Monday, August 16, 2010

Women as aces in WWII

(“Motherland calls”)

This video has some propaganda posters and pictures of Nazi soldiers and pictures from WWII, but mostly it has pictures of Soviet women–aces fighting against Nazi pilots. Also nice wartime music (men singing).

If you never heard me say this before, I will say it again: Soviet war music rocks.

It’s interesting that the female image is more powerful in war propaganda than male image. See the Wikipedia article about “White Lily of Stalingrad”.


Menashe said...

The Soviet government was scum. Their only redeeming feature is they fought even worse scum.

I can hardly imagine you saying "nazi war music rocks." How can you praise some of the darkest kelipa the world has ever known?

CA said...

You’re confusing the Soviet government with the Soviet people.

Menashe said...

No I'm not.

CA said...

In this particular case you do. This song (and war songs in general) were an expression of people, not the regime. And the cause of the WWII was actually a worthy cause from the Soviet side. I know it’s popular to think (like Churchill) of WWII in the East and Commies and Nazis killing off each other (yay!), but my grandfather lost all of his family, including his father who was an officer, and my grandmother had to stand in the rain helping to rebuild the city Germans destroyed, so for me it’s a little different: I see people behind the regime.

Menashe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Menashe said...

Virtually my entire extended family on my mother's side was exterminated by the yemach shmomniks. And yet, my grandfather who lived most of his life in that hellhole told me a couple days ago, almost verbatim:

"Never forget what an awful place Russia is. The people, the government, everything. What little good is left is the exception."

I see people behind the regime as well but I am arguing that they were and are scum.

CA said...

Well, I left the country for a reason. But all generalizations are lacking a large degree of emes. It’s like saying that America is a treife medina, and you can’t eat any fleishigs here (as my rabbi’s grandfather said).

Menashe said...

I have a sneaking suspicion there is more truth to your rav's grandfather than you think.

A generalization is true in the general case. The exceptions don't fit. I acknowledge there are some Russians that are not scum. But the overwhelming majority of Russians are indeed scum.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

Most Russians are scum; most French are ba’alei gaivah; most Germans are appikorsim and murderers; most Catholics are pedophiles; most Southerners are racist; most Blacks are robbers; most Chassidim are racists who cheat on their taxes; most MO don’t keep Halacha; most Hareidim smell and schnorr; most Sefardim beat their wives, and most Americans are ignorant about the world around them.

If believing in generalizations makes you happier, gezunter heit. I prefer to find out emes by myself. I haven’t seen statistics as to how many Russians are actually scum. I know many Russians who are very eidel, intelligent, refined people, and I know many who are scum. The same can be said about any nations.

It is true that in certain periods of time there are certain trends amongst certain groups of people. It has nothing to do with generalizations and labels. I am able to appreciate positive aspects in various phenomena.

I also know that FR was sorry to leave Russia. And that there is a certain eidel spirit in Russia that enabled Chassidus to take root davka there, and not, say, in Middle East (and it goes beyond the fact that it was needed there most; since curing the prince and awakening Yidden from a faint was only one aspect of Chassidus Chabad; the other being revelation of Pnimiyus HaTorah).

A Suede Ḥossid said...

In any event; if given a choice between a happy and tolerant but completely chitzoiniusdik and empty culture and a culture that has scum element but is also pnimiyusdik and eidel, I will pick the second. (Having said that, I still moved out of Russia here and will think twice before visiting.)

Menashe said...

I only agree with one of your generalizations. For the most part I prefer all the groups you listed to (non-Jewish) Russians.

Please share with me what exactly is so aidel and pnimiusdik about the goyim in Russia. Why is the US any more chitznoniusdik than Moscow or Petersburg?

It's not for nothing that I had to re-learn Russian when I became older. I grew up so ashamed and embarrassed of that country that as a child I sought to erase all traces of any relationship I had with it. I am more mature now but share the same distaste for that country.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

I have recently heard an expression: “Teaching misnaged Chassidus is like teaching a eunuch ...”. If one doesn’t see the chitzoinius of American culture, what can I say?

Watch some Russian movies from 60s or 70s, or read some of their books and compare to what was written in US. E.g.

Sure, bydlo is scum, but that’s the case in any country.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

Also, the whole desire to forget the Russian language sounds like some emotional personal problem rather than a distaste for a culture that one has never experienced. My grandfather, for instance, was always distrustful of rabbis and religion, since he watched them lead Jews to the place where Nazis shot them outside the city (the rabbis quoted “dina d’malchusa dina” as a reason to obey the orders).

A Suede Ḥossid said...

And, btw, among Russians there are far fewer antisemites than among Ukrainians and Poles. If you want real treacherous, back-stabbing scum, take Western Ukrainians. But I am intelligent enough to admit that my bias is due to my having grown up in Eastern Ukraine.

Menashe said...

I didn't say America is not chitznoiusdik. I challenged your assertion that it is more so than Russia. I'm not going to bother immersing myself in that filth - if you can't prove it in a few simple lines of text than that says volumes.

