In a hotel room in Washington D.C., toward the end of January, a clear and well-spoken voice oozes poison through a radio speaker. Richard Spencer, director of the National Policy Institute, is talking about the new society that he wants for America. His voice is that of a rising movement called the alt-right, a movement whose name he’s coined and which he is thrilled to be the face of. He has called for a peaceful ethnic cleansing to halt the deconstruction of European culture in the United States, in hopes that our people can come home again, can live amongst family and feel safe and secure. While he sounds neither irrational nor unintelligent, his words are nonetheless an ignorant collage of racism and hatred.
While both Richard Spencer and the new president have disavowed any connections with each other, Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, is closely associated with the alt-right movement. In an attempt to exploit every opportunity, the multibillionaire reality-star has ridden the previously quiet wave of prejudice to the very top of the political world. He is not likely to be part of their racist movement, but he’s certainly taken a few cues from their playbook.
Spencer himself has used the word lugenpresse to describe the American media. It’s a German word, meaning “lying press”, and it was used by the Nazi party to discredit anyone who might have attempted to defend the Jews in the early 1930s. He has also said that one wonders if these people are people at all, or instead soulless golem. Hispanics and African-Americans are not immune from his superiority, claiming that they have lower than average intelligence compared to whites and are more genetically predisposed to commit crimes. In case he hasn’t offended everyone yet, he adds that in some part of every woman’s soul, they want to be taken by a strong man.
A bearded and bespectacled man, white, hears Spencer’s words on the radio in his hotel room and says, “Stupid son-of-a-bitch.”
He switches off the radio and reaches for the TV remote.
Humphrey Bogart is just a gangster who wants his favorite cheesecake from Miller’s Bakery, but those damn Nazis have killed Miller. He addresses his allies and enemies both, none of whom think this war has anything to do with them. “These babies are strictly no-good from way down deep,” he says, “They’re no bunch of petty racketeers trying to muscle in on some small territory. They want to move in wholesale, take over the whole country.”
. . . Harrison Ford is on horseback, racing up beside a large speeding truck. He leaps from the horse onto the side of the truck and then yanks the passenger door open as the vehicle races down a dusty road. He easily sends a Nazi tumbling to the rocky earth below. The Nazi driver ends up in a headlock, getting a fist rammed into his face, while the truck careens wildly. The crated and holy artifact in the back of the truck shifts, slamming into another Nazi and hurling him into the car that’s close behind. Trying to get control of the wheel, Ford can’t stop the truck from smashing through a long stretch of scaffolding along the side of an ancient building. He and the Nazi look at each other and smile. Seconds later, the Nazi is flying from the truck to the rocks below, his skull meeting with the ground before he plummets, screaming, into a deep ravine.
The man in the hotel room smiles too, then changes the channel.
Brad Pitt, dressed in military gear, walks out to look at a small group of assembled men. He says, “My name Is Lieutenant Aldo Raine. I’m putting together a special team and I need me eight soldiers, eight Jewish-American soldiers. We’re gonna be dropped into France, dressed as civilians. Once we’re in enemy territory, as a bush-whackin’ guerrilla army, we’re gonna be doing one thing, and one thing only – killin’ Nat-zees.”
The man’s smile gets even bigger. He clicks the remote again.
Captain America, with really big wings coming off the sides of his mask, is trying to sneak into a secret compound. A bright light is suddenly shone upon him. He hurls his patriotically-colored shield and watches as it severs the thick wooden legs of a lookout post. Lots of shooting ensues. Somewhere inside the building, a very lumpy-looking Red Skull says, “My American brother has arrived.”
Our hero enters and, seeing his opponent against the imposing Nazi imagery, exclaims, “Holy mackerel.” He slings the shield at Red Skull, who catches it easily and knocks it down into the concrete. The Skull does a superhero landing and the fisticuffs begin. He quips that the Americans have made a poor choice for their champion, but Cap sneers at him and lands a really good one in the middle of his face.
And the remote is still clicking.
Raymond Massey says, “I didn’t enlist to become a nursemaid. I enlisted to knock the hell out of the Nazis.”
