The military authorities chose Durbin pictures as the first American movies to be viewed by the Japanese people. The theory was that her wholesome films, free of political content, would encourage the civil, democratic society America hoped to build upon the ruins of imperial barbarism.
Interesting. I’m not convinced this is a good thing, however:
So it should come as no surprise that Deanna Durbin was Anne Frank’s favorite Hollywood star.
The young Jewish girl pasted Durbin’s picture to her bedroom wall in the Achterhuis where the Frank family hid during World War II. The picture can still be seen there today.
When I visited the Anne Frank House, Durbin’s picture brought tears to my eyes. Of all the grim images of the Holocaust, the glamor shot of Deanna Durbin has seared itself into my memory in a unique manner. It’s American goodness set against the darkening universe of European Jew-hatred and genocide.
Perhaps I’m cynical, but I don’t believe that there is a single Hollywood star who offers the hope of freedom to anyone, much less to victims of oppression and mass murder.
No, these days, Hollywood stars cheerfully make pilgrimages to tyrants like Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro.
The old glamor was, of course, a massive illusion. But it was an illusion that sustained the American dream and gave hope to millions.
I’m unconvinced that pleasant illusions are ever preferable to hard truths, or that “hope” is always a positive.
It’s not Anne Frank’s fault that her naive (and heretical, if you are a Christian) belief that “people are good at heart” has now been taught to millions of schoolchildren for generations.
Muslims and other weirdos insist that the book is a fraud, and certainly her father bowdlerized it horribly.
But whatever the Diary is, that particular line — its most famous — represents a dangerous world view.
As I’ve said again and again, every year, Catholics renounce “the glamor of evil” for a reason.
Not just “evil,” but the seductive form is assumes.
Stupid or crazy people cannot distinguish the “good” glamor Avrech is praising from the “evil” kind.
Broken, empty lives result, and often end in misery, taking others with them.