Collage by Tablet magazine.
Collage by Tablet magazine.
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An Adorably Repugnant Nazi

A man taught his girlfriend’s dog to ‘Sieg Heil’ in order to make it less cute. Mission accomplished?

Rachel Shukert
May 10, 2016
Collage by Tablet magazine.
Collage by Tablet magazine.

The Internet, in all its glory, gave us cats that look like Hitler. Now it’s offering dogs that…love him?

That, at least, is how it seems in a video made by a Scottish man that’s making its way around the interwebs. Fed up with his girlfriend’s constant exaltations about how cute her dog—a pug named Buddha—is, Markus Meechan decided to humorously retaliate by “turn[ing] her into the least cute thing you could think of, which is a Nazi.” (And, let the record show, that as an expert in such matters, I can tell you that Buddha is an extraordinarily cute pug, a category in which she has some serious competition.)

Over what seems like a startlingly short period for a pug, a notoriously hard-to-train breed (Buddha is clearly a genius), Meechan taught the dog to do an adorable excited head tilt when hearing phrases like “Gas the Jews” and to raise her front paw in stiff-armed salute at the command “Sieg Heil.” He put the results on YouTube, where they garnered more than a million views from users worldwide, all of whom I imagine cooing in unison: “Who’s a good Nazi? Who’s a good Nazi?

It turns out the Lanarkshire police in Scotland were significantly less amused, arresting Meechan at his home (brandishing truncheons made of rolled-up newspaper, one hopes) on unclear charges—probably some sort of incitement to hatred or such. Said Detective Inspector David Cockburn of Lanarkshire CID: “I would ask anyone who has had the misfortune to have viewed it to think about the pain and hurt the narrative has caused a minority of people in our community. The clip is deeply offensive and no reasonable person can possibly find the content acceptable in today’s society. This arrest should serve as a warning to anyone posting such material online, or in any other capacity, that such views will not be tolerated.”

Meechan has since been released “pending further investigation” and has offered an apology, stating he made the video solely for the purpose of irritating his girlfriend and flatly denying any animosity towards Jews or any of their affiliates. “I am so sorry to the Jewish community for any offense I have caused them. This was never my intention and I apologize.” (Whoever can correctly identify every British word spelling I changed to the preferred American one in that statement wins a prize. A small prize, like a piece of gum, because it’s seriously not that hard.)

Well, Markus, apology accepted.

You brought mirthful bemusement to millions of people worldwide, bringing what could easily have been an early ‘60s Woody Allen stand-up bit to life: “My girlfriend’s dog is a Nazi. Every time I take her for a walk, she goosesteps. I’ve started calling her ‘der FURR-er.’ ”

But now, it’s time to think of Buddha, and her de-Nazification process. How, precisely, will she be deprogrammed of the totalitarian and fascist sympathies she’s been brainwashed into accepting? Should she be taken to Yad Vashem? Placed in a room where videos from The Shoah Project play on an endless loop? Should Meechan be forced to walk her through Britain’s heavily ultra-Orthodox neighborhood until she stops snarling at every bearded man in Hasidic garb who passes, something my own dog, Charlie Boggins, is still not able to do, despite having been given a solid religious education and having become a bark mitzvah just last year? (He thinks their tzitzit are tug toys. Also, the common reaction I’ve noticed of many such pious men who suddenly stop in the middle of a sidewalk and stare at Mr. Boggins in abject fear and confusion, is not one that typically goes over very well with my dog.)

I don’t know. But I can say this: should Buddha be looking for a tutor to guide her into this brave new post-war world, I’ll be happy to volunteer. Just ship her on over and I’ll get her straightened out, although it does seem like kind of shame. She’s such a cute little Nazi.

Rachel Shukert is the author of the memoirs Have You No Shame? and Everything Is Going To Be Great,and the novel Starstruck. She is the creator of the Netflix show The Baby-Sitters Club, and a writer on such series as GLOW and Supergirl. Her Twitter feed is @rachelshukert.