By Collin Reischman
Are you familiar with the Nazi argument? Perhaps that needs clarification. How often have you seen someone invoke the memory of Nazi’s to win a trivial discussion?
“Oh, I can’t borrow the car tonight, Mom? Fine, I guess we are living in Nazi Germany!”
Ick. Awful stuff. For generations, Nazi’s have been the universal symbol of man gone wrong. They are a towering testament to the atrocities human beings are capable of, and we love them.
Just in my first week of the semester, I witnessed this fascinating phenomena myself. I won’t name the class, or the student, because it would be unethical. Rather, I’ll share with you this moment in Nazi-reminiscing.
The discussion involved advertising, and the inherent sexism in the marketing of certain products to specific genders. I took the pure capitalist stance on this.
“Well you see, professor, that’s the job of the advertiser. Are they supposed to not market Febreeze and baby diapers to women on principle?”
My professor was impressed. “How insightful and poetic. Someone tattoo that on their forearm, quickly!”
Ok, so he didn’t say anything like that. He acknowledged my argument, and then a student responded to me in a surprising way.
“Couldn’t you make the same argument for anything though? I mean, the Nazi’s were just doing their jobs too, but we don’t excuse them. They should have stood on principle.”
Yes, drink that statement in for a moment. The man had fallen victim to that easy trap. Stirring up the stench of Nazi’s in an argument — hoping that their foul odor will drive everyone from the room — is a dangerous strategy.
Like all fear-based instruments, the Nazi argument backfires big time if you misuse it. Spend your days and nights comparing anyone to angry, murderous Germans, and suddenly they lose their punch.
What a tragedy. Nazi’s should be the symbol of pure evil, not some easy off-the-cuff remark about an opponent. We’ve overused them so much, that now we can’t even enjoy them the way we used to.
Be honest, you dig a good, evil Nazi. Comic books, music, television and movies all love using the Nazi image to conjure up the supreme bad guy.
I can just hear those slow, ominous accents now. “Vat are youuu dooing, Meestar Bond?”
Indiana Jones got his start trading fisticuffs with them. Superman and Captain America made a living knocking their heads together for 20 years. Recently the realm of video games have appealed to our lust for Nazi-punishment.
The Call of Duty video game franchise has featured ‘Nazi Zombie’ levels in three installments of their series. The bonus level has become one of the most popular aspects of the game. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good headshot on an undead fascist these days?
It’s a pure symbol. Like Satan. Nothing to like, nothing to feel remorse or compassion for. An easy target and a universal understanding.
But we’re losing them. The cheap, stupid way we see Nazi’s implemented by the intellectually handicapped is taking all the fun out of it.
Much like Stephenie Meyer has ruined the purely wicked nature of vampires, angry simpletons are ruining the beautiful simplicity of Nazi loathing.
If we can’t learn to refrain from easy name-calling then we are going to ruin all of the best villains, crooks and baddies that we’ve got.
So please. Save the really good, low blows, for the people that deserve them. Don’t waste Third Reich comparisons until you’ve got a real live despot on your hands.
Leave the Nazi combat to the superheroes. Don’t we have real battles to fight, anyway?