X-Men First Class: Never Again, Ever Again

I finally got around to watching X-Men First Class, and found it not only an enjoyable superhero action movie and a satisfying prequel exploring the earlier lives of the X-Men, but also a challenging parable about the danger of history repeating itself when we most want to avoid it doing so

In the first X-Men movie, we briefly got to see Magneto’s power manifesting itself for the first time as he desperately tried to stop the Nazis separating him from his parents in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

In X-Men First Class, we see that scene and then the ensuing story, as a mutant working with the Nazis realizes that Eric’s ability manifests itself when he is angry, and tries to enable his use of it by threatening and then killing his mother. Eric is for a while simply out to avenge himself on his erstwhile captors and the murderers of his family.

But we also see him acting out of a concern to avoid seeing mutants hunted and exterminated in a similar fashion.

At one point he utters the phrase “Never again,” the famous Jewish slogan referring to the Holocaust.

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The irony, of course, is that Magneto sees a war coming and is willing to contemplate the extermination of unmutated humans as a means to ensuring the survival of his own “superior race.”

Visitors to Israel are often struck by the irony of the fact that there one can encounter both graffiti that says “Never Again” and graffiti that says “Gas the Arabs.”

The lesson from X-Men First Class and from the history of Israel seems clear to me. If one genuinely wishes to avoid horrors such as the Holocaust ever happening again, then simply perpetrating similar horrors on others can never be the means to that. Carrying out a Holocaust is by definition making that great atrocity happen again. And so if one genuinely means “Never Again,” then the answer can only be to work towards a world in which the dehumanization and demonization of others, xenophobia, and the scarcity of basic necessities that can lead people to turn on their longtime neighbors are eliminated.

Those are the two choices: never again, or ever again.

 

  • BertramCabot

    Well, you manage to use the X Men to take a swipe at Israel. 

    Truly incredible.

    And, of course, you libel the Jews in doing so because they don’t call for the extermination of the Arabs…despite your anecdotcal story about graffiti…but the Palestinan elected party Hamas still calls for the destruction of Israel in its Charter.

    And another Middle Eastern state has even stated that they want to wipe Israel off the map as soon as they can get their nuclear weapons.

    But the Jews are serious about “Never Again”, sitting back while the exterminations are carried out and not fighting back in an organized fashion.

    If they are not prepared to fight back, they will be exterminated.  You are giving away your own Jew hatred if you try to deny this.

    • http://twitter.com/RodATJr Rodney Thomas

      What swipe at Israel? Christians can’t be pro-Israel and pro-Palestine?

  • BertramCabot

    By they way, its interesting that Magneto is portrayed as a Jew who wants to eliminate humanity.

    I bet you like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, too.

    Fortunately, both are FICTION but I think you are losing touch with that, HERR PROFESSOR.

    • Africancalamari

      Magneto has been Jewish for a while & was created by a Jewish person.

  • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

    Really, BertramCabot?  Or are you, perhaps, attempting to hide your own xenophobia by means of libelous projection onto Dr. McGrath?

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    I have a really intense dislike for the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and for anti-Semitism.

    As a person of Jewish descent, that is not surprising, I imagine.

    I also have a strong dislike for those who attempt to provoke anti-Semitism by depicting Jews as all xenophobes who would gladly carry out a Holocaust in order to “protect” themselves, as though there is nothing wrong with a Holocaust as long as your own people are not the victim.

    I am fairly confident that it is not the Holocaust survivors in Israel who have ever spray painted “Gas the Arabs”. If you live through something that atrocious, you don’t want to see it ever happen again – to anyone.

    I have been to Hebron and so I saw the graffiti myself, but I checked and there are also photos online, if you would like to see them. Another one is even more explicit and says “Arabs to the gas chambers.”

    Is that really the lesson of the Holocaust from your perspective, BertramCabot? If so, I am guessing that you don’t know anyone who actually lived through it.

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  • http://twitter.com/RodATJr Rodney Thomas

    Excellent post, James.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Wilson/1355591760 Michael Wilson

    I haven’t gotten around to it. My initial reaction to the movie was “oh, another super hero movie” and x men 3 was terrible. But I have heard good things about this. On James’ point about Israel, I don’t think support for Israel must include the denial that there any Jews who are xenophobic. I personaly support Likud and think that their is much more racism among the Palestinians, but I understand that their are racist among the Jewish population as well. His point aplies to them.

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  • BertramCabot

    You are wrong again, HERR PROFESSOR.  I did know people who lived through the holocaust, although they have since passed away. In fact, I learned from them that the Jews should have fought back in mass.  A few hundered thousand dead SS Men who came for their victims would have been a wake up call TO THE WORLD!!!

    As for hour beloved “graffiti”, you don’t know you wrote it.  Disinformation in these things is common.

