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Downfall parody controversies

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Satire doesn't stand a chance against reality anymore.
―Jules Feiffer
It is a great film; however it's less about action and more about "what happened to those behind a regime in it's final moments?" I'd say the three films, being about different aspects of the war, can't be compared.
―Hissanrach on the parodies' source material

Famous for its internet meme status, the Downfall Parodies have their share of controversial media, both in the eyes of public and corporate interests. Aside from the blocking and removal of Downfall Parodies, some people have express their dislike for the parodies with claims of offensive content, lack of humor, or goals to disrupt productions.

Despite the opposition, many individuals who are considered to be associated with groups in opposition to the parodies (i.e. Jewish and/or German people), are supportive to the internet meme. Some of these individuals are known to produce Downfall Parodies themselves, as in the case of an Israeli Unterganger who made a rather controversial parody concerning parking fees in Tel Aviv[1], as well as in the case of other Untergangers like Shomronon and Staedty86, who are of Israeli and German descent, respectively. It should also be noted that at least some satirical and/or comedic films depicting Hitler or Nazism in general were, in fact, written and/or produced by Jewish filmmakers, i.e. Mein Fuhrer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler, which was directed by Dani Levy.

This page will not only deal with the opposition towards the parodies, but also the infighting within the Unterganger community that has occurred several times, in a case of what TVTropes.org called "We ARE Struggling Together".

Opposition to the parodies

I don't take this as a promotion of? Nazism. I take this as Mr. Shitler being the object of our derision, ridicule and mockery. I can't think of anyone who would deserve it more, do you?”
―gotch09
I remember the mass crackdown on the "Downfall" parodies a couple of years ago because of a humorless bunch of Krauts and Abe Foxman claiming they were offensive.
But, I remember what a Jewish friend of mine told me of Mel Brooks' visit to what he called his "Jew School" in New York. Brooks was apparently asked why he made comedy of such a demon as Hitler and Brooks replied: Once you can laugh at something, it loses its power over you.
―JoseyP
People seem to believe that the best way to fight evil is not to mock them, but to lash out their anger by shooting up photos of dictators.

In accordance to its popularity, there are individuals and groups who have expressed dislike for the Hitler parodies. As such, in one YouTube video, a comment about disliking Downfall parodies received a high rating[2]. Possible reasons that groups express opposition may include:

  • Absolutely no sense of humor. Or no sense of a good joke at times.
  • Considered a mockery/insult towards the war's veterans, especially if said parodies involved the Allied forces or an actual battle of the war (excluding the Battle of Berlin, which was the film's time period). For example, a parody of the critically acclaimed Saving Private Ryan may receive a significant number of dislikes[3][4], due to the sensitive issues facing the characters in the movie.
  • Some (neo-Nazis included) have mistaken it for promoting Nazism. In this case, opposition groups slandered Mrforthoseabout2rock, now known as SSHimmlerHeinrich. This may cause a problem regarding the disclaimer. On the contrary, by changing the projection of Hitler from god-like leader to a Fegel-hating imbecile, positive social results may come to fruition.
    • This has occasionally been the case in Hitler Rants Parodies' Facebook group, where users from certain countries, who are either the aforementioned neo-Nazis or are just plain oblivious about Hitler's atrocities, would join in and mistake the group for a pro-Hitler club. It doesn't help that some Indians or South Asians have a rather jaded view on the British colonial rule at the time, and while a number of them would claim that they don't agree with the Holocaust, they would still justify Hitler's regime on the grounds that the likes of Churchill aren't any better and were just as wicked.
  • People view the parodies in a more serious point of view.
  • "Offensive" and "antagonistic" content: Hitler and the Nazi swastika.[5]
  • People thought that an anti-war film like Downfall shouldn't be parodied. This is rather unlikely, since there are several YouTube poops using the Nicolas Cage-starring anti-war film, Lord of War. All of them, so far, has yet to receive major negative perception.
  • As Hitler was infamous for being one of the key people behind the Holocaust, some users, especially those of Jewish heritage, would dislike the video for involving the dictator in a parody as they find them inappropriate, such as in a video by GewSaints where a user who had relatives from Germany criticized the video for being derogatory.[6] Another instance was that of Scottish politician Tom Harris who made a Downfall parody depicting First Minister Alex Salmond as Adolf Hitler - not only that he was forced to resign from his role[7] as an Internet advisor over the parodies, some of the comments on the video and on his profile were less than savory, citing distastefulness in regards to the Holocaust victims. Some detractors went as far as declaring that the Untergangers are worse than the Nazis.
  • For German speakers (or people), the parodies are stupid because they understand German language and the dialogues have "mangled translations", and because they feel the parodies are "butchering" their language and thus should be treated harshly.[8] It has been repeatedly recommended that German speakers should turn off the sound when they are watching parodies, such as in the case when Downfall director Oliver Hirschbiegel made some positive statements about the parodies in a New York Times interview:
“Someone sends me the links every time there's a new one. I think I've seen about 145 of them! Of course, I have to put the sound down when I watch. Many times the lines are so funny, I laugh out loud, and I’m laughing about the scene that I staged myself! You couldn't get a better compliment as a director.”

