It’s been a fun week in blog land. It all started on Friday, when I noticed the Maclean’s editorial on usage-based billing. I let it sink in for a day then got to work writing up my rebuttal on Saturday. After about two hours of furious typing, I hopped on to Twitter and was surprised to see that Industry Minister Tony Clement was just as steamed by the editorial as I was, and for many of the same reasons. Wouldn’t you know it, when I actually published said blog post on Tuesday, a good deal of people felt the same way.
I’ve been running my blog for almost two full years now, with posts going up every week day. That UBB post, however, is far and away my most read. Comment-wise… well, wow. Most independent bloggers are happy to get one or two bits of feedback on what they’ve written. Hell, there are many days when there’s a “zero” in the comments section here. But, as of Wednesday afternoon, I had more than 50. That’s unprecedented.
That means that, all of a sudden, I had a new concern: that Godwin’s Law might eventually kick in. Not familiar with Godwin’s Law? That’s okay, I wasn’t either until recently. I sort of knew it happens but I didn’t actually know there was a name for the phenomenon. From Wikipedia, author Mike Godwin’s adage states that “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1. In other words, Godwin put forth the hyperbolic observation that, given enough time, in any online discussion—regardless of topic or scope— someone inevitably criticizes some point made in the discussion by comparing it to beliefs held by Hitler and the Nazis.”
Fifty comments is a lot for my little blog, so inevitably not all of those comments were going to agree with what I had written. Some didn’t, and they inspired the beginnings of some name calling from others. As of Wednesday afternoon, it hadn’t yet devolved into full-blown conflict, but for the first time, I was actually worried it might. Sooner or later, I thought, someone is going to drop the Hitler bomb. Wow, my little blog is all grown up now.
The threshold has already been passed in the larger usage-based billing discussion though. I’m fairly sure someone, somewhere has been compared to Hitler during the whole thing, but moreover, someone put together a video starring Der Fuhrer giving his thoughts on UBB. The video clip is from the
Tom Cruise World War II movie Valkyrie Downfall and it’s been subtitled and mashed up by people to satirize a number of causes. It’s a trite concept, but I’ve watched Hitler’s take on UBB half a dozen times and have laughed myself silly each time. If you haven’t seen in, watch it. And if you already have, check it out again:
Now then, I suppose I have a new goal as a blogger: to get Hitler invoked in the comments section of all my posts. It’s clearly a sign that you’re doing something right.
February 24, 2011 at 9:20 am
Getting Hitler and Nazis analogies invoked in your comments is a sign the idiots and morons have been chased away from all their regular hang-outs and are now spewing the un-informed vitriol onto your blog. The sooner it happens to your blog the more popular you are. An interesting barometer of your success but I would still prefer Google’s PageRank or Alexa rankings to the “Hitler-ometer”.
February 24, 2011 at 9:39 am
“The video clip is from the Tom Cruise World War II movie Valkyrie”
Correction: No, this clip is from the movie “Downfall” played by actor Bruno Ganz and based upon the book by Traudl Junge. This clip is the most widely ‘ripped’ scene and re-edited ever on Youtube. In fact recently the copyright owners went after Youtube to remove all edited examples. Look for this one to be removed sooner or later.
February 24, 2011 at 2:48 pm
Is it really? Crap, I could have sworn it was from Valkyrie, which I admittedly kinda slept through. I stand corrected.
February 26, 2011 at 7:10 am
I totally thought your use of the “strike” on Tom Cruise was comical critique!
Godwin’s Law - It makes sense, but I do wonder if it can be misused/misapplied. The fact is - Hitler and the Nazis did exist, and they were in power for a considerable amount of time within which they did many things. Without a doubt, the Hitler/Nazi card can be over-played as a generalization, but what of instances where analysis/comparisons are potentially valid? Is it not somewhat silly that someone can invalidate a discussion/debate by citing Godwin? Just because one aspect of the H-man is brought up does not mean that genocide is around the corner.
The H man as a taboo is slightly unsettling. In the post-war, especially in Germany, this made sense as people wanted to move forward, and did not want to alarm any of the big powers by in any way glorifying the man (Is/was there any place in the world that had a statue of Hitler?). To what extent does he become a boogie-man, a Voldemort, where you can’t even bring up his name? To what extent does that give that horrible man power long after he is dead.