You know one of those pictures that will likely haunt you for a couple of months? Or one of those moments that you’d just like to forget for the sake of it being a mistake? Well I imagine that’s what these young people are feeling currently after they accidentally gave a large fuck you to the Jewish community.
That’s right these folks are participating in a cosplay of the anime Hetalia which is based around the idea of personifying the countries in World War 2 into some form of character. And given of course that it is World War 2, there happens to be a nazi character. What makes this story funny of course is more the issue of where that picture was taken. It would seem that the group who lives in Boston was just trying to find a nice place to hold their convention, and previous locations had cancelled or they were unable to get a hold of the location they wanted for whatever reason for their meetup. Sadly for them of course, this meant they were going to have to move somewhere else. The problem is that in moving to that somewhere else, they may have forgotten what else is in the area.
The Holocaust Museum in Boston was a mere block away, and this picture was taken during passover. Now normally I would not care, but apparently it’s caused some manner of drama over on the internet and Livejournal communities, including this desperate apology post from the groups administrator trying to explain their actions and how forgetful they were about just what they were doing and that some might actually find it offensive. The big thanks goes to plus 4chan for digging this poor groups misery up and bringing it all to light.
Anyway it would seem there is some internal conflict within the various Hetalia groups over who is to blame, or what is to blame. Really it just seems to blame someone for something and make the group feel guilty. But given that this is a blog, and It’s my duty to be non objective and insert my opinion in the matter rather than actually talk about the news story I can’t help but laugh at the way some of these people are more upset over their choice to actually use the former German solute in public rather than anything to do with the costumes they were wearing or where they happened to have taken this picture.
You see, what gets me, is that we’re attacking the symbol rather than the meaning of the symbol. And quite honestly, if the symbol is being done for just the manner of trying to make the picture look authentic, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that it isn’t likely that the group has suddenly grown a vampire like craving for Jewish blood. My real issue here is that while Germany probably did commit the single largest fuck up in recent human history with the Holocaust, it doesn’t really mean we just get to paint everything that was related to Nazi Germany as evil. While the Germans themselves probably aren’t so happy to look back on the matter, the Holocaust wasn’t the only thing to occur during World War 2. There is this certain mentality in history among humans that we must pain the enemy as dehumanized, pure evil, and ensure that all future generations understand that they were clearly the bad guy, often choosing to highlight [what was admittedly a pretty massive fuck up] single events from the history to make our point.
The problem with this of course is that suddenly historical elements [like the swastika for instance] are instantly tied to killing millions of innocent people. It likely doesn’t help that some of the crazy white separatist groups in the United States like the Neo Nazi’s have also chosen the symbol as their own, but again these are cosplayers who are depicting something from a comic, and I doubt very much if they were doing it to be offensive. I would go on to say, you can likely question their choice of reading material, but ultimately there is little to be gained by hating a symbol rather than why that symbol is being used.
For instance, I used to go up to Red Clay State park, which happens to be a Cherokee reserve in the Cleveland area of Tennessee, and something that amuses the hell out of me would be these extremely Right Wing, conservative folks, who would come out as just something to do for the day, but they would have this massive amount of patriotic material strewn about them. From lapel pins, to little American Flags, to shirts depicting a Bald Eagle showing how the Twin Towers fell, and how resilient the United States is, and I can’t help but think that they are a walking monument to everything that destroyed the Cherokee Nation. It’s a simple matter of symbolism, that these days we don’t seem to care about [and as I stated above, we probably shouldn’t] the issue of when its the victor who trumps about on the graves of those his ancestor killed, showing no true respect to a monument created to remind the victor that he essentially committed genocide.
Anyway, enough with the incoherent rambling, I found the story amusing, so I pass it along to others to judge for themselves if perhaps wondering around Nazi in 1940’s era military attire was the best idea.