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Giant Misfit

S01.E02: Episode 2

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Airs March 23, 2020

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Lindbergh's increasingly popular campaign captures some in the Levin family, as well as Bengelsdorf; Alvin must decide between serving a local real estate magnate or risking an open fight with the fascist forces he sees spreading across the world.

 

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This episode seemed more about characters and less about world creating like the first one. Still has a really strong Man in the High Castle vibe with the newsreels and alternative history.

Winona Rider looks to be disappointed in love with John Toturo as she was with the Italian guy last week. Poor Winona has been unlucky in love in every movie since Lucas 34 years ago, and continuing through Reality Bites and even stranger things.

That big Jewish temple that Winona went to with Tutoro is now a Baptist Church after Jews left Weequaic for Livingston in the 1950s.

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Looked up the 1940 election, which FDR won by a big landslide, though not as big as in 1932 or 1936.

I don’t know how popular New Deal policies were but there seems to be little indication of the overhang of the Depression in this series.

Of course the boom times would come in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

But isolationism was strong so FDR promised he wouldn’t intervene.  So this slogan vote for Lindbergh or vote for war probably wouldn’t have been particularly effective.

Herman just dismissed Lindbergh as a fascist and Hitler sympathizer, seems mostly in denial that Lindbergh could win.  Alvin is willing to put his life on the line to fight the Nazis, rather than pursue a degree and career.

But nobody talks about concentration camps and genocide?  Was it not known in 1940 USA?

 

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9 hours ago, scrb said:

Looked up the 1940 election, which FDR won by a big landslide, though not as big as in 1932 or 1936.

I don’t know how popular New Deal policies were but there seems to be little indication of the overhang of the Depression in this series.

Of course the boom times would come in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

But isolationism was strong so FDR promised he wouldn’t intervene.  So this slogan vote for Lindbergh or vote for war probably wouldn’t have been particularly effective.

Herman just dismissed Lindbergh as a fascist and Hitler sympathizer, seems mostly in denial that Lindbergh could win.  Alvin is willing to put his life on the line to fight the Nazis, rather than pursue a degree and career.

But nobody talks about concentration camps and genocide?  Was it not known in 1940 USA?

 

Not fully, by the American public anyway. The full extent and horror of the Holocaust wasn't totally known by most Americans until the liberation of the death camps in Germany/Poland at the very end of WW2.

Haven't read the novel this is based on but they are doing a great job in world-building etc....if you look at actual footage of a rally for German-Americans held at Madison Square Garden in 1940, you'll see the same sort of banners, trappings in it as you see in the Lindbergh rally in the ep last night.

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That makes sense.  But in the first episode they said the Nazis and conquered France.

I believe Jews were fleeing Europe before the Germans started invading.

It also didn't seem like a long time after they conquered countries that they started rounding up Jews in France and other countries to ship them to the camps.

I guess they could still depict the news of camps and genocide breaking in the US depicted in the book/show.

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I'm hanging in there but so far I just don't find this story very interesting. Which is weird because the premise is good, so something is lacking in the execution. Maybe now that Lingbergh has won the story was start to move. So far it's mostly a lot of character work.

I find the children tedious and could do without them.

 

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Yeah the children may not be strong actors.  But the older one, I guess is starting to develop independent opinions from his father, since he seems to be impressed by Lindy.

Maybe we will see him become disillusioned.

I'm not sure about the little one hanging out with that fat friend while ignoring the neighbor kid who seems desperate to be his friend.

On the podcast, the actress playing Bess talked a bit about the novel and how she sees her character so maybe there will be more with her, like when she's working at the department store and the two customers were looking for some Lindy merchandise and said this store probably won't have them, have to go to another one.

Simon made a big deal about the koshering process, giving non Jews the permission to vote for Lindy.  Apparently the rabbi played by Turturro  is a German immigrant who is highly educated, of a higher socioeconomic class than Jews from say Hungary or Poland who would be more working-class immigrants in the US.

So not all Jewish immigrants from Europe had similar circumstances or for that matter, played nicely with each other.

So Simon believes there was something analogous to the koshering process depicted in this episode in 2016.  Incidentally, some of the reviewers of the show criticize it for depicting events too much through the lens of 2016.  However, Simon says he met Roth and seems to imply that Roth saw things similarly between 2016 and some of the scenes in the book.

