Monday, February 05, 2007

Life Lessons: May the Sticking of It to Hitler Be Unbroken

We’re all, like, avuncular and shit. That means “uncle-like,” and while there’s no word for “aunt-like” (because language is patriarchal, blah, blah, blah), it’s important for us, as non-reproducing advocates of reproduction, to seize any platform available to drop science on the domes of the young. We therefore enjoy cluing our nephews and nieces in to the real nitty-gritty – simultaneously baring crucial truths to their impressionable minds and showing how much cooler we are than their haggard, soccer-weary parents, for whom the nightly jeroboam of Chardonnay has become akin to an oxygen mask.

But by “cluing them in” we don’t mean corrupting young souls with the depraved joys of Plushie porn or bebop music; that’s what college is for.

We mean talking to them as honestly as possible about the things that concern them, and answering their questions with compassion and fearlessness. For example: if Superman fought a dinosaur, who would win? (Superman would win, but for reasons too complex to enumerate here. They might surprise you.)

As kids grow up, though, their questions become more sensitive. Eventually your child will ask you about the Holocaust. About Hitler. About Anne Frank, and the terrifying reality that they turned her diary into a musical. About why it happened, and if it could happen again. They will ask these questions because their Jewish identities burn bright – and also because they saw those awful fucking movies at school, without you getting so much as a warning flyer.

The Big Talk
So, the day has come. Your kid has heard tell that Absolute Evil exists, and it tends to gun for our people specifically. Little Mordechai needs your help. It is time to do what we assume parents hate even more than monitoring fever with a rectal thermometer: Have a Big Talk.

Don’t get us wrong: we’re probably the biggest relativists on the block. But believe it or not, there’s a right way and a wrong way to talk to your kids about history’s greatest bummer. That’s why we’ve prepared some helpful, highly realistic scripts to guide you in exactly what (and what NOT ) to say:

Please bear in mind that we’re experts who work in the entertainment industry; don’t try this at home. Well, no, do try reading the dialogue. That part you should definitely do. At home. But for fuck’s sake, don’t ad lib – you’ll wind up buying apology sundaes until Tish A’bov. Just remember that we’re the writers, and everything will be fine.


Child: Mommy …
You: Not now, honey. Mommy’s having her special energy drink.
Child: Can I have some?
You: When you’re older. Besides, Mommy needs to drink every drop, or Mommy will be mad and it will be your fault.
Child: Sorry, Mommy. Mommy?
You: What is it now?
Child: We saw a movie at school and the mean Germans killed all the Jews and now I’m scared and I can’t sleep.
You: Take one of the blue-and-white pills on Mommy’s dresser. They’ll knock you right out.
Child: Um … Okay …
You: Hey! Just one.


Child: Mommy …
You: Yes, my perfect darling?
Child: We saw a terrible movie and all the Jews were dead and Hitler and death and blood and ovens.
You: Sweetheart, I know you were traumatized, but syntax is still important.
Child: You’re right, of course, Mommy. But why did it happen? I’m ever so frightened.
You: My dearest, Hitler was a very bad man. A sick man. And like a lot of sick people, he was looking for someone to blame for his own problems. So he blamed the Jews.
Child: Why us?
You: Well, he had a tiny, tiny penis, and he was mad about that, because Jewish men have much larger penises than he did. But it’s also because he wanted to use the ignorance and fear of ordinary voters as a way to get lots of power, so he chose a small group of people to use as a scapegoat. Fortunately, that could never happen in America.
Child: Why didn’t anybody stop him from killing 6 million Jews?
You: Well, sweetheart, it took a long time, but many people believe that Hitler was stopped.
Child: At school they told us he shot himself with his girlfriend.
You: Yes, that’s one theory. And it’s a good one. Others believe that he was cloned, and that even now he’s plotting a Fourth Reich from his underground bunker beneath the pampas of Argentina. Still others believe his head was salvaged and kept in a secret lab, where it continued to issue orders, mostly by gesticulating with its eyebrows. This theory formed the basis for the non-fiction film They Saved Hitler’s Brain. Why don’t we watch it right now?
Child: Yay!

Next time: How to avoid destroying your child's mind with holocaust imagery.

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