Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, known to most as AOC, is personally responsible for a cottage industry of funny memes, video parodies, and ROFL (i.e., rolling on the floor laughing) jokes, all at her expense. Would you expect anything different from a beautiful woman who, with a sense of authority, speaks gibberish about serious issues facing the United States? When laughing at the memes, though, remember that in the last century two others were initially mocked when they first came onto the political scene.
In their rise to power, both Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini seemed more like comic-strip villains than diabolical dictators. From Hitler’s wacky mustache to Mussolini’s smirk and from Hitler’s effeminate speaking mannerisms to Mussolini’s standing with outstretched arms on his large hips, imagine all the funny memes and ROFL emojis had the internet been around in the 1930s.
Reviewing R. J. B. Bosworth’s “Mussolini,” which calls for revisiting how history views the Fascist leader, Alexander Stille, writing for the New York Times, opens with:
Americans have tended to think of Benito Mussolini as a cross between a gangster and a buffoon, a ‘‘Sawdust Caesar’’ who hijacked Italian democracy and led his country to disaster as Hitler’s junior partner. But in recent decades a number of Italian historians have disputed this view.
Likewise, writing about Hitler’s accession, Tom Phillips shares:
In fact, this may even have helped his rise to power, as he was consistently underestimated by the German elite. Before he became Chancellor, many of his opponents had dismissed him as a joke for his crude speeches and tacky rallies. Even after elections had made the Nazis the largest party in the Reichstag, people still kept thinking that Hitler was an easy mark, a blustering idiot who could easily be controlled by smart people.
In Hitlerland, Andrew Nagorski discusses the media’s early impressions of Hitler and the Third Reich.
Yet you had Americans meeting Hitler and saying, “This guy is a clown. He’s like a caricature of himself.” And a lot of them went through this whole litany about how even if Hitler got into a position of power, other German politicians would somehow be able to control him. A lot of German politicians believed this themselves.
In January 1940, the Three Stooges released You Nazty Spy! Moe was the first screen actor to mock Adolph Hitler. Later that year in October, Charlie Chaplin’s classic The Great Dictator was released to great acclaim. In 1941, before Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into World War II, the Three Stooges did a sequel called I’ll Never Heil Again.
All this was a 1930s version of ROFL. In “How Journalists Covered the Rise of Mussolini and Hitler,” Dr. John Broich, writing in the Smithsonian Magazine, explained,
Homeowners Are Trading in Their Doorbell Cams for This.
The Security Camera That Works Without Wires-now 60% off
Are You Prepared for Global Drug Shortages?
This Lightbulb Security Camera is Sweeping Saint Augustine Now!
But the main way that the press defanged Hitler was by portraying him as something of a joke. He was a “nonsensical” screecher of “wild words” whose appearance, according to Newsweek, “suggests Charlie Chaplin.” His “countenance is a caricature.” He was as “voluble” as he was “insecure,” stated Cosmopolitan.
Hitler and Mussolini weren’t taken seriously by many people during their rise to power because the media presented them as caricatures; more to generate laughter than fear. As 1945 ended with 50 million, worldwide deaths, including the systematic murder of six million Jews, the world had stopped laughing.
Many see AOC as a buffoon
Angry at the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, AOC joined 16 others on July 19 and “performed” in a planned protest outside the court. It made great theater because The Center for Popular Democracy Action Fund had asked the progressive representatives to “submit themselves for arrest.” Yet, much to AOC’s annoyance, the Capitol Police chose not to put her in handcuffs, and that meant a missed photo op.
Not a problem! AOC simply put her hands behind her back and faked the handcuffs during the perp walk. The charade would have been successful had she not outed herself by stupidly raising her fist in the air to cheering onlookers.
Following AOC’s fake handcuff walk, hundreds of humorous memes started populating social media. ROFL....
If you only viewed AOC’s social media posts in the days following January 6, 2021, you would never have known she was not in the Capitol building that day. In a 90-minute Instagram Live video, she vented about how she feared for her life.
Once again, memes started populating social media. ROFL....
More recently, commenting about a video that was shown during the Communist-like January 6 Congressional Hearing led by Never Trump RINO Rep. Liz Cheney, a frightened AOC tweeted, “Good Lord. The way it all comes rushing back into the body. It’s like it’s that day all over again.”
Once again, memes started populating social media. ROFL....
While half the U.S. population thinks the former bartender with the pretty face and big eyes is intelligence-challenged, the other half believes her every utterance. Some of AOC’s “astute” comments:
- “Our planet is going to hit disaster if we don’t turn this ship around and so it’s basically like, there’s a scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult. And it does lead, I think, young people to have a legitimate question, you know, ‘Is it okay to still have children?’”
- “We need to invent a technology that’s never been invented yet.”
- “Unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs. Unemployment is low because people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week …”
- “If Republicans are mad they can’t date me, they can just say that instead of projecting their sexual frustrations onto my boyfriend’s feet.”
- “If we work our butts off to make sure that we take back all three chambers of Congress.”
With AOC’s zest for publicity pranks and ignorant comments, she appears to many Americans as a buffoon who is good for a laugh. Just as the media once portrayed Hitler and Mussolini as comical foils.
Some readers might think it’s ludicrous to suggest that horrific events from the last century could ever occur in the United States of America. Auschwitz survivor Primo Levi said, “It happened; therefore, it can happen again. It can happen everywhere.”
AOC will be eligible to run for president in 2024.