Today In Pop Culture: You Did Nazi This One Coming

Published on February 24th, 2016 in: Culture Shock, Today In Pop Culture |

By Jeffery X Martin

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It’s my belief that most people enjoy a good party. If that’s true, then the converse must also be true. Most people do not enjoy a bad party. The problem starts when you’re in a party that you think is good, but practically the rest of the world believes is horrible. That’s not an overstatement.

Especially if you were a member of the Nazi Party, which was formed on this date in 1920.

Now, we all know about what the Nazis did to their own native Germans, the Jews, and what they attempted to do to the rest of the world during World War II. They believed in things like genocide, ethnic cleansing, and marching patterns for their own soldiers that bordered on interpretive dance.

As soon as they popped onto the international scene by waging war on everyone, the Nazis entered popular culture and have never left.

The first place where the Nazis were openly mocked in America were our cartoons and comic books. Daffy Duck and Porky Pig joined the Armed Forces and gleefully took out Nazi soldiers by the dozens. In 1941, Warner Brothers released the cartoon, Der Fuehrer’s Face. It featured a Spike Jones recording of a song by the same name. That song became a huge hit, landing at number three on the US charts.

And who can forget when Captain America punched Adolf Hitler out?

In 1940, Charlie Chaplin released The Great Dictator, which depicted a Hitleresque leader named Adenoide Hynkel. It was Chaplin’s first sound film, and a gigantic hit with both audiences and critics. On an arguably lower level of comedy, the Three Stooges made several short films making fun of Hitler.

Perhaps one of the greatest Hitler mockers was Mel Brooks, who used him in two of his productions. In his remake of To Be or Not To Be, Brooks played the leader of a theatrical troupe trying to escape the Polish invasion. At one point, he has to impersonate Hitler to make sure his friends have enough time to get out. In The Producers, the two main characters concoct a scheme to create the worst Broadway play ever. The show is called Springtime for Hitler, and it is as offensive as it is hilarious.

Even now, Hitler is still the butt of many jokes. Family Guy has had more than one laugh at his expense. Oh, and remember all those Downfall memes from a few years ago?

The fact that we’re still talking about Hitler and the Nazis isn’t surprising. As humans, we like to talk about terrible shit. What’s inspiring about all of this is how evil was faced with bravery and humor. We still stomp those ideas down with comedy today. In a world of nukes and bombs and horrific ideologies out there for the taking, our greatest weapon is still laughter.

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