Wednesday Reads: Black Market and ChocolatePosted: March 9, 2016
We will get to that in a bit, I first want to set a tone for the post today. The set-up is from two different takes on the same time frame in history…WWII.
One is an actual oral history story from a concentration camp survivor…the other is a video clip of a song sung by Marlene Dietrich in a Billy Wilder film called A Foreign Affair…in which Marlene plays a former Nazi now cafe singer in a nightclub in post-war Soviet Occupied Section of Berlin. (The film was shot on location in Berlin in 1947. )
While serving with the United States Army in Germany during World War II, Billy Wilder was promised government assistance if he made a film about Allied-occupied Germany, and he took advantage of the offer by developing A Foreign Affair with Charles Brackett and Richard L. Breen. Erich Pommer, who was responsible for the rebuilding of the German film industry, placed what was left of the facilities at Universum Film AG at Wilder’s disposal. While researching the existing situation for his screenplay, he interviewed many of the American military personnel stationed in Berlin, as well as its residents, many of whom were having difficulty dealing with the destruction of their city. One of them was a woman he met while she was clearing rubble from the streets. “The woman was grateful the Allies had come to fix the gas,” Wilder later recalled. “I thought it was so she could have a hot meal, but she said it was so she could commit suicide.”
Marlene Dietrich was Wilder’s first choice to play Erika, and Friedrich Hollaender already had written three songs – “Black Market”, “Illusions”, and “The Ruins of Berlin” – for her to sing in the film (the lyrics were very integral with the plot), but the director suspected she would be opposed to portraying a woman who collaborated with the Nazis. En route home from Berlin, he stopped in Paris to visit her, ostensibly to hear her opinion about a screen test he had made with June Havoc. “She kept making criticisms and suggestions … and finally I said, like I had thought of it just that moment, ‘Marlene, only you can play this part.’ And she agreed with me”, Wilder said.
Let’s start with two videos:
The lyrics to the song…since it is sometimes difficult to grasp what Marlene is saying:
Sneak around the corner
Peek around the corner –
La Police qui passe!
I’ll show you things you cannot get elsewhere!
Make with the offers and you’ll get your share!
Eggs for statuettes
Smiles for cigarettes
Got some broken down ideals?
Like wedding rings?
Trade your things!
I’ll trade you for your candy
Some gorgeous merchandise
My camera – it’s a dandy!
Six by nine – just your size
You want my porcelain figure?
A watch? A submarine?
A Rembrandt? Salami?
Black lingerie from Wien?
I’ll sell my goods
Behind the screen!
A very smooth routine!
You buy these goods
And boy thes goods are keen!
Laces for the missis
Chewing gum for kisses!
Coocoo clocks and treasures
Thousand little pleasures!
Come, and see my little musicbox today!
Price? Only six cartons!
Want to hear it play
Milk and microscope
For liverwurst and soap
Browse around I’ve got so many toys!
Don’t be bashful
Step up, boys!
You like my first edition?
It’s yours – that’s how I am
A simple definition
You take art – I take spam!
To you for your “K”-ration
My passion and maybe
Or real sympathy!
I’m selling out
Take all I’ve got!
Enjoy these goods
For boy, these goods
You can even see her tear up at the end. From the book Marlene Dietrich Life and Legend:
I am using the woman and young child in a concentration camp, sharing what chocolate necessity they have brought with them for their own survival…with another woman, so that her newborn child would years later have the chance to return the favor.
Maybe it is not a good example to make…but when the will power to survive is strong enough. I think women will do anything to survive. And that makes them vulnerable…to extortion from bullies that take advantage of the horrible conditions.
It also makes them able to come together and share what little they have to live through those deadly conditions. Imagine…an 8 year old…giving up the chocolate that saved the other woman and child. The kindness and understanding. Is overwhelming.
With this in mind, let’s look at the links for today.
First these group of links dealing with refugee camps in both Europe and Africa:
How I wish I could go to this lecture…I only paste this here because it sets-up the rest of the links.
In what has been described as the world’s largest mass migration since the end of the Second World War, it’s easy to forget the women and families who have been affected by events beyond their control.
Wirksworth and District Amnesty International intend to address this. As part of International Women’s Day we’re hosting an event to highlight the plight of women and families in refugee camps across the world.
This emotive, often controversial topic will be covered by keynote speakers from the Derby Refugee Advice Centre, Spectrum Derbyshire and the Anti-trafficking Labour and Exploitation Unit. Together they will provide a unique, local slant on how the refugee crisis is affecting the lives of women and families and what we can do to help.
