Killing Baby Hitler

Jews enter this place at their own risk! - Image from the US Holocaust Museum

Jews enter this place at their own risk! – Image from the US Holocaust Museum

Dear Reader: Could You Kill a Baby Hitler? – NYT Mag, Oct 23, 2015

Last month, the New York Times decided to troll the Internet with its question about going back in time to kill a baby Hitler. They got their desired result, with this manufactured controversy, plus a plurality saying yes and the majority pretty evenly split between no and I don’t know. Most death penalty cases require a bit more in the way of unanimity from the jury for a guilty verdict, but this is the Internet, so who cares about any of that?

Like I said, this meme was pretty much last month’s news, until this week when Jeb Bush stepped in it. When asked if he would kill a baby Hitler in the crib, his answer was, “Hell yeah, I would!” Please note that this does not violate his pro-life pledge. Twitter erupted, with my favorite being: “Jeb Bush kills baby Hitler. WW II averted. Barbara and George HW Bush never meet. Jeb Bush not born. Hitler lives!” It’s the classic time paradox that also foreshadows Jeb’s campaign.

I’ve gone into this post with an attitude of disapproval at this levity directed at Hitler, perpetrator of the Holocaust, as in it’s too soon, but we’ve been ridiculing him since he came to power. So why not now? I’m most ambivalent, because I’ve just watched a cheesy movie that involves going back in time to kill Hitler, albeit not as a baby It’s on Netflix. It’s “Kung Fury”.

The movie is a spoof, but about short of everything I could not say exactly what. It was made in 2015, but had the look and feel of a 1985 film. The movie was so authentically convincing with its Back to the Future Past vibe that I had to look it up on imDb, just to be sure. Its 1985 production values were so cheap and cheesy that they must have cost a fortune. It is a short, at only 31 minutes and is the Swedish creation of David Sandberg (writer, director and star) and it was a Kickstarter. Here is Sandberg’s synopsis:

During an unfortunate series of events a friend of Kung Fury is assassinated by the most dangerous kung fu master criminal of all time; Adolf Hitler, aka Kung Führer. Kung Fury decides to travel back in time, to Nazi Germany, in order to kill Hitler and end the Nazi empire once and for all.

It was a fun and silly little flick, but I can’t get over the idea that laughing at the greatest monster of all time is somehow wrong and is disrespectful of all of the innocents that he murdered. Maybe, I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth and sound like I’m crying crocodile tears too, but that’s how I feel and that is why I chose the above rather hateful image for this post that I did, to tamp down all the recent the merriment about killing Hitler. What’s done is done and cannot be undone. We just have to find a way to live with it.

Master of None

Brooklyn as Seen from the Lower Manhattan Millenium Hilton

Brooklyn as Seen from the Lower Manhattan Millenium Hilton

Jack of all trades, co-creator’s Aziz Ansari’s and Alan Yang’s “Master of None” is a new Netflix comedy. It is nice. That might not sound much like high praise, but it is… Alright, it is very nice. Each episode reaches a point of dramatic tension that makes me want to turn away or to deflect the oncoming train wreck, but so far I have managed to power through and reach the sweetest of endings.

This series is set in Brooklyn and stars Dev (Ansari), a Millennial Indian American. Autobiographical, the series charts Dev’s personal and professional life. He is an aspiring actor, with friends and colleagues that make for an eclectic, but great cast. Ansari is best known for NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”, where he played the one-dimensional Tom Haverford, who is more stereotype than character. One underlying theme to “Master” is Mr. Ansari’s desire to transform TV’s Indian Americans from caricatures to real people.

Each episode is so beautifully and finely crafted that it is hard to pick a favorite, but if I had to it would be the second one, “Parents”. Here we see the generation gap widened into the gulf between immigrant parents and their first generation children. These parents have sacrificed much for their offspring and really only ask for the chance to share a little bit of time with the fruits of their labors, but the new X-Men movie is starting and their sons have to get there early for the trivia question promos. As cringe-worthy as this sounds, it is redeemed. Also, Ansari’s parents are played by his real parents and his father steals every scene.

Movie Mashup

I saw three Chinese coeds, all wearing brightly colored (red, yellow and lime green), plush animal faced, bomber hats. They looked different from the other shoppers, but somehow all the same. I saw a Muslim woman, dressed conservatively, piously, primarily in black, both headscarf and skirt that dusted the ground. An ornately patterned vest, decorated in emerald-green and burgundy, offered the only hint of color. She looked warm and sensibly dressed on this cold December day. I saw a big man, a fat man, with a bushy blond beard. He wore a construction worker’s well worn brown canvas coat, workmen’s boots and shorts. The Bard wrote, “all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” These people combined to make an eclectic ensemble in the movie of my mind, costumed actors, going about their business, in my daily story.

I have immersed myself into the world of online streaming. I guess that it started first with YouTube. It was a realm with an endless stream of viral videos, vignettes and movie video clips. At one point you could watch many first run movies, serialized into ten minute clips. Copyright laws have reasserted themselves and as a source for movie watching, YouTube has pretty much played itself out.

Hulu came along next. Its content was primarily TV, but it offered shows from cable, along with a few movies. There were ads, but they were few in number and inconsequential in content. I could watch network TV and only had to endure a fraction of the ads that were originally broadcasted. This year, about the time Hulu started charging for its service, I stepped up to Netflix.

At $8 per month, it seemed the bargain. It was my constant companion last summer, after Anne fled north for the summer. Does that make her a sun bird? Its seemingly large catalog is difficult to search. After a while, one is only served up similar, but more poorly made knockoffs of what has already been seen. I find that auxiliary websites, like Hacking Netflix, make for better search tools. Six months have passed, and I have severely depleted Netflix’s desirable selections.

Moving up the food chain, I have become enamored of late, with Amazon’s Unbox service. The catalog is not as deep as Netflix’s, but it is of much better quality and it is regularly refreshed. The big problem with this product is its cost. It is pay per view. Titles range from a dollar to four.

This week, I have watched on Netflix, “Morning Glory” and “Ball of Fire”. On Unbox, I have also watched, “Larry Crowne”, “Conan the Barbarian”, “Miracle” and “Cowboys and Aliens”. “Conan” and “Crowne” were the most disappointing and “Ball of Fire” and “Miracle” were the most pleasing.