Denial: To the Victor Go the Spoils

Published: 2016-10-03

The movie proving the Holocaust, in a court of law, hit the big screen on September 30, misrepresenting the 2000 libel suit brought by David Irving against Deborah Lipstadt, author of a book, Denying History, in which she accused Irving of many things he had not done, including, most-notably, Holocaust Denial. Irving, of course, lost, in the process incurring liability for the $13 million Lipstadt and her co-defendant, Penguin Books, had spent to defend themselves against this suit claiming £500 in damages.

What I note at this juncture (the release of this blockbuster), however, is how many interviews of Lipstadt and her comely portrayer, the sympathizing Jewess Rachel Weisz (are all the actresses and actors Jewish?) crop up on my computer’s screen fulfilling my request of Google Alerts for articles concerning “Holocaust denial.”

Was Deborah Lipstadt the only party to this action? She and her phalanxes of barristers and solicitors hired by her publisher under her threat to sue her publisher if they didn’t? There was, indeed, another party, the one who had initiated it, David Irving, who eschewed barristers and solicitors alike, instead trusting in the English justice system to acknowledge his airtight case as he, all by himself, represented his case.

Nah. Lipstadt and her publisher, it would seem, mounted such a concerted defense that, even though the court concluded that Lipstadt had indeed libeled her accuser on a number of distinct points, still the victory was hers, and that bill for costs, Irving’s.

And now, some 15 years later, The Movie. Its release is attended by innumerable interviews by every approval-seeking medium imaginable, of the defendant, Lipstadt, and her glamorous portrayer, Wiesz (both Jewish). So, what’s missing here?

Irving. Remember Irving, the plaintiff? He’s still very much alive and kicking and, unlike Lipstadt, producing actual history in his forthcoming biography of Heinrich Himmler. But he’s nowhere to be seen on the media stage, including cyberspace, which should be rapidly replacing the stage heretofore monopolized by The Media. Irving even has a notionally reprehensible portrayer in Timothy Spall. Interviews of Spall? Irving? The two together? No such thing.

The media indeed shape us and our opinions, especially if we fail to pay attention to their agenda, discernible, more often than not, from what they omit rather than what they carry.

Me, I’m looking for interviews of Irving. Of Spall. What virtuous motives, indeed, might have impelled Spall to take on representation of the Irving character? Portraying how evil his character (whom he may never have met) is? It might be interesting to hear the actor dissemble on such points. Maybe it was just money. That, too, would be interesting (money is always interesting).

I should like to see a photo of Irving and Spall hugging each other, as we have seen of Weisz and Lipstadt. Or, perhaps, posed in stances of pugilistic opposition. It could reveal much, if we care, about the actor’s desires regarding his public image, and nothing as to Irving’s, who remains devoted, I hope, to what he says, or writes.

Is it wrong, then, to seek the perspective of the loser of this landmark case? Might we seek to plumb the depths of this decision of the Queen’s Court? Rather not, I suppose, if we are but mere sheeple, following only the dictates of our betters.

But if we might each of us presume to judge matters on their respective merits, then … let each of us do just that, by our own lights. And let the victor emerge, whether hugging or boxing with his/her character in what is, after all, just a movie.

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Author(s): Jett Rucker
Title: Denial: To the Victor Go the Spoils
Published: 2016-10-03
First posted on CODOH: Oct. 3, 2016, 2:32 p.m.
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