Hitler

Europe is a mess. Greece is the country on the continent closest to utter wreck. (And, if not for statements yesterday by Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy, there would literally be no hope for a life raft anywhere near Athens soon. This morning's FT smothers even those wan hopes.) Spain, Portugal and Ireland are not far behind ... or under. Each of these countries has views on how Israel deals with the Palestinians, and they don't like it at all. Neither do the past and present "foreign ministers"—so to speak, but not exactly—of the European Union.

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Not long ago, Andrew Sullivan had ultra-hawkish views on Israel and the Middle East. The problem as he saw it, was very simple: The Muslim world was anti-Semitic and wanted to kill all the Jews. Naive Western governments pushed innocent Israelis to make peace, when the only answer was force. Here are some excerpts from an August 2001 column he wrote: [T]he notion of a negotiable peace with the murdering hoodlums who run the PLO was always a fantasy.

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Discoveries

The White Ribbon Sony Pictures Classics Creation Newmarket Films   Michael Haneke, whose new film is called The White Ribbon, has given it a subtitle: A German Children’s Story. That is warning enough. This Austrian director is by now so distinctively established as a connoisseur of darkness--with Funny Games, about neighborliness as murder; with Caché, about the past seeping into the present; with The Piano Teacher, about the animal in the civilized--that his dainty subtitle must be seen as a deadpan tease.

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And Showtime is about to present, in a ten-part miniseries, Oliver Stone’s “Secret History of America.” Don’t you wonder why, if Stone (and Michael Moore, for that matter) is right about the evils of capitalism, an enormous capitalist corporation has produced--and will now show--what is, almost by self-advertisement, a nutcase reconstruction of the American past, focusing on its enemies, who he seems to think have been traduced by historians? Someone named Jackson Creswell, from a website called Collider, seems to think that Stone “revel[s] in political controversy ...

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Speak No Evil

The lines most cited in Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize speech were those about evil: “Evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince Al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism--it is a recognition of history, the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.” These lines won approbation from both liberals and conservatives.

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... even when it comes to listening to himself talk. Here's part of Dobbs' entertaining rant against the Washington Post's Ezra Klein: These people are outdoing themselves in their hyperbolic exhaltation of their left wing primacy in our body politic. It's gonna be fun. By the way, Ezra Klein is the fella that put together Journolist, that little group that is really turned into sort of the, I guess you could call them the Brownshirts of the left, or can we say that.

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Making His Way

The Sun Lorber Films The Wedding Song Strand Releasing Act of God Zeitgeist Films   The pace is adagio, the temper contemplative, so it is all the more surprising that the subject is Emperor Hirohito of Japan during the brief period between Hiroshima and surrender. The Sun was made by the Russian director Alexander Sokurov, who is noted, among other reasons, for the slow tempo of his films. Except for his feature-length careering through the Hermitage in St. Petersburg (Russian Ark), he has often chosen to meditate on shots, making that meditation part of the picture’s progress.

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I’m not a big fan of political speeches in general, but I thought President Obama’s Nobel acceptance speech today was unusually good. (If I were a speech-y kind of writer, like Rick Hertzberg, I’d have used a better adjective in the last sentence than “good.”) After again acknowledging that he doesn’t really deserve the award--“I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the considerable controversy that your generous decision has generated. In part, this is because I am at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage.

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Our Bauhaus

Bauhaus 1919–1933: Workshops for Modernity Museum of Modern Art Kandinsky Guggenheim Museum This is an autumn of anniversaries in two of New York’s most important museums. At the Museum of Modern Art, “Bauhaus 1919–1933: Workshops for Modernity,” the exhibition saluting the ninetieth anniversary of the opening of the legendary German school of art, architecture, and design, also marks the eightieth anniversary of the founding of the Modern.

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Palin and McCarthy

A new Washington Post poll of Republicans records the remarkable extent to which today's rank-and-file GOPers can't identify much in the way of any clear-cut Republican leaders.

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