Is Art Mightier Than War?

John Cusack on Hitler, politics and his new movie 'Max.'


05/23/2003 07:03:15 AM

I say inverted because if you do research you know the symbol the Nazi's use is a Indian symbol for the Death Wheel. Oh, the irony will never cease.


05/23/2003 07:01:00 AM

Not all of Nazi party were Christians. The inverted Swastiska is a Pagan symbol. Hilter may have been a Catholic but not eveeryone around him was.


02/03/2003 11:04:37 AM

Concerning Hitler, the Miniseries. We should remember -- as it has been ignored -- Hitler served as an alter boy in his youth; his speaches were filled with references to God (not pagan symbolism); he insited that God was with the German people and wnated them united as one. The darkside of Christianity and its role in creating monsters must be reconized for the good of this earth.


01/26/2003 09:40:00 AM

hey, i just lower case everything except GOD, saves time and removes significance from the word 'i.' i could add einstien but not 'freud' nor 'money,' nor 'greed.' 'k?


01/25/2003 04:03:53 PM

Greetings, to those sure and unsure, for starters. My point being what does it matter, except for the language wars we love so much. Tossing my mess ( belief ) into the pile however, I love to stir it up, and find clever ways of escaping those that either make me itch, scream or cuss. But, to take exception, I think Einstein ( and I capitalize out of respect) was not "steeped" anywhere. If there was ever a freer thinker to model after, it was that brillo padded brainmaster Albert. And I think he chose not to lose sleep over money by not making it a priority beyond it's usefulness. Oh the choices we're given here....


01/25/2003 09:24:54 AM

yeah, well, einstein was yet another steeped in the insular world of academics, who didn't have to lose sleep over money, and could afford, mentally emotionally, 'spiritually,' to sit around coming up with sayings like this. most of the world cannot get beyond basic survival to devote brain space, even if the potential is there, to ponder the and science cannot stir the 'masses' if the masses are too busy trying to just survive..this makes art and science the domain of the elite....guess only rich people 'deserve' to have stirred souls....?


01/24/2003 05:58:39 PM

"The most important function of Art and Science is to awaken the cosmic spiritual feeling and to keep it alive." (Albert Einstein) PPPopcorn


01/24/2003 12:54:52 PM

MM, "Dude" (?): I expressed for the past several posts that I don't see a lot of point in continuing on this track. Just drop it, OK? Or continue, and have an entertaining discussion with yourself. Peace, JK


01/24/2003 10:37:17 AM

jko, let's not have a semantics tiff, ok? humans beings are complex entities with numerous characteristics which can be described as either good, bad, boring, fascinating, infuriating, inspiring, and on and on.....there are no wholly good, nor, wholly bad people, tho some, come close, i guess to these descriptions. communication is difficult; sometimes poor comunication can lead to very unfortunate outcomes. continued below


01/24/2003 10:36:54 AM

if you are arguing with your spouse and you say "you are a complete asshole!!" a more accurate way to describe what you are feeling would probably be, "your behavior, on this one point, makes me feel frustrated, angry, disappointed and hurt, but, when i calm down i will remember how much i love all of these other aspects of you." frankly, the latter, rather than the former, would probably save years of psychic wear and tear on a marriage, lead to much better (more honest) communication and better "make up sex." continued below


01/24/2003 10:36:33 AM

if, when jesus was sitting in pilot's office before insisting on being crucified, anyway, he had said "look dude i really need to make a point here about how screwed up mankind is, that all we need to do is transcend our basic animal behaviors and use our ability to, actively, love each other so we don't have all of this war, greed, poverty, and debilitating hurtful crap like that" maybe pilot could have hooked jesus up with a film production staff so that he could try to spread the word, that way, instead jesus's having to die to get media exposure for his


01/24/2003 08:58:46 AM

MM, I don't think we have any fundamental conflict. I would just say... "another way to define mental illness is to determine how it does or does not impact lives other than the one of the bearer" I think that's a bit dishonest, because it's completely colored by our after the fact judgements. "Positive" and "negative" (or "good" and "bad") cannot be simply equated to "sane" and "insane". They are two completely different subjects. Anyway, I'd rather not discuss this angle of the article anymore. I think it's peripheral to the important things it talks about.


01/24/2003 07:35:28 AM

jko, another way to define mental illness is to determine how it does or does not impact lives other than the one of the bearer. as far as i am concerned someone can be nuts all day long as long as they do not cause me pain or harm. if someone is suicidal, unfortunately, they can internalize and kill themselves, or, externalize and kill someone else (even if they are only 'killing' someone or several others, spiritually, with their tortured sensitivity.) this speaks to basics tenets of free will, democracy, too. continued below


01/24/2003 07:34:56 AM

humans can either create, destroy or some combination of both in their individual lifetimes; somewhre in between creation and destruction lies the mediocrity of your boring ass job, watch tv ad infinitum, feed some sports or mild drug addiction on the weekends......creation, is best. if we all created ourselves more and destroyed ourselves less, think, how the world might be! continued below


01/24/2003 07:34:27 AM

some of us, through acting on creative inspiration, through believing in the goodness of mankind, through stubbornly upholding principles of honesty, compassion and love, (even tho people tell us, everyday, that we are 'naive,') are soul deep interested in the creation of a better world. sounds like you and i are not far removed from each other, at least on this point....xxoo, mm


01/24/2003 12:58:40 AM

I think, however, it's a missed opportunity to focus here Hitler and how bad he was, instead of focusing on the actual subject matter of this remarkable movie, along the lines of the power of art and human creative expression within society, and the individual, and its spiritual meaning and psychological significance. There's really nothing meaningful that we can draw out of this by rehashing Hitler. Why not try to move on to something bigger here?


