Der Führer pans the new “Star Trek”

Saw this video spoof earlier in the week and meant to share it. Since I hadn’t posted anything all day, I might as well post it now.

Think of the creative energy it takes to produce something like that on YouTube, and the site is just full of stuff like that.

This was brought to my attention by my high school classmate Burl Burlingame, who blogs out of Honolulu. He works for the Star-Bulletin. Aside from the fact that he still has his job, he and I have been on parallel tracks lately. He also just fell into the twin traps of Facebook and Twitter, so we have commiserated this week.

Burl and I graduated from Radford High School in 1971. You may recall I wrote something about those days in my column last fall, “Barack Like Me.” Burl got into journalism earlier than I did; he published an underground newspaper at Radford. The one thing I remember clearly about that was that he used to refer to our principal, who was virtually never seen by the students (I never saw him that whole senior year, although I knew people who said they’d met him), as “the Ghost Who Walks.” The principal’s name was Yamamoto. Not the admiral who planned the Pearl Harbor attack; another Yamamoto. (Actually, come to think of it, he could have been the admiral for all we knew, since we never saw him.)

It’s particularly meaningful to me that Burl posted something making fun of Nazis. You may have noted that the lede story in The State today was about a high school prank. A particularly nasty, destructive high school prank, but still a senior prank. Our senior prank at Radford back in 71 was less destructive, but more creative.

About a dozen of us staged a revolution to take over the school. Or rather, in guerrilla fashion, we took over a classroom at a time and quickly moved on. We wielded water guns, and wore rather elaborate paramilitary costumes. Most of us had recently seen Woody Allen’s “Bananas,” and were largely inspired by that, only we were far more international. Our leader was Steve Clark, who was dressed in full military regalia as “El Presidente.” He spoke only Spanish in keeping with his character, which no one but I understood, so I translated all of his commands, being second in command. My character’s back story was that I had been a top officer in the Israeli Defense Force but had been drummed out for something or other and had turned mercenary. Overly elaborate, perhaps, and the nuances were probably not obvious to our audience, but we didn’t care.

Burl’s character was an unrepentant old Nazi whom we had found hiding in Argentina, loudly fulminating at everyone in a vaudeville German accent. He would particularly abuse me, since my character was supposed to be Jewish, and of course I would take offense, and our comrades would have to separate us to prevent violence. Yes, it was that politically incorrect. We wanted to be edgy, and thought ethnic humor, even ethnic humor that dark, to be funny, a la Mel Brooks with “Springtime for Hitler.” We were kids, and stupid. Or rather, a little too “clever” for our own good.

We were most successful in taking over Mrs. Burchard’s English class. Mrs. Burchard was my favorite teacher ever. You can see a picture of her on that same page that I linked to about Mr. Yamamoto, on the virtual yearbook that (I think) Burl put together a few years back. (Cute, isn’t she?) She was a real sport, and played along. When some of her underclassmen students failed to give El Presidente proper respect (as we defined it), we lined them up against the blackboard and hosed them down with the water guns — but only after Mrs. Burchard had fallen on her knees before us to beg us to spare them. She was awesome.

The revolution ended badly, as most do. Some juniors mounted a counterattack on our position, and I caught a water balloon in the groin. C’est la guerre.

24 thoughts on “Der Führer pans the new “Star Trek”

  1. Burl Burlingame

    I’m still in the town as my high school and occasionally get called out to Radford for Career Day, when I try to Scare Straight kids interested in a journalism career. The amazing thing is that many of the teachers and administrators remember us from the early ’70s. Even more amazing, they remember us as “good kids.”
    Yeah, real good.
    One “prank” that probably predated Brad involved the two vice-principals’ offices, which were side by side and exactly the same size. We picked the locks and Polaroided the offices late one night, then switched everything from one office to another, replicating every last detail.

  2. Nancy Christenson

    Burl is probably the smartest guy I’ve ever known; he’s sensitive, compassionate, funny as hell and my best friend. But that’s about the dorkiest high school photo I’ve ever seen, and I intend to use it against him at every opportunity. Thanks, Brad!

  3. Kurt Rebello

    Good read, Brad….always wonderful to know that some of us still have active memories of the crazy fun we had back in the high school years. Being that we were in Hawaii at the time was probably a big plus.

  4. Brad Warthen

    Hey, Kurt, where you at these days, man?

    “Downfall” — was that the one told from the perspective of Hitler’s personal secretary? I saw that, back when it was new. THAT’S why it looked familiar. I was afraid it was a past-life memory intruding upon the present…

  5. Lee Muller

    You guys might want to occasionally snap out of your escapism and back to the reality of our real, wannabe Führer. Brad did you ever finish ready Obama’s Mein Kampf? Do you understand him a little better now than you did during the election?

  6. Dan Moran

    I’m a big Star Trek fan of all of the series except the last one, “Enterprise” and all of the previous movies. I haven’t seen the latest movie yet but I’ve heard the rants and raves about it. This video spoof is hilarious, just how I’d expect the stereotypical rabid Trekker to react.

    As for your senior prank, those were the good old days. Needless to say, try that one today and you’d be in a lot more trouble than if you just slashed a few tires.

  7. Greg Flowers

    Different certainly. I would not say better. Both are funny. The second has much more profanity to no good purpose and the first has more universal appeal. I love the part where the one girl in the hall comforts the other after the fat girlfriends in their Klingon outfits.

  8. Greg Flowers

    should read “after Hitler’s fat girlfriends in their Klingon outfits comment”

  9. Brad Warthen

    Good point, Greg. Actually, I initially imbedded the video, but the frame it was showing had profanity showing in ALL CAPS in the subtitles, which gave the profanity far greater emphasis than it had within the context of the full video.

    I know how to choose a different frame when it’s one of my OWN videos, but didn’t know how to control it on someone else’s. So I just did the link instead, this being a family blog.

    I may refer you to some bad words if you choose to follow the link, but I’m not going to post them on the blog itself. Call it a confused standard, but it’s my standard.

  10. Greg Flowers

    I was really referring to pervasive profanity in the “Gamecock” clip. No, a single monosyllabic Anglo Saxon expletive is fine, particularly when it works in context, as it does in the Star Trek clip.

  11. Bill C.

    Sorry, I didn’t realize that we had a bunch of grade school aged people reading this blog. Here’s something that you might find difficult to believe, the words in both of these videos are nothing short of anything you’d hear on a grade school playground, and in some public schools in SC, in the classroom.

  12. Greg Flowers

    Profanity has its use as an intensifier. It loses that function when repeated for no apparent reason. I did not realize that grade school usage was the standard here. I thought the vocabularies of most of us had extended beyond that.

  13. Bart

    Good point about profanity. Nothing wrong with using the occasional hell or damn but the constant use of the “f” word along with a few others is a strong indication of the level of maturity so many who post comments have attained. Or should it be “immaturity”?

    If you ever read DailyKos and the comments section, if those posting were not allowed to use profanity, they couldn’t compose a sentence to adequately express themselves if their life depended on it.

    I guess bombing everything with the “f” word is an acceptable way to comment or respond today. If it is, what will future contracts look like?

    “Party of the first part agrees to compensate party of the second part if he or she does not “f” up and we don’t have to clean up their “s–t.”

  14. Bill C.

    “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” had women fainting in the theaters 60 years ago, imagine how many body bags they’d need if these same women sat through any PG-13 rated movie today.

  15. Birch Barlow

    I disagree with Greg’s objection to the profanity used in Bill C’s youtube clip. The video clip’s use of excess profanity was justified because it was used to create what is likely a more accurate picture of what a few Gamecock fans discussing football sounds like.

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