EPTV investigates efforts to bring healthcare and psychological support to women in the camps fleeing war and violence.
I know that is a lot of links….and reading. Some of those are older articles, thinks I have saved from a few days to weeks…that I wanted to share with you during this month.
I figured you would have lots of time today, since I am getting this post up early. Imagine that!
Election news coming up….but now some more newsy links:
What was initially reported as a romantic story took a nightmarish turn when a Chinese woman revealed that the boyfriend who sat by her bed and took care of her while she lay in a coma for eight months was the one who put her there in the first place.
Local reports had portrayed Liu Fenghe as the loving boyfriend of 22-year-old Lin Yingying, who stayed by her bed and spent 200,000 yuan ($30,700) on her hospital bills.
But Lin has come out to tell the press that Liu was the one who inflicted the head injury that left her in a vegetative state.
Read the rest at the link, if you can stomach it.
Donald Trump’s campaign manager has been accused of physically assaulting a female reporter after his press conference on Tuesday night.
Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski forcibly yanked Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields out of the way after his press conference in Florida on Tuesday night.
Fields was attempting to ask Trump a question as he exited the press conference. Secret Service was starting to clear a path, when Fields was forcibly grabbed on her arm by Lewandowski, moving her out of the way and nearly bringing her down to the ground, a source who witnessed the situation told POLITICO.
Fields was clearly roughed up by the move, the witness said.
Not that it will matter any…
Donald Trump, the only person in America and quite possibly the world who needed to “look into” David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan before passing judgment, is again confused by things that seem fairly obvious to the rest of us. This time, it’s about the pledge he calls on supporters to take at rallies, which involves them raising their right hands to “solemnly swear” their vote for the billionaire. As has been pointed out by more than one observer—based on having eyes that can see and a passing knowledge of history—the resulting images look a lot like people sieg heiling. Abe Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League and a Holocaust survivor, called the salute an “offensive, obnoxious and disgusting…fascist gesture.”
But during a Tuesday phone interview on NBC’s Today, Trump said he didn’t realize his pledge might be offensive until that very phone call and called criticism of it “ridiculous.”
“Honestly, until this phone call, I didn’t know it was a problem,” he said. “Almost everybody in the room raises their hand, we’re having a good time. I never knew it was a problem.”
Host Matt Lauer then pressed Trump on the connection between his pledge and some of the anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric he’s used throughout his campaign.
“I think [the controversy] is also in combination, Mr. Trump, with some of the rhetoric you’ve used on the campaign trail over the past several months targeting groups like Muslims and Mexicans, that that invokes images of Nazi Germany and the scapegoating of Jews there back in the 1930s and ’40s,” Lauer said.
Trump responded by saying he views the effort to make a connection between his events and Nazi rallies as a “big, big stretch.”
“We’re having these incredible rallies, and considering the subject matter is not so good because our country is in trouble, big trouble, we are having a great time,” he said.
But Trump added he’s open to possibly dropping the pledge from his rallies, citing his desire not to offend.
“Well I’ll certainly look into it,” he said. “I don’t want to offend anybody.”
Right…he will get right on that.
In other news:
What The Stunning Bernie Sanders Win In Michigan Means | FiveThirtyEight — Eating humble pie?
Ted Cruz wins Republican primary in Idaho | PBS NewsHour –I would have thought Trump had Idaho in the bag….with the neo-Nazi vote and all.
ALERT: Emergency at US nuclear plant after “massive” fire and multiple explosions — “All of a sudden we heard this loud boom and the whole ground started shaking” — “Intense Flames… Heavy Black Smoke… Chaos” — Hundreds of fire personnel called in — “We ask that the public stay away from the area” (VIDEOS)
Bride Has A Strange Itch That Won’t Go Away. Then, She Learns The Terrifying Truth…she has cancer…rare form but deadly.
Some film news:
And for the last two links….
…this March, I’m dedicating each day to a woman history has forgotten or is in danger of forgetting. And I hope you will join me. Each day I will post a picture of my chosen woman on Instagram along with a brief mention of her achievements, using the hashtags #femstagram and #womenshistorymonth.
I’m also going to post a paragraph about the woman on my blog, which is shared on Twitter and Facebook.
Status of women
Canada has fallen again in the global gender rankings thanks in part to a widening wage gap and still relatively low female participation in government. Erin Anderssen looks at revealing statistics – from hours spent on housework to lengths of maternity leave – to gauge today’s degree of gender parity
That is the post for today…this is an open thread.