Godwin's Lawbreakers 2012: The Laziest Analogy in the Entertainment Industry
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Godwin's Lawbreakers 2012: The Laziest Analogy in the Entertainment Industry

By Rob Payne | Seriously Random Lists | October 19, 2012 | Comments ()


Often it seems like a day hardly ever goes by without someone, somewhere heiling Hitler. Unless you find yourself at a political rally or surfing in some of the more disturbing corners of the Internet, most conjurings of the would-be world conqueror are the result of misguided or ill-informed invocations of Nazis and der infamous Fuhrer. The Internet is rife with examples, so much so that we have a name for the inevitable devolving a discussion thread into unfounded and irresponsible accusations of Nazism and being "as bad as" or "in bed with (not literally, gross)" Adolf Hitler: Godwin's Law. Occasionally, someone in the real world -- usually an incredulous, gum-flapping celebrity in front of a camera or microphone or camera phone -- contorts themselves into this meme and either all hell breaks loose or hilarity ensues.

Last year I had intended to write a SRL detailing the worst celebrity offenders of all time, only to discover that famous people break Godwin's law like Felix Baumgartner breaks the sound barrier. Pretty damn fast. A list of the all-time worsts would likely take weeks to research and days to prepare, and who has that much time for something so ultimately trivial? That's why, once again, it's best to stick with a single calendar year. It ain't like we're running out of candidates, after all. Without further ado, I present to you Godwin's Lawbreakers 2012: Lazy Entertainment Industry Edition!

Bob Dylan
Offense Occurred: October 2012

Broke Godwin's Law By saying in an interview with Rolling Stone wherein he drifted into U.S. politics, "If you've got a slave master or the [Klu Klux] Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that... Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood."

Once again we start off with the most recent instance, and once again the swastika-sporting devil is in the details. Both Serbia and Croatia have filed suits in the past arguing each side has committed genocide against the other, so it isn't like either nation's record has no blood on it, but the history is messy and that's not what this is about. Dylan does have some historical accuracy on his side, namely that some Croats were indeed Nazis during World War II and so it isn't wrong to lump them in with the Klan or the Third Reich. The problem is that, like saying every German citizen from the 1930s through the 1940s agreed with Hitler, saying all Croatians were akin to Nazis is simply unfair and untrue. If Dylan had simply said "...the Serbs can sense Ustase blood" his analogy would have been aces, if not a little crude. We should expect better from a Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres.

Devin Faraci
Offense Occurred: September 2012

Broke Godwin's Law By attempting to argue in a debate with Mumblecore director Joe Swanberg at Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX, "Joe, you're right, you have made more films than most other American filmmakers. Hitler killed more Jews than most other people, but that doesn't make [AUDIENCE BOOING DROWNS OUT THE END OF DEVIN'S COMMENT]."

This is what happens when you break Godwin's Law in front of a live audience, you immediately get heckled and don't get to finish whatever lazy point you were already failing to make. It's good to have an equal amount of distaste for both Faraci (Badass Digest) and Swanberg (V/H/S, Silver Bullets), but after that textbook case of IRL Godwinning, there's no shame in taking large doses of pleasure from the fact that Swanberg proceeded to kick the ever living shit out of Faraci. Don't worry, those are the rules behind the festival's Fantastic Debates, so no actual laws were broken. The only thing more bruised than Faraci's credibility was likely his whole face.

Bob Arum
Offense Occurred: June 2012

Broke Godwin's Law By asserting in an interview that hopeful opponent to Manny Paqcuiao, boxer Floyd Mayweather, was "[F]rom the school of propaganda that Joseph Goebbels, who was Hitler's publicist, adopted. The more you say things over and over again the more people believe them."

Don't boxing promoters just say the darnedest things? Undoubtedly, in the realm of politics, we've all heard of the phrase "the Big Lie" before, but rarely has it been used to describe a boxer who simply wants to punch another boxer more times than they punch him, but the latter boxer and their manager refuses to arrange said punching match in order to hold onto their championship belt. Granted, being compared to Goebbels is somewhat less horrifying than to Hitler, and at least Bob Arum didn't impugn the man's masculinity by saying he was like Leni Riefenstahl. The fact that Mayweather happens to be a black man, and that Nazis specifically targeted blacks in Germany (not to mention neo-Nazis specifically targeting black men in this country for over a 100 years), probably just slipped Arum's mind, right?

Offense Occurred: August 2012

Broke Godwin's Law By commenting on the London Olympics in a blog post that read, "As I recently drove through Greece I noticed repeated graffiti seemingly everywhere on every available wall. In large blue letters it said WAKE UP WAKE UP. It could almost have been written with the British public in mind, because although the spirit of 1939 Germany now pervades throughout media-brand Britain, the 2013 grotesque inevitability of Lord and Lady Beckham (with Sir Jamie Horrible close at heel) is, believe me, a fate worse than life. WAKE UP WAKE UP."

