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Less the heroes of our stories than the villains of some other bastard’s

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Jack Graham

Jack Graham wrote about Doctor Who and Marxism, often at the same time. These days he co-hosts the I Don't Speak German podcast with Daniel Harper.Support Jack on Patreon.

8 Comments

  1. David Anderson
    April 14, 2016 @ 10:24 am

    I didn’t think the Patrick Stewart production was Leninist/ Stalinist so much as generic twentieth century dictator. The aesthetics of Stalinist Russia are not at any level of generality distinguishable from Fascist Italy or Nazi Germany. The fact that Stewart was mostly in military uniform pushed it away from the specifically Soviet, and towards the fascist. The USSR might have gone in for military march-pasts, but the leaders didn’t affect military uniform in the way those of fascist states did.

    That said, I think dressing Shakespeare’s kings and nobles as fascists Others them from the modern liberal West just as much as dressing them as Communists. It is Hitler and Mussolini that we were actually at war with during ‘our finest hour’.

    On a different note, if Shakespeare had solely been writing to make money the poetry in his later plays would probably be a lot less dense.

    Reply

    • Tom Marshall
      April 14, 2016 @ 10:45 am

      What about the explicit Russian (Cyrillic) lettering the production team plastered everywhere? Seemed pretty obviously Stalinesque to me.

      Kevin Spacey’s “Richard III” at the Old Vic, on the other hand, was very clearly Mussolini-influenced, since he was clad in “30s dictator” garb & strung up at the end once he was dead.

      Reply

      • David Anderson
        April 14, 2016 @ 4:17 pm

        I don’t remember any Cyrillic lettering. Maybe I wasn’t paying the right sort of attention.

        Reply

  2. Daibhid C
    April 14, 2016 @ 7:04 pm

    a kind of Lenin/Stalin-figure (as in Animal Farm, the two are misleadingly elided),

    It’s been a while since I read it, and political analysis has never been my strong point, but I thought Lenin = Old Major, the pig who defines the utopian ideals of Animalism, and Stalin = Napoleon, the pig who perverts these ideals beyond recognition?

    Reply

    • Jack Graham
      April 14, 2016 @ 8:25 pm

      I think Old Major is Marx.

      Reply

      • Tom Marshall
        April 15, 2016 @ 9:22 am

        Old Major is Lenin and Marx combined into one, if you believe Christopher Hitchens anyway.

        Reply

        • Daibhid C
          April 19, 2016 @ 6:50 pm

          Yeah, that makes sense. On the Lenin side, he’s a native of the farm who directly preaches to the other animals, and his corpse is later put on reverend display.

          On the Marx side, he dies before the revolution, meaning that Animalism in practice is always what the Napoleon says it is. (Which also fits with Jack’s point about Lenin and Stalin being elided.)

          Reply

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