So why is this important? The author of the article I read objected strongly to what he seemed to view as the exploitation of a tragic historical event. I'd like to suggest another point of view.
Tragic events should be remembered. Yes, they are traumatic. Yes, they are horrible. No, they shouldn't have happened in the first place. And they should not be glorified, exploited, or treated lightly. But they have happened and they should never be forgotten. Because if we let these events slip from our cultural consciousness, we just might allow them to happen again. One way to remember is to allow such things to become part of pop-culture, thus engraving them on our cultural memory.
For me, referencing tragedies, including the Holocaust, in popular culture is therefore both acceptable and desirable. One of the purposes of art is to help us make sense of the world around us and that means that literature, film and music should reference world events good, bad and ugly. Dealing with events through art helps us learn from them and find healing as well. If we can use art to learn from history, maybe we can start repeating only the good parts.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
This quote by George Santayana is posted on the wall of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
|On the plaque, the quote is in Polish with the English back-translation.|
Here's the link to the Wikipedia file where I got it.