“His body is vigorous. His mind is childish. His soul has been almost completely neglected.”
Have you ever watched “The Bachelorette?” I had not, until this week’s premiere of the first season to have a black Bachelorette. I have a hard time watching reality TV. I watch pretty much any drama, sitcom or crime procedural I can find, but reality TV makes me uncomfortable. It seems mean? Like punching down? But I wanted to watch the Bachelorette because I saw some funny tweets about the contestants and I thought maybe it could be an enjoyable diversion in a dark time. As it turned out, it made me almost unbearably uncomfortable, but also somehow was enjoyable. It also is perfect for a delightful “parlor game” invented by Dorothy Thompson in 1941 called “Who Goes Nazi?”
Thompson, a journalist who covered Nazi Germany, wrote about the game for Harper’s (and Leah Finnegan wrote about it again recently for the Outline). Thompson says you can look around any dinner party and determine who would “go Nazi,” given the chance.
Now wait a second, you’re saying. Hold on just one second, Danielle. How are you going to play “Who Goes Nazi?” with the most ethnically and racially diverse pool of contestants in Bachelorette history? To which I say first that I’ve never watched “The Bachelorette” before so I have no idea how ethnically or racially diverse it has been previously and I don’t particularly care to look it up. And second, Thompson says that’s a “preposterous” objection:
It is preposterous to think that they are divided by any racial characteristics. Germans may be more susceptible to Nazism than most people, but I doubt it. Jews are barred out, but it is an arbitrary ruling. I know lots of Jews who are born Nazis and many others who would heil Hitler tomorrow morning if given a chance. There are Jews who have repudiated their own ancestors in order to become “Honorary Aryans and Nazis”; there are full-blooded Jews who have enthusiastically entered Hitler’s secret service. Nazism has nothing to do with race and nationality. It appeals to a certain type of mind.
So, hush. We’re playing.
“The Bachelorette” contestants were basically made for “Who Goes Nazi?” Thompson describes those inclined to “go Nazi” thusly:
Sometimes I think there are direct biological factors at work — a type of education, feeding, and physical training which has produced a new kind of human being with an imbalance in his nature. He has been fed vitamins and filled with energies that are beyond the capacity of his intellect to discipline. He has been treated to forms of education which have released him from inhibitions. His body is vigorous. His mind is childish. His soul has been almost completely neglected.
If you don’t think that describes this cohort of shiny, hairless, over-exercised Ken dolls eager to tell you how much they love The Rock and having threesomes, I don’t know what to do with you. You’d probably go Nazi, if you haven’t already.
I’m not going to go through all 31 contestants because that’s crazy and I honestly can’t fathom knowing all of their names until Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay has killed off, I mean sent home, at least half of them. A selection is adequate.
Adam, the schmuck who brought a doll — Would go Nazi. See Thompson: “I think young D over there is the only born Nazi in the room… He spends his time at the game of seeing what he can get away with.”
Alex, who relayed that his mom thinks he has an IQ of 180 — Alex. ALEX. IQs are determined by tests, not by mothers. “My mother said I graduated with honors.” What does your transcript say, Alex? See Thompson: “Young D is the spoiled only son of a doting mother. He has never been crossed in his life.” Alex would go Nazi.
Blake E. — First of all, there are two Blakes, proving the producers would definitely go Nazi, if they haven’t already. But we’ll come back to that. Blake E. is the one who bragged at considerable length about the “amazingness” of his penis and also indicated he can only have sex for 30 minutes every 24 hours. Blake. That is not amazing. See Thompson, quoted earlier: “His body is vigorous. His mind is childish. His soul has been almost completely neglected.” I’m disinclined to even allow that his body is vigorous. Would go Nazi.
Bryan, the eager Spanish speaker who claims to be “trouble” — After telling Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay he is “going to be trouble,” Bryan told her he’s “good with [his] hands,” made her speak Spanish back to him and then grabbed her face and forcibly kissed her. We don’t even need Thompson here. We can use that quote often attributed to Maya Angelou: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” Would go Nazi.
Dean — Dean is the putz who told Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay upon meeting her some months prior to this episode, “I’m ready to go black and never go back.” That alone had him in the “would go Nazi” column. But! A Bachelorette-savvy friend directed me to Vulture’s Bachelorette recapper, Ali Barthwell, whose recap of this episode made note of Dean’s preoccupation with finding out if Rachel thought it was okay that he said that. Barthwell speculates that a producer must have told him to say the inane statement because “if you’re the type of white guy who says that of your own free will, you don’t backpedal.” Good point, Barthwell. Producers would definitely go Nazi. Dean is still a question mark. For now.
Jonathan, who tickled Rachel without permission upon meeting her — There was so much unacceptable behavior in this television event. The doll. The guy who identifies as “whaboom.” Jonathan’s aggressive entrance was one of at least three times when Rachel could justifiably have yelled, “Security!” Thompson: “He spends his time at the game of seeing what he can get away with.” Would go Nazi.
Kenny — Kenny is a pro-wrestler who has a daughter. He seems nice, actually. And he wanted to burn the doll. Kenny maybe wouldn’t go Nazi. TBD.
Lucas, a.k.a. “Whaboom” — Lucas is a travesty. He’s an affront. He is an anthropomorphized gimmick. He is reality TV producer catnip and he loves it. Lucas would 100 percent go Nazi. Lucas would go Nazi multiple times if he could.
Milton — Milton kept growling at Rachel. Why, Milton? Apparently the doll, “Whaboom” and the tickler were acceptable, but Rachel drew the line at growling and sent Milt home at the end of the first episode. Milt cried about all the outfits he wanted to wear on TV. Milton would want to go Nazi, as long as there was no uniform. Whether the Nazis would have him is another question.
Mohit — Mohit visibly freaked out when what’s-his-name and Rachel made out. Mohit actually yelled, “No, back off!” aloud, giving voice to many of us watching at home. Mohit then got too drunk. Understandable. Mohit probably would not go Nazi. Unfortunately, Rachel sent him home. Sorry, Mohit.
The Producers — The producers (probably) made what’s-his-name say that inane comment, had Rachel sit down opposite that fucking doll and pretend to talk to it and, judging by the look that flashed across her face before she gave him the rose allowing him to stay, forced her to keep Whaboom on the show for at least one more episode. Entirely possible that this show is produced by Joseph Goebbels reincarnated.
Danielle Tcholakian is a writer in New York City.