Fred Williamson says, “You really wanna do this, huh?“
The next scene has him choking the life out of a Nazi, followed by him shooting the shit out of a bunch of them. Bo Svenson is throwing grenades and Nazis are flying into the air. Someone kicks another Nazi right in the swastika. Another one is thrown from a bridge. Another, his head twisted around against red lighting. Someone else is shooting a Nazi on the top of a train, leaping from it just before it explodes, setting off a chain reaction of other explosions. There’s fire and dead Nazis everywhere.
The final kill-count is Bo Svenson, 77, Fred Williamson, 38, and Peter Hooten, 19.
There’s chuckling now in the hotel room. Click.
Peter Sellers is a retired, wheelchaired scientist addressing the president and his military. Though he tries to hold it down, his right arm still wants to rise up in a Nazi salute. Finally, he rises to announce that he has a plan, but he can no longer control his true nature. His arm flies up for the salute. “Mein Fuhrer,” he shouts.
. . . Laurence Olivier is slipping through the streets of a predominantly Jewish part of town. An icy torturer for the SS who’s managed to elude capture for years, he has almost successfully made his escape. Then an old woman recognizes him. “I know who you are,” she says, and others begin to look in their direction. He begins to run, but she’s pointing now and yelling after him, “Stop him!”
. . . Timothy Dalton is a Nazi about to make his escape. Strapped into a rocket pack, he looks at Billy Campbell and Jennifer Connelly and says that he wishes he could take her with him. She responds that everything about him is a lie. “It wasn’t lies, Jen,” he says, “It was acting.” He laughs maniacally and ignites the rocket pack. Dalton is still laughing as he gets further and further from the falling airplane, but then the rocket pack suddenly erupts into flames. He’s not laughing anymore. In fact, he’s screaming now as he plummets to the earth below, smashing into the last four letters of the huge HOLLYWOODLAND sign.
. . . Gabriel Byrne is scrambling across the ground in some fog-enshrouded location. He is trying to get away from a massive demonic thing with glowing red eyes. Holding a cross toward the beast, the swastika is clearly seen on the arm of Byrne’s jacket. He demands to know what the creature is and where it came from. It reaches out for the cross and smoke rises from it. In a deep monster voice, the thing says, “Where am I from? I am . . . from you.” It drops the cross and lifts Byrne by his neck. He screams as light pours out of his face.
. . . Brad Pitt stands at the top of a large tank while various German people are marched from their hiding place in a dilapidated old building. Most of them are children. Then, seeing an officer with a Nazi armband, Pitt says, “Hey, shoot that guy, the SS cocksucker with the busted wing.” So someone shoots the cocksucker. In a hail of machine-gun bullets and splattering blood, he drops down dead in front of the other Germans.
The man in the hotel room is still chuckling. There’s no doubt about his feelings for the Nazis. On his computer, he finds a short clip of LEGO soldiers shooting LEGO Nazi zombies, whose heads burst in tiny red explosions. Then there’s a moment from a video game, where an old man with a shotgun blasts the head off a Nazi. The Nazi’s skull explodes like a rotten pumpkin full of blood, and the old man seems to reach out into the hotel room. “Take my hand,” he says.
On YouTube, the man finds someone going karate-crazy on Nazi after Nazi while synthesized 1980s action-movie music plays in the background. He kicks one of the Nazis heads off and sends it flying like a soccer ball. He snaps another’s legs. He uses another’s body as a skateboard, skating into a battle where he slices numerous Nazis down with a sword before flinging it into yet another Nazi’s face.
In New York, the Dropkick Murphy’s are launching into an AC/DC song when a skinhead in the audience starts seig-heiling to the beat. Singer/bassist Ken Casey wades into the audience and punches the neo-Nazi in the face. Then he unstraps the guitar and begins to beat the guy with it. Chaos ensues, the crowd piling on top of them. Casey emerges a moment later, shirt torn, and climbs back up on the stage. He grabs the microphone and says, “Nazis are not fucking welcome at a Dropkick Murphy’s show.”
The man returns to the television.
Donald Duck is doing the Nazi salute in his sleep. He wakes up, says Heil to a Hitler poster in his Donald Duck voice, then gets dressed in a Nazi uniform. A marching band sings about being the master race while Donald salutes and salutes and salutes. He spends his day screwing the ends onto cartoon bombs, saluting all the while. Then, at the end of the day, he’s back home in front of the Hitler poster and he seems to be tired of saluting. He says something else, and it sounds like he’s calling Hitler a son-of-a-bitch.
. . . A cartoon old man bursts into a house, dressed in old military gear. With a lisp, he says, “I’m here for the boy.” An equally old Nazi is sitting on the couch. The Nazi rises, slowly, and the two old men begin to fight. Slowly. They move with canes and walkers, with sluggish punches that barely seem to connect. The fight is dragged out forever. At one point, the old man even says, “Wake up, we’re fighting.” They stop to take medication. A nurse is called to help the old Nazi get back up from the couch. Then he falls from the front porch, a height of two steps, also in slow motion. Looking at the enemy’s broken body at the foot of the steps, the old man salutes and intones, with a lisp: “Say goodnight, you Nazi bastard.”
. . . Michael Fassbender is at a table with two old Nazis. All three men are downing mugs of beer, eying each other warily. Fassbender turns his arm over, revealing his markings from the concentration camp. Before either of the old men can do anything, he’s slammed a knife into the nearest man’s hand, pinning him to the table. The bartender has appeared behind him with a gun. With his mind, Fassbender draws the pistol toward the second Nazi from the table, makes the bartender shoot him. Without ever touching it, Fassbender pulls the knife from the first Nazi’s hand and hurls it into the bartender. The gun flies into his hand and he turns back to the first Nazi, who is once again pinned by the knife. He shoots.
. . . Anton Yelchin says, “It’s funny, you were so scary at night.” Neo-Nazi Patrick Stewart turns and tries to simply walk away, but the shoot-out has already begun. He gets hit by a bullet, then another, and he goes down to his knees. A final shot nails him in the skull and he falls dead into the grass.
. . . Daniel Craig watches a house from out in the rain. Inside, a German family eats dinner. Craig walks in and says, “You know who I am.” The old man does indeed know who he is, for long ago he dispatched Craig’s family in a concentration camp. He starts pleading for his life. “For my parents,” Craig says, then turns the gun to shoot the man’s children, so he can see them die before he also blows him away.
. . . In real footage, Amon Goeth stands on a porch, shirtless, shooting at emaciated Jews. The scene cuts to him being led up several steps to a scaffolding. Though a soldier snatches the hat from his head, Goeth remains calm and dignified. Even after two attempts to hang him have failed, his reserve does not falter. His final words are “Heil Hitler.” Seconds later his lifeless form is swinging gently back and forth.
“That’s what you get for being a goddamn Nazi,” the man in the hotel room says.
Dan Aykroyd, in dark shades, says, “Illinois Nazis.” John Belushi, also in shades, adjusts his coat and makes sure his seat belt is fastened. Aykroyd: “I hate Illinois Nazis.” Then the car is racing, racing up the bridge at the flock of modern Nazis, without any hesitation. In order to avoid being mowed down, they jump en masse from the bridge to the river below.
. . . Brad Pitt is trying to get a Nazi officer to reveal where other German patrols are hiding. When the man continues to refuse him the information, Pitt asks if he’s heard of the Bear Jew. Everyone has heard of the Bear Jew. But the officer is both brave and foolish, nearly spitting in his captor’s face: “Fuck you and your Jew dogs!” But Pitt and his men are all too happy to hear this.
From inside the darkness of a drainage tunnel comes a clanging sound, the sound of someone smashing a bat against the walls. Then Eli Roth emerges from the open maw of the tunnel. He is an imposing and angry sight, poking at the Iron Cross on the Nazi’s uniform. “You get this for killing Jews?“
“Bravery,” the man says.
And the Bear Jew starts swinging the bat.
. . . Nazi zombies rise up from the snow. Two men, armed with only a chainsaw and a hammer, look at each other and prepare for battle. The Nazis are running toward them at full fast-zombie speed. The ripcord is pulled and the chainsaw comes to life.
The hammer is smashing. The chainsaw is swinging. Blood flies in the air, splattering across the white snow. One of the men lets loose a war cry. A hammer smashes into a Nazi-zombie face. The chainsaw is inserted, almost lovingly, into a Nazi-zombie stomach. Guts pile up in the snow. The hammer keeps on bashing and smashing against the crimson stump of a skull.
