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"beyond the bounds of freedom of expression"?
August 10, 2005 8:35 PM   Subscribe

Jewish group denounces video on Auschwitz Housewitz, a incredibly racist video mixing Auschwitz with a dance party, has come under fire from, well, everyone. Creator claims it was a joke. The video (Warning: GRAPHIC, RACIST, NSFW).
posted by null terminated (61 comments total)

 
*an incredibly.

I don't know if this was appropriate to post. I think the video is disgusting, but thought people might be interested to see what it contained. I'm mirroring it locally so I can take it offline if the gods ask me to.
posted by null terminated at 8:37 PM on August 10, 2005


it's kinda more dumb than anything else. It's parodying raves and parties, and making that look really really really bad.
posted by amberglow at 8:42 PM on August 10, 2005


um... that's horrid. stupid, indulgent, and just wrong.
posted by moonbird at 8:46 PM on August 10, 2005


Stupid Nazis. That looks like a lame party.
posted by Balisong at 8:46 PM on August 10, 2005


It's an awful video, but I might need some PC re-education since "Tanzen Macht Frei" made me chuckle.
posted by bardic at 8:53 PM on August 10, 2005


sure it's utterly tasteless, but I feel the best policy is to ignore it, not to get all hissy about it.
posted by spacediver at 8:58 PM on August 10, 2005


Yeah, part of ignoring it is not posting it to the front page of MetaFilter. Duh.
posted by soyjoy at 9:01 PM on August 10, 2005


That is a really sick joke, like an "Xtreem" parody of "Hogan's Heroes", but it is funny in places. I think it's more tasteless than racist, but then I'm not Aryan nor Jewish (nor do I want to be). I can say I wouldn't do it because it seems unnecessarily impolite.

But then I don't see how a white suburban American with dreadlocks, a dream catcher and a bone through her nose can denounce "dress as a skinny Jew" as racist without being silly anyway. (Note I'm not describing me.)
posted by davy at 9:13 PM on August 10, 2005


I don't know -- I was expecting much, much worse, honestly. I did chuckle at "Tanzen Macht Frei" too, actually, but for the most part, it was just stupid -- stuff like that typically only works if there's, well, a point to be made by it. Some sort of satire. This was just "Oh, I'll be offensive! But not really cleverly so!".

As is, I can't really get the outrage over it -- being disgusted and offended -- sure, but, well, like, going out of your way to denounce and condemn? Seems a bit much for a lame flash animation.. particularly since I'd figure the denounciation has lead more people to hear of it/watch it. (Hey, this is the first I'd heard of it!)

And, um, "Creator admits it was a joke"? Erm, did anyone think it was a real dance party? I mean, erm, wow. It seemed pretty painfully obvious to me that it was a joke.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 9:20 PM on August 10, 2005


Headline News: College Students do Something in Incredibly Poor Taste.

ANYWHERE (AP) -- A group of college students produced some unbelievably offensive material this week, probably while drunk or high, sources claim. The material somehow made its way onto the Internet today, and was, unsurprisingly, distributed around the world, predictably inciting the rage of various interest groups. The students claimed surprise at the rapid explosion of controversy. "I don't know what happened," said third-year economics major Ralph Wiggum. "I'm not really even sure what was in that video -- we were all pretty trashed. I put it up on my website when I woke up this morning, and by the time I got back from class there were thousands of angry emails in my inbox."
posted by spiderwire at 9:23 PM on August 10, 2005


This is obviously a joke; a dumb tasteless joke. So it seems rather silly to get offended and outraged. Particularly, since it doesn't even paint any one group of people in a bad light, except possibly the Nazis. And I say this as a half-Jew.
posted by epimorph at 9:37 PM on August 10, 2005


Goyim. Oy vey.

I am a Jew whose grandmother is an Auschwitz survivor. I'm not outraged, because I know she wouldn't be.

She'd be disappointed that this idiot is missing some basic human decency, but she saves the outrage for the times that really matter.

