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by Rob Horning

4 Mar 2009

In the TLS Ritchie Robertson reviews Timothy W. Ryback’s Hitler’s Private Library, whose subtitle promises “the books that shaped his life.” Not surprisingly, these turn out to be mainly anti-Semitic screeds and pseudoscientific works of racial typology. Robertson makes special note of his apparent disinterest in imaginative fiction:

The other striking absence is literature. According to Oechsner, Hitler owned all the Wild West adventure stories by Karl May, all the detective fiction of Edgar Wallace, and many love stories by Hedwig Courths-Mahler (a German Barbara Cartland), but nothing that could send the imagination along unfamiliar tracks. Hitler’s mental world seems to have had no place for imagination. Instead, he relied on a naive conception of science, on which he claimed that National Socialism was based.

This struck me as humanistic claptrap, the sort of conclusion tailor-made for literature professors who believe that teaching students to appreciate, say, Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, and the Brontë sisters will prevent them from becoming little Hitlers themselves. We mustn’t lack the imagination to bathe ourselves in the comfortable moral truths extracted from the Great Books by tweedy pedants. The insult that reading genre fiction somehow proves one’s lack of imagination is especially gallling, as though all those Harlequin romance readers running their minds along “familiar tracks” are implicitly emotional fascists. Apparently, we are to believe that there is a good kind of imaginative projection that involves novelty, linguistic games, and catering to the upper-middle class tastes, and a bad kind that sticks close-minded readers in a vicarious rut. Could there be a better put-down for someone else’s tastes than, “Oh, that’s the sort of thing Hitler liked”?

I don’t know. There’s a good chance you can read and enjoy Jane Austen, or Charles Dickens, or whichever author is nominated as a standard-bearer for the human spirit, and still be a fascist. The more important question is whether Hitler would have considered this literary book worth reading.

by PopMatters Staff

4 Mar 2009

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
A book called A New Awakening by Eckhart Tolle.

2. The fictional character most like you?
I’m a character myself.

3. The greatest album, ever?
There’s 50 great albums . I listen to something one day and it’s the greatest I ever heard. Then the next day I hear something different I love just as much.

4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
The Twilight Zone.

5. Your ideal brain food?
Emotionally touching events which these days could be just about everything.

by Joe Tacopino

4 Mar 2009

Baltimore’s electronic mad man Dan Deacon adds some more traditional orchestral instruments to his usual laptop shenanigans on his new album Bromst. Due out later this month, the album can be streamed now through NPR Music’s First Listen.

Dan Deacon
Bromst [stream]

by Alan Ranta

4 Mar 2009

Dom Hoare & Andy Gillham’s debut album Sketchbook was easily one of the best albums of 2007. Yet, the Echaskech project received little press outside of the UK due to a lack of distribution. Other than that which is no fault of their own, there is no reason why Booka Shade should be as big as they are and these guys aren’t right along side them. The moving non-album single “Every Touch” came out early last year (complete with the following choice video). From all indications, their next album will be just as good as their premiere.

by Lana Cooper

4 Mar 2009

Watchmen Soundtrack Album Cover

My Chemical Romance condenses Bob Dylan’s legendary 11-minute opus into a tidy three minutes of chugging neo-pop/punk with their cover of “Desolation Row”. 

It’s only fitting that MCR’s cover of the Dylan classic should be featured on the soundtrack for the heavily-hyped Watchmen film.  Laying the foundation for much of the now-iconic graphic novel’s action, Alan Moore referenced and quoted from “Desolation Row” in Watchmen‘s original prose.  As Watchmen becomes the latest in a string of comic-based properties to hit the big screen, My Chemical Romance’s cover is a logical link to the intertwining worlds of comics and music slapped onto the film’s soundtrack as lead singer Gerard Way has penned his own critically acclaimed comic, Umbrella Academy—heavily influenced by Moore’s work—since 2007.

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You Should Dance Like Gene Kelly Today

// Global Graffiti

"In the glut of new "holidates", April and May offer two holidays celebrating the millions who preserve and promote the art of dance

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