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Why wasn't Aldo Raine punished in Iglourious Basterds?

To wit: He initially drew false equivalence between Raine and Hitler and Goebbels, who were architects of the Final Solution. Raine is a soldier. There is a very stark difference.

He modified the question to say that "killing all Jews" is the same as "killing all Nazis". Again, a very loaded false equivalence. Jew, Gypsies and Slavs are born into that ethnicity, and the Nazi killed men, women and children. Being a Nazi was an affiliation with a political group. No equivalence.

This would be very offensive to anyone, regardless of race, who had family in concentration camps.

I get that most people here seem not to feel asking a question that promotes an agenda of false equivalency is a big deal, but it's quite problematic.

I don't have an issue with his question per se, just the way he presented it, which was very loaded.

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  • He's drawing false equivalence between Raine and Hitler. That would be like relating my benignly racist buddy to Hitler, who was one of history's great mass-murders. Trust me when I tell you, a lot of people will be offended by the way he worded this very vague and unclear question.
    – DukeZhou
    Nov 4 '16 at 14:56
  • Look, if he had merely said Raine is a bigot, that would be acceptable. He goes much farther by bringing in Hitler and Goebbels
    – DukeZhou
    Nov 4 '16 at 15:04
  • But I see I'm not going to make any progress here, so I've very lightly reworded the question.
    – DukeZhou
    Nov 4 '16 at 15:06
  • 1
    Sure, that might be an exaggeration. But he is still just comparing a fictional character to those people. I can't see the projection in place that drives people to consider this offensive, especially since the comparison to Hitler and Goebbels wasn't just made out of the blue, but relates to the actual setting, story and themes of the film as Aldo Raine is actively campaigning and fighting against those two.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Nov 4 '16 at 15:07
  • Because Hitler and Goebbels were behind the mass murder of millions of people, and a war that resulted in the deaths of many, many more millions. Simply pointing out Raine is a bigot is absolutely fine--he is. Comparing him to Hitler into it is going too far, and it's just not equivalent.
    – DukeZhou
    Nov 4 '16 at 15:09
  • 1
    I approved your edit, but adapted it to still have the original intent of the author in place, which very much was emphasising the contrast of Aldo Raine fighting bigots while being one (if we agree with that or not, it's still what the question says).
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Nov 4 '16 at 15:10
  • I can live with that. Raine's answer about getting "chewed out" is one of the best lines in the movie imo.
    – DukeZhou
    Nov 4 '16 at 15:11
  • If you still think the question promotes a political agenda, we can continue to discuss this, if not, revising the answer might also be a good idea (since I agree it otherwise adresses the question rather well).
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Nov 4 '16 at 15:14
  • Well, then again, actually discussing the supposed political agenda and a wording of the question that doesn't even exist anymore is everything else than improving the answer or making it more relevant for the question.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Nov 4 '16 at 15:30
  • Just wanted to provide context for the comments that had already been posted.
    – DukeZhou
    Nov 4 '16 at 15:38
  • As for "who would be offended by this question" the answer is anyone who had family in concentration camps
    – DukeZhou
    Nov 4 '16 at 15:38
  • I doubt that, though. That is as well overgeneralizing and speaking on others' behalf.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Nov 4 '16 at 15:39
  • I'm speaking from broad, direct, and personal experience. It's hard for me to explain this in more detail in a way that can't be twisted via current trends in false equivalency, but it's similar to the idea that "white people" are being oppressed by "black people", for instance, in the US.
    – DukeZhou
    Nov 4 '16 at 15:46
  • 3
    Well, don't get me wrong, I don't take that topic lightly either. And I would be highly offended by people doing that, too. I just couldn't see the offense here and it seemed like people looking for offense where there was none, especially with loaded wordings like "political agendas". It seemed to go counter to assuming good intentions in the asker. However, that might be influenced by seeing too much overreaction on the internet nowadays, too. I think that problem might be solved in the question now (not to say that it doesn't have other problems, though).
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Nov 4 '16 at 15:53
  • 1
    This is a site about movies and TV. While some media discussed on this site is nonfiction, or is fiction depicting real events, the majority of it is... fiction. There is nothing wrong with discussing bad events that may or may not have happened in a fictional work, or how a character is portrayed. As long as a post is abiding by the be nice policy, I do not see any reason to censor anything. Specifically, discussing a character is fine, but "being a jerk" to other users is not. Is that an acceptable line not to cross?
    – user9311
    Nov 4 '16 at 22:01
1

To be honest I think what you did on the question was enough and the right thing to do:

  • You explained clearly and plainly in a straightforward way why that's a false equivalence:

    However, your point that "'All Nazis should be destroyed' is the same thing as stating that 'All Jews should be destroyed.'" is incorrect at a fundamental level:

    The Nazis wanted to destroy all Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, etc. based on their "race" (i.e. the ethnicity they were born into.) Being part of one of these groups was not a choice, and it extended to women and children. In other words, genocide.

    Affiliation with the Nazi party was a choice, and although I doubt that all German soldiers were enthusiastic supporters of the regime, it was their ill fortune to face conscription in service of the Nazi agenda. Nevertheless, we are talking about soldiers and politicians, not civilians and children.

  • Presumably, you're also one of the six people who downvoted it, and that's totally fine.

Anyone reading the question will see your answer which contains a very good explanation of why that's a false equivalence. They'll also see that the community didn't like this question, and the comments and this answer explain why.

Hopefully the person who asked it learned something too.

That's a good result.


If someone seemed to actively be using this site to promote an agenda or excuse any crime like genocide then it should be edited out or, if there's nothing more to the post, deleted, with possible sanctions like bans against the user because it's an abuse of the site. There isn't clear deliberate bad intent here though, it could be that they genuinely didn't understand a point about a film, and asked a question (albeit an unclear and confused and rightly closed one) about it in a way that showed up a fundamental misunderstanding about history (as well as about Tarantino's approach to anti-heroes).

The question was edited to be less of a rant/opinion piece and the asker's misunderstanding was corrected by you, rather well.

People come to films with different levels of understanding of their subject matter. I could easily watch, say, The Killing Fields and then accidentally ask a question that was offensive to Cambodians, with no bad intentions, just inadvertent ignorance of the nuances of the subject matter. The best response would be to explain why I was mistaken - like you did there.

Good job well done.

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