The antisemitism of Gibson’s The Passion

Being half-way around the world, I had only heard rumbles over Mel Gibson’s controversial (to say the least) new movie The Passion. I read how the film’s publicist tried to make it seem like the Vatican had “endorsed” it, and how the Jewish community was up in arms over its alleged antisemitism.

And then just now, by chance, I wandered over to a monumental new post at Dave Neiwert’s superlative blog (the kind mine would be if I didn’t have to work). I am totally blown away. I mean, there is enough shocking material in this post to write a frigging book.

I am not even going to try to restate what Orcinus does so beautifully. I just have to ask, is all this stuff out in public? Did you know that Gibson’s father, Hutton Gibson, is a vicious Holocaust denier who has addressed revisionist history conferences? Did you know we are only seeing positive pre-publicity of the movie because all those attending the pre-screenings had to sign an agreement pledging not to criticize the movie?

It’s a long post, but so rich in content, replete with so many specific examples of the sins committed in the creation and marketing of this moviecanard — as I said, I am in shock. It sounds like a mega-scandal just waiting to explode.

The close to this epic post:

Mel Gibson should be concerned about the reaction to his film, because it is clear that it is not simply a piece of art — it is, like The Birth of the Nation, a piece of hateful propaganda posing as art. It is a piece of poison that very well could contaminate the social well of interfaith relations for generations to come, particularly if mainstream Christians decide to pick it up, defend it and actively promote it, as it is clear they are doing so far.

Read the whole thing. There’s so much stuff there, I want to know how he researched it all. Whatever you do, do not miss the excerpt of Hutton Gibson’s interview with a NY Times Magazine reporter. My God.

The Discussion: 20 Comments

And yet I have the feeling that Gibson, by virtue of being a Republican, will get away with it.

February 2, 2004 @ 12:54 am | Comment

Not so sure if that will work; Bush needs those Jewish votes very badly, especially as things tighten. This really could be an explosive issue (and it sure as hell should be); Bush absolutely cannot afford to be perceived in any way to be endorsing or even tolerating such a blatantly antisemitic and ugly endeavor. If he were smart, he’d denounce it as a gross misrepresentation of Christianity and an unacceptable affront to the Jews.

February 2, 2004 @ 12:59 am | Comment

I doubt this will affect politics unless Gibson has cast a GW Bush lookalike in the role of Jesus. :0

Seriously though, successful pop culture influences society to a certain extent, but mainly it reflects what’s already there. So if the movie is successful, he is giving voice to what is already in the culture to a large extent. If not, the movie will die.

February 2, 2004 @ 2:06 am | Comment

I’ll comment on this as an atheist, and as someone who hasn’t seen the film.

Firstly, as with all controversial films, usually about religion or sex, there are an awful lot of people who feel free to comment on how thoroughly immoral it is, without actually having seen it.

Secondly, it seems to me that a straight reading of the gospels comes out as pretty anti-semitist. A film that graphically told the story without embellishment could well be accused of inciting hatred against Jews.

Thirdly, your reference to holocaust denial. I have no doubt whatsoever that the Nazis embarked upon a programme of mass murder and vaste numbers of people were senselessly killed. I’ve visited Dachau concentration camp, and I have no reason to doubt the things I saw and read there are true. However I am disturbed by the treatment of people who seek to challenge or question this. In a free society, people are free to voice dumb opinions. By all means counter their arguments … but too many people don’t do this … they simply say “holocaust denier” in the same way people in the past might have said “satan worshipper” and that’s the end of it. They respond emotionally and violently. Riots, abuse, eggings, stonings, vandalism, assault … in short, they get treated in the same way Nazis treated their victims in their early days. Take for example the case of one scholar who dared to write an article questioning the number 6 million. He didn’t deny the holocaust. He simply made an argument that the figure everyone cites is thoroughly unreliable. He was drummed out of his university and vilified in the press. Ten years later another academic wrote an article about what had happened to the former scholar, and how he had been treated. The edition of the journal was recalled by the head of the university before it could be distributed. The academic resigned in protest. I don’t believe that an issue should be sacrosanct. I suspect that the received view of the holocaust probably is fillled with many errors in detail, though probably not in overall substance … but who knows? In academic circles there are always books coming out which strongly state one opinion, and then another book comes out that argues against it, and usually one view emerges as triumphant, though always with modifications where they have had to take on board the points the other side made, and acknowledge and fix the inconsistencies in their overall thesis. I know anti-holocaust deniers think they are serving the cause of truth … but I think the campaigns of suppression and vilification they engage in have the opposite effect.