A snowmobile has appeared, the driver machine-gunning down a group of undead SS. The machine does a perfect leap into one of them, then the engine revs over the face of another. The air is filled with a geyser of dispatched Nazis.
The man in the hotel room is laughing hilariously.
Werner Klemperer yells, “Schultz, close the gates! The war is back on!”
. . . Phil Silvers says, “Heil Hitler.” The Nazi in front of him raises his arm in salute, returning the greeting. When he does, Silvers swats him in the head with an umbrella, knocking him out.
. . . The survivors of a ship sunk by the Germans see one more pair of hands reach up from the side of their lifeboat. They work together to pull him into the boat. He looks around at his diverse group of rescuers, then says, “Danke schön.”
. . . The Nazi wakes up and scowls at Phil Silvers, who says, “Heil Hitler.” The Nazi raises his arm in salute again, and once again Phil Silvers smacks him in the head with the umbrella.
. . . On the lifeboat, the Nazi has some of the survivors singing along to his German songs. He watches as, driven by thirst and desperation, they begin to fight amongst each other. A furtive smile creeps across his face.
. . . Yet again, Phil Silvers says, “Heil Hitler.” Though it makes no sense to persist, the Nazi is well-trained and raises his arm to salute. He gets smashed in the face with an umbrella one more time.
Richard Burton: “They say he knew Hitler quite well.” Clint Eastwood: “Yeah, I thought he looked a little nuts.”
. . . Lee Marvin: “Well, I can’t think of a better way to fight a war.”
A montage follows that shows Nazis being shot by Charles Bronson, Donald Sutherland, Stuart Cooper, and John Cassavetes. Ben Caruthers throws a grenade at a radio tower and it goes up in a glorious display of fire and flying debris.
. . . “Shut your eyes, Marion!” Harrison Ford is shouting. “Whatever you do, don’t look at it!” Then, as the lid is lifted from the ancient and holy relic, rays of light begin to leap and swirl like a divine wind. One of the Nazis is lifted from the ground.
. . . A woman who has been held hostage by the Nazis urges Philip Dorn to let others take care of their fleeing captors. “Others?” he says, “Millions of men have already been killed in Europe, because for years people have been saying, ‘Others will stop the Nazis. Let other people fight them.’ That’s why today these murderers are everywhere, even here in the desert. Who else is going to stop them if we don’t?”
. . . When they realize that the Nazi captain has been hoarding water while they slowly die of thirst, the remaining survivors descend on him in a flurry of rage. He disappears beneath a mass of swinging arms, sticks, and furious sound. When they are done with him, they dump his body in the Atlantic Ocean.
The man in the hotel room pulls a black mask down over his face.
An unlawful dance club has just been busted by the SS, with teenagers being carted off into waiting wagons. They are destined to be placed in camps or forced to fight in the German army. Kenneth Branagh, in full Nazi regalia, says, “Wait, bring that one here.” The officers turn with the young man they have in custody, his face bloodied, clothes torn. It’s Robert Sean Leonard. Christian Bale, also wearing a swastika, watches from a distance. He doesn’t seem relieved to see his former friend being dragged before the captain. Branagh looks at Leonard with much disappointment. “Such a waste,” he says, “So much passion, for nothing.”
Robert Sean Leonard starts to sing: “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing . . .”
The man in the black mask leaves the hotel room, leaving the television on.
Christian Bale is yelling for his friend now. As he climbs up into the wagon, Robert Sean Leonard turns and watches as Bale raises his arm in a salute. But it’s not really a Nazi salute, not anymore. Bale cries, “Swing heil!”
There were already protestors in the streets of Washington, mostly non-violent shows of resistance to the new president’s inauguration. Three women have chained themselves together at the neck on 10th Street. Someone is dressed up as Donald Trump, wearing a mask with a huge Pinnochio-style nose and tiny hands. Students from local colleges have joined Black Lives Matter in temporarily blocking several streets until police show up and disperse the crowd.
