Campus Free Speech

UMass Amherst Removed a Professor for Showing a Downfall Hitler Parody Video

"The point was to engage students in an otherwise dry and difficult subject material."

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Catherine West Lowry is a senior lecturer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. For the past 13 years, she has taught introductory accounting—a "dry and difficult subject matter," in her words.

To make the class more exciting, Lowry has for years let students make funny videos for extra credit. Some of these have been shown in class. A parody video from 2009 was particularly popular and has resurfaced in subsequent years.

Last semester, when Lowry showed this specific video, many students laughed at it. But at least a few were offended and complained to the administration, which subsequently relieved Lowry of her teaching duties.

The video in question is in the style of the popular Downfall parodies. Downfall, a 2004 German film that depicts the final days of Adolph Hitler and his inner circle, includes an extended scene of Hitler screaming at his subordinates that is rife for parody. People change the subtitles so that Hitler is ranting about something else: Here's a meta example about the parodies themselves, and here's one where Hitler realizes Pokemon aren't real. Lowry's students made one where Hitler is enrolled in the course and receive a bad grade.

Some of the humor may have crossed a line, in the eyes of a few students. At one point, the Hitler subtitle read: "Don't you dare finish that sentence or I'll send you to a chamber. And it won't be the chamber of commerce. I can guarantee that."

And yet "there were people laughing," one student told The Chronicle of Higher Education. "There were some people who were kind of indifferent. They didn't really care. There were some people that, like, you could tell they were a little bit uneasy about it."

"People sort of realized that that was a little over the top, maybe, for the classroom," said another. "But generally, people laughed pretty hard at it [the video]. I certainly did."

A second video—this one a parody of the 2018 song "Bust Down Thotiana"—also drew the attention of the administration.

Dean Anne Massey removed Lowry from her teaching position and attended the class's next session to inform students. Many took the news poorly, shouting "bring back [Lowry]." They eventually walked out in protest.

Massey did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for the university told the Chronicle that the video was objectively offensive, and had no place in the classroom.

Lowry sent an email to students apologizing if any of them were offended. At the same time, she was surprised by the administration's "snap judgment" that she could no longer teach her class:

"This was an educational opportunity at a major research university. It's just unfortunate that the university did not take advantage of this educational opportunity. Instead, they chose to follow a punitive process, which doesn't really help anybody," Lowry said. "I could have easily dealt with this, if I had been afforded that opportunity. They made a snap judgment and really trampled the reasonable processes we have in place here."

UMass Amherst is a public university, and punishing a professor for an attempt at humor raises some troubling First Amendment issues. The administration should correct course and reinstate Lowry. No one should be encouraging accounting professors to make their classes even more boring.

(Reason commenters once made a Downfall parody video at my expense, after I had forgotten to post the P.M. Links. I can no longer find the video, but if anyone manages to dig it up, please share.)

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  1. Her only real offense was using a meme format that’s been dead since most of her students were in middle school.

    1. But hey at least she didn’t play them this number.

        1. Regardless, allowing students to engage in inappropriate parody is more than grounds enough for dismissal. In fact, given the offensive nature of this type of “expression,” there should be a law against it too. Hopefully, prosecutors nationwide will soon be able to build on New York’s doctrine of illegal “parody” to make sure this kind of thing can’t happen anymore on any of our college campuses. See the documentation of our nation’s leading criminal “satire” case at:

          https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

      1. What does alum Michael C Moynihan have to say?

    2. Those were great for Game of Thrones. Search: Hitler Red Wedding and there are some pretty good ones.

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oy5BnlfrQi8

    3. I suspect that part of the problem was that they didn’t know who that yelling man was. But they saw swastikas and decided to be offended.

  2. Yes, I can imagine classes getting more and more awfully boring when all professors and teachers who offend anyone, for any “PC” reason, will immediately be dismissed. Then we’ll bitch when no one wants to go to school any more!

    1. I’m offended because I took a geology class and the professor kept droning on and on about the chemistry of andesites. I’m triggered.

      1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_electronic_color_code_mnemonics (I’m surprised to see Wiki repeating this; I thought they’d be pretty PC).

        “Bad boys rape our young girls but violet gives willingly”

        Mnemonic in EE that my EE professor taught me in old dino days…

        Would that be allowed today any more? I suspect NOT!

        1. Never heard any of those Mnemonics – but my EE degree only had one real circuits class.

          Always looked at the back of the resistor package.

          1. Yup, surface mount, large one 1206, smaller 0602, tiny, 0402… Something like that. New days! In the good old DINOSAUR days, we used through hole parts! (I am a geezer).

        2. I had an aerospace engineering professor that used “RCS” to describe something that was close but not good enough. Like, “it missed by an RCS!”

