MovieChat Forums > Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982) Discussion > What's the meaning behind Pink's Neo-Naz...

What's the meaning behind Pink's Neo-Nazi rebirth?


With the album and movie, most of what's said and done is pretty parallel to events in the lives of Syd Barrett (the rock star descending into madness) and Roger Waters losing his father to war, this sort of loss, it's not surprising his mother would 'mother' him a bit too much. I don't know fully the truth of the estranged wife either really, whether truth or fiction for him or Syd, that doesn't seem too far fetched.

Obviously, in the story of "The Wall" the Nazi rally didn't really happen: But even as a hallucination, what brought it about?

The only thing I've heard on the subject that even begins to relate was Roger Waters eventually getting disgusted with the audiences that wanted to get wasted, yell and rock out over their increasingly dynamic music. He got so upset with a particular audience member (or group) that he spit on them. In hindsight, it sickened him that he would do that (part of what built the literal Wall at concerts). This is what I heard, but it seems far fetched to move that to a Nazi hate rally.

Admittedly, I haven't dug too hard, but why did Pink go to such a dark, racist and hateful place in his mind? Obviously he went through a lot that would make anyone angry... but specifically towards minority groups?

Edit: I see it obviously confirmed in the FAQs that it wasn't really, but a hallucination brought about by the mystery injection to keep him going in Comfortably Numb. That was pretty obvious, but I don't know of any drugs that turn you into a Nazi.

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Hopefully this helps:

http://www.thewallanalysis.com/main/in-the-flesh2.html

Here's just a small section of the full analysis:

It's this isolation that lies at the heart of Waters's psychological and social commentary. It can even be argued that this is the heart of The Wall itself. This analysis has mentioned on quite a few occasions how Roger was inspired to write The Wall after spitting in the face of a fan during the band's 1977 "In the Flesh" tour. (The name of this song is no coincidence.) It would seem that in that moment, Waters not only hit upon the emotional core of the album, but also the psychological depths to which his character would sink. Like the character he would soon create, Waters had fallen prey to a rock and roll lifestyle that conflates regular people to the status of demigod. He admittedly isolated himself behind his own emotional barriers, and as a result believed himself to be just as millions of Pink Floyd fans saw him: above them all. He didn't spit in the face of that fan because it was right or wrong, or to make some social point: He did it because he could. Though Waters' act is a far cry from spouting racist rhetoric to a stadium of impressionable fans, the paralleled rock-bottom that both Pink and his creator sink to as a result of emotional repression and self-isolation is nonetheless on display.

Drifting through lost latitudes with no compass and no chart

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Great link! Thank you. A demi-god rocker at a emotional rock bottom is a far cry from heading up a Nazi rally. I suppose it's a (huge) over emphasis of the millions of Pink Floyd fans devoting themselves to someone who was, in that moment, a bad person just because they are a rock star.

Really big stretch, I always thought the Nazi transformation really came out of left field, but it made for some memorable imagery. Thanks again.

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I've really enjoyed reading this Q/A thank you great question and great answer

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I agree with that initial "out of left field" response.

But upon reflecting toward the end of the film, and considering all the faceless drones dying in pointless wars, I realized that Waters (accidentally or not) connected the same kind of dangerous non-individualistic emotion-driven mob mentality amongst youth at a large thumping rock concert vs. those marching to war singing songs de-humanzing the "enemy" ... not to mention how children get put through the meat grinder of the educational system to remove any uniqueness of talent or mindset.

I have only watched twice -- both times sober -- but it certainly effects you differently based on how you are feeling overall about your place in life.

Watched it today, feeling angry and burnt out and stuff. Quite a different experience than 20+ years ago when I was going through some girl troubles and had lost my mom to cancer a few years previous -- that time it was a blur, a rollercoaster of emotions and after viewing I cried like a little baby. It was very personal.

This time I felt a slight sympathy for Pink, but mostly I felt kinda sick at the human race, overall, the low levels we can sink when we remain on auto-pilot etc. But I felt noticeably less connected to Pink's suffering -- actually had my moments of disgust at his weakness and avoiding dealing with his reality etc.

Truly a genius work of art, not many 90 minute films with so little dialog could be re-experienced with such a different filter, viewed with such a different lens, just because I am in a different place at the time of watching it!


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Chipping away at a mountain of pop culture trivia,
Darren Dirt.

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Great post. I know there was a lot of comparison between the rock concert mentality and being sort of mindlessly obedient to an authority figure. I would hardly express this example as a negative example of it, but Queen Live at Wembley, the control Freddy Mercury has over that crowd is intense! 72,000 people and he's controlling what seems like every single person there. It's really cool, but there was clearly a lot of juxtaposition between the initial concert at the start of the film and the hate rally. The movie also referred to people being trampled, referring to the disaster in '79 where 11 Who fans got trampled to death because you had to fight for position to get closer to The Who. So incredibly selfish, because 14,770 people were on a "first come first serve" basis of seating, that meant 11 had to die. It's like Black Friday Sales, people being trampled to save 50% on some electronics. That many people, regardless of the reason they've united, is kind of intimidating.

You know, a lot of people don't like movies like this, the fact that it is a bit ambiguous in terms of plot, but that vagueness allows it to mean different things to different people and that can change over time.

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Thank you!

And it is ironic (but not all that surprising) that only AFTER I posted the above did I check out the link above ITT -- http://www.thewallanalysis.com/main/ -- and a very similar summary was offered there (but more better wordingness in my opinionation).


Also that entire site is super-deep rich content, heavy reading, a thorough analysis into every song on the album / in the film! But definitely appears to be worth taking the time!

https://web.archive.org/web/20150315091239/http://www.thewallanalysis.com/main/ <-- his CMS blew up recently so the Archive.org version from March 2015 is what I link to here.

Enjoy!



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Chipping away at a mountain of pop culture trivia,
Darren Dirt.

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A touching and meaningful post. Thanks for sharing.

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Oh i dont know, have you seen modern music fanbases. they are ready to literally kill at the artists whim. Im pretty sure if some modern superstar started spouting racist rethoric there would be millions of fans fervently defending it (case in point: Justin Bieber). Add to that the experiments that show how extremely easy it is to create fascist atmosphere in classrooms that is perpetrated by students themselves and yeah, i can see this actually not being as far ferched as it sounds.

Nazis were historically significant, but hardly the only (or even the worst) oppression regimes.

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Applied Science? All science is applied. Eventually.

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I consider the fascist/demagogy element of The Wall to be the album/movies one big mistep. Mostly, because it's then tossed off. There's this sudden rise of power as Pink becomes some kind of Hitleresque leader...then he's gone totally bonkers and putting himself through an existential trial.

To use Vonnegut's words, it's a clutchless shift.

Truly a great album, and amazing movie, but as a narrative this is clearly an aspect where Waters and Bob Ezrin lost the thread and just kind of wrapped things up. Based on what I've read, the original album was taking forever and I suspect they simply ran out of gas and left it as-is, rather than working through those threads to make them more obviously logical.

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That makes a lot of sense, the whole thing seems tacked on and was a loose representation of when Waters spit on a fan. That's a pretty grandiose representation of that, but I suppose another brick in the wall regardless, and a vehicle to push him to his final breakpoint.

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lots of interesting points being made here. I have a different take, although it's hard to express...

Pink overdoses on drugs and then he begins to "molt". His skin becomes a blob and then he's tearing it off at the end of "Comfortably Numb". Molting I think is a pretty obvious symbol for a transformation and, in this case perhaps, catharsis. That transformation is from Pink into a Neofacist.

Pink had transformed from someone struggling mightily to cope with abuse, neglect, and loss through drugs, women, etc to someone who gave up on "constructively" dealing with his problems. His frustration with all his hardships had boiled over and he chose to switch to a "zero tolerance/ *beep* everyone" approach. From In The Flesh? on, Pink was only going to isolate himself, in one way or another, anyone who threatened him. He wasn't going to try to build relationships, he only wanted to smash anything even threatening to get behind the wall

Well I tried and I'm not sure that made any sense lol...

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I totally get the anger, it's just weird from a literal standpoint that he decided to focus that anger the way he did. From a reflective standpoint though, it does kind of make sense. Fascism is associated with fear/anger, feelings of powerlessness. The scapegoating externalizes the feelings by providing a target and empowers the fascist. So he lost his dad in WW2, so now he's in the emotional/physical state of pre-Hitler Germany. Time now for fascism to step in and empower the weak. I suppose then this is one of the many cyclical elements to The Wall.

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ok... it's obvious you know what you're talking about because you said it 100 times better than I did ;)

your original post intrigued me enough and I did some research https://hec.su/fafw . There was one website analyzing The Wall that devoted one entire page to dissecting this turn of the story. Another page articulated it well saying "he is now creating suffering to forget that of his own".

I have to admit you have a point that it is a bit extreme. I guess it didn't bug me more since the rest of the movie is almost a rhapsody that features very stylized, over the top, maybe even melodramatic depictions of Pink's pain and suffering. I assumed almost everything in the movie is happening in Pink's mind and is an irrational expression of his emotions or state of mind. The striking imagery did add some dramatic and shocking punch to the movie but like you said it's not entirely logical.

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Honestly your post made me better understand Nazi Pink much better than I had before, it got me thinking about the purpose and deeper meaning of fascism. Then I thought about how the album is designed to cycle, history repeats itself, it makes a lot of sense to me now.

Just from a literal point, at face value: Rockstar overdoses to a point of near death, he's given some drug to keep him going for the show aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand he's a Nazi. Kind of bizarre considering there is no indicator of him being fascist up until that point, but in a big way the Nazis made him what he is when they killed his father, the first brick. They are the fathers of his madness. Thanks for posting.

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