Alex Leavitt, researcher with CMS’ Convergence Culture Consortium, spoke at the Open Video Conference last Friday to offer some perspective on the ubiquitous Downfall meme:
Leavitt estimated that the first use of this clip appears to have been posted in August 2006, in which it was used to communicate criticism about the Microsoft Flight Simulator software. The subtitles were in Spanish.
It has been difficult to estimate how many times this video has since been repurposed. Leavitt said he had no idea how many actual variants of this video have been made. “The fact that we can’t measure how many there are across multiple video sites, communities and personal servers tells us how popular it has really become,” he said.
In the clip, “Hitler’s passionate anger [works] as a means of expression” for a wide variety of causes, he noted.
“How Hitler’s downfall mocks your ideals”—IDG News Service