Heil Honey I’m Home!

Heil Honey I'm Home!On Thursday, the anniversary post was, Attila the Hun and Monty Python’s Worst Sketch. I was complaining about an awful little skit called, “The Attila the Hun Show,” which is a parody of 1950s sitcoms. And it is terrible. Jurgan then commented, “Kind of reminds me of Heil Honey I’m Home!” I had never heard of it, but luckily, the first episode is on YouTube.

Jurgan was right. Heil Honey I’m Home! is exactly what Monty Python was going for. But instead of it going on for just about the most painful minute of television ever, this show goes on for 25 glorious minutes. But before we get to it, let me explain the premise. Hitler and Eva Braun live in Berlin in 1938. Their next door neighbors are Arny and Rosa Goldenstein, a Jewish couple. Basically, it’s I Love Lucy, but with a war criminal.

Eight episodes of the show were made. Only the first was shown. This is not surprising. According to Wikipedia, historian Marian Calabro called it “perhaps the world’s most tasteless situation comedy.” It’s not surprising. There were a lot of people in the 1960s who thought that Hogan’s Heroes was tasteless. Heil Honey I’m Home! is on a whole other level.

Just the same, unlike “The Attila the Hun Show,” Heil Honey I’m Home! is actually fairly funny. The joke isn’t that Hitler is funny but rather that the shows of these types trivialized the complexity and danger of the real world. And although it is going for a 1950s feel, there isn’t much that changed about sitcoms from then and when the show aired in 1990. For example, The Cosby Show ran from 1984 through 1992. Everything always worked out fine by the end of each episode, even if Bill Cosby himself was drugging and raping women at night.

The first episode revolves around a visit from Neville Chamberlain. Hitler says if Eva isn’t nice to him, he won’t tell her why Chamberlain is coming to dinner. Eva replies, “You don’t have to tell me why! I know why: it’s Czechoslovakia; you finally did it!” Everything gets completely out of hand with Chamberlain, Eva, and Arny doing a conga line as Hitler hides the Munich Agreement — referred to as “Peace in Our Time” because they think Americans wouldn’t know the difference between an agreement and a speech. But Hitler signs it just to save face and the episode ends with Eva and Adolph calling themselves their nicknames and kissing.

On one hand, it is surprising that British Satellite Broadcasting thought the show was worth investing in eight episodes worth of this. On the other, who knows what’s going to work? And it does work. There is something strangely not offensive about the show. I suspect that people were offended by it because they felt like they ought to be offended. What I wonder about is where the show went from here. I suspect nowhere — that it just continued to be a simple parody of the anemic sitcom. And because of that, I’m not disappointed that I will likely never get to see the other seven episodes.

Morning Music: Cross Road Blues

Robert Johnson: The Complete RecordingsThe final song that I used in my videos was Robert Johnson’s “Cross Road Blues.” There are two versions of it. This is the slower version and strikes me as more haunting, although the two versions are similar. The song tells the story of the singer going down to the crossroads and trying to catch a ride. But no one stops, “Didn’t nobody seem to know me.” And he’s praying to God that he gets a ride before nightfall.

It seems like a spiritual: when humans let you down, you can always turn to God. But the thing about such songs is that they never have a happy ending. Indeed, they have no ending at all. This is because they are all about faith. God will reward the faithful. I don’t much see it myself. To me, we live in a world of callousness and loneliness with nothing but our own thoughts to keep us company.

When I think seriously about the human condition, I’m very disturbed. We are, in our consciousness, completely cut off from other people. We are, in fact, totally alone. But we are so used to the idea that there are others around to interact with that the clear view of reality it terrifying. We are all down at the crossroads trying to flag a ride. But it isn’t that they don’t know us; they don’t even know we exist because they are all so lost in their own lonely delusions.

As for the music on “Cross Road Blues,” well, it’s amazing. I’m still struck with just how modern it sounds. It probably helps that just about every rock musician has recorded the song. But there’s something more than that. There’s a reason that Robert Johnson stands out compared to other musicians of that period in the Mississippi delta. It’s hard to believe it’s just one man and a guitar performing.

Anniversary Post: Journey of Reconciliation

Journey of ReconciliationOn this day in 1947, the Journey of Reconciliation started. Eight black and eight white men who road interstate buses into segregated states. These would later be called “freedom rides.” A year earlier, in Irene Morgan v Commonwealth of Virginia, the Supreme Court (in the 6-1 decision), found that segregated interstate buses were an “undue burden on commerce.” But the southern states refused to follow the law, and these sixteen men were protesting to get the states to follow the federal law.

This is one of the many funny things about libertarians. They have this idea that if you just leave people alone, everyone will get along just fine. Well, the federal courts can determine one thing, but if the local governments don’t follow along, nothing happens. It is just might makes right, which is why African Americans were stopped from voting for such a long time. But if only there were no government, then the mighty would respect the rights of the weak, right?

Anyway, the men were abused and arrested various places. In particular, some of the men were arrested in North Carolina. At sentencing, the good Christian Judge Henry Whitfield told the defendants, “It’s about time you Jews from New York learned that you can’t come down here bringing your niggers with you to upset the customs of the South. Just to teach you a lesson, I gave your black boys thirty days, and I give you ninety.” I can’t find out anything about this judge, but you can depend upon the fact that he had a good life and never had to rethink his bigotry.

Anyway, 69 years ago, the Journey of Reconciliation started. It lasted for two weeks. The struggle for freedom is a slow and difficult one.