The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'hitler'
A funny thing happened in Berlin recently, where Madame Tussaud's opened their latest wax museum. Being ostensibly an educational institution, they had to put some historical figures amongst the celebrities, and it would have been impossible to cover the history of Germany without mentioning the elephant in the room, Adolf Hitler.
Of course, in Germany, any depiction of Hitler or the symbols of Nazism is still fraught with the risk that someone will rally to them or regard them with sympathy, and that the embers of Nazism may once again be fanned into flame; which is why Nazi symbols are banned in Germany, leading to things such as, many years ago, American heavy-metal band KISS having had to change their logo for the German market because two lightning-bolt-shaped 'S's are verboten there.
The Madame Tussaud's management took no chances; they posed Hitler behind a desk, to prevent visitors from getting too close to him, and showed him (quite reasonably) in a state of abject defeat. Additionally, the museum banned touching, kissing or posing with the dummy, and posted security guards to enforce this rule.
All of this was for naught, because, minutes after the museum opened, its second-ever visitor, an ex-policeman turned left-wing anarchist, vaulted the desk and ripped Hitler's head off:
Mr L. resigned from the Berlin police after being assigned to quell a May Day demonstration of left-wing anarchists – “I realised I belonged on the other side,” he said. Since then he has been active in the punk and squatter scene; since February he has been a care worker. His girlfriend Yvonne said: “I’m really proud of him. I’ve been furious about Hitler for days.”The act has been met with popular acclaim in Berlin:
One commentator hailed it as “a successful assassination attempt – sadly 75 years overdue”.
Henryk Broder, a columnist for Der Spiegel, exclaimed: “At last, a successful attack on Hitler!” His one quibble was the nature of Frank L.’s political outburst – no more war. Mr Broder said: “If the Allies hadn’t waged war on Hitler, we might still be under the yoke of his heirs. He should have shouted ‘Never again dictatorship!’ But that’s not a very fashionable rallying call on the Left.”
Politicians were also shedding no tears for the wax Führer. The Social Democrat politician Frank Zimmermann said: “It’s more of an artwork to rip off Hitler’s head than to put him on display.”It's interesting to contrast this with The Times' own readers' comments about the "Looney Left" and its rabid intolerance.
And Hitler is in the news again, this time in his capacity as mediocre landscape painter. British artists Jake and Dinos Chapman have bought 13 of Hitler's watercolours and modified them with rainbows, stars and love hearts. The remixed artworks, titled "If Hitler had been a Hippy How Happy Would We Be", are being exhibited at the White Cube Gallery in Hoxton, London.
Dinos Chapman said the work, entitled If Hitler had been a Hippy How Happy Would We Be, was a rumination of what might have been had Hitler not been refused entry to Vienna's art school. He added they showed a "blankness" rather than any hint of the deadly pathology that he would later demonstrate.
"He tried to get into art school with these. They are bland and show no presentiment of the genocide to come. They represent the husk of a man who would be filled up with bitterness and hatred. They are identical to thousands of drawings in junk shops. All they demonstrate is that they are a terrible work of art, not that the person behind them will become a tyrant," he said.There is a moral point to this; the Chapmans have announced that they hope that the defacement of Hitler's work will leave him spinning in his grave (how will they know, though?). Meanwhile, the White Cube Gallery has stated that it is extremely careful about whom it will sell these works to, to ensure that no actual Nazi sympathisers get their jollies from them.
Obscure television programme of the day: Heil Honey I'm Home!. Produced in Britain in 1990, this was intended to be a rediscovered 1950s US sitcom set in Nazi Germany, and concerned with the domestic life of (a fictionalised) Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun and their neighbours, the Goldensteins. The characters are presented in classic 1950s American sitcom tradition; the Hitler character himself comes across as a loud, oafish guy, a sort of Fred Flintstone in Nazi drag, Eva Braun is a traditional housewife, and the Goldensteins are cantankerous schmucks, apparently from somewhere in Brooklyn.
Not surprisingly, the programme turned out to be controversial and was scrapped early; only one episode was ever aired, a low-quality copy of which may be seen here.
(via Charlie Stross)
International Association of Time Travelers: Members' Forum Subforum: Europe – Twentieth Century – Second World War; Page 263; a fiction about time travel and online forum etiquette/politics:
At 02:21:30, SneakyPete wrote:
Vienna, 1907: after numerous attempts, have infiltrated the Academy of Fine Arts and facilitated Adolf Hitler's admission to that institution. Goodbye, Hitler the dictator; hello, Hitler the modestly successful landscape artist! Brought back a few of his paintings as well, any buyers?
