Hat tip to LGF for this one. A New Zealand Pizza joint named ‘Hell Pizza‘ thought that a billboard with Hitler saluting while holding a slice o’pie would help sales. In bad taste? Probably. But as you’ll see below, they are known for some general whackiness in their marketing…
New Zealand restaurant chain Hell Pizza is currently under fire for placing posters featuring the man who triggered World War II and was responsible for the genocide of millions of people on billboards in four cities across the country. The ad features Hitler sieg-heiling with a slice in his hands and the slogan: “It is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell,” a quote attributed to Hitler.
“We thought that people would be able to see a funny side to a guy doing a ‘sieg heil’ salute with a piece of pizza in his hand,” Kirk MacGibbon of the Auckland-based Cinderella advertising agency said. “If you laugh at something, you take its power away.” However he added that “there are certain things we are still unable to laugh about” and said there had been a handful of complaints from Jewish residents.
The company has abandoned the Hitler campaign, but it still isn’t shying away from controversy. Its new advertising poster boy is Pope Benedict XVI, who is shown with a slice of pizza along with the quote: “Hell is real and eternal.”
Hell Pizza also raised a storm of controversy among Catholics and others last year with its campaign for seven pizzas named after the seven deadly sins. To advertise its “lust” pizza, the company mailed condoms to potential customers.
“That was the most controversial ad campaign that we’ve ever done,” MacGibbon said.
Hitler seems to be popping up everywhere. Clearly, Hitler is the new Jesus.
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Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein pepperoni with extra cheese.
Pepperoni pizza is called ‘Pizza Salami’ in German 😉 I think the campaign is not the greatest to begin with (they even didn’t acknowledge that Catholicism abolished the preaching of ‘hell’ quite a while ago; Protestant denominations still preserve that belief though.)
May sure to leave enough lebensraum for the garlic breadsticks….
Alas, Sarah, il Papa just reaffirmed that hell exists, and no, it’s not the New Jersey Turnpike.
From a couple of months ago:
“Addressing a parish gathering in a northern suburb of Rome, the Pope said that in the modern world many people, including some believers, had forgotten that if they failed to ‘admit blame and promise to sin no more’, they risked ‘eternal damnation – the inferno’.
Hell ‘really exists and is eternal, even if nobody talks about it much any more.’
(The Pope declined to say whether repentance was enough to keep Catholics from being killed in combat.)
What language was he using and who did the translation? I’m from a mixed background, the current Pontifex Maximus was a professor of my father’s in the 1960s; he knows well enough to draw a line between gehenna and sheol – as Judaism does.
Not sure who did the translating, Sarah. I believe, though, that when in Italy he does as the Italians– speaking Italian to a lay audience.
I unfairly slighted the former Fuehrer and Reichskanzler up above: he was, of course, a vegetarian and would likely have ordered broccoli or something.
Arbit macht me hungry for a slice of pineapple pizza mit extra cheese and garlic!!
Yeah. I went there.
oh yes, ck. you went there. what would you like for your troubles? a medal? a laugh? attention? outrage?
enough already with the Nazi-themed jokes. they make me sick. happy?
Sorry ofri. As always you are the voice of reason, reminding me that just because off-color Nazi jokes are ubiquitous here in Israel, does not mean that they are appropriate.
That having been said, why is it that many Israelis delight in such humor? I don’t think it’s reflective of disrespect for the victims of the holocaust – come Yom Hashoah, no one – not even the most cynical bastard – makes a move when that alarm goes off. Of course the occasional Haredim do, but that’s because they commemorate the victims of the Shoah on another day. But I digress…
So what is it? Is it because we still see people with tattoos on the street here? Is it because so many people have holocaust survivors in their families and laughter is some kind of defense mechanism? Some way to defuse the horror?
Or are we all just assholes?
This is actually a serious question ofri. I mean, I get misty at Yad Vashem. I make it a point to be in the most public place possible for Yom Hashoah so that I may stand amongst my people and mourn our horrible loss. I totally hate Nazis and racists, my Aunt’s Mother in law, who we all love, survived Auschwitz. So what’s with the jokes? Can they be dismissed as merely juvenile or is there something else at play?
Fine, I’ll attempt a serious answer at your serious question. Do, however, stop kissing my ass, please, because it drives me bats. Your wild oscillations between profanity and earnestness make me dizzy and, frankly, nervous.
Context is everything. I have, in the intimate company of my close Israeli and/or Jewish friends shared a melancholy laugh about the Holocaust. One might argue that there’s even a sense of agency in it. Those people are my community, real or imagined, and I trust them.
An enormous billboard boasting Hitler’s likeness in the middle of Auckland, of all places, is not funny and it’s not an inside joke. It’s public, and it’s threatening. For all the Holocaust humor in Israel, you’d never in this lifetime see a billboard like that in Tel Aviv. It’s hideous, and its camouflage of edgy, subversive humor renders it all the more insidious. I don’t know that the brilliant minds behind this ad campaign are anti-Semitic, but the intent isn’t relevant. Once the billboard is there for all to see, it’s out there and it makes it ok for some dumb 8th grader in New Zealand to make jokes about it, too. Meanings and intentions get distorted in repetition.
I don’t live in Israel. I grew up in the United States, where ignorant people seem to think that by virtue of their superficial acquaintance with a minority of some kind – in my case, Jewish, obviously – somehow confers upon them the authority to make jokes about them. Tell someone they’ve crossed the line and they call you hysterical and paranoid. Fine. I’m hysterical and paranoid. I know racists, anti-Semites, mysoginists, homophobes, and other garden variety bigots. There are many in the U.S. and abroad, including Israel, who resent the so-called PC era we live in and are just dying to get some use out of their old (insert marginalized group) jokes. So that’s why social boundaries are necessary for me, and why I’m glad it’s not acceptable to use Hitler in public ad campaigns. I’m not looking over my shoulder or anything, but I also don’t feel protected and cherished as a Jew in this world.
My issue with your joke wasn’t so much the joke itself, but the appended there-I-said-it. That contextualizes your remark as clearly intended to get a rise out of someone rather than an organic, sarcastic response to a cultural memory that otherwise renders you powerless. I was merely playing school marm to your puerile provocateur, and you asked for it.
Finally, don’t do that. Don’t spout off all the institutionalized ways in which you honor the Holocaust and the personal family connection that justifies your stake in it. All Jews have a stake in it. You conveniently left out your well-documented opinion that the Holocaust is overdetermined in Jewish education and identity politics these days and your obvious resentment of that fact. I don’t begrudge you that opinion. It is in some ways valid, and either way you have every right to it. If we have to be able to justify our claim to the Holocaust, then where does that leave Tom Morrissey’s witticisms? In one breath you profane the Holocaust and in the next you sacralize it. We have to be able to talk about it without resorting to invoking whatever relative of ours survived it (or didn’t).
If I seem on edge it’s because this stuff is approximate to the topic of the thesis that I’m working on and is all I ever think about these days. I’m forever in this quagmire. I didn’t exactly address your concerns, ck, but there you have my reaction.
ofri wrote: Do, however, stop kissing my ass, please, because it drives me bats. Your wild oscillations between profanity and earnestness make me dizzy and, frankly, nervous.
Profanity and earnestness are not mutually exclusive. One can be both (ahem). And what you call ass kissing is me admitting that I may have overstepped some boundaries. Canadians are good that way. Sorry it makes you nervous (???).
ofri continued: So thatâ€™s why social boundaries are necessary for me, and why Iâ€™m glad itâ€™s not acceptable to use Hitler in public ad campaigns. Iâ€™m not looking over my shoulder or anything, but I also donâ€™t feel protected and cherished as a Jew in this world.
So far we have no disagreement at all.
ofri went on: That contextualizes your remark as clearly intended to get a rise out of someone rather than an organic, sarcastic response to a cultural memory that otherwise renders you powerless. I was merely playing school marm to your puerile provocateur, and you asked for it.
I said “Yeah. I went there.” in anticipation of the inevitable reaction that some might have – ie “I can’t believe you went there…” followed by my response. Now much gets lost in the translation, but perhaps I might have been clearer if I wrote “I can’t believe I went there either.” That response is less puerile and provocative and more introspective – as demonstrated by my initial response to your comment. As if I am asking myself, why is it that I and others, who otherwise honor the holocaust, feel compelled to make such “melancholy” jokes?
Frankly, my well documented opposition to the elevation of the holocaust as the primary locus of Jewish identity does not seem to be relevant here.
I appreciate your reaction, but I’d still like you to address my concerns. And please don’t make it all about some anti-PC backlash. That’s not it at all.
The billboard is there whether we like it or not, ofri, and derisive humor is a valid response to it. There are a range of responses, and yours is only one.
Interesting thread. I used to teach history senior high school level in Germany, and the ‘best’ approaches to teaching about the Holocaust are matter of lots of discussions among history teachers there. Those approaches are as individual and as manifold as the approaches to mourning a beloved one’s death. There’s no patent way that fits each and every class and teacher. BTW, Yiddish knows lots of jokes about the Holocaust and anti-Semite stereotypes. It’s part of (Ashkenazi; I’m not too familar with typically Sephardi humour. If anybody knows a good reference work re: Sephardi humour, I’d be happy to hear about it.) Jewish humour to also mock the trials and sufferings Jewish people had to undergo. I still happen to find this ad a tasteless trivialization.
Ofri said: An enormous billboard boasting Hitlerâ€™s likeness in the middle of Auckland, of all places, is not funny and itâ€™s not an inside joke. Itâ€™s public, and itâ€™s threatening. For all the Holocaust humor in Israel, youâ€™d never in this lifetime see a billboard like that in Tel Aviv.
Muffti doesn’t think that it is particularly threatening. It’s not especially funny (Muffti deosn’t think – he’s nto erally in on the New Zealand inside joke network, so maybe there it is!) It’s offensive, but they seem to generally run campaigns designed to irk the sensibilities of one group or another. And, in fairness to them, when people complained they took it down.
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