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Whoever said that one of the children looks like Lukas Haas is right. I think he looked more like circa 1986-1988 Lukas Haas. It is definitely the hair. I just keep thinking I need to see Solarbabies whenever he is on screen. Better yet, a Lifetime movie starring Lukas Haas and this kid would be perfect casting. You could actually believe they are father and son.

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Why did they cast Turturro for this?  His accent is beyond ridiculous.  

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59 minutes ago, meep.meep said:

Why did they cast Turturro for this?  His accent is beyond ridiculous.  

giphy.gif

And...agree. It's completely ludicrous.

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1 hour ago, meep.meep said:

Why did they cast Turturro for this?  His accent is beyond ridiculous.  

Do not seek the treasure!

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19 hours ago, AimingforYoko said:

That queasy look on Herman's face hit a little too close to home.

Seriously. I was having deja vu watching the Levins listen to the 1940 election returns. Woof.

Good episode.

I got chills (and not in a good way) during Bengelsdorf's speech.

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No Americans did not know about concentration camps or genocide in 1940. They found out when the camps were liberated at the end of the war. It was a shock to most soldiers. Some info about it was out, burnout widely. The War leaders knew some of it, but decided they could not divert resources for things like bombing rail lines, could not be diverted from the fight.

Many Americans still don't know the extent of the Holocaust.

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Turturo's Rabbi Bengelsdorf is a transplant from Charleston, South Carolina, not Germany.  His accent may be a weird combination of Southern and New Jersey., but it makes sense that is how he sounds.

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Simon talked at length about German Jews in relation to the character.

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On 3/24/2020 at 1:10 AM, scrb said:

Looked up the 1940 election, which FDR won by a big landslide, though not as big as in 1932 or 1936.

Yes, if we're strictly talking about historical accuracy, Lindbergh's election is quite improbable (as depicted by Roth) for several reasons -- one of the chief ones being that to get Lindy to an electoral majority Roth has him breach the Solid South, which was not going to happen.  There was plenty of anti-Semitism in the South, to be sure (indeed, in a lot of ways the Jim Crow South was the part of America that most resembled a fascist regime already), but the South was dominated by whites of English descent whose sentiments tended to be Anglophile.  There's a reason that, as he steered the US into closer ties with Britain, FDR relied heavily on conservative Southern Democrats in Congress to back him in this course of action.

Lindy's base of support was German-Americans and other central European immigrant groups in the midwest.

Quote

But nobody talks about concentration camps and genocide? Was it not known in 1940 USA?

While the camps existed in various forms already (geared more toward political prisoners at this point), the Final Solution hadn't really started until late 1940. Systematized killing really began with Operation Barbarossa (the invasion of the Soviet Union), involving mobile SS units; from there it ramped up through 1941 until the Wannsee Conference in January of 1942 formalized the plan for the death camps.

But as others noted, the general public wasn't aware of the Holocaust until the war was over and the advancing armies liberated the camps.  There were rumours about this, but one of the problems that people trying to spread the word about the Holocaust encountered was that people were inclined to disbelief because of widespread propaganda about German atrocities during the First World War that had turned out not to be true.

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On 3/24/2020 at 3:40 PM, Robert Lynch said:

I just keep thinking I need to see Solarbabies whenever he is on screen.

No one needs to see Solarbabies.  I'm pretty sure Congress passed a law stating as much.

On 3/24/2020 at 12:10 AM, scrb said:

Looked up the 1940 election, which FDR won by a big landslide, though not as big as in 1932 or 1936.

His wins get smaller after '36.  Also, by '44, during his campaign you can visibly see how poor his health is, and I'm sure that turned people off of him. 

I'm enjoying the series.  They've done a very nice job of world building, in that it doesn't feel like actors play-acting what they think people in the early 1940s would be like.  When Bess was waiting on the women in the department store and they commented how that particular department store wouldn't have the Lindbergh scarves, it felt very real.  It even called back to the first season of Mad Men where Rachel Menken was trying to make her family's department store more upscale so it would appeal less to the older middle and lower working class ethnics that had previously been its customer base.   

I am curious, how old is Evelyn supposed to be?  I know how old Winona Ryder is, but I feel like the character is supposed to be substantially younger, like mid-30s. 

