Nietzsche on Megan Fox?

If Megan Fox had tattooed this on her side, no one would mistake it for something other than Nietzsche

A colleague of mine sent me this link a while back, not only because he knows about my tattoos, but he also knows i admire Nietzsche in many ways. I will admit at first i was surprised to hear Megan Fox had tattoos (9 to be exact), and even more surprised that it wasn’t something like lower back/ass crack tribal or a delicate flower on her ankle.  I was impressed too that a young hollywood actress would pick something so thought-provoking and insightful to put on her body …. how very non-Lindsay Lohan.  Now, i will mention that upon further inspection of the quote, I’m sorry to say it isn’t Nietzsche’s own.  The quote is credited originally to a Persian poet and philosopher named Rumi (Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi) who wrote it in the 13th-Century.  Nietzsche admired the Persians, that is well-known, and quite a bit of his philosophy was inspired by their work. If Nietzsche used it, he borrowed it.  But I digress …..

Back to Megan Fox and the article. There was one line that did capture my eye:  “Her tattoo was fresh confirmation of his status”, and the article speaks to Nietzsche’s popularity in Hollywood.  The author contends that Nietzsche is the entertainment world’s favorite philosopher, as evidenced by mentions in films like Little Miss Sunshine, Good Will Hunting, Groundhog Day, and so on, and now this new appearance on Megan Fox’s body.  There are things the article mentions that made my eyes roll, such as a rumor about an incestuous relationship with his sister (yeah, right) and the horse kissing incident in Turin, but I won’t get into these as this posting will turn into a rant about the need to properly fact check and to not perpetuate false rumors about poor Nietzsche.  Too off topic for here.  After reading the article, once my eyes stopped rolling around, the first thing I thought of was:  what would Nietzsche think of the Hollywood attention?  What would he think about his words, or anything about him for that matter, being tattooed on a Hollywood hottie? Anyone who has studied Nietzsche would have some ideas as to his reaction — he’d be annoyed by it, maybe in the very least indifferent, but the simple truth is he wouldn’t be enjoying it.  The feeling I always got from Nietzsche was that he liked being a bit of an outcast, he smiled at being the ‘untimely man’ (his words).  The Übermensch is an individual who constantly self-creates, overcomes, and invents. This person creates new values and beliefs, and is one who lives away from the societal herd. The Übermensch is also not a fan of religion, since that inspires and preserves a herd of worshipers.  It always seemed pretty obvious to me that the Übermensch was Nietzsche’s way of coming to terms with his own situation, a bright mind in a failing body: the Übermensch is about intellectual powers and about overcoming the physical/material, things less substantial, and it has a tinge of self-justification when you read about its author and his ill health since childhood. Anyway …. It’s pretty much common knowledge that Nietzsche loudly objected to any form of herd mentality, and hollywood is all about following the popular trend of the day.  Sadly, tattoos are popular right now and even when the art is an individual choice, the act itself (including the acceptability of the act) is at this moment a product of the trend.  The fact that there have recently been TV shows (if you can call them ‘reality’) about tattooing, from Miami to LA to Vegas and a touring tattoo bus, demonstrates that tattooing is now a major part of pop culture.  So, even though Megan got a cool piece, a great quote that was said to be Nietzsche’s, she acted in accordance with the trendy hear on two counts — (1) she got a tattoo, and (2) Nietzsche is cool in Hollywood.  I can feel Nietzsche reaching for his big eraser, or in this case laser I guess, or maybe just that big hammer.

The second question that occurred to me dealt with the ‘fresh confirmation’ of Nietzsche’s status — what exactly are we confirming about Nietzsche’s status anyway?  Is anything worthwhile about him being confirmed?  If I am to gather this answer from the Fulford article, then I’d have to say the status consists of rumors and half-truths, and these things need no further discussion.  The rumor of kissing the horse is unsubstantiated, just as the one about a love affair with his sister (gagging, not only because she was a terrible person, but i cannot imagine him thinking of her in that way).  Most of the public believes he died from syphilis, supposedly contracted at a brothel or while working as a medic, none of which is true.  Nietzsche, according to recent study of his notes and his medical history, died from brain cancer.  The whole idea of Nietzsche’s madness being the result of syphilis can be sourced back to a posthumous anti-Nazis smear campaign lead by Wilhelm Lange-Eichbaum, an academic and vociferous critic.  Many intellectuals accepted it as a fact in order to discredit Nietzsche and smash his good name and philosophical credibility.  Now, here is the stupidity of it all:  Nietzsche was long dead by the time the Nazis arrived on the scene, and he would have grossly objected to their ideas and politics, but being that his writings are brilliant but open to interpretation, the Nazis propaganda machine took desired sections out of context and bent them for their own purposes.  Specifically, Nietzsche’s writings on Übermensch and Will to Power.  So, one could say Nietzsche suffered two smearings at the hands of intellectuals:  (1) by Germans seeking to make the Nazis propaganda sound intelligent (ohhh look,  it’s supported by a philosopher!) and (2) by post-war haters seeking to tear down anything that sounded Nazis (so, umm, why not attack Heidegger?). Okay, that went off topic but the question still remains: what are we confirming about Nietzsche?   It seems here, once again, what we confirm is that we don’t know shit about Nietzsche. What the general public ‘knows’, the public who uses him or his ideas in movies or articles, are things about him that aren’t true, aren’t fact, aren’t real. And, to make matters worse, Megan Fox’s tattoo seems to confirm that they don’t even know what he actually said. Maybe, like Socrates did, they should just confirm that they know nothing.  It might be safer, especially for Nietzsche.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lauren Rheims
    Jun 17, 2014 @ 17:08:43



  2. Anonymous
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 23:05:36

    Quite interesting read, thank you very much. I would add to note that I myself plan to tattoo his name (Nietzsche) on my right arm.


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