This is a poorly made flash cartoon getting more press than it deserves. Let's not ignore it, let's just see that we teach our kids to know better.
posted by sellout at 9:45 PM on August 10, 2005


spiderwire wins!
posted by zardoz at 9:48 PM on August 10, 2005


people don't win threads, zardoz.

Um, yeah. I can't imagine why anyone would get upset by this. It's like "My First Flash" movie by an 8th grader.

IMO, its only worth getting upset over something if it has a really high production value.
posted by delmoi at 10:01 PM on August 10, 2005


delmoi, you're just jealous of my undisputed championship of Metafilter Thread #44194... And I'm takin' my winnings and goin' to Vegas... suckers!
posted by spiderwire at 10:06 PM on August 10, 2005


people don't win threads, zardoz.
posted by delmoi at 10:01 PM PST on August 10 [!]


Well, not with attitudes like THAT, they don't.
posted by Balisong at 10:06 PM on August 10, 2005


Ha! Balisong is now the undisputed champion of thread #44194. I accede.
posted by spiderwire at 10:08 PM on August 10, 2005


most of me wants to call this a dumb, offensive satire ... and a small part of me wants to call it a disturbing prophecy ...

i'm a little creeped out by that
posted by pyramid termite at 10:12 PM on August 10, 2005


Not to derail, but I'm really looking forward to The Aristocrats.
posted by bardic at 10:23 PM on August 10, 2005


Erm, did anyone think it was a real dance party?
Don't think so, looks like their problem lies in that the joke is in outrageously poor taste. Total un-funny.
posted by dabitch at 10:27 PM on August 10, 2005


Y'know, I do get sick of the reflexive "Well, it was some youngster doing things in bad taste. Boys will be boys!" response. A little outrage is called for. This wasn't funny, and it was intentionally offensive. There's nothing wrong with calling someone out for that.
I'm not going to argue that this should be censored or that there should be punishment levied, but the guy who animated this should be made to feel the extreme displeasure of every thinking person who hears about this.
(Seriously, with this and the Nat'l Lampoon "satire," someone needs to tell the fuckin' slope-brows that just being offensive isn't enough to be funny. You need something there, y'know?)
posted by klangklangston at 10:41 PM on August 10, 2005


Don't care to see it, but perhaps if you changed the director, cast, production values, and venue, it might be a smash hit. From the 2002 article, Dancing on Hitler's Grave:

"Hitler, now there was a painter. One afternoon he did a whole apartment - two coats!" That's just one of many show-stopping, bellylaugh lines in Mel Brooks' musical The Producers, the greatest moneymaking show in Broadway history. The Producers, an hilarious satire of Nazi Germany and featuring a limp-wristed gay Hitler, totted up $A26 million in ticket sales even before the curtain went up on April 19 last year [2001].

Someone once said that all humor is ultimately based on tragedy. Is it not interesting that tears can be the result of both?
posted by cenoxo at 10:55 PM on August 10, 2005


The real problem was that Shuglin didn't try MDMA until the 60's. Less Crystal Meth -> More Exstacy = Less Nasty 3rd Reich?

*Jumps into Time Machine with Chemistry Set*

Seriously, I think they hit the tone of Rave promotional material pretty well. All it was missing was a couple of paragraphs of inane boosterism for each of the DJs - "has played gigs with such luminaries as the Desert Fox, Just back from tearing up the Eastern Front!" etc.
posted by fFish at 11:17 PM on August 10, 2005


All it was missing was a couple of paragraphs of inane boosterism for each of the DJs - "has played gigs with such luminaries as the Desert Fox, Just back from tearing up the Eastern Front!"

/coke flies out of nose
posted by spiderwire at 12:08 AM on August 11, 2005


Dumb student tasteless video. Meh. Although I must admit, images from Auschwitz never fail to be disturbing. I expected to see Prince Harry too.
posted by peacay at 12:27 AM on August 11, 2005


I'm mirroring it locally so I can take it offline if the gods ask me to.

I'm no God, but I say TAKE THAT PIECE OF SHIT DOWN!

