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November 5th, 2003


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12:40 pm - Caution: free thought and expression of unpopular ideas.
Just a bit of warning: I was thinking today about certain issues. And when I'm thinking, you know I'm dangerous.

Anyway, we were talking about Eastern Europe in my Vampire class today. Apparently, some people couldn't think of 3 ways E. Europe was affected by World War 2. The TA was especially disappointed about the omission of on particular detail that only showed up on about 10 tests out of 200: the Holocaust.

I started off thinking about why it wasn't included. I know it was mentioned in the readings, but it got only two sentences, really. Then I wondered if it was mentioned in class, and I started thinking about why I didn't put it down:

I was writing answers based on the information provided in the class. If the Holocaust was only mentioned in passing in the class, should we have been expected to use that answer on the test, especially when there are other issues that were directly referenced in the class? I know I thought about it, but I didn't think that the answer was suitable due to the amount of importance placed on it in lecture and in the readings.

Of course, all those thoughts are safe. It was the next one that had me worried.

I started thinking about Holocaust deniers. You know: the people who say that there were no death camps, that there was no murder of 6,000,000 Jews, and that really the Jews *were* the problem but that our politically correct society can't admit it. Yeah, those jerks.

Anyway, I couldn't help but think that, to someone who really wanted to look at the events following World War 2 from every angle, he/she would *have* to look at WWII from the idea that the Holocaust never happened. After all, there's enough scholarly (or, shall we say, pseudo-scholarly) work out there on the "lies and myths of the Holocaust" to warrant investigation.

Whether the idea is right or wrong, it deserves a chance to prove its case.

In other words, an historian should look at the Holocaust through the glass of the Holocaust denier in just as unbiased a manner as he/she should look through the glass of a Roman general talking about the Marian reforms to the Legions. It should be afforded the same amount of respect.

This was terribly hard for me to think about. After all, some things are just wrong, right? If we take this tack, then we need to also consider the multitude of books out there by Christian Fundamentalists that discuss New Age religions as cults, and we need to take them seriously.

Now, how could this be useful? It sounds very much like the first step down a long dark road of intolerance and whining.

But it's more than that. The use of non-conventional sources and ideas serves to embolden and enliven our ideas, and to see our own biases and flaws. To look into such things is like looking into a funhouse mirror: what you see is a true reflection of events, but one that has been twisted for another's amusement. While it's frightening to start with, eventually we come to understand how the twists come about, and where the wacko ideas we see come from.

Every idea has a place. Even twisted, misguided and ignorant ones like those of the Holocaust deniers and racists in general. The trick is to use them to expose themselves, or (more importantly) to learn something from them, no matter how disgusting they appear.

Of course, I don't study WWII or modern racism, so my points may be moot. I'm certainly not going to be reading anti-Holocaust literature, because I think it's cracked seven ways from Sunday. But I can't help but think that it's useful in some way.

I'm really disgusted at myself for that last sentence.
Current Mood: distresseddistressed
Current Music: "Last Mango in Paris", -JB

(9 comments Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:roc441
Date:November 6th, 2003 05:49 pm (UTC)
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Hi. I'm sorry to say this but...I have no Idea who you are. I just found you on my "friend of" list and went...huh? then I read your journal to try and figure it out (I hope you don't mind) but to no avail. On that note (again I hope you don't mind) I am going to throw my two cents in on the subject.
The biggest thing I have had beaten into me in all of the history classes I have taken is that to be objective (especially when you research) You cannot ignore something as big as the academic movement to deny the holocaust and still claim to be objective. I just disagree exactly to what degree. If I was writing a paper that was specifically focused upon the experiences of jews in concentration camps then I would probably only mention it in passing if at all. But if I was writing a paper on the impact of the holocaust (especially if I was focusing upon its impact from 1947-the present then there is no way that I could ignore it and still be objective.
My best guess is that the holocaust denial movement is just the remnants of the ideals nazi party, (I know...not a big surprise) but it would certainly be worth analyzing it to find out why this movement was capable of outlast the fall of nazi germany.
Ok I will stop rambling on your journal seeing as how i don't even know you.
P.S. your narration on the last battle of the roaches cracked me up.
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:November 6th, 2003 06:00 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Heh. I found your journal a while ago through styskel and suicidekttn, and I read through it and found ya interesting.

So I added you to the friends list and started seeing what you have to say.

And I like it, so I kept it on and read.

No worries if you aren't interested in putting me on your "friends" list. Heck, as you said, you don't even know me. :) I'm at least 99% positive I've never even bumped into you in real life, and I doubt I've ever met you through any other forum.

To me, friends lists are just convenient ways to read what other interesting people have to day. I don't know lots of people on it :)

I'm glad you enjoyed the bit about the Roaches :)
[User Picture]
From:roc441
Date:November 6th, 2003 06:38 pm (UTC)
(Link)
oooo yay! I'm interesting! go me!
I think I shall add you. I was kinda wondering if I had amneisia or something. And the roach thing creeps me out...we just found them in our apartment and went on a cleaning spree.

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