at the Soviet behavior in occupied eastern Poland after they had a joint victory parade with the Nazis it was nearly the same as the Nazi policy with executions and deportations to destroy Polish culture and society.The well planned and executed Katyn massacres were part of that plan.Stalin had a plan to pacify external and internal enemies but hid it it behind Marxist rhetoric not a rambling biography.

Oak, you really need to read through more history books. Stalin never created factory-like structures to specifically exterminate specific groups of people. His only really targeted policy of murder were the Officer Purges prior to WW2, and this was done as a way of securing his position through control of the military as opposed to killing them just for existing, as Hitler wanted to do with the Jews. The Germans didn't only use starvation and overwork as method of extermination, they also created poisons (Zyklon-B) not to mention the thousands that they just shot before using the poison gas as a way to exterminate without expending ammunition. You are plain wrong if you're asserting that Stalin was anywhere near as focused as Hitler was on committing genocide.


People were sent to Gulags (the labour camps) to be worked to death. That he got use out of them first doesn't really lessen the severity of what happened.

Sorry, I don't see how such minor differences make it okay to trivialise one set of atrocities whilst putting people in prison for denying another =/ makes no sense to me.

I'm not trivializing what happened in the USSR under Stalin's reign. I'm simply pointing out the error of comparing him to Hitler in terms of their capacities and methods of genocide. Stalin didn't systematically go out to kill an ethnic group- he pushed through policies that led to the deaths of millions as an aftereffect. Hitler specifically targeted ethnic groups for systematic and industrialized genocide.

If you want to find a dictator who compares more closely to Hitler in terms of genocidal tendencies, look at Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge. The real difference between them and the Nazis was the scale and industrialization of their genocidal policies.


Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:59 pm
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Post Re: January 11, 2012: "When a Monster Makes Art"
Your example of Pol Pot is a bad one as he did not base his killing on racial motives as the Nazis did but on class warfare much like Stalin did.His methods were almost identical to Stalinistic terror.So wrong again.I am not sure why your being a Stalinist apologist which is as immoral as Mel Gibson's father who probably could defend his views in the same selective way.As it is not morally meaningful to make a distinction between victims of mass murder and genocide.Here is a direct quote about Stalin's crimes against people of the Caucasus.

Quote:
It is clear that Stalin's deportation of the Crimean Tatars qualifies as genocide under this definition. The Soviet government deliberately deported the Crimean Tatars to areas with inadequate housing, food,clothing, and medicine. It is thus not surprising that a large percentage of the Crimean Tatars perished in exile from causes directly related to these deficiencies.

Not only does the deportation and fate of the Crimean Tatars meet the UN's definition of genocide, but the Russian government has recognized it as such. On 14 November 1989, the Supreme Soviet issued " On Recognizing the Illegal and Criminal Repressive Acts against Peoples Subjected to Forcible Resettlement and Ensuring their Rights." This decree officially recognized 11 "Repressed Peoples" including the Crimean Tatars. The exile in the years of the Second World War from their homelands of the Balkars, Ingush, Kalmyks, Karachays, Crimean Tatars, Germans, Meskhetian Turks, and Chechens present themselves as barbaric acts of the Stalin regime.

On 26 April 1991, a law entitled "On Rehabilitating the Repressed Peoples." This act admitted that Stalin's deportation of the "Repressed Peoples" to special settlements constituted genocide.

Repressed peoples are regarded as those (nations, nationalities or ethnic groups and other historically formed cultural-ethnic communities of people, for example, Cossacks) against whom was conducted at a state level a policy of slander and genocide, accompanied by forced resettlement, abolition of national-state formations, redrawing of national-territorial borders and establishment of a regime of terror and violence in special settlements.

Signed by Boris Yeltsin, this law was the first official recognition by the Russian government that Stalin's actions towards the Crimean Tatars and others was genocide.


Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:08 am
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Post Re: January 11, 2012: "When a Monster Makes Art"
oakenshield32 wrote:
Your example of Pol Pot is a bad one as he did not base his killing on racial motives as the Nazis did but on class warfare much like Stalin did.His methods were almost identical to Stalinistic terror.So wrong again.I am not sure why your being a Stalinist apologist which is as immoral as Mel Gibson's father who probably could defend his views in the same selective way.As it is not morally meaningful to make a distinction between victims of mass murder and genocide.Here is a direct quote about Stalin's crimes against people of the Caucasus.