I generally don't yell much, either.
posted by wsg at 12:27 AM on August 11, 2005


*sigh*
posted by schyler523 at 12:44 AM on August 11, 2005


This thing is way too dumb to worry about. Anyone actually expending energy being upset over this must have a wonderful life. I envy their lack of real problems.

I mean, come on. It's just so stupid. I think my unmowed lawn is probably more offensive. :)
posted by Malor at 12:48 AM on August 11, 2005


That's not even tasteless. It's just fucking stupid. Yeah, most of the images made me ill and even outraged, but they didn't need to be wrapped in an entirely gormless flash video to make that happen.

It shot right past offensive straight into incredibly lame. It could have (possibly) been both funny and insanely offensive. Then it might actually deserve some scorn and outrage. Otherwise, save it for the real thing.

I'm almost at a loss for any truly useful negatively descriptive words to describe how improbably pointless it is, which is probably a first, but I'll give it a shot.

'Gormless' isn't strong enough. It isn't even wrongheaded, it's no-headed. Witless is too kind. Is there a single word for stupid, worthless, unfunny, talentless, "I want my two wasted minutes back, bitch!" and utterly, unrelentingly creatively retarded? Suck? No. I fail.

No offense null terminated, but I'm actually going to flag this and hope it gets put out of it's misery. I don't want anyone else to have to be forced to watch that excretion.
posted by loquacious at 1:44 AM on August 11, 2005


IMO, its only worth getting upset over something if it has a really high production value.

delmoi wins.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:15 AM on August 11, 2005


Despite this being a vile piece of crap, the link is being spread, and it is still viral.
posted by Harry at 2:26 AM on August 11, 2005


Hey, is that Prince William?
posted by srboisvert at 2:43 AM on August 11, 2005


delmoi wins.

Not with an attitude like that, he doesn't.
posted by loquacious at 3:03 AM on August 11, 2005


It's an awful video, but I might need some PC re-education since "Tanzen Macht Frei" made me chuckle.

Because you've never seen that joke before-- the one where someone who doesn't even speak German but knows the translation of that sentence looks up another noun in a borrowed Langenscheidt's? And then claims that the noun he chose "macht frei"? Old, old, old. Someone on somethingawful.com once photoshopped the gate to read "Arbys macht fries"-- that was the only funny use of it that I've ever seen.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:23 AM on August 11, 2005


Wow, thanks for moderating my sense of humor Mayor. Should I send you a check or do you take VISA?
posted by bardic at 3:57 AM on August 11, 2005


Wow, thanks for moderating my sense of humor Mayor. Should I send you a check or do you take VISA?

Don't be like that. We both know that humor is relative. You just happen to like tired Holocaust jokes while I don't. That doesn't make me cooler or superior to you...
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:15 AM on August 11, 2005


Understood. I should have /previewed my post, since I came off as totally bitchy and I apologize.

I admire, and am still trying to come to grips with, Primo Levi, for what it's worth.
posted by bardic at 4:28 AM on August 11, 2005


I admire, and am still trying to come to grips with, Primo Levi, for what it's worth.

I've read a lot of WW II memoirs. His was just about the most moving. I had to read it for a class when I was 20, and I didn't fully appreciate it until I had more under my belt to compare it with.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:31 AM on August 11, 2005


Someone once said that all humor is ultimately based on tragedy.

I once did a mini-thesis on the theory of humor as the means to cope with unpleasant history. Gallows humor is an interesting phenomenon, and what's really twisted is that there will come a day when Holocaust jokes will be considered rather benign in much the same way that, say, jokes about the barbarian hordes would be received today. It will take a few hundred years (if the world lasts that long), but the generational disconnect will build until the human tragedy of it is totally forgotten. Same goes for slavery, Rwanda, you name it. They all have their statutes of limitations in the scheme of political correctness.
posted by TunnelArmr at 4:37 AM on August 11, 2005


Right on. Wiesel's "Night" is powerful as hell, but I've found Levi to be more evocative, more direct, more brutal and immediate. It would be nice for his work to get more attentiontion in the future.
posted by bardic at 5:07 AM on August 11, 2005


There's also something unbelievably tragic about the ambiguity surrounding Primo Levi's death. There's deep resonances (for me) to the question of whether or not he committed suicide.
posted by Marquis at 5:27 AM on August 11, 2005


I think the underlying message with this piece is ravers are dumb.
posted by mcsweetie at 6:11 AM on August 11, 2005


davy: but then I'm not Aryan nor Jewish (nor do I want to be).

