Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

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FTR #434 Triumph of the Shill Part 2, Reichstag Wildfire?

MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

Intro­duc­tion: Con­tin­u­ing analy­sis of the ascen­sion of Arnold Schwarzeneg­ger, this pro­gram exam­ines the pre­sen­ta­tion of his polit­i­cal per­son­al­i­ty in the con­text of the man­ner in which Hitler was mar­ket­ed to the Ger­man peo­ple. Cen­tral to the dis­cus­sion is the the­o­ret­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tion of the dev­as­tat­ing Cal­i­for­nia wild­fires of Octo­ber, 2003 as a pos­si­ble ter­ror­ist act. Skep­tics should not fail to note that the fires were: delib­er­ate­ly set, feared and antic­i­pat­ed by the Demo­c­ra­t­ic admin­is­tra­tion of Gray Davis, exploit­ed by Schwarzeneg­ger & Co. for polit­i­cal pur­pos­es, uti­lized by the Bush admin­is­tra­tion to pass forestry leg­is­la­tion that had pre­vi­ous­ly been “log-jammed”[after they ignored pro­phy­lac­tic mea­sures request­ed by Gray Davis], blamed on envi­ron­men­tal­ists, locat­ed in the dis­trict of recall-financier Dar­rell Issa, and cen­tered large­ly in Native Amer­i­can reser­va­tions. (Schwarzenegger’s cam­paign tar­get­ed Native Amer­i­can gam­bling inter­ests.) The fires were also seen as a pos­si­ble eco­nom­ic stim­u­lus to South­ern California—a con­struc­tion boom was pre­dict­ed as a pos­si­ble result of the con­fla­gra­tion. Were these fires—in effect—a “Reich­stag Wild­fire”?! Were they a delib­er­ate, pre-con­ceived, and polit­i­cal­ly-moti­vat­ed act?!

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Dar­rell Issa’s back­ing of a con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ment that might per­mit Schwarzeneg­ger to become pres­i­dent; dis­cus­sion of the cin­e­matog­ra­phy of Leni Riefen­stahl; com­par­i­son of her tech­niques with the stag­ing of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s polit­i­cal pos­ing; analy­sis of an item not includ­ed in the orig­i­nal broad­cast: the work of Riefenstahl’s asso­ciate Luis Trenker; Trenker’s influ­ence on Moun­tain Films; the appro­pri­a­tion of Moun­tain Films by the Nazi pro­pa­gan­da appa­ra­tus; Trenker’s film “The Kaiser of Cal­i­for­nia.”

1. Begin­ning with com­men­tary from the BBC’s Alis­tair Cook, the pro­gram sets forth his rumi­na­tions on the mean­ing of the elec­tion of Arnold Schwarzeneg­ger.

“Cal­i­for­nia spoke last Tues­day and what Cal­i­for­nia said will not be known until we find out whether the recall pro­ce­dure is an exten­sion of democ­ra­cy or a mock­ery of it. One thing we can be sure of already about the elec­toral land­slide in the most pop­u­lous state in the union (33 millions)—the state whose econ­o­my is larg­er than that of all but four exist­ing nations, the state which time and again has sig­naled a change in the direc­tion of pop­u­lar prejudice—is that the rise to its gov­er­nor­ship of Arnold Schwarzeneg­ger is not the joke it was in the begin­ning of the recent head­long cam­paign of, wait for it, 135 can­di­dates. . .”

“The Elec­tion of Arnold Schwarzeneg­ger is not a Joke”; Alis­tair Cook’s “Let­ter from Amer­i­ca”; BBC Radio; 10/13/2003; accessed at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/letter_from_america/213544.stm .


“ . . . There is, how­ev­er, a gen­er­al agree­ment, irre­spec­tive of par­ty, that Schwarzenegger’s land­slide was an angry vote against the men, the peo­ple in pow­er, who can­not seem to lead us out of our con­tin­u­ing woes—the econ­o­my, job­less­ness, cor­po­rate greed—the usu­al impa­tience every 3 years or so at not get­ting the war over by Christ­mas. In a sim­pler word, a strong vote against incum­bents.”