Pull your head out of your ass. I never once said that what Stalin did was acceptable or justifiable. I'm saying that it doesn't compare equally to what Hitler did in terms of directed genocide. There is a difference between acts of politics that lead to deaths and a specific policy of extermination (eg: The Final Solution). If you're going to talk about Stalin as a mass murderer, why not bring up the huge number of Soviet citizens that died during WWII as an example? They did suffer by far the greatest number of casualties among all participant nations in that war, including civilian casualties. For you to compare Stalin's policies to the Holocaust is at best inappropriate and at worst apologetic anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Quote:
It is clear that Stalin's deportation of the Crimean Tatars qualifies as genocide under this definition. The Soviet government deliberately deported the Crimean Tatars to areas with inadequate housing, food,clothing, and medicine. It is thus not surprising that a large percentage of the Crimean Tatars perished in exile from causes directly related to these deficiencies.

Not only does the deportation and fate of the Crimean Tatars meet the UN's definition of genocide, but the Russian government has recognized it as such. On 14 November 1989, the Supreme Soviet issued " On Recognizing the Illegal and Criminal Repressive Acts against Peoples Subjected to Forcible Resettlement and Ensuring their Rights." This decree officially recognized 11 "Repressed Peoples" including the Crimean Tatars. The exile in the years of the Second World War from their homelands of the Balkars, Ingush, Kalmyks, Karachays, Crimean Tatars, Germans, Meskhetian Turks, and Chechens present themselves as barbaric acts of the Stalin regime.

On 26 April 1991, a law entitled "On Rehabilitating the Repressed Peoples." This act admitted that Stalin's deportation of the "Repressed Peoples" to special settlements constituted genocide.

Repressed peoples are regarded as those (nations, nationalities or ethnic groups and other historically formed cultural-ethnic communities of people, for example, Cossacks) against whom was conducted at a state level a policy of slander and genocide, accompanied by forced resettlement, abolition of national-state formations, redrawing of national-territorial borders and establishment of a regime of terror and violence in special settlements.

Signed by Boris Yeltsin, this law was the first official recognition by the Russian government that Stalin's actions towards the Crimean Tatars and others was genocide.
[/quote]


Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:51 pm
Post Re: January 11, 2012: "When a Monster Makes Art"
Sorry, you're saying that people who compare Stalin to Hitler also agree with Hitler? :P how does that work? There is nothing anti-Semitic about pointing out the obvious similarities between the two regimes (the mass murder of people for being who they were) which was my original point.

And yes, citizens were conscripted and bullied into fighting for their country. Often with one weapon between two soldiers. The Russian contribution to the war against Germany was invaluable, that cannot be disputed. However as with Nazi Germany, the ultimate authority in Stalinist Russia was extreme violence.


Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:41 pm
Post Re: January 11, 2012: "When a Monster Makes Art"
Dragonbeard wrote:
Sorry, you're saying that people who compare Stalin to Hitler also agree with Hitler? :P how does that work? There is nothing anti-Semitic about pointing out the obvious similarities between the two regimes (the mass murder of people for being who they were) which was my original point.

And yes, citizens were conscripted and bullied into fighting for their country. Often with one weapon between two soldiers. The Russian contribution to the war against Germany was invaluable, that cannot be disputed. However as with Nazi Germany, the ultimate authority in Stalinist Russia was extreme violence.

What's so unique about that? Any totalitarian government employs force to a greater extent than more democratic systems of government. However, only Nazi Germany turned its resources specifically towards the eradication of entire groups of people through mobilization of men and transportation to the construction of facilities specifically designed for the purpose of killing (eg: Auschwitz and Dachau, among many others). In history, I'd say only the Khmer Rouge regime is comparable, with the only differences being that they targeted a specific *class* of people (intellectuals, professionals, etc) rather than ethnic groups, the scale which was of course much smaller, and the resources they directed towards the specific end of genocide.


Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:59 pm
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Post Re: January 11, 2012: "When a Monster Makes Art"
I'm not sure that I see why mass murders committed by one regime are somehow worse than those committed another regime based on which regime used ethnicity as a more important factor in deciding who was targetted for killing.


Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:57 pm
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Post Re: January 11, 2012: "When a Monster Makes Art"
Dps make an excellent point but it is hard to convince very stubborn sophists of that point.From 1933 to 1946 there were several genocides committed by monsters who planned it and was orchestrated by an army of zealots and willing executioners.The victims only crime was just being who they were.Each one is a crime against humanity and we rightly make it a crime to deny the Holocaust but people are clever enough to know you can deny other mass murders and get away with it.The Turkish government is the biggest culprit in this respect and their arguments are used by similiar minded individuals everywhere like Hutton Gibson and other kinds of apologists.I applaud the French govt of taking the stand to recognize the Armenian genocide for what it really was despite threats of reprisals and dubious arguments such as one used by a college history professor I listened to once who said it was the aftermath of a badly thought out policy in a chaotic period of history.That is not the first time I have heard that line.Any kind of denier needs to be stood up too and convinced they are wrong.Even if they are gotta have the last word guy.


Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:24 pm
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Post Re: January 11, 2012: "When a Monster Makes Art"
oakenshield32 wrote:
Dps make an excellent point but it is hard to convince very stubborn sophists of that point.From 1933 to 1946 there were several genocides committed by monsters who planned it and was orchestrated by an army of zealots and willing executioners.The victims only crime was just being who they were.Each one is a crime against humanity and we rightly make it a crime to deny the Holocaust but people are clever enough to know you can deny other mass murders and get away with it.The Turkish government is the biggest culprit in this respect and their arguments are used by similiar minded individuals everywhere like Hutton Gibson and other kinds of apologists.I applaud the French govt of taking the stand to recognize the Armenian genocide for what it really was despite threats of reprisals and dubious arguments such as one used by a college history professor I listened to once who said it was the aftermath of a badly thought out policy in a chaotic period of history.That is not the first time I have heard that line.Any kind of denier needs to be stood up too and convinced they are wrong.Even if they are gotta have the last word guy.

Well said, and it's not just murder, governments in countries like India deny using young children as slave labor.


Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:35 pm
Post Re: January 11, 2012: "When a Monster Makes Art"
We rightly make it a crime to deny the Holocaust do we? I feel I need to point out the irony again.

Also did the French talk about their own genocide in the 18th century? I thought not :)


Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:25 pm
Post Re: January 11, 2012: "When a Monster Makes Art"
Once again, I'm late to the party and by reading the last couple of entries, I think the topic got a bit sidetracked... but still, I have to add my two cents. Bear with me here.

The way I look at it is, Hollywood and the entertainment industry in general is filled with douchebags. There are tons of examples: Polanski raped an underage minor; Mel Gibson is a violent, drunken anti-Semitic; Schwarzenegger had a kid with the maid; Sean Penn is a humourless asshole; Russell Crowe throws phones at people; Woody Allen married his underage stepdaughter; and so on.

Fact is, as someone else stated on this thread, these people are human, and have the same flaws that everyone else does (some bigger than others, though). Difference is, they're always in the public spotlight so absolutely everything they do gets scrutinized. But then again the public is to blame for putting these people on a pedestal. Celebrities are not Gods, and I don't get why they should all be considered role models.

Their job is to entertain you, right? So as long as they do that, I could care less what they do in their personal lives. I don't condone Polanski's crime, or the stuff Gibson does, but they're both talented filmmakers, and that's what matters as far as I'm concerned. The day Gibson starts spouting anti-Semitism in his films and making it obvious, that day I'll pause. But for now, I can still enjoy his films, and why shouldn't I? That's what they're there for.

Same thing with music; you don't have to agree with it to like it. There's a Swedish band called Ghost, who are supposedly Satanic (though it's mostly a ridiculous gimmick), and the lyrics reflect this. I'm not Satanic in the least and I can admit that their music is pretty good. Why not?

I've known people that take the whole "Monster" stance way too seriously, though. My older sister used to be the biggest Woody Allen fan ever, and now she refuses to acknowledge that she has ever watched one of his films.

As a kid I used to listen to Rage Against the Machine a lot: I never cared for the lyrics or their views, I like them mostly because Tom Morello is a hell of a guitar player, but that band has some political views that a lot of people in my country wouldn't agree with. So one day my sister walks into my room, sees a Rage CD on my shelf, and rants for 15 minutes: Why am I listening to these fucking terrorists, this music is bad for you and it's an insult, blah blah. And then she burned the CD with a lighter, snapped it in half, and threw it in the bin. All I could think was: "Um, sis, that CD used to be yours and you gave it to me as a hand-me-down!" I didn't get the reaction; it's just music.

I can understand why some people would outright condemn an artist for something they do; but sometimes it seems a bit intolerant and self-righteous.

