Arts & Culture

Bashing Nazis, or How to Feel Morally Superior

There is a three-year-old named Hitler. His name is Adolf Hitler Campbell. His sister, one year younger, is named JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell. His other sibling, not yet one year old, is named Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell, which may seem … Read More

By / December 18, 2008

There is a three-year-old named Hitler. His name is Adolf Hitler Campbell. His sister, one year younger, is named JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell. His other sibling, not yet one year old, is named Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell, which may seem innocuous enough until you realize she’s named after Heinrich Himmler. That would be the Himmler who headed the Nazi SS. That alone is enough of an amusing, if disturbing, oddity to warrant a few minutes of your time. What really makes this story is the sheer stupidity of the childrens’ father, and with names like those you had to know the dad wasn’t all that sharp. No, Papa Campbell’s idiocy manifests itself fully in response to the refusal of a local ShopRite store to make a cake for young Adolf’s birthday. This is intolerable, says dear old dad. ShopRite is an intolerant store trying to censor him and punish his children for having an odd name. But then he really hits the dumb-dumb crescendo: “They’re just names, you know. Yeah, [Nazis] were bad people back then. But my kids are little. They’re not going to grow up like that.” Now would be a good time to point out that Papa Campbell has a swastika tattooed on his left hand. His car has a decal featuring a swastika-emblazoned skeleton peeling through the paint. There is, in his home, a similar skull with swastika imprint sitting right next to a can of Campbell’s tomato soup. I wonder if he could score an endorsement deal. The kid, by the way, is cute. Poor kid. Are we really supposed to believe that a man who named all of his children after Nazis and white supremacist hate groups just because he thought they were cool names? He would like us to believe that. He is a fucking moron. A fucking moron.

Jerry Springer would not have this man on his show. Jerry Springer would say, “You’re just too stupid. I’m sorry. Good day, sir.” “No one else in the world would have that name,” protests Papa. There is a reason for that. Dad doesn’t expect his children will have problems when they start school. May I reiterate: A fucking moron. I’ve known people who liked edgy things other people were offended by. I knew a man who often wore a T-shirt with a swastika on it. It was a backwards swastika, just like the tattoo on Papa Campbell. If you pointed out to him the problem with this, he would give you a dissertation on the widespread use of the symbol by Hindus, Buddhists, and Jainists predating the Nazis by centuries. Millenia even. He always said, “Millenia even.” He was not an anti-Semite, so far as I know. He was just a tool. He liked to push people’s buttons, period. The eastern religious diatribe was just his attempt to cough up a pseudo-intellectual veneer of being in the know. Everyone who met him was in the know too. We knew he was a tool. So we laugh. We ridicule. Fine. The man deserves it. He (and his wife Deborah) deserve the same fate as the New Zealand parents who lost custody of their daughter after naming her Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii. She was ridiculed so much she sought legal recourse. At nine years old. It took her that long, and I’m amazed at her stamina. Really, the Campbells actually deserve a fate worse than that. They deserve to have their three children renamed and parceled out to new parents: the Obamas, the Palins, and Woody Allen. But that’s not really the point of all of this. The point is that Wal-Mart happily made the damn cake, which just proves their evil assault on the dignity and intellect of our species. No, I kid, although Wal-Mart did in fact make them a “Happy Birthday Adolf Hitler” cake. I wonder if Barack Obama ever got a “Happy Birthday Barack Hussein” cake as a child. Does the First Family have a celebration with a pastry featuring the words, “Happy Birthday George Walker”? No, the point of the whole affair is to highlight our rather biased take on stupidity. We have absolutely no problem ridiculing and bemoaning these Nazi-loving Jersey fucks. I really don’t have a problem with it. I think we should ridicule them whenever we’re having a blue day. But, as a post on Jezebel (of all places) helpfully points out, lots of parents do suspect things and get a pass. Lots of parents do suspect things with their children and don’t face a hint of ridicule. So sayeth Jezebel: “I agree with Elisabeth when she said on The View this morning that [Campbell] is using his innocent kid to spread hate. But I also think that many Christians do the same thing with their children, for example, when they ‘educate’ them about how homosexuality is wrong. Except when they do it, it’s called evangelism. And when they vote on it, it’s called democracy.” Touche. Except, how do we draw the line? The difference between the Campbells and the evangelical political movement is the vast majority of people have repudiated Nazis, if not all prejudice. A pretty large chunk of Americans, on the other hand, don’t think depriving gays of their basic civil rights is a bad thing. In other words, we’re ridiculing the Nazi-lovers because they’re so far out of the norm that it’s safe to do so. Gay-bashing is OK for a plurality of people, just like anti-Semitism and talking down to the colored folk used to be. It’s not about moral right and wrong. It’s about being so incredibly unpopular as to bump up against absurdity. Do I think it’s spreading hate to tell your kids that gay people are sinners doomed to eternal damnation for being themselves? Yes. Do I think diminishing the hatred of Nazis by turning it into a publicity stunt is stupid? Yes. Do I think we’re bashing the Nazi-lover because we’re morally superior? Umm… No. At least not Elisabeth Hasselbeck & Co. Which is why, when we’re having a blue day, we should ridicule her right alongside Papa Campbell.