Ages ago, when I auto-disqualified any works set during the Holocaust, slavery, etc from nomination in the YA Agony Awards, I threatened to do a second run-off based on the trashiest and most exploitative works involving real-life tragedies.

Before I go any further, I want to make it very, very clear that I am not mocking the Holocaust or any other real life atrocities! I am mocking works of fiction which make inappropriate, trashy, and/or ludicrous use of actual and horrible historical events.

("Springtime for Hitler" in The Producers is a deliberate parody of that sort of thing, and so doesn’t count. (The link goes to "I'm WET! And I'm STILL HYSTERICAL!")

I’m not sure if I’ll actually do a run-off, but a while back I had a conversation over email which I kept meaning to write up.

I wrote, “There was this whole genre of trashy Holocaust novels, popular I think in the 80s, which I kind of distilled into the cement truck Holocaust novel. [Link contains spoilers for Mockingjay.]

I recall one about blonde, blue-eyed Jewish twins who were experimented on my Dr. Mengele, I think to make them telepathic...? And maybe he genitally mutilated one but not the other...? And the mutilated one became a circus acrobat or maybe a lion tamer and had tons of anal sex because she had no clitoris, and died tragically, and the other became a repressed housewife.

...or maybe I hallucinated it. I bet faithhopetricks’ mad google skillz could find it if it exists!”

Indeed, they could! Using the search terms "holocaust novel twins lion tamer sex," she dug up Entwined: a Riveting Tale of Telepathic Twins.

Amazon describes it thus: Rebekka, known also as Vebekka, is brought to post-wall Berlin by her wealthy husband for treatment of her violent, inexplicable rages, which threaten the lives of their children. Also newly arrived in Berlin is her twin Ruda, a lion tamer whose daring act is a visiting circus's main attraction. Separated since the war's end when they were preadolescents, Rebekka and Ruda have had very different lives: Rebekka was well cared for in America while Ruda survived by using her wits and by criminal behavior on the streets of post-war Europe. La Plante very gradually reveals the damage wrought by Mengele's experiments to induce telepathy in the twins (and also finally explains the surgical removal of Ruda's reproductive organs and the destruction of her genitals).

While Rebekka begins her hypnosis treatment, Ruda's ambition moves her to further crime; as their histories are disclosed, the twins are led to a final overwrought meeting under a Berlin bigtop.

That synopsis reminded me of the infamous Jerry Lewis movie, The Day The Clown Cried, in which he played a comedian in a death camp. You would not think that was such a great concept that it deserved to inspire not one, but three movies, but it also generated Life Is Beautiful, not to mention Jakob the Liar. I should note that lots of people thought Life Is Beautiful was a genuinely good movie. I have no opinion on the matter, because I can only stand to see one Holocaust movie every twenty years, and Schindler's List was it.

Speaking of controversial Holocaust movies, a number of parents I know were very, very ticked that Boy In The Striped Pajamas was advertised as a sweet story of friendship, with no mention of the fact that it’s a Holocaust movie and does not end happily. To say the least. All else aside, even if parents do want to take their kids to a Holocaust movie, most of them would like to know in advance that that’s what they’re doing. As it was, several family plans for ice cream after the movie had to be hastily switched to grief-and-trauma counseling after the movie.

Share with me your favorite examples of awful, exploitative, inappropriate, trashy, ridiculous, surprise!genocide or otherwise bad works of fiction attempting to springboard off of history. As in Life Is Beautiful, I realize that one person’s moving work of art is another person’s crass exploitation. Given that and the sensitivity of the subject, please be nice to each other in comments.

From: [identity profile]

What did I just watch?!?

The guy with the art book sitting on a rock. The hair. The random cactii.... I just. What. What.
ext_12512: Hinoe from Natsume Yuujinchou, elegant and smirky (Badou fun and games)

From: [identity profile]

I use my Mystical Indian Tracking Skills, duh!

How about a little upbeat bubblegum girl-group K-pop?

(There's so much of this stuff out there, I could post FOREVER.)
ext_12512: Hinoe from Natsume Yuujinchou, elegant and smirky (Yue la Lune)

From: [identity profile]

Not even a single Hipster Headdress in sight! But that's OK, these guys have more than enough to share... (Also...pith helmets? Because...I guess you need them to travel through the jungle of the desert of the great plains, or something. Perhaps the football players are an obscure commentary on the use of Indian mascots by sports teams! Or, um, maybe they're just random football players.)

From: [identity profile]

And the Hammer pants. I'd have sworn some of those guys were wearing Hammer pants with highly decorated crotches.


Maybe that was a hallucination caused the contact high from Europe's hairspray?

From: [identity profile]

Oh my god, I just started taking Korean lessons at the Korean Cultural Center down the street from me, and before class on the first day, they were playing random K-Pop music videos to entertain us (or something). This one came up, and the guy sitting next to me turned to me and was like, "Is this for real?" We were just agape.
ext_12512: Hinoe from Natsume Yuujinchou, elegant and smirky (Yue la Lune)

From: [identity profile]

That seems to be a pretty common reaction.

And lest it seem like I'm picking on K-pop excessively with both T-ara and MC Mong, here, have an Italian video...

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