Perchance of a lifetime
I want to see this image as a sad reminder of our past, of how divided we are — but, at the gross risk of being insensitive, I see the humor. The humor is not aimed at Jews, Nazis, or the Holocaust, but at the contemporary absurdity of Chatroulette, which has grown more into a role-playing forum than an actual place for strangers to meet, the latter perhaps being most absurd.
Of the many “best of” or “top” Chatroulette screenshots securing their meta-web presences, my favorite is this WWW take on WWII. Here, “Israelite” and “Nazi” (I use quotes because I wonder how much they themselves believe their roles) seem both happily complicit in self-consciously acting out the obvious narrative of their political history, giving a thumbs-up either in solidarity with their respective alliances, or, with an irony only possible in a virtual world, to each other.
The Jew even ducks away from camera, either facetiously, or more solemnly, with a visceral intuition which brings to mind the true horror of hate. Anybody with a flag on their wall is asking to get into a conversation (just like any male in college with an acoustic guitar in his room secretly wants a record deal or to get laid). The Nazi (or, skinhead) has a wonderful smile, which is very out of character, key word being “character,” as that is all we are, and can be, online. If “all the world’s a stage,” then the internet is where we rehearse our lines, sharpening our tongues for a chance at real life.
March 19th, 2010 / 8:16 pm