Saturday, 2 October 2010


Why aren't those mice telling us about the invasion
of Austria. Lazy bastards... Image via sumthinblue
Today I shall be casting my angry eye over reviews for the Pulitzer prize winning Maus. These amateur reviewers will show those professors and such who's boss... or not:
Instead of doing research on the Holocaust,the author has taken bits and pieces of WW2 history and mangled them together in a book that tells a haphazard story (It's actually the true story of his father's experiences during the Holocaust. An in depth knowledge of the Holocaust would be somewhat unnecessary and just ruin the flow of the story).A story that mostly spews out one-sided myths about the Jews and Nazis (Well, this is a effectively a biography of Vladek Spiegelman. So of course it's one sided).The animal carictures were nothing but insensitive and illogical depiction of different nationalities-Nazis portrayed by cats(a species that is lazy,gentle and can get along with mice),Poles portrayed at fat,ugly pigs(which gives people the impression that all Poles are fat and ugly) and Jews portrayed as mice(a species that is cowardly,unhygenic and decietful)-which gives people the impression that all Jews are unhygenic,decietful,cowardly people. (I think you'll find that Spiegelman used different animals to depict each nationality to highlight the stupidity of classifying groups of people by nationality, race or religion. This is from the man himself: "[The animal images were] borrowed from the Germans... Ultimately what the book is about is the commonality of human beings. It's crazy to divide things along nationalistic or racial lines... These metaphors, which are meant to self-destruct in my book - and I think they do self-destruct - still have a residual force that allows them to work as metaphors, and still get people worked up over them.) 
98% of Holocaust facts are missing,replaced with assumptions and myths created by the author (Again, it's not a history book. If you want an objective history of the Holocaust I suggest you look in the history section of your local book shop).There was no mention of how German housewives baked cakes with swahstickas swastikas on them,or how Austria was invaded by the Germans.No mention of the cruel experiments carried out on both people and animals,and no mention of Germany becoming allies with Japan.(Well, no. This is a novel and, as such, has a specific story to tell. Personally, I wouldn't appreciate the book cutting away from the story every two pages to tell me what was happening in the Battle of Britain, say. Whilst very interesting, it has nothing to do with Vladek Spiegelman's tale) Not all the Jews were hung,as the author tries to get you to believe (He doesn't suggest they were all hung. Many were gassed for a start. And if they had all been hung there'd have been no story because the author and subject would be too dead to tell it. That thing betwixt your ears is your brain, please use it).Speigelman-next time try writing an actual book instead of a book that teaches kids myths and assumptions about a certain event in history. (Oh, fuck off. The book only ever describes itself as the story of one man. Why would it go into further detail. This isn't a replacement for history books. But it might just get some children interested enough to read one, which is something to be applauded surely?)
Don't waste your money on this book of assumptions (It's a fucking true story! How is it based on assumptions you mindless oaf?)-get "Schindler's List" for a truthful,accurate documentary on the Holocaust. (No, that's a film based on real-life events, but with many embellishments [rather like Maus come to think of it], not a documentary. Also, Schindler's List is also very narrow in scope, focussing on [unsurprisingly] Oskar Schindler. Go and get a sodding history book, instead of complaining about novels not being all-inclusive.)
Is that not enough for you? Well, alright here's another you ungrateful bastards:
I object to the portrayal of Poles as pigs in this cartoon. It is demeaning and insulting. How would the Jewish author, and Jewish readers, feel if the genocide of Jews during the Holocaust was shown, in a popular comic strip, as Jewish pigs being sent to a giant slaughterhouse? The answer is rather obvious. So why did the author choose pigs to depict Poles? Did he lack the social intelligence of the average 5-year old, or does he harbor malevolence towards Poles? Oh, I apologize for my silly sentiments, because I forgot the obvious answer: The Poles are not deemed a politically-correct victim group, by the liberal elites, so it is perfectly OK to ridicule and demean them, even in widely-used educational material. After all, everyone in the US is equal, but some are more equal than others. (Would you like a milkshake to go with that chip on your shoulder? There are many reasons why pigs were chosen to depict Poles. Art Spiegelman has said that he was referencing famous American cartoon pigs such as Porky the Pig and Petunia Pig, he did not want to insult anyone. There is also the possibility that he is referencing the agricultural background of many Poles. I would suggest that it's worth noting too, that the Germans often called Polish people schwein [pig] just as they called Jews vermin. You also seem to be focussing on the negative aspects of pigs, while they also have many positive features. For example, they are very clean and intelligent animals. Finally, as Art himself points out, why do people complain about his depiction of Poles as pigs, but are okay with Jews being vermin?)

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