By: T.R. Slyder, TRSlyder@yahoo.com, AndyDisco on Twitter
Is anything Hitler really still shocking? Isn't that getting a little tired? I almost wrote about that last month but decided against it, then I just saw that Twitter-celebrity Roseanne BarrArnold just did a photo spread as Hitler to "shock" us all and take her seriously again.
When Mel Brooks first spoofed Hitler, it was shocking. Springtime for Hitler? Shocking. Everything else? Played out. The cheap shock that Hitler provides is like when "modern artists" do something anti-George Bush. We get it. You aren't the first to take the fangs out of them, so don't act heroic when you do- they don't have fangs anymore. Please stop.
While I am fully aware that the wounds that Hitler created still run deep- plenty Holocaust survivors are still with us as are, Holocaust orphans, and more tangentially- survivors of WWII casualties. I fully understand that Hitler could still rightfully be a touchy subject for them. And rightfully so. But is Hitler imagery really shocking anymore? I'm almost 30, and my Dad wasn't conceived during Hitler's lifetime.
German people are great. Contemporary Germany is afraid of having a positive national identity, out of fear that it will reflect some sick form of misdirected Nazi pride. They hate Hitler more than Americans do- trust me. They don't like visiting America and having moron Americans say, "Germany huh? What, are you a Nazi? Ha ha, I'm just kidding."
It isn't that Hitler imagery is not funny or shocking because it's too raw or the cliched "too soon". Hitler imagery is about as shocking today as that of Chairman Mao, Pol Pot, or Idi Amin, or Stalin. We get it. They sucked. They're long gone. It's over. It's about as funny as a human with two legs. We get it. Not funny.
Great artists have shocked us- Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso, Stravinsky, and even Elvis, all shocked the masses. Equally shockingly, they didn't shock us using half-century old imagery- they used their artistic genius to create something new- that happened to shock us.
Tangentially related: Can people please stop trying to get away with referencing Hitler and not expecting controversy? I don't mean in the artistic realm- those people that go for shock and fail woefully, and conformist-ically short. I mean those in the professional realm, when college football coaches say things like, "Just because we failed doesn't mean we didn't have a plan and try our hearts out- heck, Hitler had a plan, tried his heart out and failed."
They think the references are not controversial, just historical fact. Yet too many artists still think they're shocking us. It's time the artists should take a cue from the professional morons.
I'm T.R. Slyder, and that's how you Tangueray.
Thursday, July 30, 2009