          What did it stand for? Red Cunt Hair. One of my best professors.

          1. Oops, the acronym was “RCH”, not RCS.

            1. That’s good, because missing something by a Radar Cross Section doesn’t make much sense.

  3. To paraphrase Hillary’s iconic review of 1984, the real crime here is that a parody of Hitler sows mistrust in the leaders and experts we need to rely on.

  4. if anyone manages to dig it up, please share.

    WHAT?! And get charged with a hate crime?!

    1. Maybe after Brexit Johnson can focus on the UK’s draconian hate speech laws.

  5. The idea that there’s anything that’s objectively offensive is so ridiculous as to be objectively offensive.

    1. The offensibility of the hyper-tolerant is staggering. There’s enough cognitive dissonance in the average college campus to run a five megawatt generator…

      1. “The offensibility of the hyper-tolerant is staggering. ”

        Ah, you deny the power of the Progtard Intersectionality Grievance Totem Pole at your own risk!

    2. Winner.

    3. It’s pretty clear the administrators don’t know the definition of the word “objectively”.

  6. >>Adolph Hitler

    Dolf Lundgren on line 2

  7. What the holy fuck. This is Amherst the college, yes? and not an elementary school in Amherst? Holy shit – – I don’t know what’s worse, the students or the school admins. What a load of shit.

    1. Its Zoo Mass, the giant state U on the other side of town.

  8. “Don’t you dare finish that sentence or I’ll send you to a chamber. And it won’t be the chamber of commerce. I can guarantee that.”

    That’s top shelf right there. I hope that student got an A double plus.

    1. That cracked me up! My favorite part!

      1. Personally, I thought the Senior Burrito part was genius.

        1. IMO, it’s between that and the self-referencing conciliatory “Don’t worry, he can make an extra credit video.” comment for me.

  9. Massey did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for the university told the Chronicle that the video was objectively offensive, and had no place in the classroom.

    Based on what I’m starting to see in the popular Woke media in how Nazis are depicted, it’s clear to me that no one knows what a Nazi really is anymore, so I suspect none of this should come as a surprise to us.

    1. Self-awareness is always in short supply. Especially amongst the educatedcredentialed.

    2. It’s not that THEY don’t know, they hope that nobody ELSE knows.

  10. Shouldn’t this be filed under Cancel Culture also?

    1. Or, ‘The conservatives do it too fake news’ file.

  11. (Reason commenters once made a Downfall parody video at my expense, after I had forgotten to post the P.M. Links. I can no longer find the video, but if anyone manages to dig it up, please share.)
    Restore PM Links and we’ll restore the video.

    1. To be sure.
      But it was Britches that destroyed them from the inside.
      Put his head on a pike or no video for you!

  12. The problem is that the students who laugh at this shit, or at least are not significantly offended, have to tell the snowflake minorities to go fuck themselves. Peer constraint on progressive stupidity is about the only hope left, since the faculty are either fellow travelers or too afraid to speak out.

    1. Yup. Which is why I make a point of calling out this kind of stupid shit basically everywhere I go in life. Anytime somebody goes all PC faggy around me, I let them have it. I’m self employed, so I am more or less impervious to any repercussions, I don’t have some HR department to contend with at some corporate job, and meeting people out and about at the bar or wherever it’s not like any of this shit is illegal… Yet. So gotta call them out while we still can.

  13. “And yet “there were people laughing,” one student told The Chronicle of Higher Education. “There were some people who were kind of indifferent. They didn’t really care. There were some people that, like, you could tell they were a little bit uneasy about it.”

    So let’s reward these humorless jerk offs by taking someone’s livelihood away. Awesome job there raising leaders of the future.

    When will someone once and for all tell these people to go suck a bag of Donkey Kong cock?

  14. I’d like to know why the offended students didn’t speak up at the time. Isn’t that what you do now? What a bunch of weenies.

    1. Because they’re spineless, humorless, pieces of human waste?

  15. Some of these accounting students are going to fulfill the stereotype: Accountants are God’s Frozen People.

  16. “ (Reason commenters once made a Downfall parody video at my expense, after I had forgotten to post the P.M. Links.”

    It was about your hair, wasn’t it?

  17. A spokesperson for the university told the Chronicle that the video was objectively offensive, and had no place in the classroom.

    So is this an example of a stupid person who doesn’t know the difference between objective and subjective or a leftist appropriation of the language where words mean whatever they say they mean? If the video were in fact objectively offensive, shouldn’t they be looking at disciplining the vile and callous students who dared to laugh at the loathsome video?

    1. Clearly all the students that laughed should be expelled! And shamed on social media. CNN should run hit pieces on them individually for at least 6 months. Nobody should EVER be allowed to laugh at a Nazi joke!

