When referring to someone as evil, egotistical or abusing their position of power, many people cut to a cliché Nazi analogy.
Adolf Hitler’s name has been associated with countless individuals, including Barack Obama, David Cameron, Steven Spielberg, Taylor Swift, Clementine Ford, Scott Morrison, Julia Gillard, Julie Bishop, Tony Abbott … In fact, if you type any Australian politician’s name into Google with the following, ‘… is a Nazi’, chances are someone on Twitter has made an overextended correlation between a member of Parliament and the 1930s dictator who was responsible for the genocide of millions of people.
This nonchalant ‘Nazi’ vernacular has become so normalised that the word can tail almost any person or activity. For instance, general terms like grammar nazis, femi-nazis and eco-nazis demonstrate how increasingly common is it to literally and metaphorically Photoshop a Swastika upon seemingly uncompromising people.
Current Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump who has called for, a “complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”, regularly receives a crescendo of Nazi analogies from his critics, making this 2016 the year of frequent and widely received lax-terminology on a sensitive topic.
“Please stop it with voting for Trump. It was funny for a little while. But the guy is Hitler. And by that I mean that we are being Germany in the 30s. Do you think they saw the sh*t coming? Hitler was just some hilarious and refreshing dude with a weird comb over who would say anything at all.” – Comedian, Louis CK
One of the more recent occurrences was Louis CK who wrote an open letter against Donald Trump in early March.
Donald Trump trying to pull a 1933 Hitler but replacing Jews with Muslims. Dangerous times.
— django django (@thedjangos) December 7, 2015My social media feeds are full #Nazi related posts. #ThanksTrump.#DonaldTrump #MakeAmericaHateAgain
— Ramin Talaie (@RaminTalaie) March 18, 2016
Remind you of someone? Trump wants to ban Muslims from entering U.S. @StuBykofsky @joeberkery @PhillyDailyNews Tues. pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/lVc9jjTm2S
— David Lee Preston (@DavidLeePreston) December 8, 2015Heil Trump? 长沙桑拿,长沙SPA,/MgzTea7oY5 #DonaldTrump #GOP #Republicans ##GOP2016 #racist #Fascism #racism #KKK #Hitler #DavidDuke #Democrats
— Michael P. Williams (@PhillyComptonMW) April 1, 2016
The current United States presidential electorate can be seen as a perfect example of this mainstream behaviour. Donald Trump’s candidacy not only demonstrates the frequent use of likening conservative individuals to Hitler, but this era of campaigning (in the digital age) also highlights the ability for critics to protest behind the picketing borders of a comment box in an online forum, illustrating Godwin’s Law that, “As an online discussion grown longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches”.
By referring to author Mike Godwin’s theory, it is becoming increasingly concerning that contemporary society is perpetuating this really awful way of speaking which invalidates the systematic extermination of innocents and brutality against millions of people. With the expanding use of online platforms, we are holding more conversations and public debate in the cyber sphere and consequently, the overarching statements to convey shockery is becoming a language trend at the expense of those who suffered unthinkable atrocity.
While Donald Trump continues to offend women, people of colour and anyone who doesn’t share extreme conservative views, we can use this time to realise just how much problematic controversy a US presidential candidate can express, but additionally, take into account a rising trend in debate that should not be acceptable.
This behaviour sadly isn’t only carried out by Trump’s trolls, disgruntled bigots trying to win an argument online or 16-year-olds who will regret having a Twitter account when they’re older. Many high profile and ordinarily reasonable people with social influence have perpetuated a dialogue that offensively trivialises the horror of the Nazi party.
Tony Abbott – The Labor Government’s minister to a decline in defence industry jobs in South Australia
While answering a question about the latest unemployment figures in last year, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Parliment, “Under members opposite, defence jobs in this country declined by 10 percent. There was a holocaust of job in dence industries by members opposite.”
MP Paul Flynn – David Cameron
Late last year UK MP for Newport West, Paul Flynn described David Cameron as acting like Adolf Hitler asking for his generals to “rescue him from his bunker”. During a meeting of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Mr Flynn stated, “Adolf Hitler in his final days ordered his general, the 12th Army, to come in and rescue him from his bunker because the Red Army were approaching. It’s been said that not since then has a European leader been so deluded about a phantom army as the Prime Minister …”
Tony Abbott (again) – Bill Shorten
In 2015, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott caused Jewish Labor MP Michael Danby to walk out of Question Time after calling Bill Shortern, the opposition leader, “the Dr Goebbles of economic policy.”
Boris Johnson – George Clooney
While promoting his film in 2014, The Monuments Men, George Clooney voiced his opinion on the Elgin Marbles sculptures, which were taken to Britain from Parthenon in Greece in the 19th century. Mayor of London, Boris Johnson responded to Clooney’s comments at the movie’s press conference by stating, “This Clooney is advocating nothing less than the Hitlerian agenda for London’s cultural treasures.”
Megan Fox – Steven Spielberg
Actress Megan Fox was replaced in film, ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ in 2011 for being quoted in a British Magazine stating, “He [Steven Spielberg] wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is.”
Russel Brand – Rupert Murdoch
One of the editors of Rupert Murdoch’s tabloids printed an interview with model, Sophie Coady in 2013, who alledged that she slept with comedian Russel Brand while he was in a committed relationship with socialite, Jemima Khan. Russel Brand reacted to the material by writing on The Guardian online, “We know the Sun is not trustworthy and so does he [Murdoch]. He uses the word “trusted” deliberately. Hitler was trusted, it transpired he was not trustworthy.”
Mario Batali – Wall Street Bankers
In 2011 the celebrity chef, writer and restaurateur insulted Wall Street bankers during a Time Magazine panel saying, “So the ways the bankers have kind of toppled the way money is distributed and taken most of it into their hands is as good as Stalin or Hitler and the evil guys.”
Kanye West – himself
During a stage performance at England’s Big Chill Festival in 2011, Kanye West opened up about identity issues and ‘haters’ by saying, “I walk through the hotel and I walk down the street and people look at me like I’m f*cking insane, like I’m Hitler … One day the light will shine through and one day people will understand everything I ever did.
Victoria Jackson – Barack Obama
In 2009, the former Saturday Night Live star stating, “Obama legally kills babies and now he can legally kill Grandmas! Hitler did this. He killed the weak, the sick, the old and babies and races/religions he didn’t like. Hitler also controlled the media.”
Rush Limbaugh – Barack Obama
Severely conservative radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh said on-air in 2009, “Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, was ruled by dictate … The Obama health care logo is damn close to a Nazi swastika logo”
Vale Joan Rivers – Annie Duke
During a row on the reality television series, The Celebrity Apprentice comedian Joan Rivers demonised professional poker player, Annie Duke by answering the questiion, “is she [Duke] nice?” with, “… So was Hitler.”