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Journal ArticleDOI

Bastardized History: How Inglourious Basterds Breaks through American Screen Memory

01 Oct 2015-Vol. 3, Iss: 2, pp 141-169
TL;DR: Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (2009) as discussed by the authors is a satire of the movie version of The Diary of Anne Frank (1952) adapted for the silver screen by George Stevens and George Stevens.
Abstract: I think America is one of the only countries that has not been forced . . . to look [its] own past sins in the face. And it's only by looking them in the face that you can possibly work past them.1-Quentin TarantinoDespite the fact that the Holocaust took place on another continent and directly involved few Americans, this event has become integrated into the fabric of the American story. The trauma of the Holocaust entered American mainstream consciousness with the publication in English of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl in 1952, which met with wild success when it was adapted for the silver screen in 1959 as The Diary of Anne Frank (George Stevens, USA). American awareness of the Final Solution was reinforced for later generations with the premiere of the television miniseries Holocaust (Marvin J. Chomsky, USA, NBC) in 1978 and again with the release of Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List (USA) and the opening of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1993. With the proliferation of Holocaust memorials and representations in the American arts since the landmark date of 1993, the Holocaust has been transformed in the United States from a specifically Jewish trauma into a broadly defined mainstream American experience.2 America's adoption of European Jewish history is part of a process by which the story of the Holocaust-and America's presumed role in ending it-is incorporated into "the fundamental tale of pluralism, tolerance, democracy, and human rights that America tells about itself."3 Peter Novick confirms this trend in his study The Holocaust in American Life, observing that "the Holocaust has come to be presented-come to be thought of-as not just a Jewish memory but an American memory."4In its use of postmodern parody, Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (USA, 2009) calls attention to American culture's appropriation of Holocaust memory through its conflation of Jewish and American identities in the elite fighting unit that gives the film its title. The film's self-conscious Americaniza-tion of the Holocaust functions as a critique of American popular culture's tendency to adopt Holocaust trauma as a screen memory, a means of displacing or repressing its own historical guilt-traumas. Rather than participating in this phenomenon, however, Inglourious Basterds uses parody to lay bare the ways in which American film representations of the Holocaust have shaped, and in some cases have distorted, public cultural memory of the event. Unlike earlier Holocaust films that endeavored to seamlessly integrate a specifically Jewish history into the broader fabric of the American story, Inglourious Basterds calls attention to its Americanization of the Holocaust through its ironic revision of history. Tarantino confirms this reading, explaining that the film broadly examines "the tragedy of genocide. I'm dealing with the Jewish genocide in Europe, but my Jews are going native and taking the roles of American Indians-another genocide. Then there's a King Kong metaphor about the slave trade, that's another genocide."5 Through this revision the film challenges the primacy of the Holocaust as an American memory and consequently draws attention to America's reluctance to confront its own legacy of racial prejudice.Moreover, the film unsettles received representations of America as the liberator of Europe's Jews from their Nazi oppressors, and in this way acts in a manner similar to what Linda Hutcheon has called historiographic metafiction-what I term "historiographic metacinema"-which locates in popular film representations of the Holocaust a complicated intertextual relationship between history and fiction.6 As historiographic metacinema-the film clearly "situate[s] itself within historical discourse without surrendering its autonomy as fiction"7-Inglourious Basterds prompts us to question the reliability of films as instruments of public memory by calling attention to the cinematic strategies by which they represent the Holocaust. …
Citations
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01 Jan 1993

165 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Horsemen of the Apocalypse as discussed by the authors is an example of a group of characters from the Bible who were involved in a war against the forces of the Roman Empire in the Middle Ages.
Abstract: Dedication - Abbreviations - Preface - Acknowledgements - PART 1: NATURE - Earth - Vegetation - Light and Darkness - The Seasons - Notes - PART 2: THE SOLDIERS - The Allies - The Enemies - PART 3: THE CIVILIANS - The Labyrinth of Nations - The Limits of Communication - The Totality of War - The Old World - PART 4: THE APOCALYPSE - The Strange - The Genocide - The Horsemen of the Apocalypse - Notes - Epilogue - Bibliography - Index

12 citations

Book ChapterDOI
01 Jan 2020
TL;DR: The authors examined the messaging, delivery, and visible impact of pop cultural icons on the ways people remember and forget the Holocaust and found that contemporary Holocaust-themed animation on sitcoms like Family Guy and South Park sometimes poke "irresponsible" fun.
Abstract: In 1986, cartoonist Art Spiegelman published Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, the first book in his two-volume graphic comic novel about the Holocaust. He established, perhaps unwittingly, a new genre of Holocaust representation, i.e., comic animation that thrives in current times. While his intervention was “responsible” in the sense that it spurred, rather than spurned reverent remembrance, contemporary Holocaust-themed animation on sitcoms like Family Guy and South Park sometimes poke “irresponsible” fun. American cultural producers have a long tradition of ridiculing Adolf Hitler and Nazism. Joking about the Holocaust and its survivors, however, is something new. This chapter does not consider the question of whether or not this sort of humor is amusing, or appropriate. Rather, this study examines the messaging, delivery, and visible impact of such pop cultural icons on the ways people remember and forget the Holocaust.

