Saw this video spoof earlier in the week and meant to share it. Since I hadn’t posted anything all day, I might as well post it now.
Think of the creative energy it takes to produce something like that on YouTube, and the site is just full of stuff like that.
This was brought to my attention by my high school classmate Burl Burlingame, who blogs out of Honolulu. He works for the Star-Bulletin. Aside from the fact that he still has his job, he and I have been on parallel tracks lately. He also just fell into the twin traps of Facebook and Twitter, so we have commiserated this week.
Burl and I graduated from Radford High School in 1971. You may recall I wrote something about those days in my column last fall, “Barack Like Me.” Burl got into journalism earlier than I did; he published an underground newspaper at Radford. The one thing I remember clearly about that was that he used to refer to our principal, who was virtually never seen by the students (I never saw him that whole senior year, although I knew people who said they’d met him), as “the Ghost Who Walks.” The principal’s name was Yamamoto. Not the admiral who planned the Pearl Harbor attack; another Yamamoto. (Actually, come to think of it, he could have been the admiral for all we knew, since we never saw him.)
It’s particularly meaningful to me that Burl posted something making fun of Nazis. You may have noted that the lede story in The State today was about a high school prank. A particularly nasty, destructive high school prank, but still a senior prank. Our senior prank at Radford back in 71 was less destructive, but more creative.
About a dozen of us staged a revolution to take over the school. Or rather, in guerrilla fashion, we took over a classroom at a time and quickly moved on. We wielded water guns, and wore rather elaborate paramilitary costumes. Most of us had recently seen Woody Allen’s “Bananas,” and were largely inspired by that, only we were far more international. Our leader was Steve Clark, who was dressed in full military regalia as “El Presidente.” He spoke only Spanish in keeping with his character, which no one but I understood, so I translated all of his commands, being second in command. My character’s back story was that I had been a top officer in the Israeli Defense Force but had been drummed out for something or other and had turned mercenary. Overly elaborate, perhaps, and the nuances were probably not obvious to our audience, but we didn’t care.
Burl’s character was an unrepentant old Nazi whom we had found hiding in Argentina, loudly fulminating at everyone in a vaudeville German accent. He would particularly abuse me, since my character was supposed to be Jewish, and of course I would take offense, and our comrades would have to separate us to prevent violence. Yes, it was that politically incorrect. We wanted to be edgy, and thought ethnic humor, even ethnic humor that dark, to be funny, a la Mel Brooks with “Springtime for Hitler.” We were kids, and stupid. Or rather, a little too “clever” for our own good.
We were most successful in taking over Mrs. Burchard’s English class. Mrs. Burchard was my favorite teacher ever. You can see a picture of her on that same page that I linked to about Mr. Yamamoto, on the virtual yearbook that (I think) Burl put together a few years back. (Cute, isn’t she?) She was a real sport, and played along. When some of her underclassmen students failed to give El Presidente proper respect (as we defined it), we lined them up against the blackboard and hosed them down with the water guns — but only after Mrs. Burchard had fallen on her knees before us to beg us to spare them. She was awesome.
The revolution ended badly, as most do. Some juniors mounted a counterattack on our position, and I caught a water balloon in the groin. C’est la guerre.