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Reading: The Perpetrator as Punch-line: Hipster Hitler and the Ambiguity of Controversial Humor

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The Perpetrator as Punch-line: Hipster Hitler and the Ambiguity of Controversial Humor

Authors:

Mihaela Precup ,

University of Bucharest, RO
About Mihaela
Mihaela Precup is Associate Professor in the American Studies Program at the University of Bucharest, where she teaches American visual and popular culture, contemporary American literature, and comics studies. Her work explores the graphic representation of violence (particularly in the context of war and conflict), post-traumatic memory, autobiography, and subversive femininity. She is the author of The Graphic Lives of Fathers: Memory, Representation, and Fatherhood in Autobiographical Comics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020).
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Dragoș Manea

University of Bucharest, RO
About Dragoș
Dragoş Manea is Lecturer at the University of Bucharest, where he teaches American literature, cultural memory studies, and film studies. Relevant publications include “Western Nightmares: Manifest Destiny and the Representation of Genocide in Weird Fiction” (Studies in Comics, 2017) and “Infantilizing the Refugee: On the Mobilization of Empathy in Kate Evans’s Threads from the Refugee Crisis” (with Mihaela Precup, a/b Auto/Biography Studies, 2020). He is a recipient of the Sabin Award for Comics Scholarship (2017).
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Abstract

This article examines Hipster Hitler, a 2011 webcomic by James Carr and Archana Kumar, where the figure of Adolf Hitler is amalgamated with a generic version of a contemporary hipster, with the apparent purpose of turning both Hitler and hipsters into targets of ridicule. We engage with contemporary scholarship on the representation of Holocaust perpetrators—particularly Adolf Hitler—to examine the implications of a perpetrator of such magnitude becoming so familiar that a few strokes of the pen make him not only immediately recognizable, but also a usable go-to villain whose utilization as a means of generating humorous reactions runs the risk of separating him from his deeds. As the comic appears to emphasize the randomness and shallowness of Hipster Hitler’s horrifying deeds, we ask whether this particular comedic angle can produce valuable engagement with the mechanisms that enabled the relentless and precise work of annihilation orchestrated during Hitler’s regime.

How to Cite: Precup, M. and Manea, D., 2022. The Perpetrator as Punch-line: Hipster Hitler and the Ambiguity of Controversial Humor. Journal of Perpetrator Research, 4(2), p.None. DOI: http://doi.org/10.21039/jpr.4.2.116
Published on 10 Sep 2022.
Peer Reviewed

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