Corollaries to Godwin’s Law
“As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”
In any online forum in which Hitler is discussed objectively as an historical figure, there is a one-in-four chance that the most active participant harbors a secret admiration for Hitler which will eventually become public, complicating his campaign for dog catcher, garbage commissioner, or governor of Tennessee.
The only way to derail an online Kirk vs. Picard debate is to compare Gene Roddenberry to Hitler. The results, however, are only temporary. After a few politely-worded rebuttals, the discussion inevitably evolves into an analysis of Star Trek Episode 52: “Patterns of Force.”
Godwin’s Slope of American Political Discourse
No matter how many times Hitler comes up, an online political debate has not begun in earnest until George Bush has been compared to a monkey, Dick Cheney has been compared to Darth Vader, and Hillary Clinton has been called a bitch, a Communist, a lesbian, and a lesbo-commie-bitch.
If you’re going to compare someone to Hitler, you may as well go all the way and throw in some spoilers while you’re at it. For instance: “You’re living proof that Hitler, with his single hate-shriveled nut, still managed to reproduce at least once. And just like the audience in Superman Returns, when they realize that Superman is the real father of Lois’s kid and not that bland guy from the X-Men movies (who dies about fifteen minutes into X-Men: The Last Stand, by the way), people will eventually see you and your fascist bullshit for what they are.”
No matter how tempting it may be to compare someone to Hitler, in most cases it will be just as satisfying to call them an asstard, a douchewad, or a Young Republican.
Hitler’s position as the premier ad hominem attack will remain secure so long as modern batshit crazy dictators continue to have unwieldy names like Ceauşescu, Milosevic, and Niyazov.
used to be a lawyer, but he's all better now. No, really. His work has also appeared on McSweeney's Internet Tendency
, in the pages of Cracked
, and The Wittenburg Door
, and recently appeared in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2007
. He lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada with one wife and two dogs.