Remix Culture: The Fuhrer vs. The Apple Corporation

1 02 2010

Following the release of Quentin Tarentino’s Inglorious Basterds, YouTube was flooded with fan-made parodies featuring Adolph Hitler flipping out about various things. It’s an easy joke- all you have to do is put new subtitles over one of Hitler’s rants, and voila! Instant comedy. Additionally, it’s yet another form of media democracy, whereby common street urchins like you or I can mess around with and subvert other people’s art.  It’s the type of thing that we here at Unhipster like to applaud. Good job, Internet!

So Apple recently unveiled the iPad, which was greeted worldwide with a thunderous shrug.  It was not long before Hitler was on YouTube, delivering this stirring condemnation of those hacks at Apple and their dastardly hype machine.

I love this clip. First of all, it’s amusing, which is an important criteria for consideration. Secondly, it represents the type of guerrilla creativity that gives me faith in the human spirit. Finally, it’s evidence that perhaps “viral marketing” can be combated with “viral slander.”

The last decade has seen huge changes in the way products get marketed to people. Lots of companies have found it’s easier to try to go “viral” with their marketing campaigns: it’s cheaper,  it’s trendier, and if it grains traction it can be a great way to foster a relationship between the consumer and the product. Often, companies will just say “To hell with it!” and let crowdsourcing do the work for them. If there are people out there willing to work for free, then we’d be bad guys if we didn’t let them, right?

So Hitler’s rebuttal against the Apple Corporation plays a vital role in our ever-evolving society. Instead of being “viral marketing,” this is more like “viral consumer reports.” And that’s important. Big corporations have huge advertising budgets designed to trick you into buying things. We need clever people to pick apart the facade of half-truths that advertising is designed to give us.

And we need talented people to make the truth interesting. A video like this one has a wider sphere of influence than any marketing campaign. It appeals to early adapters who are intimately aware of the ins-and-outs of the Apple iPad, because it delivers such an exhaustive list of the iPad’s issues. People who couldn’t care less about the iPad will watch it because, hell, it’s funny.

So perhaps Apple will suffer terribly at the hands of hype backlash and consumer savviness. And perhaps they’ll walk away from this venture with their pants weighed down by cash, rubies, and assorted other plunder. I am unqualified to make a prediction at this point. But for the first time in history, I’m rooting for Hitler.




One response

1 02 2010
Jane Singer

I saw the Hitler clip a few weeks ago and immediately forwarded it to a bunch of my friends in academia. It’s laugh-out-loud funny … and frighteningly, all of us who have ever had a paper rejected (which is all of us) can relate too well — we felt pretty much the same way!


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