    But the position of the Israeli government is not extermination.  That IS the position of HAMAS and other factions.  Most notorious is the Iranian leadership.

    Don’t be a Jew afraid to point out that the Anti Jews are wanna be mass murderers.

    Its time for the world to remember THE SAMSON OPTION.  Look it up on wikipedia.

    • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

      Herr Idiot,

      I see from your online activity that you’re a troll when it comes to this topic.  Please, kindly, take your trollish behavior and give yourself an enema.  With sugar on top.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Yep, it’s now clear that this is a troll/spammer who kept leaving irrelevant comments about the “Samson Option” on posts.

    The irony is that he seems to agree with me that there is something inappropriate about the graffiti. He just can’t bring himself to admit it, because he presumably has adopted a worldview in which criticism of anything that anyone Jewish or connected with Israel does is misconstrued as criticism of Jews or of Israel. Apparently he cannot see or refuses to see the difference between defending oneself and gassing all Arabs.

    Such a pity, when someone is unable to actually engage in normal human conversation and understand what others say. Surely a refusal to communicate accurately and honestly is not the way to avoid future genocides?

  • BertramCabot

    Herr Professor, no where did I claim that Arabs should be gassed.  Is that your example of accurate and honest communication?  If so, you have exposed your own willful ignorance and weakness.

    But the way to avoid future genoicides is to make sure that those who might try to perpetrate the same are aware that such attempts will be met with massive retaliation.

     Are you seriously not aware that the Iranian leadership calls for the extermination of the Jews?  That the Charter of Hamas calls for the elimination of Israel?

    Of course you are, which means you are so angry you are reacting like a little bitch.

    The Samson Option is real.

    But talk is cheap.

    Get over it.

    P.S., Mike, KMA.

    • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

      Notice, James, that BertramCabot used the code acronym “KMA,” which means “Kill More Arabs.”  True colors revealed!  ;-)

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Where, exactly, did I ever deny anything that you pointed out about the Iranian leadership or about Hamas?

    If you don’t approve of gassing Arabs, then what exactly was your complaint about what I wrote?

  • BertramCabot

    No, it means KISS MY ASS

    • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

      Ooooooooooooooo!  A fine example of BertramCabot’s debating skills.  When confronted with the truth, he requests certain, uh, favors. 

      No thanks, BertramCabot.  I’m happily married and quite hetero.

  • BertramCabot

    What truth?  Saying KMA means “kill more Arabs”? LOL!  That was in YOUR mind, sport, not mine. 

    And now you are throwing in a little gay bashing to top it off!

    But there is no debate, nothing to argue about.

    Its not going to happen again.

    The Samson Option is in place. 

    Get over it.

    • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

      Here’s one of your major malfunctions, BertramCabot:  You don’t read things carefully.  If you look at my KMA = Kill More Arabs post, you will see a winking emoticon.  I clearly knew exactly what you meant and hoped that, in your haste to read things into posts that weren’t really there, I could draw you in to make another fool of yourself.  Hook, line, and sinker.  Mission accomplished.

      As for the “gay bashing” comment, my response to your demand that I put my lips on your posterior was nothing of the sort.  I simply refused your obvious advances (insert another winking emoticon here), which is not bashing but rather declaring one’s orientation.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  Once again, you’ve read into something that isn’t there, which is the point of everyone’s responses to your trolling.

      You’ve made allegations about Dr. McGrath that are, clearly, untrue and you’re willing to engage in libel to further your own agenda.  Time to make a New Year’s resolution, BertramCabot, and renew your corrupt mind.

      Happy New Year!

  • BertramCabot

    For some reason I can’t link to the Wikipedia article on the Samson Option…its not bad, for Wikipedia.

    Some choice quotes about the possibility of a people being faced with a Second Holocaust…as the Jews are…being able to bring on a Nuclear Winter.

    Might make the world think twice, THIS TIME.

  • JDatty

    Look again, there is no winking emoticon…you are making excuses after the fact.

    You slipped up and engaged in a little gay bashing and now you are falling all over yourself to excuse it.

    And no one Libeled McGrath.  But you don’t hesitate to make accusations, do you, bitch?

    • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

      JDatty,

      You’re not too observant either.  Here’s the comment to which I referred.  You know, the one with the winking emoticon?

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2011/12/x-men-first-class-never-again-ever-again.html#comment-398110297

      You’re not too bright either, for you wouldn’t know gay-bashing or libelous statements if I gave you Wikipedia links to their definitions.  Or do you prefer to make up your own truth that has no basis in reality?

      BTW, you’re certainly welcome to call me a bitch to my face.  I’ll provide you with a school playground address where we can meet.  Of course, I can wait until you’re out of recess so you don’t miss any class.  (You’re too funny, JDatty!)  ;-)


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