Updated: Dec 28, 2019
In a defiant personal struggle, one man rallies against the internet
A man has taken on the identity, in name, of the infamous leader of the National Socialist party. Following a series of online debates which ended with Mr Hitler of Shrewsbury (previous name Brian Franco) being accused of being 'literally Hitler' he decided to take action. "I'd noticed a trend in debate forums and down the pub, or anywhere I expressed an opinion that was contrary to what was popular, that people would just call me 'literally Hitler' and log off" he explains "it was the same with my girlfriend, she'd want to watch 'walking dead' when there was a decent documentary on BBC 2 when I'd explain it was my TV she would 'literally Hitler' me and storm off."
Mr Hitler had become alarmed by this growing trend in accusation, noting that it was usually accompanied by a combination or entire string of other explosive accusations such as fascist, racist, bigot, flat-earther or brexiteer. Brian headed to the deep corners of the internet looking for answers, he found solace in the support network literaryhitler.com before discovering it was a compilation of shout book reviews. A Gestapo re enactment society recommended the forum literallyhitler.com where he found other people that had become conscious of the worrying trend. It was here, after several conversations that ended with literally no Hitlering that he discovered Godwin's Law, a rule of communicative exchange named for it's creator attorney and author Mike Godwin beginning to feel this was a personal struggle all of his own.
The law states "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches, "it is widely considered that when reductio ad hilerum occurs the debate has been stretched to breaking point. Those using 'Hitler' as an indefensible accusation can now exit the debate, whereas the accused must concede.
Mr Hitler explains "I found this deeply frustrating, as I don't have anything in common with Hitler, although I do like dogs, a committed vegetarian and a popular guest at fantasy dinner parties. It seemed that as well as Hitler being an inappropriate adage to the conversation, the word literally had literally lost its literal and literary meaning, we are clearly through the looking glass.”
It wasn't just online that Mr Hitler had witnessed the breakdown between language and meaning "I work behind the bar at my local, recently I called time at the bar, a guy asked for another 15 minutes drinking time...and when I refused he called me a Nazi, as he left the bar his girlfriend added 'Fascist.' I was just following orders."
Within a month Mr Hitler had taken the decision to fight back "I realised that the only thing I could do to remain in a debate was to literally remove this 'weapon,' invalidating Godwin's Law and forcing people to actually just...discuss things with me." Through Deed Poll Mr Franco became Mr Hitler and his life changed forever.
His early days with his new moniker created unexpected challenges to his own sense of identity. My socialist friends started to disown me, claiming I had never expressed left wing ideas. This was devastating to his sense of identity. “I asked a friend if I should rename myself Joseph Stalin. He was furious and insisted that I hadn’t understood proper socialism yet!”
Mr. Hitler has not found the lebensraum he so enthusiastically desired, if anything he has retreated into a bunker mentality, unable to trust even his most loyal of colleagues and former friends. The final straw came after quitting his job to pursue his dream of becoming a painter, although he failed to get in to Art school, He has found himself increasingly enraged and prone to bouts of foolishness, including passing off Napoleonic strategy as his own.
"Nowadays, when people invoke Godwin's Law, I explain to them that yes, that is my name actually. Usually, they follow it up by calling me a twat...I'm not sure how many times you are allowed to change your name….damn fascists!”