Knowing when you’re beat

Okay, I can take a hint. Score one for the bots. A triumph for the values you’re mindlessly trying to follow, if I may say so.

I like to review the books I read on Amazon. One of my latest reads was mostly about an obnoxious individual who was prominent in the government of Germany between 1933 and 1945. His first and last name both began with the eighth letter of the alphabet. I will just call him Himself. So, the book is called The Himself Brothers, and is by Katrin Himself, who is Himself’s great-niece, the granddaughter of his younger brother. Himself was the middle of three boys, only one of whom survived the war.

So, you will understand that it’s quite hard not to touch on touchy subjects in reviewing a book like this. The algomorons still told me I was going against their community values and asked me to edit. I did, and they still objected, and sent a warning that if this carried on then I would be unpersoned.

So, okay, I deleted it

Still not sure what my crime was, apart from saying Himself’s name a lot. I never mentioned the name of the party he belonged to, or his ultimate boss, the guy with the funny moustache, or the people he persecuted and tried to exterminate. Maybe I was just too even-minded? Did I sound like I was defending him?

You see, the impression I got from the book was that if you had met him and not known what he did for a living, he would have come across as a slightly pompous, slightly chippy middle class middle manager. He got on well with his two brothers, and he respected and loved his parents and they returned the favour. His headmaster father cared deeply about social respectability, and that seems to have instilled in all three brothers a drive towards bettering their situations and caring perhaps a bit too much about what other people thought of them. But that, really, seems to be the most negative thing Himself Senior did.

And yet.

The author is married to an Israeli so we can safely say she has put the Himself legacy behind her. She still chose to keep the family name because, well, it is her name. The legacy cannot just be shaken off. It must be explored and investigated. That is what she does. It is a brave and eye opening venture that took a lot of courage. She never does explain quite what made her great uncle what he was – and that is the point. The most sobering conclusion is that a monster like him does not have to be created through some cataclysmic event. They can just emerge, though they might still need the right circumstances to show their true colours. Without Germany’s defeat in WW1, perhaps Himself would never have risen to the heights he did; he might have stayed a relatively harmless chicken farmer with unpleasant views on race. So, how many hidden Himselfs are all around us, maybe not even themselves knowing what they are?

Well, something there upset the bots. I concluded long ago that the future is not the human race cowering from the Terminators sent by Skynet to destroy us. It’s the human race walking on eggshells in case we upset mindless algorithms that can make our lives a misery in a million passive-aggressive ways.