ADL claims

The ADL (Anti-Defamation League) found the parodies offensive because, according to them, it "trivialized the Holocaust". In fact, the ADL made attempts to eliminate as many parodies as possible that involve Adolf Hitler, which they consider giving a positive aspect of the Nazi leader. Consequently, the actions of the ADL are likely to return in the favor of the parody makers.

Controversies and disputes involving the Unterganger Community

It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.
―William Blake
It's hard to tell who has your back, from who has it long enough just to stab you in it...
―Nicole Richie
“I just can't see Unterganging as a fun hobby anymore, but a genuine, stressful profession that earns you no money... and if you screw up once, you're out of the game forever.”
“This community is completely hostile to each other and second chances don't exist.”

Following the mid-2010 DMCA Crisis, there are growing disputes between Untergangers within the Downfall Parodies Community. Demonstrations of these disputes present Untergangers confronting other Untergangers, such as the incident when MrTNeumann created a renegade channel expressing deep concerns and dissent against Hitler Rants Parodies.

Another situation involved TheDownfallParodies harassing discovery781isaBitch, which occurred when discovery781IsABitch announced his retirement.

Another controversy occurred in November, 2010. DXFan619GotSuspended uploaded a video expressing his thoughts and opinions in Modern Day Downfall Parody Making, which is followed by many other videos. The latter video was quickly misinterpreted by discovery781IsABitch who believed the Unterganger Community had conspired against him. The video's intention was to criticize the Pokemon parody maker for his subscription campaign, something d781IAB did not realize. According to DXFan619, it was merely because of "over-sensitiveness" and lack of ability to overcome small disputes. For the same reasons of the November turmoil, XenosParodies "committed suicide", by closing TheXenomoph1 account and reappeared as MHXDownfall, permanently changing Xeno's production base.

Yet another controversy occurred in April 2011, this time between MHXDownfall against Nietzscheprime and BBxTerra, who called them a troll for not understanding such humor; though MHXDownfall did understand the humor in the first place. The whole thing begins when BBxTerra criticized Gaddafi parodies, saying it will have no future. He becomes heavily enraged, believing that the Community was a company of traitors before being convinced that he was wrong; and that he shouldn't take the dispute seriously. He closed his account shortly, followed a month later with a statement that "YouTube's no place for me".

In March 2012, another controversy occurred yet again. Meowjar, or 2091riveraisrael, was banned from this (Hitler Parody) wiki as per consensus by the Downfall Parodies Forum members, as well as similar concerns on his editing behaviour; this ultimately resulted with the removal of his United Nazi War series; though it was eventually reuploaded and "revived".

