Saturday, January 01, 2011

Luke, I Am Your Fuhrer

I have a modest proposal for some enterprising broadcaster — for which I will be willing to accept any residual payment.

All it will require is someone with the resources to make it happen so, if you've got the money, honey ...

Recently, while I was channel surfing, I discovered that my cable provider has added The Military Channel to my lineup.

I say I "discovered" that because my cable provider has an infuriating habit of dropping/adding channels without notifying me. Unless it is a channel I watch regularly, I won't miss it right away if it is dropped.

Consequently, when I become aware that I have access to a channel to which I didn't realize I had access — or when I discover that I no longer have access to a certain channel — I wonder how long that has been so.

Not that it would change anything. It wouldn't alter the reality. My channel lineup would still be what it is.

But it makes me wish there was a little more honesty in the world.

Just a little, though. A lot probably would be too much.

Take The Military Channel, for example. It's supposed to be about all kinds of things — weapons, vehicles, wars. Perhaps it is. But every time I've landed there during my surfing, it's been showing something about World War II in general or the Nazis in particular.

I used to run into this with the History Channel. It has grown and evolved and is showing more original programming now (like Ice Road Truckers and the Thanksgiving night competition Chunkin' Punkins, in which contestants apparently flung pumpkins as far as possible using a catapult), but there was a time when I couldn't switch on the History Channel without seeing something on World War II or the Nazis.

Coincidentally, I guess, I stumbled onto the attached clip on YouTube, and I started musing.

TV producers have been tap dancing around this for years, and I think it's time for someone to simply be honest with us. They have figured out that TV viewers have some kind of infatuation with Hitler and the Nazis — they must have reached that conclusion because there are so many programs on TV that explore the Nazis and Hitler and World War II. From every conceivable angle — and some that are so far out in left field they're out of the ball park.

Anyway, the point is that they're giving us what they think we want. With so much money on the line in broadcasting these days — far more than ever before — the proliferation of these programs makes it unlikely, in my view, that this is a gamble.

It's a premeditated strategy.

And that brings me to my proposal. I have concluded that, at some point, someone will launch an All Nazi Channel or an All Hitler Channel. There will be some negative publicity initially, sure, but that doesn't mean it won't be a hit. Nearly 20 years ago, NYPD Blue survived negative publicity and enjoyed a 12–year run.

And a whole network is bound to have the potential to make more money than a single series.

I have a few ideas for this network so if someone wants to have something ready to go ...

First, it needs a logo. A black swastika in a white circle against a red background always got the message across in the past, and I think it will serve the purpose in the 21st century.

Then, you need a theme song. I think it's already written. Take a look at the attached video. Isn't Darth Vader's theme perfect for this?

The swastika might be in the public domain, but you'll need to acquire the rights to the Star Wars music. That might be a little tricky unless you can show some consumer research that demonstrates the size of the network's likely audience and the relevant demographic breakdowns (disposable income, age, etc.) so you might want to get started on that right now.

If we clear all the legal hurdles and acquire the rights to use Vader's theme, it only makes sense to pursue James Earl Jones (or someone who sounds a lot like him) to do a voiceover like the one that Jones does for CNN.

He could say, "Luke, I am your fuhrer."

Well, it's a starting point, anyway.