The Great Dictator: The film that dared to laugh at Hitler



Hynkel’s anti-Semitic rants (consisting of cod-German punctuated by shouts of “Juden”) are terrifying, but there is no conviction behind them, just a desperate need to distract the Tomainians from his economic failures. As his urbane sidekick and Goebbels substitute, Garbitsch (Henry Daniell), says: “Violence against the Jews might take the public’s mind off its stomach.”

The film has been accused of trivialising Nazi atrocities. Chaplin himself said, in his autobiography, “Had I known the actual horrors of the German concentration camps, I could not have made The Great Dictator; I could not have made fun of the homicidal insanity of the Nazis.” But he isn’t just making fun of Hitler – as Mel Brooks did in The Producers in 1967 – he is making an astute point about the fragile egos of male world leaders.

Think of today’s dictators and would-be dictators, in any country, and you can spot all the juvenile qualities that Chaplin identified: the fetish for photo opportunities, the lavish lifestyles, the policy flip-flops and the crackpot schemes, the self-aggrandising parades and the chests full of medals: Billy Gilbert’s Herring, ie. Göring, has so many medals pinned to his uniform that Hynkel has to turn him sideways to find room for the latest addition. Hitler was at the peak of his power when The Great Dictator was being made, but Chaplin had already recognised that, as with every subsequent dictator, his villainy was bound up with his immaturity.

According to biographer Jürgen Trimborn, much of the film was inspired by a screening of Leni Riefenstahl’s pro-Hitler documentary, Triumph of the Will, at the New York Museum of Modern Art. While other viewers were appalled, Chaplin roared with laughter at the ridiculous spectacle. This attitude sustained him when he was urged to abandon The Great Dictator. “I was determined to go ahead,” he wrote in his autobiography, “for Hitler must be laughed at.”

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Western Sydney Wanderers and Carl Robinson enjoy the last laugh with win over jittery Newcastle Jets


Despite falling to a clear and deserved defeat, there were sparks of life, particularly across an impressive first half and late in the second, that could suggest this season might not be as barren for the Jets as many have predicted.

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Valentino Yuel and Ramy Najjarine were creative and electric down the flanks, but caretaker coach Craig Deans will be rueing the lack of finishing on the end of their crosses, and hoping that the club’s new owners – a group of rival A-League investors, including Wanderers chairman Paul Lederer – can provide funds to bolster his squad with some much-needed quality.

Yuel ran the Wanderers ragged in the opening exchanges only for his marker, Gordon, to leave him in the dust as he broke clear and nodded home a corner kick to give the visitors the lead in the seventh minute.

Just before the hour mark, Russell doubled their advantage with a first-time piledriver that exploded past Jack Duncan.

In between, an incredible long-distance strike from Nicolai Muller was chalked off after the VAR spotted Simon Cox straying marginally offside during the build-up play, while Thomas Aquilina – handed his maiden A-League start by Robinson – somehow missed an unmissable tap-in from point-blank range.

Newcastle captain Nigel Boogaard’s 73rd-minute header off a swerving Najjarine free kick gave the Jets hope of a late comeback but despite a gallant late rally, their fans would have little more to shout for.

They did, however, enjoy Ibini’s failure to convert a one-on-one chance, which elicited a round of sarcastic cheers, and the COVID-capped, mask-clad crowd continued to hound the Wanderers forward every time he neared the ball.

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The Jets certainly had their chances, but Western Sydney continually repelled them. They finished the first half with more shots on goal (11 to 7) but could not convert any of them, despite the toil and trouble caused by Yuel and Najjarine.

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Al Mah Haha can have last laugh in rescheduled cup


He’s been sparingly raced this preparation but was strong to the line less than three lengths from unbeaten star It’s Me in The Kosciuszko (1200m), and back at home over 200m further and down 1kg in weight all add up to a big run.

