Maybe White Supremacists Should Lighten Up

Everyone is going to need to learn how to laugh or we’re gonna be in big trouble.

Adeline Dimond


Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash

In 1967, Mel Brooks made a movie called The Producers. Within that movie was a musical called Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp with Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden. Unsurprisingly, this pissed some people off. It was only twenty-three years after the liberation of the camps, and I guess you could say it was too soon.

But it was funny. The plot centers around two Jewish producers who conspire to make the musical flop — Brooks started from the premise that a flop makes more money than a hit — so they could steal investors’ money. (And yes, Brooks made the central characters two Jews planning to steal money. No one was safe from Mel). In an effort to make sure their play tanked, the producers found a terrible script by a neo-Nazi, cast a strung out hippie as Hitler (“that’s our Hitler!”), and had dancing stormtroopers make a formation of a swastika. Plot twist: the production was not a flop; the audience loved the musical, thinking it was satire. Hilarity ensues.

To put it generously, The Producers had mixed reviews, although it ultimately won an Oscar. People were disgusted by the idea of turning Hitler into a farce, they were disgusted by Jews working with a neo-Nazi. Stephen Kauffman…