Category Racist and Nazi Propaganda

The Birth of a Nation (1915) The Fall of a Nation (1916)

D.W. Griffith’s masterpiece has long haunted film critics and historians. The first “blockbuster,” it’s the most important, and until Gone With the Wind in 1939, the highest-grossing film in the history of American cinema. Yet it’s also an evil work of racist propaganda that helped spur on the birth of the second Ku Klux Klan. […]

The Symbolic Construction of Mass Shootings

(Check out my previous two pieces relating to this subject here and here.) Much of the internet has evolved into a mutated form of the famous New Yorker cartoon caption contest; except in the internet the cartoon is not a cartoon but the rapid procession of events that constitute the enterprise we monolithically dub “the […]

The Purple Heart (1944)

In April of 1942, the United States aircraft carrier Hornet, three cruisers, and seven destroyers sailed to within 750 miles of the Japanese mainland. On the deck of the Hornet were 16 long-range, B-25 bombers, stripped down, and loaded with a much fuel and as many bombs as they could carry. Although the “Doolittle Raid” […]

Rolling Thunder (1977)

While its screenplay was written by Paul Schrader — who had also written Taxi Driver and would later go on to write the adaption of The Last Temptation of Christ — this 1977 film by novice director John Flynn is vile fascist propaganda without a shred of redeeming value or artistic merit. That Quentin Tarantino […]

The Superhero and American Exceptionalism

The archetype of the superhero has gone through numerous shifts since its inception in Action Comics #1 in 1938. Like much of the early history of comics, the appeal, genesis and audience was largely within the immigrant population. Earlier comic strips appealing to immigrants were largely vaudevillian hijinks organized around the family-think the Katzenjammer Kids. […]

The Literature of Mass Shooters

Stan and I were analyzing the mass shootings of Elliot Rodger, Dylann Roof, and James Holmes. The initial question being: “which ones qualify as acts of terrorism?” The initial conclusions: -Roof was a straightforward outgrowth of the white nationalist movement and therefore his shooting is terrorism. -Rodger was an outgrowth of the MRA movement so […]

Sixteen Candles (1984) Pretty in Pink (1986)

Ted the Geek: Hey Dong, what’s wrong? Long Duk Dong: Do you remember that old movie we were both in? Ted the Geek: Sixteen Candles? Long Duk Dong: It’s got me down. Ted the Geek: Why Dong? That’s where we met. That’s where we decided to go into business together. Now we run a successful […]

Captain Phillips (2013)

The first half of Captain Phillips, Paul Greengrass’s film about the hijacking of the MV Maersk Alabama off the coast of Somalia in 2009, is not only exciting and well-made, it’s an excellent argument against gun control. 20 good guys without guns are piloting the MV Maersk Alabama, a container ship commanded by Tom Hanks […]

Jud Süß (1940)

Jud Süß, the infamous anti-Semitic propaganda commissioned by Joseph Goebbels in 1940, is a bit like D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation. Birth of a Nation was the inspiration for the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan in 1915. Heinrich Himmler ordered Jud Süß to be shown to SS units about to be sent against […]