Friday, May 27, 2005

A couple of whiles ago, WV Senator Robert C. Byrd Memorial Robert C. Byrd used a historian's account of Hitler's rise to power to illustrate his concerns about what might be happening in the US.

Pennsylvania Senator Rick "Man-on-Dog" Santorum recently compared some opponent holding onto something to Hitler holding onto Paris.

Secretary of Offense Donald Rumsfeld this week compared Al Zarkawi (the new Bin Laden) to being a die-hard bring-the-roof-down-with-me in the mould of Hitler in the bunker.

Anti-abortion sorts frequently compare the destruction of potential humans to the Holocaust.

There have, no doubt, been all sorts of other examples of using Hitler / Third Reich / WW2 / the Holocaust as metaphors for completely not-like-that-at-all things. This seems to be the trend among Amuhrkins.

I am a kind of Amuhrkin. I think that from now on I will pepper my blog posts with absurd metaphors of this sort, but with the added twist that I may use other historical characters, issues, and events.

So, for example, I will say that the Liverpool/Milan game was just like the Battle of the Casserine Pass.

4 Comments:

At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Thom said...

This phenomenon has been observed online since the early USENET days, and is characterized by Godwin's Law. (See: http://www.catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/G/Godwins-Law.html) It's just surprising that it's taking some of our leaders this long to catch up. Oh, and Hi, Greg!

 
At 6:13 PM, Blogger Greg said...

THOM! My Thom?

Hullo!

You know, I feel like General Grant must have felt when he got a message from Pericles about the Battle of the Leyte Gulf.

And yeah, with the Godwin's law stuff. I think, though, that the politicians are doing it because they suspect that the average idiot knows almost nothing about anything that happened before they woke up this morning, but they have heard of Hitler and recall that the word Bad was often attached to him.

 
At 2:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've got even non-southern states suggesting that science is pretty much bunk, and we should go back to the tried and true leadership of a poor translation of a book with questionable authorship. More US citizens know who finished second on American Idol than know who their congressional representatives are. The biggest story of the year will end up being whether to pull the plug on someone who will never know the difference. And you're suggesting the politicians might be wrong on this one? Heck, we're lucky if the kids here even know who Hitler was, judging by what I'm seeing from public schools. I'm climbing back up my tree...

 
At 9:38 PM, Blogger Greg said...

I'm guess I'm suggesting that most uses of WW2-related metaphors, analogies, and comparisons are lazy at best and often dishonest. I think Anonymous is saying that the folks are pretty ignorant, and I agree. The easy WW2 schtick is, perhaps, both a result and a symptom of this ignorance. It gets used because it sounds meaningful to folks who know next to nothing about history, while at the same time the folks who are using it may themselves be at a loss for better material due to their own ignorance.

I also think, sometimes, that there is something more sinister afoot. WW2, as "the good war", has become so mythologized as to have become the end-all-be-all of Americanness. The mythology of WW2 oversimplifies or even distorts key parts of it, such as the way the US came to be part of the war at all, and US conduct once it got in. With the myth firmly implanted, it can then be used to villify "the other" as the moral equivalent of whichever villain or dupe from the era one choses (Petain, Mussolini, Chamberlain, "the French", Stalin, or even Hitler himself) while "we" are usually either the sleepy Pearl Harbor sailors, the victims of the Holocaust, or the heroic and faceless GI who single-handedly saved the world from badness.

And now I've gone on too long.

 

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