Yet another supposed big beast and skilled communicator from the arena of politics falls foul of invoking the name of Hitler or the ideals of Nazism in a cheap way to try and stun an audience with the magnitude of their comparison. Sadly, for White House press secretary Sean Spicer, this turned more into a case of schlock and flaw as opposed to shock and awe.
Showing less of a grasp on the subject than might reasonably be expected from an educationally troubled 11-year-old stuck at the bottom of the B stream in history, Spicer turned in his own version of Holocaust denial.
“You had someone as despicable as Hitler, who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” he said.
As the press corps let out a collective whoosh of stunned and disbelieving breath, the idiot Spicer waded deeper into the mire. “When it comes to sarin gas, (Hitler) was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.”
When challenged by a journalist, Spicer managed to switch from being plain dumb to outright offensive. He blathered away about how Hitler “brought them into Holocaust centres.”
What the hell is a “Holocaust centre?” It makes it sound like a cross between an elderly day club and a garden store.
Even if he’d stayed up all night thinking about it, it’s hard to imagine he could have been seen to be more callous or incorrect.
Spicer is not alone in recently riding a wave of faux Fuhrerism, with perhaps the most egregious offender being former London mayor Ken Livingstone. It is in no way stretching the truth to suggest Livingstone has form in this area but his latest outburst is surely the crowning glory of his crass comments.
He effectively tried to link Zionism to Nazism and has yet to show a shred of remorse.
After an inquiry lasting 11 months, the Labour Party finally decided to take action.
Remembering the party has been riven with accusations of anti-Semitism and is struggling to emerge from a sinister cloak of supposed anti-Jewish action and rhetoric, here was an opportunity to show they were ready to take a hard line.
However, they bottled it and instead of expelling him, handed Livingstone (who had previously told journalists even he thought he would be booted out) a suspension.
Then, this rush to revisionism spread across the English Channel when French far right leader and Presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen sought to absolve France of complicity in the rounding up and deportation of thousands of Jews to death camps (or those “Holocaust centres” as Spicer calls them) during the war.
As recently as 1995, former President Jacques Chirac formally acknowledged that while the French had rightly been famous for their resistance movement during the war, there had been the darker side of the Vichy and of police aiding the Nazis in identifying and sending thousands of Jews to their death.
While it would be a dangerously retrograde step to try and ban any allusion to Adolf Hitler or Nazis in public life, it is vital sensitivities are always observed.
We’ve been laughing at aspects of our wars with the Germans for decades; all the way from BBC radio comedy ITMA to Dad’s Army and from Basil Fawlty’s peerless sketch with his German hotel guests to Blackadder.
Handled correctly, drawing elements from one of the darkest times in recent history can work.
Get it wrong and, to quote Macbeth, it is merely “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”