An issue also occurred in May 2012 when Hanif837 was suspected and caught by Hitler Rants Parodies and a few other members for vote-rigging and sockpuppetry at the Downfall Parodies Forum. The user has also been criticised for his apparent immaturity and disregard for following the community rules, which earned him a permanent ban in the wiki, adding to the fact that users below 13 years of age are theoretically barred from Wikia services due to child privacy guidelines.

Slainender has also attracted some controversy throughout the Unterganger community, mostly for his poor grammar and indifferent behaviour to other users as well as flaming and threatening others.He's also attracted attention in the Untergangers chat for derailing the topic deliberately and disliking for him developed within the community this way.

By October 2012 conflicts worsened as Untergangers increasingly split off into factions, and debates/flame-wars escalated. This got worse to the extent that sparx476 suicided his account after a strongly-worded debate regarding the Downfall Parody Awards and PiretBCN, satirical videos were published which mocked a variety of individuals and events relating to this, and so on. The differences became so pronounced that some Untergangers expressed concern that the formerly-homogeneous community was breaking up. Even Hitler Rants Parodies became worried about this, and made a post on the Downfall Parodies Forum outlining his concerns. More information here.

These suspicions, and the cynicism of some Untergangers towards the community at large (such as Benad361, Johnomonster and WonkyTonkBotty). Seemed to be confirmed from October 2012-onwards, as flame wars increased on the Downfall Parodies Forum, to the extent that Hitler Rants Parodies was forced to close several topics to end them.

In 2013, formerly well-liked Unterganger Shomronon fell out of yet more favor with the community, after it had emerged that he had made racist remarks in Private Messages, regarding the deaths of children at the hands of Israeli forces, causing revulsion among many Untergangers, and another flame-war in the comments section of his wikia article.

In March 2013, another flame war was ignited in a thread started by Trapped Antics (to announce that Fegaltube was thankfully still alive). Robert Tolhurst, Shomronon, and others derailed the topic with 'butthurt' cynicism, prompting critical responses by Benad361, Johnomonster, and others. In turn, Smoglessbutton4 chipped in, venting his rage at the community, which he believed had been returning to 'harmony' before the incident. He announced that he would definitely not be returning as a result; however, he later apologized for his overreaction.

On October 5, 2014, AdolfTallentDay01 caused controversy on the Untergangers Chat, which has caused a lot of distrust in the otherwise tight-knit community, which resulted in having him revoked of his moderator privileges and banned for 3 days. 10 days later, he bid farewell to the community, claiming that they disrespected him during his ban, and killed off the name AdolfTallentDay01. This caused a rift in the community, where the once-prosperous Untergangers Chat became a dead zone due to the separate chats used by different sides of the disagreement. It came to the point where nhlfan40 briefly retired due to stress caused by the drama. Due to inappropriate behaviour in one of the chats, AlphaSkyRaider was banned from participating in the Unterganger Hall of Fame for a year. The incident eventually lead to the closure of the Untergangers Chat. AdolfTallentDay01 briefly unretired a few months later, but subsequently re-retired.

In February 2015, the creation of the fourth-generation Untergangers ignited a debate among the community on whether a next generation is unnecessary or not. The debate ended as soon as it began. More information here.

In January 2016, the Unterganger of the Year award became subject to controversy involving Hitler Rants Parodies. More information here.

In May 2016, the fighting within the community had become so frequent to the point that two Untergangers (Delphox and CanaDolfy98) had retired within a few months. This, along with Hitler Rants Parodies considering retirement in a private statement, prompted FegelAntics to create the hashtag #SaveTheCommunity and temporarily close his channel in protest.

In August 2016, during the production of the first episode of the new podcast, UnterCast, a large scale community drama occurred when Gb. Alexander explained to Delphox what UnterCast was, information that the creator, FegelAntics, did not want Delphox to know. After some investigation, it was established that the only reason this happened was because FegelAntics was spreading hate against Delphox. He was banned from The Downfall Parodies Society Chat Room, and when FegelAntics attempted to explain his side of the story, many people believed the damage done warranted a permanent ban from the chat room. Subsequently, FegelAntics retired, UnterCast was shut down, and QuestionTuesdayFTW, being an advocate for FegelAntics being allowed back into the community, announced his disengagement from the community due to this.