And I have an even more ridiculous example, which I'll share with you just because I think it's a funny story. I'm from Peru, and since forever we've had a ridiculous rivalry with the neighboring Chile (mostly stemming from a war we fought in the 1800s where they rightfully kicked our ass). Nowadays, it's pretty ridiculous and almost no one gives a shit anymore, it's more of a friendly rivalry than anything. There used to be a Chilean-made brand of pasta which sold really well in Peru. So one day, me and a group of friends went to the beach over a weekend and brought said pasta along (cheap, easy to make, tastes good). And one of the guys got outraged: how could we eat that shit, it was made by that awful country, blah blah. He refused to eat it, and we hadn't really brought much else along, so while we were sitting around a table eating Bolognese, he'd be proudly starving himself in a corner. That idiot didn't eat anything for almost two days out of pride. Moron.

Not sure if that has anything to do with it, but anyways... I'm done now.


Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:25 pm
Post Re: January 11, 2012: "When a Monster Makes Art"
The London based metal band Akercocke are heavily Satanic, and not only for a gimmick. Their founding member and front man follows Satanism openly and the band have been criticised rather harshly for it.

Satanism and the Occult is an easy target in a lot of places. Even completely harmless forms of Paganism are seen as irredeemably evil, which bothers me on a personal level (no guesses why).


Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:18 pm
Post Re: January 11, 2012: "When a Monster Makes Art"
Dragonbeard wrote:
The London based metal band Akercocke are heavily Satanic, and not only for a gimmick. Their founding member and front man follows Satanism openly and the band have been criticised rather harshly for it.

Satanism and the Occult is an easy target in a lot of places. Even completely harmless forms of Paganism are seen as irredeemably evil, which bothers me on a personal level (no guesses why).


You're right, it is an easy target. Some time ago, out of curiosity, I started reading up on Satanism and Anton LaVey and his church and everything related to it. Now, I don't agree with the man's views at all, but I was surprised to discover that Satanism is actually a bonafide religion with its own set of spiritual rules and such... simply that there's more to it than human sacrifices, goats, pentagrams and all that other imagery that the media always associates with it. Like I said, I don't agree with it, but I guess some people do, and good for them.

At least LaVey and his followers seemed to take the matter somewhat seriously, which is more than I can say for some death/black metal bands, at least the gimmicky ones... you know, the ones that wear cheesy costumes, use corpsepaint and go around saying stuff like "the world is shit and everyone deserves to die" or some other bullshit. Those you can tell do it just for the shock value. Clowns. I've started reading metal magazines just for the laughs, because some of the stuff these guys say sounds so pompous and cheesy it's ridiculous.

Anyways, another example for the "separating the art from artist" discussion could be Varg Vikernes. To me, personally, the guy's a bit off-kilter and he scares me a little. I always wondered why specialist magazines even bothered to give the guy any coverage, but then I realized, they talk strictly about the music and not Vikernes' actual beliefs or his whole past involving murder and church burnings. They effectively separate art from artist. Now, I've never listened to Burzum and don't plan to (I hate black/death metal) , but hey, the guy's music has its fans, and that's perfectly fine.

Jimmy Page was a nut for the occult, but that doesn't take away from the fact that he's an awesome guitarist and he was in one of the most influential bands of all time. And that's what he'll be remembered for, in the end.


Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:53 pm
Post Re: January 11, 2012: "When a Monster Makes Art"
dps wrote:
I'm not sure that I see why mass murders committed by one regime are somehow worse than those committed another regime based on which regime used ethnicity as a more important factor in deciding who was targetted for killing.

That's because you just don't understand what's being discussed. I will try to explain one more time in a different way:

Stalin was in many ways the ultimate pragmatist. He was a firm believer in the adage, "You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.". Change "few eggs" to "millions of people" and you have better idea of the scale to which he applied his policies. However, he didn't make a official policy of targeting an ethnic group for complete and utter extermination. He opened the gulags, of course, but that simply his method of maintaining power, much like any other totalitarian government.

Hitler had a simple goal: exterminate the Jews. He set the resources of his entire nation to this end, to the point where it was on an industrial scale. Jews would be rounded up, put onto trains, and taken to facilities specifically set up for the lone purpose of killing them. Some of them were used as slave labor in camps that were set up to contribute production, but the majority were just killed. In this case, the "omelet" was the death of every Jew in territories under Nazi Germany control.

