Bleats

Bruno Ganz, The Star Of The Best Ever Hitler Meme, Has Died

The man whose brilliant performance made Hitler hitlarious.

Around 2008, the very best meme on the entire internet was the Downfall parody.

It’s based on a clip of the German film Downfall, from a scene where Adolf Hitler, losing WWII from his underground bunker in Berlin, is told he cannot win the war – and absolutely loses it at his underlings.

Turned out that you could put a rant just about anything in the subtitles, and it would be funny.

Of course, the reason the meme works so well is because of the absolutely compelling original performance, by Swiss actor Bruno Ganz.

Ganz died at home in Zurich on Friday night, aged 77.

He was also in the Kate Winslet film The Reader and Wim Wenders’ cult classic The Wings Of Desire, among dozens of other credits. And he nearly played Richard Gere’s role in Pretty Woman, which suggests an alternative universe where Richard Gere played an unravelling Hitler to critical acclaim.

He was also considered the greatest living actor in the German-speaking theatre.

But unlike most acclaimed and beloved Swiss theatre actors, he also brought joy to millions and gained a new level of notoriety for his most famous performance through an extremely silly appropriation of it that gave us a new way to complain about stuff.

Ganz never made any public comments about the meme, but the film’s director, Oliver Hirschbiegel, said in multiple interviews that he loved them.

“I think I’ve seen about 145 of them!” he told NY Mag in 2010. “Of course, I have to put the sound down when I watch. Many times the lines are so funny, I laugh out loud, and I’m laughing about the scene that I staged myself! You couldn’t get a better compliment as a director.”

“The point of the film was to kick these terrible people off the throne that made them demons, making them real and their actions into reality.

“I think it’s only fair if now it’s taken as part of our history, and used for whatever purposes people like.”

And in 2015, he told The Big Issue:

“Humour comes from intelligence and where there is intelligence there is curiosity and if you are curious and asking questions there will not be war.

“Laughing is the best cure to ensure the evil is kept at bay.”

Ganz’ performance in that scene goes beyond genuine terror or memeworthy rants – it gave us a little of the best and worst in ourselves.

The Philosophical Reason Why The Internet Is Obsessed With A Meme About Buttered Pasta

It's the new "they did surgery on a grape".

Do you find yourself craving pasta right now? Maybe with a bit of butter?

It might be because a New York Times recipe for pasta with butter has become a meme that won’t go away.

Technically, the recipe is called Parsleyed Noodles. (Nobody knows why the Americans always call pasta “noodles”.)

And technically, it’s not even a recipe. If you need instructions from the New York Times to tell you how to put butter on pasta, then maybe the intro makes perfect sense.

The intro in question:

“These generously buttered noodles, sprinkled with just a quarter cup of parsley for color and freshness, are the perfect blank canvas for practically any stew or braise.”

Look, I wouldn’t call a ratio of ¼ cup butter to less than half a kilo of pasta to be “generous”, but sure, my guy.

Ariel Dumas, a writer for The Late Show WIth Stephen Colbert, noticed a few weeks back that there was a mini-meme brewing in the comments.

(Normally recipe comments are full of people going “My large son Braylen cannot eat dairy or gluten, so I replaced the noodles with zoodles and the butter with homemade cashew mylk, and it was only OK. Two stars.” So this is a weird but nice change.)

See how just two repetitions turns the intro, bland and inoffensive as buttered noodles themselves, into a meme?

Once Dumas’ tweet went viral, everyone from other comedians to the actual official HBO account got into it.

 

How did this barely-even-a-recipe become so powerful?

Because buttered noodles

There are still so many questions.

Is “parsleyed” even a verb? Hush, my sweet summer child – it is now.

Is the canvas truly blank, once it is parsleyed? Even once it is buttered? Surely the most perfect blank canvas is the pasta itself, ready to received butter for richness, parsley for colour and, of course, freshness? Why is it still funny when you put it in the Star Wars galaxy scroll?

Or the Captain America “So…” meme?

Sometimes all you need for a meme to be born is the exact right string of words.

Whether it’s “they did surgery on a grape”, plums in the icebox, or “Zendaya is Meechee”, some phrases just beg to be repeated over and over again, typed out in SpongeCase, whacked on a stock image in Impact font… and keep getting funnier.

By the time you’ve read it seventeen times in different contexts, it feels as familiar as an old friend or a Shakespeare quote, as bizarre as when you type your own name so many times it becomes a random jumble of letters, as rich with history and meaning as a Mean Girls quote.

I wish I could generously butter some noodles and sprinkle them with just a quarter cup of parsley for colour and freshness and everyone would eat practically any stew or braise with it and be happy.

Perhaps it’s a simple as this: this is a dish so basic you probably went through a phase when you were four where it was all you would eat.

But the New York Times’ Craig Claiborne managed to find a way to describe it that made it sound full of possibility.

It’s more than just the perfect blank canvas for practically any stew or braise – it’s a symbol of our potential as human beings, and how a little colour and freshness can make our very lives the perfect blank canvas for practically anything.

The Fiji Water Girl Lawsuit Just Got Even Messier

Splish splash.

If you’d told us that the first great Hollywood story of 2019 would be about a bottled water spokesmodel doing The Office reaction faces in the background of award show red carpet photos, becoming a meme, and then suing the bottled water company that gave her her nickname for capitalising on it, we would have said, “OK, yup, that sounds about right.”

The latest in this refreshingly petty saga is as follows: Fiji Water Girl, known professionally as Kelleth Cuthbert and legally as Kelly Steinbach, is now being countersued by Fiji Water.

According to Page Six, they say her initial suit’s claims of being pressured into signing fake documents and of her likeness being used without her permission are false, and that she’s actually in breach of contract herself.

And while these kinds of legal documents are usually pretty dry, the countersuit is actually as juicy and shady as a tropical rainforest.

Fiji Water’s legal team claims in the filing that Cuthbert/Steinbach has “bitten the hand that feeds her”, AKA “the very company that is entirely responsible for providing her the opportunity and the means to capitalize on her fleeting 15 minutes of internet fame”.

Look, becoming internet famous overnight must be super weird. And Fiji Water seemed a bit slow on the uptake on Globes night, with the meme going off on Twitter for a good couple of hours before their social media team actually twigged and joined in.

Either way, this moist and messy meme war is clearly never going to stop being entertaining. Who needs water when there’s so much tea?

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