The title is a little bit misleading in that I’m not necessarily confused about Nazis, but still a little bit confused about Triumph of the Will. Was the final word on this “That we cannot accept Triumph as an aesthetic masterpiece” (pg. 609 of the reading for tomorrow [Bardzell])? I was under the impression that it could still be an aesthetic masterpiece, even though it’s “evil.”

To be less wishy-washy about it: I still believe that it can be an aesthetic masterpiece, even though most people would call it “evil” (including myself). There are lots of things I can call evil based on the logical steps needed to call <i>Triumph of the Will</i> evil. Like the Bible. Like almost every campaign ad ever made. That doesn’t mean they can’t be called aesthetic masterpieces (although I doubt any of the recent campaign ads could even hope to qualify).

To be clear, I’m not comparing the Bible to Nazism, I’m comparing the persuasive goal of the Bible with the persuasive goal of Triumph of the Will. Both offer accounts of something in the hopes of squashing any alternative thoughts, as any aggressive persuasion piece should.

Maybe I’m just clinging to formalism or something, but I still can’t wrap my ahead around this issue. Just because we disagree with the aims of the film doesn’t mean we can now claim that it is no longer an aesthetic work.

Advertisements