Fake Controversy Alert: Hitler’s Mein Kampf Was Not A Digital Bestseller

“The most popular theory was that it was the 50 Shades phenomenon – i.e. that people could now read Hitler’s words without being judged”
for their choice of reading material.”

I agree with this theory somewhat. Internet culture, despite all the lofty platitudes about democratization, can be totally amoral and apathetic.

I quote from the description section of the ‘Sweet Brown – Original Report and Autotune Remix’ , a hugely viral music video made out of news footage of a persons house burning.
“Allow me to make this clear, I take no credit for any of the artistic work of this video, I simply brought the original news footage and the “Autotune Remix” together for my own amusement. The remix was made by The Parody Factory.”

David Gaughran

hitlerA juicy story broke last week, the kind that makes savvy sub-editors salivate over potential Twitter-bait headlines.

It had been discovered that Hitler’s pre-war memoir Mein Kampf was a digital bestseller, leading to a global bout of media hand-wringing and pontificating. One excitable commentator even suggested it was a sign the second Holocaust was imminent.

The only problem with this story is that it’s not true. At all.

Hitler’s “bestselling” performance was first reported by Chris Faraone at Vocativ under the headline Kindle Fuhrer: Mein Kampf Tops Amazon Charts. Then spread like wildfire.

Huge blogs and websites like Gizmodo, Huffington Post, GawkerSlate, and Salon reported on this phenomenon. Major newspapers also covered the story: the Guardian, New York Daily News, the Daily Mail, and the Los Angeles Times. Television networks got in on the act too, like ABC News

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3 thoughts on “Fake Controversy Alert: Hitler’s Mein Kampf Was Not A Digital Bestseller

  1. Reading a book does not imply that the reader agrees with the views of the author. People read books for many reasons. At university I read history and politics which entailed reading works by Karl Marx and Edmund Burke. The fact of me having read Burke and Marx neither proves or disproves that I am (or am not) a Marxist or Conservative, it merely demonstrates that I have an interest in politics. Likewise anyone wishing to understand the Third Reich ought to attempt to read Mein Kampf. I say “attempt” because it is a very badly written work and had not the author been responsible for crimes against humanity Mein Kampf would not have achieved the prominence it has.

    • touche…
      and i couldnt agree more. and i detest censorship as much as anyone.

      i think my reaction is directed towards those meme creating, sensation hungry people who were quick to pass on a junk story (about the success of the book online) chinese whisper style.

      The book is in the public domain where anyone whos curious can get his hands on it. My problem was with the irresponsible implication, by the apocryphal account of its success, that it’s a great book, that theres some validity to his points of view after all. Doubtless there are bigots out there feeling vindicated.

      I do feel though that the viral phenomenon of the internet often legitimizes stuff enough to make people consume it thoughtlessly, for a quick kick, which is different from academic interest.

      • Certainly the internet leads certain people to indulge in behaviour which they would have thought twice about before indulging in off-line. For example those wishing to view pornographic material no longer have the embarrassment of having to purchase it over the counter, they can simply go on-line and view material catering to a wide variety of tastes. I guess that some people would be embarrassed about purchasing Mein Kampf or borrowing it from a library due to the fear that people might conclude that they held extremist views, however the hardened Nazi would, I asume not care what others thought of him or her.

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