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October 24, 2005
Asia's sad obsession with Nazi-ism
The headline reads Naked Nazi porn provokes Hong Kong fury (NSFW), although the article itself points out it has not provoked fury or outrage, yet. Below the jump the article is reproduced sans NSFW photos and it's an entertaining read.
Yet is the outrage from the English language press over the use of Nazi memorabilia as a marketing gimmick unjustified? We've previously looked at Asia's ambivalence to Hitler. While many here wonder what the big deal is, I'll leave it to commenter Joe to pose the problem in a different light:
...ignorance isn't an excuse. I'd imagine that the equivalent of that would be someone standing on the London Tube or the 'A' Train in New York in full Japanese Imperial Army regalia.....but the difference is that wouldn't happen (unless someone knows otherwise of course).Besides the offensiveness of such trivialising of Nazi-ism and its evils, the double standard, the ignorance, the insensitivity and incomprehension are massive. As Jonah Goldberg wrote in an excellent piece last week, Hitler is suppose to define the outer limits of evil, not the lowest threshold. There's no point in comparing evils - each attrocity is unique. But for a contintent that has endured its fair share of evils, Asia's fascination with Nazi-ism reflects an intolerance that is all too common.
There's no outrage here. Just sadness and pity.
(Article via Spirit Fingers)
Akasi, a quarterly publication for the discerning Nipponophile, has become the latest convert in Hong Kong’s love affair with Nazi Germany. The October issue of the top-shelf glossy is dominated by pictures of an attractive young lady partially dressed as a tank commander and cavorting with wartime general Heinz Guderian.posted by Simon on 10.24.05 at 10:54 AM in the Hong Kong people category.
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Naked Asian Female Nazi Porn
Excerpt: After the past four or five years of watching Hollywood produce hagiography about international communists such as the murderous Che Guevara and the Stalin-worshiping Frida Kahlo, and stores as mainstream as Burlington Coat Factory selling Che T-shirts...
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Insensitiveness, ignorance, bad taste, I agree. In fact, Hong Kong designers seem to love to borrow from Japanese military flag (red sun and red ray of sunshine).
I too condemn the terrible taste of the pictorial. I would also suggest that Hong Kong, like many Asian countries, does not have the benefit of a large, significant or vocal Jewish community that, in Western nations, have played a leading role in educating the public about the horrific deeds of Nazi Germany and to understand that borrowing its imagery for any purpose except appropriate education or remembrance is in incredibly poor taste.
Having said that, Stephen King and Thomas Pynchon (the first, whose real name is Richard Bachman, is a Jew)as examples have both used (some might say exploited) Nazi imagery and associated them with sadomasochistic acts; these can be read on many levels but there is a clear element of titillation. I guess the difference between King/Pynchon/others that use Nazi paraphenalia in novels and the chick in the Nazi outfit in Akasi is that using Nazi imagery for purely titillation alone and for pleasure is an abhorrent act; those other authors in their books remind people in many places of the horrific deeds of the Third Reich.posted by: HK Dave on 10.24.05 at 01:12 PM [permalink]
Came here today from Little Green Footballs in the US. Just wanted to point out that in the US, outside military history buffs like myself, knowledge of history in general in the US is lousy. This is caused by our pathetic, "feeling good aboout self is more important than knowledge" school system. People may know about Pearl Harbor or D-Day, but only because it shows up on network TV or they saw some, usually old, movie about it. Our media does like to beat the drum about the A-bomb attacks on Japan, the Japanese-American internment during WW II, and the Jewish Holocaust. However, few Americans know about the Rape of Nanking, or anything else about the Jap-China war that was going on before Nazi Germany invaded Poland and continued past VG Day. WW II in the Pacfic, for the US, is about aircraft carrier battles and US Marines invading small Jap held islands. Again this is primarily known from old movies. So I find Asian ignorance of non-Asian history unsurprising.
"Having said that, Stephen King and Thomas Pynchon (the first, whose real name is Richard Bachman, is a Jew)"
This isn't correct. Richard Bachman was a pseudonym King used in the 70s and 80s. He's not Jewish.
He does have one novella which fits your description (Apt Pupil - made into a not-very-good movie, featuring David Schwimmer of "Friends" fame).posted by: Knemon on 10.24.05 at 04:55 PM [permalink]
KJB43, There's a great difference in using Nazi Chic in ads aimed at the top people and having a lot of magazines, films and video of the Third Reich -which is true in Australia too. That makes sure the new generation are somewhat familiar with this period even if they get no history in school. Chic is what flatters and imitates Nazism consciously.
Knemon, my mistake. I thought Richard Bachman was his real name and Stephen King the pseudonym. Anyway, Apt Pupil was indeed the story I was referring to. And as for Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow is quite an eye-opener, not least for the coprophilia...posted by: HK Dave on 10.25.05 at 06:17 PM [permalink]