“Some thought­ful, if pes­simistic, peo­ple see in the Schwarzeneg­ger tri­umph a dark­er vision. He has admit­ted to his ear­ly admi­ra­tion of Hitler, espe­cial­ly of Hitler’s pow­er to rouse a despair­ing, pover­ty-strick­en peo­ple and lead them on to vision­ary heights. The thing he most admired about Hitler was the ‘fuhrer princip’—the strong leader prin­ci­ple. Schwarzeneg­ger wants to be that strong leader. So we must wait and see whether in the course of his gov­er­nor­ship we shall see democ­ra­cy invig­o­rat­ed or the emer­gence of the first Amer­i­can fuhrer.”


4. As dis­cussed in FTR#429, Schwarzenegger’s meet­ing with Enron CEO Ken­neth Lay in May of 2001 was intend­ed to side­track law­suits by the state of Cal­i­for­nia against the ener­gy com­pa­nies that had per­pe­trat­ed the elec­tric­i­ty rip-off of the state. This scam was instru­men­tal in the desta­bi­liza­tion of Cal­i­for­nia. (For more about this desta­bi­liza­tion, see FTR#’s 280, 420.) This pro­gram notes that Schwarzeneg­ger appar­ent­ly has wast­ed lit­tle time in pay­ing-off his polit­i­cal debt to the lords of elec­tric­i­ty.

“ . . . The fol­low­ing is just in from jour­nal­ist Kather­ine Yuri­ca: ‘Arnold to Set­tle Law­suits for Pen­nies on the Dol­lar’. The Yuri­ca Report has learned that only three days after Mr. Schwarzeneg­ger won his vic­to­ry in Cal­i­for­nia, an aide announced that the gov­er­nor-elect intends to set­tle pend­ing ener­gy fraud law­suits. This appar­ent­ly includes the suit filed by Cruz Bus­ta­mante under the Cal­i­for­nia statute, Civ­il Code sec­tion 17200, of the Unfair Prac­tices Act. The pur­pose of the act ‘is to safe­guard the pub­lic against the cre­ation or per­pet­u­a­tion of monop­o­lies and to fos­ter and encour­age com­pe­ti­tion’ the Act express­ly pro­hibits, ‘unfair, dis­hon­est, decep­tive, destruc­tive, fraud­u­lent and dis­crim­i­na­to­ry prac­tices by which fair and hon­est com­pe­ti­tion is destroyed or pre­vent­ed.’”

“Told ‘ya So: Yuri­ca Report”; Greg Palast; 10/15/2003; p. 1; accessed at www.gregpalast.com .


“Accord­ing to news talk show host Bernie Ward of KGO radio, San Fran­cis­co, who report­ed the sto­ry Fri­day night on his radio show, (Octo­ber 10th), Schwarzenegger’s aid stat­ed that the governor-elect’s admin­is­tra­tion did not want to be sad­dled with some­one else’s law­suits. The Unfair Prac­tices Act, how­ev­er, has pro­vi­sions that require busi­ness­es who prof­it from unfair prac­tices to pay the vic­tims those prof­its. . . .”



“ . . . Mr. Schwarzenegger’s announce­ment to set­tle the law­suits comes on the heels of an arti­cle writ­ten on the eve of the elec­tion by inves­tiga­tive reporter Greg Palast. Palast, whose reports appear on BBC television’s News­night, said that the Los Ange­les-based Foun­da­tion for Tax­pay­er and Con­sumer Rights uncov­ered Enron inter­nal mem­os regard­ing Mr. Schwarzenegger’s secret meet­ing in may 2001 with the dis­graced CEO of Enron, Ken­neth Lay. The intent of the pow­er com­pa­ny, accord­ing to Palast, was to sab­o­tage the Davis-Bus­ta­mante plan to win back the $9 bil­lion dol­lars in ille­gal prof­its earned by pow­er moguls. The plan has worked so far. Clear­ly, Mr. Schwarzeneg­ger should be ques­tioned about his actions.”

Ibid.; pp. 1–2.

7. In con­trast with Schwarzenegger’s pub­lic image as “Mr. Every­man,” he moves qui­et­ly and with no quar­ter giv­en when the cam­eras are not rolling. Char­ac­ter­is­tic of this is his deci­sion to have a pri­vate inves­ti­ga­tor look into the charges of sex­u­al harass­ment lodged against him, instead of hav­ing and inde­pen­dent pub­lic inves­ti­ga­tion of the issue. The pos­si­bil­i­ty that his accusers may face ret­ri­bu­tion for their accu­sa­tions is not one to be too read­i­ly dis­missed. (Note in this regard the threat­en­ing phone calls made to author Wendy Leigh after she pub­lished Arnold: An Unau­tho­rized Biog­ra­phy. This is dis­cussed in FTR#429.)

“Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bill Lock­y­er said on a radio talk show Fri­day that he had been told two days before the Oct. 7 recall elec­tion that gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzeneg­ger had done’ ter­ri­ble things’ to a woman with­in the past year. . . .”

“Lock­y­er tells of Harass­ment Alle­ga­tion” by Lyn­da Gled­hill and Car­la Mar­in­uc­ci; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 11/8/2003; p. A4.


“ . . . Petrac­ca said the governor-elect’s announced pri­vate inves­ti­ga­tion was a los­er for him either way: ‘If (the doc­u­ment) nev­er becomes pub­lic, they’ll crit­i­cize that. If it is released, regard­less of the out­come, there will be crit­i­cism. So, no way do you win.’”


9. Turn­ing to an exam­i­na­tion of the wild­fires of late Octo­ber 2003, the pro­gram under­scores the fact that these events were crimes—terrorist acts that pro­duced bil­lions of dol­lars in dam­ages and a score of deaths.

“ . . . Arson is sus­pect­ed in two fires, the Grand Prix and Old fires in San Bernardi­no Coun­ty. The sheriff’s depart­ment released a sketch of a man in his ear­ly to mid-20’s who was seen dri­ving a light gray van away from where the fire start­ed, on Old Water­man Canyon Road in San Bernardi­no. The Cedar fire was ignit­ed by a lost hunter’s sig­nal fire. Ven­tu­ra Coun­ty offi­cials Wednes­day denied ear­li­er reports that a sus­pect had con­fessed to start­ing the Piru fire.”

“Fire­fight­er Dies as Infer­no Rages: Still Advanc­ing; 75,000 Evac­u­at­ed Near Resorts” by Gary Richards, Put­sa­ta Reang and Josh Susong; San Jose Mer­cury News; 10/30/2003; p. 19A.

10. Among the fac­tors that were eclipsed dur­ing the cov­er­age of the fires was the fact that Native Amer­i­can reser­va­tions were among the areas dev­as­tat­ed by the fires. The firs reduced busi­ness at gam­bling casi­nos on the reser­va­tions. These casi­nos were a rhetor­i­cal tar­get of Schwarzenegger’s cam­paign.

“ . . . There is one group of Cal­i­for­ni­ans that was gen­er­al­ly over­looked amid the chaos and destruc­tion dur­ing the past week Amer­i­can Indi­ans. In San Diego Coun­ty, 14 Indi­an reser­va­tions revealed how dev­as­tat­ing the fires were to 29,000 acres of trib­al lands charred by the Cedar and Par­adise fires. Only four reser­va­tions in the coun­ty were unaf­fect­ed.”

“Crews Take Upper Hand: Big Bear Lake Still Focus of Con­cern; Help Cen­ters Open by David E. Ear­ly, Put­sa­ta Reang and Kel­lie Schmitt; San Jose Mer­cury News; 11/1/2003; p. 20A.

11. In assess­ing the fires that her­ald­ed Schwarzenegger’s ascen­sion to the governor’s office, it is impor­tant to note that Cal­i­for­nia offi­cials fore­saw the pos­si­bil­i­ty of the dis­as­ter and vain­ly request­ed help from the Bush admin­is­tra­tion. As it did when Gray Davis request­ed help with the state’s elec­tric­i­ty cri­sis, the Bush admin­is­tra­tion turned a deaf ear.

“Cal­i­for­nia offi­cials accused the Bush admin­is­tra­tion Thurs­day of ignor­ing urgent pleas months ago for emer­gency help to remove bee­tle-infest­ed trees that experts warned could fuel a cat­a­stroph­ic South­ern Cal­i­for­nia fire. The US Sen­ate passed con­tro­ver­sial leg­is­la­tion Thurs­day allow­ing the thin­ning of forests across the West, and anoth­er debate erupt­ed over whether dire warn­ings about a bark bee­tle infes­ta­tion were ignored in Wash­ing­ton. In April, Gov. Gray Davis request­ed $430 mil­lion to remove unhealthy trees on 415,000 acres of for­est, but the request for emer­gency funds went unan­swered until last week—and then was denied. . . .”

