Laughing at Evil

 

“They can’t make that (Blazing Saddles) movie today because everybody’s so politically correct. You know, the NAACP would stop a great movie that would do such a great service to black people because of the N-word,” says Brooks. “You’ve got to really examine these things and see what’s right and what’s wrong. Politically correct is absolutely wrong. Because it inhibits the freedom of thought. I’m so lucky that they weren’t so strong then and that the people that let things happen on the screen weren’t so powerful then. I was very lucky.”

Mel Brooks, 2014

To back up the words of Mr. Brooks:

Olney Theatre’s production of Mel Brooks’s 2001 musical The Producers only has three more performances, but it’s not going to close without a bit of manufactured controversy. Audience members at Montgomery County playhouse are going to have to walk past a small coterie protesting the show’s play-within-the-play, because, the demonstrators say, it makes light of Adolf Hitler and the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany.

“I understand the intent is satire,” says Jeffrey Imm, who is organizing the demonstration through his anti-discrimination group, Responsible for Equality And Liberty. “This is the point of morality: some things we have to recognize as absolute evil. When 6 million people are murdered, we don’t view it with knee-slapping, we view it with reverence.”

Go here to read the rest. Mr. Imm’s group is completely wrong-headed.  Too often Hitler, murderous little jumped up thug, is elevated into being some sort of grand demonic personification of evil.  This is precisely the wrong way to remember the psychopath and the movement he led.  Far better to make him into a clownish figure and condemn him throughout history with laughter and ridicule. 

The late Werner Klemperer, who portrayed Colonel Klink on the old sitcom Hogan’s Heroes, was a German Jewish refugee to America from the Third Reich, who served in the US Army during World War II.  He was once asked how he could play a Nazi.  He replied that he would go to his grave happy knowing that he helped make the Nazis look ridiculous.  Precisely!  That is why I love the Hitler Downfall parodies, and why I have always relished this cartoon:

 

Hitler envisaged himself as a history moulding genius who would shape the future of humanity in his image.  Doubtless the worst fate he could have imagined for himself is to be the butt of humor forever, his cause defeated and only crazies attracted to his banner.

“The devil…that proud spirit…cannot endure to be mocked.”

Saint Thomas More

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17 Comments

  1. Sometimes personalities that support or do evil make themselves into “clownish figures ” to laugh at. Witness the Hillary press conferences….

  2. On the other hand, I do believe the Godless left has successfully used humor and ridicule (think TV)to institute evil into our culture. Dan Quayle was right about Murphy Brown and all the other leftist systematic ridiculing of all that was once good.

  3. The Second Psalm comes to mind: “The kings of the earth rise up and the princes conspire against the Lord and against His Christ “Let us break their bonds asunder and let us cast away their chains from us.” He who dwells in heaven laughs at them. The Lord derides them.” Those like Hitler, who make a parody of their personhood, deserve to be laughed at.

  4. Mel Brooks was a comedic genius. Most of his movies were made decades ago and they are still funny. Blazing Saddles used the “n” word to make fun of racists. Definitely not for kids, but witty. Spaceballs is still funny.

    My favorite part of History of the World Part 1 was when Brooks, portraying Moses, comes down from the mount with 15 commandments – three tablets – and drops one, which is shattered. “The Lord God has given you these 15 (shattering sound of a tablet) 10 – 10 Commandments, for all to hear and obey!”

  5. Did anyone catch the hilarious effeminate swing of the hips and expression on the Nazi soldier’s face as they sing “Sooper, Sooper, Sooper Men?” It is at about 1:07 into the cartoon. Prophetic? Ironic? I’ll bet a Christian baker could fill in the blank.

  6. I think part of the problem is cultural– was it here that the article about the Daily Show was brought up?

    A lot of folks confuse mockery with actually making the mocked thing irrelevant. It’s not, really, but if you take it that way– the objection of the protesters makes sense.

    This does not work well with those who hold that mockery should be aimed at disrespectful things.

    And now I’m going to have “der freur’s face” stuck in my head all day. 😀

  7. “–for him we make more shells.
    If one little shell
    should blow him straight to ***BANG***
    We’ll Heil! Heil!
    And wouldn’t that be swell!”

  8. Too often Hitler, murderous little jumped up thug, is elevated into being some sort of grand demonic personification of evil.

    The proof is the fact that you will see more efforts out there making SATAN sympathetic, even positive, than any of Hitler. Indeed you’ll find on some boards folks more willing to defend Satan as a rebel against a tyrant God than say even the slightest positive of Hitler.

  9. I dunno. It’s easy to laugh at evil when it is defeated. Can anyone imagine some funny videos on what Planned Parenthood is up to? I can’t.

  10. Some of the best of the anti-Nazi propaganda during World War II was comedic, see the Donald Duck cartoon. In regard to Worse Than Murder, Inc, I can imagine some very funny videos highlighting the money they are making off killing, and their unwillingness to admit that abortion is the key to how they make money.

  11. There was even humor in the concentrations camps. If the guard laughed at you it was mocking. If the prisoners laughed at their situation it was compassion.

  12. The comments about the Donald Duck video on YouTube were amazing. There really are countless stupid people in the world.

  13. A recent offering on the History Channel examined the widespread use of mind-altering drugs by the Nazis, from Hitler on down to the very troops in the field. The Ubermenschen derived their powers from pills. Then, as Cab Calloway sang it in Minnie the Moocher, “Bing, Bang, Boom, and the Dope Gave Out”.

  14. However, ought we not have–I’m not sure what the correct word would be–reverence–for the memory of the horrors inflcted that we should never allow them to be perpetuated ever again? If you make a joke about something, it makes it less serious seemingly, but whatever danger it possesses is still there none the less. Maybe someone can help me articulate this better?

  15. That’s a good reason not to make light of the evil they did– but neither of these are doing that. They’re mocking the people who did evil.

    (Well, enslaving someone is evil, but it was taken to ridiculous levels for the cartoon.)

    I think I see what you’re aiming at– that it’s not a good idea to make the evil action seem like a joke.

  16. “The late Werner Klemperer, who portrayed Colonel Klink on the old sitcom Hogan’s Heroes, was a German Jewish refugee to America from the Third Reich, who served in the US Army during World War II. He was once asked how he could play a Nazi. He replied that he would go to his grave happy knowing that he helped make the Nazis look ridiculous.”

    Technically, Klemperer wasn’t a Jew, as his mother was Lutheran. His father, the famous conductor Otto Klemperer, was a Jewish revert (from Catholicism!) who fled Germany in 1935 when he could see where the country was heading with the Nazis in power. Werner Klemperer, having lived the first 15 years of his life in Germany, was of course fluent in German, and in postwar Hollywood that put him in great demand to play Nazi military officers in war movies. Every offer he got to that effect he turned down, saying that he wouldn’t take any role that made Nazis look even slightly respectable. That’s why he took the role of Colonel Klink in “Hogan’s Heroes”, because he could play him as an utter buffoon. He did play a couple of Nazis in movies (Adolf Eichmann in “Operation Eichmann” and a fictional Nazi judge in “Judgement at Nuremburg”) because he could depict them as the mean and stupid people that they were.

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