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April 17, 2007

Roxy Music's Bryan Ferry Forced To Apologize For Praising Nazi Iconography, Marches, and Propaganda Films

This is getting frigging stupid. The man stated the obvious -- those torchlight marches are, aesthetically, gorgeous, and Leni Riefenstahl's propaganda movies are amazingly well-done. So well-done this Nazi accomplice is often still regarded ambiguously by many Hollywood/critical apologists who can't seem to separate technical or artistic skill from moral worth.*

And the simple, stark, powerful imagery of the swastika, the iron cross, the eagle, etc? Terrific, in terms of symbology and branding.

Their uniforms? Duh. It's a running joke in both the movies and real-life history that you can always tell who the bad guys are by who's wearing the cooler uniforms.

At any rate, Bryan Ferry stated the obvious, but has been forced to apologize.

British singer Bryan Ferry apologized on Monday for remarks he made in an interview with a German newspaper in which he praised the Nazis' iconography as "just amazing" and "really beautiful".

The 61-year-old lead singer of Roxy Music told Germany's Welt Am Sonntag newspaper last month: "The way that the Nazis staged themselves and presented themselves, my Lord!

"I'm talking about the films of Leni Riefenstahl and the buildings of Albert Speer and the mass marches and the flags -- just fantastic. Really beautiful."

In a statement, Ferry said he was "deeply upset" about the negative publicity the interview triggered, and added:

"I apologize unreservedly for any offence caused by my comments on Nazi iconography, which were solely made from an art history perspective.

"I, like every right-minded individual, find the Nazi regime, and all it stood for, evil and abhorrent."

Jewish leaders in Britain, some of whom had condemned Ferry's comments and questioned whether he should be dropped by the Marks & Spencer retail chain that employs him as a model, welcomed Ferry's clarification.

"We do welcome the fact that he has issued a swift comment that there was no intention to condone the Nazi regime," said Jeremy Newmark, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council.

Um, of course he's anti-Nazi, for the love of God. Why would one assume differently? Why wouldn't one assume from the start he was talking about precisely what he seemed to be talking about -- iconography and stagecraft -- rather than assuming he was endorsing the actual genocidal fascist agenda of the Nazis?

Absurd. We have far too many advocacy and screech-groups assuming the very worst, and libeling people, rather than assuming the more reasonable and the more literal.

If these people wanted a clarification from Ferry, they might have asked him for one before demanding he lose his job.

BTW, I don't have any particular high regard for Bryan Ferry. I'm not sure I know a single song of his besides the overplayed Love Is The Drug.

This just seems to be a raw deal inflicted on him by an increasingly silly culture.

As British Jews attack Ferry, who's safely white and Christian, the British government continues to coddle Holocaust-denying (or Holocaust-enthusing) "moderate Muslims" with little outrage.

Unless Ferry has some history of anti-semitic statements or cryptonazi sympathies (which I'm googling now), I don't see why someone would assume so much based on so little.

* By which I meant not that Riefenstahl's apologists are pro-Nazi. Just that they engage in excuse-making, claiming she was more of a dupe of Hitler's, or frightened into doing his bidding, rather than a venal, willing propgandist for evil, which she was.

The assumption seems to be that no one with that much cinematic talent could really be a bad person. A vanity, I'd reckon, pretty common in Hollywood generally.

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posted by Ace at 02:44 PM

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