mein kampf: don’t read the book, rent the mov—know what? don’t rent the movie, either.

These fellas are probably not on their way to the Goethe convention . . .

Time reports that a debate is brewing in Germany over whether to lift the ban on Mein Kampf. Hitler’s screed enters the public domain in 2015, at which point some fear a “flood of new editions” will wash over Germany, inflaming nascent skinheads. The solution? Some “academics and officials” propose releasing an official, annotated version exposing the book’s flaws . . . as if those weren’t manifest.

The Evil finds it almost endearingly naïve—almost—that some academics think far-right, xenophobic nutheads, the kind of people at whom National Socialism was aimed in the first place, are going to dive into a “critical” edition of Hitler’s opus. Because we all know racist, filth-spewing reactionaries look forward to nothing more than reading annotations and footnotes providing the necessary historical and literary context for understanding their hate tracts. How about this line:

The “lack of comprehensive knowledge about the [National Socialist] regime” doesn’t allow German youths to put the book “into context”. A well-annotated edition is both “sensible and important”.

Right-o. If there’s anything angry young people seek, it’s context.

Hey! Here’s a game:

1. Say the words “annotated edition” in a crowd of people. Any crowd—youth rally, plumbers’ convention, mosh pit, Ph.D. mixer.
2. Count how many people don’t shudder with revulsion.
3. See if you need more than the fingers on one hand.

Now try this in a mob of anti-Semitic teenage fucknuts. Have fun with that.

The people to whom Hitler appealed weren’t the kind of people who did a whole mess of reading. And you’d think academics and historians, of all people, would remember that.

What’s more—as is pointed out by some opponents of this plan—this here internet has made this all a bit moot. It’s not as if interested assholes in Germany have lived their entire lives in ignorance of Mein Kampf’s existence. That cat is out of the bag. And has probably been pummeled to death by these same assholes.

This debate does make the Evil wonder, though . . . how many of Hitler’s upper-echelon minions actually ever did sit down to read his sprawling clusterfuck? Evil imagines a perspiring Goering or Himmler grinning unsteadily as some Party mixer, saying, “Liked it? No, I loved it, Führer. Hmm? What was my favorite part? Gosh . . . I mean, there were so many, it’s hard to pinpoint just one . . .”

The Evil doesn’t envy the Bavarian state government, in whose hands the unbanning decision lies. And while Evil doesn’t see how maintaining a ban on a book that—

(a) anyone can get their hands on electronically at this point and

(b) few of its “adherents” would ever actually read

—does any good, the Evil appreciates the seriousness with which German officials take this matter. We can probably all just agree that no good could possibly come of this regardless.

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2 thoughts on “mein kampf: don’t read the book, rent the mov—know what? don’t rent the movie, either.”

  1. I have known a few Germans, and it is my opinion that they most likely feel put-upon to show the adequate degree of shame over what their ancestors did, and go through the motions of looking like they are working very hard in every way possible to avoid making the same “little mistake” again, and so we have this whole pantomime play. I doubt if you were able to dig really deep, deep down into any of the hand-wringing masses behind this spectacle that the matter of banning/unbanning mean much at all to them. This is a gesture, not dissimilar to the Pope finally getting around to say “sorry” to Galileo a few years back. Raul is still waiting for an apology re: the Spanish Inquisition, in which he feels almost sure all of his real ancestors perished without a trace, but these things come slowly if at all.

  2. evil supposes that, if you are going to allow the re-release of mein kampf, and you are going to be the one holding the bag for that, you’d want to feel some control over its presentation. even if it wouldn’t make any difference, you (the bavarian govt) could feel you’ve done the best with what you had.

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