Monday, October 22, 2012

Hitler reacts

Also known as Hitler Rants or Hitler's 'Downfall', this meme is based on a scene from Der Untergang (2004) - a German world war II film showing Hitler's last days in his bunker.

In the scene, Hitler finds out that his final counter-offensive against the Soviets has failed, and he's losing the war. The scene show Hitler yelling, screaming and berating his top generals.

If you're familiar with the meme, but you actually don't know what Hitler is really saying, take a look at the original scene.

The meme started way back in 2006 when someone added Spanish subtitles to the clip, with Hitler complaining about the lack of new features in Microsoft’s Flight Simulator X.

Since then, thousands of parodies have been made. By changing the subtitles on Hitler's meltdown, video creators get to play screenwriter and director, building the tension and telling their story.

There's a YouTube channel dedicated to collecting these parodies - and it has over 34 million video views. Parodies have been made in many languages including Chinese, Japanese and Spanish.

It seems a new Hitler Rants video rears it's head every time something topical happens. Here's how he reacts to twitter going down:

Here's Hitler's reaction to the fact that the iPad can't multitask:

And here's how he takes the news of Michael Jackson's death:

How does the director of the film feel about the viral videos? He loves them!
On January 15th, 2010, New York Magazine’s entertainment blog interviewed Hirschbiegel, the director, asking his opinion of how the scene has been used online:
"Someone sends me the links every time there’s a new one… I think I’ve seen about 145 of them! Of course, I have to put the sound down when I watch. Many times the lines are so funny, I laugh out loud, and I’m laughing about the scene that I staged myself!"

Don't lose your job
Of course, using the Hitler parody video could be a career-limiting move for some. Take for example Scottish Labour party Member of Parliament Tom Harris. Harris thought it would be a good idea to  upload a Downfall parody to his personal YouTube channel criticizing Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond. But by comparing his rival to Hitler, he created an uproar - and eventually was forced to resign. 

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