February 2, 2004 @ 9:17 am | Comment

Li En, as aways I respect your opinion, and I too am wary of labels like “antisemetic” or “weasel,” which can be thrown around frivolously. And I am wary at times of groups like the Anti-Defamation League, which can be overly sensitive to what it perceives to be antisemitism.

But there was enough detailed information from a source I know to be highly credible to convince me something is very wrong here. Follow the links, and you’ll see.

As to the Holocaust. Being a Jew who lost at least a few family members in the camps, I have studied the topic more than any other (aside from late 19th century classical music). When Mel Gibson’s father talks the way he does in the NY Times Magazine interview, I know something is seriously amiss. Did you see the organizations he belongs to and speaks at? This is not a case of someone holding a belief about history, but rather of someone on a mission, and in bed with disreputable and proud antisemites working together to fulfill that mission — to disprove the Holocaust. Let’s look at the excerpt from the interview:

He moved on to the Holocaust, dismissing historical accounts that six million Jews were exterminated. ”Go and ask an undertaker or the guy who operates the crematorium what it takes to get rid of a dead body,” he said. ”It takes one liter of petrol and 20 minutes. Now, six million?”

Across the table, Joye suddenly looked up from her plate. She was dressed in a stylish outfit for church, wearing a leather patchwork blazer and a felt beret in place of the traditional headdress. She had kept quiet most of the day, so it was a surprise when she cheerfully piped in. ”There weren’t even that many Jews in all of Europe,” she said.

”Anyway, there were more after the war than before,” Hutton added.

The entire catastrophe was manufactured, said Hutton, as part of an arrangement between Hitler and ”financiers” to move Jews out of Germany. Hitler ”had this deal where he was supposed to make it rough on them so they would all get out and migrate to Israel because they needed people there to fight the Arabs,” he said.

If you find anything here that is indicative of intelligent research or true knowledge and an open mind….well, let’s just say I recognize a dangerous voice when I hear one.

Last comment: Knowing your source is important. I have been following Dave Neiwert’s work for more than a year now, and while we disagree on more than one issue, I find his research impeccable. I won’t buy everything he says hook, line and sinker, but after following his links and reading his commentary, I have to say I’m on his side on this one.

February 2, 2004 @ 11:04 am | Comment

Yes, I see your point Richard … but in some ways I think the section you’ve quoted is a good example of why people like that should not only be allowed to voice their opinions, but even given assistance … because the opinions are so obviously nutty that all it does is discredit all efforts to deny the holocaust. I actually cracked a smile when I read the one about it all being designed to send Jews to fight arabs … talk about mixing up your conspiracy theories! On the other hand, perhaps I have too much faith in humanity to exercise rational thought … there are altogether too many people in the world who’ll believe any old rubbish. Oh well … my opinion wavers.

The cynical side of me is a bit worried by the novelistic style in which that quote is written … when I read stuff like that in any source is starts ringing alarm bells. What was all that rubbish about Joye being dressed for church!?

February 2, 2004 @ 12:07 pm | Comment

Li En, I would never deny these people’s rights to express themselves. Even Nazis should be allowed to congregate and march and speak. But it’s also my right to denounce them and fight them if I think they’re spouting incendiary lies.

As to the article’s novelistic side: I agree, it’s quite cutesy, but you have to remember it’s an article for the NYT Magazine. These stories are quite long and full of “ambience” and stylistic flourishes you’d rarely see in a straight news story. The Times has been accused of favoring writing style over content, and sometimes I have to say it’s true.

February 2, 2004 @ 12:19 pm | Comment

Since you’ve done quite extensive research into this topic, I would like to run an idea up the flag pole … it’s half baked in that it is based upon only a cursory understanding of the facts, and I’m by no means dogmatic about it … I post it here for your reaction, and to hear if you think it is at least hypothetically possible within the facts as we know them … or if there are some obvious facts that show that it couldn’t be true.

Anyway, here it is: Hitler’s mission was to remove the Jews from Europe, but not necessarily to wipe them out. Early policies certainly do appear to have been aimed more at driving them out. However, as the tide of battle turned in WWII and it became increasingly obvious that the Nazis were going to lose and had just a year or two left to survive, they resorted to mass murder to accomplish their goal after other means were becoming increasingly eliminated. This theory would suppose that a victorious Germany would not have resorted to the use of gas chambers etc., but would have been more patient in pursuing a policy of segregation, deportation, sterilisation, and whatever other means were available. “Final Solution” could be understood to mean “Last Resort”. Points to note: there’s no denial of the historical fact of mass murder implied within this theory. It is not being implied that the Nazis were nice guys in any way.