01/24/2003 12:46:29 AM

MM, "anyone who thinks otherwise may need to get checked out themselves." I don't know, if anything sounds fascist to me, it is such a sentiment. It's a little misguided to think yourself "saner" than someone you may (for just cause or not) disllike, because you happen to think, view life, and prioritize in a way that is considered standard. (continued below)


01/24/2003 12:46:12 AM

(continued from above) Moreover, there's a fine line between what would commonly be considered "nuts" and a stuborn individuality in thought that become significant to the world in some way. In his time many would have considered Jesus something along the lines of a suicidal schizophrenic, or an a person with little touch with reality or instinct for self-preservation. This is just one of literally countless examples of people who have been considered "nutty" who's stubborn committment to their individual ideas became massively significant. Hitler was one such person. The fact that his influence might have been massively destructive rather than massively productive, naturally creates the temptation for us to label him as more "crazy"... but in fact, to do so is really lazy and intellectually dishonest. Before you get started, please understand, again: None of this is particular to the discussion of Hitler, but rather general thoughts (i.e. I am not defending or excusing Hitler in any way).


01/23/2003 07:38:39 PM

Is evil an illness or a choice?


01/23/2003 05:59:23 PM

jko, dude. let's just say that there are many misconceptions about what causes mental illness, what constitutes mental illness, what distinguishes 'crazy' from 'control-freak,' from 'insane,' in the popular terminology which identify the different types of disorders (schizophrenia, obsessive/compulsive, antisocial etc...this last, not remotely a complete list by the way). to say that you could compare a common cold to an isolated mild panic reaction, and a crippling ailment to psychosis, might, be fair, but, really, there is an apples and oranges aspect to this which only adds to the confusion. continued below


01/23/2003 05:58:53 PM

hitler was a sick pup; seriously ill. anyone who thinks otherwise may need to get checked out themselves. however, i guess we like to think of qualities like disciplined, 'together' and 'in control' as admirable and redeeming somehow. this last is a mistake where a guy like adolf is concerned because it is exactly those features which allowed him to fool those who had no idea about what was going on at aushwitz, while he was singing sweetly in the drawingroom after supper. i guess people have this stereotype in their heads about 'insane' meaning not functioning, visibly 'off,' violent, or 'absent,' and it is simply not true. the dc sniper guy, was highly organized, charming as hell, thought of as a good father, etc., yet he thought it perfectly 'ok' to go around picking people off at random and at will. he is 'crazy' yet able to function 'normally' as far as appearances


01/23/2003 09:51:14 AM

"Was Hitler mentally ill?" There are many varieties of mental problems which aren't necessarrily what would be called "insanity". And certainly WE ALL have our mental problems, just as we all have our physical problems--a bad knee, an enlarged heart, a special proneness to catching colds, overweight, bad eyesight, etc. This does not mean we are are "cripples" however, just human beings who are not perfect and who deal with non-optimal circumstances as best we can. Certainly Hitler mentally had issues and was different than most people. Certainly also, he was quite together, intellegent, determined, highly disciplined and in control of his faculties. (continued from above)


01/23/2003 09:50:56 AM

(continued from above) I think "crazy" is a word we bandy about all too looselly to blanketly discredit something we don't really understand how to. This is a really unfortunate, in that it marginalizes people with mental health problems, who do not deserve such abuse and alienation: It's similar to saying "Hitler was a damn CRIPPLE!" in a way that would indicate that this is a basis that should completely discredit and dehumanize someone. People with physical health issues are PEOPLE unfortunately given a harder go in life, who deserve compassion, respect, and community. The very same applies to people with mental health issues. (And no, I'm not saying this is reason to "forgive Hitler"... I'm just making a general observation).


01/23/2003 08:24:51 AM

no one, can claim to know what the subconscious does or does not do, we just sort of know that it is a data bank of sorts which may be much quicker at processing data, maybe, because when your body is in a resting state, there is a helluva lot more glucose for your brain to work with, and, your hz cycling rate is much slower, etc. all of that freud and jung junk was just speculative nonsense. reading dream symbology is just about as reliable as doing the same with tea leaves. continued below


01/23/2003 08:24:34 AM

logic, is running the parts of the world which are actually working. unfortunately, people who believe that 'image' is everything, have been sold an illogical idea which appeals to the fact that so much of our brain space is devoted to (distracted by) images. marketers and the media, sell themselves by playing on the sheep herding dynamic, to people who are not capable of thinking, who tend to do what everyone else is doing whether it is morally right or not. people with consciences, are thinkers. morals are derived from logic, not, magic. so, symbols are decorative and influential to a weak mind, but, do not affect a thinking highly conscious mind which can tell when symbols are being used to try to manipulate it. -mary anne


01/23/2003 08:06:38 AM

"irony is for suckers." what does that mean? people who believe that irony exists are suckers? people who think that recognizing irony absolves the thing which they refer to as ironic? life is ironic. people are paradoxical. what is your point? mm


01/23/2003 07:27:55 AM

psion, "pathologizing virtually every human behavior" uh, behaviors or tissues have pathology characteristics or they do is not a matter of opinion. it is fact that, some, humans are much sicker than others, due to a multitude of influential factors. shrinks rarely are able to 'fix' personality disorders, because, as stated before, the client must be aware that there is illness, see it, to be able to remove it; kinda like the virus anaolgy, again. continued below


