Brittle: It’s Like the Nazis Are Still Killing My Mother

Americans often downplay the long-term effects of traumatic experiences, expecting victims to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and move on after a disaster. But as my mother’s experience as an elderly French-American shows, often the negative effects never go completely away.

15 thoughts on “Brittle: It’s Like the Nazis Are Still Killing My Mother

  1. “Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.”. — Albert Einstein

    Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    I therefore bow to your first hand knowledge and your experience.

      • One further piece of advice that you can bend the knee to: Don’t keep digging when you’re in a hole. Your original comment was stupid and insensitive. Your follow up, somehow, managed to outdo that.

        A singular accomplishment.

        Now bugger off to Kingdom Come.

  2. So sorry to hear about your mom, Ted. Alzheimers is a special kind of hell, both for the victim and for loved ones. Not a worse hell or a better hell, necessarily, than many other kinds, but its own kind.

    My mom had it pretty bad. She managed, with some help, to stay in the family’s old farmhouse until she was 89 but then we had to make her move to a “memory care” home. It was pretty nice considering. She then went to skilled nursing, also about as nice as you can get for that type of facility. She had enough money, through a lifetime of very frugal living, to afford nicer places.

    In some respects, the early or medium stages were the worse. She was still mentally competent to realize something was very wrong, but not to fully grasp that it wasn’t her fault. She would break down and cry about how “stupid” she was. Later, it was just kind of a fog and she was pretty good-humored and enjoyed our visits. She had all the brittle, broken bones and all that, too.

    She was a Great Depression child, and with her widowed mom and sister, had some pretty desperate times. I don’t think they were malnourished, though. It wasn’t nearly so bad as being under Nazi occupation! All of this “the Nazis weren’t so bad” stuff that is coming up in these comments and in society at large these days is really horrifying and creepy.

    I recently read “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” by Chris Hedges. It came out just before the War on Iraq. It’s really good. He talks about this “forgetting” phenomenon. We have done it with every war. If you think about it, you can see it with the Civil War and WWII. With those especially, it was, “it’s all over now, YAY, we won! Let’s get back to business.” But it wasn’t over; we just tried to bury it and cope. We build monuments to how “glorious” it all was. But we were totally and probably permanently fucked up by those wars and all the others, including the class war. I think we are really out of time and will never get any better.

  3. Mr. Rall,

    Being born into poverty is plenty enough to explain your mother’s health issues without blaming the Germans for it.

    Moreover, contrary to jewish and official governments propaganda, France was rather fairly treated by Germany when compared to what happened in Eastern Europe.
    But not so by Anglo-American forces that could bomb 1,570 French cities and towns, including Paris western suburbs, between June 1940 and May 1945.
    Contrast that with von Choltitz, German military governor of Paris, surrendering it to French forces in 1944, there disobeying Hitler’s orders to level the city in the event of an Allied attack.

    So, even if I fully agree with the last panel’s last sentence, I don’t see why you had to cross the Atlantic to find much better fodder to make your point.
    Like the American First Nations genocide (Distributing smallpox infected blankets and booze against which they had no immunity, exterminating their main food source, the buffaloes, etc.) therefore screwing up several generations to come. Or even spraying Vietnam with Agent Orange, where some half a million children have been born with serious birth defects, while as many 2 million people are suffering from cancer or other illness caused by it. Or the liberation of Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Libya, etc…

    That said, Alzheimer is truly a horrible disease, at first for the affected person and then progressively for her loving ones. I hope you can afford a good caretaker… Or kind end of life assistance.

    • Just to jump in for a moment.
      Do you, honestly, realize what a complete fucking asshole you sound like with this shit?
      The Nazis weren’t some kinder, gentler machine gun hand. Whether they were less brutal to the French is irrelevant.

      • Well said. I was kind of trying to get at that in part of my comment, but you did not mince any words. We should mince onions, not words. Some of the awful comments here were not only nasty, but completely missing the point of the cartoon.

  4. First. I’m sorry to hear (to read) about your mother’s health problems (and I use the word “problems” not “challenges” or any of the other euphemisms we Americans so wholeheartedly embrace to avoid speaking plainly and truthfully).
    Second. The Nazis just keep coming. At least for GenX and the Millennials. College tuition. Job insecurity. Predatory credit card rates. Health insurance that’s garbage. Sky-high rent and houses priced out of affordability for pretty much everyone. No pensions.
    Third. Climate change. The experts are now giving us 11 years to fix it. We got to the moon in slightly less than that, but I’m not hopeful. I’ve had an entire lifetime of seeing how people get treated by the world. I can’t suddenly switch gears and expect that everyone’s going to suddenly get woke to existential threats.

    • I expect Millennials to be treated like the victims of Hurricane Katrina who were met with an armed police force and turned back when trying to flee its flood waters.

      I fear most people would rather die than give up their high energy climate-heating lifestyles, and would rather kill to maintain their “god given” privilege of dominion over the earth and “lesser” races .

      • Glenn,
        Good points. My generation’s landing wasn’t quite as bad as the landing in the opening credits of “The Six Million Dollar Man,” but collectively my fellow Gen Xers had a long, slow decline in standard of living, optimism for the future (after Reagan, it has to get better, right? Right? Oh dear God), the premise of owning a home, etc.
        The Millennials? The entire “gig” economy evangelism means they’re going to very shortly wake up to a world in which they finally have to shave off those ridiculous Smith Bros. Cough Drop beards and face the reality in which mommy and daddy no longer send them rent checks. They will not have a soft landing of any kind.
        I hope they turn out in large enough numbers to get Sanders elected.

      • Alex, I think the problem with Bernie Sanders this time is first and foremost the fact that the progressive and fake progressive vote is going to be so divided among so many candidates.

  5. Google something like “American institutions were Nazi inspiration.”

    I’ve been claiming that the US hardly defeated fascism in WWII but, rather, succeeded in a hostile takeover, transferring global HQ to WA DC.

    After reading analyses of the sort one finds in the search I suggested, above, perhaps WWII would be more accurately regarded as a particularly
    bitter patent rights battle.

  6. All these so-called «proxy wars» the US wages ’round the world have consequences of the type you mention above, Ted, but most of the victims will never reach the age of 84. Perhaps we can console ourselves with the thought that the US seems to be stumbling into a war directly with what your government calls – and has done its best to make – its adversaries, from which none of us are likely to survive. No long-term trauma there, at least….

    Henri

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