Richard, or anyone else who cares to comment … reaction please?

February 2, 2004 @ 12:23 pm | Comment

Historical speculation is a very risky business. One point you make needs correction: The genocide did not begin only after the Germans were losing (and that point in history was Stalingrad in 1942). From the very start of the invasion of Russia in 1941, Eichman and the “Special” SS Command started the program of assembling the Jews and Communists and gypsies and exterminating them. So history simply does not bear out that Hitler would have spared the Jews if he’d won. The reason was he wanted the land and the resources for German use immediately, and for that it had to be Judenfrei. It is true that as he lost the war, the Nazis became increasingly radicalized, leading to the full-blown Final Solution and the death camps, the world’s first modern assembly line specifically designed to slaughter innocent people using state-of-the-art technology.

The Madagascar plan and other ideas the Nazis tinkered with never got very far. But if you look even at Madagascar, the idea was to exile the Jews there and then starve them to death. This was hardly inspired by any sense of compassion or altruism.

To repeat the most important point: mass executions with the goal of total annihilation started before Stalingrad, while the Nazis were at the very zenith of their power and glory. Stalingrad only helped move it to its next level, where mass murder was honed into a fine art. No, there are no “outs” for the Nazis when it comes to their plans for the Jews.

Must run to work, back in several hours.

February 2, 2004 @ 12:51 pm | Comment

Yes, you’re right that my theory doesn’t work … as I said, I hadn’t looked into it closely, and therefore hadn’t got the timing right … at the same time, I don’t see why you say historical speculation is a dangerous thing … all it’s done here is improve my knowledge of WWII history. If it began when they were at their most triumphant, it would seem to be more the case that widespread executions began when they had the confidence to no longer fear reprisals or being held to account for their actions. This in turn suggests that they would have started killing much sooner if they had thought they could get away with it. At least the acceleration of the mass killings could still be explained by their desire to get the job done while they still could, but not the actual intent to kill.

February 2, 2004 @ 5:07 pm | Comment

Li En: “I don’t see why you say historical speculation is a dangerous thing”

Actually, I should have said it can be a very valuable exercise, but it can also be dangerous if done withuot careful thought. For example, Pat Buchanan raised tremendous controversy (deserved) when he suggested that if Western nations had partnered with Hitler in 1941 to fight the USSR the world would be a better place today. This was sloppy histoprical speculation: he only saw the benefits of no Russia, but didn’t take into account the incredible dangers of partnering with Hitler, who had a proven strategy of stabbing every partner in the back, deep and hard. I guess at the heart of the problem is that there are always so many wild cards, speculating on what might have happened can never be an exact science.

February 2, 2004 @ 7:25 pm | Comment

Is this really about the way Jews are depicted or is it about the fact that this message, that Jesus is the Christ is so controversial – to the Jews as well as Muslims, atheists, etc.

As far as I can see w/ the Jews, the movie is depicting the Gospels as they are. And the kicker is, that I don’t understand, is that Jesus was a Jew. What is antisemetic saying the Saviour of the world is Jew??

I think this is a ploy to attack the movie for its real message – the Gospel message – and an attempt to yet again polarize the issue and get a us vs. them thing going so any redeemable aspect of the movie is lost.

I look forward to screening it myself.

February 3, 2004 @ 1:09 am | Comment

Part of the problem here is caused by the rival factions within the Jewish religion at the time. Jesus and his followers were arch enemies of the pharisees, but didn’t mind the saducees so much … generally the really “anti-Jewish” elements of the gospels which are undoubtedly there when intepreted from a Christian perspective, are probably more indicitive of factional disputes within the Jewish community. Have you seen Life of Brian?

Ironically, the early Christians were philosophically a lot closer to the pharisees than to the saducees … I think it’s a classic case of the most bitter rivalries arising between ideologically very similar groups … consider the fate of Trotsky and followers among the communists, and the constant troubles between Muslims, Christians and Jews.

February 3, 2004 @ 8:41 am | Comment

I don’t buy it. This is the same old arguement that has in fact been used by Jews and Christians, both to defend and attack anti-semitism within certain ‘Christian” groups.