01/23/2003 07:27:08 AM

"Blaming an individual's negative behaviors on supposed mental illness is popular with people looking to escape accountability, but that doesn't make it true." maybe is it your wording, but the implication seems to be that, i, by assuming the truth that hitler was mentally ill, look to escape accountability myself...? also, to say that someone is mentally ill does not excuse them of anything. this is like saying that if someone is singing off pitch, and the effect is to torture those around them, but the singer has no awareness of the pain they are causing, because they cannot hear themselves, they are not at fault for what they are doing. the singer is still liable for the ear damage. getting them to shut up is another issue. regards, mm


01/23/2003 05:16:17 AM

Wow. I guess "boy-next-door" is a sort of generic term that covers many of John Cusack's roles, but if it means bland and nondescript, that wouldn't fit. John always brings something true and fresh to each role, even in movies that aren't so great. (Most are!) I'm very impressed with this inter-view. Very articulate, and you can see he has thought about this all and is centered by his beliefs. Very interesting to read, and I agree with his comments on our eye-on-the camera president and the blow which way the wind blows American press of this decade. Signed, another person inspired by Father Berrigan; Susan.


01/22/2003 10:55:59 PM

First off let me say that I admire John Cusack as an actor and an individual, his political point of veiw is very semilar to my own, I believe our best actors are in the white house and that 9/11 was a ploy to strenghthen the belief of the american people towards the republican party, thinking that they are strong and are'nt afraid to stand up, we saw bushes dad as wimpish and the party did not want us to think the same way about the new george w, We need no more wars please lets find a way for peace to prevail.


01/22/2003 07:51:25 PM

I always enjoy seeing movies starring John Cusack, but as with most actors, don't enjoy listening to his opinions. Like they say everybody has one...I agree with some of the previous postings that point out that Bush is not the only performer to ever sit in the White House. I am actually surprised that more professional actors are not in politics. I don't know what people think will happen if we don't go to war. Will this guy just go away and stop bothering everyone? That's not what happened with Hitler, was it? One of the reasons he gained as much power as he did was because pacifists here in America prevented us from taking sides in World War II any sooner than we did. Talk about history repeating itself.


01/22/2003 05:09:39 PM

ZONMOV-here is the latest example of media suppresion of the truth. On 1/7/2003 Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex) introduced HR-2 "Expressing the sense of Congress that the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 should be repealed." However it's just now being mentioned in the media--at the very end of a page 16 Washington Post Article on 1/19/2003--no other major media outlet has reported this, other than the San Francisco Chronicle.


01/22/2003 04:58:37 PM

i have done it, overcame my past. no matter how horrble childhood was, we all still have the power to become whatever we want to, and not be a slave to our past's


01/22/2003 04:36:08 PM

vishvarnay is right about one thing the mainstream media is not only not questioning the propaganda of the bush white house but is suppressing much that is getting into the news from europe and other countries.


01/22/2003 03:16:30 PM

mmarston, I'm sorry, but I simply don't agree with your school of thought. It is the same school of thought that pathologizing virtually every human behavior and has people frantically medicating their children and taking drugs to cope with common stress and emotional or sexual dysfunction. It keeps the psychiatry profession gainfully employed to be sure, as well as making drug makers rich. But I am disinclined to believe that if Hitler had a good therapist that it would averted the murder of millions of people. Blaming an individual's negative behaviors on supposed mental illness is popular with people looking to escape accountability, but that doesn't make it true.


01/22/2003 01:49:54 PM

OMINOUS PARALLELS (lucilus) wrote: in reference to Hitler. "won with less than 40% of the vote." "Intimidated opposition parties" (your either with us or against us) "while using state media" (ABC-CBS-NBC-FOX,ect.) "to support the Nazi's. Even so, he didn't get a majority; but got enough in the parties coffers to bribe like-minded smaller parties. Together they passed an "enabling law" that made Hitler dictator." "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just as long as I'm the dictator."-George W. Bush 12/18/00 CNN Transcript


01/22/2003 01:49:32 PM

psion, guess you are not up on your personality disorders. one of the hallmarks of the sociopath, is, the ability to meticulously even 'beautifully' and very much intentionally, plan and execute, most or all of their behaviors and accomplishments. sociopathy runs the gamut of, all, types of professionals, docs, lawyers, teachers, ministers, politicians, mothers, shrinks..nobody gets left out with this one. the sociopath can be your best trusted friend, your loving exemplary spouse, the most beloved public figure...downright artful at lying, acting and manipulation, (highly, organized skills) this personality, is only punished in life by the absolutely empty place where a heart is supposed to be....therein lies the place to be addressd with compassion, if, compassion is possible beyond the rage most feel when they have been duped, cooerced, cheated, mamed, or robbed by one of these guys.... continued below


01/22/2003 01:49:15 PM

very often the sociopath's planning is, so, advanced that he is also able to ensure that no one will ever know that it is he who has perpetrated his illness all over someone/thing, and, very often, someone or circustances are blamed for his actions, keeping his cover intact as long as he needs it. the dc sniper is an amicable guy, loved by his family and friends, a good father, able to charm his way into and out of about anything....i think this is the mst dangerous form of mental illness because, like a computer virus, it can go completely undetected as it slowly and methodically eats away at the integraty of any system it touches....oky doky? -mary anne


01/22/2003 01:42:42 PM

Why is it that when an entertainment figure is conservative it's just assumed that they're expressing their personal views, but if they tend towards liberalism they're "biased"? Yes, many entertainment figures tend to be liberal. This is because conservative influence in Hollywood has always been mainly negative (i.e. censorship) in nature.


01/22/2003 11:19:28 AM

In his discussion of politics, it is very clear that Mr. Cusack suffers from the hollywood bias against republican figures, very myopic because Mr. Cusack's comments are equally appropriate to all politicians today from Bush to Gore, Ms. Clinton to Mr. Lott, etc. etc...