Morrissey isn't the first grumbly Brit to compare his home country to a fascist dictatorship inspired by the pageantry and propaganda of Nazi Germany. Alan Moore got there exactly 30 years ago with V for Vendetta, though most people will probably know the Wachowskis-produced movie better. And perhaps there's something to be said for the comparison, considering the 1936 Berlin Olympics were ragingly jingoistic. But, newslash Mr. Morrissey, that's what every Olympics is like. We can agree to dislike Mr. and Mrs. Posh Spice til the sheep come home, but insinuating they're like Hitler and Ava Braun is just silly. No way could Adolf have ever bent it like Beckham.

Offense Occurred: May 2012

Broke Godwin's Law By showcasing a video with Nazi imagery that included a collage-like image implying she had a "Hitler 'Stache" while performing a concert in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Oh, Madge! Just like Kanye, she's a living, breathing, incredibly talented sideshow. Nobody should be shocked by her antics at this point in her career and she clearly knows that. You can only wear so many cone bras and simulate masturbation in public so many times before audiences start to realize you're whole schtick is just crying wolf on the biggest stage possible. That's why she makes her blonde, blue-eyed self over into a Nazi, and not just any Nazis but Hitler and Charles Manson, in front of what was most likely a predominantly Jewish crowd. No word on what her rabbi thinks of this. Really, it's less upsetting, and somewhat of a Godwin Law cheat, than the others cited here. At this point, her antics are less ballsy and more sad. Literally anything would be more entertaining.

Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force and tweets on the Twitter, tumbls on the Tumblr, and his wares can be purchased here. If, like him, you love Bob Dylan with all your heart, here's a picture of the legendary troubador receiving an award from President Obama to re-warm your cockles.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Jezzer

    I really, really hate that someone has made me go Team Swanberg, because I've seen his earlier work, and it's all your basic mumblecore "I'm in my 20s and I've been to film school; let me explain to you in detail how life works" bullshit. There's a scene of him jerking off in the shower in "Kissing on the Mouth" that is probably the most honest depiction of the mumblecore filmmaking process that I've ever seen.

    Lately he's been focusing on horror and suspense movies. I still plan to see "V/H/S," because it occurred to me sometime around 'Hannah Takes the Stairs" that his movies would only be improved by someone killing the cast in horrible ways.

  • Pookie

    Look at Rob, gettin’ all indignant and shit. But unfortunately Rob I’m going to have to give everyone a pass because really, has anyone ever played the Hitler card successfully? I mean really, that shit is like trying to get a 1600 on the SAT. Don't get me wrong, there have been a few motherfuckers that have gotten a 1600, but you never see them, they are kinda like "Bigfoot." You only see them in pictures.

  • e jerry powell

    Really grainy, badly focused pictures. Lots of horn-rimmed glasses involved.

  • Hysteria

    About the Madonna Hitler stache thing, it was not really on her face, but rather on politician Marine Le Pen's face, leader of the french extreme right paty. It was election time in france so I guess she wanted to give her opinion.

  • John G.

    I declare Bob Arum ineligible Bringing up Goebel's "Big Lie" theory is not an occurrence of Godwin's law.

  • googergieger

    I don't think you understand Godwin's Law. It isn't just about bringing up Nazi's/Hitler.

    I mean Bob Dylan was just stupid, he didn't have an argument with someone and compare them to Hitler did he? Same with Madonna who has waaaaaay more other reasons to hate her.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. I blame Alanis Morrisete. So much so, I won't bother looking up how to spell her name.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Bob Dylan is an idiot. Well, color me surprised.

  • Natallica

    When he played my city on March, Morrissey asked the production to forbid the sale of meat products (hotdogs, hamburguers and such) near the venue. WHO'S THE NAZI NOW??? :P

  • David Sorenson

    You know who else was a vegetarian? Hitler!

  • e jerry powell

    Okay, I'm an asshole.

    The 1936 Summer Games were held in Berlin (Jesse Owens versus a bunch of Aryan Supermen!). The 1940 Summer Games were scheduled for Tokyo and then re-awarded to Helsinki, but neither the 1940 or 1944 games (winter 1940 scheduled for Sapporo, Japan, summer 1944 scheduled for London, which hosted the next post-war games in 1948, winter 1944 scheduled for Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy) happened because of World War II.

    History class. It's why I haven't been allowed to play Trivial Pursuit since 1985.

  • Nah, that's not being an assole, I just got lazy in my research. Googling "Berlin Olympics" auto populates with 1940 and 1972. I should've actually hit enter. 1936 makes so much more sense. So, cheers and fixed!

  • e jerry powell

    Which is weird, because I would expect Google to know that the 1972 games were kind of infamous, with that whole Munich thing. Not a drop of Berlin about it.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Rob, you ignorant slut, this article is just fantastic. God, I love Pajiba.

  • BierceAmbrose

    What she said.

    You made me evil-grin for five minutes straight, and Godtopus, I needed that today.

    Now, tell me more about the "ignorant slut" part.

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