The man from the hotel room joins his group about two miles north of the inaugural parade. All of them are dressed in black, wearing masks and bandanas. Some of them already know each other, but many remain anonymous even amidst their shared protest. He falls into bloc formation with everyone else, staying together, moving together, filling the streets with their widening march.
Someone says that Richard Spencer is here, not far from where they are now.
Robert Sean Leonard returns the cry of “Swing heil!”
A young child appears and cries out for him. It is his brother. Kenneth Branagh turns to look at the child. Leonard sees the child and smiles, even as the wagon is being pulled away. His brother is running now, trying to catch up, but he cannot. “It’s okay, Willie!” Robert Sean Leonard cries, “It’s okay. Swing heil!!”
Richard Spencer is indeed there. He’s in the middle of an interview with the Australian Broadcast Corporation just beyond the inauguration, somewhere near Franklin Square. The man is thinking about the recent alt-right rally, where several people in the crowd raised their arms in a Nazi salute. “Hail Trump!” the crowd chanted, “Hail our people! Hail victory!” In a later interview, Spencer would claim that when the Nazi salute is done, it’s done in the spirit of exuberance and fun.
Much in the same exuberant spirit that the Nazis slaughtered millions of Jews, one would guess.
The man was feeling that same kind of spirit now.
“Swing heil!” Robert Sean Leonard is calling, again and again, as the cart gets further and further away. His brother is crying in the streets now.
“I’ve given conferences for ages,” Richard Spencer says, “And we’ll usually expect some protestors. They’ll do silly string or something like that. We’ve entered this new world where the leftist protestor – “
He’s interrupted by the voice of a woman on the street. “No,” he says, “I’m not a neo-Nazi.”
The child, in tears, picks up the umbrella that Robert Sean Leonard dropped. He shakes it furiously, sobbing, “Swing heil! Swing heil!!”
The interviewer has asked Richard Spencer about the pin on his lapel, a frog that has come to represent a budding movement which borders on Nazism. Spencer has begun to talk about the frog –
The man dashes in and smashes Richard Spencer in the back of the skull.
Harrison Ford and Karen Allen have squeezed their eyes shut tight. Flames leap from the ancient relic into the main Nazi, then leap from him into all of the others. They are screaming and evaporating. They are dropping down dead.
Nazi faces are melting.
It will be on the news later, then all over the internet after that. Footage of Richard Spencer will be given soundtracks with everyone from Bruce Springsteen to the cast of HAMILTON. It will be inserted into scenes from numerous movies, or have movie characters inserted into it. Captain America will continuously punch Richard Spencer in the face. The version that will be most enjoyed by the man who actually did punch Richard Spencer in the face is the one left unadorned. But he will enjoy slowing it down.
And repeating it again and again.
William Demarest growls, “Why don’t you stay in your own back yard?” and swings an axe. It smashes into a painting on the wall, lodging dead-center in the middle of Adolf Hitler’s face.
Somewhere, right now, someone is watching Richard Spencer get punched in the face. It reminds them of when they were young, when right and wrong felt so much more defined. It reminds them of their heroes. It reminds them of the movies.
And it makes them smile.
Christopher Plummer pulls the Nazi flag down from outside of a large house. He looks at it for just a moment, and then rips it up.
(ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT * RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK * INGLORIOUS BASTERDS * CAPTAIN AMERICA (1990) * 49TH PARALLEL * INGLORIOUS BASTARDS * DOCTOR STRANGELOVE * MARATHON MAN * THE ROCKETEER * THE KEEP * FURY * LEGO battle * WOLFENSTEIN * KUNG FURY * Dropkick Murphy’s show, March 2013, New York * DER FUHRER’S FACE * FAMILY GUY Season 9, Episode 13: “German Guy” * X-MEN: First Class * GREEN ROOM * DEFIANCE * real footage of Amon Goeth * THE BLUES BROTHERS * INGLORIOUS BASTERDS * DEAD SNOW * HOGAN’S HEROES * ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT * LIFEBOAT * WHERE EAGLES DARE * THE DIRTY DOZEN * RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK * ESCAPE IN THE DESERT * LIFEBOAT * SWING KIDS * footage of Richard Spencer getting punched, January 20, 2017 * RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK * THE SOUND OF MUSIC)