Thursday, January 26, 2012

Space Nazis


I took the day off yesterday but even so I've managed to finish two stories this week, the second one just a few minutes ago.  Now both of them go into the pie closet to cool off.  I'll take a critical look at 'em in a week or three.

Meanwhile, here's a trailer for a movie that, fingers crossed, might turn out to be good trashy fun.  On the basis of this one trailer, it looks like a sure thing.  Unhappily, some of the other trailers I've seen are not so encouraging.  We'll all have to keep our fingers crossed.

Except for those of us who don't like kitschy melodramatic fun.  But for them there's always Merchant Ivory.



Ken Houghton said...

"Except for those of us who don't like kitschy melodramatic fun. But for them there's always Merchant Ivory."

Because kitschy melodramtic setpieces/watching paint dry is better?

Michael Swanwick said...

"Of taste and scent, no argument," as Avram Davidson used to say. To which Gardner Dozois added, "That's why they make ice cream in more flavors than vanilla."

matthew brandi said...

Tastes may diverge, with no argument required.

In an argument about taste, one may reach a point where no appeal to the facts or rationality will settle the matter.

But there are arguments about taste, and rational ones. Consider, "I like x, because p." Sometimes instances of that schema are true, and if one is shown that not p, one will cease to like x. Sometimes ...

I've never understood the "Nazis are cool villains" thing, and I doubt that such taste is a brute, unanalyzable thing: I think there are reasons people like Nazis as villains--"Honestly, dude, ... as villains!"

I am enough of a cynic to think that people's reasons for liking Nazis as villains, if brought into the open, would be rather embarrassing. I am enough of an optimist--wet liberal?--to think that bringing those reasons into the light might change some people's taste.

I am not saying you can't make a jolly jape out of genocide. I am not saying you shouldn't. I can't help but be suspicious of the attempt. "The Nazis are silly, they lose" is not a get out of jail free card.

matthew brandi said...

On a lighter note, I saw Luis Rey give a little illustrated talk about painting dinosaurs, this morning, and I thought of you, Mr. Swanwick.

He is a dapper and very enthusiastic man.

Michael Swanwick said...

A friend once defined a villain as "someone who doesn't believe that you're human." And of course the Nazis had an ideology which defined almost everyone as Untermenschen.

But I suspect their popularity as villains is that it's all right to hate them as intensely as you like. Imagine how hard it would be to root for the protagonists of INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS if they had anyone else for enemies.

Which is, as you say, embarrassing.

matthew brandi said...

To the Nazis, we're Untermenschen, so we're to reply in kind, becoming their villains?

The hi-jacked Nietzsche knew something about fighting monsters and staring into the abyss.

The awkward fact is that Nazis are human, too. Indeed, they are people.

Perhaps, it is significant that I grew up on the Iliad. Isn't that one right way to write a war story? It has an all too human anti-hero at its heart, and it has people on both sides of the conflict.