Does that make Stalin a saint? Of course not. Does this mean that Stalin was as bad as Hitler? Maybe, but we know Stalin's goals didn't encompass anything other than that of most other dictators in history. Hitler's goals did encompass deliberate genocide along with the usual ones associated with a megalomaniac.


Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:52 pm
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Post Re: January 11, 2012: "When a Monster Makes Art"
Ragnarok73 wrote:
dps wrote:
I'm not sure that I see why mass murders committed by one regime are somehow worse than those committed another regime based on which regime used ethnicity as a more important factor in deciding who was targetted for killing.

That's because you just don't understand what's being discussed. I will try to explain one more time in a different way:

Stalin was in many ways the ultimate pragmatist. He was a firm believer in the adage, "You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.". Change "few eggs" to "millions of people" and you have better idea of the scale to which he applied his policies. However, he didn't make a official policy of targeting an ethnic group for complete and utter extermination. He opened the gulags, of course, but that simply his method of maintaining power, much like any other totalitarian government.

Hitler had a simple goal: exterminate the Jews. He set the resources of his entire nation to this end, to the point where it was on an industrial scale. Jews would be rounded up, put onto trains, and taken to facilities specifically set up for the lone purpose of killing them. Some of them were used as slave labor in camps that were set up to contribute production, but the majority were just killed. In this case, the "omelet" was the death of every Jew in territories under Nazi Germany control.

Does that make Stalin a saint? Of course not. Does this mean that Stalin was as bad as Hitler? Maybe, but we know Stalin's goals didn't encompass anything other than that of most other dictators in history. Hitler's goals did encompass deliberate genocide along with the usual ones associated with a megalomaniac.



Don't patronize me. I certainly do understand what is being discussed.

And FWIW, certain ethnic groups in the Soviet Union were targetted by Stalin's regime.


Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:30 am
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Post Re: January 11, 2012: "When a Monster Makes Art"
dps wrote:
Ragnarok73 wrote:
dps wrote:
I'm not sure that I see why mass murders committed by one regime are somehow worse than those committed another regime based on which regime used ethnicity as a more important factor in deciding who was targetted for killing.

That's because you just don't understand what's being discussed. I will try to explain one more time in a different way:

Stalin was in many ways the ultimate pragmatist. He was a firm believer in the adage, "You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.". Change "few eggs" to "millions of people" and you have better idea of the scale to which he applied his policies. However, he didn't make a official policy of targeting an ethnic group for complete and utter extermination. He opened the gulags, of course, but that simply his method of maintaining power, much like any other totalitarian government.

Hitler had a simple goal: exterminate the Jews. He set the resources of his entire nation to this end, to the point where it was on an industrial scale. Jews would be rounded up, put onto trains, and taken to facilities specifically set up for the lone purpose of killing them. Some of them were used as slave labor in camps that were set up to contribute production, but the majority were just killed. In this case, the "omelet" was the death of every Jew in territories under Nazi Germany control.

Does that make Stalin a saint? Of course not. Does this mean that Stalin was as bad as Hitler? Maybe, but we know Stalin's goals didn't encompass anything other than that of most other dictators in history. Hitler's goals did encompass deliberate genocide along with the usual ones associated with a megalomaniac.



Don't patronize me. I certainly do understand what is being discussed.

And FWIW, certain ethnic groups in the Soviet Union were targetted by Stalin's regime.

I simply went with what you said to come to my conclusion that you didn't (and still don't) understand.

A lot of ethnic groups suffered under Stalin, which is to be expected when a centralized totalitarian government imposes itself on a large area with diverse peoples living in it. That doesn't mean that they were targeted specifically for elimination.


Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:46 pm
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Post Re: January 11, 2012: "When a Monster Makes Art"
An Open Letter From Dylan Farrow

Quote:
What’s your favorite Woody Allen movie? Before you answer, you should know: when I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me. He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we’d go to Paris and I’d be a star in his movies. I remember staring at that toy train, focusing on it as it traveled in its circle around the attic. To this day, I find it difficult to look at toy trains.

For as long as I could remember, my father had been doing things to me that I didn’t like. I didn’t like how often he would take me away from my mom, siblings and friends to be alone with him. I didn’t like it when he would stick his thumb in my mouth. I didn’t like it when I had to get in bed with him under the sheets when he was in his underwear. I didn’t like it when he would place his head in my naked lap and breathe in and breathe out. I would hide under beds or lock myself in the bathroom to avoid these encounters, but he always found me. These things happened so often, so routinely, so skillfully hidden from a mother that would have protected me had she known, that I thought it was normal. I thought this was how fathers doted on their daughters. But what he did to me in the attic felt different. I couldn’t keep the secret anymore.

