How often do bad guys KNOW they’re bad guys?

Speaking of the Ayn Rand Institute — my son brought my attention to the above hilarious video over the weekend.

I especially enjoyed it because I’d often wondered about that very thing: Didn’t guys in the SS ever stop and think, “Hey! We’ve got skulls on our hats! Are we the bad guys?”

Before I saw that, I had been unfamiliar with Mitchell and Webb. Here’s an even funnier skit I went on to find, mined from the same vein — the gag being Doenitz’ big “promotion” to Führer in the last days of the war. No, really — it’s funny. Take a look.

What, you say, is the connection to the Ayn Rand Institute? Well, I’ve often wondered the same thing about them: Do they never stop and think what it really means to admire the author of The Virtue of Selfishness? (Answer: Yes, they do. And they justify it by a good-is-really-evil sort of rationalization.)

5 thoughts on “How often do bad guys KNOW they’re bad guys?

  1. Silence

    That’s a great bit, I was just telling the guys at work about it last week. I’ve had to start watching “That Mitchell and Webb Look” ever since “Little Britain” went off of Netflix.

  2. Phillip

    Of course the skull symbol predated the Nazis in German military insignia, and was in fact later adopted by the Queen’s Royal Lancers, and hey, what do you know, the skull is a symbol used by the good ol’ US Marine Division Recon.

    So of course the skit is more profoundly funny than its immediate riff. The larger point is of course that in tensions between nations, most every nation thinks it is in the right, and once war starts, nationalism and self-preservation take over and then pretty much everybody fights like crazy on behalf of their nation.

    There are nations that are failed states, tyrannies, autocracies, you name it; then there are the liberal democracies, led by the remarkable work-in-progress that is the US. But one thing we all have in common and that is human nature, and self-delusion is central to the experience of being human, wherever you live. It’s just a matter of degree, but given the right circumstances, evil can flourish pretty much anywhere.

  3. Brad

    There are symbols and there are symbols. They rank from a tattoo a soldier gets when he’s on a bender — “Yeah! A skull would be cool!” — through shoulder patches, all the way to the chief symbol of what you are all about.

    The front-and-center, right-above-the-visor emblem on the cap as part of a class-A uniform is about as formal and ritualized as a symbol on a uniform gets. In all the U.S. services, there’s some variant on an eagle motif. It’s iconic. It has a deeper meaning than anything else on a uniform.

    So having a skull in that position is more meaningful than any other place you could have one.

    Shoulder flashes are much more about the “individuality” of units and more creative, and the heraldry is less formalized.

  4. Brad

    I’ve always thought that the only way I’d ever get a tattoo would be if I were a Marine. I’d just get “U.S.M.C.” in Roman letters, like the “S.P.Q.R.” in “Gladiator.”

    Then, if my commander in chief betrayed me and tried to kill me and all my family, I could scrape it off with a sharp stone…

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