In Swansea, Wales, there is a house that looks like Adolf Hitler. The resemblance might be abstract, but it isn't that hard to see. The house in Wales isn't the only thing that looks like Hitler: there are cats that look like Hitler. More than just a few, enough that there is an entire webpage called "catsthatlooklikehitler.com". And for that matter, there is a shampoo bottle that has an abstract but clear resemblance to Adolf Hitler. And beyond simple images, there is a webcomic called "Hipster Hitler", mashing together Hitler and hipster stereotypes. And the trend isn't confined to the underbelly of the internet, where trends and jokes can be created out of the ether: Steven Moffat wrote an episode of Doctor Who called "Let's Kill Hitler", in which one of the first obvious uses of a time machine is finally used--- only it isn't, because Hitler becomes a minor and farcical character.

Other examples of Hitler's newfound comedic status can easily be found, with the application of google, although I can't vouch for the pleasantness of searching for Adolf Hitler on google.

This wasn't the first time that Adolf Hitler and nazism were portrayed as comical. In 1940, both The Three Stooges and Charlie Chaplin produced movies satirizing Hitler as a buffoon. But that was before Hitler's greatest crimes were known. After World War II, too many people had too much direct experience of what Hitler did to find him funny.

I am 32 years old, and I am still old enough that during my adolescence, when my teachers wanted to impress on me how serious The Holocaust was, they could find people who had to flee Germany due to Hitler. I never met anyone who was directly put in a concentration or extermination camp, though. I have met several people who fought in World War II, although I can't think of anyone who I have met who fought in a combat role. But I am 32, and there are people 10 and 20 years younger than me who have seen the gigantic tide of media portrayals of World War II and the Third Reich, but have less and less of a personal connection to it. It is becoming a legend. I was born in 1979, and still grew up with the idea of Adolf Hitler as a threat. But for those grown ten or twenty years after me, Hitler is just a name.

In some ways, this is a bad thing. Adolf Hitler was an insane tyrant who masterminded the world's greatest act of systemic torture and extermination. For him to be treated as just a funny face is terribly disrespectful to all of those who suffered because what he did.

On the other hand, the fact that Hitler's evil is receding in people's memory is not something that I mind. And it might be better for future generations if Hitler isn't seen as "great", even in the sense of greatly evil. A Hitler that is just a crazy man with a passing resemblance to a shampoo bottle isn't something that misguided youths (or misguided adults) are going to want to imitate.

So while comedic portrayals of Hitler aren't something that I am totally comfortable with, it might not be a bad thing that (as Hannah Arendt described Adolf Eichmann) a man that was a monster and a clown is viewed as more of a clown than a monster.

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