July 31, 2007

Ingmar Bergman's Nazi phase

According to Google News, none of the 1,294 news stories on the Swedish movie director's death mention that he finally admitted in 1999 that he had been a Nazi-supporter all through WWII, when he was in his 20s, because he found Nazism to be "fun and youthful." Bergman's Nazi enthusiasm wasn't unknown back in Bergman's heyday: Richard Grenier, Commentary's film critic, wrote a hostile article about it in the 1980s, but, otherwise, Bergman seems to have gotten a free pass over it.


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

You denounce Nazi's repeatedly yet you never really explain what you do at this Biodiversity Institute of yours. Why all the secrecy, since it's nothing eugenic?

Steve Sailer said...

Uh, oh, they're on to us!

Let's just say that this news story ostensibly about Starbucks isn't really about Starbucks, if you get my drift:

SEATTLE–After a decade of aggressive expansion throughout North America and abroad, Starbucks suddenly and unexpectedly closed its 2,870 worldwide locations Monday to prepare for what company insiders are calling "Phase Two" of the company's long-range plan.

"Starbucks has completed the coffee-distribution and location establishment phase of its operation, and is now ready to move into Phase Two," read a statement from Cynthia Vahlkamp, Starbucks' chief marketing officer. "We have enjoyed furnishing you with coffee-related beverages and are excited about the important role you play in our future plans. Please pardon the inconvenience while we fortify the second wave of our corporate strategy."

Though the coffee chain's specific plans are not known, existing Starbucks franchises across the nation have been locked down with titanium shutters across all windows. In each coffee shop's door hangs the familiar Starbucks logo, slightly altered to present the familiar mermaid figure as a cyclopean mermaid whose all-seeing eye forms the apex of a world-spanning pyramid.

Those living near one of the closed Starbucks outlets have reported strange glowing mists, howling and/or cowering on the part of dogs that pass by, and electromagnetic effects that cause haunting, unearthly images to appear on TV and computer screens within a one-mile radius. Experts have few theories as to what may be causing the low-frequency rumblings, half-glimpsed flashes of light, and periodic electronic beeps emanating from the once-busy shops.

In addition, newly painted trucks marked with the nuclear trefoil, the biohazard warning symbol, and various mystic runes of the Kaballah have been spotted rolling out of Starbucks distribution warehouses.

A spokesman for Hospitality Manufacturing, a restaurant-supply company that does business with Starbucks, provided some insight as to what Phase Two might entail.

"This week, they cancelled their usual 500,000-count order of Java Jackets and ordered 1.2 million Starbucks-insignia armbands instead," Hospitality Manufacturing's Jasper Hennings said. "They also called off their standing order for restaurant-grade first-aid kits, saying they had a heavy-duty source for those now. And, most ominous of all, they've stopped buying stirrers altogether."

"I don't like the looks of this," added Hennings before disappearing late Monday night.

No Starbucks employees were available for comment, as those not laid off in January's "loyalty-based personnel restructuring" or hospitalized in the series of freakish, company-wide milk-steamer malfunctions that severely scalded hundreds of employees, have been sent to re-training centers.

Remaining Starbucks employees earmarked for re-training are being taught revised corporate procedures alongside 15,500 new hires recently recruited from such non-traditional sources as the CIA retirement program, Internet bulletin boards frequented by former Eagle Scouts, and the employment section in the back of Soldier Of Fortune magazine.

More insight into Phase Two was provided by the company's most recent quarterly stockholders' report, which features a map of North America showing the location of every existing Starbucks. Lines drawn between the various stores form geometric patterns across the U.S., including five-pointed stars, Masonic symbols, and, in the Seattle area, the image of a gigantic Oroborous serpent wrapped around an inverted ziggurat.

Starbucks management has been tight-lipped regarding the upcoming changes. No upper-level executives have been seen in public since the first of the month, and no details seem to be forthcoming. Visitors to the Starbucks web site, however, are greeted with a letter from Starbucks founder Howard Schultz reading in part:

"To our valued Starbucks customer: Just wait until you see the exciting changes we've got in store for you as part of our new Phase Two. When you finally see what we've got brewing here at Starbucks, you'll have no choice but to love it."

Thursday said...

A big reason that Bergman got a pass on this is that his films are so totally personal and unrelated to politics. He never set himself up as some sort of prophetic figure of righteousness like Gunter Grass, and he never pretended to be anything but a screwed up, half crazy artist.

michael farris said...

Didn't you ever read Return to Howard's End?

