alycewilson (alycewilson) wrote,

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LJI Home-Game Entry - Week 21 - The Hitler Principle

This is my home-game entry for The Real LJ Idol. I am not competing this season but invite you to read the many fine submissions and the home-game entries. Topic number 21 is "Hyperbole is Literally Hitler."

According to Godwin's Law, the longer an Internet flame war continues, "the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." Whoever mentions the Nazis automatically loses the argument. This Internet convention might seem a truism to most clear-thinking people, but it is unfortunately still not evoked often enough for television commentators. I should know: I transcribe cable news shows for a living.

In this comedy skit, a comedian suggests the internal workings of far-right commentator Ann Coulter's mind regarding Obama health care. Does Hitler get involved? You betcha!

Lest you think that this clip is just an amusing farce, exaggerating Coulter's beliefs, take a look at this clip from the 2008 election season, where Coulter appeared on Hannity & Colmes. In this, she compares Obama's autobiography to Mein Kampf. While I can't prove this sort of argumentation is why Alan Colmes left the show, I wouldn't be surprised if he'd finally evoked his own internal Godwin's Law.

Oddly enough, Sean Hannity, the conservative half of Hannity & Colmes, whose reworked talk show Hannity still airs on the FOX News Channel, is more than happy to evoke Godwin's Law when it's in his favor. For example, he showed excerpts from a video produced by a liberal which put fake titles on an excerpt from a film about Hitler, making fun of conservative views.

He downplayed the fact that just as many videos had been produced by conservatives, using the same clip, to make their own political points.

Hannity is also fond of referring to this controversial ad, which was produced for an ad contest held by and appeared on the official MoveOn site for only a brief time before being removed. Since it compares Bush to Hitler, though, in a particularly incendiary way, it remains part of Hannity's litany of complaints about liberals.

The most brilliant response I've seen to this style of argumentation appeared on a recent episode of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, hosted by Jon Stewart. It's long, but it's worth it, and you will not believe who gets compared to Hitler at the end.

Unfortunately, the embed code isn't working for Livejournal, so you'll have to visit the site directly to watch Jon Stewart's tribute to Glenn Beck.

And that, my friends, is the most brilliant use of Godwin's Law ever.

When Hitler comes out, take your toys and go home.

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Tags: humor, lj idol, politics, television

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