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614                                     Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
            CABARET TO JULIA

            Films find Fascism fashionable.  Cabaret insightfully showed the easy
            seduction by Fascism when the handsome blond Nordic boy sang “Tomor-
            row Belongs to Me.” This sequence detailed Fascism’s bandwagon seduc-
            tion as, on screen, face after face joined his rousing song. Director Bob
            Fosse’s own filmic power seduced the American audience right into the
            spirit of the sunny beer-garden song, so that in movie houses everywhere
            audiences were shocked to find themselves so suddenly, so easily sucked
            into the thrill of what began as a gloriously innocent song and built to an
            impassioned Fascist anthem of the Master Race.
               Julia, directed by Fred Zinnemann, more gently shows American
            dramatist Lillian Hellman (Jane Fonda) rescuing liberal Europeans
            from pre-World War II Fascism which eventually murders Julia herself
            (Vanessa Redgrave). Less delicately than Cabaret and Julia, the films of
            Lina Wertmueller such as Seven Beauties (1976) and the films of young
            Spanish director Fernando Arrabal — Viva la Muerte (1974) and Guer-
            nica 1976) — portray the grotesquely real S&M of Franco’s Fascism under
            which Arrabal and the current generation of young Spaniards have grown
            up knowing the fact that gay men, like the gay poet/dramatist Federico
            Garcia Lorca, are shot up the ass with pistols because they are gay; the
            fact that Arrabal’s own father is buried to the neck in sand so his head
            can be used by four horsemen as a polo ball; the fact that a woman shits
            on a male prisoner’s face. In Wertmueller’s  Beauties, a Nazi She-Wolf
            performs shockingly cruel and scatological S&M inside a concentration
            camp. These are strong images meant to stir up strong audience reaction
            by these filmmakers. A moviemaker like Ken Russell, on the other hand,
            rolls singer Ann-Margret around in chocolate syrup in Tommy (1975), and
            this movie-brand of “pretend-shit” the audience of faint-hearts think is
            “just a wonderful camp.”


            So what has Fascism to do with Gay Americans in 1978? John Dos Pas-
            sos, author of USA Trilogy, warned, “We will have Fascism in America,
            but we will call it Americanism.” Bigots from Bryant to Briggs who wrap
              themselves in the flag and scream “family” are Americanists. Ameri-
            canists do what Fascists did. Hitler burned books and censored radio.
            Germans were not allowed to see what they wanted to see nor say what
            they wanted to say. Americanist/Fascists always want other people, their
            victims, in tied-up situations.

          ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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