Around the beginning, the younger of the bluestocking Schlegel sisters falls in with unintellectual, rough-housing Wilcoxes and is utterly charmed by them. What especially impresses her is their disdain for everything she holds dear.

It's hardly unusual for sensitive, artistic types of a certain age (late teens to 20 something) to fall under the spell of some philosophy or political movement that seems counter to their self-interest and which they later would rather not be reminded of.

As another poster mentions, Bergman's movies are about personal, individual feelings (esp anxiety and alienation) looked at under a microscope (and blown up to fill the big screen - he reinvented the lingering closeup as a way of getting inside his characters' heads).

The closest thing he did to a political movie that I've seen (I missed the serpent's egg on purpose) was the Magic Flute, where he managed to recast Mozart's ode to white-male (esp masonic) superiority into a universalist ode to humanity's better features.

Anonymous said...

Here, here, Steve! That Starbucks bit promises to be better than the Da Vinci Code. Write a full length novel so you can grow rich beyond your wildest dreams. Meanwhile the unpedigreed that you have been pounding on for the past few months can live in peace again.

Ah, to have a bit of privacy without having to scamper off to the woods and live like a caveman... Is a private life too big a dream for someone like me?

You do realize I envy the Amish and have had to restrain the urge to beg them to take me in more times than I care to admit.

Anonymous said...

The Magic Flute is "Mozart's ode to white male superiority" ? ? ?

What university brainwashed you?

Anonymous said...

Not sure I would say Bergman got a 'free pass' on his Nazi sympathies. Also, I didn't see much in the article that wasn't in his autobiography, where he mentioned not wanting to believe in the pictures of the concentration camps after the war.

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right, Steve. It's outrageous we didn't burn him at the stake when we had the chance.

Larry, San Francisco said...

I have to agree with Michael Farris, many young people have stupid ideas (remember the young 1960's Maoists) which they reject as they get older. For example, in Fanny and Alexander the Jewish characters were good and helped rescue the young kids from the evil step father.

Anonymous said...

Ingmar Bergman was one of the greatest film directors who has ever lived. I'd hate to think that all of us were called to account for whatever stupid views we held in our twenties.

Anonymous said...

Most Nazis regarded Nazism as "fun and youthful". They thought that they were sweeping away fuddy-duddy traditionalism. They hated aristocracy, established churches, and basically the entire decadent old world that was repressing the new. Probably most of the population of Sweden in the 1930s and 1940s was sympathetic to Nazism. It was a socialistic movement not radically unlike their own social democracy. They didn't appear to have any major problems with the German takeover of Norway and Denmark, and seemed quite happy to spend WW2 making money selling commodities to Nazi Germany. The founder of Ikea, Ingvar Kamprad, was likewise a Nazi sympathizer. Bergman was not far outside the Swedish mainstream. (Just in case of any misunderstanding, I am emphatically not a Nazi, am not nostalgic for fascism, and have a low opinion of past and present Sweden.) Bergman, as a poster noted above, is the antithesis of Gunter Grass; none of his work shows any trace of anti-capitalist or anti-American propaganda, he admitted his youthful wrongs, and he never posed as a moral arbiter.

Anonymous said...

Most Nazis regarded Nazism as "fun and youthful". They thought that they were sweeping away fuddy-duddy traditionalism. They hated aristocracy, established churches, and basically the entire decadent old world that was repressing the new.

An awful lot of people now believe that Hitler's government was harboring an inordinate number of closeted homosexuals [including possibly Hitler himself].

Ron Guhname said...

"An awful lot of people now believe that Hitler's government was harboring an inordinate number of closeted homosexuals [including possibly Hitler himself]."

I wouldn't be surprised. People still dig Nazi fashion!

Turns out that the understudy for Hitler in "Springtime for Hitler" was the right choice!

Anonymous said...

It's surprising in retrospect just how young most of the people around Hitler were. Nazism really was a movement of people who had been in their teens and early 20s during WWI and were determined to wipe away what they saw as decadent old Europe. Hitler was just 44 when he first took power and was 15 years younger than Churchill. Hess was 39, Himmler 33, Bormann 33, Goebbels 36, von Ribbentrop barely 40, Rosenberg 40, Speer 29, Todt 42. The first Nazi cabinet ministers must have had one of the lowest average ages of any European government in the modern era.

Anonymous said...

The first Nazi cabinet ministers must have had one of the lowest average ages of any European government in the modern era.

Huh.