01/22/2003 09:34:04 AM

The only shortcoming being that I don't believe Hitler to have been the victim of a mental illness. Certainly there is a school of thought that labels all antisocial behavior as pathologies, but the reality of life is that people can, and do, choose to be evil. Hitler's actions were not those of a dysfunctional madmen. They were elegantly planned and meticulously carried out. Nothing in his range of actions suggests that his actions were anything other than deliberate. In a way, assigning mental/emotional illness in this case is little different from assuming Hitler was demon-possessed. It eliminates any real accountability to his actions.


01/22/2003 07:44:56 AM

hey zoe, i agree that, often, there is a tendency to create superheroes, or supervillains out of people who have risen to powerful or just media-visible states, a tendency which bears no reasonable assumptions. but, i disagree with you that childhood trauma can be overcome so easily with free will; not, that this isn't possible, but it takes an extraordinary psyche to not just knee-jerk morph into a demented path, if, the path you have developed on is one of demented influences and emotional/physical abuse.. continued below


01/22/2003 07:44:34 AM

if you look at antisocial (sociopathic, psychopathic) personalities, there is a thread of history which often speaks to the formation of a human who can seem so 'normal' yet be so deeply ill and hell bent on damaging (whether on a massive level or just in the arena that person's normal social contacts.) this type of seriously damaged person often does not have the mechanism of 'conscience.' the thing that allows normal people to even get to that moral crossroad of which you speak. physical brain trauma or blocked out traumatic experiences like sexual abuse can literally remove a 'conscience.' continued below


01/22/2003 07:42:03 AM

if, it were true that when people have a choice to act in a demented damaging way, or, to act in a healthy selfloving and therefore loving to others way, they simply choose to be loving, we would not have the deranged psychos we have and have had through history......if, damaged and damaging people cannot see their illness, they cannot act to change it and will only try to rationalize horrible behaviors with some often narcissistic or delusive stance (they, think they are superpowerful, Godlike, whatever). hitler, appeared, normal, 'good,' it is part of the powertrip of the socio or psychopath to have this edge. so, we are not, all, capable of, this, type of behavior. sorry i was somewhat abrasive in my first is not just logic, or it's absence needed here to comprehend this type of personality, since, this type can fool everyone; shrinks, lawyers, of the things that is so creepy about


01/22/2003 06:06:44 AM

yes, yes ,hitler was 'human', physiologically speaking, duh. but, no more, no less, can we 'forgive' his mental illness manifested on such a grand scale, than we can that of any other person risen to power who has used that power to express so much unfathomable insanity. it almost sounds like some believe that hitler has been treated 'unfairly' posthumously...jeez. use some logic will ya? -mary anne


01/21/2003 08:54:58 PM

i think it is absolutly necessary to humanize hitler. too often , for example celebrities, we put them on this inhuman throne. when in actuality , these poeple are just like us, insecurities and all. HItler needs to be seen more as the human he is , then people wont be so afraid of him. the fear came from the power and influence. hitler has this cloud around him of not being human, but osme dark, evil force. this is ridiculous. and i disagree with the statement that we as a people allowed hitler to do what he did. no one allowed him to do anything. he used his influence and attitude that gained him a massive army that no one felt strong anough to stand up to at the time. by propaganda, he enlarged his "army" to citizens. we all, of coarse, are capable of being hitlers or ghandis. no matter how horrible or wonderful your childhood was, you cant use it as an excuse. at one point in our lives, we come to a crossroad where we decide which way we want to go, free will.


01/21/2003 04:47:13 PM

Everyone sees Hitler as the bad guy. But who let this happen? We did. We permitted Hitler to go so far. We as mankind turned and looked the other way and permitted all these people suffer and die. So why is everyone blaming Hitler, when we should all be looking at ourselves. You're righ we better keep on our toes to make sure we do not let this happen again. This is our shame as human beings.


01/21/2003 03:35:04 PM

Truthshines, I agree with much that you post; but I want to add a caveat to your statement that Hitler was democratically elected. The Weimar Republic did not have the kind of winner-take-all presidential system we've got; Hitler never did get an absolute majority of the German people to vote for him. He was the leader of the largest party, but the Nazis (in the last relatively free and honest election Weimar held) won less than 40 percent of the vote. That was enough for several seats in the cabinet, which let the Nazis obstruct matters sufficiently that two Nazi-minority governments were unable to assert control. Hitler was named Chancellor, and with this new power held another election that brutally indimidated opposition parties while using state media to support the Nazis. Even so, he didn't get a majority; but got enough in the party coffers to bribe like-minded smaller parties. Together they passed an "enabling law" that made Hitler dictator.


01/21/2003 12:44:59 PM

Roses, how can you say a movie like this is unnecessary? It shows how two people can use the same keen skill with art use it for different purposes. It's good to be reminded about the path that led Germany to Hitler and beyond. We should constantly be checking outselves. Did Regan use the media the way Hitler did? Maybe or maybe not. Are politicians using the media the same way Hitler would have? Maybe or maybe not. But we should ALWAYS be asking that. How does the loss of many of our civil liberties parrallel, if at all, with the way Germans lost many of theirs on their journey to Hitler's Germany. Like so many others here have said, we should not be burying our heads in the sand.


01/21/2003 11:08:45 AM

The only way to prevent the rise of other people like Hitler, and things like Nazi Germany, is to understand the warning signs and be mindful of them. All too often we look for people who are "destined" to be evil, as if Hitler (for example) were some dark messiah that was born endowed with evil. Saddam Hussein is a good example, because at the time when he enjoyed strong U.S. support it was because he was seen as being a "get-things-done" secular politician in a part of the world ruled by religious fanatics. We underestimated what he was, and what he could become, because we didn't really look at him carefullly.