When I asked my mother if her dad did to her what Woody Allen did to me, I honestly did not know the answer. I also didn’t know the firestorm it would trigger. I didn’t know that my father would use his sexual relationship with my sister to cover up the abuse he inflicted on me. I didn’t know that he would accuse my mother of planting the abuse in my head and call her a liar for defending me. I didn’t know that I would be made to recount my story over and over again, to doctor after doctor, pushed to see if I’d admit I was lying as part of a legal battle I couldn’t possibly understand. At one point, my mother sat me down and told me that I wouldn’t be in trouble if I was lying – that I could take it all back. I couldn’t. It was all true. But sexual abuse claims against the powerful stall more easily. There were experts willing to attack my credibility. There were doctors willing to gaslight an abused child.

After a custody hearing denied my father visitation rights, my mother declined to pursue criminal charges, despite findings of probable cause by the State of Connecticut – due to, in the words of the prosecutor, the fragility of the “child victim.” Woody Allen was never convicted of any crime. That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up. I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to be near other little girls. I was terrified of being touched by men. I developed an eating disorder. I began cutting myself. That torment was made worse by Hollywood. All but a precious few (my heroes) turned a blind eye. Most found it easier to accept the ambiguity, to say, “who can say what happened,” to pretend that nothing was wrong. Actors praised him at awards shows. Networks put him on TV. Critics put him in magazines. Each time I saw my abuser’s face – on a poster, on a t-shirt, on television – I could only hide my panic until I found a place to be alone and fall apart.

Last week, Woody Allen was nominated for his latest Oscar. But this time, I refuse to fall apart. For so long, Woody Allen’s acceptance silenced me. It felt like a personal rebuke, like the awards and accolades were a way to tell me to shut up and go away. But the survivors of sexual abuse who have reached out to me – to support me and to share their fears of coming forward, of being called a liar, of being told their memories aren’t their memories – have given me a reason to not be silent, if only so others know that they don’t have to be silent either.

Today, I consider myself lucky. I am happily married. I have the support of my amazing brothers and sisters. I have a mother who found within herself a well of fortitude that saved us from the chaos a predator brought into our home.

But others are still scared, vulnerable, and struggling for the courage to tell the truth. The message that Hollywood sends matters for them.

What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett? Louis CK? Alec Baldwin? What if it had been you, Emma Stone? Or you, Scarlett Johansson? You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton. Have you forgotten me?

Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse.

So imagine your seven-year-old daughter being led into an attic by Woody Allen. Imagine she spends a lifetime stricken with nausea at the mention of his name. Imagine a world that celebrates her tormenter.

Are you imagining that? Now, what’s your favorite Woody Allen movie?

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Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:44 am
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Post Re: January 11, 2012: "When a Monster Makes Art"
I read that this morning (Sunday, I mean). And maybe because it's early in the day for such a heavy topic, I teared up a bit.

However, although my gut feels that this may be the truth (coupled with that marriage and some streaks in his films, especially May/December romances), the annoying need-to-know-it-all-first in me still contradicts that there are those lack of evidence and some contradicting testimony. Last week, there is also a tactful article that is not so much pro-Allen as just laying all the facts on the table about "innocent until proven guilty" for the guy.

And not a few months ago, I watched a forceful 2013 movie called The Hunt which illustrates how awful the rush to stone a guy without concrete proof could be. Not specifically having anything to do with the Allen case (although the nature of the crime is similar), but it does give me pause when it comes to this matter.

Honestly, we may never know for sure unless we are close to the matter, so I'll refrain from any sweeping statement.




That said, I'm not so sure about naming all those actors who work with Allen. Also a bit of morbid curiosity about Louis C.K.'s reaction, since the guy dearly loves his daughter.


Sun Feb 02, 2014 4:19 am
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Post Re: January 11, 2012: "When a Monster Makes Art"
I hope for Allen's sake that it's not true, but if it is he should indeed have to answer for it.

I don't think Dylan should be blaming the actors who star in Allen's films though since it's not like they knew anything about this.


Sun Feb 02, 2014 4:47 am
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Post Re: January 11, 2012: "When a Monster Makes Art"
Ken wrote:
Quote:
Are you imagining that? Now, what’s your favorite Woody Allen movie?


...Manhattan.

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Sun Feb 02, 2014 4:48 am
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