Profiting on tragedy? (was Humour)

John P. Satta (
Fri, 27 Dec 1996 00:43:49 -0500

>> >Eliezer Yudkowsky wrote:
>> >>
>> >> I see the Holocaust as a horrendous tragedy, and if
>> >> someone smaller than me made a joke about it, I'd punch his lights out.
>> >> --
>> Michael Lorrey then replied:
>> >I concur with Eliezer.

John Satta then replied:
>> I understand this is a visceral response to a highly emotionally charged
>> subject. I'm not trying to start an argument but I would like to know why
>> you are upset at making a profit from this film.

To which Michael Lorrey said:
>For the same reason I would be a bit perturbed at someone selling
>tickets to his mother's funeral. Tickets to his own funeral is another
>matter, especially if he is still around to enjoy it. I have since the
>movie came out learned that Spielberg put the profits to use in
>educational projects on the Holocaust, and am somewhat mollified. The
>fact that he did this indicates he shares my own revulsion from
>profiting on the dead.

Profiting on the dead? The film relates historical incidents. Yes, the
principals are dead. The movie also made a profit. Does that mean that
every profitable retelling of history is to be reviled?

[snip of description of Jewish Nazi collaborators]

Nazi collaborators should be reviled. I agree.

>Since we as transhumans are seeking to attain the next level of human
>evolution, we run serious risks in having our ideas and programs branded
>by the popular media as neo-eugenics, racist, neo-nazi, etc.,

I'm not sure I understand the connection between Extropianism and the Final
Solution. They seem diametrically opposed to me. I grant you that some
extropian concepts could be misconstrued or misrepresented.

Schindler's behavior, which the movie celebrates, is an example of how one
person can make a difference by turning the power of a corrupt government
against itself. As a capitalist used to playing all the angles Schindler
was able to scam the German military into releasing certain people into his
"employ" where he could keep them alive.

I would imagine that turning a corrupt government against itself would warm
the heart of many anarchists or libertarians.

[large snip]

>For this reason, we must be adamant about inclusivness, that the
>transhuman future is for all humans, not just for the elite that will
>develop the tools of attaining it. We must also as a group be decisively
>aware of this lesson from the past. Remember, the Nazi party was fouded
>by misfits, outcasts, and intellectuals, just the type to be subscribers
>to this list.

If we are to be aware of the leesons of the past we must understand
history. To understand it we must know the facts of history. We must learn
those facts where we can. Anyone who presents researched history is doing
real commendable work and should be compensated accordingly. Will they then
be "profiting on the dead?"


I agree. Education, in any form, is not a "free lunch." Somebody must be
paid for it. And if historical research isn't profitable enough for the
historians, they might do something else.

Now if the complaint is that Spielberg made too MUCH of a profit, that's
another discussion. :-)

John P. Satta

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