Thursday, July 22, 2010

Well, now that you put it that way...

They say that the difference between fiction and real life is that fiction has to make sense.

Some dude on LiveJournal called out the History Channel for their totally implausible historical military fiction series, World War II:
Let's start with the bad guys. Battalions of stormtroopers dressed in all black, check. Secret police, check. Determination to brutally kill everyone who doesn't look like them, check. Leader with a tiny villain mustache and a tendency to go into apopleptic rage when he doesn't get his way, check. All this from a country that was ordinary, believable, and dare I say it sometimes even sympathetic in previous seasons.

I wouldn't even mind the lack of originality if they weren't so heavy-handed about it. Apparently we're supposed to believe that in the middle of the war the Germans attacked their allies the Russians, starting an unwinnable conflict on two fronts, just to show how sneaky and untrustworthy they could be? And that they diverted all their resources to use in making ever bigger and scarier death camps, even in the middle of a huge war? Real people just aren't that evil. And that's not even counting the part where as soon as the plot requires it, they instantly forget about all the racism nonsense and become best buddies with the definitely non-Aryan Japanese.
Read the whole thing, as long as you're someplace you won't get in trouble for laughing out loud...


(H/T to Ben Swenson.)

22 comments:

Ed Rasimus said...

Apparently written by a graduate of the American educational system, 21st Century standards.

Would be enlightening to get his views of the Russian revolution aftermath and the Maoist Great Leaps as well.

Tam said...

No, I don't think the guy was a history major, Ed.

Still, it was intended to be funny, and it made me laugh.

Tam said...

Ed,

The author is a student at University College Cork, which is some ways off from the American educational system. They even do GPAs funny there.

jbrock said...

First reaction: he's got a better command of the English language than most college students and many graduates; I'll give him that.

Second reaction: "Damn. Talk about failing history forever, and anthropology into the bargain ..."

I got the joke after reading the whole thing; thanks for the hilarious link!

Oh, and regarding the History Channel: UFO Hunters. Nostradamus. The Mayan frellin' calendar. Et cetera, ad nauseam.

Although Top Shot is fairly entertaining, even with all the (manufactured?) drama. So they're not a total loss. Yet.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Dang. I was hoping for a H/T T-Bolt

Anonymous said...

Who would buy that script? Nobody would every believe a tall tale like that.

Gerry

BobG said...

"Oh, and regarding the History Channel: UFO Hunters. Nostradamus. The Mayan frellin' calendar."

You don't like comedy? I like watching those types of shows, they're a lot funnier than watching a sitcom.

Außenseiter said...

People come on.

You can't see trolling even if it is successful?

Only way I'd accept it would be, if it turned out the student was some sort of Arab. Saudi Arabians notably can be often unaware that something like WWII has taken place, which no doubt severely distorts their worldview...

Tam said...

Außenseiter,

"People come on.

You can't see trolling...
"

WTF are you talking about? Who can't see what? Trolling? What trolling? The guy made a funny post. Everybody except for Ed, who I'm thinking maybe didn't go and read the whole thing, got the joke just fine.

Really, you don't have to be a socially inept, oh-so-superior, tragically hip & cynical Eurowanker 24 hours a day. I hereby give you permission to lighten the fuck up from 2100-2359 Zulu.

Sigivald said...

It's a good joke, but I didn't like the bit about "why not use the magical super-weapon again?"

Because even inside the joke, the answer is "because the other side also has it".

It's a good spoof, but you have to remember to be internally consistent.

GuardDuck said...

That is an instant classic.

Sad though, is that when I started to read your excerpt, I was having no surprised reaction to what I thought was an unfortunately typical poorly informed individual.

wolfwalker said...

Sigivald: "It's a good spoof, but you have to remember to be internally consistent."

Uhhh.... why? Reality isn't. In view of the situation prior to 1945 -- ie, a major war every thirty-odd years, every one using a new 'ultimate weapon,' each one more vicious and violent than the last, with the last two involving the entire planet -- it really doesn't make any rational sense that in the sixty-five years since Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed, no one has used another atomic bomb in anger. As a species, we had never before shown any sign of being that smart.

