Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 21, 2005 / 18 Tishrei, 5766

Retiring Hitler

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Hardly a day goes by, it seems, without someone invoking the name of Hitler to drive home a political point. Hitler is so convenient a metaphor for anything from bad to evil that his name also has become the world's weariest cliche.

In the popular lexicon, Hitler references are nearly as ubiquitous as the word "Google." And yes, to Google him is to find him — 21,600,000 times. The genocidal wunder-freak continues to fascinate.

But increasingly, I find the Hitler refrain annoying. This compulsion to Hitlerize our political foes, though their deeds justify no such moniker, trivializes one of history's true monsters. This tendency to Nazi-fy any unwelcome action, though it falls far short of the atrocities committed by real Nazis, cheapens the horror of historical events.

It's convenient, yes, but also lazy. And oftentimes, plain dumb.

Most annoying of all is the routine (in certain circles) comparison of President George W. Bush to the German fuehrer, an analogy so ridiculous and historically inane that it doesn't bear refuting.

The idea, conceived in the anti-war/anti-Bush camp before and after the Iraq invasion, was recently resurrected on late-night TV when comedian Bill Maher (sort of) compared first lady Laura Bush to Hitler's dog and Bush to Hitler. One of his guests on the show, journalist Christopher Hitchens, chivalrously objected.

Maher had just shown a series of doctored photographs depicting Bush as a drunk and wife beater, prompting Hitchens to say in Bush's defense: "It must be to his credit he got Laura Bush to marry him. She's an absolutely extraordinary woman."

Whereupon Maher said, "Oh, come on. That's like Hitler's dog loved him " A provoked Hitchens replied: "You're being ungallant about Laura Bush, you've compared her to Hitler's dog. I'm not going to sit here and listen to that."

Explaining himself, Maher said that "the idea that we somehow humanize any person because somebody else loves them is ridiculous."

Point taken. But the larger point may be that Hitler's usefulness as an analog has expired. No longer the name and face of evil, he has become a comedian's punch line. Or a politician's blunt instrument.

A vivid case for the latter point surfaced several days ago in Virginia, where one gubernatorial candidate accused the other in a television ad of being weak on Hitler. Can there be an indictment more damning?

The ad, for Republican candidate Jerry Kilgore, claimed that his Democratic opponent, Tim Kaine, said Adolph Hitler doesn't qualify for the death penalty.

The intended implication, apparently, was that Kaine is so wobbly on the death penalty that even Hitler would escape punishment. Whatever the intent, Kilgore's camp clearly distorted both what Kaine said and what he meant.

FactCheck.org, the fact-checking arm of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, dissected the quote in question, a variation of which came from a September editorial board meeting with Kaine at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Kaine was responding to a reporter's questions about the extent of his opposition to the death penalty, as in: Would even Hitler qualify for ultimate justice? Kaine, who also opposes abortion, equivocated somewhat, saying that "G-d grants life, and G-d should take it away " Nevertheless, he's on record repeatedly promising to enforce the laws of the state, including the death penalty.

At the newspaper meeting, Kaine, in fact, said that Hitler "may deserve the death penalty" for his acts. He never said that Hitler doesn't qualify for the death penalty.

Even had he gotten his facts right, Kilgore should have resisted the temptation to exploit the Hitler moment. He cheapened himself even as he helped devalue Hitler's unique contribution to human horror.

What's clear is that playing the Hitler card is a cheap trick designed only to sensationalize and stir emotions. Hyperbolists on both sides of the political aisle are equally guilty, and the effect is both numbing and boring. "Hitler" isn't a magician of horror; he's a stuntman for unimaginative hucksters.

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, writing for Time magazine a few years ago, described Adolf Hitler as "the incarnation of absolute evil Under his hypnotic gaze, humanity crossed a threshold from which one could see the abyss."

As such, Hitler deserves our continued scrutiny and study. How else to prevent another? But we should retire his name as a casual catchall for whomever we find awful.

Familiarity breeds not only contempt, but also indifference. And Hitler's death camps taught us what indifference breeds.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.

Kathleen Parker Archives

© 2005, Tribune Media Services

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles