22 thoughts on “YR1103 A Ponderous Green”

  1. Hello from Germany Rachel,
    Nice to hear from you again. I’m just downloading the podcast and I just relate to your posting above: there is a lot of discussion about Walt Disney doing a Micky Mouse Version of the Unknown Pleasures Cover-Art of Joy Division. But could you please explain to me, why you call it a “Nazi T-Shirt”?

    I always considered the name “Joy Division” for a post-punk/punk band on its own might be one of the most cynical statements in modern art, but their work not just has nothing – nothing – in common with fascism or nazism, it’s the opposite. It’s art and it is political, it’s not a stupid political correct statement – and I guess, unlike today, back in the late 70’s it was correct not to be political correct.

    Back in my youth as today, I was rather to fast with calling people or artists fascists etc., but I never ever, not for a second, did care about those, who suspected Joy Divison of being Nazis.
    Did you ever listen to their music???
    There are some aspects of their work one might call conservative or reactionary, as in “Heart and Soul”:

    “An abyss that laughs at creation,
    A circus complete with all fools,
    Foundations that lasted the ages,
    Then ripped apart at their roots.
    Beyond all this good is the terror,
    The grip of a mercenary hand,
    When savagery turns all good reason,
    There’s no turning back, no last stand.”

    But it’s still art and it’s not philosophy and it simply articulates in a brilliant way, how many people try to understand the world they live in.

    But I guess you would have much more to say about Joy Division than: Here’s the link to the Nazi-T-Shirt.

    Joy Division’s Drumer Steven Morris:
    Morris, 54, said it was ‘horrible’ and is angry the members of the Manchester band were not consulted. He said: “I was quite angry when I first saw it. No one asked us. They’re trading off the band and our album cover, but get away with it by apparently saying the design was ‘inspired’ by us. I don’t like the design at all. It’s horrible. I can’t imagine any Joy Division fans wearing it. Or anyone for that matter.” The sleeve was based on an image from the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy, showing radio telescope pulses from a star. The image was suggested to Factory Records designer Peter Saville by Morris, who now lives in Rainow, Macclesfield. He said he was dumbfounded Disney had apparently associated itself with a band whose singer Ian Curtis killed himself and whose name was inspired by a book about the Nazis.

    Ich liebe dich trotzdem,

  2. How can Scrabble be more/less difficult than Words With Friends? It’s the same game, yeah? Difficulty is only measured by the skill of one’s opponent.


  3. Hi Dirk,

    I really appreciate your thoughtful and well considered response.

    I actually used to be a huge Joy Division fan, and am very familiar with their music.

    By their own account, they partook in the fetishization of Nazism. I’d point you toward their lyrics and album art as well. They fully admit and cop to it.

    It’s not my cup of tea.

    I appreciate what you are saying, but my tastes run differently.

    You point out what you consider to be irreverent and rebellious in their use of Nazi imagery, but are unaccepting of my irreverent and rebellious use of the term “Nazi” when it comes to them.

    I think Disney and Joy Division deserve each other. It makes me laugh, not rage. It’s irony of the highest order, IMHO.

    For what it’s worth, Disney pulled the plug on the shirt.

    I hope I’ve helped clarify, and again, thanks for your thoughtful response.

  4. This is from the end of the quote you posted yourself:

    “The image was suggested to Factory Records designer Peter Saville by Morris, who now lives in Rainow, Macclesfield. He said he was dumbfounded Disney had apparently associated itself with a band whose singer Ian Curtis killed himself and whose name was inspired by a book about the Nazis.”

    They said it. Why am I wrong for saying what they say for themselves?

  5. I just supposed that Steven Morris like the other members are so annoyed by that stupidity that they don’t feel obliged to react to that accusation any more.

    The “Book about the Nazis” is – and here it gets really deep – a book very popular in Israel in the post-war era, esp. among younger people, written by a former Concentration Camp Prisoner, who used a pseudonym as an author: “Kazetnik” 135 633. The title of the book was “House of Dolls”. 135633 was the number, the nazis tatoed on his arm. “Joy Division” (Freudenbrigade) was the name, given by the nazis to the prisoners they used as prostitutes. Ian Curtis quotes a part of the book in the early Joy Division song “No Love Lost”. The number tatoed on his arm is repeated in Joy Division’s “Warsaw”.

    The reason, the book was so popular among younger Israel citizens wasn’t exactly interest in history…

    Kazetnic was one of the witnesses, who testified in the trial against Eichmann.

