December 27, 2007

"We welcome and accept Will Smith's statement that Hitler was a 'vicious killer.'"

Noted.

40 comments:

Jeremy said...

I like the complete and total lack of context here (from the link). It's as though the news brief was intended solely for those of us so already addicted to entertainment news. That being the case, we also already knew that this is how the affair would end. It's fitting that Althouse should post this with only a single word standing as sufficient commentary.

rcocean said...

I'm just glad Foxman cleared Will Smith of being a National Socialist and Hitler lover; cause we all know Adolph loved black folks.

jeff said...

Now there is a good comment. I agree. I have no idea what this was all about.

George said...

Moral of story: When you interview a celebrity, tape it.

Apparently, WIll is much more like Val Kilmer who is quoted in this month's Oprah as saying:

"What if we made it mandatory to teach love in schools? It would be a subject you study, like algebra. You'd have to pass a test to get married or have a baby, after learning how to love. Our children would learn to be nurturing. It would be safe for boys to be loving. I heard a quote once: "Men have come and for a time made evil victorious, but they never win...Love always prevails." If we taught love, it would do more than prevail. It would manifest through our actions. Total love would liberate us all."

This from an article by Eve Ensler who the magazine says "canvass[es] the best brains around the globe for their earthshaking, world-fixing ideas."

Ron said...

The Ober frischer Prinz of Bel Air was misquoted as saying 'Adolf Hitler -- now He Is Legend!'


Wait, we have a note from our Buenos Aires news bureau...'Ja, ja... but vat about der Jazzy Jeff? A.H.'

Mein Fuehrer! I can Valk!

rcocean said...

"Even Hitler didn't wake up going, 'let me do the most evil thing I can do today.' I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was 'good.'"

This was Smith's remark. Seems pretty reasonable. Besides he's an actor, not a history professor.

rhhardin said...

Hannah Arendt via Vicki Hearne might be a better observation.

Or Emmanuel Levinas on evil.

People are so confident of spotting evil, as if it took no effort.

The Hitler meme reassures them to themselves about this.

I read somewhere that the actual enlightened German reaction to Hitler winning the election was, ``Okay, just how crazy is he?''

But remember the Hearne cite above.

Okay, just how crazy is he? is not too far from an American election problem.

tightspotkilo said...

"Even Hitler didn't wake up going, 'let me do the most evil thing I can do today.' I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was 'good.'"

Sometimes the most obvious answer is the hardest one to take.

It reminds me of this: a few years ago I had a friend whose husband dumped her on his 62nd birthday, after 39 years of blissful marriage, or blissful so it seemed. She never saw it coming and she was bereft of any understanding of why, and he wasn't saying. That only made it even more bewildering to her. She went to all of their friends in mournful agony, beseeching why, "why did he do this to me." When my turn came I said, and this is as close to an exact quote as I can state, "I don't know why, but I'd say that, rightly or wrongly, he wasn't happy with the way things were." My friend hasn't spoken to me since.

ricpic said...

It's a bit of a pickle when you don't know who to despise more: Will Smith for being as dumb as expected or Abe Foxman for being as calculating as expected.

Trooper York said...

Will Smith also said the Goring was a fat fuck, Goebbels wore ugly shoes, Rudolph Hess had a screw loose and that von Ribbentrop walked around with a stick up his ass. But he did think that Ernst Roehm was kinda cute and he could get jiggy with that.

Revenant said...

It's a bit of a pickle when you don't know who to despise more: Will Smith for being as dumb as expected or Abe Foxman for being as calculating as expected.

That's easy: Foxman.

What Smith was quoted as saying was, as rcocean noted, completely reasonable and probably true. It isn't that Hitler thought he was being evil; its that his idea of "goodness" was twisted.

I don't know how smart Smith is. But based on that quote, I'd say he's a good deal smarter than the people who think Hitler woke up in the morning consciously planning to be evil.

Jennifer said...

I don't know how smart Smith is.


Will Smith just admitted to being a Scientologist, so all the intelligence I thought he had just disappeared for me.

Too bad, because I really thought he was one of the more thoughtful, more respectable, more intelligent actors out there.

jeff said...

Yeah, I have to go along with Jennifer on that. The Scientology thing puts a big hit on the assumed IQ.

Blake said...

A quick Google suggests that Smith is not a Scientologist, he just had the audacity to study it. That proves he's dumb: A smart person would listen to what people on the Internet said instead.

Jennifer said...

In the current issue of Men's Vogue, he admits that he's studied it and that he finds it to be almost exactly identical to Christianity.

Given that he's denied any connection to Scientology for a very long time, this admission pretty much seals it for me that he is in fact a wacky Scientologist.

Jennifer said...

Oh, and also in the article he quotes Scientology principles off the top of his head and says that the Christian concept of soul is equivalent to the Scientology concept of thetans.

Yep. He's a goner.

JohnTaylor88 said...