“State: Bush Ignored Fire Plea” by Robert Sal­la­day and Zachary Coile; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 10/31/2003; p. A1.

12. Right-wing talk shows (that helped to pro­pel the recall elec­tion) wrong­ly scape­goat­ed envi­ron­men­tal­ists for the dis­as­ter. (Envi­ron­men­tal­ists are, of course, a fre­quent tar­get of the Bush admin­is­tra­tion.)

“For the past week, while South­ern Cal­i­for­nia has burned, envi­ron­men­tal groups have been pil­lo­ried on talk radio. They have received streams of angry e‑mail. Colum­nists have blast­ed them. As the sto­ry goes, tree-hug­gers blocked log­ging projects to thin the very forests that are burn­ing. Had they not been so obstruc­tion­ist, the fire dan­ger would have been reduced, crit­ics say. . .”

“Fire’s Scape­goats: Envi­ron­men­tal­ists” by Paul Rogers; San Jose Mer­cury News; 11/2/2003; p. 25A.


“ . . . ‘If you are going to exploit this and blame envi­ron­men­tal groups, you need to back up those state­ments, and so far nobody has been able to do that,’ said Annie Strick­ler, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Sier­ra Club in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. Strick­ler said years of fire sup­pres­sion in nation­al forests, com­bined with the fed­er­al and state gov­ern­ments pro­vid­ing insuf­fi­cient mon­ey to thin trees near homes, is the pri­ma­ry cul­prit. . . .”



“ . . . Last week, Rep. Richard Pom­bo, R‑Stockton, issued a press release titled ‘Wake up and Smell the Smoke: Forests Burn in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.’ In it, Pom­bo, chair of the House Resources Com­mit­tee, urged Con­gress to pass Pres­i­dent Bush’s ‘Healthy forests Ini­tia­tive’ to speed thin­ning. Fri­day Pom­bo press offi­cer Bri­an Kennedy agreed that the envi­ron­men­tal­ists’ impact on the fires was minor. ‘In fair­ness, no appeals have come to our atten­tion in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia that could offer that the envi­ron­men­tal com­mu­ni­ty is respon­si­ble for the fires,’ Kennedy said.”


15. Inter­est­ing­ly (and, per­haps, sig­nif­i­cant­ly) the admin­is­tra­tion used the fires as a lever to expe­dite the pas­sage of forestry leg­is­la­tion it (and its cor­po­rate allies in the tim­ber indus­try) had long sought.

“The flames may be final­ly dying down, but the great Cal­i­for­nia con­fla­gra­tion of 2003 has cre­at­ed urgency for a long smol­der­ing for­est man­age­ment issue—one that Pres­i­dent Bush has man­aged to turn to his advan­tage. Over the past year, the Bush admin­is­tra­tion has been push­ing a plan called the Healthy Forests Ini­tia­tive. It would loosen log­ging stric­tures on nation­al forests, allow­ing U.S. for­est Ser­vice super­vi­sors to approve large-scale thin­ning projects deemed essen­tial for wild­fire risk reduc­tion. Such deci­sions would be immune to judi­cial review. The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives has passed a bill that essen­tial­ly mir­rors the Bush plan. The Sen­ate, led by Dianne Fein­stein, passed an alter­na­tive bill Thurs­day that con­tains many of the pro­vi­sions of the Bush and House ver­sions . . . The leg­is­la­tion has moved quick­ly, say ana­lysts, in large part because of the south­ern Cal­i­for­nia blazes. And the final bill is like­ly to incor­po­rate much of the Healthy Forests Ini­tia­tive.”

“New Forestry Bill Has Envi­ron­men­tal­ists Wor­ried” by Glen Mar­tin; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 11/3/2003; p. A1.

16. The fires also pro­vid­ed Schwarzeneg­ger with a polit­i­cal wind­fall in sev­er­al impor­tant respects. First, the fires may well spark a con­struc­tion boom in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia that will assist the state eco­nom­i­cal­ly. Sec­ond, they may let Schwarzeneg­ger off the hook with regard to his fis­cal cam­paign promis­es. Third, the fires have giv­en Ahh­nuld the oppor­tu­ni­ty to look “gubernatorial”—the bereaved vic­tims pro­vid­ed him with pho­to-ops, in which he could appear to be the action-hero, ral­ly­ing the suf­fer­ing vic­tims and pro­vid­ing them with suc­cor.