Attacking me personally is not a good defense of russian culture. Not to mention that since you know next to nothing about me you know no more than that about my exposure to russian culture.

I'm going to go ahead and call BS on that last comment of your's. First of all at the imaginary (I challenge you to prove otherwise) quantifiable difference in anti-semites and second of all at your indignation at my distaste for an "entire" culture when you go ahead and do the same exact thing to a similar one.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

I was basing my comments only on what you said. Good move calling something filth without examining it.

I have to prove to someone that Russian literature, poetry, cinematography, etc., has more pnimiyus than American Britney Spears stuff? The only way is to see for yourself.

You don’t realize that Russia was taken over by communist regime, which was the source of many of the tzuros that Jews experienced in the the 70 years of communism. Before that, it was bydlo (commoners), but those are the same everywhere.

Maybe you know a little more about British culture. I don’t know if you’d argue that it is more sophisticated than American culture. But British commoners are not too different from Russian or American commoners (and antisemitism is more prevalent today in Britain than in US). Nevertheless, when I find a nice piece of British culture, British commoners don’t preclude me from enjoying it.

On the other hand, you’re probably better off not enjoying Russian culture (except those pieces of it that were elevated by becoming Chabad external culture, which is the vast majority), since it’s chochmas chitzoinius anyway.

There was less antisemitism in Russia because Jews settled less in Russia than in Ukraine and Poland. Common people had less interaction with Jews. In Siberia and Far East, there is very little antisemitism at all. And among intelligentsia, to be an antisemite is past nisht, like to be a racist among American intelligentsia.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

If you want something specific, pre-90s Soviet (and Russian) culture held dear values that are also held dead in, lehavdil, Yiddishkeit and Chassidishkeit and are held to a much smaller esteem in American culture. The only difference would be spirituality (emphasis on Eibeshter), but that was only as a result of Communist propaganda; in the Imperial Russia, people were quite religious.

What values? Emphasis on pnimiyus, as opposed to chitzoinius; emphasis on tznius in dress, behavior, speech and thoughts; deep values of friendship; great importance of family (even among American Jews, family values do not reach the extent of the values among, lehavdil, Russian goyim); importance of respect of parents and one's elders; the concept of mesirus nefesh (during difficult times like a war, but also in everyday life); living one's life not for pleasure or material pursuits, but some ideals; emphasis on learning and allowing one's character and soul be influenced and improved through literature, music, etc. (theater was not an entertainment only, like in Western Europe, but a way to develop inner character and values); faithfulness to one's spouse, children, parents, friends; lack of emphasis on materialistic culture (there is a greater emphasis on simple meaningful pleasures like sharing a cup of tea between friends rather than American flashiness and great displays of wealth and German/English coziness); emphasis on nature and importance of being close to nature; a certain degree of idealism and looking down on cynism; the concept of morality as an important guiding principle; the concept of belonging to a greater idea and purpose/group of people, rather than "each for himself", etc., etc.

All these values have much more in common with, lehavdil, the values of general Chassidic culture than Western values do. Of course, among people you can meet right scum. Sure. That's the case in any country, in any culture.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

And yes, there are negatives too, which Russians (and people born in Russia) are first to criticize. Some of which (lack of punctuality; lack of responsibility; too much emunah that things will work out themselves without your own supervision; everything is organized in a melaveh malka way, and finally, a deep sense of one's own superiority to the point of looking down on everyone else who is slightly different) are shared by Chassidic culture too, unfortunately.

I am not trying to idealize Russians. They are not necc. better or worse than other goyim. And society at large is worse than American society in many important elements which made me leave (some of which are connected to Yiddishkeit). But it doesn't mean I am unable to focus on positive things. Hey, if I see something awesome about some element of French or Ukrainian cultures (which, overall, I don't like personally), I will be able to praise it too. For instance, both French and Ukrainian languages are very melodic and Ukrainian poetry is more beautiful than Russian, to some extent.

Menashe said...

I disagree but that's fine because this has dragged on for long enough.

I still think one should not identify with any aspect of the culture of one's enemy.

And I still feel that Russia is scum. Including most of its residents.

CA said...

From Sergei Yesenin's biography (my translation from Russian), his thoughts about the West:

On Oct. 3, 1921, Yesenin became acquainted with American dancer Isadora Duncan and left abroad with her. In his letter from Düsseldorf, he wrote: “What can I tell you about this most horrifying kingdom of decadence¹ bordering on idiocy? Besides foxtrot, almost nothing exists here. Here they eat and drink, and then again — foxtrot. I have not yet met a human being, and I don't know where I could even smell one. Terribly fashionable is Mr. Dollar; they could not care less about the art — the highest achievement is music hall... Yes, we² are in poverty; yes, we have cold, famine and cannibalism³, but at least we have a soul, which here was — due to a lack of use — rented out to smerdyakovschina...”

¹ Google translates the word "мещанство" as: 1) philistinism, 2) babbitry, 3) subarbanity.
² I.e., in Russia.
³ Figuratively speaking.