“As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.”
– Godwin’s Law
I’m not actually going to talk about Godwin’s Law, but it’s a nice thing to have backing up my case.
There’s a lot to say about this particular subject, but I figure I’d just keep it nice and slow. If you’re on the internet for a good amount of time (like I am), you’re bound to have run into examples of Godwin’s Law. It’s often the result of some hyperbolic, poorly thought out comparison drawn to trigger some sort of reaction. However, by this point it’s been far and wide become a mockery. If you’re not referring to mainstay ideologies of Nazi Germany, the name Hitler has lost all of its weight. This brings us to our topic.
60 some years ago, if you were to bring up Hitler, you’re talking about one of the most (if not the most) evil men in recent history, for the West at least. His actions and ideals dissected by thousands, his words and memoirs criticised even more, Hitler was a feared figure, for good reasons. He was THE bad guy, where most of everyone was against, and was taking the proper blames for acts of genocide. Now, that attitude is far gone. Hitler may be the topic still for astute historians and politicians (crude ones at least), the public has long since brushed off the influence of his name. People have moved on, frankly, or most of them. There are still those affected within the generation that might take his name accursed, but those are few and far between. Frankly, his mention has been satirised so often, or used in absurd contacts so many times, that it no longer holds any weight. The man who killed millions had been relegated to no more than a mere passing joke, heard by me one drunken Tuesday night.
Now I’m not talking about how it’s such a shame that what World War 2 left behind has become so lost. I’m merely pondering at how long before such a horrific event becomes completely blended in with history. It would take a while, surely, but not that long. After all, we have had crimes and murders romanticised in many creative areas for as long as we can remember, what’s stopping people from brushing a bright paint on a genocide? Before anyone gets their pitchforks, let me remind you that Hitler, or Nazi Germany, was clearly not the only band of killers running around the world at one point. Ethnocides in the Americas, the march of the Mongols, the forced immigration of surrounding Middle Kingdom states, War of the Three Kingdoms (no, not Romance of the Three Kingdoms), the crimes of the Ottoman Empire, and many more. History is full of deaths, and that’s been the case for a long, long time.
So, it’s only natural that I expect WWII to be eventually swallowed up by the passage of time, relegating to nothing more than history books. Frankly, I can tell you right now that I have no personal feelings towards it. That doesn’t make me a heartless bastard (other things do, but that’s besides the point) or a genocide supporter. I, as a person, simply do not harbour special feelings for such an event that happened so long ago, so far away. Everything else will follow suit. The Persian Gulf War, the Iraq War, the Egyptian revolution, the Indochina border dispute, the Gaza War, etc. will all be forgotten. I doubt many people even recognise some of these I’ve just mentioned, even though they’ve only occurred within the last 30 years. I’ll be honest with you, I only knew about a bit more than half before I started writing this. I am ignorant, and I’m not judging others for it either.
A different point I can make, is to point out how much WWII has always been in media culture, even though people have long gotten over it. Well, it’s a good base to a story. After all, WWII was the last ‘clean’ and ‘great’ war we had. It involved only two sides, but a lot of countries. It was the only one that people can latch ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ onto, since Nazi Germany was ever so kind to stand as being the clear villain. Most wars are usually just two completely rational sides with elevated interests that crash. That’s boring though, and doesn’t make that great a story, not that it ever stopped anyone. Recently it’s more of a resurgence of ‘evil private corporation’ than the good ol’ ‘you have a different culture than we do’ excuse. Both have been done to death, but the media can’t stick to one shtick forever.
I feel like I should be delving a bit deeper, but I really don’t want to. After all, it’s only Wednesday , the morning after.