Face it the Bible does indeed point a finger at Jesus being rejecting by a great many Jews. Simple as that. Many called to crucify him. But at the same time so was he rejected by the Romans as well. Jesus’ original followers were Jews. Jesus was a Jew. Frankly this is ridiculous crap coming from Jews who worry about anti-semitism and Christians who try and purport it.

As for Gibson’s father…so what? He’s a fool and I don’t remember living in a society when whatever the father does is automatically passed to the Son.

As the matter stands none of us here have seen it. And it being a movie it will of course have many opinions attached to it. But if this movie does follow the Bible as it is written (and I know there is some dramatic license in this film from the trailers I’ve seen) it will divide many. Heck Jesus says himself he came with the sword to divide father against son and family against family. Basically I see a minority of Jews seeing things in this movie that aren’t there as well aws a minority of Christians who will do the same.

Sure Gibson shouldn’t keep dissenting opinion of the movie quiet but that hardly points to a secret agenda. He’s a filmmaker and movies studios keep dissenting opinion quiet all the time.

So finally, wait and see the movie for yourself.

February 3, 2004 @ 11:04 am | Comment

If only we could transcend the bickering and fighting amongst ourselves, Jew versus Christian, black versus white, creed and status, rich versus poor.

Yes the holocaust was a horrible unjustifiable atrocity that is a blemish to humanity overall. Sure it was the German Nazi’s who were the instigators, perpetrators and and the ones who carried out these awful things that we know so much about, however we don’t blame Germans that have only been alive for the past half century for the crimes committed by the last generation.

I disagree with the stance of the Israeli government and their treatment of the Palestinians, I also disagree with Hezbollah and their trend of carrying out their own type of hell on earth. While I don’t agree with the leadership of either side I hold no notion of bias or discrimination towards the fine people of both sides. Having a disagreement with a particular situation or current trend of a nations leadership or government should not, in my opinion, open the door for anything but political criticism.

Like many others who have not seen Gibson’s film, I cannot fully judge him or the message he is trying to portray. Jewish people have been victimized throughout history so in my opinion they are in some cases overly sensitive to any notion of anti semitism intended or not intended. Like the Israeli ambassador that defaced a work of art in a museum simply because he falsely assumed it was anti-Semitic, it turned out that the piece of art was actually done by a Jewish artist and was not intended to be anti-Semitic in the first place.

According to Christian teachings, Christ’s message was love for our fellow man, not hate, discrimination, torture or ill will. It was a simple message of love and his dying on the cross was a symbol of the ultimate sacrifice one could make for humanity. His dying on the cross according to Christian teachings was something Christ had to do for mankind, Jew, Roman, Chinese, black or white. His dying on the cross was not for the benefit of a particular race, creed or color. From my understanding it was a case of Christ telling his father “not my will but thine be done”.

The Romans or modern day Italians were the ones who crucified Christ, they gambled for his clothing and pierced his side with a spear. The Romans did the act and Christians argue that ultimately the Romans were simply attempting to keep the peace. It is argued that it was the “Jews” who intentionally wanted to dispose of “the son of God”. What people fail to realize is that it wasn’t the Jewish people per-say that had a hand in Christ’s execution. It was the Jewish leadership of their day. The scribes, lawyers and Pharisees of the mosaic law, the Jewish people from my understanding were receptive to his message, look at his disciples, they were all Jews, Christ himself was a Jew.

Christianity is founded on the teachings and writings of a Jewish man. If Gibson indeed went to the degree some people accuse him of, of portraying the Jewish people as the “murderers” of Christ then I don’t think that is a pure reflection of the story of the crucifixion. Political and religious governments and leadership have and will continue to be far from infallible, is it wrong to say that the Jewish leadership of Christ’s day may have been responsible for his death?

But regardless of all that we must look at the bigger picture, that is of the message of the film. Is the intention to promote anti semitism or is it to portray the love of a single man for humanity. They embodiment of gods love for his creation, regardless of “who” did the act, Christ was prepared to do it whoever carried it out. It was his decision to be as “a lamb to the slaughter”, it was something he felt compelled to do, to take upon himself the sins of mankind so that we would have a symbol of hope and salvation.

We can look at this film as a portrayal of love and the ultimate act of sacrifice and unselfishness, or we can look at it as a rallying point for religious envy, intolerance, hatred and anger. The following is not in my opinion what Christ’s message was. If we can get past all this separatism and anger and transcend debate of who did what and simply look at the greater picture of it all and what was done and the inspiration it has been for mankind down through the centuries.