“Arnold Schwarzeneg­ger may have some polit­i­cal pix­ie dust sprin­kled on his broad shoul­ders in the form of falling ash. It’s the kind of thing politi­cians only talk about in hushed tones, but the hor­ri­ble South­ern Cal­i­for­nia fires may have a sil­ver lin­ing for the pop­u­lar Repub­li­can gov­er­nor elect. . . Dis­as­ters are a time when politi­cians are expect­ed to rise to the occa­sion, as New York City May­or Rudolph Giu­liani did after the 2001 ter­ror­ist attacks. In Cal­i­for­nia, the dev­as­ta­tion has allowed Schwarzeneg­ger and Davis to act guber­na­to­ri­al­ly while prais­ing fire­fight­ers and empathiz­ing with those who lost homes or fled the flames. . . .”

“Noth­ing like a Dis­as­ter for a Polit­i­cal Boost” by Mark Glad­stone; San Jose Mer­cury News; 11/2/2003; p. 25A.


“ . . . The fires pro­vide an unex­pect­ed open­ing to the Schwarzeneg­ger dra­ma. Just as he wants to stim­u­late the state’s econ­o­my and low­er the job­less rate, home­own­ers will be hir­ing thou­sands of con­struc­tion work­ers who will be buy­ing tons of mails and ply­wood to rebuild. It’s the kind of ‘good for­tune’ that elud­ed Davis dur­ing his five years in office, which kicked off soon after a crop-killing freeze caused wide­spread dam­age to cit­rus trees and threw thou­sands of farm­work­ers out of jobs. . . .”



“ . . . The dis­as­ter could change the terms of the debate in Sacra­men­to on the need to pay for basic gov­ern­ment ser­vices, along with pro­pos­als for build­ing restric­tions in fire-prone areas. Although Schwarzeneg­ger cam­paigned not to raise tax­es, bar­ring an emer­gency, some polit­i­cal observers won­der whether the fires could qual­i­fy. ‘If you look at the num­bers, it’s almost impos­si­ble to see how you can bal­ance the bud­get’ with­out rais­ing tax­es, said Hen­ry Brady, a polit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia-Berke­ley. ‘This may give him the excuse to do what he said he would do only in an emer­gency.’ Fri­day, the gov­er­nor-elect was asked whether he was recon­sid­er­ing his pledge to roll back the car tax, much of which goes to under­write police and fire pro­tec­tion. Schwarzeneg­ger said it was the wrong time to talk about chang­ing his mind on rescind­ing $4 bil­lion in car tax­es. ‘But right now, I total­ly rule it out. . . .’”


19. Rep. Dar­rell Issa bankrolled the recall effort from his con­sid­er­able for­tune. Many of the fires were in his con­gres­sion­al dis­trict.

“ . . . Rep. Dar­rell Issa, R‑Vista, said it was appro­pri­ate for Schwarzeneg­ger to trav­el to Capi­tol Hill. ‘This is clear­ly the most effec­tive place he can be to move the agen­da, almost as if we get the ben­e­fit of two gov­er­nors,’ said Issa, who helped fund the recall that oust­ed Davis. Fires have been rag­ing in Issa’s north San Diego Coun­ty dis­trict.”


20. Most sig­nif­i­cant of the ben­e­fits accru­ing to Schwarzeneg­ger from the infer­no was the fact that it placed him in posi­tion to solic­it aid from the Bush admin­is­tra­tion, which prompt­ly uncorked Fema funds on behalf of the state it had pur­pose­ful­ly neglect­ed when it was under the stew­ard­ship of Gray Davis.

“Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first vis­it to Wash­ing­ton as gov­er­nor-elect of Cal­i­for­nia was meant to be a cer­e­mo­ni­al one. But with wild­fires rag­ing back home adding to the mis­ery of a state already reel­ing from a $9bn bud­get short­fall, Mr. Schwarzeneg­ger was pressed into action on Capi­tol Hill yes­ter­day. The soon-to-be-gov­er­nor held an ambi­tious num­ber of meet­ings with Repub­li­can and Demo­c­ra­t­ic mem­bers of Con­gress as well as the Fed­er­al Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency (Fema) as he tried to drum up much-need­ed sup­port for his state. . . .”