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3 hours ago, txhorns79 said:

No one needs to see Solarbabies.  I'm pretty sure Congress passed a law stating as much.

His wins get smaller after '36.  Also, by '44, during his campaign you can visibly see how poor his health is, and I'm sure that turned people off of him. 

I'm enjoying the series.  They've done a very nice job of world building, in that it doesn't feel like actors play-acting what they think people in the early 1940s would be like.  When Bess was waiting on the women in the department store and they commented how that particular department store wouldn't have the Lindbergh scarves, it felt very real.  It even called back to the first season of Mad Men where Rachel Menken was trying to make her family's department store more upscale so it would appeal less to the older middle and lower working class ethnics that had previously been its customer base.   

I am curious, how old is Evelyn supposed to be?  I know how old Winona Ryder is, but I feel like the character is supposed to be substantially younger, like mid-30s. 

It's a joke! I remember Solarbabies. 

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On 3/24/2020 at 4:59 PM, Giant Misfit said:

I agree. It's completely ludicrous.

I think that accent is a hint the Rabbi may not be all he is claiming to be. I think he pretends to be a Rabbi to get the Jewish people to vote for Lindbergh but he is really a Nazi himself.

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On 3/23/2020 at 10:13 PM, Concerned said:

This episode seemed more about characters and less about world creating like the first one. Still has a really strong Man in the High Castle vibe with the newsreels and alternative history.

 

Again. MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE neither invented nor owns news reels. I watch this with my mom who’s about the same age as the younger boy, and remembers them well. Anything set in that period SHOULD have newsreels. 

On 3/24/2020 at 12:10 AM, scrb said:

 

But isolationism was strong so FDR promised he wouldn’t intervene.  So this slogan vote for Lindbergh or vote for war probably wouldn’t have been particularly effective.

Herman just dismissed Lindbergh as a fascist and Hitler sympathizer, seems mostly in denial that Lindbergh could win.  Alvin is willing to put his life on the line to fight the Nazis, rather than pursue a degree and career.

But nobody talks about concentration camps and genocide?  Was it not known in 1940 USA?

 

No.

jews knew because they read the  Yiddish papers. My Late father who fought in WWII remembers people tearing their hair out. My mother who was a child (she ad dad were 11 years apart) remembers when the last water from a relative, forwarded by the Red Cross, came.

stories that came through were dismissed as the sort of “Huns eating babies” propaganda they had seen in WWI. 
 

also remember the death camps started when Hitler was losing- although there had been plenty of massacres before that.

On 3/24/2020 at 3:17 PM, scrb said:

 .

Simon made a big deal about the koshering process, giving non Jews the permission to vote for Lindy.  Apparently the rabbi played by Turturro  is a German immigrant who is highly educated, of a higher socioeconomic class than Jews from say Hungary or Poland who would be more working-class immigrants in the US.

So not all Jewish immigrants from Europe had similar circumstances or for that matter, played nicely with each other.

 

Oh yes, this is not news at all. Studs Terkel has a whole boom about that. German Jews definitely thought they were all that. They got here sooner and were more assimilated. Likelier you’re be reform. Although this rabbi clearly is NOT reform.

On 3/26/2020 at 12:43 AM, DakotaLavender said:

I think that accent is a hint the Rabbi may not be all he is claiming to be. I think he pretends to be a Rabbi to get the Jewish people to vote for Lindbergh but he is really a Nazi himself.

Huh?

hes southern. There have always been southern Jews.

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On 3/23/2020 at 10:10 PM, scrb said:

So this slogan vote for Lindbergh or vote for war probably wouldn’t have been particularly effective.

I'm not so sure. In episode 1 they were FDR was already lending materiel to the British, so one can argue FDR is lying about not going to war. I can roll with it. Nothing surprises me anymore. I think we might be underestimating the power of Lindy's celebrity. His campaign is him flying *himself* around the country to hold rallies. I can suspend my disbelief enough to roll with it. 

The George Burns and Gracie routine was funny. 

I'm with the wife - all the yelling is just grating. I do like the atmosphere of the family sitting in the living room around the radio. 

