YouTube Videos on Shaw


The essay below explains why Shaw is the subject of some very distorted “hate videos” these days,

but your time might be better spent going to a new GBS Channel where you can find

many more YouTube videos that show the real GBS, at


Or come back to this after you’ve read through the matter below.


Just as Shaw loved playing with the still camera, as both photographed and photographer, he seemed to love even more playing with the movie camera, but strictly as the subject of somebody else’s filming, which made him vulnerable, of course, to the abuse of editors who wanted to use his appearances for purposes contrary to Shaw’s purposes.   If you wish to see Shaw mugging for the camera and playing at being amusing and outrageous, there are many film clips available online, not only on YouTube, but here are a few YouTube addresses that will give you a representative sample.   He would have been better off if he had not done some of these, for they made excellent grist for the right-wing propaganda mill.





The photo above, taken from a film clip (of which there’s more than one version), is a wonderful example of the mischief being done by right-wing smear campaigns these days, which attempt to discredit “socialism” (meaning “Obamacare” or any other government-run social program) by showing socialists of the past like Shaw appearing to support the murderous regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, etc.    But this is a gross distortion of the original context, as you’ll see when you view the YouTube video just below.” You’ll see that Shaw is actually mugging for the camera and playing at being Mussolini delivering a “sieg heil.”  And note that the date of the clip is 1928, when it was still possible to joke around about Mussolini and think he wasn’t a villain, and Hitler hadn’t come to power yet:


“(Rare!) George Bernard Shaw's First Visit To America (1928 Fox Movietone Newsreel)” from transformingArt, but you can also find this in a slightly different version entitled “GBS at his home in 1928,” by the Balloon Guy , and the latter title I believe more likely.



Shaw in YouTube Defends Hitler, Mass Murder

“Justify your existence!”

The film clip that’s second in the list is even more outrageously propagandistic, as you can tell simply by noting the melodramatic music in the background.  Shaw is shown approving of exterminating “the unfit,” but of course, as even the film’s melodramatic narrator admits, Shaw’s idea of “the unfit” was quite different from Hitler’s and had nothing to do with Jews, gypsies, the malformed, or political enemies of the fascist state.   “The unfit,” for Shaw, were the same “Members of the Idle Rich Class” that he had always castigated for consuming much more than they produced and that his character John Tanner had appealed to in “The Revolutionist’s Handbook” appended to Shaw’s play Man and Superman (1904) to justify their existence with more productive and more conscientious work for the public good.   And Shaw had made it clear by his membership in the Fabian Society that his preferred way of “extermination” was through education (i.e., Fabian “permeation”), but Tanner’s handbook suggests it might have to be left to evolution if education didn’t work, and in that the Life Force was to be left alone to its own devices, forget eugenics.   The “unfit” would select each other to mate with and their eventual sterility would cause them to lose out in the evolutionary struggle.  The reference is to the historically factual way that many aristocratic and oligarchic families had vanished over the centuries due to class-conscious breeding practices that gradually weakened them.  Shaw can be blamed for a rather naïve and unskillful attempt at times to use the newest form of news media for his own purposes, but he was simply being consistent with his lifetime habit of outraging the capitalist establishment with hyperbolic statements delivered either with a straight face or some jokingly pretend face, the purpose of which was to wake up the somnolent who through inaction were allowing mankind’s selfish, destructive, warlike impulses to rule the day.


“George Bernard Shaw Defends Hitler, Mass Murder” (important to see note above)




“(Rare!) Various Scenes with George Bernard Shaw (1931 Fox Movietone Newsreel)” [Good example of Shaw’s playing with the movies].



“Jacob Epstein - George Bernard Shaw”




“George Bernard Shaw Quote” (No actual Shaw in this but typical of the attributing to Shaw of apocryphal cleverness)




“Evil Communists Episode 2: George Bernard Shaw” [Good for a laugh?]




“British Board of Film Censors - Pygmalion (1938)” [The classic opening of the film]


And many more.   Every one you open will show Shaw performing for the camera.





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