Connections won’t have to look far for one of the bigger threats. High class five-year-old Handle The Truth, who boasts a near 40 per cent winning record from only 23 starts, also comes off an impressive closing effort in The Kosciuszko, where he was defending his title from 2019.

In fact, as good as this cup field is, Handle The Truth faces his easiest task in a while, having campaigned well in listed metropolitan races through winter before a close-up in a metropolitan benchmark 88 and The Kosciuszko.

He looks well treated under 58kg, only 3kg over the minimum weight.

The big cup query is whether Canberra eight-year-old Man Of Peace backs up from Saturday’s Yes Yes Yes at Rosehill, where he finished just over three lengths from super sprinter Gytrash on a heavy 9.

Meanwhile, promising four-year-old Randwick mare Running Four Bub shoots for three straight wins in a competitive class 3 over 1300m to close the card after powering home to win her maiden here and then a class 1 at Newcastle.



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Al Mah Haha can have last laugh in rescheduled cup


He’s been sparingly raced this preparation but was strong to the line less than three lengths from unbeaten star It’s Me in The Kosciuszko (1200m), and back at home over 200m further and down 1kg in weight all add up to a big run.

Connections won’t have to look far for one of the bigger threats. High class five-year-old Handle The Truth, who boasts a near 40 per cent winning record from only 23 starts, also comes off an impressive closing effort in The Kosciuszko, where he was defending his title from 2019.

In fact, as good as this cup field is, Handle The Truth faces his easiest task in a while, having campaigned well in listed metropolitan races through winter before a close-up in a metropolitan benchmark 88 and The Kosciuszko.

He looks well treated under 58kg, only 3kg over the minimum weight.

The big cup query is whether Canberra eight-year-old Man Of Peace backs up from Saturday’s Yes Yes Yes at Rosehill, where he finished just over three lengths from super sprinter Gytrash on a heavy 9.

Meanwhile, promising four-year-old Randwick mare Running Four Bub shoots for three straight wins in a competitive class 3 over 1300m to close the card after powering home to win her maiden here and then a class 1 at Newcastle.



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Halfway through the HSC exams? Here’s how to stay motivated, get support and have a laugh


The New South Wales Higher School Certificate (HSC) exams are at the halfway point and for many lucky Year 12 students, their formal school years are already over after the first two weeks of written examinations.

For the others who are sitting any of the 42 remaining subjects, there is still another week or two to go.

Mr Bailwal, who attends Sydney Secondary College Blackwattle Bay Campus in Glebe, has his exams spread across the four-week HSC timetable.

He had almost a two-week gap between the mandatory English exams on the first two days, and the Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PD/H/PE) exam on Friday.

He has five hours of writing next Thursday with the Geography exam and then the Industrial Media examination, then a week’s gap before the Drama exam — the last written examination of the entire HSC — on November 11.

Ankit Bailwal hopes to study acting next year.(Supplied: Ankit Bailwal)

“As a drama student I’m more focused on the practical part of it so it makes it more challenging, because the fun of drama is over, and the boring part [the theory exam] … it’s my least favourite exam,” Mr Bailwal said.

Keep the end in sight

Having a game plan for getting through the entire HSC period is just as important as having a plan to tackle each exam.

Ashley de Silva is the chief executive of youth mental health service ReachOut and says it is important to keep getting enough sleep and to continue eating well throughout the duration of exams.

“It’s important not to be so locked into this period at the exclusion of all other things,” Mr de Silva said.

He said balancing study with socialising and relaxation was important.

“[Prioritise] catching up with friends, even if it’s just phone calls after the exams.”

Facebook group gives exam relief

Support has been key for the class of 2020 which has faced unprecedented disruption to their studies with the COVID-19 lockdowns forcing students to learn online and delaying assessments.

Mr de Silva said it was “a tricky year” for the cohort.

“COVID-19 made students worry about their exams earlier in the year than what we would normally see,” he said.