    2. Yes. And sarcastic yes.

  18. Ugh. Nazi jokes are funny. WTF is wrong with people. My favorite Nazi joke is in fact the way to recover if a previously said Nazi joke offends people.

    If somebody gets pissed off, say:

    Hey, hey, hey. Look, you know what? I actually lost family in the holocaust myself, okay, so I can make jokes about this stuff if I want. My grandpa fell out of a guard tower at Auschwitz!

    ZING. You can slightly vary it, but it’s a lovely way to double shit on whiney people who don’t like whatever your previous Nazi joke was!

  19. You’d better hope you’re dead before the population recognizes that there was no holocaust. Otherwise the egg on your face will drown you.

    All it will take is to stop censoring the evidence that proves it and punishing the people who present it.

    The lesson for the students at UMASS is what happens to you when you depict the villain of a false narrative as anything but.

    1. Those old pictures of Nazis killing and throwing the bodies in mass graves were fake?

      Dang.

      1. Lots of people die in war. Just none from cyanide gassing as per the false narrative.

        There are graves everywhere and propaganda has always been easy to fabricate.

        1. If the Nazis were so interested in the photographing of piles of bodies why aren’t there any photos of the supposed piles of bright pink bodies (as they would be) of any of the 6 million cyanide gassed bodies or the huge piles of fuel and subsequent fires necessary to get rid of them?

          Not so much as a campfire pit.

          1. So all those words from Hitler before the war about annihilating the Jews….and then we had a war and millions of Jews were killed by Germany…..Hitler was just kidding around? Nazis weren’t anti-Semitic? The Wannsee conference was an allied hoax?
            And those reports from the
            SS/sonderkommandos about murdering Jews….all made up?
            Babi Yar didn’t happen?
            Anne Frank and millions of other Jews weren’t rounded up and sent to concentration camps where they died?
            What big crime against Germany did Anne Frank commit?

            1. Millions of Jews weren’t killed.

              The Red Cross regularly visited all prison camps. They were tasked with recording ALL deaths, not only Jews.
              The total for everyone for all camps during the war was only 271,000.

              Propaganda about mass Jewish killing was being broadcast and the Red Cross recorded NO mention of it.

              How can you explain that?

              1. There is so much evidence of millions of Jews rounded up and killed, you have to be an extreme Jew-hater to deny it.
                From the Holocaust Encyclopedia:

                “On September 29-30, 1941, SS and German police units and their auxiliaries, under guidance of members of Einsatzgruppe C, murdered a large portion of the Jewish population of Kiev at Babi Yar, a ravine northwest of the city. As the victims moved into the ravine, Einsatzgruppen detachments from Sonderkommando 4a under SS-Standartenführer Paul Blobel shot them in small groups. According to reports by the Einsatzgruppe to headquarters, 33,771 Jews were massacred in this two-day period. This was one of the largest mass killings at an individual location during World War II. It was surpassed only by the massacre of 50,000 Jews at Odessa by German and Romanian units in October 1941 and by the two-day shooting operation Operation Harvest Festival in early November 1943, which claimed 42,000-43,000 Jewish victims.”
                That’s just a few incidences. There were thousands more.
                You’re like the 911 truthers. When an ABC, that well-known conservative network (ha, ha), in a special on 9/11 laid the facts out before a cabal of truthers refuting all their claims, they refused to believe it.
                You’re the same. You hate Jews so much, you just can’t bring yourself to acknowledge the truth.
                Again, did Hitler say he’d annihilate the Jews or not?
                Did the Nazis hate Jews? Were laws against Jews passed in Nazi Germany?
                Do you know about the Wannsee conference?
                Did Anne Frank die in a Nazi death camp or not?
                If so, why was she put in one?
                Pull your head out of your posterior.

                1. Babi Yar is a ravine just outside of Kiev, Ukraine, where the Nazis are alleged to have massacred and buried, according to the source, from 30,000 to 100,000 Jews. There are no mass graves at Babi Yar. There have been no excavations. There is not a shred of physical evidence of a massacre at Babi Yar. According to the holohoax, in the summer of 1943, concurrent with the international delegations at Vinnitsa not 100 miles away, the Nazis used Jewish prisoners to dig up the bodies at Babi Yar, cremate them on grates made from headstones from a nearby Jewish cemetary, and scatter the ashes in nearby farmland. Not a trace of the bodies, no bullets, no artifacts of any type, remain as evidence of the bodies, graves, or cremation. Since there are no graves there have been no excavations. Compare the evidence of the real massacre at Vinnitsa, perpetrated by the Soviet NVKD and investigated by the Germans and an international team of experts, with the non-existent evidence of the hoax massacre at Babi Yar, investigated by no one.

