If the makers of Ganesh v. Hitler, a play set to debut in Melbourne, Australia on September 29, would like to add that line to their playbill, all we ask is that they credit Popehat (but please don't mention that to the Roman Catholics).
According to the playwright, Hitler stole the swastika from the Hindu religion. And, much as U2's Bono recovered the song "Helter Skelter" from Charles Manson on behalf of the Beatles and Indiana Jones recovered the Ark of the Covenant on behalf of Uncle Sam, Ganesh just wants to steal the swastika back.
The publicity blurb for Ganesh versus the Third Reich, from Geelong-based company Back to Back Theatre, depicts the elephant-headed Hindu god of prophecy seeking to go one-on-one with Hitler over the swastika.
Rajan Zed, a Hindu statesman from the United States, said Hindus were concerned about the play, which will premiere at the Melbourne Festival.
"The Lord Ganesh was meant to be worshipped in temples and home shrines and not to be made a laughing stock on theatre stages," Mr Zed said in a statement.
"Lord Ganesh was divine and theatre/film/art were welcome to create projects about/around him showing his true depiction as mentioned in the scriptures," said the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism.
"Creating irrelevant imaginary imagery, like reportedly depicting him being tortured and interrogated by Nazi SS, hurt the devotees."
While Rajan Zed, the Hindu statesman from the United States, isn't explicitly calling for censorship, the thought of Lord Ganesh suffering at the hands of Nazis has gotten some Australians, specifically Dr. Yadu Singh of the Council of Indian Australians, calling for censorship:
Depiction of Lord Ganesha in this manner is going to become an Issue in India and among Indians, and is likely to create a controversy between India and Australia, which is unnecessary.
Further more, agencies which receive public funding in Australia, can’t be associating with any action, commentary, documentary or play, which lampoons the beliefs, deities or feelings of people from any religion.
What seems to be lost in the controversy and threats of international incidents is that this is a play about a giant elephant-headed man clobbering Hitler, which is not to trivialize the giant elephant-headed man, nor his divinity. While the enormity of his crimes can't be diminished, Hitler himself has become so trivialized and diminished that politicians feel no shame in invoking Hitler to describe the Chamber of Commerce. Hitler is now a comic book character, and a bad one at that. Despite the playwright's description of the play as:
a “wildly inventive ride through history, where sacred icons and rituals become weapons” and “brimming with humour”.
it probably sucks, just like a bad comic book.
Surely Lord Ganesh is divine enough to withstand such a trifling indignity, even if some of his followers aren't.
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