By Alan Cho
“I’ll just come out and say it, Nazis are fucking assholes. They are cute when they’re little, I’ll give them that. Why can’t they stay small?”
– Sarah Silverman
Last week, the Gauntlet ran an article by opinions writer Madeline Sommerville regarding moral relativism. Though not invoking the words “moral relativism,” she arrived to the same conclusions–moral judgments like good and evil are subjective. Kicking a manatee may be cool in one culture, but won’t fly in the other. As social spheres contract, tolerance for other cultures and their mores becomes inevitable. Post modernism, globalization, wank, wank, mahgoobah gabah… Fell asleep there? Forget the buzzwords, this should get your attention: HITLER!
To illustrate moral relativism, Sommerville lugged out what most pundits refer to as “Plan B”, otherwise known as “Adolf Hitler.” Yes, the boogedy man of the 20th century, the monster Jewish parents threaten their children with when they don’t finish their latkes, brought out to make a point. Her article presented Hitler as a man, more or less saying, “no matter how monstrous his actions, dude had a momma.” The formula presented basically went: Hitler + hugging children x human heart = Auschwitz not that bad. Outside of bargain bin shock value, why bring in Hitler? Using him as a basis for your argument probably meant it wasn’t too strong to begin with. Seriously, most people aren’t willing to let the death of six million Jews slide just because autobahns are fucking sweet.
That’s the problem with Hitler. Rhetoricians use the guy as a shortcut, to lend undeserved gravitas to their cases. Not only did he murder millions of people, he set up camps to do it more efficiently. Oh, and he never tipped. There’s a reason why he’s considered the most hated person of all time, right behind Freddie Prinze Jr. and That-Guy-Who-Plays-Cellphone-Games-During-Movies. It’s repugnant for people to drag out the Holocaust for their own agenda. It’s such a manipulative tactic that everything else becomes white noise. Regardless of the argument, he overpowers it. Watch: “AbortHITLER”, “Gun ConHITLER.” “We had Chinese last week, let’s get some HITLER”.
Karmic punishment for his war atrocities, Hitler now needs to show up for every cause regardless of the argument. You need somebody to prop up your policy on immigration? Unleash Hitler on your opponents. Bake sale not doing so well? Hitler’s there for you. But like masturbation porno: it’s only hot until you realise you’re just watching yourself.
Not only in opinion articles, Hitler’s popping up in news shows, magazines and arguments made by politicians. It’s disturbing to see how reckless Hitler-mania is getting. Germany’s justice minister compared Bush to Hitler. Not to be outdone, the New York Post compared Howard Dean to Hitler in an editorial. But the grand daddy belongs to Senator Rick Santorum– a few months ago, he compared the Democrats on the senate to Hitler. As if the Democratic senators would combine forces to create the Voltron of Hitlers to molest American landmarks. See how ridiculous Hitler can get? It’s a shock tactic that’s become more tacky than effective.
Let’s put a moratorium on Hitler. As artificial emotional weight or the generic symbol of all things bad, he’s lost his edge. History is full of other monsters; it’s time to let them take the spotlight. Why not Vlad the Impaler, who surrounded his capital with the impaled corpses of his enemies? William Joseph Simmons started the second Ku Klux Klan, so you get two villains for the price of one! Genghis Kahn… well, Genghis Kahn actually wasn’t so bad.