05/16/2005:"Can We Godwin Our Own Blog?"
For those of you who read blogs and don't know what Godwin's Law is (if you do know what it is, trust me, there are many users who don't), read this explanation before reading the rest of this post.
Now that we all know what we're talking about, consider this:
I recently submitted our page of copyfight parody images to BoingBoing.net for consideration. Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing quickly and politely replied, and informed me that although "This stuff is funny, Ian!" that he was "...uncomfortable with the Nazi stuff, though", adding: "I'm a believer in Godwin's Law and worry that the discreditation that accrues to its violators would outweigh the humor. Sorry."
Fair enough, and well said, Cory.
It got me thinking, though.
First of all, since the images in question only suggest nazism:
1.) There are no swastikas
2.) We refer to fascism, not dictatorial Nazism or Hitler
3.) The fairly reasonable implication made is that the parties in question may literally be a bit fascist in their view of intellectual property rights. (Specifically: that the public has none.)
Is it therefore truly worthy of invoking Godwin's Law? Perhaps more importantly, why is it considered somehow acceptable to use Stalinist images to make light of this topic, but not Hitlerian or Nazistic images? As many as SIXTY MILLION PEOPLE were killed during Stalin's reign, depending on who you believe, with a commonly accepted figure being around TWENTY million. Why is the Stalin/Communist comparison so much less offensive? There is no humor whatsoever in either of these horrifying historical periods, yet we can't sit around weeping for every atrocity committed throughout human history, we wouldn't have a moment left for living in general. Humans just seem to do that mass-slaughter thing on a regular basis, and you have to consider it just dumb luck if you live in a time and place where it's not going on...
So ANYONE, please post an explanation for me. I just don't get it. Really.