    The only cover with Nazy-Imagery Joy Division published was the early “An Ideal for Living”.
    Parts of the lyrics might be naive, but anti-fascist to say the least.

    That’s the Cover:




    Aren’t the lyrics from “Leaders of Men” quoted on the back unambiguous?
    The entire lyrics:

    What Joy Divison did – if it was intentional or not – is still much more thought provoking and bewildering than any cheap “correct” message.

    I guess if Adorno and Horkheimer would have had the chance to listen to Joy Division, they would have renamed the chapter “Kulturindustrie” – cultural industry in the Dialectics of Enlightment, which doesn’t sound as provacative anymore as it originally did, into “Freudenbrigade” – Joy Division.

    Ian Curtis did read Dostojevsky, Kafka, Burroughs, Nietzsche, Gogol and J. G. Ballard and Kazetnik, as far as I know he wasn’t into Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

    Joy Division played Rock Against Racism Concerts against the National Front in GB.

    These are the liner notes from Bernhard Sumners second album with “Electronic”, published in 1996 and one of the rare moments, when Sumner gets political:

    sometime in january 1996 this, what it is, i do not yet know. a collection of accumulated knowledge, ideas, memories, fact, surmise… who knows. anyway what i once considered private, seems to be public. late the next night and i’ve just woken up to this most unsatisfying thought… one has to be a bastard to exist in this world full of them, but then i’ve always had the suspicion i took myself too seriously until i found my self too serious to take. tonight is a horrible day. i have discovered the true meaning of two words, power and greed; power is in sex, also in drugs. power is the feeling when something immense happens in return for little effort. i.e. an assassin firing a gun or a junky shooting up etc. the participant gets off on the execution just as much as the end result. greed comes dressed in a velvet glove, greed is not the want to possess everything, greed is simply wanting more than the person next to you.

    later cruelty occurs when people lose touch with the real world. in the nineties this is partly due to the fact that we are distanced from reality by a life we do not lead, therefore we are also distanced from one another. we experience the world through television and use drugs to enjoy social communication. we use machines instead of our bodies and then when our bodies fail us, machines keep us alive. when we do not feel life, we do not feel what it is to be alive. we do not feel compassion, our neighbour is invisible. when he suffers, we turn the television off or simply register a blank. existence is a bubble we feel will never burst. we can’t decide how to vote because we need a new party. we’ve abandoned our world in favour of ourselves. we cover the ground in broken glass then take off our shoes, we need to look again. unemployment is the final insult to the individual, mass production was the first. our education system is wrong, it takes no note of the subtleties of human nature, it places more importance on the memory of an individual than how memorable an individual is. is does not nurture talent, but rewards those who obey and allows them entrance into an exclusive club. this is wrong. the best are wasted. this is why society is disintegrating. can’t you see the spelling doesn’t matter, because we are not saying anything any more, it’s called the power of silence. the right to which we lost in 1995.

    And Sumner has said one of the most intelligent things I’ve ever heard about Joy Divison: Punk used primitive tools to express the the old primitive oedipus thing: Fuck you. Joy Division used the same tools to express something very complex: I’m fucked.

    But now I’m curious to listen to the podcast. I’ve missed you more than any other person I just know virtually and I really like your work.


  6. Bob, Taffy, Hewly, XOXO

    Shawn, WWF is easier than Scrabble, and Scrabble is the original. In life, I am a fan of the OG – I almost always just want the original. Oreo, no Hydrox. Dr Pepper, No Mr Pibb. It’s just how I roll.

    SCDJ, I had no lighter. I quit smoking a while back. Not sure what you were hearing, but the sound quality on my end was definitely for shit.


  7. I’m still listening to this one. laughing my ass off. Percy Coushone. Too funny. I think I need that drag name. I’ll give you Miss Communication in return.

  8. “Call the ambulance, come and pick up your pickle”
    – Kudos, Mlle Weinstein!

    – Btw, it’s great to hear from Rachel from time to time as a counterweight to CTM and all the over-cooked Sylvia Brown Brown obsession.

    – Last Minute Jewish Strip School Rejection De-brief Call Cancellation Email Angst. – Oy vey!

    – I’m somewhat saddened that you hate Paris that much. Then again, come to think of it… you’ll probably focus on hating it wherever you will live.

  9. I finally finished that very long NSFW show. Madge wisdom: “Why not express your inner freak show?”
    and Rachel said something equally wise about not dimming your light. So sweet.

    Do you think it is disgusting to listen to yeast radio while on the toilet? Is that like eating?

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