01/21/2003 08:54:36 AM

Aboslutly right jkopanko! I'll repeat myself again: The greater tragedy of WWII and all it's events would be for us all to bury our collective heads in the sand, saying "He was evil personified!" and beleive that it could never happen again, or that the world political situation of the time didn't have anything to do with allowing Hitler to set up shop. Look to Bosnia, look to Rwanda....


01/21/2003 08:51:09 AM

Roses, Your statements are inappropriate. We look at Hitler for a REASON beyond why take interest in vampires and dragons, or a voyeuristic view into a derranged mind. He was a human being who was able to strike a strong chord with people, developped incredible influence, and lead masses to accept attrocious inhumanity and remain loyal to his person. Looking at Hitler is a study in the human psyche and a study in the way power can be siezed and manipulated. We look at this it is utterly within the realm of possibility that this sort of thing can happen, and we have an obligation to mankind to ensure to whatever degree we can that it does not. Hitler is QUITE worthy of examination, study, etc. Hitler is not a bogeyman: If anything possibly meaningful, he is a LESSON. (continued below)


01/21/2003 08:50:50 AM

(continued from above) Do not fall into the dismisive idea that Hitler was a unique aberation. Do not fall into the dismissive idea that Hitler was a pathetic, insecure, nut: If nothing Hitler was immensely capable, immensely competent, and immensely driven to succeed. To be dismissive in these ways, you deliberately reject the lesson, and work to ensure that his victims suffered and died in vain.


01/21/2003 08:46:47 AM

Correction: American life.


01/21/2003 08:40:43 AM

I spent many years working with animals, and I learned a few keys lessons there. Abused, starved animal will elicit two types of reactions. There are the type who will lose all spirit. They walk around with there heads down, not really caring anymore what happens to them or around them. They are waiting to die. Then there are the ones that become so hate filled, that will attack anything that comes near them. They will try to kill even those that are reaching out to help them. It takes months, sometimes years of consistent caring and love to reasure them that you mean them no harm. Soem, never truly trust anything or anyone again. Human beings, when pushed to there limits, have proven to be no different. It amazes me that we can't see that. It amazes me that Western foreign policy stil treats other human beings as somehow expendable. Somehow worth a little less than say one American live. Ok, I'll get off the soap box now...


01/21/2003 08:33:24 AM

roses - I agree that Hitler actions speak for themselves about the man. HOwever, I think it's imperative that we never forget that he was, indeed, a man. We all have the capability to do the same, to become hate filled and bigotted. Not too long a ago, a black man in Texas was tied to the back of a truck and dragged to his death. Also, I believe we too often forget the political situation in the world at the time of the Hitler's rise to power. I'll repeat myself, it's importanat for us to ask ourselves and history, why was Hitler elected to power? What were the people of Germany so thirsty for that they willingly gave power to a maniac with good showmanship? Desperate people will do desperate things, it's been proven to us over and over again. And yet, we never seem to learn the lesson. There is nothing more dangerous to the security of the world that a large group of desperate, oppressed, ostraticed, starving people. Cnt...


01/21/2003 12:13:19 AM

(ctd.) There is a Greek story about a man who burned down the most beautiful temple in all of Greece just so his name would always be remembered. So the Greeks executed him and passed a law that noone was allowed to mention his name, just so he would not be rewarded for a crime. Let's stop giving Hitler what he wanted. He was a hate-filled little man, and hate can move people more than love. That's what happened in Germany. Let's remember what he did, but let's not try and probe his mind. We'll never know for sure if the answers we come up with are true. Movies like 'Max' are unnecessary. Hitler's actions speak for themselves of who he was.


01/21/2003 12:05:11 AM

By focusing so much on Hitler, we do exactly what he wanted us to. Hitler was the ultimate showman who wanted an audience, and we have given it to him. We focus on his motivations, his houghts, his life, and ask "Why did he do it?" He would have loved this.


01/20/2003 07:02:12 PM

The truly sad thing about war protests is that thay mean that we have allowed things to get too far out of hand. Or some one such as bush and the fanatics he has put into office.


01/20/2003 06:45:02 PM

I wish students were asked to read Plato's Republic the way students are taught the Bible. My theory is that the Hitlers would not be known at all if the populace knew about the tyrant. It's like this. Tyrants hire criminals. Criminals are human beings but they injure people and they are too hard to live around. The tyrant, according to Socrates, turns the system around and puts the criminal at the top. Socrates also had religious beliefs. I thought they were interesting.


01/20/2003 06:21:29 PM

b-baggens, It is always appropriate to protest against war. The truly sad thing about war protests is that thay mean that we have allowed things to get too far out of hand.


01/20/2003 05:02:06 PM

b-baggins Perhaps instead they simply see a different and greater monster.


01/20/2003 05:01:16 PM

I think in many ways we are conditioned to think of evil as a spectacular act, lots of explosion, blood and gore. And it is often enough. However, a lot a lot a lot of evil acts are mundane, beaurocratic, paper pushing, even boring. But all together, cumulatively, they produce a holocaust.


01/20/2003 04:50:26 PM

I think it is dangerous for us not to see Hitler as human. What he did is well within what we humans can do. If we dismiss him we will fail to really learn the lessons of that time, and take responsibility for our actions - even potential actions. I think it is less scary to see Hitler as a freak, than to realize he tapped into a strong current of violence in human beings. Hitler was not alone. He had millions of people helping him, following him, hating the same people he hated. Via colonization of the Americas, Asia and Africa in the centuries before, race-psuedo science was developed by scholars and other prominent segments of society. He tapped into this, which was already ingrained in society, and turned it on Europe. People DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED Hitler to power. Regular folk gave Hitler power because they could relate to him.