What in the world does that mean?

null terminated: I don't know if this was appropriate to post. I think the video is disgusting, but thought people might be interested to see what it contained.

I think you answered your question right there. Is it really worth posting if the only real purpose was further disseminating a worthless movie? And what really can we expecet of the discussion? At best, it will be one or two interesting insights and lots of "this is dumb" -- at worst, you've provided a forum for some idiot to say it was really funny, wasn't that bad, or make some ridiculous and offensive comment that just adds to the worthlessness of the original video.
posted by VulcanMike at 6:52 AM on August 11, 2005


"Arbys macht fries"

Now *that's* comedy.
posted by mediareport at 7:30 AM on August 11, 2005


"I think the underlying message with this piece is ravers are dumb."

Eh, I really doubt that the dorkwads that made this are actually ravers. And if they are they're about as genuine of an article as a Nickleback fan is a genuine rocker.

And I'm pretty sure they're primarily trying to make fun of ravers, anyway, not the Holocaust.
posted by loquacious at 7:42 AM on August 11, 2005


That was completely underwhelming. What I see is someone incapable of comprehending the event and recoiling into trying to make fun of it, in order to actually cope with the existence of said event. But, I'm not a psychiatrist.


Could someone explain why the bunk beds were all tilted at a specific angle in the large sleeping room?
posted by odinsdream at 7:52 AM on August 11, 2005


Out of curiosity, how is this different than just Hogan's Heroes to the extreme? (mind you, I haven't watched the video yet). Dance party at Auschwitz vs. wacky POWs that somehow never get tortured or killed by the Gestapo but instead just humiliate otherwise fun-loving Nazis. Sorry if one man's parody hits you where you live or is tasteless or even not funny to you, that's freedom of expression. Don't watch this and I promise not to watch your video of your parody Buddha dildo. It's all in good fun, right?
posted by shagoth at 7:57 AM on August 11, 2005


Dance party at Auschwitz vs. wacky POWs that somehow never get tortured or killed

Well, let's think about that.

Hogan et al. were POW's, while Auschwitz was a slave labor/death camp.

Most POW's came back alive. Most Auschwitz internees were turned into ash.

Hogan's Heroes is based on humorized real life events like great escapes and hijinx pulled by POW's. This video uses actual shots of corpse piles in an attempt at humor.

I can see some real differences here.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:21 AM on August 11, 2005


It should have been Tanz Macht Frie, anyways. Tanzen is a verb.
posted by myeviltwin at 9:33 AM on August 11, 2005


Hogan's Heroes is based on humorized real life events like great escapes and hijinx pulled by POW's. This video uses actual shots of corpse piles in an attempt at humor.

I go back and forth on Hogan's Heroes. On the one hand, it does make light of a horrible situation. On the other, I read somewhere that Werner Klempferer-the German Jew who played Colonel Klink-had it written into his contract that Klink could never win or succeed. That must have been gratifying for him.
posted by jonmc at 9:40 AM on August 11, 2005


Sorry if one man's parody hits you where you live or is tasteless or even not funny to you, that's freedom of expression. Don't watch this and I promise not to watch your video of your parody Buddha dildo.

