Recently, when images of this kettle that looks like Hitler went viral, it created such a tempest in a, well, teapot that JCPenney pulled the item from its shelves, and announced that the resemblance was unintentional. If they’d wanted to make a kettle that looked like something, @JCPenney tweeted, they would have gone for a snowman. (Though presumably not this Hitler snowman.)
The brouhaha got us thinking about Charlie Chaplin, who had the audacity to play with Hitler’s image while the führer was still alive. Chaplin—who’s stumped people in games of Jew or not a Jew? for decades—wrote, produced, directed, and starred in The Great Dictator in 1940. (He’s not a Jew, but in the film he plays both the Jewish barber and Adenoid Hynkel, the dictator who tries to kill the Jews of Tomainia.)
Thus we had the world’s most beloved comedian mocking the world’s most reviled tyrant. He created such a global sensation that the film was immediately banned in occupied countries. Chaplin wasn’t the only artist to speak out against Nazism, but his worldwide fame made him the most visible…which all but paved the way for us to buy this bowl that looks like Chaplin.
June 19, 2013