Last week, I published an inappropriate and deeply offensive satirical essay, for which I would now like to repeatedly apologize. The offensive satirical essay in question, Awaiting the Putin-Nazi Apocalypse, which I regret having written and for which I intend to repeatedly apologize throughout this essay, concerned what I perceived, at the time I wrote it, as an overreaction on the part of millions of decent, patriotic liberals to the first eighteen months of Donald Trump’s presidency and Vladimir Putin’s ongoing efforts to destroy democracy and take over the world.
In light of recent revelations, and repeated viewings of heartbreaking close-up color photos of children in cages, I feel it incumbent on myself to confess what I recognize now as my part in spreading the scourge of Putin-Nazism that is metastasizing like a hideous Slavic colon cancer throughout our great nation, and to repeatedly apologize for having been an apologist for such Hitlerian evil, as well as any discomfort my Putin-Nazi Denialism might have caused anyone.
In addition to repeatedly apologizing for any emotional or psychological discomfort or trauma my essay may have caused, I would like to attempt to explain why I wrote it, not to in any way excuse myself, but rather, in the hope that other political satirists might learn from my mistake, and stop and think about the consequences of going after cheap, easy laughs while hundreds of thousands of innocent people are being rounded up by the American gestapo and shipped off to concentration camps to be horribly murdered with poison gas, and experimented on by sadistic doctors, or just slowly starved and worked to death … which is obviously nothing to joke about.
Again, I’m not trying to rationalize the offensive nature of the essay in question (which I wrote on prescription sleep medication), but I was honestly not aware when I wrote it that there was such a thing as the American gestapo, or that there were any actual concentration camps in the United States at the present time. I just assumed that the stories I was seeing in the press about children being torn away from their parents, locked in cages, or disappeared, were referring to the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, both of which were created in 2002, when everyone was still running around waving flags, backing the invasion of the Greater Middle East, the loss of any semblance of personal privacy, and the militarization of their local police, because the ruling classes and the corporate media had told them that Saddam Hussein was Hitler, or that Osama bin Laden, or someone, was Hitler. I had not realized that Putin had ordered Trump to transform the DHS (which during the beneficent Obama administration had been housing so-called “illegal immigrants” in comfort suites at the Holiday Inn, and providing the kids with Snow Cones, and so on) into a goose-stepping, Sieg-heiling Nazi kill-corps that is even now, as I am writing this confession, carrying out the Final Mexican Solution.
Fortunately, General Michael Hayden set me straight with his recent tweet, featuring a picture of Auschwitz itself, and a grim reminder that “other governments have separated mothers and children.” Hayden, a former director of both the NSA and CIA, and who has no qualms about torturing Muslims or illegally surveilling American citizens, surely knows a death camp when he sees one … so I figured I’d better dig a little deeper into this whole Nazified Amerika thing.
When I did, mostly by submersing myself in countless reports in the corporate media, and by spastically flicking through memes on Twitter, I realized what a fool I had been (which, again, I’m terribly, terribly sorry for). I had thought Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy was just another gratuitously sadistic twist on the long-standing practice of tormenting desperate people fleeing societies systematically destabilized by the US government and the corporations that basically own it in order to maintain a criminalized labor force to do the shit jobs Americans don’t want and drive down domestic wages, generally … but it turns out that isn’t it at all. No, this time, it appears it’s not just another Republican beating up on minorities to score political points with Americans too blind or ignorant to understand that “illegal immigrants” are not their enemies, but rather, the victims of the same corporatocracy that has been bleeding them dry for the last five decades while pandering to their tribalist fears and fantasies of racial superiority. No, this time, it’s the actual, literal Nazis with actual, literal concentration camps, except that this time they want to exterminate the Mexicans, or Mexican kids in any event, and Hitler is actually a foreign agent remotely controlled by Vladimir Putin, who is somehow, at the same time, also Hitler, and is trying to take over the entire world by allowing his country to be surrounded by NATO, except for his naval ports in Crimea, which Obama helped the Ukrainian Nazis try to steal away from the Russian Nazis, but that was way back in 2014, before Amerika went full-blown Nazi, when there were no Mexican kids in Walmarts converted into Nazi death camps. Or something more or less like that. I’ve been getting a little confused, myself, since I started trying to stop to overthinking things and instead just react to whatever stimulus the corporate media and the ruling classes wave in front of my face everyday.
Look, the point is, I’m terribly, terribly sorry for writing that offensive satirical essay, which I realize now was horribly insensitive, and hurtful, and possibly against some law, or corporate code of Internet conduct. I sincerely hope you will not read it, and that Google and Facebook caught it and deranked it before it lured any impressionable young minds into the cesspool of Putin-Nazi Denialism. As for me, I’ve decided it will be best for everyone if I withdraw from public life for a while to reflect on how I ended up here and … you know, to spend more time with my family.
Before I do that, I just wanted to mention (again, not to in any way defend the insensitive and narcissistic views I mindlessly expressed in the essay in question) that my failure to recognize what’s been happening back home might have something to do with the fact that I live here in Berlin, in Germany, where the streets are full of Stolpersteine, little brass cobblestones bearing the names of actual people torn out of their homes by the actual Geheime Staatspolizei, put on trains, sent to death camps, or just taken out into the woods and murdered. These Stolpersteine are embedded in the street outside the last houses where these people lived, so it isn’t that hard to imagine the Gestapo — i.e., the actual Nazi Gestapo — dragging, well, let’s say, Frau Elsbeth Piltz, out of what, until the 26th of February, 1943, was her home (and is now one of my local grocery stores), and sending her off to be gassed at Auschwitz. I pass her Stolperstein more or less daily, as well as those of other people … actual living human beings who walked the same streets I walk today, people who were murdered by actual Nazis … not the hysterical fantasies of Nazis that self-absorbed liberals entertain in order to short circuit their critical thinking and shout down any criticism of their self-righteous mission to defend democracy from imaginary Russians and Donald Trump. But whatever. Who gives a shit about history, or the memory of Elsbeth Piltz, or any other actual human beings, when you’ve got an official narrative to sell?
Damn it … there I go again with my Putin-Nazi Denialism. Forgive me. I’m still working on it. Just give me a little time alone with the corporate media, and Twitter, and I will eventually get my mind right, I swear.
C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23, is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. He can reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org.