As we know, the point of referring to “those guys” as the Cat Fanciers is so we don’t get bogged down in details. You simply can’t use real names without someone wanting to drag the discussion off into minutiae, the perfidy (or not!) of (((you-know-who))), and so forth. The historical details of Cat Fancy don’t matter at all for our purposes — understanding how a successful revolutionary movement can be built in an advanced industrial nation — but since this is the Internet…
But I’m also coming to realize that folks would like to read up on some of the details on their own, track down references, etc. This is the Internet, yes, but just as not every person on the Internet has an encyclopedic knowledge of Star Trek (just 95% of you), so not every person is 100% up on the historical details of Cat Fancy. (I’m certainly not — it’s pretty clear Pickle Rick has me beat, and I’m sure he’s not the only one). So here’s a quick glossary, with links, in case anyone wants to read up on various topics that come up in discussion.
Most of the names come from the comments here. In (sort-of) order of frequency, updated as needed:
Cat Fanciers — obvious, but please remember that we’re discussing the movement prior to the seizure of power.
Cat Fancy — NOT the official doctrine of the Cat Fanciers. They had one, and we might have to refer to it later, but those cases will be clearly marked as such. “Cat Fancy” is the weird techno-retro-futuro utopian dream that emotionally fuels the Cat Fanciers. The key point to remember: Cat Fancy is almost entirely aesthetic.
Mustache Guy — obvious; the Kitten-in-Chief.
The Nerd — leader of the Black Cat Militia. The fanciest Cat Fancier of all, the Nerd had the most comprehensive fantasy life, which he tried to make into reality with his Dungeons and Dragons playset and action figures.
Black Cat Militia – the toughest kitties of all, their entrance requirement was the demonstrated willingness to follow any order. Mortal enemies of the Kitten Patrol.
Kitten Patrol — the street-brawling head-busters that were the public face of Cat Fancy in the early years. They never went away, but once they’d served their purpose they were ruthlessly suppressed.
Dungeons and Dragons playset — it’s a real place, basically a real-life Castle Wolfenstein, but here it means the really far-out fringes of Cat Fancy.
The Dwarf — quite possibly the world’s greatest salesman, the Don Draper of his day (except short, plug ugly, and clubfooted).
Fat Guy — the most impressive of the Cat Fanciers in his youth, a bona fide war hero in the sexiest branch of the military at the time. By the seizure of power he was a fat, weird, codeine addict, but still a savvy political operator with a fighter pilot’s killer instinct.
Rudy — nowadays, if he’s known at all, it’s for his quixotic “peace mission” (and the devotion to astrology that partly spawned it), but he was an integral part of the state and Mustache Guy’s chief negotiator with industry. Before the “peace mission,” he was second in line to the throne (behind Fat Guy).
We haven’t mentioned the following yet, but we’ll probably need them soon enough, so….
The Fencer — the Nerd’s second-in-command and the beau ideal of the Black Cat Militia. Their collective leadership style ensured maximum creativity, maximum efficiency, maximum brutality… and maximum deniability.
The Bureaucrat — seemingly the polar opposite of the Fencer, he was famously banal. That’s mostly a myth, too — surprise, surprise — but he’s a good stand-in for the kind of guy that’s essential to a functioning revolutionary regime.
Updated as needed…. and what the hell, since we’re at it, a Cat Fancy Annotated Bibliography. This is the only place we’ll use real names. Suggestions welcome, but please keep it minutiae-free and aimed at the general reader.
Published Primary Sources in English):
Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf. There are a million translations, redactions, expurgated versions, unexpurgated versions, etc. I myself have only browsed around in the damn thing, because it really is as tedious as advertised. On the other hand, I have browsed around in it, because come on — any book that gets the Smart Set’s universal condemnation as so totally not worth reading has got to have something going for it (remember, these are the people who find profound meaning in Harry Potter).
Goebbels, Josef. Diaries. Same as above, but way longer. And here again, the problem is with the editors — they quite rightly assume you want to read the good stuff and not 10,000 entries on what he had for breakfast, but their definition of “good stuff” probably doesn’t track with ours.
Rosenberg, Alfred. The Myth of the Twentieth Century. The Party’s official ideology / mythology. Apparently as tedious as its inspiration, The Foundations of the 19th Century. I’ve read neither, but they’re referred to all the time in the secondary literature. Again, if Our Betters universally assure us they’re not worth reading, there must be something to ’em.
I’m leaving out war memoirs etc., as they’re mostly self-serving (though often very interesting).
Weber, Thomas. Becoming Hitler. A good intellectual biography of his early years.
Longerich, Peter. biographies of Goebbels and Himmler. Both are Teutonically thorough, but as we’re only concerned with the years before 1939….
Arendt, Hannah. Eichmann in Jerusalem. Just the actual Eichmann parts – lots of it is a blow-by-blow reconstruction of the Holocaust.
Stangneth, Bettina. Eichmann before Jerusalem. Blows up the “banality of evil” thesis. For our purposes, Eichmann is interesting as a personality type, not a historical figure.
Evans, Richard J. The Coming of the Third Reich and The Third Reich in Power.
Gellately, Robert. Backing Hitler. They knew.
Koonz, Claudia. The Nazi Conscience. It’s the indoctrination techniques, not the content of the indoctrination, that matters. If you don’t mind some alcohol poisoning, a fun game is swapping out “Straight White Males” for “Jews.” Our media, academia, Hollywood, etc. has been doing all this stuff to us for years.
UPDATED suggestions from Pickle Rick:
Padfield, Peter. Himmler. PR’s comment: “it also delves into how the SS State was created. Excellent analysis within.” My comment: It looks like a “psycho-history.” These got a bad rap within the Biz back in the days. The stated reason was that they’re inherently subjective, but as you might suspect, that’s not the real reason — History professors, being obnoxious Leftists, are juuuuust fine with subjective ass-pulled speculation, so long as it fits their biases. No, the real reason is that they were embarrassing — since folks in the other Liberal Arts all think they’re qualified to do History, too, they flooded the market with those “every single significant individual in history was gay!” narratives that made college in the late 80s / early 90s such a joy. Nowadays, of course, the tremulous sheltered dorks that make up the professoriate couldn’t write a “psycho-history” if they wanted to, having no experience of any other type of human but the egghead. Padfield’s an amateur, and remember: That’s a compliment more often than not. Read his evidence; decide for yourself. If Pickle Rick vouches for it, I’m good with it.
[PS the reviewer comments on this one are hilarious — they’re “psycho-histories” in their own right. E.g. here: “It is amazing that people still write from a Marxist perspective, that capital is the primary motive of history. According to this book, it was the landed Junkers vs the Capitalist industialist that led the NAZI’s into war and policy formation.” All [sic] of course. And this is why both professionals and amateurs tend to be heavy drinkers — it was National <i>Socialism,</i> dude. There are just two words in “National Socialism,” and both of them are really, really, really important].
Diehl, James M. Paramilitary Politics in Weimar Germany. Rick’s comment: “A somewhat biased work from the 70s, but really the only scholarly treatment on the subject.” Me: That it is. I haven’t read it, as it looks really heavy, but it also looks fascinating. Amazon has no reviews and sells only used hardbacks (starting at $32), so you’ll probably need a university library (or a local library with a loan arrangement with the local U).
Friedlander, Saul. Nazi Germany and the Jews: Volume 1: The Years of Persecution 1933-1939. Friedlander is a big leaguer in the field. PR says: “it’s integral to understanding how and why a totalitarian party does what it does after seizing power.”Loading Likes...