If this is way too long for a comment, Richard you have my apologies.

February 3, 2004 @ 11:20 am | Comment

My take on Gibson’s Passion

I got into this discussion first when viewing a story over at the Peking Duck . I thought I’d add my initial comments here as a blog entry since I took the time to write such a lengthy thing about…

February 3, 2004 @ 11:47 am | Comment

Hi I’ve got to say that I’m pretty excited about this film as I’ve been following it’s progress ever since Time magazine mentioned that Gibson was making a film about Jesus. I really feel that a film should be judged by itself and not by what one’s father said or did.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that my pastor was invited to see the film and he fully endorses it. I’m not saying that just because a church leader says it’s good, but my pastor and my church do not condone anti-semitism (or any other types of racial discrimination) a 100 percent. We love Jews and knowing my pastor, he wouldn’t say it was good if it was false or if it promoted anti-semitism. He personally witnessed people either crying or applauding the film (the audience included both Christian and Jewish leaders) after the screening.

Anyway, being quite the cynic that I am, I’ll only “pass my judgement” when the film comes to Singapore (if it does). I guess we can’t say much about it until we see it.

February 3, 2004 @ 2:42 pm | Comment

man, am I the only non-Jew non-Christian in this room … ???

February 3, 2004 @ 3:17 pm | Comment

Yes, Li En, I think you are (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Let’s put the movie itself aside for a moment. There’s enough monkey business in how it has been marketed to makie a scandal in itself, and I can’t ignore Orcinus’ references (not passing references, but detailed ones) to those backing and endorsing it, from Hutton Gibson to the others named in the post.

I agree that the movie should be judged on its qualities, and we can only comment intelligently after we’ve seen it. But reading the post, I see enough red flags to cause deep worry that no good will come from out of this. We’ll see.

About comments regarding Israel and the Gospels and what did the Jews really do to Jesus: Israel and the Jews, as any other nation or people, are not above reproach, and I am no cheerleader for Israel. (Though I am certainly more on Israel’s side than that of those who would destroy it. ) There are parts of Matthew that are quite damning of the Jews. It sounds to me, however, that these parts have been given an intentional amplification, and the sufferings of Jesus at the hands of the Jews has been melodramatized. I can’t say this for a fact without seeing the movie, but it sounds that way to me at the moment. As I said, I know my source and respect it. I’ll reserve final judgement until I see it for myself.

February 3, 2004 @ 4:51 pm | Comment

David Duke is a malignant narcissist.