01/20/2003 04:38:37 PM

I believe that when we focus on people like Hitler or Stalin or any historical figure that has proven the old saying "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" we can learn much about the human condition. There was a psychological study done several decades ago that shocked the academic community. Researchers discovered that regular everyday people were capable of committing severe acts of torture (even to the point of being life-threatening)on their fellow humans if they thought it was in the best interest of those being punished (corrected, etc.) This is not meant to excuse those who perpetrate crimes against humanity, but only to remind us that "there but for the grace of God go us.


01/20/2003 03:08:59 PM

typo below: " actually understanding..." should be, " not understanding..."


01/20/2003 03:06:48 PM

Great piece. Compliments to Beliefnet for selecting something so meaningful, and interesting, as opposed the usual, dumbded down political pieces. As to the point of "humanizing" historical figures: The more humanization the better! Jesus, Hitler, Gandhi, King, or Vlad the Impaler, we are talking about HUMAN BEINGS--not stone statues or charactures. How much more meaningful and inspiring that Gandhi did what he did AS A HUMAN BEING, JUST LIKE ANY OF THE REST OF US... And how many lessons do we throw away by actually understanding what ACTUALLY formed and motivated a Hitler, even as tempting as it might be to think of him as nothing but a force of pure evil, mysteriously dropped onto the face of the earth. (continued below)


01/20/2003 03:06:31 PM

(continued from above) Hitler, also, WAS a human being... just like the rest of us. We all posess the potential to be Gandhis and Hitlers. When we understand this, we can begin to actually take responsibility how our actions impact on the world. Positive and negative aren 't external forces external to us which sway us at whim: They come from within us.


01/20/2003 02:10:03 PM

I agree with Cusack's point about the different ways images and writing affect us. Also the idea that when a culture or civilization puts esthetics before ethics, they're slipping into a dangerous decline. But Hitler came into political existence more by means of radio than art. Radio made it possible to address an entire nation at once. Hitler's voice perverted the new technology and turned a whole nation into sleepwalkers.


01/20/2003 01:31:58 PM

Anyone who thinks that politicians aren't actors themselves should remember Reagan, he's going down in history as "the great communicator" He had he best speach writters in politics and had made a living reading scripts in front of a camera!!!


01/20/2003 11:40:14 AM

(cont)Regarding my desciption of Cusacks 'knowledge' of bin Laden's timing plan. I still find 'arrogant and unfortunate' to be fitting. Arrogant, in that he asserts his own opinion, which is extremely open to error, as pure fact. He uses "the reason...was", rather than "consider this possibility". That is arrogant. I used 'unfortunate' because it unfortunately presents Cusack in the light of being someone who willingly forces his own opinion to be seen as being 'fact'. If he had shared his thoughts conveying this to be his personal theory and simply a would have been neither arrogant (in intellect), nor unfortunate (in shooting down his own character). I could put little weight into his other words due to his arrogance there, as I saw him to be someone who is sold on his own biases, to the degree he is willing to present them as facts.


01/20/2003 11:28:40 AM

Foust, thank you for your evaluation of my posts, however....I disagree with your thoughts there. Regarding the one on theatre and's valid, and you are right, "Cusack's problem is with those who make plitics into a spectacle". Yet, that is exactly what he attempts to do here with his interview..and attack on Bush. Was he saying the same about Clinton (even more the actor) a few years back? Doubt it! So Cusack tries to jump into the throne of political judge using 'theatre' as his stepping stone, and offers merely his own biases there. The ever present mix of theatre and politics, and he contributes to it.


01/20/2003 11:09:36 AM

Followyourbliss: You are VERY right, we see history repeating itself and using EXACTLY the same strategy: fear. I pray that we finally learn not to succumb to those who would use fear against us.


01/20/2003 10:44:46 AM

We should never forget that Hitler was indeed, very human. We should also never forget that Hitler was elected by other, very human individuals. A good question to ask would be, why was he elected? What was the population of Germany so thirsty for, at that time, that they followed a maniac like blind men/women? Do this remind anyone of anything that is happening today? The greater tragedy of WWII and all it's events would be for us all to bury our collective heads in the sand, saying "He was evil personified!" and beleive that it could never happen again, or that the world political situation of the time didn't have anything to do with allowing Hitler to set up shop. Look to Bosnia, look to Rwanda....


01/20/2003 10:42:55 AM

b-baggins, You're absolutely correct. George Bush Sr and Ronald Reagan should have seen this one coming when they poured billions of dollars into backing Saddam in the Iran/Iraq War. And George Bush should have seen it coming when he pulled out of Iraq without unseating Saddam last time we did this.


01/20/2003 10:12:19 AM

laystudent, Unfortunately, about a hundred thousand Americans who marched in protest against war with Iraq aren't getting the lesson.


01/20/2003 09:08:17 AM

John Cusack is helping us learn to recognize psychopaths before they do serious damage. An ounce of prevention is better then a pound of cure.


01/20/2003 09:03:37 AM

Since Stalin committed his atrocities behind the privacy of the Iron Curtain, they have never had quite the same impact on the Western psyche as the Nazi Holocaust. Americans and Europeans witnessed Hitler's camps first hand, and had to deal with the survivors. The extent of Stalin's pogroms were hidden behind Soviet secrecy for decades. By the time the full scope of them was widely known, they were already a piece of history. Sadly, our taste for tragedy tends to be limited to ones we have a personal connection to.


