Arab Today, arab today hitler and the nazi cult of celebrity by michael munn
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Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Hitler and the Nazi Cult of Celebrity by Michael Munn

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Hitler and the Nazi Cult of Celebrity by Michael Munn

London - Arabstoday

Michael Munn has spent his life – at least as he implausibly tells it – schmoozing with the beautiful and the damned. He bonded with Steve McQueen while riding pillion on his motorbike in Cornwall when he was 17. That same year, the multitasking lad made vigorous love to Ava Gardner, by then an alcoholic hasbeen of 45, in a succession of Knightsbridge hotels. Then David Niven summoned Munn to his deathbed and blabbed about his sexual infractions; Munn, a confessor who keeps no secrets, promptly published the poor fellow\'s delirious maunderings, along with Laurence Olivier\'s intimations of childhood abuse and the incredible tale of his spare-time job as an MI6 agent. Among Munn\'s dozens of star-struck biographies is a volume entitled X-rated: the Paranormal Experiences of the Movie Star Greats. Checking his revelations against the facts, or against the indignant denials of survivors, it seems that he, too, operates in the ether, taking dictation from deep-throated sources who are unverifiably located in the gaseous beyond. Having consorted with so many mythomaniacs, he has ended as an incorrigible fantasist. Munn now adds the ultimate luminary to his constellation of spangled monsters. Forget about Hitler the political nihilist and despot, the warmonger and mass-murderer. What Munn gives us is a Hitler not worse (or better) than Simon Cowell of The X Factor fame. According to Munn, Hitler was a politician by default, and grudgingly settled for absolute power only after his dreams of being a painter, architect, writer, composer and actor came to nought. \"He simply wanted to be famous,\" and the regime he created, based on his dramatisation of himself as a culture hero like Wagner\'s Siegfried, therefore promoted a \"cult of celebrity\". You wonder, reading Munn, how Hitler managed to gain control of a nation, mobilise and tyrannise its populace, and plan the conquest of the world. A totalitarian ruler is only satisfied if, like Big Brother, he is able to scrutinise and manipulate every aspect of a society\'s life, including its dreams. But Munn views Hitler as a lazy slugabed, who passed the time listening to opera (he was \"simply wild about Wagner\", Munn gushes) while strutting and ranting in front of a mirror as he rehearsed his own operatic tirades. When in need of relaxation, he solaced himself with starlets, who were asked to kick him while he grovelled at their feet; he limply avoided intercourse, though he liked to boast that he could sustain a Nazi salute for an hour and a half. His right arm, evidently, was his only erectile appendage. Lacking an argument, Munn relies, as Hitler did in his rants, on the repetition of catchphrases. Like many before him, he notices that Hitler\'s apocalyptic policies acted out the end of Wagner\'s Götterdämmerung, in which the world goes up in flames. Thinking about suicide, Munn\'s Hitler therefore \"attempts to induce his own Götterdämmerung\". He then considers \"one final objective: his own Götterdämmerung\", during which he would die \"on an altar. His Götterdämmerung\" and thus \"conclude his own personal drama with Götterdämmerung\". All this, the merest sample of Munn\'s style, comes from a couple of pages: reading his book is like listening to Wagner without the music. Worse, Munn betrays his utter incomprehension of the Third Reich and its crimes. Think about his casual remark that \"the \'Jewish question\' is one of the most deplorable aspects of Hitler\'s claim to fame\". One of them? And of his \"claim to fame\", rather than his condemnation to eternal infamy? Perhaps the most culpable word in that bubble-brained sentence is \"deplorable\": can Munn do no more than \"deplore\" genocide, as if it were a regrettable failure of taste, not an evil assault on nature? The truth is that he can\'t tell the difference, which is why he likens the hysteria excited by Hitler\'s public appearances as \"supreme star and solo act\" to the adolescent frenzy of Beatlemania. John Lennon may have bragged that the Beatles were more popular than God, but he didn\'t order his fans to take up arms and exterminate all Christians. Bemused by showbiz, Munn describes the bloodiest conflict in human history as if it were a musical that folded out of town: hence his comment that \"when Hitler tried writing his own script of World War II, he bombed\". His lack of imagination and conscience is registered in a tiny linguistic detail: that kind of \"bomb\", a shaming failure, is very different from those that pummelled London and flattened German cities. Munn himself, who seemingly couldn\'t care less about how crass his phrasing sounds, has bombed in the ludicrously non-lethal sense of the word.

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