"When Der Fuhrer says we is de master race
"We heil (pfft) heil (pfftt) right in der Fuhrer's face."
—Recorded in late 1942 by Spike Jones and his City Slickers
It is us. The Americans. In a year when the world was on fire, a novelty band fond of sound effects, recorded "Der Fuhrer's Face," a comic song sung in a German accent that sprayed cheap laughs like machine gun bullets.
A young guy with a gas station pump jockey job, a girlfriend named Iona, and $3 in spare cash whistled it walking down the street in New Mexico. That young guy would be drafted by the end of the year, and he would end up a headless corpse bobbing at the tideline on Normandy Beach.
Right in Der Fuher's face.
Adolf Hitler was funny. He was funny looking. He had a funny little mustache and an odd little haircut, and he was an unhinged, mass-murdering fascist.
And there was, when it seemed as if he might win, when newspaper headlines were black with the headlines of casualty numbers, there was, that American, prairie, big city tenement, small town, street corner "pfft," right in Der Fuher's face.
And I know, as well as I know the words to the Hail Mary I said last Wednesday, I know that, as a syndicated columnist, I should be wailing and gnashing my teeth and rending my garments and muttering about "insurrection."
And I know, I know as sure as "pfft" follows "heil," that there were people killed in the assault of the clueless on the nation's capitol.
And still, the ancestral "pfft" runs through my veins.
Because of that DNA, I ask, how seriously are we supposed to take the collection of six-fingered, nearly illiterate, Jesus-pestering, cousin-fanciers who went into the Capitol on a kind of hillbilly selfie festival?
How seriously? Pfft.
The point isn't that they did what they did. The point is that they couldn't do what they wanted. They're not smart enough. They couldn't stop the Constitutional process from grinding onward. All they could do was delay it and make it more certain.
They had some guy with them who was wearing a big woolly hat with horns, the kind of hat Fred Flintstone wore when he went to the meetings of the Water Buffalo Lodge. There were guys too fat to squeeze through the door of a Marine recruiting office tricked out in full military uniform, and one poor lout was waving a bright yellow "Jesus Saves" sign in the middle of the chaos. There were women whose mixed pattern of stars and stripes outfits reached a nearly hallucinatory level, like what Rush Limbaugh would see if he traded the pills for blotter acid.
And they got into the building and they gibbered and frolicked on the marble floors like a troop of apes turned loose in the Vatican, and they left, having no idea what to do with what they said they wanted. They looked around, broke some stuff and left.
And they were fine people because almost all large groups of dimwitted Nazis are, in fact, fine people.
Pfft right in Der Fuhrer's face!
Watching hours of this mess with my wife, Deborah, the sentence most uttered by both of us was, "Geez, lookit that fool!"
And I know. Hitler's first attempt at grabbing power was funny, too. It was a sad little march down the street, a few shots fired, and a Nazi stampede for the exits.
So, there's that. Maybe America's simpleton saviors will be better at grabbing power next time. Hitler was better the next time.
But still. Pfft! Right in Der Fuhrer's face! Fine words and a strong resolve will get you a long way, but never forget the "pfft!" It is the war cry of the unafraid.
To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's latest book, a rousing thumbing of the nose, is a collection of his best columns called "Devil's Elbow: Dancing in the Ashes of America." It is available in paperback from Amazon.com, and for Nook, Kindle, and iBooks.