Stranger than fiction
Trevor Johnston might be able to distinguish between a good film and a bad film, but he is clearly uneducated in recent history. To make a joke at the expense ofthe Holocaust is offensive in the extreme, as he did in his review of Europa, Europa, (The List 176), and his remarkable display of ignorance is quite disturbing.
Regardless of the film’s artistic merit, its subject matter — Nazi persecution of Jewish children — can hardly be adjudged ‘absurd’, ‘unbelievable’ and ‘laughable’. however much Johnston thinks he knows. To denigrate the mass-murder of 89% ofJewish children in Europe by claiming it too fantastic even for fiction is to presume an authority for which Johnston clearly has no basis.
Johnston admits to ‘giggling’ during the scene in which the ‘fresh-faced hero‘ attempts to sew on a foreskin, before dismissing it as complete invention. The attempt to pass off as a gentile, by whatever means, is hardly comic. Self-mutilation as a means of self-preservation may be a little hard to take in Trevor Johnston’s comfortable little world, but hardly unthinkable where the alternative for thousands was suicide, and for one and a half million children a short walk into the gas chambers. Or does he also dismiss the death camps as too absurd a stretch of the imagination?
I suggest Johnston tries reading for a change. He might be surprised to ﬁnd that in the shadow of Auschwitz we can affirm that reality is after all stranger than fiction.
St Leonard’s Street
TrevorJohnston replies: Europa, Europa ’s execution, not its source material is responsible for creating an unintentionally comedic effect, one which I believe trivialises the memory of the very camp survivors to whom it seeks to pay tribute. It’s for this reason, despite the understandable pressure the whole Holocaust genre places on the critic to write a sober and respectful review, that my own short piece attempted to convey a note of indignation at the film in question. Unfortunately, lack of space rather
demanded that the more complex issues raised by A gnieszka Holland ’s movie remained undiscussed, so I’m only too happy to offer some clarification.
lam writing to complain about the press coverage of Princes Di’s desire to commit hara-kiri. I think it is a disgrace that Nigel Dempster et al attack the Royal family. I believe they do a good job for the country and are worth every penny of the £3 billion tax-payers’ money. I also believe in Santa Claus and that the moon is made of cheese.
In addition, could The List try to organise a three-way-referendum. I believe we should have a vote on ( 1) Europe, (2) Scottish Devolution, (3) The End ofthe Monarchy.
I believe the result would be a decisive vote for the Peoples Republic of Europe’s Parliament. to be held in Scotland.
Peter Hastie Clermiston Road Edinburgh.
Nigel Dempster et al worth [3 billion." Shorer shome mishtake. Peter. We had a word with Santa, and he said that as he was too busy to get you a slice of the old lunar gorgonzola.
you ’11 have to make do with the bottle of very special Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila which awaits you at our
When you’ve worked yourself up into a summer sweat at the Prince and Erasure gigs, sitting on the sidelines of the Tennis and Football or having read our very own A to Z of sex in the cinema. why not calm down with a cooling letter to The List. The best one wins a bottle ofJose Cuervo Gold Tequila.
Re: ‘No Sleep To Malmo‘ (The List 176).
Dear Tom Lappin. (Quite an ‘amusing name’ that. by the way.) As a German who has lived in Edinburgh for eleven years now.l am writing this letter because I really feel I owe you an apology. lam deeply sorry for bombing your granny‘s house. for killing all those millions of people. for always getting to the beach first. for starting those wars, for being arrogant and humourless.
What has all this got to do with football. one hears me cry"? ‘Fuck all‘ is in fact the right answer.
Yet your basis for analysis of the German football team seems to be a collection of prejudices derived from reading too many Victor comics.
Your view of the German performance in ltalia ’90 is quite something else. lfyou try to look beyond your deep-rooted opinion that a band of Nazis should never be allowed to field a football team, you would find that most of the rest of the world (this being a collective term for people who actually do know something about the sport) agrees that the best team won the last World Cup. the same team that deservedly failed to do so in the two previous
competitions. Surprising also. how
you do not include the ‘genius of Lothar Matthaeus’ in this ‘shower (of Kuntz‘.’)’ whom ‘no one really wants to win’. ls he not as utterly and despicably German as the rest?
On the whole. Mr Lappin. your article is a sad piece of work. Your journalism has no quality. no humour. no clue and is generally out of place in such an otherwise fine magazine. As a regular List reader. I expect to be informed. not insulted.
Stefan Heuman Roddinglaw Cottages
Tom Lappin replies: Sorry Stefan. but a swift trip back to Paranoia City would seem in order. My short entry on Germany made no references to. the war (your obsession not mine)
3 and my comments on the German
performance in ltalia '90 re erred to thefact that they won both the semi-final and the final front the penalty spot. Hardly convincing.
Last In: first out?
Celtic’s ‘back-door’ entry into Europe because of the ‘situation‘ in Yugoslavia (see Tom Lappin's cuttingjibe of The List 176). is clearly a case ofdivine intervention. since ifa Protestant God doesn‘t help us qualify for the UEFA Cup. He can’t have the pleasure of watching us crash out of the UEFA Cup in the first round. Who shall ever forget the Partisan Belgrade game. when Milco Durovski pranced around in his distinctive black tights a la Rudolph Nureer playing Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake. And all the Celtic bench could do was instruct Roy Aitkin to ‘Clock that bastard‘. (Ll. 1-i.2-l.2-2. 3-2.3-3.4-3.5-3. then with only two minutes to go. 54. Aggregate score 6-6. Partisan win on away goals. European football: who needs it‘.’
David M. Bennie
0i! Who let the boy Bennie back on th e letters page anyway."
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