                  1. Davidov said that the cremation of the bodies at Babi Yar was finished on September 25 or 26, 1943. The German Luftwaffe took an aerial photograph of the area around Babi Yar on September 26, 1943.[12]
                    John C. Ball, a Canadian mineral-exploration geologist with experience interpreting air photos, has published this photograph with the following commentary:

                    Photo 2—September 26th, 1943:

                    This photo was taken one week after the end of the supposed mass cremations in the ravine. If 33,000 people were exhumed and burned evidence of vehicle and foot traffic to supply fuel should be evident in the area where the Jewish cemetery meets Babi Yar ravine, however there is no evidence of traffic either on the end of the narrow road that proceeds to the ravine from the end of Melnik Street, or on the grass and shrubbery or on the sides of the cemetery.[13]

                    1. ALL there is to support the Babi Yar false narrative is the testimony of ONE JEW, Vladimir Davidov.

                      Another well paid ”SURVIVOR.”

                    2. It would take a pile of wood 80ft wide by 80ft high by 160 ft long to have enough energy to cremate 30,000 bodies.

                    3. Odd that there are no stories of divisions of Nazi lumberjacks to get rid of 6,000,000 bodies.

              2. Head of British Psychological Warfare Executive (Propaganda), Victor Cavendish-Bentick in a handwritten note, wrote on Aug 27th, 1943,

                “We have had a good run for our money with this gas chamber story we have been putting about, but don’t we run the risk eventually we are going to be found out and when we are found out the collapse of that lie is going to bring the whole of our psychological warfare down with it? So isn’t it rather time now to let it drift off by itself and concentrate on other lines that we are running.”

                Public Record Office Document F0371/34551 revealed by Stephen Mitford Goodson, ‘Inside the South African Reserve Bank’.

                http://europeansworldwide.wordpress.com/2018/10/17/authenticated-holocaust-hoax-propaganda/

    2. Oh look, a holocaust denier. Fuck right off.

      1. You first bigot.

        I have provided evidence of science and logic. You have demonstrated bigotry.

        Examples of bigotry in a Sentence
        “ a deeply ingrained bigotry prevented her from even considering the counterarguments”

        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bigotry

        1. You’re a holocaust denier. Fuck off.

          1. Fuck yourself bigot.

            1. No one likes holocaust deniers. So, no one likes you. Fuck right off. ,

              1. Are you proud of being a bigot?

                1. Are you proud of being an ignoramus?

                  1. Are you?

          2. I know, right? Did a double take at this thread- I mean the place has long been a cesspool but now we can proudly advertise that the reason comments now has its own no-shit holocaust denier. Congratulations.

            1. Bigots don’t need to consider no stinking counter arguments. Do you?

    3. People who want to reject prevailing bigotry may consider the counter arguments by reviewing the book, “Breaking the Spell, The Holocaust, Myth and Reality” by Nickolas Kollerstrom.

      http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23629458-breaking-the-spell

      1. Silence is golden.

        Here is your chance to review and possibly refute the counter arguments to your false narrative.

        If you instead choose bigotry, as usual, it will be obvious, as usual.

  20. But at least a few were offended and complained to the administration…

    Sporting outrage boners all the way to the admin building.

    1. That would explain why there were 4 people in a line that was only 3 feet long.

  21. Making kids “a little bit uneasy” is a valuable life lesson that Coddle University seems to be depriving them of experiencing.

  22. I give up.
    What do Hitler parodies — offensive OR funny — have to do with Introductory Accounting?
    The University should have intervened — even if the videos were Mickey Mouse reels. The “professor” was wasting the instruction time the students (or someone) had paid for.
    If you’re not prepared to teach the subject today, at least let them out early.

    1. Were lectures mandatory at the college you lectured for more than 13 yrs. at? Because for 90+% of the lectures I attended, if the professor took less than 5 min. as an aside to show a humorous video or recant an anecdote, you were free to listen or leave. Most of the professors and lecturers pretty openly stated that they were paid to profess or lecture and how that converted to your scholastic achievement was your job. One of my favorite classes was a ‘History of Science’ class that was largely anecdotal and composed of the parts of “science” that they don’t normally teach akin to the loosely akin to Thaddeus Russell’s Renegade University.

  23. So, what we have is a college administration created good little KGB informants.

    1. The KGB was created and run by Jews after the Communist revolution in 1917 where Jewish Bolsheviks made Russia communist.

      1. I suppose they were mildly annoyed by the pogroms. Which gave them a very bad attitude. Revolutions have consequences.

  24. Well, UMass goes on my long list of schools I could never send my kid to. He’s almost college age, but there are sadly few places I can now imagine paying many thousand of dollars for education. These are snowflake farms.

  25. Does saltwater affect judgement?

  26. They don’t call them Massholes for nothing.

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