He invents and then projects a false, fictitious, self for the world to fear, or to admire. He maintains a tenuous grasp on reality to start with and the trappings of power further exacerbate this. Real life authority and David Duke’s predilection to surround him with obsequious sycophants support David Duke’s grandiose self-delusions and fantasies of omnipotence and omniscience.
David Duke’s personality is so precariously balanced that he cannot tolerate even a hint of criticism and disagreement. Most narcissists are paranoid and suffer from ideas of reference (the delusion that they are being mocked or discussed when they are not). Thus, narcissists often regard themselves as “victims of persecution”.
Duke fosters and encourages a personality cult with all the hallmarks of an institutional religion: priesthood, rites, rituals, temples, worship, catechism, and mythology. The leader is this religion’s ascetic saint. He monastically denies himself earthly pleasures (or so he claims) in order to be able to dedicate himself fully to his calling.
Duke is a monstrously inverted Jesus, sacrificing his life and denying himself so that his people – or humanity at large – should benefit. By surpassing and suppressing his humanity, Duke became a distorted version of Nietzsche’s “superman”.
But being a-human or super-human also means being a-sexual and a-moral.
In this restricted sense, narcissistic leaders are post-modernist and moral relativists. They project to the masses an androgynous figure and enhance it by engendering the adoration of nudity and all things “natural” – or by strongly repressing these feelings. But what they refer to, as “nature” is not natural at all.
Duke invariably proffers an aesthetic of decadence and evil carefully orchestrated and artificial – though it is not perceived this way by him or by his followers. Narcissistic leadership is about reproduced copies, not about originals. It is about the manipulation of symbols – not about veritable atavism or true conservatism.
In short: narcissistic leadership is about theatre, not about life. To enjoy the spectacle (and be subsumed by it), the leader demands the suspension of judgment, depersonalization, and de-realization. Catharsis is tantamount, in this narcissistic dramaturgy, to self-annulment.
Narcissism is nihilistic not only operationally, or ideologically. Its very language and narratives are nihilistic. Narcissism is conspicuous nihilism – and the cult’s leader serves as a role model, annihilating the Man, only to re-appear as a pre-ordained and irresistible force of nature.
Narcissistic leadership often poses as a rebellion against the “old ways” – against the hegemonic culture, the upper classes, the established religions, the superpowers, the corrupt order. Narcissistic movements are puerile, a reaction to narcissistic injuries inflicted upon David Duke like (and rather psychopathic) toddler nation-state, or group, or upon the leader.
Minorities or “others” – often arbitrarily selected – constitute a perfect, easily identifiable, embodiment of all that is “wrong”. They are accused of being old, they are eerily disembodied, they are cosmopolitan, they are part of the establishment, they are “decadent”, they are hated on religious and socio-economic grounds, or because of their race, sexual orientation, origin … They are different, they are narcissistic (feel and act as morally superior), they are everywhere, they are defenseless, they are credulous, they are adaptable (and thus can be co-opted to collaborate in their own destruction). They are the perfect hate figure. Narcissists thrive on hatred and pathological envy.
This is precisely the source of the fascination with Hitler, diagnosed by Erich Fromm – together with Stalin – as a malignant narcissist. He was an inverted human. His unconscious was his conscious. He acted out our most repressed drives, fantasies, and wishes. He provides us with a glimpse of the horrors that lie beneath the veneer, the barbarians at our personal gates, and what it was like before we invented civilization. Hitler forced us all through a time warp and many did not emerge. He was not the devil. He was one of us. He was what Arendt aptly called the banality of evil. Just an ordinary, mentally disturbed, failure, a member of a mentally disturbed and failing nation, who lived through disturbed and failing times. He was the perfect mirror, a channel, a voice, and the very depth of our souls.
Duke prefers the sparkle and glamour of well-orchestrated illusions to the tedium and method of real accomplishments. His reign is all smoke and mirrors, devoid of substances, consisting of mere appearances and mass delusions. In the aftermath of his regime – Duke having died, been deposed, or voted out of office – it all unravels. The tireless and constant prestidigitation ceases and the entire edifice crumbles. What looked like an economic miracle turns out to have been a fraud-laced bubble. Loosely held empires disintegrate. Laboriously assembled business conglomerates go to pieces. “Earth shattering” and “revolutionary” scientific discoveries and theories are discredited. Social experiments end in mayhem.
It is important to understand that the use of violence must be ego-syntonic. It must accord with the self-image of David Duke. It must abet and sustain his grandiose fantasies and feed his sense of entitlement. It must conform David Duke like narrative. Thus, David Duke who regards himself as the benefactor of the poor, a member of the common folk, the representative of the disenfranchised, the champion of the dispossessed against the corrupt elite – is highly unlikely to use violence at first. The pacific mask crumbles when David Duke has become convinced that the very people he purported to speak for, his constituency, his grassroots fans, and the prime sources of his narcissistic supply – have turned against him. At first, in a desperate effort to maintain the fiction underlying his chaotic personality, David Duke strives to explain away the sudden reversal of sentiment. “The people are being duped by (the media, big industry, the military, the elite, etc.)”, “they don’t really know what they are doing”, “following a rude awakening, they will revert to form”, etc. When these flimsy attempts to patch a tattered personal mythology fail, David Duke becomes injured. Narcissistic injury inevitably leads to narcissistic rage and to a terrifying display of unbridled aggression. The pent-up frustration and hurt translate into devaluation. That which was previously idealized – is now discarded with contempt and hatred. This primitive defense mechanism is called “splitting”. To David Duke, things and people are either entirely bad (evil) or entirely good. He projects onto others his own shortcomings and negative emotions, thus becoming a totally good object. Duke is likely to justify the butchering of his own people by claiming that they intended to kill him, undo the revolution, devastate the economy, or the country, etc. The “small people”, the “rank and file”, and the “loyal soldiers” of David Duke – his flock, his nation, and his employees – they pay the price. The disillusionment and disenchantment are agonizing. The process of reconstruction, of rising from the ashes, of overcoming the trauma of having been deceived, exploited and manipulated – is drawn-out. It is difficult to trust again, to have faith, to love, to be led, to collaborate. Feelings of shame and guilt engulf the erstwhile followers of David Duke. This is his sole legacy: a massive post-traumatic stress disorder.

March 10, 2004 @ 10:37 pm | Comment

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