February 1, 2017

basterds

2017 is the year America welcome a human shot of Drano into its highest office. Our foundations of democracy sank a little deeper into the void as the Statue of Liberty started to get weird sores and meth rashes on its face .

On that inaugural day of ominous gloom, came a small glimpse of renewed faith. It arrived as a split-second, possibly spontaneous feat that reverberated far beyond its moment—the kind of act that makes heroes out of common men.

It occurred during an outdoor interview with neo-Nazi Macklemite Richard Spencer, the David Duke for even bigger dummies. When Spencer attempted a discourse on the symbolism of Pepe the Frog, a faceless vigilante arose to sucker-punch his smug amphibian mug. The attacker ran off as Spencer recoiled in shock. And it was all captured on screen.

The Nazi Punch then spread, providing a dose of joy during a day of utter despair. The creative circles of the internet went right to work, syncing footage of The Punch to various classic songs. I scrolled through my Twitter feed all that evening, watching each edit with an almost juvenile sense of glee. Sadistic? Perhaps a little. But on the day our country haplessly faced its impending doom, it felt gratifying to see just one fascist get a fistful of justice.

Of course, there were those who felt obliged to ruin the fun. More than seven years after lauding a Tarantino tour de force that celebrated the collection of “Nah-zi scalps”, the American electorate is now either ushering Nazis into public office or debating the ethics of even punching IRL Nazis. Oh, I’m aware Spencer doesn’t like being called that—he would rather let ostensible political journals consecrate him as a “dapper White Nationalist.” But when a public figure is given to endorsing eugenics in 2017, it’s only accurate to refer to said person as a Nazi.

So let’s clear something up right now: to all those who wonder whether it’s okay to punch a Nazi, the answer is yes. To those who then wonder whether it’s okay to revel in videos of Nazis being punched, the answer is still yes. After all, the punch, the video, the ensuing flurry of edits, and the popularity of the event have caused Spencer to fear any sort of public appearance, lest he get punched and mocked again. This effect of The Nazi Punch is artistic slacktivism at its most potent.

Social networks today may be cesspools of hate and propaganda, but these videos represent the imagination that once made them such vibrant platforms for human creativity. Vine may be scuttled, but its legacy surely lives on. So for your viewing and listening pleasure, I have compiled the best musical edits of The Nazi Punch. Everything in life, including sweet vengeance, pairs well with vital music. Please enjoy without a hint of shame. As Lakim Shabazz once said, when you see a devil, smash him. —Nitish Pahwa

Honorable Mention: John Cena’s Theme

I mean…yeah I know it’s highly unlikely the puncher was John Cena. This dude was way too small for it to be plausible. I know. But at the same time…what if it was?

10. Phil Collins — “In The Air Tonight”

The soul-shaking drum breakdown is the stuff of legend. Bonus points for repeating the punch to the following snare hits.

9. Public Enemy — “Don’t Believe The Hype”

Public Enemy’s music was meant to soundtrack Nazi punches. While it would have been nice to see The Punch synced to one of PE’s more forceful songs—perhaps “Bring the Noise” or “Can’t Truss It”—the sync to Flavor Flav’s squeaky “don’t” provides a joy all its own. The shout to false media also remains all too relevant.

8. Rage Against the Machine — “Bulls On Parade”

Can we take a second to appreciate the curvature of this punch? For how forceful it was, it landed with such a perfect, smooth arc. You have to appreciate this guy’s form. He probably trained for this. Or maybe he was born with it.

The Nighwatchman’s guitar sounds extra resonant in this context. This is what you train for.

7. DMX — “X Gon’ Give It To Ya”

Okay, I’m willing to swap out the John Cena theory if we entertain the idea that Earl Simmons is the man behind the attack. Guaranteed he’d do it for a few grand and a litter of adorable pitbull puppies. 

6. Kanye West — “Blood On The Leaves”

The “Down 4 My N’s” horn sample remains powerful no matter when or where it’s used. I’m sure Nina Simone would also approve.

5. Young Jeezy — “My President”

What better way to lend additional meaning to the #NotMyPresident movement? Obama may have left office, but there are millions for whom this song will remain forever ring true. 

Check out how that punch aligns perfectly with the snare crack.

4. DMX — “Ruff Ryders Anthem”

It only feels right to put DMX on this list twice. That’s how the Ruff Ryders roll.

3. Run The Jewels — “Blockbuster Night Part 1”

“Top of the morning, my fist to your face is fucking Folgers”

Killer Mike approves.

2. Thin Lizzy — “The Boys Are Back In Town”

“Guess who just got back today
Them wild-eyed boys that had been away
Haven’t changed that much to say
But man, I still think them cats are crazy”

“They were askin’ if you were around
How you was, where you could be found
Told ’em you were livin’ downtown
Drivin’ all the old men crazy”

“Friday night they’ll be dressed to kill
Down at Dino’s Bar ‘n’ Grill
The drink will flow and the blood will spill
And if the boys want to fight, you better let ’em”

I have a new theory about this enigmatic song. The “boys” coming back to the town are Nazi fighters. You know, like the Basterds. They came back to town, having heard of some new Nazi fuckery. They went around asking for Richard Spencer, found him down near Dino’s Bar ’n’ Grill on Friday, and messed him up. If the boys want to fight, you better let ’em.

 

1. Kanye West — “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1”

Short, simple, highly effective, and endlessly rewatchable. A pleasant throwback to the days of bountiful “Young Metro” memes, when the country was little more innocent. Those were blissful times compared to now, weren’t they?

Ugh.