Wednesday, 18 February 2009

My park in Tel Aviv

Laughing about Hitler is always a tricky business. Take the video above, for example. A mash up of a scene the excellent film Downfall, it is an extended rant about the impossibility of parking in Tel Aviv - and it is as bad as it is made out to sound, too. (Context: Rothschild, Ibn Gvirol and so on are major streets in Tel Aviv; Ron Huldai/Chuldai is Mayor; Petach Tikvah is a sleepy suburb about ten km from central Tel Aviv)

That said, not everyone sees the humour in using Hitler - or his cinematic avatar - as the conduit to poke fun at Tel Aviv Municipality. Noah Flug, the chairman of the Centre of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors, wrote to YouTube asking that the clip be taken down on grounds of poor taste.

It is often hard to gauge the precise line between acceptable and unacceptable humour. Often, what may seem funny to one person may come across as gratuitously offensive to another. The interesting thing is, there are certainly any number of Tel Aviv-is who would find this tickling. No doubt, they've (1) hunted high and low for parking spaces in the bubble and (2)[and I'm guessing here] have no immediate connection with the Holocaust.

What is funny is that this is a poor take on a completely unrelated mash-up of the same scene, concerning the British journalist Giles Coren. It's a long story that won't interest most people, but essentially he sent an...impassioned letter to the sub editors at the Times after they managed to cock up one of his pieces.

Infinitely more amusing. Mind you, I was with Coren on this one, even if his response was a bit over the top. I wrote a short piece for a publication somewhere once; the sub, through the inspired decision of dropping an indefinite article 'a' in the first sentence managed to reverse the thrust of the entire article and make me sound like a raving idiot. Like Hitler, actually. A feat I normally manage all by myself.

Right, back to the coalface...

No comments: