Ah yes, here we go again.
Another day, another idiot dressed up in the uniform of a group who murdered millions in the greatest atrocity the world has ever seen. For the banter!
This time around, it’s Paul Hollywood, the Demon Headmaster of The Great British Bake Off, whose terrifying, glaze-eyed death stare matched up perfectly with the Nazi garb he decided to don to a mate’s fancy dress party – photos of which subsequently leaked to the press.
Paul’s apology was something of a non-event, as we’ve come to expect from these all-too-common occurrences.
Claiming he wasn’t in fact dressed up as a Nazi, but in fact as a caricature of a Nazi, as depicted in not-exactly-un-racist ‘classic’ TV show ‘Allo ‘Allo!. Because, of course, dressing up as someone dressing up as a terrible thing is, in fact, completely fine.
It was a ‘comedy TV characters’ theme! And there’s nothing funnier than a Nazi!
‘Everyone who knows me, knows I am incredibly proud of the efforts of those, including my own grandfather, who fought against the Nazis during the war,’ he continued, in that age-old ‘can’t be sexist, mum’s a woman’ mould of non-apology.
It’s remarkable, the way he managed to issue an ‘apology’ which seems to skip around the fact that there’s (quick estimate here) a bajillion other comedy TV characters he could’ve dressed up as that weren’t wandering around dressed in Nazi uniforms. Poor Paul, of course, how could we forget – there simply aren’t enough funny, non-Nazi TV characters to go around!
It barely even comes as a surprise.
When a member of our own Royal Family gets caught in a Nazi outfit, such things take on a depressing air of ‘boys will be boys’-ism.
Only this isn’t leaving your boxers on the bathroom floor. This is dressing up as a believer in ethnic cleansing and perpetrator of the world’s most heinous crime. Stop equating being a useless bloke with somehow forgetting how atrocious the Holocaust was.
‘But it was 14 years ago!’ they cry, as if Nazism was somehow not as bad back in 2003. Ah, yes, those halcyon days of 2003 – when TaTu reigned supreme with ‘All The Things She Said’, America’s Next Top Model’s first series had just begun, Finding Nemo was released, and we just hadn’t quite figured out if Nazis were a bad thing or not yet.
Give. Me. A. Break.
It all feeds into a culture that leads to some very worrying things.
When people are marching under swastika flags in America so emboldened as to not even cover their faces or fear any retribution for walking the streets as out-and-out, no shame Nazis, these things need to be vilified.
It’s not a costume – it’s a uniform. And military uniforms come loaded with the context of their history, whether you’re down the pub for your mate’s New Year party, marching through the streets with a tiki torch or killing millions in a World War.
And yet still people defend them:
What’s so deeply frustrating is the simple fact that it’s really, really, really easy not to dress as a Nazi. Shocking stuff, I know.
In case you’re really, truly stuck for your next party piece, here’s five fancy dress costume choices to try before you pick a Nazi outfit off the shelf:
Not only does this idolised figure not commit mass genocide on a world-altering scale, he actively punches Nazis in the face! Go on mate!
Man’s best friend – no matter their ethnic background! Truly, better than a Nazi.
Still satiates your inexplicable need to dress up as something abhorrent and evil, but with the added advantage of being actually fictional! So no one actually got killed! Even when he blew up an entire planet!
An actual bin
If you’ve ever thought that dressing up as the most awful group in human history might be a bit of a laugh, why not try literally getting into the bin instead!
Tigers are great. Nazis are scum.
That’s not even an exhaustive list, either – there’s literally millions of things you can dress as that aren’t anywhere near as offensive and downright pathetic as dressing up as a Nazi. What a world we live in.
So if you were considering a quick dress up as a genocidal, racist, Holocaust-enacting monster – y’know, for a bit of a lark – why not try almost anything else instead. You still get to wear some clothes that might make you feel a bit silly, but you might be able to find some that don’t invoke memories of a tragedy that systematically and violently claimed the lives of six million people.
Give it a go.