Back when the pinnacle of entertainment was to go to the movies to be told how to think and act, the Third Reich created the first Odd Couple drama series. Except instead of hijinks and humor, there were just good Nazis and bad Nazis.
We are of the opinion that the only good Nazi is a dead Nazi, or in some situations, an undead Nazi.
The series was called Leise und Miese, "Liza and Lousy," proving that what Germans lack in situational comedy, they more than make up for in snappy writing.
So Leise und Meise were all about teaching audiences how to be good and patriotic citizens. As you may have guessed, "Lousy" was supposed to embody the terrible things that were discouraged by the government, such as listening to enemy radio stations and stockpiling food.
The last act actually seems quite sensible for a wartime situation, but then the only experience we've had with saving goods up in wartime is stealing ammo from other players in Call of Duty.
So What Went Wrong?
Their casting director picked the wrong bad girl. They hired Brigitte Mira, an actress who was just starting out but who managed to turn her "bad" character into a sympathetic woman. Whether this was through incredible acting skills or by just being smoking hot is unconfirmed, but since her career managed to span eight decades, we're guessing mainly the former. Seeing audiences warm to Brigitte got up the producer's nose and the series was soon canceled.
Americans would take the opposite view and give the worst characters their own show.
What makes this all the more remarkable was not that she lived to the grand old age of 95, it was the fact that she survived Germany at all. See, Brigitte Mira's Father was Jewish, making her one of the ballsiest half-Jewish, pro-Nazi actresses in history.
Let's be clear: it isn't just Nazis and North Koreans who produce dumbass propaganda. The US government is perfectly capable of creating some spectacularly foolish monkeyshine as well.
Suffocate men wearing derbys. Be American!
The dawn of a new presidential administration is the perfect time to stir up feelings of patriotism and hope in the hearts of the people. And what better metaphorical mixer is there for stirring hearts than Air Force One? And what better metaphorical bowl is there than iconic US landmarks? In other less metaphorical words, wouldn't it be kickass to take some pictures of Air Force One buzzing the most American shit America has to offer? Preferably while Lee Greenwood sang in the background and a lone eagle led the charge? Yes.
And this is exactly what the brand new Obama administration attempted to accomplish in the spring of 2009 with a series of staged photographs of Air Force One.
So What Went Wrong?
Imagine you're the person planning this flyover. For the pictures to turn out best, it's got to be a low flight path. For terrifying thousands of people, it's got to happen in freaking New York City.
"An airliner buzzing NY skyscrapers? This won't upset a single person!"
They not only plum forgot to tell the President or the Mayor of New York City, but the White House press secretary claimed to be unaware it was going on. After all, it's pretty hard to track the whereabouts of several tons of aircraft. One of the best things about the whole debacle were the internal emails sent by Pentagon staff, who, amongst flailing recriminations and sheer panic, start to resemble the cast of The Office.
"YES WE CAN!"
And then they realized a little thing called the Internet had caught wind of the story:
But thankfully, swine flu is predicted to save the day.
The whole thing ended with apologies, promises to never do it again and Obama having to flay people alive in the White House dungeons.
And he does so hate having to do it.
Meet Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, the Iraq information minister, better known as Baghdad Bob, or the guy who was meant to make Saddam Hussein look good. Not a good job at the best of times, never mind at the height of the second Gulf War. His tenure as the mouthpiece of Iraq lasted two whole years though, or enough time to build a house made of failure.
The house was made of failure, and probably some sand.
Also dubbed "Comical Ali," al-Sahaf conducted press conferences during the US invasion of Iraq. And it became very evident that al-Sahaf's public relations strategy was simple: Deny everything. WMD's, the success of the invading forces, the fact that Baghdad was under siege right outside the press conference, everything.
"What oil wells? Those are fire mines."
While his wish was actually to be an English teacher, al-Sahaf put his linguistic skills to the delicate art of propaganda, and the Western press lapped it up, laughing all the way.
So What Went Wrong?
This guy would have written the Book of Wrong, if he weren't guaranteed to accidentally stab himself in the eye with the pencil. His brain was connected to his mouth by way of crazy straws, and he had the habit of cheering up the enemy by just opening it.
Some of his greatest quotes can be found in this compilation on Youtube, but we have our own favorites:
"We are not afraid of the Americans. Allah has condemned them. They are stupid. They are stupid... and they are condemned."
"Our initial assessment is that they will all die."
"They are suffering from shock. And awe. Ok."
"They are a superpower of villains. Really. They are a superpower of Al Capone."
"We have them surrounded in their tanks"
We're pretty sure Steven Seagal has said at least three of those in his movies.
Don't forget, he was the Iraq Information Minister. While that sounds like a job in the Ministry of Truth, this guy was the voice of a whole country. Wars were won and lost on this kind of thing. George Bush was once asked whether the guy was a plant, as his insane ramblings only succeeded in making the US look good. He got the hell out of Baghdad the day before the city fell, though continued to make appearances on TV in the Middle East, presumably claiming he still had the upper hand.
He was like the real-life equivalent of Mumm-Ra.
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For more from the world of propaganda, check out 6 Mind-Blowing Achievements in Propaganda and The 17 Most Unintentionally Hilarious Propaganda Posters.
And stop by our brand new Linkstorm (Updated 07.16.10) to see what God looks at on the Internet.