Entertainment is an ever increasing part of most American’s lives. With many States issuing “stay-at-home” orders coupled with millions of workers losing employment, American media consumption has more than doubled. One independent study found that average household consumption has rose from 1.5 hours a day, pre-Covid, to over 4 hours conservatively.
I have found myself viewing more media than I would under normal circumstances as well. In my attempts to pass the droning hours, I came across Amazon’s Hunters and found it to be a disturbing, stale and offensive re-telling of the Holocaust to justify violence against Caucasians and Conservatives.
‘Hunters’ is a fictional tale set in 1970s New York about a laughably diverse group of people dedicated to hunting Nazis that have inexplicably infiltrated the United States. This group of people is organized and funded by Al Pacino’s character who plays a Talmud observant Bruce Wayne character dedicated to rooting out secret Nazis. The writers for this series have clearly never read the Talmud, however, as Pacino’s character repeatedly tells the main character that “the best revenge is living well” when referring to its teachings. Pacino, however, uses this line to help deter the main character, a young Jewish boy, from seeking revenge for the brutal murder of his Grandmother by, you guessed it, a Nazi. This advice goes nowhere, however, as Pacino then tells the boy that “the best revenge IS revenge.” The series then goes on its merry way killing geriatric, white Nazis in ever increasingly sadistic ways.
One of the many problems with this series is in its incompetent inconsistency. First, it attempts show us how horrible and inhuman the people they are about to murder are in a way to justify revenge. For example, one of the Nazis the ‘hunters’ track down has a passion for music and in a historically non-existent flashback, has Jewish prisoners sing for the rest of the concentration camp in unison. He would then gleefully shoot every singer that sang out of key until one remained alive in a macabre radio talent show.
Not content in how horrifying the Holocaust was in reality, the writers of this series go the extra mile in creating fictional, sadistic tortures and murder game scenarios that the viewer is supposed to believe were common practice on a day to day basis in Nazi Germany. They then take these sickening human rights violations and intersperse Tarantino-esque cartoonish violence to create a sadistic and emotionally hollow revenge fantasy. The characters are even introduced at times like G.I. Joe collectable trading card profiles, one of the most offensive being the portrayal of a foul mouthed, chain smoking Catholic Nun.
Another main problem with ‘Hunters’ is the blatant anti-white racism. There is another pathetically cartoonish segway in the first few episodes where one of the main hunters (Josh Radnor from ‘How I Met Your Mother’ attempting to be masculine) is doing a “how to spot a Nazi” public service announcement with a little African American girl. Josh Radnor repeatedly asks the girl for tips on identifying neighbors as potential Nazis (something disturbingly reminiscent of the East German Stasi). The little girl then continues screaming “WHITE PEOPLE!” over and over. Josh Radnor then says, “Ok, well not ALL white people are Nazis” to which the over eccentric child replies with “But all Nazis are white!” Josh Radnor then looks back at the camera and makes a “she’s right” shrug.
Not only is this openly racist, it’s historically inaccurate. Spain was an openly fascist nation and Nazi sympathizer during the WWII era under Francisco Franko as was Italy under Mussolini who was Allied with Germany for much of the war. While I haven’t finished this terrible series, I have yet to see a Hispanic or Italian Nazi be hunted down and tortured by the ‘squad.’
Even the cast itself is revealing in how stacked the deck really is against individuals of the Caucasian persuasion. One of the central protagonists is a strong, independent black lesbian FBI agent in a secret relationship with another woman. Right from the beginning she verbally assaults a group of white men who worked for the Space Program that are attempting to cover up the Nazi past of one of their co-workers. Her FBI partner is also a black male who finds himself, his mother and his pregnant wife playfully tortured at dinner by one of the young, white, male Nazi antagonists who thinks ‘duck, duck, goose’ is a hilarious way to select who is tortured next.
Jordan Peele, Producer of other racially militant films like ‘Get Out’ and ‘Us’, is associating a radically violent political entity with an entire group of people in America; white people. And these white people commit murder and torture with the same gleeful energy of a child on a playground.
His series lacks any real, honest commentary, however, on the group of people that continues to hate and kill Jews in the world today, that being radical Islam. Mr. Peele would prefer to act out his ignorant revenge fantasies on the white, male American population instead; the same group of people who fought and died to destroy the Nazi state during WWII and who fought and died to eliminate slavery in America so that Mr. Peele could have the freedom to profit from offensive historical revisionism.
Finally, the problem with Amazon’s ‘Hunters’ is that it denies the banality of evil in man. The Nazis in this series are depicted as seething, sadistic, stereotypical monsters who murder for the love of it. If one were to review the Nuremberg trials, this is not what you would see. You would see a man or woman who found themselves in a position of committing great evil or dying by its hand. “I was just following orders” is the line you’ll hear most famously stated at those accords. These were people who did terrible evil to survive. The majority of them were not subhuman beasts who relished in the grisly and creative murders of others. They were people who went home to their families every day and had to live with the atrocities they took part in.
Those behind ‘Hunters’, however, want the average viewer to think of people (mainly straight, white males) in these monstrous terms in order to justify violence against them. “Punch a Nazi” is something you’ll frequently hear chanted or written on a protest sign at a Democratic rally. Right here in Minnesota, I witnessed unapologetic violence against white Trump supporters outside his rally in October of 2019 by people holding Bernie Sanders signs. People on the left truly see conservatives as subhuman and the only way to deal with them is through violence. That is what ‘Hunters’ dangerously reinforces in its rhetoric and shouldn’t be dismissed as “just a show.” Entertainingly enough, the word “Nazi” stood for “National Socialist”, something Bernie Sanders supporters clearly do not see the irony in.
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