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Godwin's Law

Know about Godwin’s Law? It’s the rule that given any argument about politics, as time goes, the likelihood of someone mentioning Nazis approaches 1 (and that person immediately loses the argument).

Microsoft evangelist August de la Reyes has suggested that in the technology world, the longer a presentation about technology goes, the likelihood of it mentioning the iPod approaches 1.

But the more interesting meme I’ve seen in the last few months would be: the more important an event is, the more likely a scene from the 2003 Hitler biopic Downfall below) will be resubtitled to satirise it.


According to the Huffington post, it started with Hillary’s Downfall, uploaded in 2008 after she lost the primaries to Obama:



One that really hit the airwaves (and in my opinion, is the funniest) was in the reaction to Kayne West dissing Taylor Swift at the VMAs:

More serious matters, are about digital scholarship (“anyone who has ever used Wikipedia, leave now”)

And just out, his reaction to the iPad:


(As you might guess, there are a whole lot more. The MJ death one is NSFW – or as much as subtitles can be).

What’s been interesting with this meme is how easy it’s been to add to (unlike literal music videos or other mashups, all you need is the original clip and to make some subtitles). In fact, this trick was a staple of Who’s Line Is It Anyway and MXC. Yet the bizarreness of the whole thing – Hitler?! – somehow makes it work. Unlike Rickrolling or Chocolate Rain, there seems to be some sort of weird method to the madness. Or, to quote Churchill “A joke is a very serious thing.”