Dinesh D’Souza, true to form, comes out with another propaganda film. In order to discredit the current Democratic Party he using the Republican’s favor trope: claiming that the Democratic Party is the racist party because at one time it was the pro-slavery and racist party. Of course, they forget to mention that the parties basically traded positions on issues of race after LBJ’s signed civil rights legislation and the Republican party decided to expand their base by going after the disaffected southern Democrats in what is called their “southern strategy.” But this probably won’t matter to many conservatives who would love to believe that it’s the Democrats who are racist.
Sadly, the South Korean government will now mandate the use of their specially created textbook. “Issued by the government, the new books will rewrite history to bolster the president’s conservative cause.”
Beyond the implications for the education of South Korea’s students, this move has geopolitical implications. As Se-Woong Koo points out: “In geopolitical terms, the Park administration is undermining efforts to confront Japan over its crimes in the wartime era, especially the issue of comfort women. If South Korea can promote its own incomplete history among children, why should Japan not be able to do the same and obscure its dark past?”
This is an unfortunate trend seen across the globe!
Ellen Bresler Rockmore claims that it is not just the content in Texas textbooks that distort the history of slavery. Grammar, she argues, is also used in ways that downplay and distort the reality of slavery. “Grammar matters, especially when textbooks tackle the subject of slavery.”
Many of the propaganda films produced by the Nazis have never been shown in the U.S. or Europe over fears that they may incite hatred, particularly against Jews. But a new documentary (Forbidden Fruit: The Hidden Legacy of Nazi Film), which opens today in N.Y., takes excerpts from the forty films that had been considered too offensive to show publicly and compiles them into one film. The director, Felix Moeller, is unsure about the consequences of the film. He wonders, “Are they nothing but historical documents at this point or still effective ideological messages?”
I think this documentary will be of interest to many, but rather than hatred, I hope this documentary prompts us to reflect on our own susceptibility as human beings to hate other who are different from us. It’s easy to criticize the Germans for being duped by Nazi propaganda, but must remember that we have the same vulnerabilities and that we could just as easily be duped. The same human dynamics that played out in Nazi Germany continue to fuel hatred and violence all across the globe. If we are to learn anything from this period of history, we should be skeptical of claims that inspire us to hate others. We should be wary of negative stereotypes and dubious claims that vilify others. If some one or some group asks us to hate, we should say “no”!
Peter Pomerantsev wrote in The New York Times: “’Everything is P.R.,’ my Moscow peers would tell me. This cynicism is useful to the state: When people stopped trusting any institutions or having any values, they could easily be spun into a conspiratorial vision of the world. Thus the paradox: the gullible cynic.” This is a problem everywhere, but Putin has taken it to a new level.