01/20/2003 08:38:22 AM

When will Hollywood do a movie on the horrors of Stalin? He killed more people thán Hitler and was much more brutal to citizens of his own country.


01/20/2003 02:04:25 AM

mightymountaingorilla: Actually, Hitler killed 12 million people in the Holocaust: 6 million Jews and 6 million Slavs, gypsies, homosexuals, political dissenters, and people he just plain didn't like.


01/19/2003 11:34:13 PM

mightymountaingorilla, Thank you. I think that, perhaps as a denial mechanism, many people like to try and turn Hitler into a supernatural figure of evil. To endow him with an innate evilness that makes him inhuman, and therefore inimitable. But the horror of Hitler was that he was a human being. Just a human being. Like evil people before and after him, he committed horrors because they served his goals, not because he was insane or driven by metaphysical evil. And the lesson from recognizing his humanity is that other people have the potential to follow his path. Stalin did to a considerable extent. So did Mao. Today we have Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il. By giving into mythology, we ignore the warning signs when one of these people begins their descent into ultimate evil.


01/19/2003 11:11:51 PM

Psionycx, You stated exactly what I was thinking. ===== Hitler was indeed just a human being, nothing more or less. He killed 6 million people and didn't even have to think twice about it. I think we need to humanize Hitler--see from his point of-view what was going on in his life. If we see him in gentler terms, maybe we can better understand the problems he was having...problems that led him to kill so many innocent lives. Not that his own problems were any excuse for genocide, but at least by making him a human and not some 'mythological' figure, we can hope to understand his madness. PS--"humanize" can mean (1) to portray or endow with human characteristics and attributes or (2) to imbue with humanity, kindness; civilize


01/19/2003 09:24:06 PM

I would like to say one more thing about Hitler's "authorship." One of his first perverse ideas was that instead of colonizing Africa or Asia like other European countries, he thought Germany should colonize France and other European countries. Get it? He simply read better European authors and turned everything around on them. Colonizing was a questionable activity. So why not colonize France? Actually, he probably plagiarized many European authors whose names you do not know and whose names you would do better to know.


01/19/2003 09:20:48 PM

I'm amazed by the furor that has been making the rounds over "humanization" of Hitler. Time for a reality check. Hitler was not an alien, a demon, a monster, or even a Republican. Part of the horror of Hitler is that he was just a human being. A human being who coldly, rationally orchestrated some of the most astonishing horrors of human history. He did it because he wanted to. Not because he was some "bad seed", born evil and naturally corrupt and vile. But because he had purely human ambitions he sought to fulfill, and was willing to behave like a monster to achieve them. It is amazing how many of the people who rally around the cry "Never again!" don't want to accept the realities of what happened, but instead want to mythologize it.


01/19/2003 09:16:07 PM

Hitler was a copying artist. He was a bad artist and he hated brilliant artists. Hitler inspired - people to kill. Hitler inspired people to kill the Christ figure, the real artist. First Hitler wanted to kill his better artists. Then he wanted to kill. He was hardly romatic. He was jealous and destroyed art and life.


01/19/2003 09:09:58 PM

Celebrities are certainly entitled to their beliefs. That they are given a pulpit from which they can easily assassinate the character of those they politically disagree with, well, that's up to them. It is no secret that many of the Hollywood elite are aligned with the Democratic party. I do not find that calling the President Bush pathetic is a sign of someone's superior intellect. It is easy to critisize others, however, unless you give someone a chance to see if they are being honest and/or genuine, you are being less than honest yourself. Shalom.


01/19/2003 07:17:24 PM

42 years ago today JFK said the world is very different now


01/19/2003 04:17:01 PM

When an artist has a vision and they hold that vision until the conception of their art it will take the form of the vision. God believes in you always. Religions isn't something to hold onto. Let go and let God. Remember that "God" is just a label for a psiritual essence. Spirit can be whatever you want it to be. Spirit-filled relationships are co-creative; it is up to you to take active part in the relationship. Listen to the quiet voice. Cultivate intuition. Be compassionate with yourself and judge others less harshly. We are all only human.


01/19/2003 10:28:17 AM

To poopoo someones view simply because they are an actor is in it's self so beyond arrogant. John Cusack's intelligence cannot be denied. He can admit he is an actor unlike the Pathetic president bush


01/19/2003 09:46:52 AM

I also found the claim of knowledge Cusack offered regarding bin Laden and his 'staggered' planning to be arrogant and unfortunate. Your words, while there is truth in them, are far too harsh. Your posts seem to be informed by a knee-jerk reaction against a celebrity. In another era, they would have been court jesters, You were saying what about arrogance...?


01/19/2003 09:44:30 AM

"It is interesting to me that Cusack condemns political figures and their efforts to the seemingly lowly form of 'theatre'....and yet, 'theatre' is Cusack's own avenue of livelihood!" Cusack's problem isn't with theatre, human. His problem is with those who make politics into a spectacle. *That* is the superficiality he is talking about.


01/19/2003 08:51:52 AM

Note: a correction to the post that I just sent. Halfway through my post, I meant to say that universally, there are some evils that have become accepted as just that.....evil, and these have been acknowledged by persons and organizations as unacceptable in today's civilization.


