The Spectator

Letters | 5 September 2009

Spectator readers respond to recent articles

For evil to triumph

Sir: As screenwriter of the recent film Good, I was interested by the references to it in Kate Williams’s thought-provoking piece (‘We are forgetting great evils’, 22 August). For my part I think the recent spate of films about Nazi Germany has less to do with an ‘obsession with Hitler’ or a desire to ‘excuse those who committed the atrocities’, as Williams would have it, and more to do with events in America during the first decade of this century. While in no way wishing to compare the Bush regime to Hitler’s, it was striking how blithely so many Americans (and Britons) found themselves able to go along with a government that within a few years of its election had manufactured a pretext to invade another country, sanctioned torture and even built its own concentration camp. Had it been equally easy, we wondered, for German citizens to accommodate themselves to the rise of Nazism? These parallels are certainly what motivated the American star Viggo Mortensen to appear in our small British film.

Judging from her comments, I sense that Williams has only seen the trailer of Good — which is where the words she quotes describing Mortensen’s character as ‘a devoted father’ appear. (The words are not in the script or the film, where he is distinctly lacking in devotion in this respect.) Since the film is out this week on DVD, she now has the opportunity to watch it in full.

John Wrathall
Via email

Heat and light

Sir: After reading Sarah Standing on light bulbs (Standing Room, 29 August) I paused for thought (even though I know it’s not fashionable). It occurred to me that the heat emitted by incandescent light bulbs — which excites so much critical comment — is not just a simple waste of energy. It contributes to the heating of the room and house in which it is situated.

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