Newt In A Tea Cup

{October 24, 2007}   Fascist Family Values

Edit: I have received a well-intentioned email from my older sister telling me that, quite frankly, I can do better. She is most probably right. In an attempt to displace her deep-seated feelings of inferiority that I did better at her at GCSE and A levels, she subtly inserts a comment regarding her uni learnings, my spelling and grammatical errors and lack of quoting sources. To which I reply; some of us actually have got jobs (you know, that work thing you haven’t touched since the end of college?) and the entire Ugly Betty Series to get through before it’s due back at blockbusters next week!

So here goes the post redux.

A few days ago I read an article in the Times where it says that a worrying number of Germans are starting to have nostalgia for the era of the Nazi’s. The leader of this radical rethink is Eva Herman. Herman used to hold down a job as newsreader however began trumpeting for the old values of femininity. Anyone who follows US politics will be familiar with the Schlafy’s of politics who make fortunes by insisting other women return to domesticity. Herman is keen to join them.

The Nazi kafuffle is to do with Eva deciding that the Nazi’s did great things with the roads and that their idea of family was quite spiffy really. The reason for this is that they had fabulous family values; you know, the three Ks (Kinder, Kuchen and Kirche).

This is exactly why anyone promoting family values is someone I instinctively avoid with a ten-foot barge pole. “Family” in this case stands for white, moneyed and “Values” means bigoted. In fact it’s pretty much a code word that can be used to signify the kind of Neanderthal political ponderings exactly the same way that “in my humble opinion” is usually followed by anything but.

I mean what kind of sick world are we in where the systematic killing of the disabled, militaristic jingoism, the active oppression and subjugation of women as breeding machines (who received medals for mass-producing) to supplement cannon fodder can be seen as family values?

How can the interests of our families be at such odds to the interests of the individual human being that forms the family?

Pah! Family Values as we know it is an illusion, I say!

Family Values are; love, compassion especially for those in trouble, understanding and respect especially for those who are not like us, a thirst for knowledge and understanding, a communal attempt to hoist each and everyone up instead of pressing people down.

Basically exactly what the feminist community is agitating for despite our reputation as wreckers of society.

The horrors of that era are simplified in a type of tunnel vision. The Aryan ideal is very narrow and anyone who didn’t fit it was out; homosexual, homeless, people with mental or physical disabilities, non-traditional women, pacifist, foreigners…Family values are the equivalent of propaganda posters- they look good and shiny but they are mass-produced dead, painted and eventually peel away under the rain of life to reveal a crumbling wall.

It seems to me that the important things in life are not things that can be measured or counted or dispatched with bureaucracy. When we start reducing relations to this in the name of morality we end in danger of forgetting the real faces behind the stories. No two people are the same and no two families are. This isn’t a defence of moral relativism but a rethink of what “moral” actually means.

No one can accuse the Nazis of being proponents of “moral values” by any stretch of the imagination. But “family values” are apparently not that irreconcilable with that type of fascism.

The fact that people can tie that together with “family values” shows that perhaps our idea of what a family should be is founded on misogynistic, exclusionary, bigoted ideas and traditions. Bringing this back may well be traditional, but it’s hardly beneficiary to anyone.

This article was very specifically focussing on the role of women and there is a certain backlash at the moment towards female upward mobility. Not a day passes that there isn’t some kind of article bemoaning how what women really want is traditional gender roles and abandoning advocating equal rights and opportunities to embrace passivity, baby bottles and unemployment is what we really need if we want to solve the problem of unequal pay/rape/discrimination; all variations on “don’t you women worry your pretty little heads. The men will take care of it and if we tell you it’s fair how dare you question it?”

Change is scary and uncomfortable so I can understand this nostalgia a bit. And yes, this is very familiar role and people like familiar because it may be brutal, terrifying and cost a thousand lives but at least you know where you stand; even if it’s barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen.

Don’t expect me to join you there.


Amy says:

I believe the three Ks are: Kinder, Kirche, Kuchen.
Kirsche (if I’m remembering correctly) are cherries. Mind you -I’m shit at German, and recently dropped it.

Most of the Germans I’ve ever met are anti-nazi (except for the one neo-nazi and his friend), so I’ve personally never encountered any of this nostalgia for nazism. Mind you, I’ve been aware of some political activism against Auslandern (Foreigners) in Germany, and my exchange partner told me something about neo-nazis giving tapes to schoolkids which transmitted nazi messages.

tcupnewt says:

I’m editing rather extensively as I speak as you’re not the first to point that out…

I don’t think it’s “Yayz Nazis!” as opposed to the reaction of people finally breaking the mould of such a strong taboo that has prevented discussion. There’s still something not right there; there’s a difference between saying they were quite nifty at building roads and being efficient (which all things said are rather quantifiable solid things) and promoting the fact they had a good model for families. Those things aren’t exactly the same category.

tcupnewt says:

Hee! I’m quite keen on cherries actually! 😀

Amy says:

“there’s a difference between saying they were quite nifty at building roads and being efficient”
Heh, I wouldn’t really say the Nazis were that efficient, nevermind the stereotypes, due to different agencies competing against one another and whatnot. I would go more into it but I’m knackered.
But I know what you mean. Especially as their model wasn’t all that brilliant in my humble opinion. Seperate spheres? It’s sexual apartheid. And, to be quite frank, their policies trying to increase birth and marriage rates were essentially unsuccessful.
Ah, the good ol’ days of History AS…those were the days!

Amy says:

Ooo…I love Ugly Betty! 🙂
I just saw the latest episode on E4 – Brilliant stuff: I laughed, I cried, there were twists and turns. Yay.

ehj2 says:

children, kitchen, church …

they certainly all mean “something” to us.

but if we are wise we don’t allow anyone to tell us what they “should” mean to us.

the myth of superman is relevant here. the myth is numinous in our culture because we’re still living out the learning of its deeper meaning. Superman could never be with Lois Lane. the price of super powers (competence, capacity, efficiency, productivity) is the loss of relationship to the feminine. efficiency and productivity cost us our feeling function.

the myth says even the feminine (our feelings) within us can be confused. Lois could be with Clark but was not interested. she thought she wanted Superman. the reality is she could have been with him, but only as Clark.

if there’s time, we’ll learn the lesson. it’s just the world at stake.


kitchen cherries and cake – so how come they were pouring into the sudetenland not sitting at home eating delicious comestibles? – i think not.
i spoke to a young tory the other day who just couldn’t see why i had a lifelong hatred of conservatism. i told her about growing up under thatcher, about the demonising of single mothers, the sickness of homosexuality, the arrest of any four males in a car on the grounds they must be miners off to a picket, the assertion that anyone who wanted to remove cruise missiles was anti-british, that feminists were sick … she said ‘ah but i grew up under blair’. they are again idolising the straight-talking taking-no-crap-from-unions stance of those days. how much easier for the germans to yearn for the imaginary beauties of 70 years ago.

she wasn’t wild on feminsim anyway… i guess that’s her right and as a man i can’t criticise her choice. maybe if i got you round to talk to her…?

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