Class 3.2

The Politics of Futurism

Our discussion of Metropolis last Friday suggested a kinship between technophilia and Fascism. Among other factors, as Prof Guendel noted, director Fritz Lang left Germany after Hitler’s rise to power but his wife and scriptwriter, Thea von Harbou, remained behind and flourished under the Nazi regime.

Walter Benjamin explores this kinship in the final section (XIX) of the essay we’ve been working on (page #s 41-42). As becomes clear in his critique of what he terms the fascist aesthetic, Benjamin was himself a Marxist. Most Americans tend to think of Fascism and Communism as similar but opposite flavors of bad, but Benjamin regards fascism as the far greater danger. Can you tease out why? Use quotation to support your analysis of his reasoning.

Remember, we’re working on concision this week: keep your HW short but impactful.

The Politics of Protest

As I mentioned at the start of class yesterday, the sometimes violent street protests over the weekend demand our attention, raising powerful issues of the ethics of protest—as well as the rhetorical power of violence. To prime our discussion, please listen to the Monday morning episode of The Daily, a podcast produced by The New York Times. The episode is 41 minutes long in total, but the vital portion runs from 10:30 to 17:30, just seven minutes. To listen on your laptop, use this link; on your phone this link should load in your podcast app.

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