Why “Jojo Rabbit” Fails to Make Nazism Funny

Describing the recently released film Jojo Rabbit as “a slapstick farce about a Hitler-worshiping ten-year-old surrounded by idiotic Nazis in the waning days of World War II,” Ross Douthat explains why it falls flat:

It wants to have its jokes at Nazidom’s expense, to portray Hitler as a mincing idiot and his ideology as something only a ten-year-old could possibly believe, but ultimately ends up with a pious message about the power of hatred and the power of intimacy to overcome it. “An anti-hate satire” runs the tagline on the movie’s posters, but the satire inevitably gets weaker as the anti-hate message gets stronger, until what began as a truly gonzo exercise finishes up resembling a competent Miramax drama from twenty years ago—The Girl in the Wall.

This result illustrates a plausible rule for any filmmaker intent on mocking Nazis: the closer you get to the Holocaust, the more your efforts at satire will be swallowed up. There’s a reason that [the 1960s TV situation comedy] Hogan’s Heroes was set in a POW camp, not in Buchenwald. There’s a reason that the funniest Nazi send-ups are so often sketches, bits, and memes, [such as] the play-within-a-movie of The Producers. Satire dies under Arbeit macht frei as surely as comedy falters at the gates of hell; the devil can be satirized in pieces but the reality of damnation is a different matter.

In the end Jojo Rabbit finds the sour spot. Its portrait of a boy’s redemption is far too glib to help us understand damnation, but it gets too close to the provinces of hell to justify its strong dose of froth and camp and silliness. The seriousness ultimately unravels the comedy, and then the unseriousness of that seriousness means the movie unravels itself.

Read more at National Review

More about: Comedy, Film, Holocaust


An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy