It’s Friday afternoon and, ladies and gentlemen, I need you to see this because, in the same vein as The Room, here is a YouTube clip so bad it creates new worlds of thought.
Meet Harald Glöckler. He is a real, German fashion designer with a real line coming out on QVC in the UK, for which this is an actual promo clip. Harald paints, he designs, he writes books! Harald does it all. But Harald doesn’t seem to be coming from the same place as most people.
Egomania and creativity go hand and hand, and they have for as long as any person has ever had to defend their work — which should date back all the way to the Lascaux cave paintings. It’s nothing personal towards the “artist”, or individual ego; rather the very act of creativity brings out the worst in us. Sometimes the very act of creating can lead people down crazy, manic roads (please, please, please click that link and read Roseanne’s essay.) Or the simple length, the duration, of having to create can indulge and exploit some of the most unique and forgotten places in the human spirit (as witnessed by Charlie Sheen’s press blitz a few months ago). Which brings us to this week’s press conference with Lars von Trier at the Cannes Film Festival. Take a gander:
The press conference resulted in Von Trier’s expulsion from the Festival altogether. All this was precipitated by the question of his German heritage. (He should have answered like Harald Glöckner.) Whether or not von Trier actually had a sudden epiphany of latent Nazi sympathies can be debated. What’s unique here is how completely self-absorbed he appears throughout the press conference. And that’s what got him in trouble. Von Trier problem’s has nothing to do with Hitler qua Hitler. Hell, it’s easy to make light of Hitler. (This, in my opinion, is the best one…)
Sit in on any Modern European history class in a college level and the awkward discussion comes up, “Emerging from Weimar, was Hitler a good leader?” The discussion the matters because within it — within the debate — come the logical answers.
Of course Lars von Trier is nuttier than a squirrel turd (to use my grandmother’s elocution). What makes many of von Trier’s films brilliant is his ability to tap into some of the darkest and most disturbing places of the human soul. But within this press conference the fact that he felt the right to extend himself into a petty political gags is the problem.
I am staunchly against any form of censorship whatsoever and anyone that knows me knows this central fact. But to aestheticize is totally different then equating oneself to something that most people find atrocious for no practical purpose whatsoever. Lars von Trier had nothing to gain or any reason to say he sympathized with Hitler and Nazism. And that’s the problem.