Now Good Americans are actually happy about the deaths of Bad Americans during a plague

I don’t consider myself a particularly evil person.  I get angry, for example when I’m overpowered by somebody who grabs my arm and keeps slapping me hard in the face with my own hand, asking solicitously why I keep hitting myself.   I may have a lower threshold for being bullied than a more highly evolved earthling, but I do my best to remain as mild as I can, under circumstances that sometimes make mildness seem a very unappealing option.    Anger is a good warning system, it seems to me, not to give in the urging of righteous, enflamed feelings and do something outright evil.  And yet…

The other day I saw a piece quoting the evangelical minister of a mega-church, telling his flock, in a packed church, at a time when more reasonable people were “social distancing” all over the world, that faith protected him from COVID-19, that the Lord would protect all the faithful.  He added a nice underscore to the effect that AND YOU CAN TAKE THAT TO THE BANK, PRAISE GOD!   A couple of weeks later this man of God was dead of COVID-19.   It immediately struck me as a rare instance of justice, a wonderful “good for you” joke on a pompous, influential, ignorant jackass.   I posted the short news item here.  

So a fellow citizen, as opinionated as any of us have an absolute right to be, died a horrible death in ironic circumstances and I took in his death only as a great punchline.   Never thought about it any other way.

Served the ignorant snake-oil selling motherfucker right, was my only thought as I posted it here, thinking myself wry, for the few and the misguided to read.   Good joke, no?   “God loves and protects righteous people like me, this so-called virus is God’s message to the accursed non-believers, ignore what these people of no faith are telling you… oh, shit, I … I … can’t breathe…. what in Lord’s name?   Ahhh, get me… to … the h-h-hospital…” 

Is it really funny?  Yes, and definitely also not funny at all.  Is it funny to laugh about a death sentence someone got just for being a fool or a blowhard?   Laughing about it reminded me of what I read years ago about the officially approved humor of the Third Reich, at a time when other humor was increasingly punishable by death [1].   Nazis were not without humor, many of them loved to laugh.  What made them laugh?   A good, spicy Jew joke was surely a winner at the old brauhaus. A joke about Hitler being a little nuts?  The weakest penalty for that was referred to as the “Hitler Cut”– castration.

Hoo, boy, right away, a bee line to that dark place with the Nazis…

Am I saying it’s wrong to laugh when a bully of some kind, while berating you and brandishing a club to beat you with, slips on a banana peel and lands wrong, cracking his skull and spilling his brains out on the sidewalk?   Of course not.  I’m just saying… what have we come to as a species when we “wise apes” celebrate the actual deaths of people who espouse views repugnant to our own?     Put the shoe on the other foot, picture a death sentence for someone you agree with for expressing what you both believe, it’s easy to see the sickness of it.    

Hypocrisy is not a crime, though, in the absence of all other sports and most entertainments during this plague,  it’s become something of our national pastime here in our gruesomely divided states of America.


[1] Richard Grunberger had a chapter on Nazi humor, if I recall correctly, in his The Twelve Year Reich, A Social History of Nazi Germany 1933-45.  

About the tome, from Jeff Bezos’s ad:

“In chilling detail, this social history brilliantly demonstrates the awesome power of a brutal government to corrode the human spirit.”–Wall Street Journal
“Invaluable for every student of the Nazi era.”–New York Times Book Review
The 12-Year Reich, the first comprehensive social study of the Third Reich, shows what the Nazi regime proffered as the “ideal” society and how the German people responded. Along with the violence, corruption, persecution, public extravaganzas, the ever-present Party, and the cult of the Fuhrer, a ghastly imitation of ordinary life went on.
How did people talk during the Third Reich? What films could they see? What political jokes did they tell? Did Nazi ranting about the role of women (no make-up, smoking, or dieting) correspond with reality? What was the effect of the regime on family life (where fathers were encouraged to inform on sons, and children on parents)? When the country embraced National Socialism in 1933, how did that acceptance impact the churches, the civil service, farmers, housewives, businessmen, health care, sports, education, “justice,” the army, the arts, and the Jews? Using examples that range from the horrifying to the absurd, Grunberger captures vividly the nightmarish texture of the times and reveals how Nazis effectively permeated the everyday lives of German citizens. The result is a brilliant, terrifying glimpse of the people who dwelt along the edges of an abyss-often disappearing into it.

2 comments on “Now Good Americans are actually happy about the deaths of Bad Americans during a plague

  1. DGGYST says:

    Oh yea, when these evangelical pastors croak after being dangerous and judgy and sweaty (they are always a little damp) a part of me goes: mwahahahaha.

    • oinsketta says:

      That’s only natural, of course, it is, objectively, funny as the hell they keep threatening, but still, the rest of you probably goes: being dangerous, judgy and sweaty … would I really want that to be the sole criteria for a death sentence?

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