And a sign that we are doomed.
Reason #1: Because it has lines like this:
“So much good, so much evil. Just add water.”
Blech. The author uses a unique narrative style that is supposed to be all innovative and such. It’s really just dumb.
Reason #2: Here’s where I get really heated (so please excuse me while I get melodramatic)–
Adding yet another fictitious book or movie about the German Holocaust of World War II to the hundreds that already exist is not a good idea, at least not while there is a dearth of works about the other genocides of our time.
In Constitutional Law class, on of my law school classmates made the following analogy (I forget what it was about):
Maybe it wouldn’t be like Nazi Germany where, you know, they kill you. Maybe it would be more like Stalinist Russia, where they just take your property.
It took me a few moments to retrieve my jaw from off the floor.
In Stalinist Russia they just take your property.
This is what my generation thinks.
This classmate of mine is and was intelligent, educated in fine Catholic schools and a prestigious private university. But our generation, and those that followed, have been fed a steady diet of books and movies like When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, The Diary of Anne Frank, Night, Schindler’s List, and (now) The Book Thief.
We have read nothing about the 30+ million people killed in the Bolshevik Revolution.
Nothing about the 40 million killed under Mao Zedong.
Nothing about the horrors under Pol Pot, about the Armenian genocide, and precious little about the horrors occurring in North Korea to this very day.
And here I can’t help but become a bit of a conspiracy theorist and think that we know less about those other atrocities because they were committed by the political left. Hitler, being on the political right, is a more comfortable target for journalists, moviemakers and writers, a majority of whom (I think) hover left of center. It’s so dumb to think in those terms, really, because as far as I can see, political ideologies don’t form a straight line so much as a sphere. The extreme right and extreme left meet in the middle as far as their effect on the unfortunate populations ruled by them.
In our ignorance, we dress our kids in tee-shirts with Chairman Mao’s image on it, and let them frolic around in public, without a care in the world about public condemnation. (Seriously, I saw this with my own eyes.)
Can you imagine anyone in mainstream America putting their kid in a tee-shirt with Hitler’s image? No. Of course not. God forbid.
A recent survey showed that only 48% of people worldwide under age 35 know about the Nazi Holocaust. That ignorance is shocking and disturbing and unacceptable. But if any significant part of that 48% includes moderately to well-educated young people from mainstream America, I’ll make like Mr. Grimwig and eat my head. Like my Con Law classmate, we know all about the Holocaust and precious little about the rest of history.
I don’t want people reading and writing any less about the Holocaust except insofar as it gives us a myopic sense of the Nazi Holocaust being the one, unique event of its kind.
It’s not not not that I think we should be any less aware of the incomprehensibly horrific Nazi Holocaust. And certainly, by the numbers, it was the worst or one of the worst ever. By focusing on it to the exclusion of other genocides, however, we have become over confident.
We (and I’m speaking for my peers here) think we know what evil looks like. It’s Hitler. We understand him (or at least we think we do), and we would never make the same mistake Germany did in electing such a monster to power. We would never turn a blind eye when a certain minority group is targeted. We would never fall sway to a megalomaniacal demagogue. We. Know. Better.
But we have no idea about the other “Hitlers” of recent history. About Mao and Pol Pot and Stalin and the genocides in Armenia and Rwanda and the Congo.
They say those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it.
We are doomed to repeat it.