Tuesday night was election night so, of course, everyone on twitter was talking about politics. People were making fun of Chris Christie’s weight, accusing Barack Obama of being a communist, and going on and on about the Tea Party. Some of them were very liberal and some of them were very conservative and quite a few of them made a big deal about being in the middle. However, the one thing that many of them had in common was that, regardless of what they believed, they were convinced that they had the best plan for America and that anyone who disagreed with them had to be idiotic, evil, or both.
That, by the way, is why I tend to stay off of twitter whenever there’s something political going on. It’s far too stressful having to deal with so many people convinced that tomorrow belongs exclusively to them.
Myself, I believe in freedom of choice and the importance of the individual. That’s one reason why twitter bothers me when it comes to politics. Everyone has something to say but nobody says it as an individual. Instead, there’s a mob mentality that I find difficult to take.
Today’s scene that I love is all about that political mob mentality.
Bob Fosse’s 1972 film Cabaret takes place in pre-World War II Nazi Germany. In this scene, writer Brian (Michael York) and the decadent aristocrat Max (Helmut Griem) visit a Berlin beer garden. As they discuss their own personal concerns, they are interrupted by a boy who singing a patriotic song called “Tomorrow Belongs To Me.”
Fosse begins the song with a close-up of the boy’s angelic face, only gradually moving the camera to reveal that the boy is dressed in the uniform of the Hitler youth. As the boy’s singing steadily grows more and more strident, the other Germans at the beer garden join in. As more and more voices join in, the song goes from being hopeful and optimistic to being ominous and threatening.
Most significantly, only one old man declines to join in. Instead, that man can only watch the scene with a weary sadness that indicates that he’s survived enough to know better.
It’s a powerful and disturbing scene and one that serves as a powerful warning against the political mob mentality.