Saturday, October 10, 2015

Nazistalglia

I've heard it said that there are some old Russians who miss Stalin. It's not that they liked everything he did so much as that they knew where they stood with him.

And, needless to say, just about every President of the last few decades is missed by somebody. It's hard to find one that isn't superior to Obama, after all. For all his flaws, Jimmy Carter never hated people because they were White.

There are certainly Brits who miss Thatcher, Frenchmen who miss Sarkozy, Mexicans who miss Fox, etc. And I'd guess that even Mao is thought of by some in a nostalgic way.

But Hitler? Surely not! He's like the ultimate evil in most sociopolitcal paradigms these days, isn't he?

Or maybe, physical and cultural destruction is the actual ultimate evil, and when confronted with it, people start longing for King Arthur or Barbarossa or El Cid or even you-know-who as a tough cookie who would have the will and ability to resist that destruction. It's a thought. And that seems to be suggested by a strange media phenomenon in Germany, where people seem to be a little weary of Merkel's enthusiastic surrender of their country to Saladin's progeny.

'He's back': Hitler mockumentary touches nerve in Germany

By Pauline Houede



Berlin (AFP) - Imagine Hitler wakes up in today's Berlin, is mistaken for a hilarious impersonator of the Nazi leader and ends up a TV celebrity, widely cheered for voicing his demented worldview.
That's the premise of "He's Back" ("Er ist wieder da"), a biting social satire by author Timur Vermes, the movie version of which premiered in German cinemas this week.
In the bestselling what-if novel published three years ago, Hitler is baffled to find himself in a multicultural Germany led by a woman, Chancellor Angela Merkel.
He discovers TV chefs, Wikipedia and the fact that Poland still exists before he ends up a small-screen star, in a social commentary on society, mass media and celebrity hype.
The film, however, goes a step further and sprinkles the story with documentary-style scenes -- in the style of Sacha Baron Cohen's 2006 comedy "Borat" -- giving the screen version a more disturbing twist.
In the real-life scenes, lead actor Oliver Masucci -- replete with Hitler moustache and uniform -- is seen getting rousing receptions from ordinary people, many of whom pose for "selfies" with him.
Tourists and football fans cheer the fake Hitler at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, in a Bavarian village and elsewhere, and elderly people pour their hearts out to him, often voicing extremist views.
"Yes, bring back labour camps," says one citizen to the dictator.
Such scenes have touched a raw nerve in Germany which, amid a record influx of refugees, has also suffered an upsurge in xenophobic protests and attacks against asylum-seekers.
"There is a smouldering anger among the people, like in the 1930s," says the Hitler character, with visible satisfaction.
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P. S. I just googled it, and I did not coin the word 'nazistalgia.' Dang.

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