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Is Jojo Rabbit claiming the Nazis were sort-of progressive? Cannoli Send a noteboard - 14/02/2020 04:42:15 PM

The thing that confuses me here is Sam Rockwell's character, Captain K, whose full name I can't recall. Initially seen as the director of a Hitler Youth camp, he states outright that he has this post because of an injury that cost him the sight in his eye, despite being able-bodied, a combat enthusiast and still possessed of remarkable marksmanship faculties. He is not happy with the post to the point that he makes passive-aggressively ironic comments to his charges about the wisdom of it, suggesting his preference for a combat job.

There is also his cynicism about Germany's chances of victory (and the movie is set in 1945, so his comments are less cynical than realistic), and as is made clear, the fact that he does not buy in to the Nazi ideology...but then why put such a man in charge of indoctrinating kids?

Finally, there is Captain K being homosexual. Most countries, again, you could see that being a thing that might relegate a military officer to rear echelon training posts...but in Nazi Germany, that got you into a concentration camp. It could be his superiors in the Wehrmacht were covering for him, as they did for quite a few personnel with plausible deniability whose services they wanted to retain, but again, why then send him to a children's indoctrination camp, instead of keeping him on the front lines where his peccadilloes will be less likely to come to the attention of the Gestapo etc. One issue could be that he is having a relationship with a subordinate, which could be injurious to discipline and morale on the front...but again, it makes no sense that he's put in charge of kids, unless Nazi Germany is the sort of place that doesn't have that misconception about homosexuals (fun fact, back when the abuse scandals broke, the diocese sent around a guy to brief the faculty of the school at which I was teaching all about acceptable behavior and keeping an eye out for abuse situations and warning signs. One of the things he made a point of saying was that most sexual predators are married men. He had a wedding band and was lecturing to a faculty of women and single men about the dangers of sexual predators. That's like a white guy going to Dunbar High School to warn the student body about racism).

Basically, a lot of stuff about Captain K doesn't make sense, unless his homosexuality is known, and that makes even less sense, unless Nazi Germany has a very different attitude about that issue than I had been led to believe.

Also, I'm not an expert on military uniforms of Nazi Germany (and I suspect neither is Taika Waititi), so I can't tell if Captain K is a member of the SS, but I'd think if a serving officer was going to be put in charge of Hitler Youth stuff, he'd be a SS officer, rather one from than the Heer. But then, "Captain' is a Heer rank, rather than SS. OTOH, I don't know how accepted the SS equivalent ranks were outside official circles. Maybe people just couldn't be bothered if it was not an issue of military discipline, and used the traditional rank title for an officer of that pay grade, regardless if he was a member of the Waffen SS or the Luftwaffe or Heer. His ultimate fate would suggest he was, in fact, a member of the SS. And there were a lot of SS soldiers who volunteered not out of Nazi fervor or even belief, but for the same reasons US servicemen sought out the Marine Corps or soldiers volunteered for the airborne regiments, namely for the benefits, both material and intangible of serving in elite units. It just doesn't make a lot of sense.

But then Jojo and his mom are pretty clearly suffering from poor mental health anyway. Her behavior is somewhat manic, and I'm not 100% sure Scarlet Johansen isn't just trying to say her lines as quick as possible to get back to the Black Widow set, but most of her time seems to be engaged in activities which suggest a self-destructive side, especially considering they represent what should be an unacceptable risk for a woman with two VERY dependent kids at home.

More than 20 years ago, I read something by Ann Coulter where she said that liberals just make up stories when things don't to the way they want. She was referring, I believe to various Aaron Sorkin projects fantasizing about a Democratic President he could actually be proud of, instead of the contemporaneous occupant of the Oval Office. Fast forward to the last few years, and that's actually what's going on, what with Quentin Tarantino's last few revisionist history films, and now Jojo Rabbit, in which American troops helped take Berlin. Because that's the only way you can show the fall of Berlin through the eyes of the civilian population without instantly making the whole audience sympathetic to the Germans and reminding them what no one in Hollywood cares to admit, that the USSR was every bit as morally abhorrent, if not worse.

It could be that the atrocities and cost to the civilian population the film hints at are being presented as the consequences of following a fascist leader, so Trump Bad! except for the point that neither Trump nor Hitler is/was a fascist, but that was not a consequence of following fascism, that was what was always going to happen to Germany, they turned to the Nazis in the desperate hope they could stave it off, since the Socialists spent over a decade in power getting absolutely nowhere in improving Germany's position and strength on the international stage. All the other stuff is so cartoonishly over the top, it isn't a very effective message against bigotry or Nazism. Honestly, it's been decades since any parent on the left was in the position of Johanssen's character, appalled at the nonsense their kids are learning from the state and society. Right now, if anyone in the West is in her shoes, it's the religious and conservative parents. If we are supposed to be appalled at the Hitler Youth, the US, UK and USSR all had equivalent institutions. Except Nazi Germany was about 70 years ahead of the Boy Scouts with homosexual instructors and mixed-gender admissions.

“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.” GK Chesteron
Inde muagdhe Aes Sedai misain ye!
Deus Vult!
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Is Jojo Rabbit claiming the Nazis were sort-of progressive? - 14/02/2020 04:42:15 PM 92 Views

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