Oh, and also in the article he quotes Scientology principles off the top of his head and says that the Christian concept of soul is equivalent to the Scientology concept of thetans.

But the Christian concept of a soul is equivalent to the Scientology concept of thetans, because L. Ron Hubbard deliberately created "thetans" as an analog to the "soul". Doesn't mean that Scientology isn't a crock that is essentially a deconstruction of all the major world religions.

Beth said...

Trooper, you left out the rest of his quote, when he sang that Hitler had only one big ball, Goerring had two but they were small, Himmler had something similar, but Goebbels had no balls at all.

Duscany said...

The brouhaha over Will Smith's comments about Hitler remind me again of how many taboos there are in our sciety. When Bill Maher noted that the 9-11 hijackers were "brave" the White House, congress and certain TV execs went nuts. But despite the hijackers' fanaticism, one can't accuse them of not being brave. Bush claimed they were cowards, presumably because they killed women and children. But that doesn't make them cowards. It simply makes them vicious and cruel. Much as we hate to admit it, timid ineffectual men don't seize airliners with boxcutters and fly them into office towers. I don't know why so many Americans want to pretend that our enemies are gutless paper tigers when the evidence shows that some of them are dishearteningly formidable.

Blake said...

Much as we hate to admit it, timid ineffectual men don't seize airliners with boxcutters and fly them into office towers.

Maher (and perhaps you) confuses a willingness to die with bravery. However, suicide is not brave; it's usually nihilistic.

You hear of heroism that resulted in the death of the hero, but his death is incidental: He would have preferred to live but sacrificed to save others.

This is different from someone committing suicide in order to kill others. We don't refer to Charles Whitman as "brave" even though "timid men don't climb into clocktowers and shoot people".

Why? Because bravery requires self-possession: a full command of one's own faculties, feelings and behavior. Whitman clearly didn't have it.

Terrorism is borne out of impotent rage. And radical Islamic terrorists in particular combine their nihilism with self-serving glorification and reward in the afterlife (and sometimes this life, as when their families are paid for them having killed Jews).

Bhutto was brave. Those who killed her were not.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Will Smith just admitted to being a Scientologist, so all the intelligence I thought he had just disappeared for me.

Then again had he joined the rest of the Hollywood glitterazi and claimed that Bush=Hitler, 9/11 was an inside job, fire doesn't melt steel and global warming will kill us all by 2018 he would have been applauded for his willingness to speak truth to power.

Scientologist? My God, the man is deranged. Shun him.

hdhouse said...

This is the same "fat lady sings" guy from Independence Day right?

Hoosier Daddy said...

This is the same "fat lady sings" guy from Independence Day right?

Among other things, but yes you are correct. You get a cookie.

Pogo said...

Is there an actor's school class detailing the Three Steps to Create and Then Defuse Controversies for Optimal Publicity?

Will Smith got an A.
Bill Maher got a C.
The Spears family flunked.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hitler: See? I’m still number one Evil.
Stalin: Yeah well, my mustache is bigger.
Hitler: Size isn’t everything comrade.
Stalin: Well those gaudy uniforms you wore are compensating for a lack of something.
Hitler: You’re just jealous because you dress like a peasant.
Stalin: Well we hired Naomi Wolfe as a consultant and she said we should go with earth tones.
Hitler: You should have gone with Bill Blass.
Stalin: Da. You have a point.
(Conversations in Hell, 2007)

Revenant said...

Much as we hate to admit it, timid ineffectual men don't seize airliners with boxcutters and fly them into office towers.

If you truly believe that martyring yourself will earn you an eternity in paradise -- then how, exactly, does it take courage to martyr yourself? That's like saying it takes courage to dress up in a costume to get free candy at Halloween.

But in any case, what got Maher in trouble wasn't saying that the hijackers were brave -- he got in trouble for saying that Americans and American soldiers were cowards.

Anthony said...

I don't know how smart Smith is. But based on that quote, I'd say he's a good deal smarter than the people who think Hitler woke up in the morning consciously planning to be evil.

Indeed.

Trooper York said...

In the annals of celebrity mental illness, few have approached Will Smiths strange and dangerous flirtation with Nazism. The only comparable self destructive episodes would be Mel Gibson’s famously Anti-Semitic tirade during a routine traffic stop and of course the strange case of Margot Kidder. She was found naked and disoriented in the backyard of a neighbor. But the strangest part of this sad story was that she claimed that a Yaqui shaman had turned her into a lentil. She just sat in her own filth and constantly repeated “I am Legume.”
(Hollywood Babylon, Kenneth Anger)

Cedarford said...

Blake - You hear of heroism that resulted in the death of the hero, but his death is incidental: He would have preferred to live but sacrificed to save others.
This is different from someone committing suicide in order to kill others.
Why? Because bravery requires self-possession: a full command of one's own faculties, feelings and behavior.


The worst thing one can do when confronting an enemy is underestimate them. To talk from ignorance that they are just crazy, cowardly, even (the Lefty version) misguided criminals in need of ACLU lawyers and counseling.

