“Hitler humor” is parlous; Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is today in trouble for regaling a youth rally Sunday with a real Adolf kneeslapper. Seems Der Führer, having been discovered alive by his adherents, is urged to return to power. At first the former paperhanger demurs, but eventually he says: “I’ll come back, but on one condition. Next time I’m going to be evil.”
Of course, Berlusconi is something of a professional boor: at the same rally he claimed to be fit for public office because “I am friendly, I have money, legend has it I know how to ‘do it,’ and lastly because girls think: ‘He’s old and rich, he will die soon and I will inherit everything.’” The richest man in Italy, Berlusconi urged the young people assembled to “marry into money,” noting “I have a daughter who is free to marry.” He also claimed that his football team had lost Friday due to decisions made by “left-wing referees,” and de-scribed Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev as “a gift from God” to Russia. Pictured there to the right, we see Berlusconi giving a Wrong salute.
Opposition party leader Antonio Di Pietro observed: “At this point the problem is not political or judicial, but psychiatric.”
In any event, the following piece offers a bit of “Hitler humor.” Some people think that—The Producers notwithstanding—there can be nothing funny at all about the man. Accepted and understood. So if you are one of those people: horseman, pass by.
Today in the store the Christmas merchandise was out on the shelves. Seems a little early to me, but what do I know? No one put me in charge of capitalism.
Trailing down the aisle ahead of me was a small girl child and her mother. The child paused in front of a display of Christmas goodies, and said to her mother: “Will there be a Santa this year? Or will he not be coming?”
At first I thought this poor child was referencing the recession—perhaps she thought conditions were so bad the fabled Nordic fat man may have been laid off. Then I concluded that this child had probably been bushwhacked by classmates who had sneeringly derided her belief in the mysterious midnight gift-giver.
That’s what happened to me when I was around her age. I can still picture it. This pint-sized smart-ass—who later arrived at the bad end that for this he deserved—arrogantly declaimed that Santa Claus was a figment, shit just made up by grown-ups for Some Unknown Reason. He said he knew this because his father had told him so. I told this kid he was heavy with bollocks, because my father had told me Santa was Real, and my father would never lie. And anyway, the previous Christmas Eve I had seen Rudolph, when I peered out my window. And I really had.
I think the kid said I was crazy, and then the teacher came over and told us to get back to playdough or naps or whatever other important task we were about, there in kindergarten.
That evening my father was working in the garage, as he often did. I can still picture this, too. I informed him that over there at the school some Criminal had claimed that Santa Claus was fake, but that I had set him straight.
My father then said that, well, actually, there really was no Santa Claus. For a moment I was still as ice, and felt like it, too. Then I launched into a barrage of questions—perhaps this is where my penchant for pestering, via journalism and PI work and law-jobbing, began.
Well, who brings the presents, then? Who eats the cookies and drinks the milk? Who’s that who makes all the noise on the roof? And what was that small ruminant with the red nose doing outside my window?
After my father had thoroughly dematerialized Santa Claus, all his relations, and all his works, I moved through the roster of other magical beings.
Well, the Easter Bunny is real, right? No, I was told, the rabbit’s a phony, too.
And the Tooth Fairy actually does have a real thing for digging discarded molars out from under pillows, right? No, in reality she never comes around, because she’s not real. There ain’t no such thing as fairies, or leprechauns, or giants, or unicorns.
Okay, I said, crushed. I get it. They’re all figments. And God—I understand now that he’s made up, too.
Oh no, I was assured. God is real.
Uh-huh, I thought. Sure. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. That was the end of that god guy for me. Standing there on the concrete of my driveway, my world fallen down around me, five years old.
Back home from the store today, trolling the intertubes, I discovered that the Santa issue has recently been revisited, and by a very unlikely personage. Adolf Hitler, it seems, has weighed in, and on The Santa Question, he has answered in the affirmative.
As we learned over the weekend, we are now in a world where “German Identity, Long Dormant, Reasserts Itself”—jeebus help us—so I suppose we can eventually look forward to Herr Schicklgruber being regarded as some sort of “senior statesman.” Might as well get a little ahead of the curve then.
The three variations below on The Santa Question are all manifestations of “the Downfall phenomenon,” in which intertubes satirists retain picture and sound from the 2004 film Der Untergang (in English, The Downfall), but use subtitles to tell a whole ‘nother story. There are hundreds of these things out there; previously I posted here the most memorable Downfall take on campaign 2008, “Hillary’s Downfall.”
The producers of Der Untergang have been huffy about these parodies, and to this day rhythmically raid YouTube to have them taken down. But always the things return. The film’s director, Oliver Hirschbiegel, offers a more enlightened view: “Someone sends me the links every time there’s a new one. I think I’ve seen about 145 of them! Of course, I have to put the sound down when I watch. Many times the lines are so funny, I laugh out loud, and I’m laughing about the scene that I staged myself. You couldn’t get a better compliment as a director.
“The point of the film was to kick these terrible people off the throne that made them demons, making them real and their actions into reality. I think it’s only fair if now it’s taken as part of our history, and used for whatever purposes people like.”