Er... except that you kind of need to watch it in the first place in order to have any sort of reaction to it. And, yeah, freedom of expression; that's what's going on in this thread with the opinions and stuff. No need to apologize.
posted by Stauf at 9:41 AM on August 11, 2005


Stauf: I have since watched the video, it's tasteless to be sure. Very tasteless. Even arguably gut wrenching but I didn't have to watch it. I don't have to venerate the imagery or think that it provides meaningful discourse (which I'm pretty sure it doesn't). I will say, with certainty that it really doesn't impact the memories of the slaughter of Jews. More than anything, frankly, after sitting through it I was disappointed at the lack of punchline.
posted by shagoth at 10:05 AM on August 11, 2005


but I didn't have to watch it

Well, yeah, you don't have to watch anything.

I don't have to venerate the imagery or think that it provides meaningful discourse

Exactly my point. I'm not really sure what you're getting at. I just don't understand the 'sorry if you didn't like it, that's free speech'/'don't watch it if you don't like it' comment.
posted by Stauf at 10:30 AM on August 11, 2005


The point, I think is that since this isn't a call to action or particularly promoting a viewpoint, it's just tasteless not dangerous. This doesn't promote anti-semetic views, it doesn't call people to action to join the Nazi party, nothing. All the sensitivity about any expression that mentions Nazis or concentration camps always gets ire up but it's silly. People need to keep their powder dry so the reaction means something. Wasting outrage on things like this is pretty pointless.
posted by shagoth at 10:41 AM on August 11, 2005


It should have been Tanz Macht Frie, anyways. Tanzen is a verb.

Tanzen *is* a verb, but is used as a noun when you're talking about the general activity (just as you would use foo-ing in English). "Tanz macht Frei" sounds like it's missing an article or something ("Der Tanz..."). So, nothing wrong with "Tanzen macht Frei".

On-topic: as is pretty much always the case when stuff like this happens in and around Holland, GeenStijl is the website of focus. With a name that literally translates to "No Style" and is a common Dutch expression used to describe something done with an intolerable amount of gall (like 'such chutzpah' but always negative), the site tends to live up to that name by provoking extreme feelings that pretty much run the gamut among its readership. You could say it's less graphic than, say, Ogrish, but much more politically and socially engaged. It's like a current-events shockblog. (Is there anything like that where you are, by the way?)

The clip was originally posted on GS late June and the bloggers defend their decision to keep it online here. No shocking new facts there, but I will translate on request.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:56 AM on August 11, 2005


The problem with this video is that someone thinks it is funny. And that is in a sense dangerous because it desensitizes people. I don't think we're ready to start looking at the holocaust as fodder for humour. Outrage I think is appropriate when non-funny people try to make jokes about the holocaust.
posted by jimmy76 at 11:03 AM on August 11, 2005


No so much tasteless as bland. What a waste of a minute.
posted by Citizen Premier at 11:23 AM on August 11, 2005


This whole It's Offensive/Tastes Great debate reminds me of the Daily Show segment from the other day on the Dukes of Hazzard movie, where Colbert is talking to the NAACP guy who says "Well maybe it was a lot of fun to lynch black folks 50 years ago."

Then Colbert zings him by saying, "See, that's where we differ."
posted by illovich at 11:57 AM on August 11, 2005


Well . . . that was horrible.
posted by Toecutter at 1:20 PM on August 11, 2005



posted by donth at 6:11 PM on August 11, 2005


I would argue that this crosses a line from simply being stupid into legitimately being offensive because of its use of historic photographs. A pile of emaciated corpses stacked like cords of wood is not a punchline, it's an apalling tragedy, and to insert such images into an infantile prank is to show a lack of compassion that is simply galling. These are victims of genocide, and their ends already came at such a price to their dignity (and to the dignity of those who loved them) that to further strip away their dignity in this manner is simply inhuman.

Sure, tragedy plus time and all that, and comedy is subjective and all that, but if that were an image of your uncle or grandfather in one of those piles of corpses, you'd feel like someone had just urinated on their grave, and for no reason other than because their not smart enough to realize doing so is fundamentally cruel.

I could have stomached the video had it simply been images of concentration camps and costumed Germans. Wouldn't have been funny, but, okay, not everything is funny. But who exumes the dead, puts their actual corpses on display, and then mocks them?
posted by maxsparber at 8:42 PM on August 11, 2005


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