In the case of Islamoids, on Jihad in the name of radical Islam, we have seen them span the range of punks easily broken (Richard Reid) to fearless fanatics of superb courage. (2-3 Palestinians storming a Zionist settlement on their land knowing they will die fighting, KSM fanatically resisting his interrogators).

The historical record generally ascribes great bravery, cunning intelligence, and ruthless savagery to Muslim fighters. This was confirmed by Marines and Army that have fought them in the streets of Fallujah and in Afghanistan.
They also operate in an honor culture, like our Marines and other service people do..which means money for betrayal doesn't generally work (see reward for bin Laden or Marines at embassies routinely reporting an attempt to bribe them for spying or other favors).

The radical Islamoid can be a formidable enemy. They are not criminals who just need a little Leftist compassion to turn their lives around. They are not out killing because they seek "rights" their all-inclusive, check in but die if you try checking out religion has failed to grant them over 1400 years of sovereignity.

Indeed, Will Smiths mostly correct observation applies to them, as it does to Bolsheviks, colonialist, the China Borg Collective set loose on Tibet.

1. They seek good. In the Muslim case following the command of Allah himself that the entire world must be persuaded or conquered by the sword to submit to Islam.

2. To accomplish this good, people must die or be terrorized into accepting the new regime that will achieve the greater good. The Jacobins, Lenin and the Bolsheviks, Takfiri Muslims, Mao, Shakala Zulu, Idi Amin all agree on that.

Cedarford said...

Erratum - describes, not ascribes.

hdhouse said...

cedarford...and your post is errata?

Duscany said...

"Bhutto was brave."

Well it does require a certain kind of chutzpah to brazenly steal billions from the Pakistani people, I'll give you that.

Duscany said...

"But in any case, what got Maher in trouble wasn't saying that the hijackers were brave -- he got in trouble for saying that Americans and American soldiers were cowards."

Well that wasn't what he said. He said in comparision to piloting a plane into an office tower it was cowardly to lauch a cruise missile from 2000 miles away. I personally don't think launching a missile is cowardly (it makes a lot of sense to me) but it definately does not require as much courage as flying the missile/plane yourself. And if your goal is not just inflict harm but terror as well, then flying a plane into a skyscraper is definately the way to go. The American people and government were so spooked by 9-11 that hundreds of millions of air travelers have wasted billions of hours waiting to get through airline security ever since.

Let me ask you this. If you were in a foxhole in danger of being overrun, who would you want beside you covering your back? The weapons technician who fired the cruise missile or the jihadist who flew a plane on 9-11? The technician would probably step out for coffee at the sound of the first shot. The jihad pilot, whatever else is his failings, would at least fight to the death.

Duscany said...

"If you truly believe that martyring yourself will earn you an eternity in paradise -- then how, exactly, does it take courage to martyr yourself?"

Well, the Vikings always believed they would go straight to paradise too (Valhalla, in this case) if they ever died in battle, yet no one ever accused them of not being brave.

Blake said...

Cedarford,

I was thinking (and should have written more clearly) in the context of terrorism.

And while your point is taken, it's also dangerous to overestimate the enemy, say, by describing them as willing to die in inexhaustible numbers to stop us. (Which is the "Iraq is doomed" meme, but works pretty well as the "We've lost the War on Terror" meme.)

Jennifer said...

Then again...he would have been applauded for his willingness to speak truth to power.

Not by me.

Scientologist? My God, the man is deranged. Shun him.

Amen to that. They seem like a harmless, ditzy cult until you look into it a little farther. They're pretty sick puppies. Deranged, even.

Trooper York said...

I don't care if the Vikings get to Valhalla, I just don't want them to get to the playoffs. They always seem to screw the Giants.

igbalonigbanlo said...

It's interesting Jennifer how you missed your fallacy of the excluded middle there. While it's possible Will Smith is trying to prepare in advance for an announcement of full involvement and subscription to the Scientology ideology by testing the waters, I see no reason to jump from 'I've studied it' to a conclusion that he's a member of the faith, but then we all have our blinders.

Jennifer said...

igbalonigbanlo - His wife is an admitted Scientologist. They're close friends with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. He's claimed for years that he has absolutely nothing to do with Scientology and wouldn't ever have anything to do with it. Now he's finally admitting that he has in fact studied it. While it is an assumption that he has in fact subscribed to the lunacy, its a logical assumption.

If, like me, you pay far too much attention to this sort of thing, you'll notice this is the trajectory most celebs who are Scientologists follow. Even people like Beck and Lea Remini who grew up in Scientology deny, deny, deny until they finally start to come out with the info bit by bit.

Jennifer said...

And, I would point out that the reasoning he's been using to prove that he would never have anything to do with Scientology is that his grandmother - a devout Christian - would have been horrified. And, now his first public admittance about Scientology is to say its exactly like Christianity...?