Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Laughing about the monster

Currently a comedy about Hitler is discussed very heatedly in Germany. In essence most people think it's inappropriate to laugh about this man. I disagree.

One of those critics has pointed out in an interview that Hitler was a monster - and he thinks it's wrong to laugh about a monster. From my point of view Chaplin was right when he made "The big Dictator", to make Hitler laughing stock.

A lot of people might wonder about this, but I can explain. A monster is something you fear ... and surely the Nazis and especially Hitler were rightfully feared. But what most people either have never understood or have forgotten a long time ago, is this: to laugh about a monster is the one sure way do make sure it looses power. A monster gathers power by fear. Every person who fears it, will give it power. The best way to diminish this power is to fear the monster less. And the best way to do this is to laugh about the monster.

While the style of a comedy can always be discussed - as not everyone has the same sense of humour (and I sometimes have the feeling critics get their humour surgically removed at the beginning of their career) -, the basic question whether it is allowed to laugh about Hitler should be answered with "Yes".

While we should never forget about the Nazis and their crimes, we yet have to learn not to give them too much power over our lives … this is the one lesson from World War II we Germans obviously still have to learn.

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