Wolfwood said...

As a species, we had never before shown any sign of being that smart.

IIRC, we didn't manage to be that smart during the Cold War, either. If not for dumb luck and a handful of well-placed mid-level officers on each side who weren't eager for Gotterdammerung, it'd be Wasteland and we'd all be trying to Encounter and Hire Metal Maniac and Mad Dog Fargo.

Ed Foster said...

...the Soviet strongman whose name means "Man of Steel" in Russian (seriously, between calling the strongman "Man of Steel" and the Frenchman "de Gaulle", whoever came up with the names for this thing ought to be shot).

The kid also forgot to metion what Eisenhower means in German. Must have been a bitch for the average German soldier to hear a German-American dude named "Iron-Splitter" was running the show on the other side.

And you have to understand the quite strong gallows humor of people from Cork. There is a reason that Irish people refer to someone of outrageous hustle or "differentness" as a "Corker".

Daughter #1 was sitting in a pub in Cork a few years ago, eating a massive pub sandwich, sucking on a Guinness, and peacefully reading a book, surrounded by the "craic", or constant debate and gossip one would expect to find in such a place.

A huge man appeared at the window next to her, lifted a 55 gallon/400liter drum over his head, and heaved it through the glass, destroying the entire front of the building.

Everyone inside was quite for a moment, then, after ascertaining nobody was hurt or had any glass chips in their drinks, went back to chatting cheerfully. It was a private matter between the publican and his brother-in-law, not to be commented on until they were somewhere else.

Fiona finished her chapter and sandwich, had another Guinness, then stepped over the wreckage carefully on the way out.

They have a rather dry sense of humor in Cork.

Bubblehead Les. said...

How dare anyone make fun of WW2! What's next? A sitcom about some P.O.W.s in a Luftwaffe Prison Camp? Why not just go ahead and do a comedy about an Army Medical Unit during the Korean War!

Justthisguy said...

The SS dress uniforms were designed by Hugo Boss. You just can't make that up.

Oh, those leather overcoats were right cool and scary, too.

Steve Skubinna said...

Some of the comments were good too. I especially liked the guy correcting the description of Churchil as a "general" in the previous series. He did it in terms of the series "bible" and the character's backstory.

RevolverRob said...

Man, some folks ain't got a decent sense of humor around here. I read it and thought it was funny, then I read it out loud to the girlfriend and she thought it was funny too.

Then again, we met in a history class, both as history majors, and I asked her for coffee after she made some remarkably witty (and dry) comments to the professor. So maybe, we just have a twisted sense of what is funny.

-Rob

Justthisguy said...

Oh, and Ed, shame on you! I thought that I was one of those excessively earnest socially-awkward folks who have to have jokes explained to them, and that you were a swave and de-boner sophisticated man of the world, who has killed other men in combat for his country!

Yet, I seem to have gotten the joke, and you did not.

John B said...

Außenseiter,

"People come on.

You can't see trolling..."

WTF are you talking about? Who can't see what? Trolling? What trolling? The guy made a funny post. Everybody except for Ed, who I'm thinking maybe didn't go and read the whole thing, got the joke just fine.

Really, you don't have to be a socially inept, oh-so-superior, tragically hip & cynical Eurowanker 24 hours a day. I hereby give you permission to lighten the fuck up from 2100-2359 Zulu.

Tam, I wish to be your favorite Doormat. Only I cant do the clueless like these guys can.

And I watched everything Gracie Allen ever did.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Get bent, Umlaut

Außenseiter said...

@Tam

You lighten up. Your shower's broken or what?

Accusing me of being hip is about as correct as me failing to see that posters other than Ed.R got the joke.

Hip, that's very anti-me. I stopped caring about following trends in grade school, probably.

You got the social ineptitude right, though. I'm lucky, given my heritage.