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Friday, January 6, 2012

Make Your Own History

December 31, 1941, posted at

Postmodernism is the school of thought that has the most wide-ranging impact on today's students and young adults.  Postmodernism recognizes reality as a subjective construct dependent upon the perceptions of the individual.  Now - boiling that down to plain English, Postmodernnism believes that a person's worldview is subjective, therefore no universal truths or principals exist that apply to everyone equally. 

So...what does that mean in practice?

Take the theory of Postmodernism and apply it to, say, the media for example, and suddenly it becomes completely acceptable to reinterpret the Holocaust to suit your own personal needs, regardless of the universal tragedy of the event.  If your need is to rapidly attract a large audience, postmodernism justifies the reinterpretation of the Holocaust as a joke because laughs garner web traffic.

The folks at 5SecondFilms are not alone in the postmodern universe.  On YouTube, there is a channel titled "Hitler Rants Parodies" consisting of clips from the German film Downfall that are re-subtitled to make it appear as if Hitler is ranting about everything from his girlfriend Eva Braun to modern video games like Call of Duty.  The page is so popular that the creator, who originally intended to only post 10 parodies, has posted over 500 since 2009. 

With over 28 million views, Hitler Rants Parodies has spawned a Facebook fan group and garnered featured space at the mainstream comedy site  Hitler Rants Parodies even has a Wikispace with a complete timeline of the "Hitler Rants Parodies Universe" in which the Nazi Dictator disappears from Germany in 1924 only to wake up at the age of 35 in 1984 and go on to establish the Third Reich in Germany in 1992.

Hitler Rants Parodies is far from the only source for modern-day mockery of the Nazi leader.  The hit Fox TV series Family Guy opened its premiere show with a rip on the dead dictator:

So, you might be thinking, what's the problem?  Charlie Chaplin made fun of Hitler.  So did Mel Brooks. 

Chaplin's Great Dictator (released in 1940) ended with Chaplin, as the Dictator, breaking the fourth wall to deliver a monologue criticizing Hitler's evil ideology and warning his audience of the destruction that walks in Hitler's wake with a plea for humanity to fight against the evil of hate and intolerance.  Chaplin, who fought politics on both sides of the Atlantic to get his film on the screen, had the goal of waging war against Hitler through the medium he knew best - cinema. 

Brooks did not mock the Dictator himself, but rather he mocked the ideology of anti-Semitism and Nazism in The Producers much the same way he mocked the anti-Semitism of Renaissance Spain's Catholic Church in History of the World Part I with his infamous song The Inquisition.  In fact, Brooks' hatred of anti-Semitism is what fuels his self-proclaimed "lifelong job - to make the world laugh at Adolf Hitler." 

So, what is the goal behind December 31, 1941 or Hitler Rants Parodies?  To mock Hitler?  To what ends?  And what is the goal in mocking the hope and horror of Anne Frank?  If we are to accept Postmodernism's theory that human nature is subjective and therefore out of the bounds of critique, we shouldn't bother to even ask such questions.  Instead, we should just sit back and laugh.

After all, Hitler was the 20th century's biggest joke, and Auschwitz was just a place to lose weight and work out, right?

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