Monday, November 27, 2006

Dressing up, or dressing down?

A few days ago I read an article in the newspapers that there was a 'furore' caused by a former serviceman who had dressed up as Adolph Hitler at an event intended to raise money for the charity 'Children In Need'. The article I read reported Mr Robbie Robinson, a former serviceman currently working for a contractor at HMS Collingwood at Fareham, Hampshire, dressed up in a Nazi-style uniform complete with false moustache and mock Iron Cross. A number of WW2 veterans were reported as saying this was inappropriate, in bad taste, showing a lack of respect for those who died during the war and that it was likely to upset a lot of people. Two years ago Prince Harry received a lot of criticism for turning up at a friend's fancy dress party dressed as a Nazi, which he later admitted was a poor choice of outfit.

Last year, one of the local amateur dramatics societies in my home area of West Cumbria were putting on the stage show version of the BBC TV comedy series "Allo Allo". The first set of advertising posters had to be withdrawn after, again, a number of people complained at the posters using swastikas and the Nazi flag. "Allo Allo" and "Dad's Army" have been among my favourite comedy programmes and I went to see this version of "Allo Allo" at the Rosehill Theatre, Moresby, which was actually opened in the late 1940s by a Jewish refugee from the Nazi Occupation of Hungary (Sir Nicholas Seker). Personally, I thought it was an excellent play. Most of the cast seemed to end up attempting to impersonate Adolph Hitler or Herman Goering, and the situations so ridiculous it just had to be funny.

Personally I think that, provided it is done tastefully and in the correct way, it is acceptable to laugh at what people did in the war - Adolph Hitler and Herman Goering included. Even during the war years there were actors who dressed up as Adolph Hitler for comedy turns. I seem to remember watching a film in a dance hall where British people gave Nazi salutes while singing and dancing to "We're going to hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line". Surely you had to do something to laugh to counteract the grim reality of what was going on? If it was fine to dress up and laugh during the war years, then doing the same thing must be acceptable today? The problem may be where to draw the line between what is acceptable and what is not. It is a difficult one to judge whether dressing up as a Nazi is acceptable in a particular instance.

4 Comments:

Blogger Tomcann said...

Joseph -
I would agree with you that " taking the mickey" was always an acceptable means of gaining a laugh
as satire has been the foundation of most comedies.
The show "Allo Allo" was always hilarious as it "took the mickey" out of both the French and the Germans in impossible situations,.
"Dad's Army" - 'Took the mickey' out of the Army - again with impossible situations. Both shows ran for years and inevitably will be back as the current shows are quite frankly rubbish.
We are now in a situation where life is becoming more PC than should be allowed and people are now rejecting what was once - humour. All very deadly serious to-day - the doom and gloom boys are having a field day.Some would put it down to "Diabolical Disorientation", with which I would also agree.
At the same time we do not know what the imtention is of this chap who wants to dress up as Hitler, and at the same time recognise that Prince Harry was away out of line in his caper, and needed a swift kick to the rear - and probably still does whether he is an Officer and a Gentleman or not !

Monday, 27 November, 2006  
Blogger Frank Mee said...

Joseph,
I dispair at the thought of people seeing the British sense of humour as something anti PC.
During the war years we took off Hitler and the Germans as often as we could, it was a relief to laugh during those times. As a Boy Scout we did yearly Christmas gang shows for the village and it always included a Hitler with painted on moustache and arm out salute. The audience would fall about laughing never considering the hell he was creating in Europe.
All the shows of the day including ITMA would take the micky out of the Germans the Rationing the Blackout and yes even the government, no one got shot for it or even a mild rebuke so why are we suddenly getting all upset about what is "Tomfoolery" and by the way I have photo's of my own son going to a fancy dress party on a new years eve dressed in shorts jackboots German hat and painted on moustache. We took it as it was meant, a good laugh.
Tom says Allo Allo and Dads Army will be back, I doubt that in these days of easily upset people, we will be condemmed to news and factual programmes, the presenters with po faces in case the PC brigade is watching.
They talk about big brother it has arrived with the killjoys of PC. They will be changing the Sunday Sermon to "Thou shalt in no circumstances enjoy yourselves in any way" I am glad that as Peter says elsewhere we only have a couple of decades to live.

Tuesday, 28 November, 2006  
Blogger Tomcann said...

We must never forget the massive contribution to laughter made by that Dr Goebell's and his propaganda machine all through the war...sadly his ideas have been taken up by too many politicians who believe that if a lie is told often enough - it becomes the truth !
And it has to be said that the Truth is not only the first casualty but is an eternal casualty.

Wednesday, 29 November, 2006  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Thanks for the additional comments. There is a time to laugh and a time for perhaps a more solemn respect.

The two instances I mention were probably not the most appropriate situations to be dressing up in Nazi German uniforms. You would have thought somebody would have advised Prince Harry it was not a good idea.

Thursday, 30 November, 2006  

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