“Schwarzeneg­ger on Mis­sion for Fire-Rav­aged Cal­i­for­nia” by Joshua Chaf­fin; Finan­cial Times; 10/30/2003; p. 2.


“The two-day Wash­ing­ton trip will mark an ear­ly test of Mr. Schwarzenegger’s abil­i­ty to deliv­er on one of his main cam­paign claims—that he is bet­ter suit­ed to pris­ing funds out of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment than the state’s out­go­ing gov­er­nor, Gray Davis. In addi­tion to his film celebri­ty, Mr. Schwarzeneg­ger also counts his sta­tus as a ris­ing star in the Repub­li­can Par­ty at a time when Con­gress and the White House are con­trolled by Repub­li­cans. The press con­fer­ence he held in the Capi­tol yes­ter­day was packed with cam­eras. ‘It’s very clear that when you have a dynam­ic leader rep­re­sent­ing your state, it’s a lot more reward­ing,’ said Dar­rell Issa, the Cal­i­for­nia rep­re­sen­ta­tive who pushed the recall vote that brought Mr. Schwarzeneg­ger into office.”



“Mr. Schwarzeneg­ger said his first meet­ing with Michael Brown, the head of Fema, was ‘ter­rif­ic’, and that the agency had agreed to pro­vide ‘one-stop’ dis­as­ter relief cen­ters. The gov­er­nor-elect lat­er met Con­gres­sion­al lead­ers, includ­ing the pow­er­ful appro­pri­a­tions com­mit­tee that over­sees fed­er­al purse strings. When asked whether his Repub­li­can con­nec­tions would help California’s cause in Wash­ing­ton, Mr. Schwarzeneg­ger demurred: ‘I don’t think the fire vic­tims right now—or any­one else—is car­ing about Democ­rats or Repub­li­cans.’”


23. Before turn­ing to Schwarzenegger’s care­ful­ly-staged trip to Wash­ing­ton (which “coin­cid­ed” with the wild­fires), the pro­gram exam­ines Nazi film­mak­er Leni Riefenstahl’s cin­e­matog­ra­phy and manip­u­la­tion of Hitler and his fol­low­ers in her sig­na­ture “Tri­umph of the Will.”

“ . . . The super­star him­self, every bit a dem­a­gogue, thrived on the adu­la­tion of gigan­tic crowds. Riefen­stahl filmed him alone, in a soli­tary splen­dor, often from below, so that he loomed over the frame, with the sky and the clouds form­ing a grand back­drop. The crowds, on the oth­er hand, were usu­al­ly filmed in mul­ti­tudes, and even when indi­vid­ual faces were shot, the impres­sion cre­at­ed was that of mass fren­zy or mass dis­ci­pline. The col­lec­tive will was expressed through the iron will of one man, the des­tiny of a peo­ple and a nation was actu­al­ized through the tri­umph of his will. Every par­tic­i­pant in these spec­ta­cles was expect­ed to turn, as Goebbels famous­ly put it, ‘from a lit­tle worm into part of a large drag­on.’ In that moment of sheer per­for­mance, when all those involved are ensconced in the cir­cle of mag­ic, every­thing else is for­got­ten . . . .”

“The Nazi Who Refused to Die” by Sud­han­va Desh­pande


“ . . . Niet­zsche, in his 1878 text ‘Human, All too Human’ wrote: ‘Even when in the deep­est dis­tress, the actor ulti­mate­ly can­not cease to think of the impres­sion he and the whole scenic effect is mak­ing . . . . IF some­one obsti­nate­ly and for a long time wants to APPEAR some­thing, it is in the end hard for him to BE any­thing else . . . with all great deceivers there is a note­wor­thy occur­rence to which they owe their pow­er. In the actu­al act of decep­tion, with all its prepa­ra­tions, its enthralling voice, expres­sion, and ges­ture, in the midst of the scenery designed to give it effect, they are over­come by BELIEF IN THEMSELVES: it is this which then speaks so mirac­u­lous­ly and com­pelling­ly to those who sur­round them. . . .”


