| First saw The Producers in
college, about 1972 or so. Can't remember the exact date, but I remember side
splitting laughs and the most amazing stage number - "Springtime for
Hitler". I investigated the music - even going so far as to talk with a
professor about the possible origins of the marching cadence in the piece
(Bolero, most likely). Dr. Demento revved up the song by playing it on his
radio show, and I taped it and listened over and over.
The power of satire to
devastate the self-nobility of egomaniacal tyrants like Hitler intrigued me,
and still does. Our ability to encapsulate and diminish through truthful
observation and commentary is the chief reason that totalitarian and
dictatorial regimes clamp down on freedom of speech.
Some play it safe and
immediately kill anyone who dares remark, others try to "manage"
critical expression - balancing between too strict and too lenient. I think the
hope is if they let a little steam blow off they will avoid the Krakatoan
cataclysms sure to follow such intolerance.
By the same token, if
there were not a lot of truth to Brook's interpretation of Hitler, I, I, I, I,
I, did I mention Wonderful Me?, the piece would have only a distant
intellectual resonance without the rousing gut-level intuition that tells you
they pegged it.
For contrast, in
politics today there are plenty of things George Bush, Jr. could be criticized
for (fairly or not), but stupidity really is not one of them. Jokes harping on
that theme miss the mark. No fighter pilot is a rank dumbass, period. Instead
of capitalizing on the truth to uncover more truth, they try to manufacture a
scenario and get everyone to buy in on it. It is puerile
Brooks, however, takes
the insanity of Hitler and packages it in what it used to captivate Germany -
Show-Biz. He diminishes Uncle Adolph's 11 year reign by wrapping it in the Liza
Minelli-like trappings of a starry ingenue, blasts it out like Jolson, (As some
reviewers have put it) and uses any of a number of stage devices and theatrical
Leni Riefenstahl was
the film choreographer for part of Hitler's media dance, and built up the Nazi
mystique in the minds of People worldwide. "Triumph of the Will" was
a rousing piece of pro-Hitler puffery that still stands today as one of the
greatest propoganda fims ever made.
No dictator in history
ever manipulated the media more cleverly than Hitler. His tenure as the despot
of Germany was always about the Show.
Watch the Swastika,
burning bright. Brown Shirts marching in the streets, book burnings, parades,
banners, art, radio, opera - and if television had been around then, more than
one channel would have been All-Hitler All-The-Time...
All boiled down to a
fantastic mesmerization of a public eager to believe in someone - The
The essence of the
lisping, limp wristed Hitler of Brooks' imagination is simply insulting to the
self image of Hitler - were he alive today he would be furious that his enemies
portrayed him as unmanly. (He was not unmanly, just a hideously evil coward
with some rather plain tastes.) That embodiment is not the key to the power of
the play, however. It is the self aggrandizement, the stage-managed presence,
the heartfelt insouciance, the virtuoso plan for world conquest - all in the
name of the German People that skewers Hitler, his memory, his evil deeds.
Mel Brooks writes
to change our
Everything I do I do
If you're looking for
a war here's World War Two!
every hotsy totsy Nazi
stand and cheer!
and more, with Brooks'
genius celebrating timeless truth;
It ain't no mystery,
If it's politics or
The thing you got to
know is -
Everything is show
In real life, it was
an act no one could follow, and we brought down the curtain.
|Politically Correct Hatred
Don't know about you, but looks like to
me there is a group that is a-OK to hate - in fact there is no slur too vile,
no excoriation too severe, no disenfranchisement too sweeping to keep these
"people" at bay. (This is war, folks!). Here are some of their
characteristics - see if you don't hate them too...
1a. They are
destroying our air and
1b. Polluting the
2. Want to starve
3. Against medicine
for old people.
4. Against world
8. Threaten civil
9. Seek to destroy all
10. Money is their
11. Try to force
"Christian" God on the rest of us.
12. Try to keep
13. Want to keep all
wealth to themselves.
15. Don't care about
other people at all.
16. Don't want to let
young people do their thing (be irresponsible).
17. Don't want to let
young people run things (be responsible).
18. Hate the
19. Think Ketchup is a
25. Want to turn back
27. These are people,
about whom, if you wanted to, and if they were appointed to a high enough
position on the Supreme Court, you could on national television openly hope for
them to die from cardiovascular disease and, because they are who they are, no
one would lift a finger in their defense, even if they were
"patient bill of rights".
standardized health care for everyone because they want to keep prices
30. Trying to destroy
pension plans for seniors.
32. Want people to die
33. Against high
minimum wage to keep people enslaved.
35. Try to rule the US
based on philosophies of old dead white men from Europe.
36. They unilaterally
despise Lenin, Marx, Trotsky, Stalin and other progressives.
do about them?
against these people: Laugh at their ideas, shun them, ignore them, ridicule
their social positions, get them fired, take their money through taxation to
give it to deserving sub-classes (everyone knows they did not earn most of it
anyway), lie about them, expose their private lives, keep them from getting a
job, try to infect them with flu germs as a joke even though flu is a deadly
illness, hold them to a different moral standard, incite mobs against them,
shout down their public appearances, criticize their education, publish their
private letters and communications to embarrass them, harass their loved ones,
ban and burn their books, piss on their religious artifacts and crap on the
Madonna, otherwise destroy their cherished icons, point out personal things
about them for public ridicule, invalidate their moral beliefs, destroy their
religious institutions, remove them from radio, get them off TV, picket,
organize against them politically, boycott their businesses, sabotage public
appearances, disinform, flaunt their laws, rebel against their authority, steal
elections from them, encourage their children to resent them, punish them for
using "incorrect" language, destroy their history, revise their past,
lie to them , sue them, dumb down their education, act condescendingly to them,
and steal from them in general.
(All of this is OK,
because they are immoral as those in-the-know define it.)
Of course, the
people I am talking about are Republicans, and the aforementioned pretty much
happened during the last ten years. See any similarities with peoples of
Eastern Europe circa 1930?
sanctioned hate is a good thing.
Catch "To Be, Or Not To Be", Jack
Benny, Carole Lombard 1942.
mis-remembered the propaganda piece as "Olympiad". It was pointed out
to me by my friend Charles in California as "Triumph". Thanks!