At 02:29:17, SilverFox316 wrote:
All right; that's it. Having just returned from 1907 Vienna where I secured the expulsion of Hitler from the Academy by means of an elaborate prank involving the Prefect, a goat, and a substantial quantity of olive oil, I now turn my attention to our newer brethren, who, despite rules to the contrary, seem to have no intention of reading Bulletin 1147 (nor its Addendum, Alternate Means of Subverting the Hitlerian Destiny, and here I'm looking at you, SneakyPete). Permit me to sum it up and save you the trouble: no Hitler means no Third Reich, no World War II, no rocketry programs, no electronics, no computers, no time travel. Get the picture?
This evening, I rented and watched the following two DVDs:
- Max: the 2002 Canadian/Hungarian/British production about a young Adolf Hitler's relationship with a (fictional) cosmopolitan Jewish art dealer in Munich, immediately after World War 1. Hitler was played by Noah Taylor, who looked like a leaner version of the housemate he played in He Died With A Felafel In His Hand, or possibly like the frontman of an Australian indie-rock band; he put in a decent performance, playing the young Hitler as a bitterly angry monomaniac torn between the world of art (in which he wasn't much of a success, partly due to his disdain for modern art trends and/or general crackedness; this was before outsider art came into vogue, of course) and fringe politics.
- American Splendor: a film about underground comic writer Harvey Pekar; he is portrayed here as a pudgy, generally grubby-looking loser with a dead-end job, severely limited horizons and a generally shitty outlook on life, which has lasted him from childhood. Pekar starts writing a comicbook series based on the minutiae of his life, and gradually gets a cult following. I imagine that, were he doing this 25 years later, he'd probably have started a weblog instead.
The night before, I watched Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (which was amusing; it took the memoirs of a delusional former TV personality and used them as a vehicle for clever-dick scriptwriter Charlie Kaufman to play with the ways that being a 1960s game-show host and CIA assassin could interact).
There have been mass arrests in the People's Democracy of Cuba after the official Communist Party newspaper printed a photograph of Fidel Castro doctored to look like Hitler. The offending issues of Granma (which is presumably similar in tone to Pravda before it turned into the Weekly World News) were quickly retrieved by the secret police; the efficiency of this operation evident in the vagueness of descriptions of the photograph, which few people have actually seen (or will admit to having):
Some say that those seated in the background of the photograph, which was published on December 4, have had their glasses darkened, to make them look like mafiosi, or that they have had white lines superimposed on their lips, suggesting that they dare not speak out against Dr Castro's wishes.
One feels one must applaud the refreshing honesty of Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe; after all, while many in his profession swear up and down to be champions of freedom, he's one of very few to equate himself to Hitler in his own statements.
"Hitler in Zimbabwe has one objective - sovereignty for his people, recognition of their independence and their rights to freedom. If they say I am Hitler, let me be Hitler ten-fold and that's what we stand for."
Mugabe, who sports a toothbrush mustache, made these remarks as his government clamped down ruthlessly on dissent, detaining and torturing hundreds of dissidents. (via Die Puny Humans)
(I seem to recall that some other African tyrant, back in the 1970s, idolised Hitler and put statues of him in all his cities.)
You've heard the Nu Marxists bleating about how Bush is just like Hitler? Well, here's proof that it's not at all true:
HITLER: A brilliant orator.
BUSH: May be dyslexic.
HITLER: In his younger days, organized the Beer Hall Putsch.
BUSH: In his younger days, drank a lot of beer.
HITLER: Preceding government discredited by economic crisis, hyperinflation, riots between Communists and Fascists.
BUSH: Preceding government discredited by extramarital blowjob.
HITLER: Survived several assassination attempts.
BUSH: Choked on a pretzel.
HITLER AS A MOVIE CHARACTER: SAURON!
BUSH AS A MOVIE CHARACTER: Forrest Gump.
(from Where is Raed?'s comments)
What do spelling checkers say about modern culture? The spelling checker in Microsoft Word 97 has some telltale gaps in its lexicon:
Your computer knows baddies Lenin and Trotsky, but not peace lovers Lennon, McCartney, and Starr. It remembers Auschwitz but not Woodstock. Your spell-check will gleefully accept Ku Klux Klan (try typing it in lower kase, your komputer will gently suggest that you kapitalize your k's). Ominously, Word 97 acknowledges German politicians Helmut Kohl and Gerhard Schroeder - we may not know exactly what these men are up to but we can assume, from the company they keep in our spell check, that they are bad, bad men.