Thursday, March 02, 2006

Cartman brings us Hitler the Punster

I'm sitting here watching a rerun of the South Park episode "The Passion of the Jew" (available as its own separate DVD for real cheap). The plot centers around the reactions of the four main characters to Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. Dear, sweet little Cartman sees in the Passion the total vindication of his hatred of all Jews, especially Kyle. He forms a fan club for the Passion, and spews some rants in German at the first meeting. The crowd mistakes his Neon Azi ramblings for Biblical Aramaic. As usual, most of the U.S. web sites completely miss the delightful little pun in Hitler's famous line.

The call-and-response in which Cartman led the assembled crowd goes something like this:
Cartman: Es ist Zeit, zu säubern!

crowd: Wir müßen die Juden ausrotten!

Cartman: Es ist Zeit für Rache!

crowd: Wir müßen die Juden ausrotten!
The meaning, in plain English: It is time to clean! We must exterminate the Jews! It is time for revenge! We must exterminate the Jews!

However, if you just change ausrotten to ausraten, it means something more like "We must outwit the Jews!" Many people have talked about how different the world might be if Adolf Hitler were a footnote in the art history books instead of a volume unto himself in the world history books, but what if we had recognized and rewarded his attempts at stand-up humor? Or perhaps if we had realized that Hitler secretly just wanted to challenge the Jews to a nice friendly game of Battleship? As Abraham Lincoln might say, Wir müßen die Süden ausraten!! We should also probably change it to "Es ist Zeit für Reich!" (It is time for empire!) — still not wonderful, but at least a little less inflammatory. By the way, no one should confuse Hitler's "Dritte Reich" with Rush Limbaugh's "Ditto Reich"!

Before that, in his bedroom by himself, Cartman says, "Töten Sie die Juden! Wir können nicht stillstehen, bis sie alle tot sind!" In English, "Kill the Jews! We cannot stand still until they are all dead!" I don't think that one has any puns in it.

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