 

Edited by DoctorAtomic

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On 3/25/2020 at 6:23 PM, SeanC said:

While the camps existed in various forms already (geared more toward political prisoners at this point), the Final Solution hadn't really started until late 1940. Systematized killing really began with Operation Barbarossa (the invasion of the Soviet Union), involving mobile SS units; from there it ramped up through 1941 until the Wannsee Conference in January of 1942 formalized the plan for the death camps.

But as others noted, the general public wasn't aware of the Holocaust until the war was over and the advancing armies liberated the camps.  There were rumours about this, but one of the problems that people trying to spread the word about the Holocaust encountered was that people were inclined to disbelief because of widespread propaganda about German atrocities during the First World War that had turned out not to be true.

 

On 3/28/2020 at 11:04 PM, lucindabelle said:

jews knew because they read the  Yiddish papers. My Late father who fought in WWII remembers people tearing their hair out. My mother who was a child (she ad dad were 11 years apart) remembers when the last water from a relative, forwarded by the Red Cross, came.

stories that came through were dismissed as the sort of “Huns eating babies” propaganda they had seen in WWI. 
 

also remember the death camps started when Hitler was losing- although there had been plenty of massacres before that.

Timothy Snyder writes in Black Earth thus:

When the Polish state was abolished in September-1939, the Nazis killed the elites and transferred the Jews to the Gettos to await deportation. In the former eastern part of Poland and from June 1940 on in the Baltic countries the Soviet Union crushed the former state structure, confiscated property and carried the elites to Siberia.

When Germany attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941, the task of the Einsatz groups was to kill the Soviet elites which they defined as Communists and Jewish men. But when military goals were not achieved, all Jews became targets of killing.

This first phase of the Holocaust was done by shooting. Not only was the Einsatz gruppet involved, but German police killed even more.

Local people were hired, but the reason was not anti-Semitism or revenge. Although the Jews had been relatively overrepresented in the collaborators of the Soviet government, the vast majority everywhere had belonged to the general population. The latter now cleansed themselves of their past by becoming Nazi aides. According to National Socialism, Bolshevism was the product of the Jews. It was in the common interest of the Nazis and the locals to blame the crimes of the Soviets exclusively on the Jews.

In Belarus, which lacked a tradition of nationalism, local assistants were the most difficult to obtain. Thus, the German army participated in the killing of the Jews on the grounds that “the partisan is a Jew, and the Jew is a partisan”.

By the end of 1941, one million Soviet Jews had been shot, but several million other Soviet citizens, mostly POVs, had starved to death. When the Soviet Union could not be defeated, Jews could not be sent to Siberia to be destroyed. The consequence was that the subjugation of the Slavs to colonial labor remained the second goal, and the liberation of the earth from the Jews became number one.

The second phase of the Holocaust was gas carts and only the third phase was extermination camps. Auschwitz became a symbol of the Holocaust, even though the majority of Jews had been murdered even before its introduction. Of the other death factories, almost no one survived, unlike Auschwitz, which also had labor camps.

After the war, Auschwitz suited as a symbol to Germany because it limited evil behind the walls of the camp, thus making credible the claim that the Germans were unaware of the Holocaust. However, tens of thousands of Germans had previously been shooters and hundreds of thousands of eyewitnesses. Millions of Germans on the Eastern Front had known about the massacres. They were also reported in letters home.

Auschwitz also suited to the myth of the heroic struggle of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War. Speaking only of innocent Soviet citizens in general as offers of Fascists, it could be forgotten that Jews had been killed by residents of both new and old Soviet republics, regardless of nationality. Fascists, on the other hand, were branded all real or imagined opponents of Soviet power.

Edited by Roseanna · Reason: shortening the first citation
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Yes and the “aktions “ in villages were brutal. Many eyewitnesses to rapes, Jews being shot after digging their own grave, other horrific brutalities. 
 

reports came back but think after the propaganda of the barbaric Hun in WWI, some people were inclined to just dismiss. It really was a kind of modern barbarism that was unspeakable and for many unthinkable. (And obviously still is as there are Holocaust deniers.) 

 

really the killings began on kirstsllnacht in 38 and never stopped. 

Edited by lucindabelle

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Giant Misfit

This is an episode thread. Do not use it to discuss the book or anything else that didn't happen in this or the previous episodes. Do not use any of the subject matter as a jumping off point to draw parallels to any modern-day politicians, political parties, or movements.

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