But one Facebook group has given much support and relief to students across the state.

The HSC Discussion Group 2020 has more than 48,000 members and has given students a space to share study notes, offer tutoring, ask questions and, most importantly for the past couple of weeks, share their reactions after the exams.

Screenshot of Facebook post with photos of English exam study notes
One student posted images of her study notes for the Advanced English exam.(Facebook: HSC Discussion Group 2020)

Lily-Mae Clark, a student at Gosford High School and a moderator for the Facebook group, said it bridged the gap between students from public and independent schools.

“After the [mandatory] English exams, everybody was making memes, so that helps to see you weren’t the only one finding it hard,” she said.

While HSC Facebook groups have been a “common thing” for several years according to Ms Clark, this year group has been particularly active online and collegial as the pandemic has drawn them together.

Both Mr Bailwal and Ms Clarke remarked on how the Facebook group gave them a sense of camaraderie and connected them to students they would never have had the opportunity to meet.

Screenshot of message in Facebook group
Another student joked in the group about the difficulty of a question in the Mathematics Extension 2 exam.(Facebook: HSC Discussion Group)

“During COVID, there were quite a lot of people hosting a Kahoot quiz, and posting, ‘Here’s the code’ [to login],” Ms Clark said.

“There’s a lot of venting about teachers being tech-illiterate or sharing things that happened in your Zoom class.

“Getting to interact with other students in the state makes you feel you’re not doing so badly.



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Wallabies laugh off Dane Coles’ intimidation tactics ahead of All Blacks showdown at ANZ Stadium


Those moments were enough for one New Zealand newspaper to suggest the Wallabies “don’t do genuine hard men” and that Tupou “was nowhere near as tough as he thought”. It has the potential to fire the Wallabies up On Saturday but Tupou said the comments would not distract them.

Sam Cane grabs Taniela Tupou during the second Bledisloe Test.

Sam Cane grabs Taniela Tupou during the second Bledisloe Test.Credit:AP

“It doesn’t really matter what they say to us, to be honest,” Tupou told the Herald. “They don’t know what’s going on here in camp. If that’s what they think, so be it. We’re trying to focus on us. Trying to better ourselves for the next game.

“We know what happened last week. It’s time to move on. We will worry more about winning the (Bledisloe Cup) rather than talk. We’re done talking. It’s just about trying to win the (Bledisloe) Cup.”

As for being targeted by Coles?

“That was the first time. Dane is a legend,” Tupou said. “He’s a really good player and it’s always a really good challenge against him but man, he can throw some chat.”

Salakaia-Loto is one of the Wallabies’ enforcers, and has become an integral part of Dave Rennie’s team. He had some choice words for those taking pot shots at Australians from across the Tasman.

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto is one of the Wallabies most aggressive forwards.

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto is one of the Wallabies most aggressive forwards.Credit:Getty

“I wouldn’t listen to what they say. The people that are making those comments are probably the ones that have never played before,” he said. “It’s in one ear, out the other. I really couldn’t care less.”

The Reds star also welcomed the niggle Coles provides.

“It’s only natural. You’re going to come up against guys who build their game off a lot of shit talk and all of that,” he said.

“You can’t expect to play against nice guys who are going to pat you on the back and say you had a good run or tell you after you’ve hit them that you’ve made a good tackle. It’s nothing new. I’ve played with a few boys like that as well. It’s part of the game.”

Halfback Nic White is on the same page as the two star forwards.

“I personally enjoy it. I have a good little chat with him out there on the field,” White said of Coles’ niggle.

“That’s what you want when these two nations come up against each other – there’s a fair bit of history there. There’s a bit of feeling out there and so there should be.

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“I probably shouldn’t be the one throwing my weight in there at 79 kilos. He’s good and I think that’s certainly not something we’re going to shy away from. We wouldn’t expect anything different from him. He’s a fierce competitor.”

