Friday, August 2, 2013

Fun with Hitler

In Hitler Branding, we looked at weird uses of Hitler's name and Nazi imagery in a Thai restaurant and a few Indian stores and films.  We suggested that the historical signifcance of the Nazi regime simply doesn't have the same weight in Asia, with it's own horrors and teeming millions, their attention is focused on other aspects of their history.  A good many young Asians probably couldn't even tell you who Hilter was.

Can you name the Japanese emperor during WW2?  What about its current prime minister?  Can you name one political party in Thailand or India?  Any of its leaders in the last 50 years?

Westerners also joke about Hitler.  Are these people anti-Semites?  Are they insensitive?  Is it healthy to reduce Hitler to a joke?

What about......cats that look like Hitler?  Back before the internet, I had a friend with a cat that looked like Hitler.  They called it Adolf, naturally.

A so-called "Kitler"
Most cats on the "Cats that look like Hilter" website, don't really look the part.  The one above, on the other hand....

Then there's the "Hitler House"in Swansea, Wales.  This one dates back to 2011, originally tweeted by a young Welsh woman.  It got picked up by some comedian and then went viral.

Says owner Clive Davies:

“I have never noticed any similarity before and most people who pass by are so close they probably never notice. Some people say they can see images of Jesus Christ on items such as toast, and I suppose it is just a variation on a theme. I don’t really think it looks like Hitler.”

Me neither.

Back in May, JCPenney caught flack for putting out a teapot, designed by Michael Graves, that looked liked Hilter.  In the "there is no such thing as bad publicity" vein, Forbes writes an interesting piece about this brouhaha as a marketing opportunity.

Hitler was also short and stout
Companies let things get to market that are obviously dumb only in hindsight all the time (how else could so many smart people working on Star Wars miss the ugly racial overtones of Jar Jar Binks?). It is inconceivable that the merchandisers at JC Penney purposefully green-lighted a Hitler product, though I had a laugh when somebody tweeted that the company would discontinue its planned Pol Pot pot (clearly part of a homicidal despot-themed housewares line).

JC Penney still sells this, btw, but they've taken a different photo....

A new look
So, we can laugh, right?

Conan O'Brien seems to think so.  Dig the following, replete with jokes about a swastika-bladed fan that "exterminates hot air" and the Bavarian pasta pot "with a conveniently-located gravy ladle brush that wipes away impurities."

Speaking of comedy, we'd be remiss to leave out Charlie Chaplin, who has the distinction of looking like Hitler before even Hitler did!

The Great Dictator
I don't what my point with any of this is, to be honest.  Just to say that people find humor in juxtaposing the cute and innocuous with the monstrous.  Hell, Mel Brooks made "Springtime for Hitler" and people find it amusing, which is actually quite relevant here, as he is satirizing the fact that the general public could find humor in a Nazi-themed show.

Anyway, I have no poignant commentary to make.  Just a collection of random stuff I've come across over the past few years that people compare to Hitler.

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