Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mein Kampf

So, in the continuing quest to read only Important Books (This is a lie. Mostly), I'm currently working my way through Mein Kampf (This earns me lots of nice looks on the subway). Seeing as how this is where Hitler essentially laid out his masterplan, it may be the most important writing of the 20th century. This is a label it earns solely for the contents, however, as the prose is considerably less competent than, say, that last sentence. Hitler's preferred method for writing is extremely stream-of-consciousness. Not in the Joycian, Everything I'm Writing Has Significance That You Couldn't Understand With A Team Of University Professors To Assist You (Especially If They Teach Science) way. More like the I Can't Organize My Thoughts, So I'll Write Them In The Order They Appear Inside My Brain way (Kind of like, say, this blog). This makes for a frustrating read most of the time, the rare exceptions being the places where it leads to unintentional comedy (The best of these so far being the part where Hitler, discussing his academic upbringing (I could have been a great artist, but I was far too good at architecture to waste my gifts concentrating on another discipline) states that he was always turned off as a youth by anti-Semitic tracts because they failed to address the issue scientifically, and then one page later states that Jews produce "nine tenths of all literary filth, artistic trash and theatrical idiocy". It must be scientific! There are numbers in it! Holy [avocado]!). Where the book earns its keep is in Hitler's discourses on propaganda and nationalism, both of which are presented well and, in light of the uses he later put both these tools to, should be underscored by the Jaws theme music. Anyway, the real interesting moments of the book come when I'm reading something of this sort and find myself thinking "Hey! That's a good point!" Which is instantly followed by the thought "Awwwww. I just agreed with Hitler."
So that's fun.

1 comment:

UncleRick said...

I'd love to read Hitler's rantings when you're done...