What a joke!

Benjamin Nickl


In September, the Fair Work commission rejected an unfair dismissal claim by a BP worker who made a Downfall video meme about his boss. Fair Work called it 'inappropriate and offensive'. Last week, the worker appealed Fair Work’s decision, saying the commission did not understand 'the broader genre of Downfall video'.


Downfall video memes are online parodies of a bunker scene from a 2004 German film where a furious Hitler learns that his generals have let him down and the war is lost. Hitler loses it. He calls his soldiers 'cowards, traitors and failures', his veins popping with rage and spittle flying. In the 15 years since the film’s release, the scene has taken on a life of its own. Downfall memes show 'Hitler' raging about everything from cancelled exams to Twitter outages to election results, thanks to doctored subtitles.


In a robust online video culture that always hungers for the next Star Wars Kid how did an angry Hitler and this scene go viral – and stay viral – for so long?



Hitler finds out he didn’t get into Hogwarts.


The original Downfall (2004; Der Untergang in German) is a historical war film about Hitler’s final days, directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel. When it was released, a good number of German film critics and reviewers thought the humanising of Hitler’s sieg-heiling rants in a bunker filled with SS rank-and-file goons was tasteless. Some dismissed the bunker scene in particular as unnecessary in a film premiering 60 years after WWII ended. After all,