Tuesday, May 06, 2008

# Posted 6:21 AM by Patrick Porter  

THE CITY THAT BURNS: Hitler, it seems, had visions of destroying New York, unleashing firestorms with suicide missions.

And this as early as 1937. Previously, I had thought this had come much later:

As Germany’s defeat loomed during the final months of World War II, Adolf Hitler increasingly lapsed into delusional fits of fantasy. Albert Speer, in his prison writings, recounts an episode in which a maniacal Hitler “pictured for himself and for us the destruction of New York in a hurricane of fire.” The Nazi fuehrer described skyscrapers turning into “gigantic burning torches, collapsing upon one another, the glow of the exploding city illuminating the dark sky.”

I don’t know whether it exists, but there should be a study of the different ways the destruction of New York has been imagined by its haters.

It figures in Ian Baruma and Avishai Margalit’s Occidentalism, which shows that the city was loathed as the embodiment of debauched materialism and cosmopolitanism, and Judaic conspiracy.

Sayyid Qutb, intellectual father of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and heavily influential on Al Qaeda, went to New York in 1948, and saw it this way.

After 9/11, Bin Laden bragged that ‘Those awesome symbolic towers that speak of liberty, human rights, and humanity have been destroyed. They have gone up in smoke.’

The Twin Towers, of course were likened by some evangelist visionaries as analogues to the Tower of Babel.

There is an undertone of this, a secularized version, in some of the wilder wings of environmentalism and their reactionary nostalgia for a utopian pre-industrial past, where vast tidal waves are unleashed on New York by Mother Earth as payback for the vandalism of the planet.

It also crops up in more petty ways. When New York suffered an electricity blackout in 2003, a snide Oxford man of the far left told me he was glad, because consumerist New Yorkers could feel the pain of Iraqis. New York wasn’t the first city I imagined being a stranger to collective suffering. (And there’s that violent hate of consumerism again).

So there you go. Nazis, jihadists, eco-warriors, evangelists and the far left can all find something in the metropolis to hate, one of the more ironic signs of its greatness.
(3) opinions -- Add your opinion

"Evangelists"? Do you mean "evangelicals"? Can you give an example of an evangelical fantasizing about the destruction of New York?
Yes, see the remarks of Nigerian Apostle Emeka, head of the Christian Bible Mission, in the link I provided.

In a nutshell, he claimed to have had a revelation, that God punished America's pride and reminded it of his mightiness, and went on to compare the towers with Babel.
personally, i enjoy the fictional destructions of NY better - The Day After Tomorrow, Escape from New York, Planet of the Apes, Artificial Intelligence (kidding on that one - hated the film)
Post a Comment