The Wallabies are training in the Hunter Valley this week ahead of the third Bledisloe Cup Test at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.

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Ryan Burton gets the last laugh on Hawthorn Hawks as he and Port Adelaide Power prep for prelim


“In terms of that it seems like a great decision.

“But personally I couldn’t be happier to be back in Adelaide. Me and Ken’s [coach Ken Hinkley] relationship is outstanding and the trust I get from him, I couldn’t ask for any more.

“In terms of the football club and coaching staff, I am absolutely loving it. Being back in Adelaide is great to be with family and friends.”

That trust was on display early in the week, leading up to the Power’s qualifying final win over Geelong.

Burton had only played six times in 2020. A knee clean-out after round two sidelined him through the pandemic break and then until round six. He injured his quad in round 14, and then again in round 16. Despite that, Hinkley brought him straight back into the side for the qualifying final.

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“I had a good chat to Ken earlier in the week and he said he was picking me,” Burton said. “I just immediately was thankful he had that faith in me.

“He basically reassured me that I didn’t need to be thankful, that I’d earnt that spot over the last two years at the club and he was giving me my opportunity to play in a final.

“As soon as he got told by the docs, physios and myself that I was 100 per cent ready to go, he was backing me in. I am really grateful.

“There’s nothing better than when a coach backs you in 100 per cent and gives you a lot of confidence to play.”

And what of the AFL world’s hesitancy to declare Port the team to beat in 2020, despite the Power going from start to finish on top of the ladder?

“People watch the footy shows, read papers, so everyone is going to hear those things,” Burton said.

“A lot heard we were maybe fourth best for the year, people not rating us as high as we were.

“A lot of the boys shut that news out and didn’t care.

“But deep down they probably took it into the first final wanting to prove a few people wrong.

“We were top every round for a reason so we wanted to come out and have a big performance against the team that had scored the most points for the year

“Hopefully that showed the AFL community we mean business this year.”

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Bartleby – Why we need to laugh at work | Business


WHEN BARTLEBY reflects on life’s lessons, he always remembers his grandfather’s last words: “A truck!” Bartleby’s uncle also suffered an early demise, falling into a vat of polish at the furniture factory. It was a terrible end but a lovely finish.

Whether you find such stories amusing will depend on taste and whether you have heard them before. But a sense of humour is, by and large, a useful thing to have in life. A study of undergraduates found that those with a strong sense of humour experienced less stress and anxiety than those without it.

Humour can be a particular source of comfort at work, where sometimes it can be the only healthy reaction to setbacks or irrational commands from the boss. Classic examples can be found in both the British and American versions of the TV sitcom “The Office”, where workers have to deal with eccentric, egotistical managers, played respectively by Ricky Gervais and Steve Carell. The comedy stems, in part, from the way that the office hierarchy requires the employees to put up with the appalling behaviour of the manager.

And those programmes also illustrate the double-edged nature of workplace humour. When the bosses try to make a joke, they are often crass and insensitive, making the situation excruciating for everyone else (these are shows best watched through the fingers). The healthiest kind of workplace humour stems from the bottom up, not from the top down. Often the most popular employees at work are those who can lighten the mood with a joke or two.

Of course, humour can be used, even by non-managers, in a cruel or condescending way. What one man may mean as a laddish joke comes across to women as a disrespectful put-down. A better source of humour are the shared gripes that most workers face. Everyone can appreciate a quip about the cramped commuter trains, the officious security guard, the sluggish lifts or the dodgy canteen food. In that sense, workers can feel they are all (bar the security guard) “in it together”. This helps create team spirit and relieve stress.