01/19/2003 08:46:55 AM

Hitler was,and should remain remembered as someone who was flawed to the core. He does not need to be "humanized" to be understood. The word, humanize, actually, means, "to make humane, gentle or kind". Evil exists in different forms and degrees which is part of the nature of man; Fortuantely, some evils are becoming universally accepted as truth, a sign that the greater good will triumph in the future. One does not need to be terribly astute to understand that Hitler, and others, fall into an exclusive category characterized by malignant hate. However, I have always believed that the diagnoses of the millions of people who willingly supported Hitler's ideas and actions are the important factors that need to be understood. There never could have been a Hitler if there was not a society to give him power. (This is also true of Pol Pot, Stalin, and too many others of just the 20th Century. )


01/19/2003 01:46:28 AM

I think to dismiss Hitler as JUST a coward and a liar and a cheat, and that is wrong. He was indeed a human with human emotions and psychological problems, and we need to analyze what went wrong along the way. Many ppl have questioned the need to "humanize" Hitler with this movie and upcoming TV specials. I understand the frustration but cannot agree with it. Hitler is a person that needs to be analyzed psychologically, socioeconomically, artistically, etc. Any man that could kill 6 million people without blinking an eye should be understood to the fullest amount. After all, what is the point of history if we cannot learn from our ancestors' mistakes?


01/18/2003 07:22:56 PM

I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion. It is the listener who gives him/her credence. Famous people are heard by more people because they are famous. Let's face it if Mick Jagger had not been a rock star would they have asked his opinion on economics even though it may be a well informed one? People in general do to little reading and too much listening. If everyone limited their opinion to what they know rather than what they heard well....


01/18/2003 06:27:21 PM

ariadne...on most of your post, I'd agree with you. In my post, I was more specific, than to broad brush that all actors have no basis for a political opinion. Of course they do, all humans do. My 'attitude' is reserved for those who have no credentials to distinguish them from say your hairdresser, other than fame from entertainment. (Is your hairdresser invited to speak at Harvard? are all 'well read' folks invited?) Your example of Mick Jaggar is a good example of a background which enables him more credibility in offering his views. Fame however is often used as the basis....and very regularly is found lacking. An unfounded elevation to an unmerited status often gives way to arrogant assertions....for example, the bin Ladden strategy offered up as knowledge rather than (at best) a possibility by Cusack here. I've seen these examples time and again....but perhaps you have not.


01/18/2003 05:41:32 PM

Judge a person by the quality of their thoughts, their logic and the soundness of their argument, not by their profession. And, by the way, to illustrate my point, Mick Jagger is not only a rock musician but also a graduate of the London School of Economics. If he has any suggestions about the sagging economy, I would love to see some snob put him down as another "dumb rock musician" who should keep his mouth shut.


01/18/2003 05:39:00 PM

You know, this attitude of putting down any actor for expressing a political opinion simply because that person is an actor is truly undemocratic. Take a non-actor, ordinary citizen (who actually is more likely to be uninfomed) and say the same things, and you would discover how mean-spirited, elitist and anti-democratic it sounds. We would never say that our hairdresser, our secretary or our doctor should not express their opinion of the President, the war in Iraq or our local senator. Well, actors are citizens too and they are covered by the First Amendment just as we all are. And in my experience (and I have known many entertainers), many actors are extremely well-read and probably better informed than my doctor, my lawyer and my hairdresser. Putting down actors for using their celebrity to express their opinions (which are often shared by others who aren't famous anyway) is a form of reverse snobbery.


01/18/2003 01:56:22 PM

(cont)Sure I enjoy some Hollywood entertainment in life, but I find the level of unmerited favor we give the performers there is often embarrassing. Actors with no educational background, nor experience in politics are invited in to the likes of Harvard to present their political opinions, etc. It is hilarious, and often occurs merely because the lastest script they delivered contained the topic at if that now makes them authority figures on the subject, much less reknowned scholars! Yet we wonder why 'theatre' has crept into politics and the office of the president. It is due to the misplaced and unmerited favor we serve up to our entertainers, which is plain silly. In another era, they would have been court jesters, and beheaded for a poor they've become instant sources of credible knowledge.


01/18/2003 01:56:04 PM

I also found the claim of knowledge Cusack offered regarding bin Laden and his 'staggered' planning to be arrogant and unfortunate. Cusack claims knowledge there, where none can be claimed. The terrorist pilots were at the mercy of the pre-sheduled time slots for take off that each hijacked plane was subject to. These were terrorist pilots with little training who were taking a gamble that they would even succeed. They were not Blue Angels trained formation pilots, with thousands of hours in timed precision flying....for crying out loud. To assume they had the skills and knowledge to calculate the number of minutes needed to get cameramen suited up and rolling on the streets is very assuming. There is no credible way to assert this type of notion as if it were knowledge. Interesting thought...perhaps, but known fact, as Cusack offers, is plain silly and arrogant. I raise this because I feel that we elevate entertainers, performers to a ridiculous and unmerited level of respect and crediblilty.


01/18/2003 01:46:36 PM

We are all actors on a stage and we all need to make a living. We also need to remain critical of our intentions for perhaps the most important question of all is, "How much do you need?"


01/18/2003 01:04:15 PM

It is interesting to me that Cusack condemns political figures and their efforts to the seemingly lowly form of 'theatre'....and yet, 'theatre' is Cusack's own avenue of livelihood! It reminds me of a recent artist I heard speaking. He slammed malls as the temples of idol worship...and a place to be avoided. Yet he sets up shop and sells his own work there. Ugh.


01/18/2003 03:25:02 AM

Those less sensitive will rail Mr. Cusack for this point of view. Yet, indeed, Hitler was human. Our tendency to pathologize each other cuts us off from our humanity. Western psychologies, religeons, politicians and corporations are infected by rampent kitch. Why? Because it sells to the lowest common denominator. It is human nature that most of our members are at or below that threshold. It should be made illegal. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that those among us who understand this dynamic have the energy to alter the situation. Perhaps we will someday find a way to appeal to the masses that helps them truely rise above it instead of just feeding feeble egoes and filling pockets with money.