I have a confession to make: I laughed at Hipster Hitler. Hipster Hitler is a clever web comic that features the well-known dictator as a trendy young hipster trying to be cool while also taking over the world. He dabbles often in irony, sarcasm, and supposed “hipster” stereo-types: fixies, underground music, and organic food. The comic is often very funny. The creators play on lesser known puns which create some witty and intelligent humor. Yet I have a serious dilemma. I can appreciate satire, of which parody is an example. But I am not sure exactly what Hipster Hitler is accomplishing, or what it is critiquing. Given the wickedness that Hitler accomplished in his life I feel uncomfortable about laughing at this comic.
Satire works great as a means to offering a critique, and I am of course quite satisfied to mock and belittle Hitler, whose disgusting acts warrant him no sympathy. Yet I can’t help but wonder what the creators of this comic are aiming to critique. Is it Hitler? Well kudos to them, but I am not sure how casting him as a trendy young bohemian does that. Is it hipsters? They are ripe for the picking but why use Hitler as a model? That seems strange at best and may actually serve to undermine the atrocities of Hitler’s work. Hitler’s t-shirt collection, which the creators give the character to wear, though funny, seem to do just that. For example Hipster Hitler’s t-shirt slogans include: “Death Camp for Cutie,” “East side, West side, Genocide,” “Mix Master Race,” and “I Love Juice.”I have no problem with satire. When done rightly it is an incredibly effective tool. But as a Christian I want to strive to make a point with tactfulness and sensitivity. There are cases where offending others can’t be avoided, and in fact may be necessary. Using Hitler as a joke, however, (especially when there doesn’t seem to be a larger point) is difficult for this particular reader to handle. I confess, I laughed at Hipster Hitler, but I didn’t like it.