Words of warning and welcome:

This is very much my blog, so don't be surprised if this doesn't follow accepted patterns and norms. Obviously it started out as a blog about my cross-dressing but it has developed a great deal since then. It is a place where I can be anonymous and honest, and I appreciate that.

It will deal with many things and new readers would do well to check out the New Readers' Page above this and the tag down there on the right. Although there's nothing too bad in here there will be adult language, so be careful. If you think this needs a greater control, please let me know. Thank you!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Focussing flamboyance?

It can't have escaped anyone's notice that I have a job that involves a fair amount of pootling around in History. It also can't be far from obvious that I enjoy this and that I am my own exponent of Godwin's Law. I have made multiple references to the Nazis even in this blog, and most of them were historical in nature. I am an observer with my own perspective of the world in which I live, which is not the same world as everyone else.

The title is my attempt to cleverly pun on 'concentration camp' BTW. Yeah, I never claimed it was any good.

A friend of my family may have been part of the SS and so I have analysed (and yes, that is a proper term, I don't believe I imbued it with emotion, in a negative way) the interrelationship inherent in the transaction. How can a loving, supportive, interesting and all round nice old man have been part of something that we happily denounce as evil? He was not brainwashed, he had never been brainwashed. He maintained a healthy respect for German language, German ideals and Germany. Bear in mind the shift that has happened there too and the more liberal approaches they have than, well, virtually anywhere else in the world. In short, this person, this old man, was as down with jazz and infidelity as he was with the Pakistani community. And yes, in his past, this self-same man at a different part of his journey took part in horrors that we dismiss as evil. In dismissing things thus we deny our own ability to do the same.

I embrace that. I fully appreciate and recognise that, given the right set of circumstances, I do close my eyes to suffering and I plough on. I happily ignore the humanity and the shared experience of people around me, the Other, and I am happy to tar people with a brush in broad strokes. I live the disconnect, the ability to differentiate between nice old mister Goldstein downstairs and all the other Jews who probably deserve relocation because I don't know them and they are, thus, the Other. I don't mean to say that any of this is right or that I shouldn't challenge these views just that I recognise that I can have them.

So it is that I am visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau with some students. Updates will freeze for a long while methinks. And I am usually logical and cold. I suspect this will be like watching Threads on repeat for a long period, over several days. And I know how I get watching that film. I can live the disconnect, I can comment that my grandfather is still warm after he has died and feel nothing giving a eulogy at my grandmother's funeral (one in which I can act the emotions and speak clearly as I act in the classroom). I can be impassioned if called upon to be so but I can live inside myself and watch the world around me quietly.

I'll never win any philosophical arguments as I recognise my flaws too readily, but only in ways that support my argument at any given time. Please don't think I'm suggesting what I do is a good thing. I also speak without engaging my brain and often go too far in what I say.

And, at Auschwitz-Birkenau, I shall be wearing a camisole as a vest because it will be cold. I may even wear tights under my socks and trousers. I wonder what my family friend would make of that?

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All comments are welcome, I have a thicker skin virtually than I do in real life!