By Daniel Larison

Besides being paranoid, the idea that McCain's genuinely weak "Celeb" ad draws from Triumph of the Will is remarkable for something else: its implicit contempt for modern Germans.  It is not much better than the pro-war German-bashing that took place during 2002-03 when war supporters frequently complained that the Germans had lost their former enthusiasm for conflict.  Both treat Germans in an essentialist way and try to reduce them to the most cartoonish stereotypes, as if a cheering throng of Germans in Berlin, c. 2008, must necessarily conjure up associations with Nazi rallies.  To assume this says more about the critics of the ad than about the people who made it.  As for the notion that the images from the ad resemble the techniques of Riefenstahl, one might as well accuse the television news directors who covered the event of imputing Hitlerism to Obama, since the footage and camera angles are all taken from the news broadcasts of the speech.  Obama supporters haven't been this good at embarrassing their candidate with hysterical commentary since Orlando Patterson felt compelled to compare Hillary Clinton's "3 a.m." ad to Birth of a Nation.      

Cross-posted at Eunomia