Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Rewriting History –or- Don’t be Stupid be a Smarty Come and Join the Nazi Party

So today in a tribute to inefficiency and the ridiculousness of old Italian Catholic men and their centuries of traditions, millions around the world watched a chimney and waited for bells to toll – simple signs that are the only signals a new pope has been chosen.

I will very rarely quote or reference CBS since I have lost respect for the Tiffany station after, Memogate/Rathergate and CSI/Arafat debacle. Yet I must give credit where credit is due and Bob Schieffer made an eloquent point in his Pope picking coverage this afternoon.

Smoke first started coming out of the Vatican chimney at about fifteen minutes to noon. Five minutes later all three stations were in special report. From the networks to the 24 hour channels across the board all stations were live with their shot focused on a static shot aimed at the roof. On that roof all focused from different angles on one single thing, the chimney. At first the smoke was white but no bells rang – so the thousands verging on millions waiting in Saint Peter’s Basilica cheered thinking a new Pope had been chosen and were simply waiting for the bells to ring.

Much like the Vatican reporting the Pope had died almost a full day before John Paul actually shuffled off the mortal coil, the Italian press once again jumped the gun and said the smoke was black. They reported though the smoke looked white it was really black meaning no new Pope had been chosen. Granted this was feasible since Monday night during the Cardinals first vote the smoke appeared white and then went black.

So for almost 20 minutes the world watched white smoke pour out of the chimney. I am not proud – I will say I watched it too, nonstop. Almost without blinking my eyes were trained on the coverage – watching to see if the smoke would darken, and then it would be at least another day before a new Pope is chosen, or bells would toll meaning there was a new leader of the Catholic faith.

Then it happened the first bell tolled – and the crowds rejoiced. People from all different nationalities chanted in union waving flags of their different nations supporting someone they didn’t even know.

Here’s where I need to give my props to Bob. In one of the many breaks when coverage craped out during their continuing coverage Bob made a remark about the age we live in and the abudence of technology. Here we are in the 21st century where the internet speed information across the globe – where mini commentators like myself can reach an unlimited audience, and yet sometimes traditonal methods mean more. Today when the Pope was chosen to some the most powerful man in the world, the message is sent out by a simple means of communication. A simple puff of smoke selects the leaders of millions. A tradition seemingly ancient, and outdated, and occasionally errous, some would say like our own electoral collage, yet it exists and works, at least to the somewhat confusing extent it did today.

Meanwhile in a showing of his techno savvy when the Pope John Paul died a message was sent out to millions cell phones. People across Europe received the news of the Pope John Paul the Second’s death by text message. A text message. Then to find out about the new Pope what are we watching? A chimney. Waiting for smoke. Smoke signs like we are back in the old west waiting for the signal to rob a stagecoach. Like Tonto trying to contact the Lone Ranger we wait and watch smoke.

So this afternoon white/black smoke is sailing from the chimney. Then it was official, the bells began to toll, around 12:10. However it wasn’t until just about 12:43 when he was announced. The Cardinals came out on the balcony and announced they had selected Joseph Ratzinger, a German, the bookies favorite at Ladbrokes, and one of the most polarizing figures in the Catholic Church. Meanwhile the pope chose the humble name Pope Benedict the sixteenth. He is against women in the clergy birthcontrol, and many fear he will threaten dissention in the church.

As a Jew what does this selection mean to me? Well here is the heart of the matter. Ratzinger being a German youth in the 1940’s was a member of the Hitler youth. Lets look at some quotes. First lets look at his memoirs. In 1941, Ratzinger, 14, and his brother, Georg, were enrolled in the Hitler Youth when it became mandatory for all boys. Soon after, he records in his book, "The Salt of the Earth," he was let out because of his intention to study for the priesthood. Thats not the ends of the Nazi ties. He was later drafted into the Nazi army. A Pope who served in the Nazi army and is feared in the Vatican world? Who would have guessed?

But how does the world report this? Lets find out.

CNN: “Ratzinger is pictured in his German army uniform during World War II after he was drafted in 1943.”

Fox News: In May 1945, thousands of German prisoners of war trudged down the highway toward the Bavarian town of Bad Aibling. Among them — tired but grateful to be alive — was 18-year-old Joseph Ratzinger, who just days before had risked death by deserting the German army.

Not the Nazi’s the Germany Army, which was the Nazi’s if I remember the World War Two section of my history book correctly. Not all were so kind as to white wash the history of Pope Benedict.

On MSNBC: “According to his memoirs, Ratzinger was enrolled in the Nazi youth movement against his will in 1941 when he was 14.”

Sure it was against his will but at least they say Nazi.

So pay attention there is a reason Jews are wary about the selection of the new Pope. Sure he deserted the ‘German Army’ but it was in the waning days of the war – when American troops were already closing in. Sure anything associated with the Nazi party usually sets off red flags with Jews; you know the mass genocide of six million might do that. It seems a stark contrast from Pope John Paul the Second who was one of the friendliest Popes to Jews in history.

So what happens next? Lets keep count, and see how often and on what stations use the term Nazi in connection to the new Pope Benedict. Who knows after years of interfaith dialogue under Pope John Paul II will the new Pope pull a Benedict Arnold on the Jewish people? Only time will tell, but this Jew is watching his back.


Anonymous Dustin V.T said...

As pointed out by your blog Trev, Pope Benedict was enrolled in the Hitler youth against his will. though this and his service in the Nazi army are reason for concern, I've actually read a la Drudge Report source that "We [us heebs] are certain that he [Churchy McPope] will continue on the path of reconciliation between Christians and Jews that John Paul II began," so says Paul Spiegel, head of Germany's main Jewish organization. However, in preparation, just in case things go sour, we jews should elect our own Pope to rival the power of Rome's grand Pooba. I say Go find the holiest and richest jew in the land, and make him a gloried JewKing upon a throne of diversified stock portfolios and gafilta fish. He'd be like the Catholic Pope, in that he'd share similar duties, but take his new Jew-Vatican somewhere in Hollywood, (inorder to keep things in check,) or the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Here's to a funnier, cheaper, and handsomer Schlemihl- Pope, (though his Mom will prob. end calling the shots anyways) i leave it to you, who do you put in the lead? My guesses
1)Steven Spielburg
2)Jerry Seinfeld
3)Trevor Tamsen (why not?)
4)any living relative of any of the 3 stooges

etc. etc. etc.


April 19, 2005 10:36 PM  
Anonymous Stephanie Yuhas said...

Howdy, Old Pen-Pal O’ Mine!
Greetings from Philadelphia!
I was looking through an old “box of stuff” the other day and came across one of your letters! My friends and I were just talking about how disturbing it is that you can google ANYONE these days, and POOF, there they are! Point proven!
I hope all is well, feel free to drop me a line sometime! I’m shinygrape@hotmail.com
Hope all is well!
And to add to your blog rant, I must say,“Elizabeth???” “Ja. Not many people know this, but the fuhrer was descended from a long line of English queens.”

March 22, 2006 11:30 AM  

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