I had this news story–the one about the FBI raiding a pro-life activist’s home like it was The Fortress of Bad–and I wanted to illustrate it with a picture of Adolf Hitler’s storm troopers. These Nazi street thugs played a major role in bringing Hitler to power; and then he turned on them, wiped ’em out.
Ah! But when I searched for “images of storm troopers,” all I got was dozens and dozens of pictures of these ineffectual little nebbishes from the Star Wars movies–who learned everything they knew from a bunch of bowling pins.
Y’know, World War II was not that long ago. Our fathers fought in it. My generation grew up with WWII videos all over TV, toy army men, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich… and Storm Troopers. Brownshirts. Sturmabtielung. I knew all about them by the time I was in sixth grade.
But now? History? The collective memory of the human race? “I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
So you make an Internet search for some little piece of history–and what you get is rock bands, movies, cable TV shows that you never heard of, comic books… all this trivial dreck, all this “what’s happening now,” and not a trace of what you were looking for. Yeesh, I hate rock bands.
It’s very hard to learn anything if you can’t freakin’ remember anything! History is our memory. Why are we so quick to embrace amnesia? Are we that fond of old disasters, that we want to relive them?
Maybe we don’t have actual storm troopers today; but our FBI is increasingly good at imitating them.