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Oliver Whowhatable? German film director Oliver Hirschbiegel is perhaps best known as the genius who gave us Downfall, the film that spawned the meme that is 'Hitler finds out about...'.
You'll likely remember the meme even if you haven't seen the whole film. Hitler raves at his closest aides, racked by Parkinsons, bitter, furious and clearly already defeated. The gag is that it's in German, so all you have to do is add funny subtitles and you've got a hilarious backdrop for dialogues such as Hitler finds out there's no camera in the iPod Touch or the monumental (over 8 million views) Hitler finds his XBox Live account has been terminated. The meme takes us to Hitler's reaction that Twitter is down and, of course, his reaction to the iPad. There's even the rather chucklesome Hitler is fed up with all the Hitler rants.
Someone somewhere is going to get a thesis, by the way, out of the fact that every single one of these have awful spelling or grammatical errors in the subtitles. The Internet, it would seem is highly amusing but woefully illiterate.
It's perhaps a testament to the power of actor Bruno Gantz's portrayal of Hitler and the realism of this rant scene that the meme has run like this - in fact, the studio tried to stem the tide of parodies with a takedown attempt, but in the end you can't turn back the sea. There are hundreds of the things out there, more still - over three years later - being added every day with each new event that someone, somewhere cares about enough to slap a few subtitles on that little piece of film history. Some of the best, original clips succumbed to the takedown. Many are, of course, merely lame. But they generally still have the power to bring a grin to your face.
Much of the humour comes from the fact this man is the most reviled figure in human history. The idea that he wants to tweet about his dog dying, that the AT&T network's no good or any of this stuff is part of its brilliance. But it's the best thing to do to evil, really: laugh at it, no?
So now Hirschbiegel has created a film about Diana which the critics have queued up to have a pop at. The Guardian's reviewer noted that sixteen years after that car crash, Diana has died a second awful death and the gag, albeit a tad obvious and even mildly obnoxious, neatly sums up London's reaction to the film.
I can't wait, personally. I can't wait for the parodies to start. I wonder if they'll have German subtitles?
Meanwhile, do feel free to share links to any notable 'Hitler rants' in the comments!