Sigh: The Nazi Spike on Twitter

I was on a flight on Wednesday and decided to watch The Monuments Men.  While I have not read any reviews, I knew it had been panned, and the critics are right.  The movie wants to be, in part, “Catch 22,”  “Schindler’s List,”  “Saving Private Ryan,” and “The Andromeda Strain.”  Yup, that’s a bad idea.

I watched it anyway, and one of the things that really jumped out at me was the tired, Manichaean portrayal of the German officers.[1]  Even the score piped in, filling the viewer’s ears with evil, foreboding music, whenever those Nazis were on screen.  And I thought, really, in 2014?  We can’t let that trope go?  I confess, the German soldiers are not portrayed as cartoonishly as they are in, say, “The Sound of Music” or “Hogan’s Heroes.”  But they are most definitely one dimensional caricatures of human beings.

So, what the heck does that have to with Twitter?  Perhaps you have seen the article at Deadspin: “When Did Nazi Insults Spike On Twitter During USA-Germany?” This is the graph:

Tweets Containing "Nazi" during US v Germany World Cup Game

Now, I know full well that there is no simple causal story here.  During sporting contests fans with routinely Tweet offensive insults in response to their own team doing poorly (e.g., Boston Bruin fans here and here).  And yes, the studio’s profit motive leads it to make films that have ready-made, easily recognized story lines that tap widely held cultural beliefs, which are also reflected in sports’ fans public emoting.  But the juxtaposition of seeing the portrayal in the movie and the Twitter bit motivated me to post and express my weariness.  See, having now emoted, I feel better.  😉


[1] For that matter, the Soviet soldiers, as well.

About Will H. Moore

I am a political science professor who also contributes to Political Violence @ a Glance and sometimes to Mobilizing Ideas . Twitter: @WilHMoo
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