2 citations

References
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Book
30 Aug 1994
TL;DR: Eisen as mentioned in this paper discusses early European attitudes toward Native American sports and pastimes by George Eisen for Identity, for Cause, for Health, and Fitness: Forty-Eighters and the Rise of the Turnverein Movement in America by Robert Knight Barney A Home In the South: The Turners of Galveston, Texas, 1840-1865 by KB Wamsley The Shamrock and the Eagle: Irish-Americans and sport in the Nineteenth Century by Ralph C Wilcox Jews and Baseball: A Cultural Love Story by Eric Solomon The Italian-American Sporting Experience by Carm
Abstract: Preface Introduction by George Eisen Early European Attitudes toward Native American Sports and Pastimes by George Eisen For Identity, for Cause, for Health, and Fitness: Forty-Eighters and the Rise of the Turnverein Movement in America by Robert Knight Barney A Home In the South: The Turners of Galveston, Texas, 1840-1865 by KB Wamsley The Shamrock and the Eagle: Irish-Americans and Sport in the Nineteenth Century by Ralph C Wilcox Jews and Baseball: A Cultural Love Story by Eric Solomon The Italian-American Sporting Experience by Carmelo Bazzano "Diversionary" Tactics: The Recreation and Leisure Pursuits of Japanese Americans in World War II Internment Camps by Alison M Wrynn The Quest for Identity: The Notion of Double-Consciousness and the Involvement of Black Athletes in American Sport by David K Wiggins Sport in Philadelphia's African-American Community, 1865-1900 by J Thomas Jable Sport and the Americanization of Ethnic Women in Chicago by Gerald R Gems "We Raced for Socks and Sweaters--Not that Useless Bourgeois Stuff, Cups and Medals": Radical Immigrants and the Workers' Sport Federation of Canada, 1924-37 by Bruce Kidd Sport and Social Mobility among African-American and Hispanic Athletes by Merrill J Melnick and Donald Sabo

25 citations

Book
01 Jan 1998
TL;DR: In this article, Degli-Esposti discusses a number of key issues in relation to cinema such as auteurism, national cinemas, metacinema, the parodic, history, and colonization.
Abstract: "these essays ...provide interesting reading strategies and different systems of interpretations that may help us with the difficult task of being post-modern." - Film and Theory Although "Postmodernism" has been a widely used catch word and its concept extensively discussed in philosophy, political thought, and the arts, many scholars still feel uneasy about it. Despite the fact that the concept can be traced back to Arnold Toynbee's 1939 edition of A Study of History, or even back into the nineteenth century, its amorphous nature continues to confound many scholars, not least because there are not one but several kinds of postmodernism, each one pointing to different states of questioning and to diverse ways of remembering, interpreting, and representing. This anthology makes a significant contribution to the current debate in that it offers sophisticated and multi-faceted discussions of a number of key issues in relation to cinema such as auteurism, national cinemas, metacinema, the parodic, history, and colonization. Cristina Degli-Esposti received a Doctorate in Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of Bologna and one in Italian Studies from Indiana University. Since 1991 she has been Assistant Professor of Italian Studies in the Department of Modern and Classical Language Studies at Kent State University.

25 citations

Book
16 Feb 2009
TL;DR: The politics of the "White Male as Victim" and the representation of white male disenfranchisement in popular U.S. popular movies have been discussed in this paper, with a focus on white male violence.
Abstract: Chapter 1 Introduction Part 2 The Politics of the "White Male as Victim" Chapter 3 Losing Ground: Representations of White Male Disenfranchisement in Anglo-American Popular Cinema Chapter 4 Literalizing the Wound: Paternal Melodramas, Masochism, and the White Heterosexual Masculinity in Popular U.S. Cinema Part 5 Coming Apart at the Seams? White Heterosexual Masculinity and the Body in Popular Cinema Chapter 6 Fleshing Out White Heterosexual Masculinity: The Objectified and Commodified White Male Body Chapter 7 Terminal Bodies and Cartesian Trips: White Heterosexual Masculinity in Virtual Reality Fantasy Cinema Chapter 8 Queering White Heterosexual Masculinity: Cross-Dressing and Transgender Cinema Chapter 9 White Skin, Black Masks? Male Wiggers in Contemporary Popular Cinema Part 10 Marking White Male Violence: The Gangster and the Serial Killer Chapter 11 White Male Violence in Quentin Tarantino's Gangster Films Chapter 12 Everyman and No Man: White Masculinity in Contemporary Serial Killer Movies Chapter 13 Afterword

13 citations

Book
01 Jan 1998
TL;DR: Schrijvers as discussed by the authors describes the experiences of U.S. combat ground forces: their struggles with the European terrain and seasons, their confrontations with soldiers, and their often startling encounters with civilians.
Abstract: In the ruined Europe of World War II, American soldiers on the front lines had no eye for breathtaking vistas or romantic settings. The brutality of battle profoundly darkened their perceptions of the Old World. As the only means of international travel for the masses, the military exposed millions of Americans to a Europe in swift, catastrophic decline. Drawing on soldiers' diaries, letters, poems, and songs, Peter Schrijvers offers a compelling account of the experiences of U.S. combat ground forces: their struggles with the European terrain and seasons, their confrontations with soldiers, and their often startling encounters with civilians. Schrijvers relays how the GIs became so desensitized and dehumanized that the sight of dead animals often evoked more compassion than the sight of enemy dead. The Crash of Ruin concludes with a dramatic and moving account of the final Allied offensive into German-held territory and the soldiers' bearing witness to the ultimate symbol of Europe's descent into ruin--the death camps of the Holocaust. The harrowing experiences of the GIs convinced them that Europe's collapse was not only the result of the war, but also the Old World's deep-seated political cynicism, economic stagnation, and cultural decadence. The soldiers came to believe that the plague of war formed an inseparable part of the Old World's decline and fall.

12 citations