25. Pre­sent­ing a point of infor­ma­tion that was not in the orig­i­nal broad­cast, this descrip­tion high­lights the art and career of Luis Trenker, an asso­ciate of Leni Riefen­stahl whose work was inte­grat­ed into the Nazi pro­pa­gan­da psy­che by Joseph Goebbels. Note the pic­ture of Schwarzeneg­ger from Sports Illus­trat­ed. (The pic­ture is fea­tured in a link to this web site.) Was Trenker—the quin­tes­sen­tial action hero of the Ger­man Moun­tain Films—a cog­ni­tive tem­plate and inspi­ra­tion for the Schwarzeneg­ger gam­bit? Was his film “The Kaiser of Cal­i­for­nia” part of this tem­plate? (Note that John Sutter—the pro­tag­o­nist of the Trenker film—was a Swiss native who moved to Cal­i­for­nia from Ger­many.)

“ . . . An Aus­tro-Ital­ian, Trenker began in Ger­man ‘moun­tain films’ in the 1920’s and was a pop­u­lar lead by the end of the decade. He direct­ed some splen­did films in the 30’s, but the gen­er­al neglect or mis­un­der­stand­ing of the films he made dur­ing the pre-Nazi and Nazi eras con­signed his career to obscu­ri­ty. And yet, to quote film his­to­ri­an William K. Ever­son: ‘The Moun­tain Film was to Ger­many what the West­ern was to Amer­i­ca, and Trenker, as its lead­ing prac­ti­tion­er, was in a sense Germany’s John Wayne and John Ford rolled into one.’”

“Luis Trenker: Biog­ra­phy”; accessed at Hollywood.com; p. 1; vis­it their web site at www.hollywood.com/celebs/bio/deleb/1674560 .


“. . . A gift­ed ath­lete, Trenker proved a nat­ur­al for the moun­tain films’ rich­ly melo­dra­mat­ic tales of dan­ger­ous rock climbs and last-sec­ond res­cues set amid the harsh ele­ments of Germany’s lone fron­tiers. . . .[direc­tor Dr. Arnold] Fanck teamed him [Trenker] with dancer turned actor—and bud­ding director—Leni Riefen­stahl for moun­tain films includ­ing ‘Der Heilige Berg/Peaks of Des­tiny’ (1926) and ‘Der Grosse Sprung/The Big Jump’ (1927). . . .”



“He fol­lowed up with one of his finest achieve­ments, ‘Der Rebell. The Rebel’ (1932), for which he shot Eng­lish and Ger­man lan­guage ver­sions him­self on loca­tion in Bavaria. A his­tor­i­cal tale, based on fact, of moun­tain peas­ants defend­ing them­selves against Napoleon using gueril­la tac­tics, ‘The Rebel’ was nation­al­is­tic: the sto­ry cel­e­brat­ed Ger­man his­to­ry and tra­di­tions, and Trenker, at one point lead­ing his pur­suers on a thrilling­ly edit­ed chase that could nev­er have tak­en place in unin­ter­rupt­ed time, was an ide­al­ized, proud­ly Ger­man super­hero type. It is thus not sur­pris­ing that Trenker’s films, and indeed many moun­tain films, would be not only pop­u­lar with the Ger­man peo­ple, but also appro­pri­at­ed by the ris­ing Nazi par­ty. . . ‘The Rebel’ was high­ly praised by no less a per­son than Joseph Goebbels . . .”

Ibid.; pp. 1–2.


“ . . . Begin­ning in the Tyrol, the film [“Der Ver­lorene Sohn/The Lost Son’ (1934)] takes its peri­patet­ic hero to New York for a lengthy mid­dle sequence before return­ing him home. . . .The ethno­graph­ic thrust of the film con­tin­ued upon its return to the Tyrol doc­u­ment­ing a moun­tain fes­ti­val. The result is a true folk epic, a tale of two cul­tures . . . With this film and his fol­low-up, ‘Der Kaiser von Kalifornien/The Kaiser of Cal­i­for­nia’ (1936), a some­times con­ser­v­a­tive and roman­ti­cized, but excit­ing­ly ren­dered biopic of the schem­ing yet pio­neer­ing entre­pre­neur John Sut­ter, Trenker found him­self crit­i­cized for show­ing, respec­tive­ly, a depressed Amer­i­ca and a very flawed pro­tag­o­nist at a time when Ger­many want­ed the USA either as an ally or neu­tral in the com­ing war. . . .”

