These are gross minsunderstandings of both who Zarathushtra was and of the character of Zoroastrier in Nietzsche's philosophy. Nietzsche's character is actually very close to the historical Zarathushtra of The Gathas - but both characters are among the most misunderstood of all times. And Nitezsche both fell out with Wagner - he felt Wagner was far too conservative and pompous and populist and much prefered George Bizet as his favorite composer. And Nietzsche absolutely hated anti-semites and even refused to call himself a German when traveling abroad out of his hatred towards German racism (he had a rcasit sister called Elisabeth, but they definitely had very different opinions on German racism!). I regard these links as further evidence of the continued misunderstandings of Nietzsche's philosophy. His ideal is NOT an "Obermensch" (a human superior to all other humans) but an Übermensch (a human transgressing all usual human limitations), which is of course something radically different from what is assumed here.
2009/9/20 Zaneta Garratt
Hi Yazad-I get the feeling that Bernhard was talking maybe about his own ideas, he obviously does not understand what Zarathustra was saying so he tries to make a farse out of the whole thing, it really is a film not to be taken seriouosly, best wishes from zaneta
Date: Sun, 20 Sep 2009 08:24:33 +0530
Subject: Re: [Ushta] contraversal film
Very surprising that someone could come to such a conclusion about Zarathushtra. Never before have I some across any one referring to him as a sexist and rapist! Wonder where such thoughts came from. Would appreciate comments from our group.
----- Original Message -----
From: Zaneta Garratt
Sent: Friday, September 18, 2009 11:27 PM
Subject: [Ushta] contraversal film
The Zoroastrian Dialectic in "Observe and Report (2009)"
Posted by Ben
Many films are based on the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. Several films focus on the idea of the Übermensch, notably (and most obviously) Alfred Hitchcock's Rope. Übermensch was a idea that Nietzsche proposed in his novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra, arguably one of the most influential philosophical works of all time, (and infamously an inspiration of both Wagner and Hitler).
Aside from Rope, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Being There are two other fantastic films meant to recount an aspect of the tale of Zoroaster. In each of these, a naive person or civilization is exposed to an event that opens their eyes and impels them to change themselves into something more than they already were, thereby they attain a new level of being and enlightenment.
A similar event occurs in Observe and Report, wherein the protagonist Ronnie Barnhardt, a mall security chief, is exposed (both literally and figuratively) to a series of eye-opening experiences. It's an interesting retelling of the story of Zoroaster. Throughout a series of misadventures, Barnhardt does achieve the status of Übermensch in a absurd happy ending. As such, the film is an effective commentary and rebuttal to the story of Zoroaster. Through parody tinted with absurdity the film provides an effective criticism of Nietzsche's philosophy.
It's a surprisingly deep film. Taken straight up, it's very confusing and a strange film, especially as one starring a big name comedian and released in the summer blockbuster season. Mostly ineffective as a comedy, and lacking an identifiable protagonist the film flounders as a by-the-numbers comedy. As a philosophical treatise, the film is spot-on; Barnhardt represents the failings in the Zoroastrian ideal: he's racist, sexist, homophobic, violent and yet unfoundedly self-confident.