Thanks to Charlie Chaplin for inspiring this comment on Wisconsin’s tin-horn dictator.
Thanks, Mike, for your wonderful tribute to Charlie Chaplin and his genius — showing, as Gary Huck just did with Lon Chaney’s Phantom of the Opera, that silent film and the amazing people who created it are relevant to us all today.
Not surprisingly, Hitler reportedly put a price on Chaplin’s head for daring to mock him so powerfully in the 1940 film The Great Dictator. (Chaplin, meanwhile, later said that had he known at the time just how horrible Hitler, the Holocaust, and all else he wrought indeed proved to be, he never would have made such a film.)
As they indeed did during his later lifetime, Chaplin’s strongly progressive, pro-worker views no doubt today would have earned him at least a place on current federal government “watch lists” and plenty of FBI, National Security Agency, and like files.
Chaplin’s unforgettable final speech in his 1940 film, made far more as himself than as the Jewish barber who looked just like Hynkel whom he was playing, follows immediately after the “globe scene” clip at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJOuoyoMhj8.
What Chaplin has to say to the world, to all of us to this day and forever, is in many respects as current and vital in today’s America as it was in the world of 1940. I hope you and Gary meditate on it in future cartoons and commentaries:
You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.
Then, in the name of democracy, let us use that power! Let us all unite! Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give [people] a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie! They do not fulfill their promise; they never will. Dictators free themselves, but they enslave the people! Now, let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all [people’s] happiness.
Soldiers: In the name of democracy, let us all unite!
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