Ibid.; p. 2.


“Arnold Schwarzeneg­ger proved Wednes­day that his new­found polit­i­cal aura knows nei­ther geo­graph­ic nor par­ty bounds. . . .But the sto­ry of his first offi­cial trip to Wash­ing­ton was best told by the crush of media, law­mak­ers and pow­er bro­kers of all polit­i­cal per­sua­sions who dropped oth­er mat­ters to get in a word with, or often just a glimpse of, the hottest com­mod­i­ty in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. . . .”

(“State’s Charm Spreads to U.S. Capi­tol” by Marc San­dalow and Zachary Coile; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 10/30/2003; p. A1.)

30. Note the struc­tur­al sim­i­lar­i­ty between Schwarzenegger’s first vis­it to Wash­ing­ton (“con­cid­ing” with the wild­fires) and the delib­er­ate, thor­ough script­ing of Hitler’s pub­lic per­sona as por­trayed in “Tri­umph of the Will.”

“ . . . It clear­ly was more than inter­est in Cal­i­for­nia that drew at least 100 jour­nal­ists and 28 cam­eras to chron­i­cle a ‘media avail­abil­i­ty’ that con­sist­ed of just six ques­tions. And it was more than respect for the governor’s office that lured a near-record crowd of House Repub­li­cans, some with their own cam­eras, to their week­ly cau­cus meet­ing where the gov­er­nor was intro­duced to a stand­ing ova­tion.”

Ibid.; p. A7.


“Much of the vis­it was tight­ly script­ed. Walks down hall­ways were arranged by con­gres­sion­al staff to cre­ate pic­tures show­ing Schwarzeneg­ger con­vers­ing with law­mak­ers. Staged con­ver­sa­tions between Schwarzeneg­ger and mem­bers of con­gress were held before throngs of jour­nal­ists and replayed on tele­vi­sion through­out the day. Schwarzeneg­ger was held back for five min­utes out­side one GOP law­mak­ers’ meet­ing so that reg­u­lar busi­ness could be fin­ished in time for his grand entrance. Schwarzeneg­ger appeared per­fect­ly at ease play­ing the part and sought to turn his star pow­er into more resources for the state, remind­ing law­mak­ers who con­trol the fed­er­al purse that he had cam­paigned as the ‘Col­lecti­na­tor,’ who would bring back to his state a larg­er share of fed­er­al mon­ey. . . .”


32. As dis­cussed in FTR#’s 421, 429, there is leg­is­la­tion pend­ing that could per­mit Schwarzeneg­ger to become pres­i­dent. Note that recall- financier Dar­rell Issa (in whose dis­trict many of the wild­fires took place) is among the spon­sors of the leg­is­la­tion.

“There’s a prophet­ic scene in the 1993 action flick ‘Demo­li­tion Man’ in which cryo­geni­cal­ly frozen cop Sylvester Stal­lone awak­ens to an unrec­og­niz­able Amer­i­ca in the year 2032. ‘Hold it!’ he cries in dis­be­lief ‘The Schwarzeneg­ger Library?’ ‘Yes’, his future part­ner explains, ‘the Schwarzeneg­ger Pres­i­den­tial Library. Wasn’t he an actor?’ ‘Stop! He was pres­i­dent?’ ‘Yes, Even though he was not born in this coun­try, his pop­u­lar­i­ty at the time caused the 61st Amend­ment. . . .”

“Pres­i­dent Schwarzeneg­ger” by Vic­ki Had­dock; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 11/2/2003; p. D1.


“ . . . Sen. Orrin Hatch, R‑Utah, chair of the Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee, is spon­sor­ing what some have nick­named ‘The Ahnuld Amendment’—a pro­pos­al to make an immi­grant eli­gi­ble for the pres­i­den­cy after 20 years of U.S. cit­i­zen­ship, con­ve­nient­ly coin­cid­ing with the Aus­tri­an-born Schwarzenegger’s 20th(Idem.) anniver­sary as a U.S. cit­i­zen. Schwarzeneg­ger and Hatch are friends—the actor has even cam­paigned for him in Utah . . . . In recent years it has accu­mu­lat­ed a diverse core of co-spon­sors in the House, includ­ing Rep. Dar­rell Issa of San Diego Coun­ty. . .”



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