In late 2016 and early 2017, TraitorLoxoz caused controversy in the community by constantly complaining about not winning the Best Unterganger Award in the Hitler Rants Parodies Discord. He was permanently banned once for this, but he was given a second chance due to popular request. A week later, he ended up getting permanently banned from not only the award, but also from the chatroom, the forums, and many other Downfall-related chatrooms and websites, causing his temporary retirement. He would eventually be permanently banned in this wiki after posting a disrespectful comment and a blog post in which he begs to the Untergangers who hate him to make peace with him while accusing them as cyber-bullies and "God-hating Devil lovers". More information here, here, and here.

Plagiarism

Plagiarizing a Downfall parody is considered a serious offense by all means. It is heavily looked down upon and a plagiarizing Unterganger or regular YouTube user loses significant respect. The Untergang Community usually takes action when a major Unterganger's parody has been plagiarized, This occurrence does not happen to minor Untergangers, who unfortunately have to deal with the problem themselves.

An example of Unterganger plagiarism involved HeyItsPiplup and an amateur YouTube user when Piplup's "Hitler phones the Farting Preacher" was stolen and Piplup was not given any credit. The user who has stolen that parody has denied that he has stolen Piplup's parody though it is obvious.

HitlerRantsTV decided to use HRP's outro uncredited on his video that wishes HRP's birthday. While his intentions may be good, his failure to give credits raised questions among the Unterganging community. He later closed his YouTube account.

Lbrione also used HRP's second outro, albeit it was speeded up. As of 11 July 2012, he no longer uses it and instead placed a message stating "What happened to the stolen outro? Find out later". He later apologised.

In mid-2012, Antoni Pieter gained controversy when he was found to be plagiarising videos from notable Untergangers, resulting in a trolling spree directed at him; this was however met with backlash from the community: a strongly-worded disagreement with Evilrobottolhurst resulted in the retirement of Mfaizsyahmi at short-notice, many Untergangers came under fire from other Untergangers for "feeding the trolls" and filling the forum with posts about Antoni, and so on (more information here). The aforementioned incidents then prompted Antoni's sister to post the following apology in 2016 concerning his brother's behaviour:

Hello everyone. I just wanna say biggest sorry to everyone who hate with antoni pieter yahya. I stand in here, wanna give you all clarification about everything happened. I'm his sister, honestly i shocked when i knew what he did during this time. I'm so sorry that we can't take care of him and didn't monitoring him when he used internet. He's autism, i beg of you all understand and wanna to forgive his mistakes. I would make sure that he won't do it again. I hope you all don't blame him anymore, no longer despise or hate him. And i beg of you who create wiki page about him, please delete it. I as his sister really sad see it all. I realized that it's all his fault but it wasn't all his fault, it cz me and our parents could not watch him properly. I represent my brother apologized for the amount of you.

On 4 November 2012, the YouTube channel SlenderManArmy downloaded a video uploaded by Soalric, "Slender Man Invades the Bunker ", and re-uploaded it as "SlenderMan VS Adolf Hitler ". While Soalric attempted to address the issue in a civil manner, SlenderManArmy refused to even acknowledge Soalric's creation of the video. As a result, several community members, such as mfaizsyahmi, Trapped Antics, smoglessbutton4, TheFreakyDolfyFuher, TheSilverUniverse and shomronon, came to his aid. Eventually, SMA ended up deleting his copy of the video on November 9, resulting in a great victory for the Unterganging community.

In order to counter plagiarisms, some Untergangers such as FegelStationChannel, Shomronon, TheSilverUniverse, and Gb. Alexander, added watermarks in some (in case of FegelStationChannel and Gb. Alexander, all) of their parodies.

