Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

Tut Tut, Hitler

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Now this is my kind of story. Page 30 headline in the Daily Mail today: UNCOUTH HITLER HAD TERRIBLE TABLE MANNERS.

A diary written by a high-ranking Nazi, hidden until a recent house clearance, reveals that “The Fuhrer eats rapidly, mechanically… He abstractedly bites his fingernails, he runs his index finger back and forth under his nose…”

What a scoop! I love everything about it. It’s so English to make headlines out of Hitler’s bad manners. Tut tut, Adolf. Next we’ll be hearing that Stalin always took the last slice of cake, and Pol Pot never put his hand over his mouth when he coughed. It’s so Dad’s Army. It’s like laughing at his moustache. And yet, it works. However much we know about the extent of Hitler’s evil, the ghastliness of his practices, there remains something strangely satisfying in standing here, bitching over the garden fence about the small stuff.

  Nevertheless, English as I am, disapproving of bad manners as I am, keen as I am to find new ways to dislike this ogre of history, I was a little startled by the opening paragraph of the Mail piece:

  “To the wartime world, he was nothing less than a monster. In private, it seems, Adolf Hitler was equally unappealing”.

  EQUALLY? Jeez, those must have been some bad table manners…


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E at 4:58 am on February 19th, 2009

LOL at “equally”. Can you imagine the before dinner arguments of spouses before attending.

“I don’t want to have dinner with Hitler again, he’s always biting his nails.” ..“His nails? Freulein, you so shallow.”

I also loved the part about his flatulence. I’ll never be able to watch some WW2 documentary the same now, because everytime they show Hitler, not only will “what a monster” be going through my head, I’ll have to be making fart sounds now for self amusement.

“Here we see Hitler shaking hands with Rommel”....brraaaaaaap “Sorry Rommel, I didn’t have enough of ze cake today”...braaaaaaaaaaappp “whew that one was kind of wet, let’s invade Poland!”

Oh what a crazy world…

Sam at 9:21 am on February 19th, 2009

Oh god I have the same nervous tics as Hitler.  What would mother say?

Andy W at 3:25 pm on February 19th, 2009

Probably something along the lines of “There’s something I have to tell you son.  It happened in Berlin, summer of 1944 ...”

John at 4:09 pm on February 19th, 2009

I’m sure this story has already been set to music… ‘The snake’ by Al Wilson; but I doubt Mr Hitler would have approved of the Adidas bag, the talcum powder, or the occasional, misplaced handclap.

MarkP at 11:24 pm on February 19th, 2009

He always seemed the sort of chap who’d leave the toilet seat up as well.
Reminds me of Life mit Vater from Cuckoo Clocks: “Halfway through the evening, he took the head of a conga line and marched it nine miles to Dagenham, in driving hail.” I love that bit.

R at 11:02 am on February 20th, 2009

Hitler was a heavy drug user, too. He received regular injections of highly toxic substances, especially in the later years ... and they still followed him. That’s probably one of the reasons I’m still legally bound to do yearly mandatory shooting training as a civilian (designed to shoot an invador in the head within 300 metres). Additionally, there are the 3 lovely annual weeks of regular military service in the ranks. I’m still inconsolable about Heresy, Vicky. But I’m pretty relieved that you saved me from a very delicate final selection. Nevertheless, it would have been very alluring to hear you argue against lines like “Never trust a lying, losing, drunk and indebted gambler” ;-).  In any case: I got myself a ticket for 06/04/2009 ... and I’m very excited about it :-)

sam at 11:38 pm on February 21st, 2009

Andy, I doubt my mother would be best pleased to hear your opinions on her age.

Victoria Coren

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