Tag Archives: Third Reich

Hero of the Week Award, September 20: Russell Brand

20 Sep

Russell BrandI am the first to admit that I am not one that has been able to appreciate the work of Russell Brand. I’ll further admit that the only thing I have seen him in was the re-make of  Arthur, which should never have been remade.  When you have a cast like Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli, the late Sir John Gielgud, and the late Geraldine Fitzgerald what are the hopes of doing better than that, even with my beloved Helen Mirren?  As it turns out, Russell Brand is a rather impressive young man with a keen awareness of homophobia, class, distribution of wealth, and history.  Bravo, Mr. Brand!

Brand was just recently the recipient of a British GQ Oracle award, which is sponsored by Hugo Boss.  Upon receiving his award, Brand took the opportunity to remind the audience of the deep ties Hugo Boss had to the Nazi Party during WWII.  Hugo Boss not only supported the Third Reich, but made an enormous amount of money making the uniforms for the Nazi soldiers. The uniforms were often made by prisoners of war — a truly horrific irony. Despite Boss’ prohibition from operating the business after the war, he transferred power to a relative and the business continued on its ill-gotten gains. During the push for reparations in the 1990s, the company paid lip service to the effort but refused to publicize any findings regarding their activities and contributed what adjudicators called “a bare minimum” to the reparation fund. What an awful example of soulless corporate greed.

In Brand’s most impressive speech, he also deftly addresses the persecution of gays during WWII — sadly we have a redux in Russia now.  And with great aplomb, Brandon also gives a much needed smack down of classism and the inequitable distribution of wealth.   I have to love Brand’s understanding of power dynamics and how corporations and governments are implicated. Note this portion of his speech as transcribed in the Guardian:

Now I’m aware that this was really no big deal; I’m not saying I’m an estuary [sic] Che Guevara. It was a daft joke by a daft comic at a daft event. It makes me wonder, though, how the relationships and power dynamics I witnessed on this relatively inconsequential context are replicated on a more significant scale.

For example, if you can’t criticise Hugo Boss at the GQ awards because they own the event, do you think it is significant that energy companies donate to the Tory party? Will that affect government policy? Will the relationships that “politician of the year” Boris Johnson has with City bankers – he took many more meetings with them than public servants in his first term as mayor – influence the way he runs our capital?

Sadly, GQ editor Dylan Jones reprimanded Brand on Twitter, stating, “What you did was very offensive to Hugo Boss.” Brand responded aptly, sticking to his important thesis: “What Hugo Boss did was very offensive to the Jews.”

I hope you will be equally as impressed with Russell Brand, as I let him speak for himself here.  I also have to add how much I love Danny Glover for initiating a boycott of Hugo Boss back in 2010, when the company tried to stomp out any signs of unionization.


A Love to Hide: How Americans Forget History

13 Nov

A Love to Hide

In the wake of Herman Cain laughing at Anita Hill and calling black people racist if they did not support him, in the wake of Republican Presidential candidates signing a pledge to further discriminate against the LGBT community, it is clear that Americans tend to conveniently forget the lessons we were to have learned from history.

Last night my husband and I had dinner and watched a movie (part of the gay agenda).  We watched the French film A Love to Hide, based on the book Moi, Pierre Seel, déporté homosexuel by Pieere Seel.  The movie tells the story of two lovers who are gay hiding a young Jewish woman during the Nazi Third Reich, or the Third Holy Roman Empire (gentle reminder that Hitler, who was elected Chancellor of Germany believed that it was the will of God to perform ethnic cleansing).  The movie is reminiscent of Martin Sherman’s 1979 play Bent, which depicts the persecution of gays during Nazi Germany.  Bent was turned into a movie in 1997.

The movie, A Love to Hide, was a very difficult watch, but a most necessary one if you believe, as I do, that we must never forget the atrocities we are capable of performing. I reflected on the Holocaust of the Native Americans, and then the Holocaust of the Jews and Gays, which brought me to the current crop of Republican Presidential candidates in the United States.  I wonder if any of them have picked up a history book? Probably safe to say that Bachmann and Perry can’t even spell history.

I strongly recommend you watch both A Love to Hide, and Bent, and read two of my favorite books: Stones From the River, and The Book Thief.  After reading these books and watching these movies there is no way one can justify voting for a political monster that runs on a platform of hate and discrimination, which are the two basic tenets that bind the Republican party.

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