Both soldiers and schoolchildren tend to create “in jokes” as a way of subtly subverting the hierarchy of their organisations. In the first world war, British soldiers published a newspaper called the Wipers Times. A typical poem began: “Realising men must laugh/Some wise man devised the staff.” Troops in the trenches dubbed themselves the PBI (poor bloody infantry). The TV comedies “Sergeant Bilko” and “Blackadder Goes Forth” both relied on wily soldiers finding ways of subverting the orders of their clueless, or callous, commanding officers. Schoolchildren, for their part, give their teachers nicknames which are only used out of earshot; at Bartleby’s school, Mr Canard was known as “Quack” because his surname was the French word for duck.

A downside of remote working is that moments of shared humour are harder to create. Many a long meeting at The Economist has been enlivened by a subversive quip from a participant. These jokes only work when they are spontaneous and well-timed. Trying to make a joke during a Zoom conference call is virtually impossible; by the time one has found the “raise hand” button and been recognised by the host, the moment has inevitably passed. This is a shame, as most of us could do with a laugh now and again to get through the pandemic.

Work is a serious matter but it cannot be taken seriously all the time. Sometimes things happen at work that are inherently ridiculous. Perhaps the technology breaks down just as the boss is in mid-oration, or a customer makes an absurd request. (Remember the probably apocryphal story of a person who rang the equipment manufacturer and asked them to fax through some more paper when the machine ran out?)

There is also something deeply silly about management jargon. Most people will have sat through presentations by executives who insist on calling a spade a “manual horticultural implement”. Too many managers use long words to disguise the fact they have no coherent message to impart. Such language is ripe for satire or at the very least a collective game of “buzzword bingo”.

But satire should not just be applied to other people. Perhaps the most important thing is not to take one’s own work too seriously. As the late, great gag-writer and comic Bob Monkhouse recalled at the height of his career, “They laughed when I said I wanted to be a comedian. Well, they’re not laughing now.”

This article appeared in the Business section of the print edition under the headline “Why we need to laugh at work”

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Mum finds ‘heartless’ eviction note taped to front door – but she gets last laugh


Mum-of-two Sonja Lee has been through a pretty rough time lately.

If it weren’t bad enough that there’s a global pandemic, the 33-year-old also recently lost her job at a local food chain and then was told she was being evicted from her family home, as she was late paying rent.

To make matters even worse, the parent, from Houston, Texas, was asked to leave the apartment in the most brutal way.

Sonja discovered a ‘heartless’ note taped to her front door, which featured a smiley face waving emoji, alongside giant lettering reading: “Guess who’s moving? YOU!!!”

Underneath this it said: “Pay your outstanding balance, or release your apartment and turn in your keys to the leasing office by 6:00pm today.

Guess who’s moving?

“Eviction will be filed promptly Tuesday morning, 8/18/2020.”

The devastated mum shared a picture of the letter online, captioning her post: “So y’all think it’s funny to antagonise the person that’s going through financial hardship with putting an emoji stating, ‘Guess who’s moving today?’ There was nothing funny about that.”

Her post quickly went viral and a Go Fund Me page was set up to help her family.

The page’s goal was to raise $3,380 to cover the overdue rent but a whopping $37,899 has since been donated.

The single mother was not impressed with the property management team

Speaking to People magazine about the eviction letter, Sonja admitted: “I was mad, I ain’t going to lie. I felt like they were antagonising the tenants through the situation and it was heartless, especially during a pandemic.

“A lot of people have lost their jobs. A lot of people aren’t able to get the resources.

“I’m a single mother with two boys. I do the best that I can and am a very hardworking woman.”

Karya Property Management, who owns the apartment complex, has since apologised for the notice and said the manager who left it has been disciplined.

In a statement, Swapnil Agarwal, the company’s CEO said: “I am apologising personally in case it was insensitive, and if she was really trying to work out a payment program with the property or that she was in communication with the manager, then I accept it‘s truly our fault.”

But it seems Sonja has had the last laugh on the matter, as she now has a new home and a new job, thanks to the kindness of strangers.

She added: “It‘s been so overwhelming, and I am so grateful. I have never experienced anything like this.

“I have to pay this forward 10 times fold.”

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