Is 'Tomorrow Belongs To Me' from 'Cabaret' a Neo-Nazi Anthem?
Richard Spencer, the Neo-Nazi with the most punchable face, appeared to be schooled on Twitter the other day by Democratic politician Jason Kander. But digging into his world makes the reality of this Twitter interaction a bit complicated.
Here’s the abbreviated version: Josh Marshall, editor of Talking Points Memo, jumped into a thread involving Spencer, ending with:
Take your trash philosophy back to the 1930s, chump. You're just a punk. https://t.co/VTkcuPmlPO— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) March 18, 2017
There, he’s linking to a clip from the 1972 film Cabaret, itself an adaptation of the 1966 Broadway musical by the legendary songwriting team of John Kander and Fred Ebb about early 1930s Berlin. And that’s when the politico Kander stepped in:
Hey buddy, that song you love was written by my uncle. He's been married to my other uncle for 40 years. And he's a Jew.— Jason Kander (@JasonKander) March 18, 2017
Sing it proud. https://t.co/yrL4242sl5
Mazel tov! The irony is delicious to those of us who aren’t garbage Neo-Nazis. (Ebb, who died in 2004, also was Jewish.) However, those garbage people apparently don’t see it that way. To find this out, I had to visit Stormfront, the white nationalist/white supremacist/Neo-Nazi forum. And now I need to burn my computer.
Now, the average person who watches any iteration of Cabaret understands the story is *not* pro-Nazi. The scene in the film featuring the song “Tomorrow Belongs To Me” is chilling. Just watch how the wave of nationalism overtakes the crowd:
alternative fascists dwelling in the bowels of the Interwebs? They both dig the song and think the laugh is on us.
Throughout the Stormfront thread, many users perpetuated the idea that Kander and Ebb cribbed a German folk song to write “Tomorrow Belongs To Me” — or maybe it was Italian. Others say the song was inspired by the official song of the Hitler Youth, “Es zittern die morschen Knochen” (“The rotten bones are trembling”), by Hans Baumann. No matter the origins, though, they love it. I’ll save you and your computer by providing screenshots (click to embiggen):
Spencer even responded to Kander and hinted as much:
.@JasonKander— Richard 🥛 Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) March 18, 2017
In all of their works, Kander and Ebb brilliantly channeled the mood of Weimar Germany … and some other periods too…
In a world where real news is deemed “fake” and a U.S. president can tweet lies, this shouldn’t be surprising. People see and hear what they want to see and hear. I unfortunately don’t have a solution for this; all I know is that we should keep making art and telling the truth, and hope it wins out. Cheers to the Kanders and Ebbs of the world.
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