From DPA's favouritism to the division of the community

Around August 2012,  the Downfall Parody Awards began to come under fire from many Untergangers for a variety of reasons. Criticism has ranged from notoriousrob01's lack of any democratic voting outlet through which he can give his viewers a chance to have a say (unlike the Unterganger of the Month and Parody of the Month awards), to his perceived susceptibility to favouritism in giving out awards. This can particularly be seen by the fact that many Untergangers have become increasingly disillusioned by the fact that notoriousrob constantly awards the Unterganger of the Month category to PiretBCN for months at a time, without her seemingly earning it on any sort of merit (her parodies and views are often criticised for being racist, biased and offering little innovative or funny content).

The conflict grew into those who are actually sympathizing or even supports PiretBCN and those who didn't. Those who earlier reject notoriousrob01's undemocratic and favouritism-prone approach of running the DPA came to be convinced that he is one of few who are supporting PiretBCN. They can be found having long exchanges in Piret's YouTube video's comments. This include DPA's organizer notoriousrob01 himself, Robert Tolhurst and Sparx476, the latter two being First-generation Untergangers. Saying that they are systematizing against an Estonian who was formerly oppressed by the Soviet regime only partially justifies it, as no similar support is given to another, more aspiring non-emigrating Estonian Unterganger TheSilverUniverse. Her bland parodies with a sprinkle of Soviet hate propaganda only brings into question the real reason of the two's support.

Sparx476 even went one step further by closing his YouTube account. Prior to doing that he posted two comments on one of Piret's videos:

“3 dislikes already? I guess some happy clappers are shocked by nudity... :))”
“Or perhaps are you facing the know-it-all, pre-pubescent, pseudo-intellectual, sheeplike guardians of the Untergang dogma. The ones who are so smug and so sure about their views on the meme and life as a whole and the way people should make parodies. You know the ones I mean...”
―Sparx replying to his own comment above

The new, democratic Unterganger Awards, were been created jointly by Benad361, Master Studios, and TheSilverUniverse, as a remedy to this, and many believed that their arrival marked the end of this controversy. It seems many have dropped this particular subject in attempts to heal the community. However, such attempts only seem to have put a temporary halt on such conflicts.

Beginning in the Downfall Parodies Forum and Untergangers Chat, heated political debates started between several Untergangers have caused significant tensions in the community. The most notable cases were those which involved Shomronon and Benad361 regarding politics in the Middle East; after a long period of time, the community decided to 'divide' due to differing opinions causing hate and tension.

Shomronon had also spread claims of "Elite Untergangers", which was used mostly to describe those who sided with Benad361. This term was often used by him to insult those who hold opinions differing to his own, even in non-political context (for example, during the DPA controversy). Political debate was later banned in the Untergangers Chat. He eventually want to labeling the moderators of the Untergangers Chat as "Unterganger Elitists" as he disagreed with the way the rules were determined and describing the Hitler Parody Wiki as "filth" when a racist private message that he sent to a YouTube user was publicly posted by the recipient. Later on, when KnightTemplar1453 was banned for breaking a rule forbidding discussion of politics, Shomronon continuously requested him be unbanned despite being in clear violation of the rules.

In late 2013, Hitler Rants Parodies created a chat room (which is now inactive) of which Shomronon was given moderator privileges to. The overall discussion within that chat was criticism of the Untergangers Chat and rumors were fabricated it was dying and decaying, despite being an active chat. The term is still used today by a few who are close to Shomronon and hold hate towards certain users.

References

  1. YT video of the controversial Tel Aviv Downfall parody
  2. Video containing comment critical of parodies
  3. The Saving Private Ryan TF2 dub video received a significant number of dislikes and negative comments citing the use of the film in a parody
  4. Saving Private Room starring Tommy Wiseau also received a number of dislikes and negative comments, again citing the use of the film in a parody
  5. Hitler Likes The Moon
  6. Hitler Wants American Girl of the Year Kanani
  7. MP Tom Harris quits media post over Hitler joke video
  8. Hitler and the Iron Sky, Part 1 by UDeepEX

External links

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