Friday, May 28, 2010

Symbols: Painful Denotations

RVCBard highlights some epic stupidity (via this one). Yup, that's what racism and ignorance look like. Not much to say that doesn't fall under "WTF" and "Fire Her."

I did notice RVCBard's note at the end:
Now I'm just waiting for the day when "God Hates Fags/Dykes" posters aren't homophobic and hateful, but ironic. Funny, even.
I have to say, personally, one of the greatest mysteries that never got solved for me when I was in Europe is, why is the Swastika a symbol of everything that is evil and hate-filled, and the Hammer and Sickle is just an amusing bauble of a by-gone era? It's not because Hitler was more evil or more crazy than Stalin -- I mean, whether or not one wins over the other, they both concentrate practically lethal amounts of murder, hatred, and paranoia. It's not because of time -- Hitler is more distant in memory than the excesses of the Soviet Union (which was rounding up people and invading nations even until the 1980s.

And I mean, it's the same for me. I must admit that I am not offended by the hammer and sickle -- I have the odd ironic t-shirt.

And it's not the I'm-Jewish-so-Nazism-affects-me-more-directly thing; after all, most of my family was wiped out by the Polish and Russian pogroms, whereas they largely avoided the Holocaust. It's not an American bias either -- in the Czech Republic, you can still buy Soviet hats and military garb, whereas if you tried to find a street vendor to sell you Nazi paraphernalia -- good luck.

I'm at a loss to understand why, universally, swastika = ARGH and hammer/sickle = meh. Was it Gorbachev? Did he mystically rehabilitate the hammer/sickle by letting the USSR end with a whimper rather than a bang?

So I don't know if we'll ever be able to laugh about God Hates Fags. There was a short period where the KKK was supposedly laughed at after being used in a children's radio show of Superman (although Wikipedia is not convinced), but this lady's numb-nutted behavior notwithstanding, a burning cross remains not a punchline.

Of course, with some effort, you can still have a Producers-style laugh at White Supremacy's expense. Here's Esquire quoting Neo-Nazis who endorse Obama:
"White people are faced with either a negro or a total nutter who happens to have a pale face. Personally I’d prefer the negro. National Socialists are not mindless haters."