Here are some numbers from 1917:

Lvov: 55/56
Kerensky: 36
Lenin: 47
Trotsky: 37/38
Kalinin: 41/42
Stalin: 38/39

Anonymous said...

Most Swedes where sympathetic to the NAZIs. Most of the tips of feared 88 shells were tungston steel mined in Sweeden. The Sweedes made money off of WW2 and it was not selling to the Allies. In late 1944 they switched sides and rescued a few Jews to try to atone for what they did for the NAZIs but their hands had blood on them. The Viking SS Division fought to in Berlin until the last man.

Anonymous said...

Most Swedes where sympathetic to the NAZIs. Most of the tips of feared 88 shells were tungston steel mined in Sweeden. The Sweedes made money off of WW2 and it was not selling to the Allies. In late 1944 they switched sides and rescued a few Jews to try to atone for what they did for the NAZIs but their hands had blood on them. The Viking SS Division fought to in Berlin until the last man.

Meanwhile, over in Finland...

STaLIn: THE COURT OF THE RED TSAR

Chapter 30
Molotov Cocktails: The Winter War and Kulik's Wife

...On 30 November, five Soviet armies attacked along the 800-mile border. Their frontal assaults on the Mannerheim Line were foiled by the ingenious Finns, who, dressed like ghosts in white suits, were slaughtering the Russians. The forests were decorated with frozen pyramids of Soviet corpses. The Finns used 70,000 empty bottles, filled with gasoline, against the Russian tanks - the first "Molotov cocktails", one part of his cult of personality that the vain Premier surely did not appreciate. By mid-December, Stalin had lost about 25,000 men...

Stalin sensed the army was concealing the scale of the disaster. Trusting only Mekhlis, he wrote "The White Finns published their operations report that claims 'the annihilation of the 44th Division... 1000 Red Army soldiers as prisoners, 102 guns, 1170 horses and 43 tanks.' Tell me first - is this true? Second - where is the Military Council and Chief of Staff of the 44th Division? How do they explain their shameful conduct? Why did they desert their division? Third, why does the Military Council of the 9th Army not inform us...? We expect an answer. Stalin."

Mekhlis arrived in Suomussalmi to find chaotic scenes which he made worse. He confirmed the losses and shot the whole command: "the trial of Vinogradov, Volkov and chief of Political Deparment took place in the open air in the presence of the division... The sentence of shooting was performed publicly... The exposure of traitors and cowards continues." On 10 December, Mekhlis himself was almost killed when his car was ambushed, as he proudly recounted to Stalin: unlike many of Stalin's commissars, Mekhlis was personally courageous, if not suicidally reckless, under fire, partly because, as a Jew, he wanted to be "purer than crystal"...

Yet Stalin was saddened by these disasters: "The snows are deep. Our troops are on the march... fulll of spirit... Suddenly there's a burst of automatic fire and our men fall to the ground." At times, he looked helplessly depressed. Khrushchev saw him lying on a couch, despondent, a rehearsal of his collapse in the early days of the Nazi invasion. The pressure made Stalin ill with his usual streptococcus and staphylococcus, a temperature of 38°C and an agonizing sore throat. On 1 February, his health improved as Timoshenko probed Finnish defences, launching his great offensive on the 11th. Soviet superiority finally took its toll on the plucky Finns...

Finland lost around 48,000 solidiers, Stalin over 125,000...

Anonymous said...

Last poster, good book. I read it about a year ago.

Sweeden had a policy of "armed neutrality". The Soviet Union had it's own energy and Iron deposits so their only designs on Sweeden would have been political (of course the whole world fit into that category) and so they could better control the Baltic. They could never get past the Navies of Great Britian or Germany so it was more defensive similar to Hanko in Finland.

Germany depended heavily on Sweedish Iron Ore. Germany had plenty of coal but She needed ore, particularly high grade ore for such things as anti-tank grade cannon shells.

THE REASON GERMANY INVADED NORWAY WAS SO THE ALLIES COULD NOT BLOCK OR DISRUPT THE ORE PRODUCTION IN NORTHERN SWEEDEN.

Had the invasion of Norway failed the war would have been much shorter. The allies being who we were were a day late and a dollar short. Had they got in first and established air bases and defensive positions Germany could never have taken Norway.

Germany also got a lot of their high tech pressure gauges and components that were used in their submarines from Sweeden. The advantage to Germany was that they knew the factories would not get bombed. The same goes for ball bearings and the like.

The Sweedes were not Angels.